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Hands On: Brushstroke (iOS)

1 minute ago | Posted in: iPhone apps, iPad apps

There's a good chance that everyone reading this, at one point or another, has seen those "turn a picture into a painting or sketch" apps that were making the rounds a few years ago. More often than not, these ended up looking like nothing more than poorly Photoshopped images, which was essentially what they were. We checked out Brushstroke by Code Organa to see if it managed to improve on the technology.



Briefly: Sprint targets T-Mobile customers, T-Mobile Score! discounts

2 hours ago | Posted in: mobile phones

Sprint is refocusing its trade-in offer directly against main rival T-Mobile. Running until April 9, Sprint will offer T-Mobile customers a minimum instant trade-in value of $200 for their smartphone if they transfer their number over. Sprint is also allowing the offer to work alongside another granting up to $350 per line to cover early termination fees or installment billing balances.



Adobe updates Flash again due to critical security flaw

10 hours ago | Posted in: security, software, hacks

Adobe has again had to issue an update to the browser plug-in version of Flash due a critical flaw in the program that allows remote attackers to take over un-updated Macs or PCs, the latter running either Windows or Linux. The company urges users to update to the latest version, first issued on Friday, that patches the problem -- however, all previous versions should be considered at risk, and there are not yet any Chrome browser or standalone updaters available.



Weekly Game Replay: Guild Wars 2 expansion, Battlefield Hardline data

13 hours ago | Posted in: gaming

Every Sunday, Electronista and MacNN put together an all-in-one article for some of the bigger news from the game industry in the previous week. In this week's edition of the Weekly Game Replay, we look at Guild Wars 2's recently-announced expansion, new details on Electronic Art's Battlefield Hardline, the physical release of Dying Light being delayed outside of North America, The Elder Scrolls Online's name change and new payment structure, Robotoki's shutdown, hiatus for Human Element, and Dontnod's newest game in development.



Friday Deals: Lenovo Z50, Vizio 49-inch Smart TV, Transparent [U]

14 hours ago | Posted in: computers, gadgets, software

[Updated Sunday with more deals!] Welcome to the latest edition of Friday Deals, the post where we search for great deals on hardware, software, gadgets, and other items for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. As per normal, the prices for offers listed are correct at the time of posting, but may change in the meantime, so check before buying. Remember to check this post in the future, as more deals will be added to the list throughout the weekend.



Hands On: Alfred 2 (OS X)

23 hours ago | Posted in: computers, software

It's only right and proper to review Alfred 2 in a column called Hands On, because that's its entire point: with this installed, you can do just about anything on your Mac without ever once taking your fingers off the keyboard. As much as the mouse and the trackpad changed the world, every time you use them you are losing time. Yes, it's probably only about a second, but that's enough: your concentration moves to where-is-the-mouse and then where-is-the-cursor before it can get back to the work at hand. With Alfred 2, your fingers will remember keyboard shortcuts like muscle memory, and you will feel you are hugely faster at everything.



Hands On: iWatermark+ (OS X, iOS, Android, Windows)

Sat January 24, 2015 | Posted in: software, digital imaging, iPad apps

This is impressive. Watermarking your photographs so that at least you have your name on them if they get used online is not precisely the most thrilling job in the world, but iWatermark+ comes pretty close to making it enjoyable. There are limits: you'd rather be creating the images than sitting around putting copyright notices on them, but that's the thing about iWatermark+: it does what it does so quickly, and so well, that you can get back to your proper job sooner.



Google Fiber's expansion pegged to be Research Triangle, NC

Sat January 24, 2015 | Posted in: networking

According to "industry sources," Google's next fiber construction is slated for both the Research Triangle in Raleigh-Durham and the Charlotte area in North Carolina. Google has sent out invititations to press in the area for Wednesday and Thursday for an unspecified event, which has been pegged as the official announcement of the project. The high-speed fiber-optic network is in Kansas City now, and is expanding into Provo, Utah, and somewhat problematically, into Austin, Texas.



Hands On: Jumping Finn Turbo (iOS)

Sat January 24, 2015 | Posted in: gaming, iPhone apps, iPad apps

Adventure Time has been receiving critical acclaim and praise from the masses for years, and with good reason. The cartoon is smart, silly, and surprisingly deep. Fans of Adventure Time can rejoice, as Heavy Boat has brought gaming based off the Cartoon Network show to mobile platforms with Jumping Finn Turbo.



High-Rely NetSwap Mini+E NAS brings Core i3, block-level encryption

Sat January 24, 2015 | Posted in: computers, upgrades/storage, networking

US-based backup and disaster recovery hardware company Highly Reliable Systems has announced the immediate availability for their two-bay NetSwap Mini+E backup NAS server appliance, which includes replication, two removable drive trays, and hardware-based encryption. The High-Rely NetSwap Mini+E backup NAS series comes equipped with a powerful 3.4GHz Intel Core i3-4130 processor, capable of block-level AES-256 data encryption.


