Works with iOS, Android, Windows Phone: crash reporting, analytics, beta distribution to be unified
Microsoft has announced through a blog post that it has acquired HockeyApp, a mobile analytics and app-distribution service similar to Apple's Testflight. Originally launched as a web-only service in 2011 that allowed iOS, OS X, and Android developers to collect crash reports and manage beta distribution, the app now offers such services for Android, iOS and Windows Phone developers, and will continue to operate as Microsoft works on integrating HockeyApp into the Applications Insights service in Visual Studio Online.
Facebook reduces "Like-bait" posts, spam, repetitive content from News Feed
Facebook today announced its intention to reduce the clutter on its News Feed feature, by reducing stores that users report as spam, or dislike. According to the company's newsroom release, Facebook will focus on content considered "like-bait", when a post explicitly asks reader to like, comment or share it to gain distribution; frequently circulated content, that becomes repetitive throughout a feed; and spam links, such as when a post claims to be a photo album or other content, and upon click-through is only advertisement. Facebook's engineers claim that this content reduction will affect the small set of publishers who frequently and intentionally creating feed spam, and not the majority of publishers on Facebook.
SP 2.7 adds multiple playback output, overlays
Sedna GmbH has launched an update to its digital signage software, Sedna Presenter, which now supports the iPad. The software provides tools for content assembly, scheduling and distribution, with support of multi-screen video walls. The player manages digital signage playback, accessible over the web and distributed to large numbers of installed players.
Effigent on Thursday unveiled PowerEasy Distribution for Mac, offering users a suite of modules for tracking, managing, and replenishing inventory levels, as well as overseeing the distribution cycle from purchasing and stocking, to sales. Users are able to process sales and purchase orders, manage inventory, and create visual charts for company progress, which can be shared across networks, or interface with spreadsheet, analysis or presentation software.
- RAGE SERank 1.7 ($60) Mac OS X search engine rank checker for website owners to track and monitor their search engine rankings. RAGE SERank will monitor search engine rankings for any number of keywords and display changes in a website's search engine rankings over any point in time. RAGE SERank 1.7 now lets you check up to 1000 search results so you can easily see if you are making improvements in your search engine rankings, even if you have not made it to the first 10 pages of search results yet. It also adds speed optimization options to the RAGE SERank database so you can make sure you are always operating at peak performance. [Download - 13.2MB]
- Today 1.2 ($15) a event and task management application for Mac OS X. Today shows you all the events and tasks that are stored in Apple's iCal in a small, easily navigable window. Today 1.0.1 is a maintenance release that addresses several minor issues reported users who downloaded the application since launch last week. This release adds the ability to double-click on an event or task to open it in iCal. [Download - 1.2MB]
- Fetch Art 2.0 (free) tool for adding cover art to your iTunes library. Useful if you've ripped your own music or don't have an iTunes Store account. The new release has fixes for compatibility with Amazon's new ECS 4.0 web service and improvements in accuracy logic in searching for art. It also removed dependency on Perl which should improve compatibility with future Mac OS X updates.[Download - 717KB]
- PDFpen 3.4.2 ($50) PDF editing and form-filling tool for Mac OS X. The update offers improved handling of font widths for fonts used frequently in optical character recognition (OCR), as well as a number of bug fixes. All the new features of PDFpen 3.4.2 have also been added to PDFpenPro 3.4.2, the Pro version that has the ability to create fillable PDF forms in addition to all the features of PDFpen. [Download - 5.3MB]
- Mailings 1.9.37 ($25) application for batch emailing that delivers any web page or plain text document with attachments to multiple recipients for marketing, news announcements, product updates etc. Mailings facilitates the task of delivering regular bulk email distributions with such features as logging, progress monitoring, scheduling, error recovery, throttling, personalization and much more. [Download - 4.8MB]
WB signs Internet partners
Warner Bros. Television is expanding its internet distribution, announcing new deals with TiVo, Joost, Sling Media, Daily Motion and Veoh Networks for a “number of advertiser-supported branded channels.” The deal includes TheWB.com ad KidsWB.com, which were announced in April. The move gives Warner more platforms to broaden its reach in the increasingly crowded television marketplace -- and more opportunities to catch the elusive 16-34 year-old advertising demographic.
