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European Parliament confirms wish to break search away from Google

8 minutes ago | Posted in: industry

The European Parliament has voted in favor of making Google break apart its search business from the rest of the company. With 384 approving the motion to 174 against with 56 abstentions, the Parliament is indicating to member states and the European Commission it wants something done about Google's power in search, with a separation of search services being the preferred option.

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Current and Black Friday Deals: 5TB HDD, iPads, 4k2k display, more

21 minutes ago | Posted in: computers, digital imaging, iPhone apps, iPad, iPad apps

While Turkey Day (for our US readers) is only now upon us, the sales period associated with the dreaded "Black Friday" has begun! We are listing various deals you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader, can take advantage of now. As usual, all prices are correct at the time of publication, but may not be valid or available at a later time, so check before purchasing. Also, check back on this post later today and on Thanksgiving Day, as more deals will be added as time goes on before our next post on Friday.

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Black Friday: Amazon Kindle tablets and e-readers from $49

50 minutes ago | Posted in: computers, gadgets

Black Friday deals are on now at Amazon. No need to wait outside in the cold, or battle the hoards of deal-hungry shoppers to get these great prices. To kick things off today they are offering discounts on their line of Kindle tablets and e-readers. The all-new Kindle with touch has been reduced by $30 and can be had for only $49 with special offers that display on the lock screen or $69 without the special offers.

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Giveaway: Civilization: Beyond Earth

1 hour ago | Posted in: computers, gaming

As was mentioned yesterday Civilization: Beyond Earth was released for purchase and download on Steam, the Mac App store and on GameAgent. Also announced yesterday was that we will be running a giveaway. So, without further ado we are pleased to announce that we have obtained 4 redemption codes for this game to give away to our readers.

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Giveaway: Fantastical for Mac, iPhone and iPad + Holiday sale

1 hour ago | Posted in: software, iPhone apps, iPad apps

FlexBits wants your holidays to be Fantastical, so to help make that happen they have launched a huge sale slashing prices on all of their software titles with discounts of up to 65 percent off. That's not all though, MacNN has teamed up with FlexBits to give away 3 software prize packs to our readers. Each pack will contain a redemption code for Fantastical for Mac, Fantastical 2 for iPhone and Fantastical 2 for iPad.

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Happy Thanksgiving from MacNN and Electronista

2 hours ago | Posted in:

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our US readers from all of us here at MacNN and Electronista! Today and tomorrow are traditionally very slow news days, so there will be reduced coverage through the holiday (except for our Black Friday and other deal-related posts, along with a hearty serving of giveaway goodness, never fear!) so that we can spend time with our families. We want to take this opportunity to express our appreciation to all of our readers, both long-time and new, for your readership, your comments and suggestions, and your news tips and corrections. We must also thank our sponsors, advertisers and the many developers and companies that help us keep our readers informed on all the latest and greatest in the tech world. We are grateful for your support.

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Apps: Duplicate Annihilator, RapidWeaver, HoudahSpot

3 hours ago | Posted in apps

    2.5MB

    Duplicate Annihilator 5.1.2 ($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. A bug that caused the software to freeze while preparing photos has been fixed with this update.

    171.1MB

    RapidWeaver 6.0.3 ($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. In v6.0.3 site-wide code fields are now vertically resizable, and a new option to restrict RapidWeaver's FTP publisher to publish only one file at a time has been added. A range of issues, including a bug that caused the software to crash when changing the Master Styles setting, have also been fixed.

    3.8MB

    HoudahSpot 3.9.6 ($29)

    HoudahSpot allows users to create detailed queries to pinpoint the exact file they are searching for. Favorite queries can be saved for later access, and templates can be set up for frequently performed searches. The latest update resolves a crash that occurred when temporarily disabling the tray window.

    75.4MB

    Tidy Up 4.0.1 ($40)

    Tidy Up enables users to search for duplicate files and packages while utilizing various filters. Version 4.0.1 fixes a bug that occasionally crashed the app when items were trashed. An issue that could result in a crash when the result window was shown has also been addressed, along with other minor bugs.

