MacNN and Electronista deals for May 5, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, the weekday post where the staff of MacNN and Electronista trawl online retailers for offers, sales, discounts, and more for you, the discerning reader. A recap of still-active deals from yesterday follows after today's new batch, which includes a $100 Lenovo Windows tablet, a refurbished Sony NEX camera, and a Bluetooth car stereo receiver.
Apple Maps Connect adds five European countries, allows businesses to update listings
The expansion of Apple Maps Connect, a service that allows developers and business owners to manage and expand current Apple Maps listings, continues. Yesterday, the company added five more countries to its list of European nations able to use the service: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands, and Sweden. The Maps Connect feature adds business and indoor information drawn from Apple Maps' iBeacon-based Indoor Mapping initiative to help businesses offer a more complete profile on themselves.
Official program will authorize third-party accessories; bands, chargers, more
Apple has officially expanded the "Made for i" program that already covers authorized accessories for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch to include the Apple Watch. While the program mostly focuses on allowing third-party bands to correctly work with the new device, accessory makers will soon be able to create other accessories such as USB chargers, protective cases, charging stands, and other items with the "Made for Apple Watch" designation that confers Apple's approval.
Action rooted in security, but poses issues for jailbroken devices
Continuing with recent custom, Apple has stopped "code-signing" iOS 8.2 for security reasons. The move, intended to protect users, does make downgrading back to earlier versions impossible, and prevents users with jailbroken devices in iOS 8.2 from updating. The code-signing procedure, which applies to both Apple and iOS or OS X developers, is designed to prevent malicious apps from masquerading as legit ones, or for outside parties to inject code into applications.
MacNN and Electronista deals for May 4, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, that time of the day where we search online for discounts, offers, and sales for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Since it's the start of a new week, we've wiped the slate clean of old deals, with the new list including a 40-inch Sony TV, Turtle Beach gaming headphones, and because of today's date, discounted Star Wars books on Kindle.
Twitter now optional to Meerkat, extra features added
Meerkat, the video streaming startup, is adding Facebook integration following Twitter's actions to restrict the app's popularity. The latest update, rolling out on iOS now with an update to the Android beta likely to follow, effectively frees the live video broadcasting service from Twitter entirely, making the linking of a Twitter name to an account an extra social networking option rather than core to its operation.
Alexa assistant can trigger commands in other apps via IFTTT
Amazon Echo network-connected speaker and Alexa virtual assistant has been updated with the ability to make and receive commands through If This Then That (IFTTT). The new Amazon Alexa IFTTT Channel allows users to set new commands or "recipes" for the device to follow, expanding its functionality to work with a large number of well-known online services.
Microsoft ends upgrades of Windows Media Center for next operating system
Windows Media Center will not form part of the upcoming release of Windows 10. Microsoft has no intentions of bringing the software over into its latest operating system, meaning that users who have it running on Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 will no longer be able to access it if they decide to accept the company's offer of a free upgrade to Windows 10.
AT&T finalizes acquisition of Nextel Mexico for $1.88 billion
AT&T has completed its acquisition of Nextel Mexico from NII Holdings. Approved by the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, overseeing the restructuring of NII Holdings, as well as Mexico's telecom regulator IFT, the transaction costs AT&T $1.88 billion and grants them the spectrum licenses, network assets, retail stores, and subscribers covered by the network. This is the second Mexico-related purchase completed by the carrier, having already acquired Iusacell.
MacNN and Electronista deals for May 1, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, the post where the staff of MacNN and Electronista scour online retailers for discounts, savings, sales, and money-off offers for you, the discerning reader. Today's last roundup of still-alive deals from earlier in the week comes along with a fresh batch of offers, including an entry-level DSLR from Nikon, half-price Sennheiser headphones, and a $750 MacBook Air
Mind mapping to project management in one go
The easiest way to describe iMindQ is to say that it is a mind-mapping application: you can jot down stray ideas, then sort them out, join them up into groups, and be sparked into thinking of more related ideas. Even the makers start by calling it mind mapping, but really this is something more than that.
