Aborted 8.0.1 update made users gun-shy; 8.1 picks up pace
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).
Profiles still suffering from CPU issues
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.
Court orders spyware creator to pay fine, hand over source code
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.
Backup-oriented cloud service offers unmatched prices, options
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.
LG G3 rollout of Android Lollipop commences in South Korea
LG has continued its roll out the Android 5.0 update for the G3 smartphone, albeit just in South Korea. Following an initial rollout in Poland, the Lollipop firmware update in the company's home country is a good sign for the update's overall progress, though BGR notes that there has yet to be any confirmation of any other international updates, nor what other devices will be upgraded to Lollipop in the near future.
Companies look to exploit end of Google contract
Yahoo and Microsoft are courting Apple in hopes of becoming the default search provider for the Safari web browser, a report says. Apple renewed a mapping and search partnership with Google in 2010, but that contract is set to expire next year, which could give other companies an entry point. Both Yahoo and Microsoft executives are said to have approached Eddy Cue -- Apple's senior VP for Internet Software and Services -- about a potential deal. So far though there's no sign that Apple has made a decision, and indeed it could choose to remain with Google.
Moleskine unveils iPhone 6 case that features its iconic notebook style
Moleskine has announced the release of an iPhone 6 case, featuring style attributes of its simple notebook. The black case features a book style cover, held closed by a Moleskine elastic band, and its inside front pocket can store an extra small Moleskine Volant journal, as well as business cards, credit cards and more. Its interior includes padded suede lining, and inner rubberized shell keeps the iPhone 6 protects while still allowing access to all ports, buttons, speakers and cameras. Priced at $37, the Moleskine iPhone case is available online.
All-in-one video studio supports Mac, Windows
FXHome has released Hitfilm 3 Pro, a new edition of its combination editing/effects suite for OS X and Windows. The software's interface has been redesigned, for example gaining a new editing timeline intended to keep every tool close by. It should be possible to rapidly switch between the editor and and several 3D compositing timelines. Users have access to 20 new effects, a 16-bit OpenEXR pipeline, and background proxying for more complex effects work.
Versions of WordPress from 3.0 up to 3.9.2 were discovered to contain a security vulnerability through the comment features on the site, making a large number of installs and servers vulnerable to attack. The bug was discovered by Jouko Pynnonen of the Finnish IT company Klikki Oy, indicating that the bug went unchecked for more than four years since it was introduced with version 3.0 in June 2010.
Patriot upgrades LX Series of SDXC, microSDXC cards
Ecamm has announced the release of its Call Recorder for FaceTime, available for download on the company's own site. Allowing users to record FaceTime audio and video calls directly to one's Mac, Call Recorder can record manually or automatically. Recordings of FaceTime chats, podcasts and interviews record footage side-by-side in HD resolution. Calls handed off from an iPhone can also be captured. Available as a seven day free trial, the full version of Call Recorder for FaceTime is priced at $30.
MacNN and Electronista deals for November 24, 2014
Welcome to the second installment of Monday Deals, which we will be running throughout the holiday shopping period. While it is just four more days until shoppers become uncivilized and argue over who gets to buy the last of a heavily-discounted product, 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 at a later reading, so check before purchasing. Also, check back on this post in the coming days, as more deals will be added as time goes on.
Evernote for OS X releases updates for Yosemite
Evernote has released a major update for its OS X app, bringing support for Yosemite. Over-all performance speed has been improved, introducing a redesigned interface with a lighter color theme, and new icons. Users now have more control over tables they create, with new color and style customizations available. Notes can be searched for via OS X's Spotlight function, and sending notes to others can now be done while remaining in the app. Many bug fixes and crashing issues have also been resolved in the latest app iteration. Evernote is free to download, with premium subscriptions available.
Server hosts audio, video for streaming
Developer Squirrels has released AirParrot 2, a major upgrade to its AirPlay-based screen- and media-sharing software. The new version enables full-screen mirroring to Chromecasts, including audio. Full-screen mirroring was previously limited to a rough beta in Google's Cast plugin for Chrome.
MacNN and Electronista deals for November 21, 2014
Black Friday is just one week away, and veteran shoppers are probably dreading the prospect of facing off against a deal-seeking mob shouting at each other over discounted electronics in the near future. Today's Friday Deals post, just as with previous Fridays and now every Monday until the end of the year, aims to provide you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader, early deals from retailers from the comfort of your home, without going near the intimidating (and likely plague-ridden) mass of shoppers. As usual, all prices are correct at the time of publication, but may not be valid at a later time. We're going to update this post many, many times over the next three days. Check back often!
