Milk Music offers 200 genre stations, personalization options, 13M songs
Samsung is offering owners of its Galaxy mobile devices in the United States a free streaming music service. Milk Music will let users listen to more than 200 genre-based and ad-free music stations, using a catalog of more than 13 million tracks to generate playlists, with the additional option of generating personal stations based on favorite songs and albums.
the future of Mac OS X debate continues
This week in the MacNN forums, members continue to debate what the future of Mac OS X will hold, some noting that Microsoft is attempting major redesigns and customers are rejecting it. "Can I delete apps without having to enter ID?" asked Mac Elite "jeff k" yesterday.
Appears intended to support 4K displays
The OS X 10.9.3 beta supports new graphics scaling options which appear aimed at supporting 4K displays, users say. While a Mac Pro or Retina MacBook Pro can connect to a 4K monitor, they normally do so at resolutions up to 4096x2160 at 24Hz, which results in OS X's interface being spread out and shrunk, and choppiness in the case of things like the mouse cursor. The MacBook Pro can alternately use 3840x2160 at 30Hz, but this isn't an improvement.
Nudity banned in Vine clips, though artistic and documentary nudity spared
Twitter has updated its terms of service for video sharing app Vine, banning videos of sexual content. The change, which takes immediate effect, aims to stop users from posting adult content of a sexual nature on the service, but still allows for nudity in an artistic or documentary context to be displayed, and appears to be another attempt by the company to clean up the service.
Update not officially available, but user-downloadable anyhow
Microsoft has, perhaps inadvertently, made the next version of Windows 8.1 available for download. Windows 8.1 Update 1 has been discovered, requiring either registry changes to automatically obtain the update, or a manual install by way of direct download.
Division responsible for $1.3 billion in losses in seven years
As a result of a shift in strategy, Disney's Internet and video game department Disney Interactive is laying off 25 percent of its employees, effective immediately. Around 700 employees are now looking for work, following 2013's consolidation of Disney's mobile and social game development efforts.
Graphics, audio requested as areas of focus in new build
Slightly less than two weeks after the public release of OS X 10.9.2, which brought FaceTime audio calling, Mail improvements and an important security fix to Mavericks, Apple is seeding the first beta of OS X 10.9.3, build 13D12, to developers. The brief release notes mention that developers are requested to focus on audio and graphic drivers in their testing. The previous update was released after approximately 14 weeks of testing across seven betas.
Warning e-mail from ComiXology states no payment details at risk
Digital comic book retailer ComiXology is asking all of its customers to reset their passwords, as a precautionary measure following an intrusion. An e-mail sent to users of the comic book store and reader app states that an "unauthorized individual" had gained access to a database containing usernames, e-mail addresses, and "cryptographically protected" passwords.
App has utility in retail; Autism and healthcare utilities possible
Facial expression recognition company Emotient has announced the availability of its Sentiment Analysis prototype application for Google Glass, which is currently being released as a private beta with select partners and customers. The company claims that among other uses, the software could be used by retailers to improve the understanding of customer sentiment, as well as customer satisfaction.
Music curation API used by other music services will remain open despite purchase
Spotify is looking to bolster the music curation and discovery functions of its service, by acquiring music intelligence company The Echo Nest, the streaming music service has revealed. The purchase will provide Spotify with deeper access to The Echo Nest's knowledge base and music curation tools, currently used by competitors such as Nokia MixRadio and Rdio for their own music discovery offerings.
Opera adds WebRTC, updated design to Android browser
Opera has updated the Android variant of its web browser to version 20, and has included support for WebRTC, a technology that can support browser-based video conferencing. The update also adds a new customizable interface, a flat-design Speed Dial, upgrades to the search and address bar, an update of the Chromium core to version 33, and a number of other minor updates. The updated Opera for Android is available to download now from Google Play, for devices running Android 4.0 or higher.
Code allowed for benchmark manipulation by removing CPU throttling limitation
Samsung may have learned its lesson from the benchmark inflation affair, with a report suggesting the latest software updates from the company gives a more accurate result of a device's capabilities. Code relating to optimizing the processor of the company's smartphones in earlier releases of Android customized for the devices appears to be missing in Android 4.4 updates, which could be a sign it has been removed completely.
Twitch SDK allows players to stream game footage from mobile devices
Game video streaming service Twitch is hoping to expand the reach of its service into mobile gaming, from its existing PC and console efforts. The announced Twitch Mobile Software Development Kit will allow developers to add Twitch streaming to mobile titles, letting gamers broadcast their gameplay live, as well as capturing and archiving the video for future viewing.
Gmail update for iOS adds background mail retrieval, simplified sign-in
Google's email service Gmail has received an update for its iOS app. The newly redesigned app provides real-time notifications, multiple account support and search across one's entire inbox. In v3.0, Gmail now includes background app refreshing, meaning that email is fully downloaded and retrieved as it arrives in one's inbox, as opposed to syncing only when the app is opened. Sign-in has been simplified, with consolidated authorization with all Google apps now enabled. Gmail for iOS now requires iOS 7 for all features to function.
