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Analysis: Title II regulation, with forbearance, the best path forward

1 hour ago | Posted in: industry

Since President Barack Obama voiced his support for reclassification of ISPs as utilities, there has been much debate back and forth, and back again on the topic of "Title II" regulation of carriers. Would it be the dystopian nightmare anti-government zealots and the carriers proclaim, or would it provide a golden utopia of progress for consumers and American businesses alike?

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White House encourages US telecommunications to enter Cuban market

4 hours ago | Posted in: Investor, industry

In a fact sheet released on Wednesday, the White House has outlined some of the ways normalization of relations with Cuba will impact trade and travel. The document covers not only how many cigars Americans can bring home with them from trips to the island nation, but encouraged telecommunications companies to improve the Cuban people's connection to the rest of the world.

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Hands On: Supreme Ruler (Steam for OS X, Windows)

5 hours ago | Posted in: gaming, software

War games may have originated from the need to boost military logistics and planning, but they have since become popular with civilian gamers. Risk and Chess are two popular war games most people are familiar with, as are Civilization and Hearts of Iron. How does newcomer Supreme Ruler Ultimate, by Battlegoat Studios, stack up to the classics?

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New USB thumb drive-sized device can take over computers

6 hours ago | Posted in: computers, security, software, hacks

A new USB microcontroller -- roughly the size of a small thumb drive -- has been demonstrated as a proof-of-concept device that leverages a serious and unfixable vulnerability in USB easily take over and install malware on any unlocked computer. Though it requires physical access or tricking the user into inserting the controller into a USB port, the device has worrying implications for any computer left unattended for more than a minute -- the time it takes for the device to gain admin access, change network settings, install a backdoor and remove any obvious sign of intrusion.

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Cook makes 'generous' donation to LGBT campaign Project One America

9 hours ago | Posted in: Apple

Apple CEO Tim Cook has made a "generous personal financial investment" in Project One America, an LGBT rights effort run by the Human Rights Campaign, according to an announcement. Project One is concentrated on securing marriage and nondiscrimination rights for LGBT people in Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi. HRC says it's interested in "tearing down misperceptions and providing concrete protections for those who need it most." The organization also lauds Cook for being the first openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company, calling it a "clear and powerful message" about it being acceptable to be gay.

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Hands On: Habits Pro (iOS)

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

They say it takes 21 days to make a good habit or break a bad one, which seems simple enough. Logically, most people should be able to clear the three week hurdle with little effort. However, most of us can get a little absent-minded, especially when we get busy. That's why Habits Pro, by Track & Share Apps, exists -- to help people stay on task in their quest for self-improvement.

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Apple rejects conclusions of BBC expose showing supply chain abuses

11 hours ago | Posted in: computers, industry, Apple

Ahead of the airing of a Panorama documentary on the subject, the BBC has published a web piece revealing the outcomes of its investigation into Apple's supply chain. The network went undercover and charges that promises to protect the rights of workers were "routinely broken." In particular the BBC found violations of standards for work hours, ID cards, dormitories, meetings, and underage labor at Pegatron factories on the outskirts of Shanghai.

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Third iOS 8.2 beta brings back blood glucose tracking

11 hours ago | Posted in: iPod, iPhone, software, developer, Apple, iPad

Apple has begun seeding a third beta of iOS 8.2 to developers. Significantly the code restores blood glucose tracking in the Health app, which was temporarily disabled earlier this year due to confusion caused by the app displaying data in mg/dL but accepting data from devices using mmol/L as well. In the new software, users can toggle between mg/dL or mmol/L.

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Jimmy Fallon gives out iPad Air 2 to Tonight Show studio audience

12 hours ago | Posted in: iPad

On Wednesday's episode of the Tonight Show, host Jimmy Fallon gave away an iPad Air 2 to every member of the studio audience. The segment (below) was part of a week-long series of giveaways. It wasn't identified which models people were getting, although NBC may have opted to give people 16GB Wi-Fi versions, given the costs involved. Even at that bottom tier, the tablet costs $499.

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Jawbone delays shipping Up3 fitness tracker until early 2015

13 hours ago | Posted in: gadgets

Jawbone will be missing out on the bump in revenues from holiday sales of its new flagship product entirely, it has been reported. The Up3, launched at the start of November and originally set to ship before the end of the year, will instead be delayed to early next year, thanks to delays caused by a number of manufacturing issues.

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Amazon Prime Now offers one-hour deliveries in Manhattan

14 hours ago | Posted in: industry

After experimenting with same-day deliveries in a number of cities, Amazon is now increasing the speed of delivery for some customers with the launch of Prime Now. The new service, launching in Manhattan today, will let Prime subscribers place orders for thousands of essential items, and receive the delivery on their doorstep in an hour or less.

