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Hands On: Alfred 2 (OS X)

01/25, 9:02am

It's only right and proper to review Alfred 2 in a piece 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 about a picosecond 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 and you will be hugely faster at everything.

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

01/24, 2:20pm

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 someone popping 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.

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

01/24, 1:21pm

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.

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Hands On: Jumping Finn Turbo (iOS)

01/24, 12:40pm

Adventure Time has been receiving critical acclaim and praise from the masses for years, and for 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.

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

01/24, 10:39am

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.

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

01/24, 9:59am

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.

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Hands On: Kaspersky Internet Security (OS X)

01/24, 9:26am

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?

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Apple poaches second Burberry exec for Watch rollout

01/23, 9:53pm

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.

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

01/23, 9:03pm

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.

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Apple takes majority of US phone activations in Q4

01/23, 8:00pm

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.

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Microsoft updates Windows 10 Technical Preview with Cortana

01/23, 5:58pm

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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First HomeKit-ready products may not ship until spring

01/23, 4:11pm

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.

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

01/23, 3:30pm

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".

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Apple Deals: 5K iMacs and Mac Pros

01/23, 3:29pm

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.

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

01/23, 3:27pm

This week at Newegg.com, 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.

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