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

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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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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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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

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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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Will Siri be driving you to work in your new Apple Car?

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Date: Tuesday, February 18th, 2014, 19:33
Category: Apple, battery, Business, iPhone, Rumor, Siri, Software

teslaThe latest Apple buzz has been about its interest in…cars. As far back as 2012, there has been talk of Apple making agreements with up to nine auto-makers to integrate access to Siri on the iPhone, directly with car controls. The system, now called Siri Eyes Free, has already been incorporated into select Chevrolet and Honda models, with BMW and General Motors planning to put Eyes Free in a number of 2014 vehicles. Now it has been brought to light that Apple has been talking with Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, since last year. This could easily be attributed as part of Apple’s plans to get Siri Eyes Free into as many cars as possible.

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Follow up on the Pebble appstore

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Date: Tuesday, February 11th, 2014, 21:24
Category: Accessory, App Store, Apple, Apps, Consumer Electronics, iOS, iPhone, Review, Software, Software, The Apple Core, Wearables

Pebble_new_appiconEarlier, I reported on my first impressions of the Pebble appstore and the new app for iOS. There have been a few changes that I wanted to post about. As it happens, Pebble posted an update to the iOS app yesterday, version 2.0.1, which lists the changes as; “More Javascript apps included!” and “Fixed a number of crashes”. Before that was released, however, I noticed something that addressed one of my previous concerns. Now, among the links at the bottom of each app description, you can now ‘Email Developer For Support’ which opens a new message in the Mail app. This was something apparently added to the server side of things after my original review since I noticed the option before the update.

 

Pebble_dev_contact

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A compelling case for using a case

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Date: Monday, February 10th, 2014, 08:03
Category: AppleCare, Cases, Consumer Electronics, iPad Air, iPad mini, iPhone, Mobile Phone

shattered-ipadIf you stacked one of every different mobile device case end to end, I bet it would reach Mars. Ok, maybe not, but there are an overwhelming number of choices for protecting your device. Even with all the options, ranging in price from just a few dollars to hundreds of dollars, many people choose not to get a case of any kind. With the first couple of iPhones, especially the original, even I was reluctant to cover up Apple’s designs with some ugly chunk of plastic. Once Apple started covering it all in glass, starting with the iPhone 4, I had to rethink this policy and have had some kind of case ever since. It doesn’t hurt that if you choose to sell your device later, a case can keep it looking almost new and fetch a higher resale price.

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Amazon has a plan to get into the mobile payments game

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Date: Friday, February 7th, 2014, 09:32
Category: Amazon, Finance, Mobile, retail, Services

amazon-logo-150x150It looks like Amazon is determined to expand out of the “virtual” retail space to get its foot in the door of brick-and-mortar stores. The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, has plans to0 equip retailers with Kindle tablets with credit card readers for accepting payments, possibly in exchange for web site development and data analysis. Trying to push its way into traditional retail spaces means Amazon will be pitting itself against much larger companies that provide checkout and POS (Point Of Sale) systems to large retailers, which may require Amazon to turn to smaller businesses. Even there, they are competing with companies like Square Inc., who have a big head start in that space. Amazon does have the benefit of allowing retailers that partner with them to offer promotions or discounts through Amazon.com or its Amazon Local daily deals offers. Amazon has a steep hill to climb, but Richard Crone who is chief executive of Crone Consulting, a payments advisory firm, makes a good point;

“At the end of the day, a merchant wants to make a sale, to drive up business. And if Amazon or anyone else can help them do that, that’s tough to turn away,”

Amazon will also be in a race with Apple, who is reportedly preparing its own blitz into the mobile payments game, offering the convenience of millions of customers with iPhones with the advantages of the iBeacon system. Even Amazon knows it’s not a sure thing. The WSJ mentions that, “Amazon’s plans remain fluid and the project might be delayed, altered or canceled, they said.”.

Review: First impressions of Pebble 2.0 and the appstore

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Date: Friday, February 7th, 2014, 08:40
Category: Accessory, Apps, Consumer Electronics, Gadget, iOS, iPhone, Review, Software, Software, The Apple Core, Wearables

pebble-ios-7I’ve had a few days to work with the updated 2.0 firmware on the Pebble smartwatch and the updated iOS app which now features the new appstore. As far as app and watch face management go, the new iOS app is a huge improvement, but the appstore component still needs a bit of work. If you want to see a video about setting up a Pebble with the new iOS app plus a look at the new Pebble Steel (still saving up for mine), head over to the Apple Core where Jason O’Grady does an unboxing walk-through with Pebble’s latest product.

Hit the break for the rest of my look at the software side of the Pebble.

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Tired of using English on your Mac? Try Klingon!

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Date: Thursday, February 6th, 2014, 09:44
Category: Desktop Mac, Fun, How-To, User Interface

Klingon_EmpireI ran across this tidbit on FairerPlatform, but I really should have already known this already (shame on me). Among the many languages your Mac can support and display, such as Latvian, Russian, and Swahili; believe it or not, it can also do Klingon, the well known warrior race from Star Trek. To use the Klingon language on your Mac, go to System Preferences > Language & Region and, under the “Preferred Languages” box, click the “+” (plus) button. Then scroll down, until you find “tlhlngan Hol” (Klingon). Then select it and click add. The Mac will ask if you want to use Klingon or English as the primary language. Before that, however, you’ll need to download the appropriate fonts to install on your computer. Just make sure you know how to actually read Klingon or know your way back to the language preferences first. If you want to learn Klingon, you can find a number of books on the subject on Amazon, and there are even Klingon dictionary apps for your iPhone on the App Store. FairerPlatform also found a link to a review for a Klingon keyboard, but apparently they were all recalled to the home planet of Qo’noS, because they can no longer be found anywhere (probably in part because it could only use a PS2 port). Don’t expect the PowerPage to go Klingon, at least not for another 250 years or so.

Qapla’!