Uber introduces Surge Drop to iPhone users

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Date: Tuesday, March 4th, 2014, 08:53
Category: Announcement, Apps, Features, iOS, iPhone, Mobile, Services, Software

Uber appUber is a great service and can be vital in a big city, even if the public transportation is good. I frequently use it to shave time off my travel between clients, and occasionally when I’ve been out having a good time all night and want a quick trip home so I can get to bed and try to function the next morning. Naturally, these kinds of services get really busy on holidays and during special events, and Uber takes advantage of the high demand with “surge” pricing. That means that during those busy times, Uber will raise the rate of a ride and later drop them back down again. This can end up being a real hit to the wallet, as I found out one New Years, if you aren’t aware that the surge pricing is in effect, or if you take a car because you have no idea when the surge pricing ends. With the latest update, Uber has taken care off that with a new feature they announced on their blog called “Surge Drop“.

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Apple TV now comes with $25 gift card

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Date: Monday, March 3rd, 2014, 09:54
Category: Announcement, Apple, Apple TV, Promotion, Retail Store, Rumor, Television

appletv_2ndgenLast week Apple announced a promotion where anyone who buys a new Apple TV (no refurbs) will receive a $25 iTunes gift card. Unfortunately, the promotion ends in 2 days on Wednesday, March 5th. The internet has been buzzing about the possibility that the promotion is a sign that a new Apple TV model announcement is imminent, and that this is an effort to clear out current stock of the devices. Sadly, while lax on the details (like none), Apple insider and founder of The Loop magazine Jim Dalrymple says it ain’t gonna happen…at least not in the near future. Jim usually has the genuine inside track on all things Apple, so he’s probably on the nose about this. There have been a lot of supposed signs that a new Apple TV is in the works, but likely won’t hit shelves until the latter part of the year, although there are still rumors flying around that at least an announcement of the upcoming device might be made at WWDC. Frankly, I’m not in any rush, my current Apple TV (1st of the 2nd Gen) does everything I need right now, but I am very curious as to what Apple has up its sleeves now that it’s no longer a “hobby”

 

 

OS X 10.9.2 update is out, run don’t walk to Software Update

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Date: Tuesday, February 25th, 2014, 16:46
Category: Announcement, App Store, Apple, Installation, Mac, Mavericks, OS X, security, Software

apple_logoAmongst recent criticism about Apple’s failure to fix an SSL security flaw in OS X, and recently patched on iDevices with iOS 7.0.6, today they released the OS X 10.9.2 update which is available via the App Store app. There was a long list of application updates and system fixes, but noticeably absent in the list was mention of the specific SSL security hole that has been dominating the news recently. The good news is that several sources confirm that there is indeed a fix for it present in the update. This one is pretty important, so it is strongly recommended that you apply the update sooner rather than later…like now would be a good time. Apple historically does not like to confirm or draw notice to security issues in software, especially not ones that have been around longer than they should have been, which probably accounts for this. Apple’s official page on the update is here, but a list of items is included below.

My personal recommendations for applying system updates;

  1. Make sure you run a backup, or that Time Machine has done so recently
  2. Close all running apps (except the App Store of course)
  3. Open Disk Utility and perform a Repair Permissions, the close Disk Utility
  4. Install the update
  5. Once the Mac applies the update and reboots, run Repair Permissions again
  6. Go get some coffee

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Burstly Acquired By Apple

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Date: Tuesday, February 25th, 2014, 09:10
Category: Android, Announcement, Apple, Apps, Business, Developer, iOS, iPhone, Software

burstly-acquires-testflightApple buys up yet another company, and it isn’t even the end of February yet. Burstly is the parent company of popular mobile app testing platform, TestFlight. TechCrunch received a number of leads and announced last Friday that Apple was the suspected purchaser. Hints that something was going on began last Wednesday when TestFlight made announcements that it would be terminating Android support as of March 21, as well as discontinuing its TestFlight SDK. These shutdowns have apparently taken developers using the tools by surprise, as there appeared to be no warning or confirmation of the changes, leaving users of TestFlight in the lurch. Developers who have commented on the changes are understandably annoyed, but the hope is that Apple will use their newly acquired assets to improve their own app development and testing tools, which many have said is lacking in features and usefulness. Unfortunately, this is no consolation to Android developers who will be left out in the cold to find new testing tools. Reportedly, the Burstly team is already hard at work at Apple. Here’s hoping that this means better things for iOS development in the future.