MO lawmaker proposes requiring ID for Google Wallet, Apple Pay sales

Sat January 24, 2015 | Posted in: security, Apple

A St. Louis, Missouri governmental official sees weakness in electronic payment security, and is seeking to mandate identification presentation in conjunction with an Apple Pay transaction, or other similar electronic payments. Democrat Joshua Peters from Missouri's state House of Representatives bill will, if passed into law, not only mandate sales staff to verify the identity of the purchaser, but retain this information as well.



Hands On: Kaspersky Internet Security (OS X)

Sat January 24, 2015 | Posted in: security, software

Look, it's not that Macs are completely free of risk, but we're not running Windows here. One of the advantages of our platform of choice is that it isn't so riddled with viruses, that there aren't so many malicious applications that you need third-party security software just to be able to sleep at night and work in the day. Macs currently face no known virus threats, and almost no malware (apart from a recent scourge of "adware" that attacks both Mac and Windows web browsers, and the ongoing issues with Flash and Java). So what's the point of a OS X "anti-virus" program like Kaspersky Internet Security?



Apple poaches second Burberry exec for Watch rollout

Fri January 23, 2015 | Posted in: industry, Apple

Apple has once again lured a top executive from UK fashion retailer Burberry: following the hiring a year ago of former CEO Dame Angela Ahrendts, the company has brought in former Vice President of Digital and Interactive Design Chester Chipperfield from Burberry to work with the "Special Projects" group at Apple, which is likely to involve the forthcoming Apple Watch. The company also recently hired one of Burberry's social media executives, Musa Tariq, as it continues to build a team of expert fashion merchandisers.



Briefly: Blue Hummingbird launches, Yamaha AG03, AG06 mixers revealed

Fri January 23, 2015 | Posted in: audio

Blue unveiled its Hummingbird Class A small-diaphragm microphone at NAMM. Based on the Blue B1's cardioid capsule, the Hummingbird has a head that rotates 180 degrees, measures just 70mm (6.7 inches) tall, and offers a signal-to-noise ratio of 85.5dB-A and a maximum sound pressure level of 130dB. Shipping later this spring, the Hummingbird will cost $300.



Apple takes majority of US phone activations in Q4

Fri January 23, 2015 | Posted in: iPhone, Investor, industry, mobile phones, Apple

Apple's share of the US mobile phone market has nearly doubled following the release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 in October, a new study has revealed. The report, by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, finds that the iPhone went from 28 percent of the market in the July-to-September quarter to just over 50 percent in the final three months of the year, an improvement even over the same time the year before, when the iPhone 5s was released.



Microsoft updates Windows 10 Technical Preview with Cortana

Fri January 23, 2015 | Posted in: software

Microsoft has made the latest version of its Windows 10 Technical Preview available to download by the participants of the Windows Insider program. The update introduces some of major features shown off during this week's Windows 10 event, with the Spartan browser and the Xbox One game streaming expected to arrive in Insider builds closer to launch.


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Previous News

First HomeKit-ready products may not ship until spring

Fri January 23, 2015 | Posted in: iPhone, industry, Apple

The first home automation products based on Apple's HomeKit platform probably won't ship until spring, sources say. Reports note, for instance, that specifications weren't issued to chipmakers until October, and that the MFI licensing program for HomeKit only began in November. More recently, chipmaker Broadcom has been working with some customers to develop HomeKit devices using an existing chip design, in lieu of it having fully-certified software ready.


Forums: Mac Pro update in 2015, iPad tips and more

Fri January 23, 2015 | Posted in: computers, troubleshooting, software, upgrades/storage, Apple, iPad

The updated Mac Pro has now been available for purchase for a little over a year, and one Fresh-Faced Recruit started a discussion this week in the MacNN forums, asking when we might expect an update, as he is considering buying one. Today, the conversation continues in the thread titled "signs your iMac is on its last legs".


Apple Deals: 5K iMacs and Mac Pros

Fri January 23, 2015 | Posted in: computers, Apple

This week, Apple's online store finally began offering 5K iMacs, and continues to have a few Mac Pros available on the refurbished shelf. The refurb'd Retina iMac with a 3.5GHz Intel quad-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB Fusion Drive has seen a $380 discount to $2,119. For $2,549 is the refurbished 27-inch Retina iMac with a 3.5GHz processor, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of flash storage.


DealNN: $140 off Dell 23.8-inch widescreen LED monitor

Fri January 23, 2015 | Posted in: computers, peripherals, upgrades/storage

This week at, get the Dell 23.8-inch widescreen LED backlight LCD monitor on sale for $230. That's a price break of $120 off of the list price of $350, and until January 29, use coupon code EMCAKNP44 to drop the price again to $210. That combo of discounts makes this the lowest price we have seen on this monitor by $35. This monitor offers 1080p resolution, 8ms response time, 178-degree viewing angles, and a variety of inputs including HDMI, DisplayPort, MiniDisplayPort, as well as USB.