In ambitious pursuit of a greater goal, the sleigh ride can become a rollercoaster
Over the past week, we've been having a picnic in the software graveyard of Apple's various revamps, do-overs, and outright murders of programs that sometimes suffered from having too small a niche to devote the time to (such as Aperture), sometimes got dumped by most users who outgrew them (iWeb), and occasions where Apple painted itself into a corner (iMovie, Final Cut Express, iDVD). Today, we conclude the series with the grand-daddy of Apple abandonware: AppleWorks.
One email, many people, job done
We've said that we think BusyContacts is the best address book software on the Mac, so here's some proof. One feature that we've found we keep coming back to is the ability to email a group of people. You can select a group in Apple's own Contacts, and you can choose that group in Mail, but we never did. It was a chore. Yet with BusyContacts, we do it a lot.
Initial preview of Windows 10 for Raspberry Pi can use some universal apps
Microsoft has brought a preview version of Windows 10 to the Raspberry Pi 2 microcomputer, but not the typical desktop version some were expecting. The Windows 10 Internet of Things (IoT) Core preview allows users to remotely access the components of the Raspberry Pi 2, as well as Intel's Minnowboard Max, with Microsoft also working with Arduino to get the operating system communicating with its hardware.
Following botched early update, iOS resumes usual pattern of quick adoption
Apple has updated its App Store distribution graph for developers, showing that iOS 8 has now been adopted by 81 percent of active iOS devices. The figure, which has risen two percent from the previous report in mid-April, reflects the overall improvements brought to the system since its initial release, as well as the wide compatibility of iOS 8, which goes back to 2011's iPad 2 and iPhone 4s. The rapid adoption rate continues to be a major platform advantage for developers.
MacNN and Electronista deals for April 30, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, the regular post where we search for discounts, sales, offers, and money off hardware and software for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Today's recap of still-active deals from earlier this week is accompanied by a new batch of deals, including a $400 4K television, HP EliteBook notebooks with hard drive and SSD options, and a $50 HP Envy printer.
Sometimes Apple creates solutions, sometimes it creates problems
In this penultimate installment of The Feature Thief, where we've been dissecting the corpses of several of Apple's self-created and then self-killed or revamped software apps, we thought we'd take a look at the latest victims. Aperture and iPhoto are the apps that have suffered most recently at Apple's sometimes-brilliant but generally ruthless tendency to kill off popular apps in favor of a bigger overall idea. Both programs are still alive and kicking, but they are like the old man greeting the baby New Year: suddenly graced with the realization of its own mortality.
Carbon Copy Cloner 4.1 enhances email notification setup, fixes bugs
Bombich Software's Carbon Copy Cloner has been upgraded to version 4.1. Major changes to the new revision include a new task progress window to the User Agent application, a contextual menu in the task list, improved volume display with large numbers of drives, enhanced email notifications through SMTP accounts installed in OS X Mail, and assorted bug fixes and refinements.
Got to shoot the zombies in the head, Bugsy, see?
As with many other things in life, first impressions count with games. We're taught not to judge a book by its cover, but it's something we nevertheless do so many times in our day-to-day life. However, once we look beyond the superficial, we have the potential to see something more valuable and meaningful than what may lie on the surface. Guns, Gore, and Cannoli (GGC, hereafter) is a run-and-gun side-scrolling action platforming shooting game that at first glance reminds us more of a Prohibition-era Metal Slug with zombies.
Future Windows 10 smartphones can offer larger work area with monitor connection via Continuum
Future smartphones running Windows 10 will be capable of performing some of the same tasks as desktop PCs when they are connected to a television, Microsoft has revealed. Demonstrated at Build, Continuum will allow mobile users to run some of the universal apps installed on their device on the larger display, giving them more space and freedom to work.
Fast, detailed hard disk monitoring utility
There's nothing better than checking out the state of your hard disk, and we've all spent many happy hours twiddling with a drive instead of getting on with our work. Yet those disks that we forget about will go wrong just about as certainly as they will fill up. Maybe they won't go wrong today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life. Usually that's the reason why you should have backups, and it still is, but it's now also a good reason to try out Disk Sensei. It's a quick and thorough utility that reports on the current health of your drives, as well as then taking steps to keep them running well.
