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Apple offers Boxing Day iTunes sales for UK, Canadian customers

3 hours ago | Posted in: audio, Apple

As was the case last year, Canadians are once again getting a sale on selected albums in iTunes as part of a "Boxing Day" event, part of a traditional observance throughout Canada and a number of other Commonwealth countries. The UK iTunes Store is also having a sale on hit albums, but doesn't label the event as a "Boxing Day" sale. US users don't get a sale, but are instead enjoying special holiday channels on iTunes Radio, which remains unavailable in the UK and Canada.

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More iOS App deals for those last-minute gifts

Wed December 24, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone apps, Apple, iPad apps

Although we have mentioned some app bargains in our "beyond the last minute" gift guide this morning, the elves at MacNN and Electronista have been hunting up some additional discounts by shaking the App Store tree and seeing what falls out. We found a few more, so click through to save a bundle on some awesome app deals -- and don't forget to check back with us regularly for DealNN reports, Apple refurb store bargains, and our usual Friday Deals all year long!

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Merry Christmas from Electronista and MacNN!

Wed December 24, 2014 | Posted in:

Merry Christmas Eve, Electronista and MacNN readers! Large portions of the US and Canada are dealing with some pretty nasty travel weather, so if you're reading us from there, please be careful! Otherwise, we wish you and yours a Merry Christmas.

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Hands On: Starlight: Find Stars and Constellations (iOS)

Wed December 24, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone apps, iPad apps

There are billions and billions of stars in the night sky, and most of us can identify at least a few of them. However, it isn't always easy. Those among us who have never been good at finding anything other than the Big Dipper or the North Star shouldn't worry. Starlight: Find Stars and Constellations allows anyone to become an expert stargazer, picking out every constellation from Andromeda to Virgo in no time.

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Embattled Sony Pictures 'The Interview' given wide online release

Wed December 24, 2014 | Posted in: industry, security

Sony and others have unveiled a massive effort to make the Sony Pictures title The Interview available online. Google's YouTube Movies paid service paved the way with its announcement a bit earlier today, with Google Play, Xbox Videos, and a special Sony website all having declared that the movie would be available at 1PM Eastern Time. The picture will cost $6 to rent, and $15 to own in HD.

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iOS apps: OmniFocus for iPhone, Copies for iPad, Rdio

Wed December 24, 2014 | Posted in iOS apps

  • 14.1MB

    OmniFocus for iPhone 2.4.2 ($20)

    OmniFocus is a task management tool that can help users stay organized. The software allows users to build to-do lists directly on their handheld and sync them with the OmniFocus desktop application. Version 2.4.2 fixes several problems, including crashes, present in version 2.4 and 2.4.1. This includes a couple of problems with context names not appearing, and with notifications for unavailable or completed items appearing anyways.

  • 1.4MB

    Copies for iPad 1.0.2 ($1)

    Copies is a clipboard manager for the iPad that includes support for text, links, images, and files. A keyword search is included for sorting through all of the stored clippings, while iCloud sync ensures that clippings are available on all of a user’s devices. The v1.0.2 update adds a copy option to the popup menu and improves overall stability.

  • 35.7MB

    Rdio 3.0.9 (free)

    Rdio is a mobile app that allows users to browse through Rdio's collection of streaming music. In the latest release users can now play music directly from the search results screen thanks to the new play button. Tapping and holding on any album will also now give users the option to play only the tracks they have favourite.

  • 161.7MB

    Kingdom Rush Origins 1.2 ($3)

    Kingdom Rush Origins builds upon the original tactical defence game though the addition of new towers, levels, and heroes. The v1.2 update introduces a new endless challenge that pits players up against Hee-haw the wicket knoll war leader. Players will also be able to use the legendary Phoenix as a part of their army, as well as unlock all new achievements.

  • 89MB

    Splot 1.05 ($1)

    Splot is a platformer where players must save a population of endangered baby birding from the Hungry Blobs and Blob Kings. This minor update adds several new holiday-themed Splot skins for players to use.

 
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Hands On: Scrolls (OS X, Windows, Android)

Wed December 24, 2014 | Posted in:

Scrolls has finally been released to the adulation of gamers everywhere. The game was created by Mojang, the developers behind Minecraft, and written by Jerry Holkins, the writer of Penny Arcade. Scrolls feels similar to a traditional two-player board game like checkers or chess, as well as a player versus player card game, like Magic the Gathering or Hearthstone. We spent a bit of time with Scrolls to see how it stacks up against similar titles.

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Uber indicted in South Korea for breaking local transportation laws

Wed December 24, 2014 | Posted in: industry

South Korea has become the latest country to fight against the rise of ride-hailing service Uber, by indicting the local subsidiary and CEO Travis Kalanick shortly after launch. The company is said to be "violating a law prohibiting individuals or firms without appropriate licenses from providing or facilitating transport services," a legal challenge previously arising in a number of other markets around the world.