Minimalist note-taking app uses Apple's new Widget technology
At this point, there's a good chance that most iPhone users are using their devices to quickly jot down notes and reminders on the fly. It's extremely convenient, especially since most people keep their phones on them nearly all the time. However, there are times when a user has so little time to take notes, that going through the process of unlocking their phone and digging for the app they need is simply too cumbersome. That's the exact problem that Neato, by Mohammad Khoman, is trying to remedy.
Google Play Music All Access subscribers gain YouTube Music Key access
Google has rolled out its YouTube Music Key service to existing Google Play Music All Access subscribers. While the YouTube Music Key launch revealed its users automatically enrolled into the Google Play Music subscription, Google revealed yesterday that Music All Access users were also able to use Music Key as part of their existing subscription. The Google Play Music app has also been updated on Android, providing options to watch the music video with certain tracks.
First beta comes with known problem, but no focus areas for testing
Just days after issuing the OS X Yosemite 10.10.1 update that has reportedly fixed a raft of Wi-Fi and Mail issues (but not all of them), the company has seeded the first beta of 10.10.2 for developer. The new build, 14C68k, is now available through the Yosemite Software Update mechanism or Apple's developer portal. The release notes for the beta curiously do not mention any focus areas, but do warn testers of a known flaw in opening documents from iCloud Drive.
Calls, texts, appointments will appear on Basis Peak display
The Basis Peak, a fitness tracker launched in September, will soon gain some extra smartwatch-style functionality. The tracker from the Intel-owned company will be able to show notifications from a connected smartphone on its monochrome display, while another change will let the wearable device pass heart rate data to other fitness-related mobile apps.
Store access granted to developers despite lack of Google Play Store in China
Google is now accepting apps created by developers based in China on the Google Play Store. While the change now allows for developers in the country to sign up as merchants for Google's Android app marketplace, distributing the apps to users in more than 130 countries, the apps themselves will not be available in China itself, as Google Play does not currently operate there.
Briefly: AnyAngle iPad case, Red Giant Universe 1.3
Logitech has announced the introduction of a new protective case in its suite of tablet products, the Logitech AnyAngle for iPad Air 2 and iPad mini. Featuring an integrated, hidden hinge, the case holds an iPad at any angle within a 50-degree range, keeping that angle in place without tipping or sliding. The stand folds behind the iPad as to create a minimalist appearance, and magnets also secure the stand and assist in holding an angled position. The has a rubberized frame that protects the tablet from accidental bumps and drops, and its hidden magnets keep the case securely closed as to prevent scratches and cracks. Available in a variety of colors, the AnyAngle case will be available this month for $60.
Match-3 game with RPG elements makes for enjoyable casual game
It's not unusual for games to try and break out of being confined to a single category. More and more, we find games that try very hard to incorporate the best of two or more types of games. We tend to see this in Real Time Strategy games (RTSs) a lot, as they combine rogue-like or RPG elements. But there are other games that are making headway in the cross-genre arena. Gunspell, by Ino-Сo Plus, touts itself as a cross-genre title, combining elements of both RPGs and puzzles.
Milk Video aggregates clips from Vice, Red Bull, Funny or Die
Samsung is adding to the list of apps exclusive to Galaxy smartphones, and taking on established video hosting services like YouTube, with its own video streaming app. Milk Video, following after the Milk Music service, aims to provide access to curated and automatically created playlists aggregated from various content partners.
Time management desktop app successfully improves concentration
We all feel it, especially those of us working from home -- there is never enough time to get stuff done. Or, perhaps more accurately, there is not enough time in a day to get everything done that you should ... while also procrastinating with endless sources of distraction an Internet-connected computer has to offer. Enter Vitamin-R 2, an app for OS X (and also available for iPhone) that asserts that it can promote the optimal conditions for your brain by structuring your work into short bursts of distraction-free, highly-focused activity alternating with opportunities for renewal, reflection and intuition.
Joined by Camera Raw 8.7
Adobe has released the final incarnation of Lightroom 5.7, an update to its photography workflow software. The most important addition is a promised migration tool for people switching from Aperture or iPhoto, though it does not bring in all data. Apple is slowly discontinuing Aperture and iPhoto in favor of a new Photos app for OS X Yosemite and iOS in 2015, and while Photos will be able to import Aperture libraries more fully, the program may not provide the professional-level features of something like Lightroom.
Trusted Places automatically unlocks smartphone at specific locations
Android devices running the latest version of the operating system will be able to unlock automatically in specific locations, via a security option slowly rolling out on Google Play Services. Available on hardware running Android Lollipop, the Trusted Places feature will keep a smartphone or tablet unlocked while within a predefined geographic area.
Netflix launching video streaming service in Australia, New Zealand from March
Netflix is planning to expand its service to Australia and New Zealand from early next year. Starting from March 2015, the streaming video service will be available in the two countries, complete with 4K video playback with compatible devices, though The Next Web notes the inclusion of "a curated selection" in the announcement points to a more limited TV show and movie collection at launch than in other territories.