Update brings CSS/SCSS language module, fixes, speed improvements
Bare Bones Software today announced the release and immediate availability of BBEdit 11.1, a significant update to its professional-strength HTML and text editor. The new version introduces built-in support for Git and for EditorConfig. In addition, the BBEdit 11.1 update also introduces a new CSS/SCSS language module, a new Arrange submenu, and a new Save All in Window command.
Project Spartan browser renamed as Edge, accepts Chrome, Firefox extensions
The incoming Windows 10 release was teased further at the Build developer conference, with Microsoft showing off more of what to expect from the operating system. New changes to the Cortana virtual assistant were previewed, while the Spartan browser replacement for Internet Explorer has been renamed Edge and given a few neat tricks its predecessor does not have.
Developers offered variety of ways to bring apps to Windows
Microsoft has used Build to reveal to developers what to expect when they develop apps for the incoming upgrade to Windows 10, both for mobile and desktops. More details about universal Windows apps was issued, as well as new ways for developers to create new apps or port existing apps from other platforms, including iOS and Android.
That time when Apple kicked off a revolution, then walked away
In the introduction and first two parts of this five-part series, we've talked mostly about occasions where Apple has taken a popular application and radically re-thought it -- sometimes causing great consternation at first, though usually this gives way to a genuinely beter program in the end. Sometimes, however, the company just up and cuts the legs off programs, and often without a clear explanation. There are lots of examples, but today we focus on one of Apple's most brutal murders: iWeb.
MacNN and Electronista deals for April 29, 2015
It's time for Daily Deals, when the staff of MacNN and Electronista search for sales, offers, discounts, and low-priced goods for you, the discerning reader. A recap of still-active deals follows after the new collection, which includes the MakerBot Replicator Mini, an empty QNAP NAS case, and a Seagate 5TB external USB 3.0 drive on the cheap.
Free version of Windows development suite heads to other platforms
Microsoft is bringing its Visual Studio suite to more platforms, the company announced at its Build conference keynote today. Visual Studio Code is a lightweight version of the long-standing code editing suite, with the new cross-platform version being made available in preview not only for Windows, but also OS X and Linux systems, and as a free download to developers.
Google Now integrations increase by 70 to 110
Google is increasing the number of cards in Google Now, after adding integrations with 70 more apps to the service, bringing the total number of integrations to 110. The new cards, which will be rolling out to Android users over the next few weeks, will include news notifications from ABC News and Feedly, food reminders from Eat24 and Allrecipes, fitness updates from Runkeeper and Jawbone, and playlist recommendations from Spotify and YouTube, among other new additions.
MacNN and Electronista daily deals for April 28, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, the weekday post where the staff of MacNN and Electronista scour online retailers for discounts, sales, offers, and bundles for you, the discerning reader. All of the deals from yesterday are still listed, and we've added a bunch for your perusal, with the new sale goodies including Ableplanet Travelers Choice headphones, the Lytro light field camera, and a HP Envy printer.
New QuarkXPress 2015 adds 64-bit, array of user-requested features
As expected, Quark Software has shipped QuarkXPress 2015. In version 2015 users will find fast 64-bit architecture, industry-verified PDF/X-4 output, fixed layout interactive (app-like) eBook production as well as an array of the most user-requested features. The software continues to be a perpetual license. QuarkXPress now offers dual activation, meaning it can be installed on up to two machines and across Mac and Windows platforms. QuarkXPress 2015 retails for $849, and discounted upgrades are available from versions of QuarkXPress back to version 3.
Apple loves video software, Apple hates video software
It's Day Two of The Feature Thief, the mini-series of columns examining just what in the world was in Apple's mind when it abandons years of development in favor of a shiny new application nobody likes. To be fair, though, it's also examining how sometimes that move was necessary, and often how it works out rather well or even superbly in the end. Once the furor has died down, and especially once Apple has put back some features it's dropped, we can often say that the new applications are better. Whether it's worth the ride getting there is a different question –– and whether you should jump ship to rival companies' products is another.
