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Google easing up on mandatory Google+ signups for new Gmail accounts

2 hours ago | Posted in: industry, software

Google is no longer forcing users to create a Google+ profile when setting up a new Gmail account according to a report from marketing blog Wordstream. By easing up on the mandatory setup of the social media arm of the search company, Google is continuing to put distance between users and the service that never seemed to find the same footing as Facebook.

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Google petitions FCC for NM desert testing of broadcast-capable drones

23 hours ago | Posted in: industry

Google has filed a plan to test broadcast drones in the skies of New Mexico. A filing with the US Federal Communications Commission, one of the regulatory agencies that needs to be involved with such an endeavor, points to a test site south of Santa Fe, NM and south of Las Vegas. The tests are likely a practical test of remote Internet delivery technologies, and some of the largest tests that Google has run yet, utilizing Titan Aerospace's technology.

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Home Depot transaction security reportedly ramshackle since 2008

Sat September 20, 2014 | Posted in: security

Following the revelation that 56 million credit card transactions were stolen by miscreants, more information is coming out about the hack and the company's reportedly long-term lackadaisical security. According to employees familiar with the situation, the company was warned as early as 2008 that security would be a problem, and that the company was excruciatingly slow to respond to threats and often took no action agains perceived attacks or dangers.

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Former NBA star arrested for $14,000 theft through Apple EasyPay

Sat September 20, 2014 | Posted in: security, Apple

Former Phoenix Suns professional basketball player Rex Chapman was arrested on Friday and accused of shoplifting $14,000 in Apple merchandise using Apple's EasyPay self-checkout system. Apple store employees reported the player, after recognizing him "based on his previous celebrity status as an NBA basketball player," according to Scottsdale, AZ police.

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New Oculus Rift 'Crescent Bay' headset shown, 'massive leap' over DK2

Sat September 20, 2014 | Posted in: computers, gaming

Today at the Oculus Connect conference, Oculus Vice President of Product Nate Mitchell not only showed the third version of the Oculus Rift, the "Crescent Bay," but also revealed that the nascent platform is now a Unity 5 build target, opening up the device to a wide range of developers and potentially additional host platforms beyond Windows and OS X. Additionally, the company announced that it has licensed the RealSpace3D audio technology for future versions of the hardware and software.

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Apple, HP slam patent troll with $3.6 million each in attorney fees

Sat September 20, 2014 | Posted in: industry, networking, Apple

Northern District of California Court Judge Claudia Wilken has ruled that non-practicing entity Linex Technologies must pay Apple, Aruba, Meru, Ruckus, and HP millions in attorney fees after pursuing a patent case that it knew was destined for failure. Apple and HP are seeking $3.6 million each, with the other three companies seeking $3.8 million -- the ruling puts the patent troll on the hook for $18.6 million, an amount it may not have.

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Briefly: Modbook Pro X Last Call campaign, Twitter for iPhone update

Sat September 20, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone, iPhone apps, Apple

Modbook has extended its Kickstarter fundraising campaign for its Modbook Pro X tablet, allowing those interested to still make a pledge can do so until September 30. The Mac-based 15.4-inch Retina display tablet utilizes the original hardware of a MacBook Pro system, running OS X and can be configured up to a 2.8GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 32 GB of RAM 2TB of PCIe flash storage and Intel Iris Pro graphics. Users can choose to add rear-mounted Keybars, which consists of an eyes-free solution for entry of short commands, and a detachable keyboard stand that functions as an easel, keyboard and screen protector. Pledges for the Modbook PRo X start at $2000, which includes modifying one's currently own MacBook Pro into a tablet, regularly priced at $2600. Estimated delivery for Modbook campaign "perks" is March 2015.

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Monkey Parking fires up service in southern CA, meets resistance

Sat September 20, 2014 | Posted in: security, iPhone apps, iPad apps

Parking spot resale service Monkey Parking has quietly relaunched in Santa Monica and Beverly Hills, CA. While not currently illegal in the cities, city attorneys have taken note of the launch, met with representatives from the service, and are claiming that they will take steps rapidly to stop the service from operating.

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Sony Video Unlimited service migrates to OS X, Windows through browser

Sat September 20, 2014 | Posted in: software

Sony has shifted delivery of its Video Unlimited service for computers away from a discrete application, and onto a a web player. In allowing browsers to play back video for the first time, Sony has opened up the service for OS X as well as a wider array of Windows-based devices.

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Microsoft: 15GB free OneDrive bonus to mobile with 'camera backup'

Sat September 20, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone apps, iPad apps

Microsoft has increased its free space offering on its file storage system OneDrive. Users on Android, Windows Phone, or iOS who switch on "camera backup" to the online storage locker will get a 15GB space bonus, increasing the amount of free space from 15GB to 30GB. Users have until the end of September to activate the feature to get the bonus space.