Zinio adds 20 titles
Digital publisher Zinio today announced it has updated its iPhone magazine distribution service with 20 new titles to choose from. Users can now opt to read Readers Digest, Elle, Esquire UK, Macworld Spain, Macworld UK, Outside, PC Magazine, Popular Photography, and US News & World report, among others. Zinio offers hundreds of different subscriptions, which start at $10 for a yearly subscription to a magazine, while others range as high as $100.
Same-day movie loss leader
Apple's new deal with major movie studios to offer downloadable movies on iTunes the same day they are released on DVD is currently costing the company more than it would make on the sale. According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple is buying movies for a wholesale price of around $16, while only charging $14.99 for the content. iTunes' popularity has so far earned the company a solid reputation, helping change the face of digital media distribution by increasing overall market revenue to $175.8 million from almost nothing two years prior.
iPhone exclusivity issue
Apple could be re-evaluating its iPhone exclusivity agreements in future global releases as it expands into Europe, Asia, Central, and South America. Spanish language news site CincoDias writes that the same business methodology that Apple used to successfully launch the iPhone in the US doesn't necessarily mean the approach works globally. The publication cites poor European sales – when contrasted to North American numbers – especially due to individuals compromising the device's exclusivity through alternative means.
NBC reconsiders iTunes
NBC is again considering distribution of its TV shows through the iTunes store, pending a more rigid anti-piracy stance. According to CNET, George Kliavkoff, chief digital officer for NBC Universal, says that digital piracy hurts the company to the point where it is not viable to distribute its content digitally. The statement comes after NBC Universal pulled shows such as Heroes and The Office from iTunes over a pricing dispute between itself and Apple.
Starz has begun selling its television series' through the iTunes Store, joining Showtime as a premium network offering shows ala carte through Apple's digital distribution system. Marc DeBevoise, Senior Vice President of business development and strategy for Starz, announced that Starz would be joining iTunes during the Future of Television West conference in Hollywood yesterday. Currently only two shows from Starz are offered through iTunes; Head Case and Hollywood residential.
iTunes revenue for Disney
Disney, as the launch partner for the iTunes video store, has seen approximately $123 million from the venture since its inception, which is a drop in the bucket when compared to the company's $35 billion in revenue last year, but is not without its upsides. Money made from the iTunes video store requires very little maintenance and planning, since companies don't have to market the product, while extraneous costs such as boxing, shipping, and other elements in distribution are not present.
i-Mate closes US office
i-Mate's office in Redmond, Washington has been almost completely dissolved, with the company laying off almost its entire workforce, while others left on their own volition. According to Engadget, the Dubai-based company ran into problems with US distribution of its Ultimate line of communication devices. This led to i-Mate laying off almost its entire US operations team, including the engineering, quality assurance, and technical writing departments.
Steps to ousting Apple
Two research firms -- Park Associates and Entertainment Technology Center at USC -- have released a document urging Hollywood to use Apple's own tactics of offering low-cost TV shows and feature films for mobile media devices in an effort to reap profits on their own, cutting the Cupertino-based company out of the equation. "Hollywood shouldn't let Apple make all the money, especially since they are the ones making the movies," said John Barrett, director of research at Parks Associates. "Judicious use of free mobile content can help drive ticket and DVD sales." The white paper specifically details steps to achieve profitable distribution of mobile content on mobile platforms and devices, without Apple's help.
Aussie Apple change
A contract changed enacted by Apple may have a negative effect on Apple resellers in Australia and New Zealand. The shift would allow retailers to "multi source" Apple products, which means they could buy in tandem from suppliers and Apple. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Renaissance Corp is expecting the sales volume and profit from its Apple distribution business to fall following signing of the new contract. Changes to suppliers' margin structure will also be phased in between now and October.
FileWave 3.5 update
FileWave today announced the release of FileWave 3.5, an update to its software distribution application, adding Leopard support and over 300 enhancements. FileWave allows users to configure and deploy bootable disk images over a network, complete with pre-loaded software, including heavy apps like Adobe’s Creative Suite and Microsoft Office. While details on the update were scarce, FileWave said the application features a refined user interface, and drastic performance improvements. New users can purchase FileWave 3.5 from authorized retailers nationwide; pricing information as not available, but users that purchase FileWave 3.5 before March 31st are entitled to a promotional discount.