    1.6MB

    Hue Menu 2.3.1 ($4)

    Hue Menu is a small app that can be used to control Philips Hue light bulbs from a Mac's menu bar. This minor update is strictly a maintenance release that deals with several reported bugs.

 
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Hands On: Sproggiwood (Windows, OS X, Linux via Steam)

6 hours ago | Posted in: gaming, software

Because of the accessibility of game design tools, independently-produced games are springing up on every platform. There's certainly no shortage of dungeon crawlers, roguelikes, or turn-based strategy games today. That doesn't mean, though, that Sproggiwood, by Freehold Games, should be overlooked. This turn-based roguelike has the player explore dungeons inspired by Finnish mythology, bringing peace to the land of Sprog.

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Apple debuts additional iPhone 6 ad, highlights Voice Text

13 hours ago | Posted in: iPhone, Apple

Following a pair of new ads that debuted on Tuesday, Apple has followed it up with an unusual single additional ad in the current campaign, which again features Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon and entertainer Justin Timberlake. In the new TV spot, called "Voice Text," the pair demonstrate the WhatsApp-esque Voice Text feature in iOS 8, which allows for easy recording of voice which is then sent as an MMS message or iMessage (depending on the recipient) for times when texting is too inefficient.

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New Star Wars teaser to debut on iTunes Trailers on Friday

16 hours ago | Posted in: Apple

Apple has confirmed that the first official trailer for next year's new chapter in the saga, The Force Awakens, will debut online on Friday on iTunes. Disney, which now owns the rights to the franchise, had previously said that only 30 cinemas in the US would be screening the trailer on Friday, implying a wider release later. Rumors began shortly afterwards, however, that there would be an online debut as well.

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Government could turn to 225-year-old law to force user decryption

16 hours ago | Posted in: security

In the face of increasing security measures on consumer devices, the US Department of Justice appears to be returning to old school tactics to get at data in devices. A judge in New York ordered an unnamed smartphone manufacturer to provide technical assistance in unlocking a device, something prosecutors argued under the All Writs Act of 1789. While the All Writs Act has been used in the past in technological situations, it could be the de facto means of law enforcement data requests in the future.

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Adoption of iOS 8 rises to 60 percent after pause

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

Apple's iOS 8 adoption rate has returned to normal levels following a brief stagnation in the wake of the botched 8.0.1 update that was only very briefly available but caused havoc for the thousands who downloaded it, and temporarily made users hesitant to upgrade. In an update on iOS 8 distribution posted to its developer website, Apple said 60 percent of users registered with the iOS App Store are now running some version iOS 8 (up four percent from two weeks ago), with 35 percent running iOS 7 (down five percent from the same period).

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Home Depot faces 44 civil lawsuits from breach, spent $43M on fallout

20 hours ago | Posted in: industry, security

Home improvement retailer Home Depot is still locked into a battle over the security breach it reported in September that put 56 million credit cards at risk. However, the fight is no longer against cyber criminals, but rather consumers affected by the breach and government agencies. To date, the retailer is involved in "at least 44 civil lawsuits" in the US and Canada.

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Skype 7.2 fixes bugs, improves chat readability

21 hours ago | Posted in: troubleshooting, software

Microsoft has released a minor update to Skype for Mac, v7.2. The software mainly copes with several bugs, including crashes caused by changing a profile picture, playing the test sound in the Welcome tour, and/or launching Skype with Ecamm Call Recorder 2.5.11 installed. It also deals with Call and SMS buttons not working on a contact's profile page.

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StealthGenie spyware app creator pleads guilty, fined $500,000

22 hours ago | Posted in: software

A seller of mobile phone spyware has pleaded guilty to federal charges, the Department of Justice has revealed. Danish citizen Hammad Akbar has been fined $500,000 for the advertisement and sale of the StealthGenie app, which can be used to monitor the calls, texts, and other messaging systems with few in the way of signs to the target that they are being watched.

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Natalie Portman in talks to join Universal's Steve Jobs biopic

22 hours ago | Posted in: Apple

Actress Natalie Portman is in negotiations to join Universal's Steve Jobs biopic, according to Deadline. Who she might play is unmentioned, but the role is said to be a "major" one. Given Portman's age and the resemblance, that role is likely to be Lisa, Jobs' daughter.

