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Latest News


Comcast provides letters to politicians supporting its merger with TWC

55 minutes ago | Posted in: industry

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) frequently puts out a call for comments as part of their decision-making process, and usually hears back from concerned citizens as well as "astroturf" industry-funded campaigns. In the case of the merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable (TWC), however, Comcast posted a thank you to the politicians, organizations and businesses that submitted comments in its favor. An investigation of those letters, however, has revealed a number of politicians who's comments were penned by Comcast employees, and simply signed off on, much like the situation where Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood sent a subpoena to Google which was later discovered to have been written by the MPAA's law firm.



Apple doubles Australian tax contribution, still increases profits

2 hours ago | Posted in: Investor, Apple

Apple paid more than twice as much in taxes in Australia for 2014 as it did in 2013, but still managed to grow profits in the country -- despite increasing scrutiny about its legal but aggressive tax avoidance techniques. According to documents filed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), Apple paid AU$80.4 million in taxes for 2014 ($64 million US) compared to just AU$36.4 million (roughly $32 million US at the time) in 2013.



New mural created for upcoming Chongqing flagship store

5 hours ago | Posted in: Apple

Following in the footsteps of recent murals that "drape" under-construction standalone stores (such as the one that covered the recently-opened Hangzhou store), Apple has created another mural to cover the cylinder-shaped forthcoming Chongqing store, which is set to open this Saturday. The new location, the second for the city, will be the third of five store openings in China promised by the company before the arrival of the New Year on February 19.



Hands On: TaskTime4 (OS X)

6 hours ago | Posted in: software, Apple

This is you. You're rubbish at the money side of anything. Unless you're an accountant, in which case we apologize. Everyone else, though, most especially anyone who works freelance or in a one-man or one-woman company struggles with this because the money part is not why you got into business. Hopefully you'll be earning lots but you started your business because you wanted to do what that business does and nobody else was employing you for it. Consequently your interest is on the job plus the demands of being a small business owner mean that your energy goes on the job too. Somehow you have to also keep an eye on the money and that's where TaskTime4 comes in.



Apple Store in Hangzhou, China opens over weekend

7 hours ago | Posted in: Apple

A new Apple store based on its latest two-story designs (as seen in San Francisco and elsewhere) has opened in Hangzhou, China. As is typical for such openings, lines of enthusiasts trailed around the block to experience Asia's largest and latest Apple Store, the second in a series of five that will open around China by the start of the official Chinese New Year on Thursday, February 19. The first new store was opened in Zhengzhou earlier this month to similar acclaim and excitement.



Apple upgrades Maps Connect, Photos services

10 hours ago | Posted in: digital imaging

Apple has upgraded the Photos app with a couple of new features, users note. The first is a zoom slider for uploaded content. People can also more easily share photos via email, using a new pop-up window on the site. Access to Photos requires activating the iCloud Photo Library beta through iOS' Settings app, and will remove any images on a device that were synced via iTunes.



Briefly: 1Password, Twitterrific 5 updates for iOS

11 hours ago | Posted in: iPhone apps, iPad apps

1Password has announced an update for its password manager and secure wallet app for iOS. Allowing users to create strong, unique passwords for every site, 1Password stores them all and logs in with one tap, including credit cards and identities, without typing. 1Password v5.2 features a new login creator, and a new layout that features a renewed aesthetic for the password editor, icons, and more. When one's master password is changed on the OS X version of 1Password, it also changes on the user's iOS device, and backups synchronized from iTunes for Windows can now be restored. The 1Password Extension for third-party apps will now lock automatically after the pre-determined security timeout, visual accessibility measures have been improved, and its translation service has received an update.



MasterCard to bring Apple Pay to PGA Tour

11 hours ago | Posted in: iPhone

MasterCard has partnered with a company called Prom Management Group to bring Apple Pay to at least one stop on the PGA Tour, according to an announcement. At the 16th hole of the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale, people will be able to pay for food and drinks at concession stands through an Apple Pay-ready iPhone. Other mobile payment systems (such as Google Wallet) could be supported; while only Apple Pay is mentioned by name, the concessions are said to be generally "contactless enabled."



Standalone TestFlight service to shut down on February 26

13 hours ago | Posted in: developer, Apple

The standalone version of TestFlight -- located at -- will be shutting down on February 26, according to an email sent to developers. Apple last year bought out Burstly, the creator of TestFlight, and began migrating the beta-testing service over to iTunes Connect and an iOS app. The company warns developers that apps won't automatically leap from one platform to the other, and must be set up anew in iTunes Connect.



Briefly: STM debuts Dux rugged cases, Ooma's new Nest alerts

14 hours ago | Posted in: iPhone, gadgets, accessories, iPad

STM Bags has announced the release of its new Dux case for iPad and iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Described as offering "rugged" protection from drops and general wear and tear, the Dux case consists of a rubberized bracket and polycarbonate exterior. Its clear back allows for customizing the appearance of the device, or letting the back of the iPhone or iPad remain visible. The Dux for iPad (priced at $50) features sizes designed for iPad Air 2, iPad Air, iPad 2 through 4, iPad mini, as well as mini 2 and 3, and is available in blue, red, and black. Dux for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus (priced at $30) are available in black and red.



