Review: Flappy Wings…yes, another Flappy Bird clone, but not bad

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, March 4th, 2014, 09:02
Category: App Store, Apple, Fun, Game, iOS, iPad, iPhone, Review, Software, Software

FlappywingsIf you’ve never heard of Flappy Bird, get easily frustrated with games, or have twitchy fingers, I’d suggest you move onto the next article. For the rest of you, I’m sure you are sick to death of hearing about Flappy Bird’s crazy rise to fame, but with countless clones of the game clogging the App Store it’s kind of hard to ignore completely (a search for “Flappy” gets 500 results). Even Apple and Google got tired of all the copy-cats. I myself get frustrated with the game (I’ve only made it through 9 sets of pipes argh), but not to the extremes that many people did. In fact, the frustration has the positive effect of keeping me from playing it too long.

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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.

 

 

Pebble debuts its new appstore later today

Posted by:
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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How Apple can protect kids against predatory IAPs #TAC

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Date: Thursday, January 16th, 2014, 16:29
Category: App Store, Apple

Tom’s under the weather, so I wanted to pitch in and cross-post a few of my ZDNet posts. In this one I discuss an issue that’s near and dear to my heart. My kids have accidentally purchased lots of In-App Purchases (IAPs) from the App Store because of Apple’s 15-minute no password window and nefarious developers that riddle free apps with ads and coerce kids into clicking through to bogus add-on purchases in Freemium apps.

Here are the suggestions I posted on The Apple Core:

  1. Offer the ability to require a password for every transaction.
  2. Offer the option to require a password for free downloads.
  3. Actively track the amount of refund requests in apps targeting kids and set a low threshold for penalizing developers that prey on young users with IAPs. (i.e. if your app generated more than 10 refunds in a day your App comes off the App Store for a day, and so on…)
  4. iTunes Store emails should be sent in real time as purchases occur.
  5. Offer the option to send an SMS or push notification to the account owner’s iPhone or iPad immediately after a purchase
  6. Make refunds easier to requests. Currently you can only request a refund within the desktop version of iTunes, and it’s extremely difficult to find
  7. Add more detail to IAPs in Recent Purchases UI by naming the host app in which the IAP occurred

The problem is that Apple took in $10 billion in revenue from the App Store in 2013, so there’s a strong disincentive to them doing anything that curbs its ferocious rate of sales. (Read more at ZDNet).

What’s your take?

Apple’s iOS App Store nets $10 billion in 2013

Posted by:
Date: Friday, January 10th, 2014, 09:26
Category: Announcement, App Store, Apple, Apps, Business, Finance, iOS, iPhone, Software

apple-moneyAccording to an announcement by Apple on Tuesday, the company took home more than $10 billion last year from iOS app sales. Christmas sales put them over the top with customers downloading almost 3 billion apps, making December Apple’s most lucrative and successful month in the App Store’s history. BusinessWire’s coverage of the record setting sales quoted Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue;

“We’d like to thank our customers for making 2013 the best year ever for the App Store. The lineup of apps for the holiday season was astonishing and we look forward to seeing what developers create in 2014.”

Apple also reported that iOS developers have now earned a collective $15 billion from sales on the App Store.

OS X 10.9.1 update drops

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Date: Tuesday, December 17th, 2013, 21:36
Category: Announcement, App Store, Apple, Desktop Mac, Installation, Mac, Mavericks, Software

maverickslogoThis one slipped by me. The App Store app on my Mac didn’t even register it. Anyway, lo and behold, 10.9.1 is out. Apple continues to add additional fixes to Mail for handling Gmail accounts. This one adds support for custom settings in Gmail. Here’s the complete change log;

  • Improved support for Gmail in OS X Mail, and fixes for users with custom Gmail settings
  • Improves the reliability of Smart Mailboxes and search in Mail
  • Fixes an issue that prevented contact groups from working properly in Mail
  • Resolves an issue that prevented VoiceOver from speaking sentences that contain emoji
  • Updates Shared Links periodically when open in the Safari Sidebar

Run to your local Apple download site, or open up the App Store app and hope it sees the update. Also, I recommend closing all apps and repairing file permissions both before and after applying the update. Happy Gmailing!

Apple and Bitcoin, oil and water?

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 12th, 2013, 10:56
Category: App Store, Apple, Finance, iOS, iPhone, Software, The Apple Core

Bitcoin-Accp-Here-notOne of my terrible regrets is that I didn’t hop on the Bitcoin train when I had the chance. I read about it, created an account, had one of my computers generate some coin (took forever), and decided it wasn’t worth my time to fart around with unrecognized virtual currency. If I had left that computer running, who knows what that would be worth now. Who knew? Whether it lasts or not is to be seen, but it is certainly getting a lot of attention now. If you’re not up to speed on the whole internet bit trading thing, start with this article over at The Apple Core for more info and the recent explosion of Bitcoin mining.

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1Password for Mac updated to version 4.1 with new features

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Date: Tuesday, December 10th, 2013, 09:18
Category: Announcement, App Store, Apple, Apps, iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Mac, Mavericks, privacy, security, Software

product-1password-4-for-macEveryone’s favorite password keeper (well mine anyway), 1Password, has been updated to version 4.1 and includes some great feature updates. The Agilebits blog introduces the update and gives a quick rundown of some of the key updates;

“1Password 4.1 for Mac is now available for our website customers, and it is waiting for review for Mac App Store customers. “4.1″ may look like a small update, but it packs some great big stuff [...]“

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Apple releases updates to Mail and iBooks into the wild

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Date: Friday, November 8th, 2013, 08:22
Category: Apple, Google, Mac, Mavericks, Software

maverickslogoEarly on Thursday, Apple released Mail Update for Mavericks 1.0 and iBooks Update 1.0.1. iBook got the usual “security and stability improvements”, which isn’t much, but it did add a .1 to the version number. Mail, on the other hand, only inched from version 7.0 build (1816) to 7.0 build (1822). While the number treatment makes this seem like a minor patch to Mail, it will probably be a big deal to anyone who has been wrestling with Mavericks’ Mail program and their Gmail accounts.

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