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Editorial: FCC, lawsuits, Net Neutrality, and The Bill of Rights

6 hours ago | Posted in: industry

AT&T and several trade organizations in the telecom and cable industry have publicly posted statements of issues they intend to raise as part of their lawsuits against the FCC's ruling mandating net neutrality. While the statements aren't in-depth rundowns of the arguments the organizations that oppose the ruling intend to make, they do seem rather familiar to anyone who remembers the successful Verizon lawsuit of 2012 that acted as a catalyst for the Title II reclassification for ISPs in the first place. These issues indicate AT&T and others believe the FCC's ruling on net neutrality violates the First and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, as well as the Communications Act of 1934 (as amended).

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Hands On: Carbo 1.0 (iOS)

13 hours ago | Posted in: software, Graphics/Web Design, iPhone apps

Its full title in the App Store is Carbo – Handwriting in the Digital Age and you're already thinking iPads, stylus or scribbling on the screen but you're wrong. This is not another app about mimicking the experience of writing on paper, it's not really about replacing paper at all. Carbo is about letting you continue to use paper but now use it in the digital world: take paper you write on and edit, copy or share it as you would anything you create online from scratch.

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Daily Deals: Long Weekend Edition

14 hours ago | Posted in: computers, peripherals, gadgets, software, digital imaging, upgrades/storage, accessories, networking, audio, mobile phones, Apple

Hello and welcome to an unusual edition of Daily Deals. Typically, the staff of MacNN and Electronista do not provide a deals post on a Saturday or Sunday, but since retailers are offering sales over this three-day weekend, we're making an exception. As well as a recap of the still-active deals from earlier this week, we've been adding new deals to the list throughout the weekend, with the most recent deals added this morning at 12:50APM EDT, so you can make the most of your money.

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OWC ships Accelsior S PCIe 4x card for direct installation of one SSD

14 hours ago | Posted in: computers

Mac and PC technology company Other World Computing last week announced the the Accelsior S, a new PCIe card with direct mount support for a 2.5-inch SATA 6Gb/s SSD. The latest addition to OWC's Accelsior line enables PC, Mac Pro tower and Thunderbolt interface expansion chassis users to add additional storage which in some cases will be faster than the native SATA bus.

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Hands On: Apple Watch Calculator Smackdown

14 hours ago | Posted in: gadgets, software, iPhone apps

The fact that Apple Watch only shows its face when you turn your wrist or use the Digital Crown makes us flashback to the 1970s when the first-ever digital watches needed a good thump before they'd show the time. Now the fact that you can have a calculator on your wrist is reviving memories of being called a nerd, and discovering we never had any need to calculate anything. Calcbot, CalculatorWatch and PCalc may change that -- but so might Siri.

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Google 'smart toy' patent under fire from privacy groups

15 hours ago | Posted in: gadgets

A recently published patent from Google is drawing concern from privacy groups. The patent for "Agent Interfaces for Interactive Electronics that support Social Cues" effectively describes a toy or doll that can analyze a user's speech and body language to determine if it is being communicated with directly and respond accordingly, with law-related tech company SmartUp describing it as "one of Google's creepiest patents yet."

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Apps: Beamer, ServeToMe, LaunchBar

16 hours ago | Posted in apps

    10.9MB

    Beamer 2.1.2 ($15)

    Beamer is a tool for wirelessly streaming movie files to an Apple TV. Support is offered for most major video formats, such as AVI, MOV and MKV. Version 2.1.2 has resolved a crash that could occur when changing the audio channel, adding subtitles or stopping playback. A bug that caused the device list to open unnecessarily has also been fixed.

    9.2MB

    ServeToMe 4.0108 (free)

    ServeToMe is the companion server app to StreamToMe. Together the two apps allow users to stream video, music, and photo files over a Wi-Fi or cellular network. The latest release includes fixes for UPnP support and Apple Photos.

    13.8MB

    LaunchBar 6.4 ($30)

    LaunchBar is a tool that can provide quick access to apps, documents, contacts, and bookmarks, as well as a music library or various search engines. The v6.4 update introduces a new Action Editor that can be used to create personalized scripts. Users can also now select additional snippets folders, which can help with sharing certain snippets with cloud services. Other changes include: improved detection of plain text files, a better list of an app’s recent documents, and a fix for an issues causing the “Search Dash” action to crash on Mavericks.

    482MB

    NeoOffice 2014.11 ($30)

    NeoOffice is an office suite designed for OS X. The suite includes apps for creating, editing, and viewing OpenOffice documents, LibreOffice documents, and simple Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. A number of swipe gesture improvements are included in the latest update. An issue that caused the software to pause after several consecutive swipes has been fixed, along with a problem caused by slow swipe gestures. Finally, when swiping quickly, the page or row number tooltip will no longer flash rapidly.

