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Hands On: Gravity Ghost (OS X, Windows)

5 minutes ago | Posted in: computers, gaming, software

Indie games have seen a lot of success in recent years, and with good reasons. Now that game design has become more accessible due to the wide availability of tools, and publishing has become easier due to things like Steam Greenlight, the gaming community is able to play an ever expanding catalog of strange and wonderful games. One such game is Gravity Ghost, a physics-centric puzzle game by Ivy Games.



Apple, Samsung effectively tied for lead in global smartphone market

36 minutes ago | Posted in: iPhone, industry, mobile phones, Apple

Apple's surge during the last quarter and Samsung's respective slump put the two corporations in a dead heat in terms of smartphone marketshare, according to Strategy Analytics. The research firm estimates that the companies each shipped about 74.5 million smartphones worldwide; while only Apple has announced that figure specifically, Samsung says that of the 95 million phones it shipped in total, the number of high-end devices went into the "high 70 percent range." That could mean anything between 71 and 75 million units.



Pointers: 10 Fast Tips for Safari (OS X)

1 hour ago | Posted in: computers, troubleshooting, Apple

You hear more criticism of Safari than you do of any other browser on OS X -- but you would. It's the one that comes on your Mac and if nobody criticised it, you'd never think to try Chrome or Firefox's latest build that will likely be incremented before you finish this paragraph. There are things that rival browsers do better but by far the biggest difference between them all is your personal taste. So if you can't be bothered downloading Firefox 37 and haven't yet bothered to download Chrome, you're fine. Have a look sometime, Firefox 38 might be perfect for you and Chrome has its fans too, but the Safari you've already got is good -- sufficiently good that if you have skipped straight to Firefox 39 or Chrome and haven't even looked at Safari, that's not fine at all. Bailing on Safari means you're missing out on excellent features and most especially so in the very latest release. Here are ten fast and short Pointers for getting more out of Safari on your Mac.



Microsoft releases Outlook preview, ships Office for Android apps

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

Microsoft has made its Office apps available to all Android users, following the limited preview release and the iOS version. The apps, including Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, are accompanied by a new preview of another Office app, with a rebranded version of email app Acompli as Outlook downloadable from both Google Play and the iTunes App Store.



Hands On: Comic Zeal (iOS)

3 hours ago | Posted in: iPad apps

There are a lot of reasons to make the leap to digital formats when buying comics. For one, it's a lot easier to carry a digital collection of comics around, and for another, it's a lot harder to bend the pages of a digital comic book. Whatever your reasons are, Comic Zeal Comic Reader by Bitolithic Pty is a great digital comic book reader.



Samsung fourth-quarter, fiscal year 2014 results shows drop in profits

8 hours ago | Posted in: Investor, industry, mobile phones

Samsung released its Q4 and FY 2014 results today, and as expected, the news was not good. The past three years have resulted in growth for the company, but fiscal 2014 shows an annual earnings decline, in spite of strong performance by the company's chip division. The earnings from smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices fell to 1.96 trillion Korean won ($1.8 billion), a 64.2 percent decline from the year-ago quarter. The news comes on the heels of a record-shattering report from its main rival, Apple.



R&D at Apple increases by 42 percent, hits $1.9B

9 hours ago | Posted in: Investor, Apple

Although the iPhone now makes up some 69 percent of Apple's revenues, it will not always do so -- and thus the company is undoubtedly working on at least one product that is destined to be the successor (in terms of revenue) to the iPhone, which itself displaced the iPod as the company's top money-maker. Barely mentioned in the conference call with analysts but noted in the breakdown of expenses, Apple has significantly increased spending on research and development (R&D).



China to require backdoors, audits for foreign enterprise sales

9 hours ago | Posted in: computers, industry, security, software, enterprise

At the end of last year, the Chinese government approved a 22-page set of regulations for the sale of computer equipment to Chinese banks, but that will ostensibly apply to all enterprise sales. The rules require foreign companies to turn over source code, submit to audits, and build "back doors" into hardware and software so that the government can monitor devices. The new rules are expected to be the first in a series to be introduced across the next few months.



Review: Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 3500 projector

10 hours ago | Posted in: digital imaging

Trying to find the perfect projector for a home theater can be tricky, as there are bountiful options on the market from a large number of manufacturers. Name brand aside, trying to find the right options for the based on room size, necessary features and functions can still leave consumers scratching their heads. Epson is attempting to give buyers a one-shot option to build their home theaters around, with the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 3500 projector. But does the projector keep up with the needs of film, television shows, and gaming, or would consumers be better served elsewhere? Find out in our review.



Apple's Q1 certified as best quarter for any company ever

13 hours ago | Posted in: iPhone, industry, Apple

In addition to being the best quarter in the company's history, Apple's Q1 results also blew away quarterly revenue and profit figures for any company ever, according to credit rating analysts Standard & Poor's. Even more remarkably, CFO Luca Maestri noted repeatedly that fluctuations in major currencies (such as the Russian ruble and the unusually-strong US dollar) actually cost the company a potential five percent -- or $3.73 billion -- in additional revenue.



