Pre-Alpha Builds of VLC for Android Available for Testing

The VLC team is in the process of porting the extremely robust media player to Android. The current build is pre-alpha (read: very buggy), so users who don’t like living on the bleeding edge and the possibility of constant crashes will want to steer clear for the time being. But those of you who want to give the app a test drive can either download a pre-compiled .apk from CVCPS, or compile your own build from source using this how-to.

For various political reasons, iOS users can only download VLC through Cydia.

[Redmond Pie]

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OtterBox Teases Apple Community With New iPhone Banner

OtterBox is officially teasing the Apple community with a new website banner that reads “iPhone 4S or iPhone 5? Yes.” It appears that the accessory maker is following in the footsteps of its competitor, Case-Mate. Based on this banner, it would seem that OtterBox has some sort of inside information or connections with regards to the next-generation iPhones. But that’s not entirely true. (more…)

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Apple Sued By Samsung, S3 Graphics, and LVL Patent Group

Apple has been listed as the defendant today in three new separate lawsuits filed by Samsung, S3 Graphics, and LVL Patent Group LLC. S3 Graphics, acquired by HTC for $300 million, is suing the Cupertino-based company for violating two different patents related to rendering and VGA controller circuitry.

As is the norm in these types of lawsuits, S3 Graphics wants the infringing products—the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac computers—to be banned from sale. Samsung also wants the iPhone and iPad banned in the Netherlands, claiming that Apple has violated four of the South Korean company’s 3G patents. Samsung adds that Apple has been “free riding” off of Samsung’s inventions. (more…)

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Apple’s In-App Purchases Security System Down

Many iOS developers are experiencing an outage of a major security feature used for in-app billing. Applications use a “verifyReceipt” function that distinguishes legitimate receipts from those that are fraudulent. Since 7:ooPM PST last night, the verification system has been down, and Apple has not yet acknowledged the problem. Some devs expect to have lost thousands of dollars in revenue due to the outage, but others have managed to create a temporary workaround to negate the issue.

The Sandbox version of the site, used for testing, is up, but the URL used for real transactions shows a 404 error. With the page down, developers cannot verify that receipts are valid, and therefore can’t honor purchases because of the possibility the receipt has been forged.

[Wired]

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Rumor: Amazon Launching New Tablet on September 28th?

Look out Apple, because Amazon could be close to launching its rumored tablet to compete with the iPad. While Apple’s iPad continues to dominate the tablet market, with competition that is next to none, this Amazon-flavored tablet could become the first legitimate threat to Apple’s tablet. Amazon’s new tablet could be announced at the press conference the online retailing company has invited the media to attend on Wednesday, September 28 at 10:00 AM Eastern.

This tablet, which will allegedly run Android, will be effective at competing with the iPad because of its price tag. Amazon is rumored to price the 7-inch version of this tablet at just $249.99. If released, this will be Amazon’s first tablet and will join the Kindle family of eReaders that Amazon has been selling since late 2007.

[This Is My Next]

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NASA Releases Official Ringtones

NASA, everyone’s favorite space agency, has released official “historical sounds” ringtones for the iPhone. The tones include the well known audio from most major missions, including the world famous “Houston, we’ve had a problem“, and many beeps, bloops, and rocket blast-offs. If you want to up your geek cred while out on the town, check out the full library here, and if you’ve never added custom ringtones to iTunes, make sure to read the step by step instructions. Regular old MP3 files of the audio are also available for less picky devices.

Here’s a collection of NASA sounds from historic spaceflights and current missions. You can hear the roar of a space shuttle launch or Neil Armstrong’s “One small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind” every time you get a phone call. Or, you can hear the memorable words “Houston, we’ve had a problem,” every time you make an error on your computer. We have included both MP3 and M4R (iPhone) sound files to download.

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Spotify US Goes Public, Offers Unlimited Streaming to Free Users for 6 Months

Spotify launched in the US earlier this year, but has remained only available to the internet-elite (and paying members) until today. In conjunction with their partnership with Facebook, the streaming music service is now open to the public, and will offer unlimited streaming to free users for 6 months. Non-paying customers are usually limited to just 10 hours a month, so it’s quite a steal. Of course, you won’t be able to enjoy mobile streaming or offline caching without a Premium account.

[Spotify]

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Macy’s Adds iPads to eVending Machines in Stores

The department store Macy’s has rolled out new vending machines in many of their stores across the United States. Instead of dispensing candy and snacks, however, these vending machines offer a variety of different electronics instead. Among the products offered are several Apple devices including the iPad, iPod touch, and iPod nano. There’s also a slew of digital cameras, GPS, and headphones to pick from.

And don’t worry, your iPad doesn’t clank to the floor like a chocolate bar would; instead, it is conveniently loaded onto the side collection panel on the right. Thank goodness. But still, would you buy your next shiny Apple device from a vending machine like this?

[The Consumerist via TiPb]

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Steve Jobs is the 39th Richest American According to Forbes

For three decades, Forbes Magazine has ranked the 400th most wealthy American individuals in their Forbes 400 listing. This year, celebrating its thirtieth anniversary, the latest Forbes 400 list is once again topped by Bill Gates, the richest person in the United States with a net worth of $59 billion. Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett ranks second with a $39 billion valuation, while Oracle’s Larry Ellison takes bronze with $33 billion.

Diversified’s Charles and David Koch round off the top five with $25 billion apiece. Further down the list, Apple’s former chief executive Steve Jobs ranks 39th on the Forbes 400 with a net worth of $7 billion. Other notable individuals include Mark Zuckerberg (14th, $17.5 billion), Sergey Brin and Larry Page (15th, $16.7 billion apiece), Michael Dell (18th, $15 billion), and Steve Ballmer (19th, $13.9 billion).

[Forbes]

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