Vudu adding support for Google Chromecast to mobile apps, website
Vudu has revealed it will be adding support for the Google Chromecast to the streaming service in the future. Both the mobile apps for iOS and Android will gain the extra ability, including offering remote control through the app itself, with casting through the Chrome browser for Mac and PC also touted as part of the release. Though Vudu has yet to reveal a date, it is accepting registrations for beta testing.
Virtual assistant from Microsoft for Windows Phone 8.1 demonstrated
Video of what is claimed to be a virtual assistant in Windows Phone 8.1 has surfaced, showing the initial setup process. Cortana, named after the Halo character but could change before release, is shown to introduce itself to the user, asking for the user to set up their Microsoft account, naming the user, and asking a number of questions to set up initial notification preferences.
Smith Micro's 2D animation software Anime Studio 10 released
Announced today, Smith Micro has introduced its latest version of Anime Studio, Anime Studio Pro 10 and Anime Studio Debut 10. Animation software for both beginners and professionals, Anime Studio 10 features tools that provide increased bone control, more movement options and more, improving the simplicity of creating animated content. The latest bone features include rigging options to help set up more complex characters, and its independent angle constraints allow bones to keep their global angle and remain unaffected by inverse kinematics. Also included are new Bounce, Elastic and Stagger interpolations, as well as enhanced drawing tools. Anime Studio Debut is priced at $50, and the Pro 10 version is available for $300.
Facebook ignores name change request, improves article sharing
Facebook, which was asked by a prominent iPad developer to change the name of its Paper magazine-style article reader, has instead issued a minor update with the first new feature since its debut in late January. The iPhone-centric app is now at v1.0.2, which adds new ways to share Facebook articles.
Polishes areas like UI, performance, imports/exports
IGG Software has issued iBank 5.1, a significant update of its personal finance software. While there are no major feature additions, there are numerous smaller ones, and improvements to existing code. A system notification, for instance, now displays when Update Everything is finished, and source list counters show how many new transactions there are per account. Transaction management has been upgraded with things like drag-and-drop file attachment, manual mergers, an "unreconciled" filter, and a command option that shows the original details of imported transactions.
Touch ID fix on the way
This week in the MacNN forums, members continue to discuss problems with Touch ID, and to many users' delight, Apple has announced that there is an iOS update in the works to fix the issue. Yesterday Grizzled Veteran "And.reg" turned to the forums looking for a reason why iTunes 7 is not showing any radio stations on a Powerbook G4 that they recently picked up.
App gains 64-bit code, better accuracy, transcriptions from recordings
Nuance has launched Dragon Dictate 4, a new edition of its dictation and transcription software for the Mac. The app has switched to a fully 64-bit codebase, allowing it to better exploit modern processors and RAM. Nuance says it has also improved the accuracy of voice recognition, optimizing it for newer technology.
Global launch allows Skype use within browser
Outlook.com users across the world will be able to use Skype from within their browser, Microsoft has revealed. Previously tested with a small number of users in the US and UK, the service allows all users of the e-mail service to make video calls, audio calls, and send messages to other Skype users, all from within the Outlook.com inbox.
Windows Update claimed to be in hands of manufacturers before April release
Microsoft has reportedly finalized the incoming update for Windows 8.1, ahead of a release in early April. The final version of Windows 8.1 Update 1 has apparently been signed-off for a Release to Manufacturing (RTM), namely to computer and notebook manufacturers to include in their products, with devices offering the update pre-installed likely to appear at the same time as the update's release to consumers.
Qrayon's Presentation Recorder creates HD video screencasts on iPad
App creator Qrayon has launched its latest product, Presentation Recorder. Available for iPad, Presentation Recorder lets users create HD video screencasts from an imported Keynote or PowerPoint deck. Created videos can be securely emailed or published to the service of choice. Voice audio is automatically synced to displayed slides in a presentation, and 720p HD videos can be edited within iMovie. Available for $3, Presentation Recorder requires iOS7.0 or later.
Adds support for OS X 10.9.2, tweaks Profile Manager
Apple on Monday released an updated "developer preview" of OS X Server 3.1, which updates support for OS X 10.9.2 (and requires it in order to run) and makes some minor changes in the recent Profile Manager overhaul. The new build is identified as 13S4122, up 21 builds from the previous beta, which was released in mid-February. As 10.9.2 is now officially out, Apple is likely pushing to release the final 3.1 server update soon.