TracFone settles with FTC over 'unlimited' plan throttling complaints

15 hours ago | Posted in: industry, mobile phones

A carrier has settled with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over complaints it offered mobile phone contracts that claim to have "unlimited" data, but turn out do not. TracFone was accused by the FTC of capping and throttling customers on the "unlimited" plans, with the carrier agreeing to pay out $40 million in refunds to consumers as part of its settlement.



Remote Desktop server v3.8 updated with Yosemite support, more

16 hours ago | Posted in: enterprise, networking, Apple

On Wednesday, Apple updated its Apple Remote Desktop (ARD) server/administrator software to version 3.8, the first major upgrade in well over a year. The new version primarily spruces up the app for OS X Yosemite compatibility, including an updated interface. The program was last upgraded in October of 2013, largely for the same reason, but for Mavericks (though two minor updates were issued later). In addition to an interface overhaul to match Yosemite's design language, a number of enhancements and fixes are included.



Documents show Apple paid just A$80.3M in Australian taxes for 2014

21 hours ago | Posted in: Investor, Apple

Apple paid about A$80.3 million in taxes to the Australian government last year, despite pulling in A$6 billion in revenues in that country, according to documents filed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. While the company's actual tax bill must legally be kept confidential, an expense figure has to be produced for the sake of annual accounts. The A$80.3 million sum is over twice the A$36.4 million Apple paid in 2013, when it actually took in more revenue, A$6.1 billion.



Universal publishes full cast for upcoming Jobs biopic

23 hours ago | Posted in: Apple

Universal Studios has published the complete cast list for its upcoming Steve Jobs biopic, tentatively titled just Steve Jobs. Michael Fassbender has been confirmed as Jobs, while Seth Rogen will play Steve Wozniak. Jeff Daniels will assume the role of former Apple CEO John Sculley; Kate Winslet will be former Mac marketing head Joanna Hoffman, while Katherine Waterston will play Jobs' one-time girlfriend Chrisann Brennan. Michael Stuhlbarg will portray Mac programmer Andy Hertzfeld.


Apps: Alfred, Duet, RapidWeaver

23 hours ago | Posted in apps


    Alfred 2.6 (free)

    Alfred is a quick launch utility that can help users search their computer and the internet. Version 2.6 adds support for the company’s new Alfred Remote iOS app. The update also includes some new Script Filter runtime behaviour options, support for sending attachments in Airmail 2, and has enhanced the workflow preferences search to include external trigger and remote trigger ids.


    Duet 1.2.2 (free)

    Duet, when pair with the $15 iOS companion app, allows an iOS device to be used as an external display when connected with either a Lightning or 30-pin cable. The latest release includes a number of stability and sleep/wake fixes, as well as better overall performance. New dark-mode icons have also been added, and the software should now make use of the integrated GPU.


    RapidWeaver 6.0.5 ($90)

    RapidWeaver is a web design tool that allows users to create web pages with little to no coding knowledge. The software automatically fills in XHTML and CSS coding based on a user's design. A number of problems that would prevent publishing from completing have been resolved with this update. Inconsistencies when referencing Resources in site-wide code have also been addressed, and Smart Quotes are now turned of by defaults.


    Drive Genius 4.0.1 ($99)

    Drive Genius is a storage management utility that features a number of tools for optimizing and repairing hard drives. The latest release addresses a potential issue where a drive name would be doubled in the drive list. BootWell errors should also now be properly shown, and a few stability problems have been patched.


    Deliveries 1.0.2 (free)

    Deliveries is a tool that allows users to keep track of all their deliveries in one location. Version 1.0.2 offers improved map location accuracy, support for copying a delivery to the clipboard, and improved Junecloud syncing. In addition to a range of bug fixes, the Add Delivery screen is also now better at finding common tracking number formats in a pasted bloc of text.


TaiG jailbreak closed off in iOS 8.1.3 update

Wed January 28, 2015 | Posted in: iPod, iPhone, security, developer, hacks, Apple, iPad

Yesterday's iOS 8.1.3 update sabotages the TaiG jailbreak tool, users say. The hack was functional through iOS 8.1.2, outdoing Pangu, which stopped working as of v8.1.1. Although the TaiG team itself hasn't confirmed the problem, Apple's notes for v8.1.3 actually credit the group with finding four security vulnerabilities.



European iPod shuffle delays improve; 2012 Mac mini reappears

Wed January 28, 2015 | Posted in: iPod, computers, Apple

Apple's official online shipping times for the iPod shuffle have improved in the UK, France, Germany, and several other European countries, reports say. Earlier this month, shipping times deteriorated to between seven to 10 days worldwide, prompting fears that Apple might be discontinuing the product. Sources claimed that Apple was just going through component supplier changes, however, and this may be borne out by the European Apple online stores, which is now seeing the media player ship in five to seven days. Delays have yet to improve in the US or Canada, but may follow suit in the near future.


