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Government could turn to 225-year-old law to force user decryption

41 minutes ago | Posted in: security

In the face of increasing security measures on consumer devices, the US Department of Justice appears to be returning to old school tactics to get at data in devices. A judge in New York ordered an unnamed smartphone manufacturer to provide technical assistance in unlocking a device, something prosecutors argued under the All Writs Act of 1789. While the All Writs Act has been used in the past in technological situations, it could be the de facto means of law enforcement data requests in the future.

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Adoption of iOS 8 rises to 60 percent after pause

3 hours ago | Posted in: iPhone, software, developer, Apple, iPad

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).

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Home Depot faces 44 civil lawsuits from breach, spent $43M on fallout

4 hours ago | Posted in: industry, security

Home improvement retailer Home Depot is still locked into a battle over the security breach it reported in September that put 56 million credit cards at risk. However, the fight is no longer against cyber criminals, but rather consumers affected by the breach and government agencies. To date, the retailer is involved in "at least 44 civil lawsuits" in the US and Canada.

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Skype 7.2 fixes bugs, improves chat readability

6 hours ago | Posted in: troubleshooting, software

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.

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StealthGenie spyware app creator pleads guilty, fined $500,000

6 hours ago | Posted in: software

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.

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Natalie Portman in talks to join Universal's Steve Jobs biopic

7 hours ago | Posted in: Apple

Actress Natalie Portman is in negotiations to join Universal's Steve Jobs biopic, according to Deadline. Who she might play is unmentioned, but the role is said to be a "major" one. Given Portman's age and the resemblance, that role is likely to be Lisa, Jobs' daughter.

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AT&T responds to FCC over 'frozen' fiber build, calls agency mistaken

8 hours ago | Posted in: Investor, industry, networking

Following the US Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) demand for more information about a "frozen" fiber buildout, AT&T has responded to the call late yesterday. The company claims that the announced expansion of the gigabit network is not actually frozen -- only new, unannounced expansions have been halted in the wake of the FCC's Net Neutrality and Title II regulation discussion.

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Apple may lean heavily on Samsung for iPhone 6, Apple Watch parts

8 hours ago | Posted in: iPhone, industry, Apple

Apple is turning to Samsung for more parts in future production runs of the iPhone 6, sources tell Business Korea. Beginning this week, new runs will reportedly use batteries manufactured by Samsung SDI. More significantly, though, Apple is said to be considering replacing Toshiba TLC NAND flash storage with a Samsung equivalent. Toshiba NAND is currently believed to be the only kind used in 128GB iPhones, and some reports have linked it to occasional device crashes. Toshiba, SanDisk, and SK Hynix are allegedly producing the storage for 64GB models.

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Briefly: Civilization: Beyond Earth OS X ships, new Geometry Wars 3

9 hours ago | Posted in: gaming

Firaxis and Aspyr have announced that Civilization: Beyond Earth will be available later today for purchase and download on Steam, the Mac App store, and on GameAgent. The game requires OS X 10.9.5 or greater, an Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM, 8GB of drive space, and at least the Intel HD 4000 with 256MB of VRAM. Civilization: Beyond Earth retails for $50. Look for a MacNN giveaway of the title soon.

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Holiday Gift Guide: Audio gear

9 hours ago | Posted in: computers, peripherals, accessories, audio

Audio enthusiasts might be some of the easiest to select gifts for during the holidays, if for nothing else than the wealth of choices available. From Bluetooth speakers, headphones, audio amplifiers and radio options, it can be overwhelming to pick something. Here at Electronista and MacNN, we're attempting to give shoppers some directions for the music lovers in their lives, compiling some of the best audio gear for the year in our annual gift guides.

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Union, Rev. Jackson push for better terms for Apple security guards

10 hours ago | Posted in: industry, security, Apple

With the backing of activist Rev. Jesse Jackson, United Service Workers West is hoping to unionize the security guards working at Apple's Cupertino headquarters, and in the short term is urging the company to use a different security contractor, says the San Jose Mercury News. USWW is ultimately aiming to unionize guards across Silicon Valley, but beginning with Apple in the belief that it could set a standard for other tech companies. While the union would likely stand to benefit from dues, it notes that service workers in the Bay Area are often just scraping by financially, since the cost of living has been inflated by the salaries of high-tech workers.