Video update to Facebook Messenger arrives one year after VOIP addition
Facebook is making its Messenger app more competitive against Skype and FaceTime, by adding video calling one year after it introduced free voice calls. The standalone Messenger app can now start a video call with other users from within any conversation, by tapping the camera icon, and allows for video calling sessions to work between different mobile platforms, including Android and iOS.
OS X, iOS betas open to registered beta testers, but no focus areas listed
In addition to the company's fiscal second quarter results released on Monday, the second betas of OS X, iOS, and Xcode were all released as well. Although each is the second beta offered to developers, in the case of iOS and OS X the release is the first offered to pre-registered beta testers -- though as with the first beta, no release notes indicating focus areas or known issues were released. The OS X and iOS betas come one and two weeks, respectively, after the most recent release.
Instagram adds three filters, emoji hashtag support to iOS, Android apps
Instagram has updated both the iOS and Android versions of the photo app with more filters. Lark desaturates reds and adds more to blues and greens for landscapes, Reyes adds a dusty layer to the image, and Juno tints cool tones green while making warmer tones pop. The app also introduces the option of using emoji when writing hashtags for images.
MacNN and Electronista deals for April 27, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, the weekday post where the staff of MacNN and Electronista scour online retailers for discounts, sales, offers, and bundles for you, the discerning reader. Since it is the start of a week, the deals slate has been wiped clean for new items, with the additions including the Google Chromecast, a Tascam digital audio recorder, and a Samsung 4TB external storage drive.
Spotlights on The Feature Thief mini-series, Amazon's sustainability, Deliveries app
If podcasts were eggs, The MacNN Podcast would be ready to deliver in a cardboard carton! We're up to episode 12, and we take a look at the top stories of the past week, including the retail debut -- such as it was -- of the Apple Watch, where a few select high-fashion stores did actually have stock to sell to walk-in customers. We also chat about the big industry news of the Time Warner-Comcast merger collapse, Randy Ubillos' retirement, and more.
Apple's office software gets a rebuild, with the previous one still functioning
Welcome to The Feature Thief, a mini-series of columns where we take a look at some of Apple's rollercoaster of change when it comes to software -- from apps that got a makeover to a sex change, or even some that just got tossed out entirely. Each day this week, we'll take a fairly recent example of each of the three types of sometimes-painful change users have been subjected to when Apple gets a new idea, what to do about it, and where to look for alternatives if necessary.
They've sent it, but you can't read it
Perhaps you haven't personally come across one yet, but there are one or two iPhones in the world. Yet despite their ubiquity, there are still people who don't have them, and who do email you attachments that iOS can't fathom. We don't mean the times when they send you a document made in an iOS application you don't happen to have. Often, you will need to get that app -- but if they send you an Excel file, for instance, and you haven't got that, then iOS 8 offers to open it in Numbers. Your iPhone works hard, but still there are attachments that stymie it.
Gaming news summary for April 26, 2015
The Game Replay is a twice-weekly look back at the more notable stories in the world of gaming from the last few days. Today's edition covers the potential cancellation of the next Silent Hill game, the launch of paid mods on Steam and the subsequent complaints, and a future Telltale game produced in collaboration with Marvel.
Text editor and outliner, all with Markdown
It's not as if you are stuck for applications to write in: whether you go for Microsoft Word or TextEdit, there are just about 40 different word processors for every man, woman and child on the planet. It's just that not many work in Markdown, which is a form of writing, a format, and a syntax that works well for the web. SmartDown is one of those, and it works very well.
Power file sorting tool that should be on every Mac
You don't hear enough about Hazel from Noodlesoft. Its simplest description is that it automatically does things for you to do with files and folders, it moves and renames and sorts them. Unfortunately, one reason you don't hear enough about it is that once you've set it up, you never have to think about it again. It just keeps right on doing its stuff. That's admirable, and it's also a shame for Noodlesoft, which should be lauded more. It's also a shame for you, because you genuinely forget that it's there when you could be using it for more and more.