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Apple raises prices on out-of-warranty iPhone 6 repairs

Sat September 20, 2014 | Posted in: troubleshooting, Apple

In a new note on its repairs webpage, Apple has raised prices on out-of-warranty repair costs for the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Apple has not, however, increased prices on its $99 AppleCare+ warranty, which adds a second year of coverage and allows two "accidental damage" repairs with a set $79 service fee for each incident. The new OOW repair pricing, at up to $299 and $329 for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus respectively, is between $30 and $60 higher than the iPhone 5 family price.

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Verizon achieves 'holy grail' with voice over LTE support rollout

Fri September 19, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone, industry, mobile phones

Beginning today, Verizon customers across the US who buy the new iPhone 6 models or one of a pair of other smartphones that support Voice Over LTE (VoLTE) will finally be able to do something AT&T has bragged about for years: simultaneously talk on the phone and use data for applications. The process will only work on a handful of phones that support VoLTE, but Verizon iPhone 6 buyers are reporting that it is on by default or easily activated in their new purchases.

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Record crowds outsides stores worldwide for iPhone 6, 6 Plus debut

Fri September 19, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone, Apple

In some locations on Friday, it seemed like the whole world took off work Friday to stand in line for an iPhone 6. Mass reports of "thousands" of customers standing in line for hours at flagship Apple stores around the globe have been received since MacNN reported on the queue in Australia, the first country to begin selling the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The latter has proven extremely hard to get, but we have heard from a few readers who were successful.

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Tim Cook to be interviewed at first WSDJLive conference in October

Fri September 19, 2014 | Posted in: Apple

Apple CEO Tim Cook will be interviewed at the first WSJDLive technology conference being hosted by the Wall Street Journal, according to an announcement. The event is scheduled for October 27 through the 29 at the Montage in Laguna Beach, California. Some other people appearing at the conference will include Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma, and Dreamworks Co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg.

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Prescheduled social media posts from Joan Rivers promote iPhone 6

Fri September 19, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone

In an unusual gaffe, the official Instagram and Facebook accounts for comedian Joan Rivers -- who died on September 4 -- today briefly displayed identical, prescheduled posts about the iPhone 6. "This badass is being replaced by an iPhone 6 (not the fat one)," the posts read. "I got this one [an iPhone 4] in 2010 and, after four years, my only complaint is that apps are now designed for bigger screens, and the battery is getting tired. Never had a case for it, since it was most beautiful on its own. Great achievement in design. Great product. #apple #iPhone #tech." The iPhone 6 was only revealed on September 9.

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Forums: new iPhone and iOS 8 first impressions

Fri September 19, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone, computers, troubleshooting, software, Apple

As the long lines outside of Apple stores world-wide finally start to move, and new iPhones start landing in the hands of Mac fans everywhere, MacNN forum-goers with phones in-hand begin to post their first impressions in the thread titled "Incoming iPhone" which was started late last week. Also today, reports are starting to come in that iOS 8 is a bit sluggish and buggy, with some even stating that it's the worst release yet. Of course, people always say that.

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Previous News

Apple: bargain-priced MacBook Pros from $929

Fri September 19, 2014 | Posted in: computers, Apple

Save big on refurbished MacBook Pro models at Apple's online refurb store, with prices starting as low as $929. The refurbished 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.5GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive and 8x SuperDrive has been reduced to $929, a savings of $170. A $180 price break drops the price on the refurbished 13.3-inch Retina MacBook Pro with a 2.4GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of solid state storage down to $1,019.

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DealNN: Sony cameras, 3D TVs, Harman Kardon earbuds and more

Fri September 19, 2014 | Posted in: peripherals, digital imaging, audio

Right now at Amazon, save 44 percent on the Sony NEX-6L/B compact interchangeable lens digital camera in black. It was $898, but has been reduced to $500 and is eligible for free two-day shipping. That discount makes this the best price we have seen anywhere by about $230. This digital camera features 16MP resolution, with 10fps burst shooting, Full HD video, interchangeable e-mount lenses, fast hybrid auto focus, Wi-Fi sharing, multi-interface shoe, built-in HDR mode, dual format media card slot, and tons more.

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Google Maps extends navigation, adds 'Missing Places' to apps

Fri September 19, 2014 | Posted in: software, iPhone apps

Google has made two changes to its Google Maps mobile apps. The app now provides navigational instructions in an additional 19 countries, bringing the total number of countries with the function enabled to 96, while users finding issues with local maps are able to notify Google of new places of interest from within the app, with corrections added to the public version of the maps at a later time.

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Cook appears at Palo Alto Apple Store, Ahrendts shows in Sydney

Fri September 19, 2014 | Posted in: Apple

For today's iPhone 6 launch, Apple CEO Tim Cook made an appearance at the Palo Alto Apple Store, while retail head Angela Ahrendts helped launch the phone in Sydney, Australia -- one of the first places in the world to get the device. Cook is said to have taken selfie photos with the crowd, and joked that he'd gotten the phone several months ago. Ahrendts was spotted talking with Apple Store clerks.