Updates support for OS X 10.9.2, CUDA update also available
On Monday, video card maker Nvidia released updated drivers for 2010, 2009 and 2008-model Mac Pro units, along with a reminder that the units will need the previously-updated CUDA 5.5.28 driver for Mac in order to leverage the CUDA architecture in some Nvidia cards. The updated drivers bring support for the latest version of OS X Mavericks (10.9.2), and include an Nvidia Driver Manager preference pane.
Mac owners get custom UI colors
Quark has released a major update to QuarkXPress, v10.1. The software adds several important features, such as 8,000X zoom, and dynamic guides. The latter appear automatically when objects align with others, have the same width and height, and/or have the same distance to several more objects.
Virtual assistant settings menu shows Notebook, name options
Images of what could be the final form of Microsoft's Siri and Google Now competitor have surfaced. Cortana, named after the AI character from the Halo video game series but could still be rebranded for launch, has been previously said to have a similar personality to Siri, though in a nod to Google Now, the basic interface for the virtual assistant appears to offer a text-based entry option to go alongside the voice recognition system.
New version enhances business use at cost of some personality
FileMaker Pro 13 is the first new version of the venerable database software since the company opted to kill of its consumer-friendly Bento software, and brings some of that influence into the fold -- such as new themes, easier import and a more-streamlined web-publishing feature to compliment FileMaker 12's mobile savvy. Is it worth the upgrade? Are databases still useful outside business or enterprise? Read on to find out.
Beta version uses Dropbox to backup game progress and settings
Razer's Game Booster has been gained another feature in its recent beta release, bringing cloud-saving capabilities to the software for game save files and settings as the company branches out further. The new Game Save Manager currently supports over 2,000 titles with more being added.
Initiative may seek to increase Bing penetration, grow Windows adoption
According to sources familiar with the matter, Microsoft is allegedly working on a subsidized version of "Windows 8.1 with Bing." With Microsoft solutions included -- such as the eponymous Bing search engine as default -- Microsoft appears to be readying a free or inexpensive version of Windows, perhaps to combat Apple's offering of OS X 10.9 "Mavericks" for free.
where is OS X heading?
This week in the MacNN Forums, a discussion was started about the direction that OS X might be headed after Mac Elite "PeterParker" posed the question "Do you think OS X will receive a radical redesign?" to fellow users. Forum-goers discuss what iPhone choice would be better, an iPhone with 16GB of storage or 32GB.
Hands-free voice search could hit public Chrome release in near future
Google has updated the beta version of the Chrome browser to add hands-free voice search, among other updates. Version 34 of the beta adds the same voice search functionality the company added to the Chromium browser last month, and allows users to search for items using the "OK Google" command, without needing to install an extension beforehand.
Tied to cracked downloads of popular software
A Mac trojan aimed at stealing Bitcoins -- known as OSX/CoinThief -- has been found attached to pirated copies of more mainstream apps, says security firm ESET. Initially the malware was bundled exclusively with Bitcoin-related tools, but ESET says it has now found CoinThief in cracked versions of titles like Angry Birds, BBEdit, Pixelmator, and Delicious Library.
All Nexus, Google Play Edition devices can download new launcher
Google has added the Google Now Launcher to the Play Store, allowing the software that first appeared on the Nexus 5 to be used on other devices. The free launcher, formerly known as the Google Experience Launcher, adds a number of features not offered in the original Android 4.4 launcher, including a dedicated Home Screen page for Google now, as well as performing hands-free voice searches by uttering "OK Google" before the search query.
Critical SSL security fix will be on majority of devices by next week
[Updated with more recent statistics from Chitika] One of Apple's biggest advantages over other mobile platforms is its ability to update its OS quickly, and more crucially -- particularly in the case of the rare security issue -- to deploy the update across all compatible devices rapidly, rather than have to wait weeks or months for carriers and partners to incorporate their own apps and other processes and "skins" into the fix. Updted stats from mobile ad analysts Chitika show that more than 25.9 percent of all North American iDevices were already running the latest version within four days of its release.
First Mac Pro-oriented update since December
Apple has posted a new download for owners of the 2013 Mac Pro, SMC Firmware Update 2.0. The patch lets a computer enter Power Nap without turning on the fan for "most" Power Nap activities, according to Apple. It also solves a problem with low-speed USB devices not being detected at boot.
Minor maintenance release
Apple has released a minor update for iTunes, v11.1.5. The new code mainly deals with a glitch related to syncing. It also, however, improves compatibility with iBooks for Mac for users of OS X Mavericks.
MacPhun software offers options to direct attention in photos
MacPhun software, known for its line of photo-editing software, has introduced a new version of its Mac-only photo-emphasis program Focus 2 with a new Pro version that can also be used as a plug-in as well as a standalone app. The upgrade adds a number of features over the more casual Focus 2, giving photographers more freedom to enhance or alter their work for emphasis and attention. MacNN has been testing the new Focus 2 Pro, and we like what we see.
