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Get Free Bitcoins with 52 Website Faucets that...

I've gathered 52 different Bitcoin "faucets"-websites that pay out free Bitcoins just for loading up a page full of ads-and tested them to make sure they actually pay out. I started off with eight sites, but this update bumps that list to 51 different Bitcoin faucets that really pay.


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Crowdfunding Critic: Codename Morningstar iOS...

Earlier this month, we had talked about the falling out between Wizards of the Coast and Trapdoor Technologies over DungeonScape (or Codename: Morningstar, depending on the day), which was supposed to be the answer to every dungeon master's prayers. DungeonScape was gearing up to be an application, available for both tablets and computers, and its aim was to help eliminate the lengthy setup times and give users the ability to look up rules and equipment at a glance. Under a month after gaming company Wizards of the Coast killed the partnership, Trapdoor Technologies launched a Kickstarter in h...



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Public gets new beta of OS X 10.10.2

Over the weekend, Apple published a new public beta version of OS X 10.10.2. The code is identified as build 14C81h, and follows the third developer beta of the update, which was build 14C81f. For that Apple asked developers to concentrate testing on areas such as Mail, VoiceOver, and Wi-Fi connections....



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Staples confirms attack on retail system, over 1M...

An intrusion into Staples' point-of-sales systems earlier this year put 1.16 million credit and debit cards at risk, the retailer admitted on Friday. Approximately 115 of the company's 1,400 retail stores across the United States were affected by malware on its systems, though the store apparently managed to eradicate the malware and improve system security in mid-September....



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Holiday Gift Guide -- gifts for gamers

Gamers can be very selective in the types of things they want for the holidays, but Electronista and MacNN are offering some hints on gadgets that should appeal to any gamer on the shopping list. From smaller items that enhance play on consoles and computers to a tablet that allows gamers the ultimate on-the-go experience, out gaming gift guide should prepare shoppers for the upcoming season....



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12-inch MacBook Air entering production early next...

Production of Apple's rumored 12-inch MacBook Air -- along with the Apple Watch -- should enter mass production in the first quarter of 2014, supply chain sources tell Digitimes. Suppliers are allegedly beginning to accelerate work on related components. The new Air is expected to have an Intel Broadwell processor, and an even thinner and lighter design....



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Apple opens up official iTunes page on Tumblr

Apple has expanded its presence in social media with a new Tumblr blog dedicated to iTunes. At the moment the site focuses mainly on Apple's Best of 2014 content, in categories including movies, music, TV, and books. The company has had very little presence on Tumblr so far; it launched a page dedicated to the iPhone 5c in March, but has otherwise ignored the site....



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Apple's Russian online store returns with major...

Apple's Russian online store is back online, following an almost week-long downtime. The store was taken down to review and change prices, and accordingly many products are now substantially more expensive. A 16GB iPhone 6 is 53,990 rubles, or about $988, far higher than the 34,990 rubles ($643) it sold for previously. A Retina iMac starts at 189,990 rubles, or $3,467. The same system is $2,499 in the US....



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Monday Deals: Gigabit routers, Ultra HD television,...

Welcome to Monday Deals, and let's face it, Christmas is upon us, and there's not really enough time to buy gifts online and receive them in time for the big day. Maybe you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader, want to use your leftover present-buying cash to get yourself a little or not-so-little something for all that hard work buying for other people. As usual, prices are correct at the time of writing, but may change at a later time, so check before completing orders. Also remember to check back over the next few days, as more deals may be added at a later time....



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Hands On: Calista (iOS)

Everyone's familiar with current trend in photos that keep popping up across the Internet. One part indie-rock and one part Photoshop, their soft colors and multiple filters have become the new cool thing. Originally these images took time, effort, and at least a basic understanding of Photoshop. But now something like Calista, by THINKSUIT, gives users the ability to make these straight from the comfort of a handheld device....



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Apple supplier Pegatron promises to investigate...

Apple supplier Pegatron has issued a statement to the Taiwan Stock Exchange, promising to investigate and fix labor abuses uncovered through a recently-aired BBC documentary. The company states that worker safety is its top priority, and that it runs strict training for both regular workers and management. It also notes the use of external inspectors in audits -- presumably referring to the teams used by Apple -- and says that it offers many ways for workers to submit feedback. During 2014, the company has allegedly resolved 94 percent of complaints within three days....



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Apple issues NTP Security Update for several...

Apple has released what it calls a "critical" patch for OS X, dubbed the NTP Security Update. The code is currently being pushed to users via the Mac App Store, and solves vulnerabilities within the Network Time Protocol. The update is available for Mountain Lion (10.8.x), Mavericks (10.9), and Yosemite (10.10). While no known attack exploits the now-patched vulnerabilities, the discovery appears to be serious enough to merit immediate attention....



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Hands On: Combat Mission: Battle for Normandy (OS X...

