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Editorial: Seeing Sony's 'The Interview' is hardly patriotic

9 hours ago | Posted in: industry, security

To much fanfare, and terrible reviews, Sony Pictures finally released The Interview -- a contentious, and some say trite, light comedy vehicle where a pair of bumbling reporters are recruited by the CIA to assassinate the leader of North Korea. Conventional media, and governmental figures, have put this forth as a victory for the US' right to freedom of expression, and a defiant Sony agrees. However, viewing the picture isn't the act of defiance and patriotism that Sony wants you to think it is - in fact, viewers are now supporting a company that has called for censorship of journalists and US citizens alike, in the interest of corporate secrets.

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Apple Japan to start 'Lucky Bag' promotion on January 2

10 hours ago | Posted in: Apple

Apple Japan will begin its traditional promotion for Japanese retail buyers, known as Fukubukuro or "Lucky Bags," starting on January 2, the company has announced. The promotion involves customers buying one of several "grab bag" gift boxes for a set price -- last year it was about 36,000 yen, or roughly $300 in current US dollars -- that could contain very valuable gifts, and usually at least top the value of the list price. Some of the boxes contained iPads or MacBook Airs, for example.

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Forums: 27-inch iMac problems and more

14 hours ago | Posted in: computers, troubleshooting, software, upgrades/storage, Apple

Yesterday in the MacNN forums, one Dedicated MacNNer started having problems booting their 27-inch iMac. After trying a variety of methods to get it to boot, they turned to the forums for some advice. On his quest to fix a problem with an unresponsive 13-inch MacBook Pro, "Thorzdad" asked fellow forum-goers for some advice.

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Apple deals: Save up to 22 percent on select iMacs and MacBooks

16 hours ago | Posted in: computers, Apple

Right now at Apple's online store, save up to 22 percent on select iMac and Macbook computers, including the refurbished 3.2GHz, 27-inch iMac that's dropped an impressive $450 in price, and is available for only $1,549. Features range from 8GB of RAM to a Nvidia GeForce GTX 675MX graphics card with 1GB of memory, and include a 1TB hard drive, as well as a quad-core Intel Core i5 processor. Priced significantly lower, at only $1,199, is the refurbished 21.5-inch, 2.9GHz iMac, which offers savings of up to $300, and comes complete with the same 8GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, and quad-core Intel Core i5 processor as the 27-inch model.

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Amazon lays claim to 10 million new Prime members over holiday

16 hours ago | Posted in: industry

In a release today, Amazon claims that the company's 20th holiday season has brought "record growth" to the Amazon Prime subscription service, despite a price hike to $100 per year earlier in 2014. Amazon reports that more than 10 million new members worldwide tried Prime for the first time, with nearly 60 percent of customers shopping on a mobile device.

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DealNN: HDTVs, wireless keyboards, and more

16 hours ago | Posted in: upgrades/storage, accessories

With the new year right around the corner, it's time for Tigerdirect.com's End of the Year Clearance Event, featuring the Seiki 65-inch Class 2160p, Ultra LED HDTV. Currently priced at $1,000, this HDTV has dropped an impressive $2,500 off its once $3,500 list price, and includes a $100 mail-in-rebate that lowers the cost even more, down to $900. The Seiki HDTV comes with three HDMI ports, a 120Hz refresh rate, 4K signal compatibility, and a maximum resolution of 3840 x 2160. Shipping rates start at only $30, but sales tax applies for residents of Florida, Illinois, Texas, and North Carolina.

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Apps: Duplicate Annihilator, Airfoil, GarageSale

18 hours ago | Posted in apps

    2.4MB

    Duplicate Annihilator 5.5.1 ($8)

    Duplicate Annihilator can scan an entire iPhoto library and identify any duplicate images stored within. All of the duplicates are marked according to the users preferences, or can be sent directly to the trash. Version 5.5.1 fixes a bug that caused the software to freeze on large albums.

    15.9MB

    Airfoil 4.8.12 ($25)

    Airfoil is a software utility that can send audio files to AirPort Express units and Apple TVs, as well as other Macs and PCs. The v4.8.12 update includes several improvements, as well as a fix for a problem that caused Airfoil to disconnect when a speaker’s Bonjour record disappears. An AppleScript bug where multiple Airfoil Speakers Touch instances were not properly uniquely identified has also been corrected.

    43.7MB

    GarageSale 6.9 ($40)

    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. In the latest release the listing selection panel for Relist and Review operations has been improved. A problem with the built-in updater when running OS X 10.10 has also been resolved, along with a crash that occurs when adding folders from the start auctions panel.

    6.1MB

    Quicksilver 1.2.2 (free)

    Quicksilver is a Mac utility that provides users with quick access to applications, contacts, music, and other data. By creating its own catalog based only on selected parts of a hard drive, Quicksilver is able to locate and display items matching a search very quickly. A crash that occurred in Yosemite when loading certain icons has been resolved with this update.

    17.5MB

    MegaSeg 5.9.4 ($100)

    MegaSeg is a self-contained DJ music mixing and radio automation application for the Mac. The software includes tools for mixing songs, transitioning between songs, triggering sound effects, and more. The update introduce a new sound engine with higher quality pitch-locking, seamless looping, and hot swappable output devices. Additionally, new presets have been added for Denon MC2000 and MC3000 controllers, and an issue where some cover art would not display on Yosemite has been fixed.

 
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Review: DoxieGo portable scanner (Windows, OS X)

19 hours ago | Posted in: peripherals, digital imaging

Sometimes, people need to scan things, but having a computer at hand to do so isn't exactly feasible. Maybe it's the home of a relative that lives on the outskirts of civilization with no Internet, looking to organize family photos. Maybe it's an office filing room that's too small to set up shop. Maybe it's the cabin of an airplane and a traveler just wants to scan a page from Skymall. In this situation, the solution is generally to move items that need to be scanned to a location that has a scanner. With DoxieGo by Apparent, users don't have to worry about transportation; they can just throw the scanner in their bag and go. But can this ultra-portable scanner really make life that much easier? Read our review and find out.

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Apple offers Boxing Day iTunes sales for UK, Canadian customers

Fri December 26, 2014 | 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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