OS X 10.10.2 to fix two vulnerabilities uncovered by Google

Fri January 23, 2015 | Posted in: security, troubleshooting, software, developer, Apple

OS X 10.10.2, still in beta, fixes a pair of zero-day exploits uncovered by Google's Project Zero, reports say. The Project Zero team has newly-published data relating to three OS X vulnerabilities, in accordance with a 90-day disclosure policy; Apple was informed of them in October. One is believed to have already been fixed in OS X Yosemite as of January 8, but in theory the remaining two could be used to attack v10.10.1 users.


Apple, Google, Rdio, Sony sued over pre-1972 music royalties

Fri January 23, 2015 | Posted in: industry, Apple

A new lawsuit has targeted Google, Rdio, Sony, and Apple (including Beats Music) over the music royalties associated with pre-1972 recordings, new reports say. Zenbu Magazines, which owns copyrights on many pre-1972 songs, says that the companies have been making money streaming recordings without paying their copyright holders. Within US copyright law, compositions have been protected since 1831, but sound recordings were only added in 1972, meaning that while owners of pre-1972 compositions have been paid for public performances, people holding equally-aged recording rights typically haven't.


iOS apps: Mint, Rdio, Angry Birds Space

Fri January 23, 2015 | Posted in iOS apps

  • 17.1MB

    Mint 4.0 (free)

    Mint is a finance management app that can help users keep track of spending across all of their accounts. A number of tools for creating and tracking a budget are also included in the app. Version 4.0 has improved messaging during refresh, as well as addressed a number of known bugs.

  • 33.5MB

    Rdio 3.1 (free)

    Rdio is a mobile app that allows users to browse through Rdio's collection of streaming music. The v3.1 update introduces a new Music Weekly station that lets users listen to a handpicked section of the week’s hottest new tracks. The update has also made it easier to find friends and share music with them.

  • 51.3MB

    Angry Birds Space 2.1 ($1)

    Angry Birds is a physics-based puzzle game where players take control of a fleet of irritated birds. More than 160 levels are included in the game, each with its own unique gravity puzzles to solve. The latest release includes a brand new episode where players must face off against the villainous Hektor Porko. The new episode features 30 unlockable levels, daily missions, and a new Wingman bird.

  • 33.3MB

    iHeartRadio 5.5 (free)

    With iHeartRadio users can access live internet radio stations from an iPhone or iPod touch, as well as create custom stations with access to more than 16 million songs. Within the application users can bookmark their favorite stations, tag songs for purchasing in iTunes, and view lyrics. In the latest release users can now swipe left to favorite or remove a recommendation from the For You section. The side menu has also been cleaned up and support for the iPhone 6 Plus has been improved.

  • 37.1MB

    ProCam 2 5.0 ($2)

    ProCam is an alternate camera app that includes a number of shooting modes and camera functions not found in the default Camera app. Version 5.0 adds a full featured video editor to the app, letting users make nondestructive edits to any existing video files. The update can also be used to extract still frames out of videos, as well as correct perspective issues with a new set of tools


Ahrendts' high pay in part to compensate for lost Burberry stock

Fri January 23, 2015 | Posted in: Investor, Apple

The extremely high compensation package given to Apple's new retail head -- Angela Ahrendts -- was in large part to pay for the stock she abandoned with her early departure from Burberry, Apple explains in its SEC filings. In total, she received $73.4 million last year, beating out any other executive at the company. Since May, she has accumulated roughly $70 million in Reserved Stock Units (RSUs); of this, $37 million was specifically addressed toward the lost Burberry stock, though most of the Reserved Stock Units (RSUs) are not presently sellable, and are contingent on continued employment.


Avid launches free, limited version of music software Pro Tools

Fri January 23, 2015 | Posted in: computers, software, audio

Avid today unveiled Pro Tools First, a free version of the company's Pro Tools software suite that offers many of the same music creation capabilities used by top artists and recording studios worldwide. Built upon the Avid MediaCentral Platform, Pro Tools First is is intended as a gateway to the full package, and usable by beginners and experienced music producers alike.


Apple extends Crimean measures to block product sales and shipments

Fri January 23, 2015 | Posted in: industry, Apple

Apple has extended its actions against Russia by blocking authorized retailers from selling or shipping products in Crimea in accordance with sanctions, reports say. The measure was first mentioned on Twitter by blogger and consultant Eldar Murtazin, and then picked up by Russian media. The move follows the ">termination of all developer agreements with Apple and software makers located in the region. The measures take effect on February 1.


Briefly: OS X Sim City Complete Edition, OOTP 16 MLB license

Fri January 23, 2015 | Posted in: gaming, software, iPhone apps, iPad apps

Aspire has revealed that the latest installment of Sim City is available to purchase on the Mac App Store. Sim City: Complete Edition contains the expanded core game, Sim City: Cities of Tomorrow, Heroes and Villains, plus the Amusement Park, Airship, Heroes and Villains, French, British and German City sets. Sim City: Complete Edition is an exclusive bundle to the Mac App Store, and is available now for $40. MacNN is working on a review.


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