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AT&T responds to FCC over 'frozen' fiber build, calls agency mistaken

Wed November 26, 2014 | Posted in: Investor, industry, networking

Following the US Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) demand for more information about a "frozen" fiber buildout, AT&T has responded to the call late yesterday. The company claims that the announced expansion of the gigabit network is not actually frozen -- only new, unannounced expansions have been halted in the wake of the FCC's Net Neutrality and Title II regulation discussion.

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Apple may lean heavily on Samsung for iPhone 6, Apple Watch parts

Wed November 26, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone, industry, Apple

Apple is turning to Samsung for more parts in future production runs of the iPhone 6, sources tell Business Korea. Beginning this week, new runs will reportedly use batteries manufactured by Samsung SDI. More significantly, though, Apple is said to be considering replacing Toshiba TLC NAND flash storage with a Samsung equivalent. Toshiba NAND is currently believed to be the only kind used in 128GB iPhones, and some reports have linked it to occasional device crashes. Toshiba, SanDisk, and SK Hynix are allegedly producing the storage for 64GB models.

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Briefly: Civilization: Beyond Earth OS X ships, new Geometry Wars 3

Wed November 26, 2014 | Posted in: gaming

Firaxis and Aspyr have announced that Civilization: Beyond Earth will be available later today for purchase and download on Steam, the Mac App store, and on GameAgent. The game requires OS X 10.9.5 or greater, an Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM, 8GB of drive space, and at least the Intel HD 4000 with 256MB of VRAM. Civilization: Beyond Earth retails for $50. Look for a MacNN giveaway of the title soon.

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Holiday Gift Guide: Audio gear

Wed November 26, 2014 | Posted in: computers, peripherals, accessories, audio

Audio enthusiasts might be some of the easiest to select gifts for during the holidays, if for nothing else than the wealth of choices available. From Bluetooth speakers, headphones, audio amplifiers and radio options, it can be overwhelming to pick something. Here at Electronista and MacNN, we're attempting to give shoppers some directions for the music lovers in their lives, compiling some of the best audio gear for the year in our annual gift guides.

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Union, Rev. Jackson push for better terms for Apple security guards

Wed November 26, 2014 | Posted in: industry, security, Apple

With the backing of activist Rev. Jesse Jackson, United Service Workers West is hoping to unionize the security guards working at Apple's Cupertino headquarters, and in the short term is urging the company to use a different security contractor, says the San Jose Mercury News. USWW is ultimately aiming to unionize guards across Silicon Valley, but beginning with Apple in the belief that it could set a standard for other tech companies. While the union would likely stand to benefit from dues, it notes that service workers in the Bay Area are often just scraping by financially, since the cost of living has been inflated by the salaries of high-tech workers.

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iOS apps: PDFpen Scan+, Swype, Runtastic Pro

Wed November 26, 2014 | Posted in iOS apps

  • 37.9MB

    PDFpen Scan+ 1.5 ($7)

    PDFpen Scan+ is an OCR tool that can be used to create searchable PDF documents directly on an iOS device. Version 1.5 introduces an improved camera layout and a new image stabilization feature. Along with these additions, support for iCloud Drive is also included and a number of minor bugs have been addressed.

  • 23.3MB

    Swype 1.1.1 ($1)

    Skype is an alternative iOS keyboard that learns how a user types in order to reduce the number of typing errors. Users can type by hitting keys one after the other, or simply starting at the first letter and sliding their finger to the corresponding letters. The v1.1.1 updates includes significant improvements to the language model in Hungarian, Finnish, and Turkish.

  • 47MB

    Runtastic Pro 5.4.6 ($5)

    Runtastic Pro can track cardio workout progress time to help users monitor their health goals. The software can track a number of different metrics, such as time, distances, speed, elevation, and calories, and includes audio feedback for every mile completed in a run. The latest release has been optimized for use on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and now includes direct integration with Appleā€™s Health app.