Fixes issues with Gmail, Exchange, unread counts and more
A new report by TidBITS' Joe Kissell, author of the forthcoming Take Control of Apple Mail, says that Tuesday's release of OS X 10.9.2 makes great strides towards fixing the known issues with the rewritten version of Mail crafted for OS X Mavericks. As reported earlier, Apple released the update earlier today to address a number of issues, including a serious SSL vulnerability, as well as add FaceTime Audio calling and a new version of Safari among other changes.
Win a copy of Live Interior 3D Standard home and interior design software
Imagining a dream home is easy, but sometimes bringing that dream into reality can be a daunting task. Fortunately, the folks at BeLight Software have created Live Interior 3D Standard home and interior design software that helps bring those dreams to life. MacNN has teamed up with BeLight to give away 10 Mac App store redeem codes to our readers. Plus, at the close of the giveaway, we will be offering an exclusive 50 percent off discount for those who didn't win!
"Epic" security flaw
Recent news of a security flaw in iOS and OS X Mavericks that has compromised Wi-Fi VPN (now patched in a new system update) has sparked a discussion about the problem in the MacNN forums this week. Today, Moderator "Thorzdad" took to the forums after trying to install the iOS update to fix the above mentioned security flaw, and saw that it was going to take six hours. Wondering if this was normal, he started the thread titled "iOS-7 a six-hour download?"
SSL fix present but undocumented
(Updated with Safari, security updates for Lion, Mountain Lion) Following a long beta-testing period, Apple has released the finished v10.9.2 update for owners of OS X Mavericks. The software primarily adds support for FaceTime audio calls in both the FaceTime app and Messages. The two apps have also gained contact blocking, allowing people to screen out individual users.
Compression utility software company releases beta of ZipShare web app
WinZip, the maker of the popular file compression utility, has introduced a beta version of its new web app. Named ZipShare, the cloud platform lets users 'zip' and share files from a hard drive or from cloud storage providers. The service will also feature file management, encryption, and file sharing, and is designed to work like a plug-in to various cloud platforms. Currently in beta, a commercial launch is planned for later this spring, with basic file sharing available at no cost and varying service levels available at a monthly rate starting at $10.
Update expected to include FaceTime improvements, fix for SSL vulnerability
Apple has started seeding a pre-release version of OS X 10.9.2 to some of its own staff, sources tell AppleInsider. The code is listed as build 13C64, and is thought to foreshadow an imminent public release. Significantly the update is said to include a number of important changes, including the ability to block individuals in Messages, audio calls and call waiting for FaceTime, and a promised fix for SSL security.
Software takes phones with power, Wi-Fi to calculate complex problems
At the Mobile World Congress, Phone manufacturer HTC has unveiled an initiative to allow idle Android smartphones -- connected to a power source and networked by Wi-Fi simultaneously -- to use processing time to solve computing problems suitable for solution on a massively parallel computing cluster. HTC claims that using the "Power to Give" program, the combined power of one million idle HTC One phones add up to a one-petaflop supercomputer, which, if indexed, would place it around 35th on the top 500 supercomputers in operation today.
Opera Software launches mobile internet packages sponsored to cover customer cost
Opera Software has announced the launch of its Sponsored Web Pass product, offering mobile Internet packages to consumers that provide free data. Operators can team up with advertisers to sponsor the cost of customers' mobile Internet access, in time- or content-based increments. By watching a short ad from a corporate sponsor prior to viewing selected content, users can then engage with the content in their (free) Web Pass for its duration. When the Sponsored Web Pass expires, users are given the opportunity to opt-out of continuing using data. Operators interested in utilizing Opera's Web Pass can contact Opera Software.
OS X said be vulnerable to same style of attack, patch to come
On February 21, Apple released a patch for iOS bringing iOS 7 and 6 to versions 7.06 and 6.16 (respectively), with little fanfare as to why the patch was issued. However, it now appears to have had more to it than a simple fix to SSL connections. The release notes mentioned a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) vulnerability for "an attacker with a privileged network," meaning that a flaw in the SSL implementation could conceivably allow for a "man-in-the-middle" attack as uncovered by ZDNet.
Microsoft announces roll out of Office 365's message encryption e-mail service
Microsoft announced this week on its Office blog that the company's Office 365 Message Encryption email service is now available. Originally announced in November 2013, consumers can now purchase a subscription for Windows Azure Rights Management to begin using the message encryption service; however, current users of Office 365 will also have access. Providing protection against unauthorized access, Office 365 Message Encryption is an enhanced version of Exchange Hosted Encryption (EHE).
WhatsApp experiences server problems today
Mobile messaging app WhatsApp has experienced issues with its servers today, days after being purchase by Facebook for $19 billion in a cash-and-stock deal. Users began to report experiencing outages around 11AM PT. WhatsApp acknowledged on Twitter that server issues are to blame, and that attempts were being made to recover service.