MacNN and Electronista deals for April 1, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, our usual look at the discounts and offers retailers hold in their online and offline stores, where we list the better deals for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista readers. As well as a recap of this week's still-active deals, the new list includes 50 percent off Pixelmator, a 128GB flash drive, and a 1080p Acer projector.
Pac-Man playable on Google Maps, uses streets for game board
Continuing a long tradition of April Fools' Day treats, Google has turned Google Maps into a playable version of Pac-Man. On computers, selecting the Pac-Man view in the bottom left of the screen turns part of the currently-viewed map into the game board, while mobile users will have to navigate to specific locations and select the Pac-Man map pin before playing.
One small version increase for man, one giant leap for 1Password
Oh, come on. We like 1Password, we like it a lot, but we reviewed version 5.2 in January -- there cannot seriously be a good reason to revisit for version 5.3. Except that there is: you can argue that the tiny point increase in the version number is fair, because this just builds on something we praised in 5.2, but this one change will make you use 1Password more. Version 5.2 added the ability to use 1Password from within other applications, and it did so by leveraging iOS 8's Sharing Extensions. Now it's back, with a bigger lever.
Upgrade offer extended to previous owners for $249
Today Quark Software announced that QuarkXPress 2015, the next major version of Quark's design and layout tool for print and digital publishing, will be available on April 28. The company claims that QuarkXPress 2015 will deliver increased performance with a new 64-bit architecture, efficient print and digital production, and many of the most user-requested features. The new version of QuarkXPress will continue to be sold as a perpetual license.
MacNN and Electronista deals for March 31, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, the regular post where we scour the Internet for discounts, offers, and deals for our discerning MacNN and Electronista readers. Today, we recap the still-active deals from yesterday, and the new additions to the list this time includes a 960GB SSD for under $300, discounted Mac minis and MacBooks at Micro Center, and a Fujifilm FinePix bundle at Best Buy.
Get things done with this concentration app
Most of the time, the secret to getting things done is getting on with them, and doing things. The Pomodoro technique is a trick to get yourself going, and keep yourself going, which has been around since the 1980s and is perfect for being turned into an app. Consequently there are many such apps, but the newly-updated Pomodoro Time Pro is a solid, capable and versatile one.
Apple game roundup for March 31, 2015
On Tuesdays and Fridays MacNN takes a few minutes to round up important goings-on in the Mac and iOS gaming world. Today, we're looking the upcoming release of a Star Wars: Rebels table for Zen Pinball 2, the arrival of a Final Fantasy MMORPG on OS X, and the release of RBI Baseball 15 on both of Cupertino's current operating systems.
Voice calls quietly added to WhatsApp in new update
WhatsApp is rolling out its voice calling function to all mobile users, starting with Android. Slowly introduced to users in early February, the latest update to WhatsApp in the Google Play app store is apparently enabled for the service, which lets users call other contacts instead of sending messages, though it appears users are still having to wait for their account to be enabled.
strange Safari behavior, remote App woes and more
Yesterday in the MacNN forums, Moderator "Thorzdad" reported some strange behavior with the way that Safari was displaying webpages, noting that it doesn't look like pages are being saved in the cache properly. Late last week, forum-members tried to assist "The Final Dakar" with figuring out why his Remote app doesn't see his Apple TV.
Staffers discuss new book, new gaming column, new apps
We're now at episode eight of The MacNN Podcast, which this week welcomes our new Apple Gaming column, as well as reminding listeners about our weekly game news roundup. We also discuss the book Becoming Steve Jobs, and Tim Cook's latest honor from the business world. More confusion about Windows 10 pricing outside China has come to light, and tech companies are asking for changes in the Patriot Act.
Public beta updated also; screen sharing, Wi-Fi, languages need focus
On Monday, Apple issued a sixth beta of OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 to developers, and an identical third beta to registered public testers. The new build, numbered 14D127a, is said to be mostly a security, compatibility, and stability bugfix release, though the company has added a request that testers focus on screen-sharing features as well as Hebrew and Arabic localizations, on top of the ongoing focus on Wi-Fi "captive portal" networks (such as hotels or coffeeshops).