Release breaks all 32-bit extensions, offers faster startup and memory management
Originally announced in August, Google has now released Chrome 39 for OS X, the first version of the browser that is fully 64-bit. In addition to some 42 security fixes and new APIs, the new version now requires all extension developers update their extensions to 64-bit, as 32-bit extensions are no longer supported. The change will result in a lot of existing Chrome extensions "breaking" for most users, at least temporarily.
Smartwatch app offers retailers code to accept PayPal payment
PayPal is filling out its roster of apps for mobile payments by smartwatch, with the launch of its first Pebble app. Available to download from the Pebble App Store, the PayPal app allows the wearer to make payments in stores directly from the watch, without needing to bring out their payment card or having to interact with the smartphone PayPal app.
End-to-end encryption added in Android messaging app, adds TextSecure support
Those that love privacy, but have security concerns about using a messaging platform to stay in contact with friends and family, have a new app to look forward to. It was unveiled today that the most recent build of WhatsApp for Android features end-to-end encryption for messages, enabled by default (similar to what Apple's iMessage and FaceTime have offered for years). With the addition of the strong encryption, WhatsApp is now suspected to be the largest messaging service in circulation with end-to-end encryption active.
8.2 release enables testing of Apple Watch apps
Apple is now seeding two important releases to developers, beginning with the first iOS 8.2 beta. The only mentioned addition is support for the Apple Watch, granting Watch apps the ability to access data from a paired iPhone. "You can also enhance your Watch app by providing two optional Apple Watch interfaces that give users timely, high-value information: A Glance provides a screenful of meaningful information related to a Watch app," Apple's release notes read. "As its name implies, a Glance displays information that users can absorb instantly, without interaction; in fact, tapping a Glance on Apple Watch launches your Watch app.
Sophisticated malware used forged enterprise provisioning to enter iOS through OS X
Apple's iOS, when un-jailbroken, is so resistant to malware that three Chinese suspects had to come up with an exceedingly clever method of delivering the "WireLurker" threat to the company's mobile devices. On Monday, Chinese officials announced they had arrested the three suspects, and shut down the servers hosting the malware. The threat was never widespread because of the elaborate nature of the scheme and its China-only focus, but it was one of the few malwares able to get onto un-jailbroken iOS devices.
Yosemite update fixes serious Wi-Fi issues
Apple has released simultaneous updates for OS X Yosemite and iOS 8. OS X 10.10.1 for Mac copes mainly with significant bugs, such as a glitch with Wi-Fi that would cause a system to repeatedly disconnect. It also solves problems with sending Mail messages, displayed updates at the Mac App Store, Mac minis not waking from sleep, and disappearing items like Actions, sharing services, and Notification Center widgets.
Spotify Premium subscribers can control Uber audio system during ride
Spotify is partnering with Uber, allowing passengers of the taxi app to play their choice of music via the cab's built-in audio system. At the same time as the audio announcement, it appears that code within the Spotify app itself points toward the future introduction of a podcasting service, alongside another unknown feature given the name "Magic."
Productivity app DropTask uses bubble-based Visual View of task assignments
Telecommuting is anything but rare these days, and for many people who have to work remotely on group tasks, it often becomes somewhat of a chore to try to stay in contact. Often, users are chained to computers or constant conference calls. DropTask by Think Productivity has a clever solution, allowing users to share a space within an app, where everyone is able to see the progress of the project from wherever they are.
Release of new OmniGraffle 6.1 includes Yosemite update, new tool options
The Omni Group has released its latest version of OmniGraffle, a graphic document editing app for OS X. Allowing users to create graphic documents efficiently, lines stay connected to shapes even when they're moved in the new version, while style and organization tools finish off a diagram that is simplistic or technically in-depth. OmniGraffle 6.1 offers a new user interface, as well as the ability to detach inspectors into their own floating panels. New fill effects, stroke and shadow types, and support for the Visio 2013 format are all included. Requiring OS X Yosemite to run, OmniGraffle is priced at $100.
Fixes Swift, Interface Builder, other components
Apple is now seeding a gold master version of Xcode 6.1.1 to developers, listed as build 6A2006. The update is a relatively minor one, dealing with bugfixes for Xcode Server, Interface Builder, and handling of Apple's Swift programming language. It can be downloaded through the official OS X developer portal.
iPad mini rants, Siri fails and more
Yesterday in the MacNN forums, Grizzled Veteran "chasg" needed to rant about how he is beginning to hate his iPad mini for a variety of reasons, and a few others have chimed in with some advice on how to reconcile the relationship, and make things right again. Forum-goers continue to discuss which of the new iPhones are best in the thread titled "iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus?"