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djay Pro for Mac brings four decks, Spotify, high-level processing

14 hours ago | Posted in: software, audio

Algoriddim has launched djay Pro, a new Mac edition of its typically iOS-based DJ software. In its new incarnation the app supports up to four simultaneous decks, rather than two, and can draw music not just from a local iTunes library but from Spotify, thanks to a partnership with the streaming music service. It also exploits Retina displays and multi-core 64-bit processors; on a 12-core Mac Pro, the app can handle up to 24 processing threads at once for track analysis.

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iOS apps: Drafts, Procreate, FX Photo Studio

15 hours ago | Posted in iOS apps

  • 9.6MB

    Drafts 4.0.6 ($5)

    Drafts is a mobile text editor that allows users to quickly take notes and share text. An extensive list of output options lets users send text to Twitter, Facebook, Mail, Messages, a Calendar event, Dropbox, Google Drive and more. Version 4.0.6 reintroduces the Today widget, which now features the addition of recent drafts. A “New from selection” option has also been added to the document creation options, and a display issue in the drafts list has been addressed.

  • 64.2MB

    Procreate 2.2 ($6)

    Procreate is an iPad painting app that features 48 different brushes to choose from. The software runs on the 64 bit Silica engine and includes support for canvas resolutions of up to 4096 x 4096 on the latest iPad models. The latest release includes a new Palm Support feature that allows users to rest a palm on the iPad screen, without affecting the work that is being done with a stylus or finger. AirDrop and AirPrint are also now accessible from Procreate through iOS 8’s sharing features, and files can now be exported and imported to and from iCloud Drive.

  • 39.3MB

    FX Photo Studio 6.3 ($1)

    FX Photo Studio is a mobile image editing application that features numerous filters, high resolution support, and built-in sharing with numerous social networking sites. This holiday update includes some major performance improvements, a couple of new features, and bug fixes. Within the update users will find new holiday tickets, new text labels, and a fix for issues with masking and the color splash tool on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

  • 13.5MB

    Google Maps 4.1.1 (free)

    Google Maps can be used to find directions to locations around the world. The app includes full voice-guided GPS navigation for driving, biking, and walking, complete with lane guidance. Live traffic conditions and incident reports can also be found within the app. The latest release offers automatic re-routing when a road closes on the original designated route.

  • 253.4MB

    Monument Valley 2.2.3 ($4)

    In Monument Valley players must guide a silent princess through a number of impossible architecture structures. Each level has been inspired by minimalist 3D design, optical illusions, and palaces from around the world. A navigation bug in Ida’s Red Dream has been resolved with this release.

 
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Job listing points to global Apple Pay growth, starting in Europe [u]

15 hours ago | Posted in: Apple

[Updated with Chinese job listing] A new job listing indicates that Apple is actively working on expanding Apple Pay worldwide, beginning with Europe. The company is seeking an Apple Pay intern who will work with a London-based team. The listing states that Apple Pay is "set to expand across Europe, Middle East, India, and Africa," and that the London group will collaborate with "issuers, payment networks and merchants across Europe."

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Briefly: Drafts 4 regains widget, Continuity Activation Tool update

15 hours ago | Posted in: upgrades/storage, iPhone apps, Apple, iPad apps

Drafts 4, a note-taking app for iOS, has received an update bringing back its Notification Center widget, which was axed by Apple earlier this month. The widget allows users quick access to simple tools for opening up the app and create a new note. Drafts v4.0.6 also includes a "New from selection" option, found within the document-creation options, as well as URL action steps now having "URL encode tag output" option. Improvements to background refresh and sync handling are also present in the update. Drafts 4 is priced at $5, and requires iOS 8.0 or later.

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Hands On: Moxie 2 (iOS)

16 hours ago | Posted in: gaming, iPhone apps, iPad apps

Word games have been around for a very long time. Most people grew up playing Scrabble or Boggle, and many have moved on to similar games like Words with Friends. The one thing most word games have in common is that they require, at minimum, two players. But now there's Moxie 2, by Blue Ox Technologies Ltd, a intuitive single-player word game.

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Apple to charge VAT per-country at European App Stores

16 hours ago | Posted in: developer, Apple

Apple has sent an email to iOS developers, notifying them of a change to the way it handles VAT (value-added taxes) at European App Stores. Currently the company charges a single VAT rate across the European Union; soon, though, it plans to charge on a per-country basis. The change is due to take effect on January 1.

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UK carriers agree to £5B investment to improve mobile phone networks

17 hours ago | Posted in: industry, mobile phones

A suggestion by the British government has prompted carriers to improve their mobile networks. EE, O2, Vodafone, and Three have all agreed to collectively invest at least £5 billion ($7.8 billion) into a program to improve their mobile networks across the United Kingdom, in order to avoid being forced to implement a proposed "National Roaming" scheme.

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Hands On: Mazec – Handwriting Input Method (iOS)

18 hours ago | Posted in: software, iPhone apps, iPad apps

People must really dislike Apple's on-screen keyboard for iPhones and iPads, because the instant we could try alternatives, we got alternatives. Some seem different for the sake of being different. Some, like TextExpander's one, add useful new features -- yet take away some of the usability. But then you get the odd keyboard like Mazec, which tries to offer a true alternative. Rather than typing, you scribble with a stylus -- if you've got one, and haven't lost it -- or with your finger.

