Apple launches Beta Seed Program for consumers

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014, 09:57
Category: Apple, Mac, News, OS X, Software

maverickslogoApple is trying something new with its prerelease versions of OS X, it’s letting everyone take a crack at it. Tuesday, Apple launched the Beta Seed Program which allows anyone with an Apple ID to download and try out beta versions of OS X. A complete FAQ for the program can be found here.

According to AppleInsider;

“It appears Apple has been quietly working to implement the new open beta policy for at least a couple of months via a “Feedback Assistant” that turned up in build 13D38 OS X 10.9.3 earlier this month. At the time, the standalone app’s purpose was unknown, though it is now believed to be part of the Beta Seed Program.”

I can see the potential benefits of having a greater number of people testing out new beta releases of OS X to work out bugs faster, which could speed up the turn-around for OS updates. I even know a number of people, including myself, who are power users that would love to try out new versions before they were released. My question, and concern, about this new program is…how useful is it really? Of the people who download the betas, how many will follow through with providing feedback, and how many will simply mess up their system because they don’t know any better, requiring a trip to the Genius Bar. How many “consumers” have the ability to send useful feedback?

If you are reading this and plan to join the program, just remember to create a full up-to-date backup of your computer(s). If anything does go wrong, be prepared to wipe your hard drive and restore everything from your backup. If you plan to try out the program, let us know and tell us why you’re doing it. Do you plan to send Apple valuable feedback, are you trying to solve a problem, or are you just curious?

 

 

iOS updated to 7.1.1

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014, 08:01
Category: Apple, iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Software

ios7logoApple released the latest update to iOS for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. The update is 26.1 MB and requires 1.2 GB of available space to install it on your device.

 

WHAT’S NEW

Version 7.1.1:

  • Further improvements to Touch ID fingerprint recognition
  • Fixes a bug that could impact keyboard responsiveness
  • Fixes an issue when using Bluetooth keyboards with VoiceOver enabled

REQUIREMENTS

Version 7.1.1 supports:

  • iPhone 4/4s  5/5c/5s
  • iPad Air / iPad 2 / new iPad
  • iPad mini / iPad mini with Retina Display
  • iPod touch 5th gen

 

 

Apple celebrates Earth Day with modified logo

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014, 09:40
Category: Apple, Environment, Retail Store

apple_chrome_logo_leafApril 22nd is Earth Day, and for the first time in eight years, Apple is acknowledging it by modifying its logo for the day. Some stores, such as the Nanjing East store in Shanghai, have updated the store’s traditional logo to one with a green leaf, which we can see thanks to Instagram user Znnina who posted a photo of the store’s updated logo. As part of the celebration, select stores will be giving employees special Earth Day shirts to wear. Apple has also posted a new “Better” video highlighting its environmental initiatives. It was just in the news recently that Apple has purchased a hydroelectric plant to help power its North Carolina data center.

In addition, Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice President of Environmental Initiatives, posted an open letter about Apple’s efforts to, “…continue to put nature at the center of our business and design principles.”.

 

 

Older versions of OS X to lose AIM iChat login support

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014, 08:09
Category: Announcement, Apple, Lion, Mac, Mavericks, OS X, Software

ichat_logoIn a new support article, Apple has indicated its intention to remove the ability to use a mac.com or me.com ID to login to the AIM service via iChat on OS X systems older than 10.7.2 as of June 30th, 2014. To continue using the service, the article recommends either updating to 10.7.5 if you wish to continue using Lion, otherwise update to Mavericks using these instructions. If you can’t upgrade OS X, you can choose one of these methods to create a new AIM ID;

Creating a new AIM ID

  1. Create a new AIM ID from the AOL website.
  2. Add this new account to iChat by following the instructions in this article.
  3. Creating a new Apple ID requires you to re-add your buddies to your new buddy list. Re-add your buddies to your by following the instructions in this article.
  4. Remove your old mac.com account from iChat preferences.

 

 

Nike axes the FuelBand and most of its development team

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 21st, 2014, 09:24
Category: Accessory, Consumer Electronics, Hardware, News, Wearables

Nike-FuelBand-WM0105_001_AIt looks like there will be one less company competing in the wearables market with the iWatch. According to CNET, Nike is closing down its wearable hardware development, which includes the FuelBand, in order to focus on its software efforts. As a result, the 70 employees on the FuelBand team are being let go, with a handful staying on until May.

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Software Update Rundown for April 21st, 2014

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 21st, 2014, 09:54
Category: App Store, Apps, iOS, iPhone, Mac, OS X, Software

software-updateWe’ll be posting info on updates of some of our favorite software along with some high profile apps that are pretty essential to anyone on a Mac or iThing, just in case you missed them. This information is brought to you by updates I get from developers and my own software use, but mostly by MacUpdate, although not officially, because that is what I use to keep all my apps up to date. I also like to add some value by throwing in some extra notes from my experiences. So let’s get to it!