 
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Pointers: Sign Your PDFs in Preview

16 hours ago | Posted in: software

It is wrong, just wrong that someone can send you a PDF and expect you to print it out, sign it, take it to your local post office and physically send them the piece of paper back. It's wrong, and it's also easy for them: one button and their job is done. Shock them by sending that PDF right back with your signature on.

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First Look: 15-inch Apple MacBook Pro with Force Touch, new GPU

18 hours ago | Posted in: Apple

Apple has given the 15-inch MacBook Pro a refresh, giving it a fresh lease of life. Unusually, however, it does not include an upgrade to its Intel Core i7 quad-core CPU. Due to delays with Intel's quad-core "Broadwell" parts, the new 15-inch MacBook Pro continues with a fourth-generation quad-core Core i7 part clocked at 2.5GHz. It does however, include some substantial upgrades elsewhere. This new model now features the all-new Force Touch trackpad that debuted on the new 12-inch MacBook with Retina display, and which is also found on the recently refreshed 13-inch MacBook Pro. It also gains much faster PCIe flash storage, but more importantly, its aging Nvidia Ge Force GT 750M has been replaced with a much faster and all-new AMD R9 M370X.

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Amazon alters financial reports in UK to avoid 25-percent tax penalty

18 hours ago | Posted in: industry

Amazon is altering its tax affairs in Europe, following pressure from governments and regulatory bodies over the way it and other tech companies attempt to shrink their tax bills. The retailer is starting to run sales it makes in the United Kingdom within the country itself, instead of funneling them through Luxembourg to minimize the amount of tax it pays, a change that is expected to bring in millions in corporation tax to the UK treasury.

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Hands On: OmniGraffle 2.1.1 (OS X, iOS)

18 hours ago | Posted in: iPhone, software, Graphics/Web Design, iPhone apps, iPad apps

You've got to say this for OmniGraffle: there aren't many other graffles in the App Store. There also aren't many tools that do what it does, and we've enthused before about OmniGraffle's ability to let the artistically-challenged among us sketch out plans, designs and notes on OS X. There's also been an iPad version, but OmniGraffle 2.1.1 is now a universal app, which means it is now on the iPhone for the first time.

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Game Replay: NES museum exhibit, Desura payment issues

Sun May 24, 2015 | Posted in: gaming

Welcome to the Game Replay, the twice-weekly post where MacNN and Electronista write about some of the major stories in the wider world of gaming that developed over the last few days. In today's edition, the NES becomes a museum exhibit, hitboxes in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive get some attention, and Desura payment issues

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Amazon courts Etsy vendors for new Handmade marketplace

Sun May 24, 2015 | Posted in: industry

Over the course of several days, a number of entrepreneurs who sell on Etsy.com received an email from Amazon.com. The email contains an invitation to take a survey in preparation for a new marketplace the Internet retail giant is working on called "Handmade."

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BlackBerry continues restructuring, new layoffs imminent

Sun May 24, 2015 | Posted in: Investor, industry

Earlier this month BlackBerry CEO, John Chen, stated he believed the company was on track to be profitable again. At the time, Chen stated that design was key in the company's efforts to continue selling handsets while capitalizing on the fact that services were the primary source of income. Possibly contrary to Chen's remarks, BlackBerry has announced plans to cut employees from the device side, primarily from the smartphone software and application development area.

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Hands On: PhotoScissors 2.0 (OS X)

Sun May 24, 2015 | Posted in: software

Erase. Ex. Spouse. Partner. Lover. Delete. There you go: just popping all the terms you'd put into Google if you were looking for software like this. However, it's not solely for removing your heartbreak, PhotoScissors 2.0 is actually excellent when you're making images for use on websites because it lets you quickly remove unwanted backgrounds and emotional baggage.

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Apple television service held up by local programming demand?

Sat May 23, 2015 | Posted in: industry, Apple

More rumors about Apple's television service, citing unnamed sources outside of Apple, indicates the possibility that Cupertino is seeking local programming for inclusion in the upcoming steaming service for Apple TV. The service, often compared to Dish Network's Sling, will reportedly allow live broadcast shows and commercials to be viewed on any Apple device. The service has yet to be officially announced, if it exists at all. Apple has been rumored to say something about it at the WWDC conference in June with release later in the year, but the prospect of local content being added has analysts predicting release will be delayed.

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Hands On: Folder Color 2.1.0 (OS X)

Sat May 23, 2015 | Posted in: software

Naturally, you have not filled your Mac's desktop with folders. You've done it with files. But from time to time, when you can't see anything any more, you make some temporary folders and move everything into there. Job done. Until you now have millions of folders and unlike files, folders all look identical. Not any more. Not if you buy Folder Color

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Briefly: Pebble Time ships May 27, HBO Now discounts considered

Fri May 22, 2015 | Posted in: gadgets, software

The Pebble Time smartwatch will start shipping to backers of its Kickstarter campaign from May 27, the company has revealed. In mass production since the start of this month, backers of the Pebble Time are being sent invitations to finalize their selections for backer rewards and their smartwatch, with tracking numbers expected to be provided to customers by mid-June. Shipments of the smartwatch will apparently continue on a "rolling basis" when the devices reach regional distribution centers. The company has also advised it is preparing to debut the new support apps called "Pebble Time Watch" for iOS and Android from next week