Let's start by getting one thing straight: Combat Mission: Battle for Normandy is not designed for the casual gamer. It is an extremely detailed affair, that has been designed to create a fairly accurate replication of war on the Normandy battlefield. Combat Mission is not a game of quick rushes and gathering resources, but instead requires players to thoughtfully plan out their military tactics one step at a time. It is a game of incredible detail, so if you are new to the game (as we were) be prepared to spend a couple hours just learning how to play, before you really get into your first fi...



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VPN Unlimited Premium Plan: 3 Years Of Hacker...

Need access to otherwise restricted web content? Donât trust your WiFi connection? Need to ensure online security? You want to consider a virtual private network (VPN), and boom! We just happen to have a deal for three years of VPN Unlimited's Premium Plan for $19. With this package, your Internet data is encrypted between the VPN and you, greatly limiting your exposure to hackers, and for those who live in countries that block access, it can be the only way to get to some sites. There's a lot more information on our deal site.


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Apple Releases ‘Critical’ OS X NTP Security Update...

Apple released security updates for OS X's NTP (network time protocol) service. The patch notes don't specify the changes, but do characterize the security flaw as "critical."


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Dr. Mac’s Tried and True Apple Holiday Gift Guide...

Hereâs Dr. Mac's final batch of reasonably priced Apple related gadgets (and holders for Apple gadgets), all of which will be much appreciated by the geeks you love.


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Procrastinator’s Guide to Last Minute Holiday Gifts

Last minute shoppers unite in panic! In case you have missed all shipping deadlines for some reason, Kelly has some ideas that can help you whip up instant gifts.


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Tor network servers experience outage after leaked...

Last Friday, the Tor Project blog posted about a possible threat that some of its servers would be seized in an attempt to incapacitate or hijack the Tor network. Over the weekend, a group of "exit node" servers in a Dutch datacenter went down, and then came back online. The service, a volunteer network of relays aiming to provide anonymity and security, says it was warned of suspicious activity that may have been instigated by law enforcement....



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FCC hits pause again on clock for TWC-Comcast merger

In spite of Comcast CEO Brian Roberts' assertions earlier this month that the merger with Time Warner Cable (TWC) is going along smoothly, the FCC has paused the informal 180-day clock on its investigation into the merger, due to a total of roughly 38,000 documents submitted by TWC beyond its deadline, and after the FCC had believed it was finished with that part of its investigation into the merger....



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North Korea refutes US hacking accusations, endures...

North Korea has declared it will strike against the United States, after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) identified the rogue state as the origin of the Sony Pictures hack. However, alongside the sabre-rattling statement provided by the Korean Central News Agency of DPRK (the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, as it calls itself) are reports that the country's Internet connection has itself been the target of an attack over the weekend, with North Korea effectively being knocked offline....

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Hands On: Writeroom (OS X)

Work-related writing beckons, and yet you can't help but drift over to check your email, fiddle with iTunes or meander to the black hole that is social media. Word processors are among the easiest working windows to stray from -- which is why Hog Bay Software developed Writeroom, a word processor that provides a full-screen, minimalist environment for a distraction-free process. Though Writeroom (priced at $10) last received an update back in 2012, it continues to be an enjoyable, useful tool in letting the words flow....



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Follow up: North Korean Internet back online

North Korea's connection to the rest of the Internet, which had been knocked offline this weekend, has been restored according to a new report. Over the weekend, Internet service in the country dwindled to nothing, after DDoS attacks against its Internet infrastructure increased....



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Developer sneaks NES/SNES emulator into iOS app

Once again, a rogue developer has attempted -- and succeeded, albeit temporarily -- in sneaking an app onto the iOS App Store that actually contains an emulator for a classic game system, forbidden under App Store rules. This time, it is...



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Apple Retail SVP Ahrendts offers holiday message on...

A new post from Apple Retail Senior Vice President (SVP) Dame Angela Ahrendts on her LinkedIn blog offers a simple holiday message and song with a theme of peace, saying her message for the season was simply "let peace begin with me." Ahrendts said she was inspired by a recent re-hearing of a song she used to play on piano, a rendition of "Let There Be Peace on Earth" by B.J. Thomas. The song, originally written by Jill Jackson Miller and Sy Miller in 1955, offers an inspirational message of unity....



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Hands On: DevonThink (OS X)

This is going to be like reviewing a car by focusing on how great the radio is. DevonThink is a massive application that might as well aim to be your personal Wikipedia. Every thought you have, every note you make, everything you spot on the web, you can throw it all into your personal DevonThink database. So far that sounds very much like Evernote -- and it is indeed similar -- but DevonThink is equally focused on arranging and sorting that material....



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LG teases new Music Flow networked speakers ahead of...