Unified Gmail inbox combines messages from multiple accounts into one list
Google is bringing the unified inbox to its Gmail app for Android, the search company has revealed. The latest version of the app allows users to view emails from multiple accounts on one single page, with the function not only working with multiple Gmail accounts, but also email addresses from other services, including Yahoo and Outlook.com.
Comprehensive backup and booting solution for Macs
Apple did a great thing in bringing Time Machine to the rest of us: it made backups a more familiar idea, and it made them far easier to understand as well. Something that is easy and familiar is something that you're going to do, and Apple was right that we really, really needed to back up our work. Now Apple is more focused on cloud storage than it is hard drives -- and there are several cloud backup services -- but the humble hard disk has a lot of advantages. It also has SuperDuper 2.7.5, which is a capable, albeit slightly technical, application for copying your data, and for creating a hard drive that you can run your Mac from in emergencies.
MacNN and Electronista deals for March 30, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, the weekday post when the staff of MacNN and Electronista take a moment to search retailers for offers, discounts, and other items for you, our beloved readers. Today, we wipe the slate clean of older deals, with the new deals including hefty discounts on Sony noise-cancelling headphones, a $65 Canon multifunction laser printer, and a sub-$400 30-inch display.
Hide ugly URL addresses when emailing
URLs are ugly – and they are also very daunting if you're new to the web. So long as they're up there in the browser and you just got to the site by clicking a heading in Google, nobody cares. Yet when you send them to someone, that's when you can put them off or you can make their life easier. It's also where you can demonstrate that you know your stuff. There is one important caveat to this but otherwise this Pointers will show you how to make emails with links that simply look better than sending someone a five-foot-long string of dots and slashes. The specific steps in this tutorial are all for Mail in OS X Yosemite.
Nest thermostat owners in UK complain about British Summer Time glitch
Owners of the Nest thermostat in the United Kingdom are complaining about a glitch where the device fails to respect this weekend's change to British Summer Time. Posts on the Nest support forums spotted by The Register note that the thermostat does recognize the change in time, but the schedule effectively does not take it into effect, with changes being performed one hour later than intended. While Nest works to fix the issue, one user has managed to get around the problem by changing the thermostat's settings, temporarily relocating it in software to Belgium.
An iOS clipboard manager you didn't know you needed
If you don't happen to know what a clipboard manager is, you need one. If you do and you've also tried out a couple, you know why you need it and you know just how hard it will be to make you give them up. Not to rub it in if you haven't tried one yet but they have been around for a very long time – or at least they have on Macs. With iPhone and iPads, it's really taken until iOS 8 for them to be possible. Clips is a free clipboard manager for iOS and it is just about as good as Apple allows it to be.
Two-factor authentication, kill switch added to Slack following unauthorized access
Work-focused messaging service Slack has increased the security of its accounts, following an intrusion to company servers. The company admits on its blog that its servers were accessed by unauthorized users over a four day period in February, and though it only revealed the intrusion on Friday, it claims to have been working hard on improving the service's overall security.
Deeply impressive dictation and voice recognition
Do not ever give voice recognition software to a writer who's a keyboard junkie. Do not ever give Dragon Dictate to any one who saw how rubbish dictation software was in the 1980s, 1990s and probably 2000s but they didn't check. For a few minutes sitting in front of Dragon Dictate will destroy their worldview like a politician discovering that encryption makes monitoring computers hard. Dragon Dictate works and it works extremely, just extremely well. It also does more than dictation: this is powerful software for word processing by voice command.
Partition stitching addition widens reach of Windows 10 phone preview
Microsoft is making the technical preview of Windows 10 for smartphones available to more devices, the software giant has advised. Initially available to a small number of Lumia smartphones, the technical preview will be installable on a wider array of hardware, with over 30 Lumia devices on a preliminary list set to receive the software in the next preview release.
