Last week US President Barack Obama signed an executive order that will help consumers that a victims of identity theft, as well as speed up the adoption of the Europay, MasterCard, and Visa (EMV) chip standard for credit and debit cards. In the executive order signed by the president, parts of the federal government will be adopting EMV measures, as well as strengthening the public's ability to monitor financial health or seek help when necessary.
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1 hour ago | Posted in: iPod, iPhone, troubleshooting, Apple, iPad
As planned, Apple has released iOS 8.1 to the public. The main addition is support for Apple Pay, but a number of other important features are present. These include beta support for iCloud Photo Library, and the return of the Camera Roll to the Photos app. SMS Relay enables SMS/MMS messaging via a nearby Mac or iPad, and people can now force a device to use 2G, 3G, or 4G for data, instead of it selecting networks automatically. A minor photo-related improvement generates alerts whenever there's too little storage to start a timelapse video.
2 hours ago | Posted in: security
China's state firewall is currently hijacking attempts to visit iCloud.com or Microsoft's login gateway, login.live.com, redirecting people to dummy websites, reports say. People visiting iCloud.com through Firefox or Chrome will see a warning page, but visitors with Qihoo -- the most popular browser in China -- are being forwarded directly to a dummy site with no obvious signs it isn't Apple's. It's believed that the Chinese government may be trying to harvest iCloud and Microsoft logins.
In preparation for relaunching Beats Music next year, Apple is currently pushing record labels to allow lowering monthly subscription fees from $10 to $5, sources say. The company's marketing pitch is allegedly that even Apple's best iTunes customers typically spend about $60 per year, or $5 per month. As such anyone switching from downloads to streaming would generate an equal amount of revenue, and more importantly the potential subscriber pool would increase thanks to more affordable fees.
Screens is a screen sharing and VNC client that can be used to connect remotely to any Mac, Windows or Linux computer. Support is included for controlling a computer with gestures, while a scrollable shortcuts toolbar gives quick access to other functions. Version 5.3.2 includes a number of improvements, such as an updated interface, support for Adaptive Display, and the ability to send reich text and images from one Mac to another.
Arq is a backup utility that will make incremental backups to an online storage account. The software keeps hourly backups for the past 24 hours, daily backups for the past month, and weekly backups for everything older than a month. The latest release includes a "Remove Unreferenced Objects Now" menu item that causes Arq to immediately clean up any objects at the destination that aren't referenced by any backup records. A number of reported bugs have also been resolved.
Coda is a web development application that was designed to bring all the functions of web page creation into a single window. The software includes an integrated file browser, text editor, CSS editor, built-in terminal, and a preview window for checking the final product. In v2.5 Coda will now index the Local Root and autocomplete all of a user’s personal functions, classes, and variables. In addition, sites, keys and passwords can now be synced using Panic Sync, and a new plug-in manager lets users update their plug-ins via the Preferences.
Airfoil is a software utility that can send audio files to AirPort Express units and Apple TVs, as well as other Macs and PCs. The latest release fixes a problem that prevented Netflix videos from showing in the Airfoil Video Player on OS X Yosemite. A minor update to Instant On that fixes a few small issues is also included.
Tincta is a one-window text editor that offers syntax color profiles for over 80 languages, along with line numbering, block selection, and live searching. New to version 2.5 is the ability to make block comments simply by pressing the Command and Forward Slash keys together. Several crashes have also been addressed, along with a UI glitch that occurred after using the search.
The lion's share of early Apple Pay transactions will probably be in-app, rather than ones made at retail stores, admits Apple's senior VP of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue. Over the weekend Cue spoke with the Wall Street Journal about the service, which launches today. In fact many of Apple's merchant partners have yet to receive point-of-sale terminals compatible with Apple Pay, but the company is expecting them to upgrade within the next year.
The refreshed Mac mini may offer a significant dip in performance compared to earlier iterations, a report claims. A blog post from the Geekbench benchmark suite suggests that, though the new Haswell-based systems may have slightly higher single-core performance scores than the Ivy Bridge-based counterparts from late 2012, their multi-core performance will apparently suffer considerably.
7 hours ago | Posted in: audio, iPhone apps
Spotify is adding a new subscription option to its plan roster, one which covers multiple users. Spotify Family will provide access to the premium version of the music streaming service to up to five nominated users, with the group plan being discounted heavily compared to the single-user subscription, a payment option Rdio first introduced in June of last year.
8 hours ago | Posted in: gadgets
Microsoft could introduce its own wearable device in the next few weeks, a report claims. According to sources of Forbes, Microsoft's rumored smartwatch will attempt to beat its counterparts, such as the Samsung Gear range and the Moto 360, by offering a battery life said to last for more than two days from a single charge, something many current smartwatches struggle with.
20 hours ago | Posted in: gaming
Every Sunday Electronista and MacNN report some of the important news from the gaming industry across the past week. During this week's edition, we look at Final Fantasy XIV's first expansion, the download requirements for Halo: The Master Chief Collection, NPD numbers for video game hardware sales, and console updates for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
21 hours ago | Posted in: software, accessories, Apple, iPad
Blogging social platform Tumblr has released a native OS X app. A microblogging service, Tumblr lets users share media ranging from text, photos, music, links, video and more. Tumbler's app for OS X features a full-screen viewing option, and additionally allows posting to Tumblr from anywhere on one's Mac that has a Share button in its window. Free to download, the new Tumblr app requires OS X 10.10.
Electronista and MacNN's article series Crowdfunding Critic brings readers projects from sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo that the team believes are interesting or potentially useful. However, be aware that the articles aren't an endorsement of any given project. All crowdfunding campaigns come with risks, so we ask our readers to carefully research the items they are pledging to, as they are investments. In this edition, we take a look at the Mad Genius motion controller.
