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More iOS App deals for those last-minute gifts

12/24, 7:58pm

Although we have mentioned some app bargains in our "beyond the last minute" gift guide this morning, the elves at MacNN and Electronista have been hunting up some additional discounts by shaking the App Store tree and seeing what falls out. We found a few more, so click through to save a bundle on some awesome app deals -- and don't forget to check back with us regularly for DealNN reports, Apple refurb store bargains, and our usual Friday Deals all year long!

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Merry Christmas from Electronista and MacNN!

12/24, 1:05pm

Merry Christmas Eve, Electronista and MacNN readers! Large portions of the US and Canada are dealing with some pretty nasty travel weather, so if you're reading us from there, please be careful! Otherwise, we wish you and yours a Merry Christmas.

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Hands On: Starlight: Find Stars and Constellations (iOS)

12/24, 12:48pm

There are billions and billions of stars in the night sky, and most of us can identify at least a few of them. However, it isn't always easy. Those among us who have never been good at finding anything other than the Big Dipper or the North Star shouldn't worry. Starlight: Find Stars and Constellations allows anyone to become an expert stargazer, picking out every constellation from Andromeda to Virgo in no time.

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Embattled Sony Pictures 'The Interview' given wide online release

12/24, 12:32pm

Sony and others have unveiled a massive effort to make the Sony Pictures title The Interview available online. Google's YouTube Movies paid service paved the way with its announcement a bit earlier today, with Google Play, Xbox Videos, and a special Sony website all having declared that the movie would be available at 1PM Eastern Time. The picture will cost $6 to rent, and $15 to own in HD.

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Hands On: Scrolls (OS X, Windows, Android)

12/24, 9:54am

Scrolls has finally been released to the adulation of gamers everywhere. The game was created by Mojang, the developers behind Minecraft, and written by Jerry Holkins, the writer of Penny Arcade. Scrolls feels similar to a traditional two-player board game like checkers or chess, as well as a player versus player card game, like Magic the Gathering or Hearthstone. We spent a bit of time with Scrolls to see how it stacks up against similar titles.

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Uber indicted in South Korea for breaking local transportation laws

12/24, 7:19am

South Korea has become the latest country to fight against the rise of ride-hailing service Uber, by indicting the local subsidiary and CEO Travis Kalanick shortly after launch. The company is said to be "violating a law prohibiting individuals or firms without appropriate licenses from providing or facilitating transport services," a legal challenge previously arising in a number of other markets around the world.

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The Beyond-Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

12/24, 6:52am

We're some 40 years overdue for flying cars, teleportation and printers that can output copies of our dreams, but there are a few methods by which the chronic procrastinators of this world can still swoop in with a last-minute gift for someone at Christmas they'll actually like. While Amazon has closed the doors to physical delivery of any products at this point -- even for Prime members - by the 25th, you still have perhaps a few hours left to send a Boxing Day present, or get in now to ensure a timely New Year's gift. Or you can read on for more suggestions.

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PNAS study shows e-readers, tablets negatively impacting sleep quality

12/24, 12:45am

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) of the United States of America has published a study entitled Evening use of light-emitting e-readers negatively affects sleep, circadian timing, and next-morning alertness. The study compared e-readers with screens that project light, versus those that don't, as well as printed books read under reflected light.

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FCC petitioned by hotels to allow disrupting guest-created hotspots

12/23, 11:48pm

The FCC has been petitioned by Marriott and an association of hotel owners to allow the jamming of Wi-Fi hotspots, usually set up by guests, on their premises for reasons of "managing Wi-Fi networks and security." The petition is possibly in response to when Marriott International and Marriott Hotel Services was fined $600,000 by the FCC for knocking guests off their own Wi-Fi networks (provided by hot spots and tethering to cell phones), forcing them to pay for the hotel's Wi-Fi access.

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Obama wants stronger cyber-security laws in 2015

12/23, 10:08pm

Last Friday, at President Barak Obama's year-end press conference, Carrie Budoff Brown of Politico asked the first question. Her inquiry was whether Sony had done the right thing in canceling the release of the Seth Rogan comedy The Interview, and what a "proportional" US response to the North Korean-led cyber-attack on Sony would look like. While discussing the answers to those questions, President Obama called on Congress to help create stronger cyber-security laws.

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Hands On: Echoes communication app (OS X, iOS)

12/23, 9:17pm

We've all had days in the office when there is great pressure and you can't afford time to leave your desk. Some of us have also had the rather less-satisfying situation where bosses frowned on you stopping to chat, and while those do tend to be the same sorts of bosses who won't let you install non-corporate-approved apps, if you can get it by them, Echoes (for Macs and iOS devices) is a way to bring a little humanity into your day. Possibly also a lot of irritation, as well -- but that'll depend on your colleagues, not on Echoes.

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Report: one neglected server caused JP Morgan Chase data leak

12/23, 8:49pm

Back in July, five bank networks were hacked, the most notable of which was JP Morgan Chase, which resulted in more than 76 million households' information being leaked. At first, it was suspected that a "zero-day" exploit had been utilized to gain access, but an unidentified source has indicated the real story is somewhat more mundane.

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Apple tops poll of Xmas gadget hopes for college students

12/23, 7:18pm

A new survey of college students contains lots of good news for Apple, with the company clearly the most-desired brand for holiday gifts in all the categories Apple competes in. Cash and gift cards are still king, followed by clothing, but electronics was the third most-popular category of gift, reaching second most-popular among males. The overall second-place finish of clothing was due to a strong preference compared to electronics by women rather than men. Apple and its new Beats brand, however, did well with everyone.

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Briefly: MegaSeg 5.9.4, LumenRT update

12/23, 6:22pm

Fidelity Media has released a new update for its professional DJ and radio automation software, MegaSeg. MegaSeg is available in Pro and DJ editions, with MegaSeg DJ focusing on live mixing features and visual beat syncing with Magic Trackpads, and more, and the Pro version adding video playback with ambient visuals, sound effect hot keys, and other advanced features. Now featuring optimizations for OS X Yosemite, MegaSeg's new sound engine includes higher quality pitch-locking, looping and swappable output devices. Controller presets for Denon MC2000 and MC3000 devices are now available, and support for logging via TCP/IP and Telnet protocols has been added.

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Several Apple Pay partners likely to miss 2014 deadline

12/23, 4:29pm

Several app and retail partners for Apple Pay will likely miss an initial 2014 deadline, a change on Apple's website suggests. The company has tweaked the headers for its lists of upcoming partners to read "Coming soon" instead of "Coming later this year." The retail businesses include ACME, Albertsons, Anthropologie, Free People, Urban Outfitters, and Walt Disney World; the last is mentioned only because it's slated to launch support tomorrow.

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