 

Mac

calibre 1.33.0

This app is great if you want to access PDF documents, ePub books, or other readable, in different formats. Excellent for managing books on a Kindle from your Mac.

New Features

  • Edit book: Add a tool to check spellings, access it via Tools->Check spelling…. The calibre book editor now has builtin spellcheck. You can install new dictionaries via Preferences->Editor->Manage spelling dictionaries. It comes with builtin dictionaries for English and Spanish. You can add OpenOffice dictionaries (in .oxt format). The tool checks spellings in all HTML/OPF/NCX files in the book, taking into account any language declarations in the book, so that it will work correctly on multi-lingual books as well. The code is very new, so there may well be bugs. As you type spell checking is not yet implemented.
  • Kobo driver: Support firmware version 3.3
  • Device driver for Tolino Vision on windows

Bug Fixes

  • Amazon metadata download: Fix Editorial Reviews not downloading into the comments section for some books
  • DOCX Input: Fix some text highlighting colors in the DOCX file not being correctly translated during conversion.
  • Wireless device driver: Fix incorrect syncing behavior when book matching is run for a second time while connected. This happens when the user changes the library or selects ‘Update cached metadata on device’.
  • Searching: Fix searching by date not using the system locale to interpret dd/mm vs mm/dd dates on windows

New news sources

  • Various new and updated Spanish news sources by Marc Busque

Improved news sources

  • Barrons
  • Creative Blog

 

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Students hack Siri to do more using Googolplex

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 18th, 2014, 08:33
Category: Apple, Google, Hacks, iOS, iPhone, Services, Siri

Screenshot 2014-04-18 02.38.02

Do you ever feel like Siri is just not living up to its potential? Do you wish there was more that Siri could do? Well, you aren’t alone. Some students at the University of Pennsylvania felt the same way and decided to do something about it, and the result was Googolplex. The four students, Alex Sands, Ajay Patel, Ben Hsu and Gagan Gupta, entered their creation into a hackathon and won third place. So, how does this work? Keep reading and we’ll tell you.

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iPhone 6 mock-ups show up in Hong Kong

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, April 17th, 2014, 09:09
Category: Accessory, Apple, Cases, Hardware, iPhone, Mock-Up, Rumor

iPhone6-HongKong

The iPhone rumors and speculation are hitting a fever pitch as demonstrated at the 2014 Hong Kong Electronics Fair. The expo is billed as Asia’s largest spring fair that highlights a variety of products from OEMs and aftermarket vendors. Several case and accessory makers are already advertising items for the yet unseen iPhone 6, and as shown in the image above, and not afraid to advertise the fact on banners and displays.

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Samsung’s fingerprint scanner not immune to hackers

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, April 17th, 2014, 08:17
Category: Android, Hacks, privacy, Samsung, security

 

samsung_galaxy_s5_official_1_fingerprint_scanner-crop

It was only a matter of time before someone found a weakness in the fingerprint scanner found on the new Samsung Galaxy S5. Too bad Samsung didn’t learn anything from Apple’s experiences with fingerprint hacking. The very same hack that was used to bypass the iPhone 5S’s scanner, that we reported on last September, has now been used to get past the one on the Galaxy S5. The security blog SRlabs has posted a video of a fake fingerprint, which was copied from a photo image and reproduced, being used to unlock a Galaxy S5.

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BlackBerry stifles sale of Typo keyboard case

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 16th, 2014, 17:51
Category: Accessory, Cases, Hardware, iPhone, Legal, News, Patents

typo-keyboards.pngOriginally announced last December, Ryan Seacrest’s Typo keyboard case for iPhone 5/5S hit a snag in January right before its planned launch as CES when BlackBerry decided the Typo’s keyboard infringed on its own keyboard designs. Typo was finally forced to halt sales of the keyboard case when an injunction took effect on Tuesday that bans it from being imported to the U.S.

According to Macworld UK, the injunction is part of a patent lawsuit filed by BlackBerry and was triggered when BlackBerry put up a US$500,000 bond with the court. The money is to be used to compensate Typo for any lost profits if it ends up winning the case. Regarding the case, Judge William Orrick of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California said,

“BlackBerry has established a likelihood of proving that Typo infringes the patents at issue and Typo has not presented a substantial question of the validity of those patents.”

Currently, going to the Typo website at http://typokeyboards.com simply offers an option to join their mailing list, however, much of the information about the device can still be found on the site.