At a press event last week, MasterCard and Zwipe announced a new type of payment card dubbed the Zwipe MasterCard. Where the new card is different from the the standard credit or debit card is in the payment process, looking to biometrics to approve purchases. The Zwipe MasterCard uses authentication via fingerprint for MasterCard contactless payment terminals, while retaining Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) chips on cards.
Sat October 18, 2014 | Posted in: computers, troubleshooting, Apple
Apple repair purveyors iFixit have given their regular disassembly treatment to Apple's new 27-inch 5K iMac. As the machine has re-used the chassis from the last generation of iMac, and has only minor changes to the internals apart from the display, the repairability score remains the same at a five out of 10. Notably, the company has found a larger display data connector, with the fused LCD and taped-down display hindering repair efforts.
Sat October 18, 2014 | Posted in: security, networking
Following allegations casting doubt on the project, the TOR-based Anonabox Kickstarter project has been terminated. Since the launch of the security-minded Anonabox, and nearly instant completion of funding goals, commenters and other figures questioned the source of the hardware, the actual security of the device, and criticized the lack of a promised and complete open-sourcing of the code.
Apple's demo for the iPad Air 2 during its latest keynote event was hugely impressive. As the company often does during its live presentations, it invited two developers on stage to highlight not only their apps, but also the power of the new iPad Air 2. Although all the technical details are not yet fully known about the powerful new custom 64-bit A8X chip, Apple did reveal some impressive numbers. But numbers aside, if you ever held any doubts about the benefits of Apple going 64-bit for the iPhone and iPad, the performance capabilities of iPad Air 2 as demonstrated should put them to bed.
Financial services and credit card issuer American Express has posted a new web page on its site, extolling the benefits of Apple Pay and instructing users on how to add their cards to the Passbook-based payment system. The mobile payment system is designed for the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus (now expanded to include the latest iPads for online or in-app purchases only) and will be formally rolled out on Monday, alongside the release of iOS 8.1.
With Halloween fast approaching, there will undoubtedly be countless new memories being captured of all the scary costumes, silly face paint, jack-o-lanterns and good times filling up the storage space of millions of Americans and Canadians. MacNN and Electronista want you to have some fun with those memories, so we have teamed up with PearlMountain software to give away free copies of Picture Collage Maker Pro and Picture Collage Maker for Mac to all of our readers.
Server farm and hosting provider Macminicolo has posted its preliminary findings on the latest edition of the Mac mini, noting that the RAM in the unit is not user-accessible as was the case in previous models. This does not completely preclude the possibility of it being upgraded, but doing so would void the warranty on the machine. The 5400rpm hard drive included in the 2014 models is upgradeable, but again only through a warranty-voiding procedure.
Fri October 17, 2014 | Posted in: accessories, audio, Apple
In spite of the two companies settling a lawsuit over noise cancellation patents, Apple has gone ahead and removed Bose headphones and speakers from its online store, visitors note. Rumors surfaced a week ago that Apple was planning to remove Bose products from its stores. Why it would want to was uncertain, but one point of speculation was animosity because of the lawsuit.
GT Advanced plans to lay off 727 workers at its sapphire plant in Mesa, Arizona, according to a mandatory Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification issued to the Mesa City Council. Affected people are said to include 524 in production, 108 in technical jobs, 70 in management, and 25 in administration. The move comes as GT is planning to "wind down" the Mesa plant, and despite Apple's promise that it would try to preserve jobs.
Fri October 17, 2014 | Posted in: computers, troubleshooting, Apple
Since yesterday marked the release of the new 27-inch iMac, the MacNN forums have been abuzz with chatter about this latest addition to the Mac family, and finally there is an answer to the age-old question "is it time for a new iMac?" and it looks like that answer is a resounding "yes." The official OS X 10.10 Yosemite thread was started yesterday by "Eden Aurora," where users can share their experiences and first impressions.
With the unveiling of the new iMacs and Mac minis yesterday, Apple also has cut prices on refurbished iMacs and Mac minis. The refurbished Mac mini with a 2.5GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive has been reduced by $80 to $419. For $929, after a $170 discount, is the refurbished 21.5-inch iMac with a 1.4GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive.
Fri October 17, 2014 | Posted in: computers, upgrades/storage, Apple, iPad
It's hard to believe, but Expercom has already managed to secure lower pricing on the brand new 27-inch Retina iMac with a 3.5GHz quad-core i5 processor, 32GB of RAM, 1TB Fusion drive and AMD Radeon R9 M295X 4GB video card. This configuration retails for $3,349 from Apple, but is priced at only $2,942 with $25 for shipping. That's a savings of $382. The only difference is the wait time of 10 days to 3 weeks before it ships, versus Apples' 3-5 day shipping time. As always, this item is backed by Apple's one-year limited warranty on parts and labor.
AgileBits has released v5.0 of its password and credit card manager for the Mac, 1Password. The software has been redesigned to match the look of OS X Yosemite, including support for the OS' new dark mode. AgileBits is also exploiting changes to iCloud for "faster and more robust syncing;" the company warns, though, that iCloud sync now requires v5.0 on both iOS and OS X.
Its time for Friday Deals! Every Friday, we round up the best deals for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. As usual, all prices are verified at the time of publication, but may not be valid if you're reading this after the weekend, so check before buying. Check back frequently over the weekend, we like to add stuff!
The head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has asked for companies to back away from encrypting consumer devices by default. Echoing similar comments made last month, Director James Comey spoke to the Brookings Institute yesterday about the issue, which is claimed will make it difficult for law enforcement officials to collect evidence from mobile devices.
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