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Pre-Black Friday Deals: 5TB HDD, iPads, 4k2k display, Steam sale

10 hours ago | Posted in: computers, digital imaging, iPhone apps, iPad, iPad apps

While Turkey Day (for our US readers) is not yet on us, the sales period associated with the dreaded "Black Friday" has begun! 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 or available at a later time, so check before purchasing. Also, check back on this post later today and on Thanksgiving Day, as more deals will be added as time goes on before our next post on Friday.

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iOS apps: PDFpen Scan+, Swype, Runtastic Pro

10 hours ago | Posted in iOS apps

  • 37.9MB

    PDFpen Scan+ 1.5 ($7)

    PDFpen Scan+ is an OCR tool that can be used to create searchable PDF documents directly on an iOS device. Version 1.5 introduces an improved camera layout and a new image stabilization feature. Along with these additions, support for iCloud Drive is also included and a number of minor bugs have been addressed.

  • 23.3MB

    Swype 1.1.1 ($1)

    Skype is an alternative iOS keyboard that learns how a user types in order to reduce the number of typing errors. Users can type by hitting keys one after the other, or simply starting at the first letter and sliding their finger to the corresponding letters. The v1.1.1 updates includes significant improvements to the language model in Hungarian, Finnish, and Turkish.

  • 47MB

    Runtastic Pro 5.4.6 ($5)

    Runtastic Pro can track cardio workout progress time to help users monitor their health goals. The software can track a number of different metrics, such as time, distances, speed, elevation, and calories, and includes audio feedback for every mile completed in a run. The latest release has been optimized for use on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and now includes direct integration with Appleā€™s Health app.

  • 46.1MB

    Over 2.6.15 ($1)

    Over allows users to add customized text to their images. The app comes preloaded with a number unique fonts, while even more can be added via In-App Purchases. A number of new Fonts & Art Packs have been added as In-App Purchases in this release. The packs include hundreds of illustrations, as well as four unique fonts, and can be purchased individually or as a big bundle. All of the proceeds from these new packs will go directly to REDs fight against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

  • 25.1MB

    Vine 3.1 (free)

    Vine can be used to create short looping videos. These videos can be shared directly on Vine, as well as through Twitter and Facebook. Within the latest update users can select their favorite accounts and receive a notification whenever a new video is posted. A number of performance enhancements are also included, along with other minor bug fixes.

 
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iPhone 5c production to halt in mid-2015, report says

11 hours ago | Posted in: iPhone

Two Apple suppliers, Foxconn and Wistron, will stop their production of the iPhone 5c by the middle of 2015, says Taiwan's Industrial and Commercial Times. The 5c was originally launched in 2013 alongside the iPhone 5s, and like its sibling, made available in several different models. It has since become the lowest-end iPhone however, and is currently relegated to an 8GB model free on contract, or $450 unlocked.

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Shareholder suit accuses GT Advanced of failing to disclose risks

12 hours ago | Posted in: Investor, industry, Apple

A Louisiana lawfirm, Smith Segura & Raphael, has filed a class action lawsuit against GT Advanced on behalf of investors. The case alleges that GT "failed to disclose the significant risk" it would incur in its sapphire supply deal with Apple, which it announced on November 4th last year. Apple agreed to pay GT $578 million in four installments, with the expectation the latter would start paying it back in 2015. GT was unable to meet Apple demands though, which resulted in delayed payments, the withholding of the final one, and ultimately GT's bankruptcy on October 6th, followed by the company being delisted from the NASDAQ.

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Judge grants Apple post-judgement royalties from second Samsung trial

12 hours ago | Posted in: Investor, industry, Apple

Judge Lucy Koh, overseeing the myriad Apple versus Samsung smartphone patent trials has partially granted a motion by Apple, allowing the Cupertino manufacturer to collect post-judgement royalties on on-going sales of some Samsung devices -- but less than Apple wanted. The motion, filed for the second Apple versus Samsung trial, covers data detectors and "slide to unlock," and specifically covers 10 products and others not demonstrably different than the accused.

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Review: iDrive cloud backup and sync service

13 hours ago | Posted in: security, software, iPhone apps, iPad apps

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.

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Hands On: Snoopy's All Star Football (iOS)

14 hours ago | Posted in: education, gaming, iPhone apps, iPad apps

Cupcake Digital is a well known name in the ring of games for elementary age children. To date, they've created games for children's entertainment titles such as Yo Gabba Gabba, Wow! Wow! Wubbsy, and Strawberry Shortcake. Cupcake Digital tackles two American classics, Peanuts and football, in Snoopy's All Star Football. Is the game worth handing to your little ones, or is it the digital equivalent of Lucy pulling the football away at the last minute?