The beloved word processor is still a contender
The very name Nisus may bring you back to the 1990s and if it doesn't, then one look at the software possibly will. That's cruel: it is nothing less than fantastic that Nisus has survived where so many other word processors have died, crushed under the force of Microsoft Word. So this version, Nisus Writer Pro 2.1 should be celebrated. It's just that there is something a tiny bit old about how it looks and feels.
Solid, well-made app backs up and copies your hard drives
Nothing digital really exists unless it exists twice. For all that we have these great interconnected cloud services, there is still a hard drive holding on to our data somewhere and all hard drives fail eventually. They're like politicians in that respect: they go on until they fail. Carbon Copy Cloner is a way to make failures annoying rather than fatal to your work. It backs up any or all of your files and it also optionally creates a separate and bootable hard drive.
Launch of MacNN's twice-weekly Mac-specific gaming roundup
We've had some emails about our Sunday game roundup -- it turns out that some of you want Apple-specific gaming news, as sources for that seem to be in short supply these days. Today launches the first installation of a twice-weekly column, published on MacNN on Tuesdays and Fridays rounding up important goings-on in the Mac and iOS gaming world. Today, we're looking at an interview with the developers of This War of Mine, an iOS game boosted by Apple that we reviewed earlier in the week, and the spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate released as the fruit of a successful Kickstarter campaign.
Quickly create affiliate links for your website
There is an argument that Blink is a single-use app for a very specific and therefore limited market: it helps you quickly make App Store links with a code in to get you some money. If you don't happen to know how affiliate links work, you just sat up. If you do, you didn't. It is not a road to making a lot of money but when it's done in a way that benefits your website audience then then it is a good thing all round.
how to erase and reinstall OS X and more
One Forum Regular turned to the MacNN Forums this week looking for advice on how to erase and reinstall OS X, and found some useful information which might be helpful to anyone else who is trying to do this. One Fresh-Faced Recruit is looking for help trying to access data in an administrator account after their computer froze and was forced to shut down.
Microsoft dodges questions about free versions to pirates, Parallels users
Microsoft has made a passing attempt to clarify some of its policy on free upgrades to Windows 10. In an interview, senior director of product marketing at Microsoft Aaron Woodman detailed what the company has decided about the offering -- and an alarming amount of decisions seem to have not been made yet about licensing the OS.
The note-taking app comes with little-used outlining features
There is a reason why the outlining features of Evernote are not the most widely-used feature of that software: they're not the best feature. They're also not on a par with the outlining in the best word processors, and they are barely in the same universe as dedicated software like OmniOutliner. However, Evernote is free, and Evernote has uses far beyond outlining, so you're likely to find it indispensable even if you end up not using the outlining.
Turn-based strategy war game about winning hearts and minds as well as battle set in the Drang Valle
Vietnam… '65 by Slitherine is a turn-based strategy war game set in, you guessed it, Vietnam in 1965. Specifically the Ia Drang Valley, right near the Cambodian border, where the player is in charge of a counterinsurgency effort. The enemy is sneaking in across the border, and the job gets more difficult when the player visits local villages to win hearts and minds, and constructs bases in the area.
MacNN and Electronista deals for March 26, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, our regular look at the discounts, offers, sales, and other money-saving items for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. As usual, we recap the still-active deals from over the last week, as well as introducing new items, including Sol Republic Master Tracks headphones, a $40 Linksys router, and OCZ Vertex SSD storage.
Periscope for iOS available now, Android version on the way
Twitter has added another video service to its roster, alongside Vine, one which provides live video streaming to the microblogging platform. A rebranding of an app Twitter acquired in January, Periscope lets users instantly stream from their smartphone to their Twitter feed, with viewers able to provide feedback to the broadcaster in real time.