In push to move forward, beloved bits and pieces sometimes fall to the wayside
Stop us if you've heard this one: Apple takes one of its key software applications, radically changes it, losing important features along the way. Existing users say Apple has dumbed down an app that was perfect, while new users say this is fantastic, they can finally understand the application. Flash forward a few months, and Apple has stealthily added back some or all of the features. We've seen this with iMovie and Final Cut Pro, we saw it with Pages, we are seeing it now with iPhoto turning into Photos. It is a well-worn path by Apple, and if we're not fans of the way they go about it, we are often fans of how these new applications turn out ... eventually.
New iMac problem, jpg editing on iPod Touch, more
Today in the MacNN forums, Forum Regular "Harvey" explained some troubling behavior with his eight-month old iMac and wonders if anyone else has experienced anything else like this on Yosemite. Also today, one Mac Elite was trying to figure out how to edit JPEG files on his new iPod Touch, and fellow forum-members began suggesting apps to use.
MacNN and Electronista deals for April 24, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, the regular post where we search online and offline retailers for discounts, offers, and sales on an array of hardware and software for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Today, we cover the still-active deals from throughout the week, while the new deals list includes a sub-$300 960GB SSD, the Pure Jongo T2 wireless speaker, and the Garmin Vivofit fitness band.
Deliveries makes us as happy as a new phone book makes Steve Martin
We've said it before in other venues, but it's worth repeating: when you become an adult, you get really excited over the strangest things. You know that part in the 1979 film The Jerk when Steve Martin's character jumps up and down yelling, "the new phone book is here! The new phone book is here!"? That was us when we tried out Deliveries: a package tracker by Junecloud. We tested Deliveries on an iPhone 5 and an iPad Mini 2, but there's also a Mac app, and everything syncs through iCloud.
Software development kit announcement includes round watch face imagery
The next smartwatch from Samsung is likely to have a round face, if a teaser image in a press release is to be believed. A release inviting developers to sign up for early access to a software development kit (SDK) for the manufacturer's "Next generation of the Gear device" has a supplementary image accompanying it, depicting a variety of round faces, strongly suggesting the watch will have one as well.
Engineering chief invented modern versions of iMovie, Final Cut Pro, iPhoto
As if on cue, Apple on Thursday announced a bug-fix update to its consumer video-editing program, iMovie, on the same day that the head of Apple's photo and video software teams, Randy Ubillos, announced his retirement. Ubillos, who has been with Apple for the past 20 years, has been the key engineer behind the modern versions of iMovie, Final Cut Pro, iPhoto, and Aperture -- and before joining Apple, was one of the team that created the Premiere video editing suite for Adobe.
Project management now on your iPhone
OmniOutliner is for everybody, OmniFocus is for most people, but OmniPlan is is for comparatively few. It and the graphics app OmniGraffle can therefore seem the least important of the four Omni applications that have now been brought to the iPhone but if you do use OmniPlan, this is big news. If you don't but you are a project manager, it's big enough that you should take a hard look at OmniPlan.
New filters style, enhance video like filters for photographs
For more than 70 years, Tiffen has been a leading manufacturer of professional filters for photography and film. Generally, their premium glass filters are the first thing that comes to mind for anyone who hears the name "Tiffen." These filters would need to be applied at the time the photos or videos were being shot, but now in the digital age they can be applied in the post-production world as well with Tiffen's Dfx filter packs. Earlier this year, an update to version 4.0 was released, and we got our hands on a set to see what changes have been made.
Apple plans store in Cologne, Germany, hangs mural for new Miami store
Apple appears to be constructing a second, but thus far unannounced, Apple Store in Cologne, Germany, report enthusiast sites Macerkopf and Apfelpage. Photos taken from a building opposite the proposed site on Schildergasse appear to show the company's trademark long wooden tables and some remaining renovation work for the forthcoming glass staircase. The store would not be expected to open until this fall.