  • 46.1MB

    Over 2.6.15 ($1)

    Over allows users to add customized text to their images. The app comes preloaded with a number unique fonts, while even more can be added via In-App Purchases. A number of new Fonts & Art Packs have been added as In-App Purchases in this release. The packs include hundreds of illustrations, as well as four unique fonts, and can be purchased individually or as a big bundle. All of the proceeds from these new packs will go directly to REDs fight against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

  • 25.1MB

    Vine 3.1 (free)

    Vine can be used to create short looping videos. These videos can be shared directly on Vine, as well as through Twitter and Facebook. Within the latest update users can select their favorite accounts and receive a notification whenever a new video is posted. A number of performance enhancements are also included, along with other minor bug fixes.

 

iPhone 5c production to halt in mid-2015, report says

Wed November 26, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone

Two Apple suppliers, Foxconn and Wistron, will stop their production of the iPhone 5c by the middle of 2015, says Taiwan's Industrial and Commercial Times. The 5c was originally launched in 2013 alongside the iPhone 5s, and like its sibling, made available in several different models. It has since become the lowest-end iPhone however, and is currently relegated to an 8GB model free on contract, or $450 unlocked.

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Shareholder suit accuses GT Advanced of failing to disclose risks

Wed November 26, 2014 | Posted in: Investor, industry, Apple

A Louisiana lawfirm, Smith Segura & Raphael, has filed a class action lawsuit against GT Advanced on behalf of investors. The case alleges that GT "failed to disclose the significant risk" it would incur in its sapphire supply deal with Apple, which it announced on November 4th last year. Apple agreed to pay GT $578 million in four installments, with the expectation the latter would start paying it back in 2015. GT was unable to meet Apple demands though, which resulted in delayed payments, the withholding of the final one, and ultimately GT's bankruptcy on October 6th, followed by the company being delisted from the NASDAQ.

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Judge grants Apple post-judgement royalties from second Samsung trial

Wed November 26, 2014 | Posted in: Investor, industry, Apple

Judge Lucy Koh, overseeing the myriad Apple versus Samsung smartphone patent trials has partially granted a motion by Apple, allowing the Cupertino manufacturer to collect post-judgement royalties on on-going sales of some Samsung devices -- but less than Apple wanted. The motion, filed for the second Apple versus Samsung trial, covers data detectors and "slide to unlock," and specifically covers 10 products and others not demonstrably different than the accused.

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Review: iDrive cloud backup and sync service

Wed November 26, 2014 | Posted in: security, software, iPhone apps, iPad apps

There are a lot of cloud services out there, and nearly all of them can be used for backing up key files and folders. A few dedicated services are focused on backing up nearly everything the user has, and thus offer large quantities of space needed for the task, but are expensive and slow. Others, like Dropbox, offer far less space but allow instant access to files across a range of devices. IDrive appears to have hit on a good middle ground: offer lots of space at a very reasonable sum, while providing a lot of configuration options, full data encryption, instant sync, multi-platform support, and even alternate ways of getting the data uploaded in the first place. Is it right for you? Find out in our review.

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Hands On: Snoopy's All Star Football (iOS)

Wed November 26, 2014 | Posted in: education, gaming, iPhone apps, iPad apps

Cupcake Digital is a well-known name in the ring of games for elementary-age children. To date, they've created games for children's entertainment titles such as Yo Gabba Gabba, Wow! Wow! Wubbsy, and Strawberry Shortcake. The company is now tackling two American classics, Peanuts and football, in Snoopy's All Star Football. Is the game worth handing to your little ones, or is it the digital equivalent of Lucy pulling the football away at the last minute?

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Hands On: Learn Guitar (iOS)

Tue November 25, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone apps, iPad apps

Learning to play an instrument takes a lot of things. For instance, it takes a lot of practice, a lot of effort, and frequently it also takes a lot of money. Usually, it's the money that stops someone from picking up the hobby. But what if it was possible to learn to play guitar for just a couple of dollars? If you've been putting off learning to play guitar, now is the time to dust off that old six-string, or head over to the consignment shop, and start strumming with Learn Guitar by Insider.com.

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