OS X 10.10.2 will integrate iCloud Drive content into Time Machine

14 hours ago | Posted in: security, troubleshooting, software, networking, Apple

(Updated with claims about Thunderstrike fix) Apple has seeded a new beta of OS X 10.10.2 to its workers -- build 14C109 -- that includes release notes explaining the update's major changes. The most significant may be the addition of iCloud Drive browsing within Time Machine, which should let people track related changes and find items that were previously stored in the cloud. Apple has also made a number of fixes though, most notably solving a Spotlight vulnerability that automatically loaded remote content in Mail messages.


Apps: GarageSale, Coda, OnyX

15 hours ago | Posted in apps


    GarageSale 6.9.2 ($35)

    GarageSale allows users to create eBay auctions from their desktop. Users can choose from over 140 free listing designs, then add any details and upload up to 10 images per auction free of charge to the GarageSale Image Service. The latest update has fixed a problem in the built-in store.


    Coda 2.5.4 ($99)

    Coda is a web development application that was designed to bring all the functions of web page creation into a single window. An issue where selecting a MySQL table could cause a crash has been addressed in this update. The code folding behavior has also been reverted to no longer scroll.


    OnyX 2.9.5 (free)

    OnyX is a tool for verifying the Startup Disk and system files structure of a Mac OS X computer. The software also provides users with access to a number of hidden parameters of the Finder, Dock, and some Apple applications. Version 2.9.5 includes a new option to rebuild the XPC cache, as well as an improved log deletion feature and seven new translations.


    OmniGraffle 6.1.2 ($100)

    OmniGraffle is a tool for creating diagrams and organizational charts. The software includes numerous shapes and connectors for plotting out information in a visual manner. The latest update improves the performance of switching between tabs in the inspector, and resolves a number of known crashing issues.


    CodeKit 2.2 ($32)

    CodeKit can be used to quickly build websites. Within the app are tools for compiling a number of different coding languages, as well as for optimizing images, debugging, and previewing changes live. Version 2.2 introduces a new Browser Sync feature that lets users mirror changes made on one device across all of their open website previews. Files in CodeKit Frameworks can also now import files in other other CodeKit Frameworks, and users can choose the output format for Slim files.


Apple blamed for lack of fingerprint sensor on Google Nexus 6

15 hours ago | Posted in: mobile phones, Apple

The Google Nexus 6 was going to have a fingerprint sensor, but Apple forced a change in the phone's design, the ex-CEO of Motorola claims. The Android smartphone was initially going to have a fingerprint reader on the back, where a Motorola-branded dimple now resides, but Apple's acquisition of AuthenTec is said to have put a stop to those plans completely.



Samsung to produce 75 percent of processors for next iPhone

16 hours ago | Posted in: iPhone, industry

Samsung will indeed be the chief supplier of processors for Apple's next iPhone(s), according to South Korea's Maeil Business Newspaper. The company is expected to take about 75 percent of orders. Maeil doesn't mention how much the deal is worth, or who else will be producing chips, but Samsung's manufacturing will reportedly take place at its plant in Austin, Texas, the original home of Apple's A-series processors.



Apple introduces 'Free on iTunes' section at iTunes Store

17 hours ago | Posted in: Apple

Apple has launched a new area on the iTunes Store, simply dubbed Free on iTunes. The section highlights free song and TV downloads. Some musical examples include singles from Nude Beach, Machine Head, Purity Ring, and Washed Out. TV content includes episodes from Backstrom, 12 Monkeys, The Musketeers, and other shows.



Hands On: Brushstroke (iOS)

17 hours ago | Posted in: iPhone apps, iPad apps

There's a good chance that everyone reading this, at one point or another, has seen those "turn a picture into a painting or sketch" apps that were making the rounds a few years ago. More often than not, these ended up looking like nothing more than poorly Photoshopped images, which was essentially what they were. We checked out Brushstroke by Code Organa to see if it managed to improve on the technology.



Briefly: Sprint targets T-Mobile customers, T-Mobile Score discounts

20 hours ago | Posted in: industry, mobile phones

Sprint is refocusing its trade-in offer directly against main rival T-Mobile. Running until April 9, Sprint will offer T-Mobile customers a minimum instant trade-in value of $200 for their smartphone if they transfer their number over. Sprint is also allowing the offer to work alongside another promotion, granting up to $350 per line to cover early termination fees or installment billing balances.


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Previous News

Adobe updates Flash again due to critical security flaw

Sun January 25, 2015 | Posted in: security, software, hacks

Adobe has again had to issue an update to the browser plug-in version of Flash due a critical flaw in the program that allows remote attackers to take over un-updated Macs or PCs, the latter running either Windows or Linux. The company urges users to update to the latest version, first issued on Friday, that patches the problem -- however, all previous versions should be considered at risk, and there are not yet any Chrome browser or standalone updaters available.