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The Beyond-Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Wed December 24, 2014 | Posted in: software, audio, iPhone apps, Apple, iPad apps

We're some 40 years overdue for flying cars, teleportation and printers that can output copies of our dreams, but there are a few methods by which the chronic procrastinators of this world can still swoop in with a last-minute gift for someone at Christmas they'll actually like. While Amazon has closed the doors to physical delivery of any products at this point -- even for Prime members - by the 25th, you still have perhaps a few hours left to send a Boxing Day present, or get in now to ensure a timely New Year's gift. Or you can read on for more suggestions.

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PNAS study shows e-readers, tablets negatively impacting sleep quality

Wed December 24, 2014 | Posted in: iPad

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) of the United States of America has published a study entitled Evening use of light-emitting e-readers negatively affects sleep, circadian timing, and next-morning alertness. The study compared e-readers with screens that project light, versus those that don't, as well as printed books read under reflected light.

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FCC petitioned by hotels to allow disrupting guest-created hotspots

Tue December 23, 2014 | Posted in: security, networking

The FCC has been petitioned by Marriott and an association of hotel owners to allow the jamming of Wi-Fi hotspots, usually set up by guests, on their premises for reasons of "managing Wi-Fi networks and security." The petition is possibly in response to when Marriott International and Marriott Hotel Services was fined $600,000 by the FCC for knocking guests off their own Wi-Fi networks (provided by hot spots and tethering to cell phones), forcing them to pay for the hotel's Wi-Fi access.

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Obama wants stronger cyber-security laws in 2015

Tue December 23, 2014 | Posted in: industry, security, hacks

Last Friday, at President Barak Obama's year-end press conference, Carrie Budoff Brown of Politico asked the first question. Her inquiry was whether Sony had done the right thing in canceling the release of the Seth Rogan comedy The Interview, and what a "proportional" US response to the North Korean-led cyber-attack on Sony would look like. While discussing the answers to those questions, President Obama called on Congress to help create stronger cyber-security laws.

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Hands On: Echoes communication app (OS X, iOS)

Tue December 23, 2014 | Posted in: software, audio, iPhone apps, iPad apps

We've all had days in the office when there is great pressure and you can't afford time to leave your desk. Some of us have also had the rather less-satisfying situation where bosses frowned on you stopping to chat, and while those do tend to be the same sorts of bosses who won't let you install non-corporate-approved apps, if you can get it by them, Echoes (for Macs and iOS devices) is a way to bring a little humanity into your day. Possibly also a lot of irritation, as well -- but that'll depend on your colleagues, not on Echoes.

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Report: one neglected server caused JP Morgan Chase data leak

Tue December 23, 2014 | Posted in: industry, security, hacks

Back in July, five bank networks were hacked, the most notable of which was JP Morgan Chase, which resulted in more than 76 million households' information being leaked. At first, it was suspected that a "zero-day" exploit had been utilized to gain access, but an unidentified source has indicated the real story is somewhat more mundane.

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Apple tops poll of Xmas gadget hopes for college students

Tue December 23, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone, computers, audio, Apple, iPad

A new survey of college students contains lots of good news for Apple, with the company clearly the most-desired brand for holiday gifts in all the categories Apple competes in. Cash and gift cards are still king, followed by clothing, but electronics was the third most-popular category of gift, reaching second most-popular among males. The overall second-place finish of clothing was due to a strong preference compared to electronics by women rather than men. Apple and its new Beats brand, however, did well with everyone.

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Briefly: MegaSeg 5.9.4, LumenRT update

Tue December 23, 2014 | Posted in: software

Fidelity Media has released a new update for its professional DJ and radio automation software, MegaSeg. MegaSeg is available in Pro and DJ editions, with MegaSeg DJ focusing on live mixing features and visual beat syncing with Magic Trackpads, and more, and the Pro version adding video playback with ambient visuals, sound effect hot keys, and other advanced features. Now featuring optimizations for OS X Yosemite, MegaSeg's new sound engine includes higher quality pitch-locking, looping and swappable output devices. Controller presets for Denon MC2000 and MC3000 devices are now available, and support for logging via TCP/IP and Telnet protocols has been added.

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Several Apple Pay partners likely to miss 2014 deadline

Tue December 23, 2014 | Posted in: industry, Apple

Several app and retail partners for Apple Pay will likely miss an initial 2014 deadline, a change on Apple's website suggests. The company has tweaked the headers for its lists of upcoming partners to read "Coming soon" instead of "Coming later this year." The retail businesses include ACME, Albertsons, Anthropologie, Free People, Urban Outfitters, and Walt Disney World; the last is mentioned only because it's slated to launch support tomorrow.

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Forums: songs won't erase, trackpad troubles and more

Tue December 23, 2014 | Posted in: iPod, iPhone, computers, troubleshooting, Apple, iPad

This week in the MacNN forums, members are plagued with songs that won't erase from their iPods, trackpad problems and more. "I can't erase songs from my iPod touch" says one frustrated Mac Elite, who is also baffled as to why there are random U2 songs on there that he never downloaded. After doing an update on an iPad 2, one Mac Enthusiast found that the unit is stuck on "searching" for cellular service.