Amazon expands Prime Now one-hour deliveries to Dallas
Amazon Prime Now, the retailer's high-speed delivery service, is opening up in Dallas. Just as with its other Prime Now locations, Prime subscribers in the fourth location will be able to use a mobile app on iOS and Android to place orders for groceries and household goods, between 8am and 10pm seven days a week, with TechCrunch reporting it still costs $8 for one-hour deliveries, while two-hour deliveries are free.
MacNN and Electronista deals for March 25, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, the regular post where we, the staff of MacNN and Electronista, search online retailers for discounts and savings on general tech, gadgets, and software, for our discerning readers. Today, we recap the still-active deals from earlier this week, with the new deals including $100 off the iPad Air 2, an external 750GB drive for $35, and a 49-inch LG 4K TV for less than half price.
Powerful and, frankly, beautiful calendar app for Mac
This was worth the wait. The Mac version of calendar app Fantastical has lagged behind its iOS counterparts for quite some time, but now they're the ones that need to catch up. Fantastical 2 for OS X is fast, very easy, very powerful, and hands down the best-looking calendar on the Mac. Other than that, it's fine.
May have plans to integrate services into iTunes, Apple TV, iCloud
A new report claims that Apple has purchased FoundationDB for an undisclosed sum. The company was best known for its NoSQL, ACID-compliant database software, which offered super-fast speeds that Apple may want to improve its database-related web services, ranging from Apple TV and iTunes in the Cloud to iCloud generally.
This week in the MacNN forums, Fresh-Faced Recruit "Pootie Tang" raised a red flag over an incident they had with Safari that they believe to be caused by a virus, thought they quickly discovered it was just easily-removable adware. Mac Elite "And.reg" has been having bizarre issues with trying to get iCloud keychain working, and has turned to the forums looking for advice.
Fourth iOS 8.3 beta shows no progress on known issues, likely arriving next month
Apple issued a fourth developer beta of iOS 8.3 on Tuesday, one day after an updated OS X 10.10.3 beta emerged. In addition, the company released the second version of a "public" 8.3 beta to registered public Appleseed testers, which is identical to the developer beta. Also included was a new, fourth beta of Xcode 6.3, which includes Apple's Swift coding language, version 1.2.
Your favorite RSS feeds in the iOS Today widget
Breaking by Robocat adds your RSS feeds to the iOS Today widget. The user can have between two and five of the most recent stories from any number of RSS feeds available with a simple downward swipe. There's a bit more to the app than just that actually, and we'll talk about that. The app doesn't give you a full run-down of all the stories in the feeds you have listed; it's only for breaking information, as the name implies. We tested Breaking for iOS on an iPhone 5, and an iPad Mini 2.
Apple TV gains three additional channels amid talk of fall revamp
On Tuesday, Apple added three channels to its ever-expanding Apple TV lineup, bringing Young Hollywood, Tastemade, and TED to current-generation (black) Apple TV boxes. The TED app channel brings access to over 2,000 lectures and performances, with existing TED members able to sign in and sync viewing and watch lists across devices, as well as bringing the personalized "lean back" autoplay feature to the Apple TV.
Users of new 13-inch MBP, forthcoming MacBook can take advantage of pressure sensitivity
The first third-party drawing app designed for the new Force Touch trackpad, found on the latest 13-inch MacBook Pro and the forthcoming MacBook, has arrived alongside an iMovie update from Apple that adds compatibility with the new technology as well. Inklet and Autograph from Ten One Design have been updated to support the pressure-sensitivity features, while iMovie has gained haptic feedback for certain commands.
MacNN and Electronista deals for March 24, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, the post where we search for offers, discounts, promotions, and other money-saving schemes on hardware and software for you, the glorious MacNN and Electronista reader. Along with our regular recap of still-active deals from yesterday, today's deals include discounted iTunes gift cards, the Intel NUC, and a large collection of SSDs
Version is identical to new update for Appleseed testers
On Monday, Apple issued the fifth beta version of OS X 10.10.3 Yosemite to developers. The latest version, which comes on the heels of the previous fourth release that was aimed solely at new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro users, is also being released to registered public beta users as the second such version. The forthcoming Photos app has been updated (though it still has some known issues), as well as Yosemite's recovery tools.