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Previous News

FCC nixes petition by hotels, disallows Wi-Fi hotspot blocking

Wed January 28, 2015 | Posted in: industry, security, troubleshooting, networking

A petition by Marriott, Hilton, and an association of hotel owners asking for permission to block guests from creating their own Wi-Fi hotspots has been resolved today in a public notice by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Specifically, the blocking of personal Wi-Fi hotspots is prohibited, and will be "aggressively" investigated and acted against, according to the agency.


Cook proclaims 'Year of Apple Pay'; Apple cash stockpile now $178B

Wed January 28, 2015 | Posted in: Investor, industry, Apple

If you are making a contactless mobile payment in the US based on a Visa, MasterCard or American Express account, odds are that you're doing it from an iPhone 6 model. During the conference call with analysts, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that the company's Apple Pay mobile payments system -- only in its fourth month -- now accounts for more than $2 of every $3 of money paid in that manner. In addition, CFO Luca Maestri updated analysts on the still-growing (but more slowly) cash stockpile Apple has, now at $178 billion.


Apple sees one billionth iOS device shipped, China sales explode

Wed January 28, 2015 | Posted in: iPhone, Investor, industry, Apple

In the midst of so much good news that came out of Apple in its fiscal Q1 report today, a significant milestore was also noted: the company said it had sold its one billionth iOS device, which it will keep for historical purposes. The device was said to be a 64GB Space Grey iPhone 6 Plus, and was part of the extraordinary 74.6 million iPhone sold worldwide in the holiday quarter. China sales played a major role as well, growing sales 157 percent from the previous quarter.


Hands On: PDFpen and PDFpenPro 7 (OS X, iOS)

Tue January 27, 2015 | Posted in: software, Graphics/Web Design, iPhone apps, iPad apps

Right, here's the thing: by the time we're done here, you really must own PDFpen for Mac. It's just a question of which version -- and it's a more complicated question than it might be. For while there's now a new version 7 and it introduces some excellent features, it introduces them in two editions -- PDFpen and PDFpen Pro -- yet its very best abilities are already right there in version 6. Plus, there is the iPad version which we've already said we rate very highly.


AT&T takes $4B loss on $34.4B in revenues last quarter

Tue January 27, 2015 | Posted in: Investor

AT&T earned consolidated revenues of $34.4 billion in the last quarter, an improvement from last quarter's $32.9 billion, and a year-on year increase of 3.8 percent -- 4.5 percent if a loss-laden sale of its Connecticut wireline properties is taken into account. Even so, it made for a total loss of $4 billion, or $0.77 per share, something the carrier warned about last week.


HTML5 video tag is now default for YouTube

Tue January 27, 2015 | Posted in: industry, developer

YouTube began testing simultaneous support for both Flash and HTML5 video delivery back in 2010, but Flash has continued to be the default in most cases unless users opted into an HTML5 only beta -- until now. YouTube announced today on their developer blog it will now default to utilizing the HTML5 video tag on certain web browsers.


Hands On: Power DOS (iOS)

Tue January 27, 2015 | Posted in: developer, iPhone apps, iPad apps

DOS was the operating system that people born prior to 1983 ended up cutting their teeth on, and for many people the obsolete OS still holds some nostalgic value, particularly for games. Thanks to programs like DOSBox, millions of gamers are returning to the days of Duke Nukem and Commander Keen on their Macs or PCs. However, Power DOS by Power App GmbH, allows you to take all the fun of the 1980s and 1990s with you on your favorite iDevice.


Cook still bullish on iPad despite softening demand

Tue January 27, 2015 | Posted in: Apple, iPad

Apple's iPad tablet is continuing to see growing declines in sales, as noted in the most recent quarterly results. As expected, the iPad dropped 18 percent year-over-year in sales, though new models and the holiday season provided a substantial boost from the previous quarter. Although Apple only sold 21.4 million iPads this holiday season compared to 26 million last year, sales were up strongly from the previous quarter, leaping from September's 12.3 million iPads.


Apple Watch in April, Apple Pay coming to 200K self-service stations

Tue January 27, 2015 | Posted in: industry, gadgets, Apple

The Apple Watch will ultimately ship in April, the company has confirmed through a quarterly results call hosted by CEO Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri. The company didn't go into any other details, such as a specific release date. April, however, is even later than the March timeframe mentioned in recent rumors, which themselves suggested a delay from February. Until now Apple has only ever promised an "early 2015" date.


Apple Q1 breakdown reveals 18 percent decline in iPad shipments

Tue January 27, 2015 | Posted in: iPod, iPhone, Investor, computers, Apple, iPad

Beyond its official press release, Apple has posted a detailed breakdown (PDF) of its fiscal first quarter. The document is the only one to mention iPad sales, and reveals that shipments dropped 18 percent year-over-year to 21.42 million. Revenues for the tablet fell 22 percent to $9 billion.


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