 

 

WhatsApp finally gets its buyout netting a cool $19 billion

Posted by:
Date: Friday, February 21st, 2014, 14:26
Category: Announcement, Apps, Business, Mobile, Services, Social, Software

facebook-whatsappLast Spring, rumors were in the air that Google might be buying up the messaging app WhatsApp, the iMessage-like online texting service, but the sale never happened. Honestly, I had forgotten that the Google acquisition didn’t happen, so I was really surprised when Facebook announced it was snapping it up. Yes, that number is correct, $19 billion. Who knew they had that much lying around? Ok, it wasn’t a straight up $19 bil, it was $4 billion in cash, $12 billion in shares, and $3 billion in restricted stock for the founders and employees that’ll divest over the next 4 years. Pretty good take overall.

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Microsoft finally patching up Skype message sync problems

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Date: Friday, February 14th, 2014, 09:14
Category: Announcement, Microsoft, Software

skypeiconFor some time since Microsoft acquired Skype, the conferencing and messaging software, users have been plagued by messages that won’t sync from one device to another. Additional problems included delayed notifications of new messages or notification of messages that have already been read. Anyone who used iMessages in its early days will recall similar, frustrating issues with Apple’s internet chat service.

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Apple celebrates The Fab Four with new Apple TV channel

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Date: Monday, February 10th, 2014, 08:15
Category: Announcement, Apple, Apple TV, iTunes Music Store, music

Beatles_50thIf you don’t know who The Fab Four are, you can stop reading now. You might also consider getting out once in a while. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles debut in America, Apple has added an Apple TV channel dedicated to the lads from Liverpool. The channel allows users to view The Beatles’ groundbreaking performance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” for a limited time, and also offers download links to The Beatles’ U.S. releases, which are available digitally for the first time on iTunes. Steve Jobs was a known admirer of The Beatles and struggled for years to strike a deal with record label EMI. It may not have helped that for years Apple battled Apple Corps Ltd., founded by The Beatles themselves in 1968, for the right to use the name “Apple”. The dispute was settled in 2007, after which users anticipated Apple to announce The Beatles music catalog to be available in the iTunes Store. Frustrated music lovers were finally rewarded in November 2010 when it was announced that Beatles music would at last be available for download. The group’s music went on to sell 2 million songs and 450,000 albums in its first week on the iTunes Store.

Satya Nadella named as new Microsoft CEO

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Date: Thursday, February 6th, 2014, 08:40
Category: Announcement, Business, Microsoft

Satya-NadellaAfter a long guessing game about who would be the next CEO, Microsoft finally announced Tuesday that it was appointing Satya Nadella to the post and adding him as a member of the Board of Directors. Nadella, who has been at Microsoft for 22 years, previously held the position of Executive Vice President of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group. He is replacing Steve Ballmer, who has held the position of CEO for 13 years following Bill Gates’ transition from CEO to Chairman of Microsoft’s Board of Directors in 2000. Ballmer will now take a position on the Board of Directors. Gates, meanwhile, makes another title change as he relinquishes his Chairman position to John Thompson and goes on to assume the role on the Board as Founder and Technology Advisor. There is still plenty of guessing and speculation to go around as everyone waits to see what possible fallout results from the announcement. Many speculate that some of Microsoft’s executives, who were in the running to take a seat in the CEO chair, may move on to jobs outside of Microsoft now that the decision is made. Also of interest will be Nadella’s vision for Microsoft now that he is in the driver’s seat.

New malicious Java app aims to infect Mac and Linux systems

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Date: Tuesday, February 4th, 2014, 09:34
Category: Announcement, Apple, Desktop Mac, Hack, Mac, Malware, OS X, security, Software

target-javaIt’s a long held belief that unless you are using the Windows platform, you are more or less immune to the average virus, trojan, or hack that you might encounter out in the wilds of the internet. There is some truth to the notion that Windows is more vulnerable to attacks, but there really is no such thing as safe, only safer. Check out this article on How-To Geek for a historical perspective on Windows’ malware woes. While Linux and OS X have more inherent defenses against infection, there are still some avenues that hackers can take advantage of to breach them, one of them being Java.

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Pebble debuts its new appstore later today

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Date: Monday, February 3rd, 2014, 09:38
Category: Accessory, Announcement, App Store, Apple, Apps, iOS, iPhone, Software, Wearables

Pebble_notificationsLast Friday, via its Twitter account, Pebble announced that the release date for the new Pebble appstore would be today, Feb 3rd, at 10 AM PST. So, only a few hours to go until Pebble owners can start playing with the new goodies. The announcement indicates that only the iOS update to the Pebble companion app would be released today, with an Android update arriving soon. For those already using a Pebble smartwatch with their iPhone, you should see the update appearing in the iOS App Store app, ready for download, or automatically installed if you have background updating enabled.

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