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Review: Dell AD211 Bluetooth speaker

23 hours ago | Posted in: audio

For all of the high-priced, over-engineered Bluetooth speakers in the electronics market, there is still room for mass-market solutions. While consumers often compromise in battery life, design or sound, the sub-$100 market offers a wide array of choices. Computer builder Dell entered into the Bluetooth speaker market with a value model, looking to entice consumers with a long battery life and compact, minimal design. But is the Dell AD211 a good buy for consumers looking to get the most out of their money, or does it fail to meet modest expectations? Find out in our review.

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Tim Cook: Apple World AIDS Day campaign raised $20 million

Thu December 18, 2014 | Posted in: software, accessories, audio, iPhone apps, Apple, iPad apps

In a memo to all employees, Apple CEO Tim Cook has announced that the recent (Product) RED campaign, which ran through app upgrade purchases, in-store items and online accessories during the run-up to World AIDS Day on December 1 raised over $20 million, which will be seeded to the Global Fund. The group fights HIV/AIDS, malaria and other health threats largely in Africa and other impoverished areas. Cook said that the promotion has thus pushed Apple's total contribution to over $100 million since 2006.

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Hands On: Default Folder X (OS X)

Thu December 18, 2014 | Posted in: software, Apple

If Apple has its way, then one day we will never save another document -- and we will never think about where it went. It will just be there when we want to open it again. That's nice. Until then, we open and save documents nearly as often as we check Facebook. Which makes it a shame that OS X rather fights us. You can open a document from this folder on that network drive and you can then save it on that folder on this USB stick, but it is a pain. Not much of a pain, let's not get carried away here, but try doing it twice and see how you feel. That's where Default Folder X comes in.

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Hands On: SuperSync (OS X, Windows)

Wed December 17, 2014 | Posted in: software, audio

Apple's iTunes media player has been around since 2001 -- meaning that for many users, it's likely that their library has traversed multiple system upgrades, duplicating and splintering across a variety of drives and mobile devices along the way. For this, there is SuperSync, an app designed to provide access to all your music in one location, allow libraries to be accessed via the Internet, and organize multiple music libraries as to stay organized. Aimed at DJs, avid music collectors, and anyone with multiple libraries, SuperSync aims to get all your tracks in a row. Pricing is organized by license packs, starting at $23 for 2 computers. We took a look at SuperSync for ourselves, and took some of its features for a test run.

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Uber announces 'greater investment' in screening, safety standards

Wed December 17, 2014 | Posted in: industry, hacks

In response to the concerns of customers, legal troubles and bans in multiple markets around the world, rideshare/taxi service Uber has begun a study into ways to better screen drivers and improve overall safety. Phillip Cardenas, Uber's head of global safety, outlined the company's plans in a recent blog post today. Cardenas comes from Airbnb where he spearheaded the creation of that company's safety program.

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Breaking: US reverses, to say North Korea behind Sony hack tomorrow

Wed December 17, 2014 | Posted in: industry, security

US government officials now believe North Korea is, in fact, behind the attack of Sony Pictures Entertainment's computer system and subsequent data leaks, according to reports. The government is also said to be preparing to make an official statement about its findings, which may arrive as soon as tomorrow, though apparently there is still some internal debate as to what kind of response to make to the insular country. Previously, the FBI had said it had "no evidence" of a direct North Korean connection, though the country was suspected from the outset.

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Jobs' deposition in Apple-Real trial to remain private

Wed December 17, 2014 | Posted in: software, Apple

As a postscript to Apple's unanimous win in a lawsuit brought by audio software company Real, Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers on Wednesday turned down media requests to make public a videotaped deposition from Steve Jobs, in one of his final filmed appearances, that was presented during the trial. Jobs, who was quite ill at the time and just months from his resignation from Apple and later death, was videotaped answering questions about the case. Yesterday, a jury exonerated the iPhone maker from charges it had conspired to lock out competitors.

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Briefly: Fleksy Keyboard 5.0, Booqpad for iPad Air 2

Wed December 17, 2014 | Posted in: accessories, iPhone apps, iPad, iPad apps

Customizable iOS keyboard app Fleksy has received a major update introducing new themes and extensions, as well as improvements to existing features. Fleksy allows users to find and send GIFs, and provides autocorrect while typing, and intuitive gestures offer greater typing speed. Version 5.0 of Fleksy offers more themes to choose from, including branded ones. New keyboard extensions can be dragged and dropped as cards to add and remove features. Five extensions are available at the time of launching, including a GIF keyboard, Numbers Row, One-Handed Mode, Cursor Control, and Rainbow Pops. A new emoji scroll mode allows emoji to be searched for faster, and long-pressing the period key brings up quick access of punctuation and symbols. In VoiceOver mode, single-character input is now easier, and Arabic secondary characters can be accessed by tapping the Shift key.

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