Walmart attempts to retain holiday sales by price matching Amazon
Walmart stores will soon offer price matching against Amazon product listings, in time for the holiday shopping period. Managers at the retailers stores have been informed of the policy change, formalizing a practice already being conducted at half the stores according to Reuters, with the ultimate aim of encouraging customers to continue visiting its stores rather than shopping online.
Camera RAW, Thunderbolt Display firmware, Safari, Epson printers
On Thursday, Apple issued a number of new builds of Safari for the last three versions of OS X, a new firmware update for the current Thunderbolt Display, an update to Camera RAW, and updates for printer drivers for Epson printers. The Thunderbolt Display firmware update covers a "rare" issue that can cause some displays to go dark, according to the company. The update, to version 1.2, also brings "improved reliability when connecting external displays to the display."
Paid conferencing service from BlackBerry works with up to 25 participants
BlackBerry made another business-related announcement at its Enterprise event, one which involves multi-platform messaging. BBM Meetings lets users set up a voice or video conferencing session with multiple other users, with the service covering BlackBerry 10, iOS, and Android mobile devices, as well as computers running OS X and Windows.
Cross-device copying and pasting, tablet settings now accessible though the cloud
Graphics tablet and stylus manufacturer Wacom announced the launch of its cloud-based services today, Dropzone and Control Room. The new pieces of cloud software expand on the ability of Wacom owners to access settings and photos from any location with an Internet connection, across OS X, Windows and iOS operating systems.
Combination of Samsung Knox and BES12 said to provide end-to-end security
BlackBerry is working with Samsung to make its Android devices more secure for corporate users, the manufacturer has revealed. The partnership, which will be offered to enterprise customers from early next year, will see Samsung's Knox working in tandem with Blackberry Enterprise Service 12 (BES12), in order to provide a "tightly integrated, end-to-end secure solution" for communications.
Bluetooth LE-based Samsung Proximity pushes marketing, information to mobile devices
Samsung is taking on Apple's iBeacon, with its own location awareness system. Dubbed Proximity, Samsung's system is billed as a context-aware "mobile marketing platform," allowing retailers and other companies to push marketing messages and other content to a customer's smartphone or tablet whenever they are within range of one of the beacons.
Messaging service issuing notices, wants users to 'stop using unauthorized apps'
Ephemeral picture messaging service Snapchat said this week that it's cracking down on the use of third-party applications. The move comes a month after a database of photos originating from Snapchat was leaked online, reportedly coming from a third-party service that allowed users circumvent the self-destructing feature of the platform.
Flow shares notifications, app data between collection of networked devices
Samsung used its Developer Conference to reveal a system for allowing notifications and data to be shared between a collection of different devices. Similar to Apple's Continuity, Samsung Flow will allow users to move relevant information between smartphones, tablets, computers, smart televisions, and other network-connected devices with displays.
WTF, memory leak in Messages?
Today in the MacNN forums, Clinically Insane member "turtle777" was bashing their head against the wall trying to figure out why the Messages app seems to have sprung a memory leak which took up more than 50GB, and brought his iMac to a halt. Forum Regular "imdipped" was trying to figure out how to get rid of their Master Boot Record formatting, and do a clean install of Mavericks.
All versions of Windows in last 19 years affected by Secure Channel bug
A 19-year-old vulnerability has been discovered, affecting every version of Windows dating back to Windows 95. The issue, discovered in May by IBM researchers, allowed for attackers to remotely execute code when a specific webpage is visited with Internet Explorer, bypassing a number of protection mechanisms in the operating systems.
Pixel graphic rogue-like tower defense hybrid offers steep learning curve
Newcomer roguelike dungeon-defense game, Dungeon of the Endless by Amplitude Studios, was released to Steam in late October. Promising to be a challenging game, we took a look at it to see what it really had to offer. Like most roguelikes, Dungeon of the Endless is a pretty difficult game. Players are essentially told just enough to get them started, and then left to figure out the rest on their own. The whole situation mostly revolves around playing, dying, reworking the strategy, playing again, and probably dying again. That doesn't mean that the game isn't any fun -- there's something to be said for a game that makes a player work for the victory.
Adidas Photo Print app allows for customization of sneakers using photographs
Adidas is letting US sneaker enthusiasts customize a pair of shoes with a mobile app, something it has offered in Europe for a few months already. Pocket-Lint reports the Photo Print app for Android and iOS can take an image from the user's smartphone and apply it to a pair of ZX Flux sneakers. The custom shoes take between four and six weeks to ship, priced at $110.
Chromecast games use smartphones as controllers for on-TV gaming
The latest wave of Chromecast additions includes a number of family-friendly games, Google has revealed. In time for the holidays, the streaming HDMI dongle now has a wider selection of games available to play, using smartphones and tablets as the main interface, alongside two more channels for streaming movies and TV shows.