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Hands On: Learn Guitar (iOS)

Tue November 25, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone apps, iPad apps

Learning to play an instrument takes a lot of things. For instance, it takes a lot of practice, a lot of effort, and frequently it also takes a lot of money. Usually, it's the money that stops someone from picking up the hobby. But what if it was possible to learn to play guitar for just a couple of dollars? If you've been putting off learning to play guitar, now is the time to dust off that old six-string, or head over to the consignment shop, and start strumming with Learn Guitar by Insider.com.

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Apple gadgets, accessories dominate Time's top 10 for 2014

Tue November 25, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone, industry, gadgets, accessories, Apple, iPad

Time magazine has picked out its top 10 Gadgets list (among other Top 10s such as Video Games and Toys) for holiday season shoppers, and unsurprisingly Apple devices or accessories dominate the selection, taking four out of the 10 slots -- the most of any single company. In a list that seems determined to rank some promising but nascent technology higher than one would expect, the rankings are puzzling for the surprising amount of "vaporware" on it -- including its top choice, the coming-next-year Apple Watch.

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Forums: MacBook Pro vs. MacBook Air

Tue November 25, 2014 | Posted in: computers, Apple

Today in the MacNN forums, Dedicated MacNNer "ClaraT" reported that their six-year-old MacBook is starting to have intermittent graphics issues where her screen will go black, and is now contemplating getting a new system, but is looking for advice on what to buy; a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. Yesterday, Senior User "mkerr64" was considering upgrading the graphics card in his Mac Pro, and is wondering if the PSU has will be powerful enough.

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Apple deals: Mac Pros and Accessories

Tue November 25, 2014 | Posted in: computers, Apple

At Apple's online store right now, save on refurbished Mac Pro models and accessories. The refurbished Mac Pro with a 3.7GHz Intel quad-core Xeon processor, 12GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage has been reduced by $450 down to $2,549. Save $600 on the refurbished Mac Pro with a 3.5GHz Intel six-core processor, 16GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage, now $3,399.

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DealNN: LG 34-inch monitor, storage and 3D printer

Tue November 25, 2014 | Posted in: computers, peripherals, upgrades/storage

Save $490 on the LG 34-inch UltraWide LED backlight LCD monitor right now at Newegg.com. It carries a retail price of $1,299, but has been slashed to $899. Use coupon code EMCWWHE25 to drop the price further to $809, making this the lowest price we have seen on this monitor by about $90. The LG UltraWide monitor features a resolution of 3440 x 1440, aspect ratio of 21:9, sRGB 99 percent color reproduction and is compatible with both Mac and PC.

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Yahoo, Microsoft vying to become default search option in Safari

Tue November 25, 2014 | Posted in: industry, software, Apple

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.

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BlackBerry Trade Up program offers Passport buyers cash for iPhones

Tue November 25, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone, mobile phones

Beginning on December 1st, BlackBerry will be offering up to $550 for people willing to trade in an iPhone towards the purchase of a Passport. Shoppers will be able to trade anything from an iPhone 4S through to an iPhone 6, and receive a $150 "top-up" in addition to the phone's actual estimated value. Hitting the $550 mark requires a mint-condition iPhone 6 valued at $400.

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Hands On: Logitech Keys-To-Go

Tue November 25, 2014 | Posted in: accessories, iPad

When looking for an external keyboard to use with something like the iPad, you are generally limited to two streams of products: Bluetooth keyboards designed for desktop use, and keyboard cases. While wireless desktop keyboards offer a superior typing experience when compared to keyboard cases, they suffer from a design not intended for extensive portability. Meanwhile, keyboard cases are easy to tout around, but force users to add bulk directly to their so-called "portable" device. Enter Logitech's Keys-To-Go, a small Bluetooth keyboard that offers no means of attaching itself to a mobile device, yet has been designed to throw in a bag and carry around.

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Apple market cap breaks through $700 billion mark

Tue November 25, 2014 | Posted in: Investor, Apple

Apple's market capitalization has surpassed $700 billion in early Tuesday stock trading, setting an all-time record for the company. The company's previous peak -- ignoring gains earlier this month -- was $658 billion, achieved in September 2012. Shortly after, Apple stock prices dropped substantially and took some time to recover.

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