It's still the standard for screenwriting but maybe only just
Just as you used to have to use Microsoft Word if you were a writer, so you had to use Final Draft if you were a screenwriter. Those days are gone, and software that was once the undisputed standard is now disputed, and needs to hold on to its status through merit as well as momentum. Final Draft 9 makes some attempts to do this, but primarily hangs on to its traditional and core strengths.
Pioneer debuts second-generation NEX in-dash receivers with CarPlay, Android Auto
Auto audio accessories maker Pioneer has debuted a new series of second-generation NEX receivers that feature both CarPlay and Android Auto baked in, replacing earlier models that added CarPlay compatibility through a firmware update. Versions are available with either resistive touch or capacitive touch screens, ranging from $700 to $1,400 for aftermarket installation. The new models add support for Android Auto, and offer better touch sensitivity, brighter screens, and better color vibrancy.
MacNN and Electronista deals for March 23, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, the weekday post where the staff of MacNN and Electronista trawl the Internet for price cuts, discounts, and offers on hardware and software for you, our discerning readers. Today, the deals slate has been cleaned of old offers, with the new list including a Razer mechanical keyboard, Samsung 4K televisions, and the Lenovo Flex 2 notebook.
Make this nearly brilliant feature work for you
The first time you use this feature of Evernote for iOS, you will go "wow!". Unfortunately, before you finish using it for the first time, you will also go "oh." For Evernote is practically magical in how it will scan a business card, and cull every last detail off it -- and then it's surprisingly bad at what it does with that information.
Leaked presentation suggests selection of apps, in-app purchases will be offered at no charge
Android users may be able to benefit from free apps, if a rumor about Amazon is true, The retailer is said to be considering creating a new section of its Amazon Appstore called "Unlocked," which would provide users with access to paid apps at no charge, with typical in-app purchases also receiving the same treatment, being effectively free for users to select.
News from the video game industry for the week of March 22
Every Sunday, MacNN and Electronista takes a moment to gather together some notable stories from the world of gaming. In today's Weekly Game Replay, Atari blocks the man behind Tempest 2000's programming from making similar games, Final Fantasy XI will be heading to mobile devices, rumors of a Metal Gear Solid rift, and the transfer of ownership of Hawken.
Disrupting industries is the new black, great apps and fair app prices, bad jokes
The MacNN Podcast episode seven is now available, and this week we looked at the rumor that Apple is preparing to revamp the Apple TV and sweeten the pot with an optional package of channel offerings that don't require a cable subscription; Google's entry into the MVNO space; the recent Microsoft announcements about Windows 10; Facebook getting into inter-site payments; the return of Launcher to the App Store, and the removal of so-called "anti-virus" iOS apps; our latest "Living With" column; and our favorite apps of the week.
New Android Lollipop security function prevents locking when smartphone is held
Android users may be able to use their smartphone for longer periods without seeing their lock screen, thanks to a new feature spotted rolling out to Smart Lock on Android Lollipop devices. On-body detection will keep a smartphone or tablet unlocked if it detects it is being carried, automatically reinstating the lock when it detects it has been placed down on a surface.
BlackBerry adds BBM Protected mode to iOS, Android apps
BlackBerry is allowing its enterprise users to have highly-secure FIPS 140-2 validated conversations with other mobile users, rather than just between BlackBerry devices. BBM Protected, a mode for the BlackBerry messaging app that encrypts the conversation between two parties, is now available on the iOS and Android versions of the client. BBM Protected requires the use of the paid service BES from BlackBerry in order to set up the secure communications, though the secondary party only needs the free client to receive secure chat requests.