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Hands On: Aftershokz Bluez conduction headphones

Fri May 22, 2015 | Posted in: iPod, iPhone, gadgets, accessories, iPad

Headphones, the humble hero of every day life. Boring commute on public transportation? Just pop in your headphones and listen to an audio book. Noisy construction outside of your window? Slip your headphones over your ears and have an impromptu Netflix marathon. Avid jogger? A great playlist can help workouts fly by, but in this case, headphones are more of a hindrance than a boon. Cutting out important audio cues, such as sounds of construction, car horns, bike bells, or yelling pedestrians can be dangerous. But there is a solution - headphones that don't work by closing off your ears. We took a look at Aftershokz Bluez, headphones designed to help keep you alert at all times.

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AT&T to drop two-year contracts through third-party sellers

Fri May 22, 2015 | Posted in: iPhone, industry, mobile phones, Apple

AT&T, one of the US' largest carriers, has opted to make a significant change to its arrangements with third-party resellers of its services, including franchises and agents such as Apple, Walmart, and others. All non-company stores will be restricted from offering any two-year contracts in the traditional format with an up-front down payment, though AT&T company stores and its own online site will continue to offer contracts. Instead, retailers will have to offer the AT&T Next option, where buyers pay the cost of the phone alongside the monthly service plan fees.

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Apple Game Roundup: Game of Thrones, Heroes of the Storm, more

Fri May 22, 2015 | Posted in: gaming, Apple

On Tuesdays and Fridays, MacNN takes a few minutes to round up important goings-on in the Mac and iOS gaming world. In today's entry we look at the release date for Telltale's Game of Thrones Episode 4, the launch of Heroes of the Storm's public beta, a progress update for Shadowrun: Hong Kong, a new Surprise Attack game collection from Humble Bundle, and the latest character video for Overwatch.

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Daily Deals: ViewSonic Projector, Acer Chromebook, iTunes credit

Fri May 22, 2015 | Posted in: computers, gaming, peripherals, gadgets, software, upgrades/storage, accessories, networking, audio, mobile phones, Apple

Welcome to Daily Deals, the post where the staff of MacNN and Electronista scour online retailers for discounts, offers, sales, and bundles on hardware, software, and gadgets for you, the discerning reader. Our last recap of the week follows after the new batch of deals, including a 1080p home theater projector, a $130 Chromebook, and the Logitech UE Mini Boom speaker.

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Forums: 15-inch MBP updates, wireless mouse problems and more

Fri May 22, 2015 | Posted in: computers, troubleshooting, software, upgrades/storage, Apple

This week in the MacNN forums, members discussed the recent updates to the 15-inch MBP in a thread started by Moderator "P" in which he points out some of the changes that have been made. Today Mac Elite "rotuts" turned to the forums looking for help figuring out why his Logitech mouse is not working with his new iMac.

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Apple deals: Macs from $419

Fri May 22, 2015 | Posted in: computers, Apple

Right now at Apple's online store, save big on refurbished Macs, with prices starting as low as $419. The refurbished Mac mini with a 1.4GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive has been cut by $80 to $419. Priced at $679, after a 120 discount, is the refurbished 11.6-inch MacBook Air with a 1.4GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of flash storage.

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Pointers: get more and less from Spotlight

Fri May 22, 2015 | Posted in: software

There must have been a time before Spotlight, but who wants to remember that? While we've often recommended applications with similar functions like LaunchBar 6 and Alfred 2, what Spotlight does out of the box is very good. It could be handier, though, and you can stop it searching everything, everywhere. You are always more likely to search for music in iTunes, for instance, so having Spotlight list all the soppy ballads you own takes time and might be embarrassing.

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Apple Watch: US sales figures; heart rate flaw in 1.0.1 update?

Fri May 22, 2015 | Posted in: gadgets, troubleshooting, Apple

Figures extrapolated from some 14,000 online shoppers who use Slice Intelligence's services suggests that the Apple Watch is selling approximately 30,000 units a day, following an unsurprising initial rush of over 2.5 million pre-orders. While some analysts will inevitably portray this as a slump, the drop-off is typical of new products, and puts the Apple Watch on pace to have outsold all existing smartwatches on its first day or two of pre-ordering, and outselling the early days of the iPhone and iPad.

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Hands On: Breezeblox 1.1 (iOS)

Fri May 22, 2015 | Posted in: gaming, iPhone apps, iPad apps

We know that spatial-awareness puzzles require a certain kind of person: a bold person, one who isn't afraid to get their mind tangled up in the puzzle. They've got to be a little pensive, too. After all, these puzzles often require a very specific solution, putting the wits of even the best lateral thinker to the test. One such puzzler is Breezeblox, a deceptively inviting puzzle game about a jiggly square.

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