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Friday Deals: 240GB SSD, touchscreen monitor, $15 iTunes card for $10

Fri September 19, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone, peripherals, software, upgrades/storage, iPhone apps, iPad, iPad apps

Standing in line at the Apple store? We aren't, so this afternoon we're going to take a look at sales, and bring you what we think are some of the best deals on prime apps, gadgets, and peripherals for you, the discriminating MacNN and Electronista reader. All prices are verified at the time of publication, but any sales may not be valid if you're reading a few days down the line. Check pricing before you click buy. We do add deals over the weekend, so keep checking!

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SACOM protests labor abuses during Hong Kong iPhone 6 launch

Fri September 19, 2014 | Posted in: industry, Apple

The launch of the iPhone 6 at Apple's Hong Kong store has been tumultuous, accounts say. Police were brought in to disperse people waiting in line without reservations, and a regional activist group -- Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior, or SACOM -- took advantage of the event to protest what it says are ongoing abuses by Apple suppliers. The group unfurled a large banner over the store reading "iSlave 6, Harsher than harsher, Still made in sweatshops," and published a new document about a nearly year-long investigation into one of Apple's most important suppliers, Pegatron.

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Fifth Avenue iPhone 6 line spans 12 blocks; 6 Plus in low US supply

Fri September 19, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone, Apple

While other Apple Stores saw large lines for this morning's iPhone 6 launch, the Fifth Avenue outlet in New York City saw a lineup stretching 12 city blocks, according to Business Insider. By 6AM, it had extended from 59th and 5th to 71st and 5th, despite overnight temperatures dropping to about 54F. To deal with the wait and the weather, people brought chairs, coats, and blankets.

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iOS apps: Instapaper, 1Password, Dropbox

Fri September 19, 2014 | Posted in iOS apps

  • 24.6MB

    Instapaper 6.0 (free)

    Instapaper is a tool for saving web pages for later offline reading. Optimized for readability on iOS devices, the software saves most webpages as text only and includes options for changing fonts, text sizes, line spacing, and margins. In v6.0, users can now save content to Instapaper from any app that uses the system share sheet. Articles that have been saved today will also now appear directly in the Notification Center, and any article can be read directly to you via text-to-speech.

  • 16.5MB

    1Password 5.0 (free)

    1Password is a password management app that allows users to store and organize multiple passwords. A built-in password generator can also be used to create unique passwords for every site. Version 5.0 introduces Touch ID support, direct Safari integration, and App Extensions. With the new Touch ID support, users can now log into the app using only their fingerprint, while the App Extension allows other supported apps to be unlocked by 1Password.

  • 46.3MB

    Dropbox 3.4.1 (free)

    Dropbox provides users with access to all of the files that have been stored in their cloud-storage account. Furthermore, users can select favorite files that can be viewed even when no internet connection is available. The latest release prevents the software from creating duplicate photo and video backups, and also resolves several crashes that could occur on launch.

  • 23.5MB

    Litely 1.1.1 (free)

    Litely can be used to add film-inspired tones to digital photos. The software also includes a number of other tools for cropping images, as well as adjusting exposure, sharpness, vibrance and vignette. Version 1.1.1 is a minor release that focuses on fixing various reported issues.

  • 19.3MB

    YouTube 2.10.2 (free)

    YouTube is the official iOS client for accessing Google’s video sharing website. Through the app users can search for videos, access their “watch later” list, and subscribe to all of their favorite channels. The v2.10 update is a minor release that includes a few bug fixes and stabilization improvements.

 

Apple uses iOS 8 as first large-scale use of its new CDN, firm says

Fri September 19, 2014 | Posted in: networking, Apple

The deployment of iOS 8 on Wednesday was Apple's first large-scale test of its new content delivery network, or CDN, says research firm DeepField. At its high point, iOS 8 downloads reportedly consumed 3Tbps, compareable to about 25 HD movies being downloaded simultaneously by as many users. DeepField notes that at least in North America, the launch was almost entirely dependent on Apple CDN servers.

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Virgin Atlantic to offer Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi on entire plane fleet

Fri September 19, 2014 | Posted in: networking

In-flight Wi-Fi provider Gogo is expanding to Europe, with Virgin Atlantic set to become the first airline operating in the region to offer the service to passengers. The airline will reportedly retrofit its entire fleet to work with the Internet service as part of the deal, and while the two sides are still discussing the finer points of the agreement, the principal terms have already been settled.

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Briefly: Pebble firmware update, Netflix out in two more countries

Fri September 19, 2014 | Posted in: gadgets, software

A firmware update for the Pebble smartwatch range adds iOS 8 support to the device, among other new additions. Version 2.5 of the firmware also activates its compass features using its magnetometer, allowing developers access to the component, as well as reintroducing the Domo watch face and adding the ability to display emoji within notifications and messages.

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