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Apple deals: Macs for $999 or less

Tue December 23, 2014 | Posted in: computers, Apple

Currently at Apple's online store, find a variety of refurbished Mac models starting as low as $769. The refurbished 11.6-inch MacBook Air with a 1.4GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of PCIe-flash based storage is on sale right now for $769, after a $130 discount. A $170 discount drops the cost on the refurbished 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.5GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 500GB hard drive down to $929.

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DealNN: Canon Pixma printers, MacBook Pros and more

Tue December 23, 2014 | Posted in: computers, peripherals, upgrades/storage, Apple

At BuyDig.com this week, get a bundle from BuyDig.com that includes a Canon Pixma MG5620 wireless all-in-one printer and Adobe Lightroom on sale for $150. That's a savings of $80 off the list price of $230, and when coupon code EXCEL is used, it drops the final cost to $75. That's the lowest price we have seen on this combo by $115. This printer prints at 4800x1200 maximum color DPI resolution, scans at 1200x2400 resolution, features a 2.5-inch LCD, two-sided printing, Full HD movie prints, Google cloud printing, and more. This printer is backed by a one-year limited warranty on parts and labor from Canon.

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Hands On: Manual Photo Camera (iOS)

Tue December 23, 2014 | Posted in: iPod, iPhone, digital imaging, iPhone apps

We often get a photo with sub-par quality when we use a cellphone or tablet as our go-to camera. One of the main reasons for this, of course, is because users have minimal control over individual camera functions like focus, white balance, and ISO sensitivity. The iPhone's camera is far more akin to a point-and-shoot than a professional model, and frequently the automatic settings can leave a picture feeling a bit lacking. But there's still hope -- something like Manual Photo Camera, by Rego Korosi, allows a person to take maximum control over shooting.

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Hands On: System Monitor (iOS)

Tue December 23, 2014 | Posted in: troubleshooting, iPhone apps, iPad apps

Anyone who has been caught without a charger, or with no storage space left to download pictures, music, or apps when away from their computer, is aware of how frustrating that situation can be. It's not always easy to tell how much RAM, free space, or talk time a user has left on their beloved iPhone or iPad. However, System Monitor by Tekton Technologies, is a very useful app that keys users in to the inner workings of their devices.

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Sony Pictures threatens Twitter leaks, will release 'The Interview'

Tue December 23, 2014 | Posted in:

Sony Pictures has threatened Twitter with a lawsuit, if it does not block accounts used to share leaks. At the same time, the movie studio has reportedly decided to go against an earlier decision it made over contentious film The Interview, and will be showing the movie at a number of cinema chains on December 25, the movie's original release date.

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CNN Money picks Apple's Tim Cook as CEO of the Year

Tue December 23, 2014 | Posted in: industry, Apple

Apple's Tim Cook has been chosen as CNN Money's CEO of the Year for 2014. The site explains this is because "Apple is the apple of Wall Street's eye again;" the company's shares are noted to be up 40 percent this year, and close to an all-time peak. CNN in turn links that stock performance to the success of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and "excitement" about the Apple Watch, due to ship early next year.

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Hands On: RimWorld (OS X, Windows, Linux)

Tue December 23, 2014 | Posted in: gaming

If a player finds themselves longing for a game that requires both long-term planning and quick thinking, simulation games are often the way to go. If a player is looking for an in-depth resource-management game, they should check out RimWorld by Ludeon Studios. One part The Sims and one part Minecraft, RimWorld requires players to not only colonize the alien land around them, but also manage the health and happiness of their colonists. The game plays very similarly to older SimCity-esque games, and largely boils down to properly allocating resources and disaster control.

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RPX buys patent assets controlled by Apple-led Rockstar Consortium

Tue December 23, 2014 | Posted in: industry, Apple

(Updated with correct purchase price, lawsuit settlements) A subsidiary of San Francisco-based RPX Corporation, RPX Clearinghouse, is buying patent assets held by the Apple-led Rockstar Consortium, according to an announcement. Rockstar was formed by Apple, BlackBerry, Ericsson, Microsoft, and Sony in 2011 in order to buy some 6,000 patents in the wake of Nortel's bankruptcy. Although roughly 2,000 of the patents have already been separately distributed, RPX has entered into a deal in which it will receive license payments from a syndicate of over 30 companies, such as Cisco and Google. "The RPX Clearinghouse syndicate includes a broad range of software and media providers, semi-conductor manufacturers, wireless carriers and wireline network operators, Multiple System Operators (MSOs), and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs)," the announcement reads.

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Hands On: PDFpen 2 for iPad (iOS)

Tue December 23, 2014 | Posted in: enterprise, iPhone apps, iPad apps

Here's a true story about what PDFpen 2 does. A Windows-based firm produced a year-end report that was about 80 pages and most importantly took many, many hours to create. It was all highly complex, auto-generated figures -- and one huge spelling mistake. They didn't see the mistake until the final PDF was about to be sent out to clients. Fixing it meant re-running the whole process, re-calculating everything: it meant not sending the report until tomorrow. Luckily, one guy in the firm had PDFpen on his iPad. He opened that PDF, typed in the correct spelling, sent the PDF on its way. Total time: five minutes -- and three of those had been spent on panicking.

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