Weekly Game Replay: Guild Wars 2 expansion, Battlefield Hardline data

Sun January 25, 2015 | Posted in: gaming

Every Sunday, Electronista and MacNN put together an all-in-one article for some of the bigger news from the game industry in the previous week. In this week's edition of the Weekly Game Replay, we look at Guild Wars 2's recently-announced expansion, new details on Electronic Art's Battlefield Hardline, the physical release of Dying Light being delayed outside of North America, The Elder Scrolls Online's name change and new payment structure, Robotoki's shutdown, hiatus for Human Element, and Dontnod's newest game in development.


Friday Deals: Lenovo Z50, Vizio 49-inch Smart TV, Transparent [U]

Sun January 25, 2015 | Posted in: computers, gadgets, software

[Updated Sunday with more deals!] Welcome to the latest edition of Friday Deals, the post where we search for great deals on hardware, software, gadgets, and other items for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. As per normal, the prices for offers listed are correct at the time of posting, but may change in the meantime, so check before buying. Remember to check this post in the future, as more deals will be added to the list throughout the weekend.


Hands On: Alfred 2 (OS X)

Sun January 25, 2015 | Posted in: computers, software

It's only right and proper to review Alfred 2 in a column called Hands On, because that's its entire point: with this installed, you can do just about anything on your Mac without ever once taking your fingers off the keyboard. As much as the mouse and the trackpad changed the world, every time you use them you are losing time. Yes, it's probably only about a second, but that's enough: your concentration moves to where-is-the-mouse and then where-is-the-cursor before it can get back to the work at hand. With Alfred 2, your fingers will remember keyboard shortcuts like muscle memory, and you will feel you are hugely faster at everything.


Hands On: iWatermark+ (OS X, iOS, Android, Windows)

Sat January 24, 2015 | Posted in: software, digital imaging, iPad apps

This is impressive. Watermarking your photographs so that at least you have your name on them if they get used online is not precisely the most thrilling job in the world, but iWatermark+ comes pretty close to making it enjoyable. There are limits: you'd rather be creating the images than sitting around putting copyright notices on them, but that's the thing about iWatermark+: it does what it does so quickly, and so well, that you can get back to your proper job sooner.


Google Fiber's expansion pegged to be Research Triangle, NC

Sat January 24, 2015 | Posted in: networking

According to "industry sources," Google's next fiber construction is slated for both the Research Triangle in Raleigh-Durham and the Charlotte area in North Carolina. Google has sent out invititations to press in the area for Wednesday and Thursday for an unspecified event, which has been pegged as the official announcement of the project. The high-speed fiber-optic network is in Kansas City now, and is expanding into Provo, Utah, and somewhat problematically, into Austin, Texas.


Hands On: Jumping Finn Turbo (iOS)

Sat January 24, 2015 | Posted in: gaming, iPhone apps, iPad apps

Adventure Time has been receiving critical acclaim and praise from the masses for years, and with good reason. The cartoon is smart, silly, and surprisingly deep. Fans of Adventure Time can rejoice, as Heavy Boat has brought gaming based off the Cartoon Network show to mobile platforms with Jumping Finn Turbo.


High-Rely NetSwap Mini+E NAS brings Core i3, block-level encryption

Sat January 24, 2015 | Posted in: computers, upgrades/storage, networking

US-based backup and disaster recovery hardware company Highly Reliable Systems has announced the immediate availability for their two-bay NetSwap Mini+E backup NAS server appliance, which includes replication, two removable drive trays, and hardware-based encryption. The High-Rely NetSwap Mini+E backup NAS series comes equipped with a powerful 3.4GHz Intel Core i3-4130 processor, capable of block-level AES-256 data encryption.


MO lawmaker proposes requiring ID for Google Wallet, Apple Pay sales

Sat January 24, 2015 | Posted in: security, Apple

A St. Louis, Missouri governmental official sees weakness in electronic payment security, and is seeking to mandate identification presentation in conjunction with an Apple Pay transaction, or other similar electronic payments. Democrat Joshua Peters from Missouri's state House of Representatives bill will, if passed into law, not only mandate sales staff to verify the identity of the purchaser, but retain this information as well.


Hands On: Kaspersky Internet Security (OS X)

Sat January 24, 2015 | Posted in: security, software

Look, it's not that Macs are completely free of risk, but we're not running Windows here. One of the advantages of our platform of choice is that it isn't so riddled with viruses, that there aren't so many malicious applications that you need third-party security software just to be able to sleep at night and work in the day. Macs currently face no known virus threats, and almost no malware (apart from a recent scourge of "adware" that attacks both Mac and Windows web browsers, and the ongoing issues with Flash and Java). So what's the point of a OS X "anti-virus" program like Kaspersky Internet Security?


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