LG has revealed more details for new speakers joining its Music Flow networked speaker collection, competing against similar systems from Samsung and Sonos. Set to be shown off at CES, the new items consist of a portable speaker, two sound bars, and a streaming 3D Blu-ray player, all of which will be compatible with Android and iOS devices....



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Facebook debuts Stickered app for iPhone

Facebook has released Stickered for Messenger, an app that lets users add stickers to photos shot on an iPhone or iPod touch. The stickers can be added after or even before a photo is taken, as well as to pre-existing images in the Camera Roll. As necessary, stickers can be dragged, resized, and rotated....



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Apps: Posterino, MacPilot, Dupin




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Jeff Gamet Talks 2014’s Big Apple News on Mac OS Ken

Ken Ray invited The Mac Observer's Jeff Gamet onto Mac OS Ken today to talk about this year's biggest, most important, and most overlooked Apple news for 2014. It was a big year for Apple, so there were plenty of stories to choose from and plenty for the two to discuss. Mac OS Ken is a free daily podcast at the Mac OS Ken website, through Libsyn, or at Apple's iTunes Store.


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OS X Yosemite: Changing Your Mac’s Ringtone

For today's Quick Tip, let's talk about how to change the default ringtone in Yosemite! We here at TMO really dig the idea of being able to answer calls on our computers, but we're not completely in love with the sound Apple picked as the default ringtone. So here's how you can switch it up if you want something different, too.


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TMO Daily Observations: 2014-12-22

NPR's Serial podcast has become so big that Saturday Night Live recently made their own parody version. Bryan Chaffin and Dave Hamilton join Jeff Gamet to look at the show and how podcasting has become a part of mainstream life.The also look at how Apple Watch has stolen the wearables market for the holiday buying season even though it won't hit store shelves for months.


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CNN Names Apple’s Tim Cook CEO of the Year

CNN has announced their pick for CEO of the year for 2014, and it's no surprise they went for Tim Cook. CNN chose Mr. Cook because he guided the company into a sharp increase in stock value, plus he managed to show Apple can continue to innovate without Steve Jobs.

The Mac Observer Spin: Considering Apple's leading position in the tech market and Tim Cook's strong leadership, it isn't any surprise CNN named him CEO of the year. It's also no surprise CNN called out Microsoft's Satya Nadella for his suggestion that women shouldn't push for better pay.


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Freezing Rain Encases Slovenian Mountain in Ice [...

Marko KoroÅec is a weather chaser and photographer, and he grabbed some amazing photos in Slovenia after an freezing ice fog storm event. Dashburst has the photos laid out all nice and pretty, and they're stunning. Apparently Mr. KoroÅec climbed Mount Javornik and Mount Nanos after three days of freezing fog and rain-as one does-and captured nature at her most artistic. Check it out.


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Apple Pay goes to Disney World for Christmas

Merry Christmas, Apple Pay, you're going to Disney World. The world-destination theme park plans to start accepting Apple's mobile payment platform on December 24, just in time for the holiday.

The Mac Observer Spin: Disney promised to launch Apple Pay support before Christmas. Looks like they're keeping that promise even if it is within only a few hours of the holiday.


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SNL Takes on Serial with a Holiday Flair

Serial is the season's stand out podcast, which makes it a prime target for Saturday Night Live. The weekly sketch comedy show did Serial justice with a brilliant take that has Sarah Koenig investigating an elf named Chris who breaks into people's homes to leave presents for children. It's almost as if you're watching an actual episode of Serial. Pure holiday magic.


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Hands On: RimWorld (OS X, Windows, Linux)

If a player finds themselves longing for a game that requires both long-term planning and quick thinking, simulation games are often the way to go. If a player is looking for an in-depth resource-management game, they should check out RimWorld by Ludeon Studios. One part The Sims and one part Minecraft, RimWorld requires players to not only colonize the alien land around them, but also manage the health and happiness of their colonists. The game plays very similarly to older SimCity-esque games, and largely boils down to properly allocating resources and disaster control....



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RPX buys patent assets controlled by Apple-led...

A subsidiary of San Francisco-based RPX Corporation, RPX Clearinghouse, is buying patent assets held by the Apple-led Rockstar Consortium, according to an announcement. Rockstar was formed by Apple, BlackBerry, Ericsson, Microsoft, and Sony in 2011 in order to buy some 6,000 patents in the wake of Nortel's bankruptcy. Although roughly 2,000 of the patents have already been separately distributed, RPX has entered into a deal in which it will receive license payments from a syndicate of over 30 companies, such as Cisco and Google. "The RPX Clearinghouse syndicate includes a broad range of softwa...



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CNN Money picks Apple's Tim Cook as CEO of the...

Apple's Tim Cook has been chosen as CNN Money's CEO of the Year for 2014. The site explains this is because "Apple is the apple of Wall Street's eye again;" the company's shares are noted to be up 40 percent this year, and close to an all-time peak. CNN in turn links that stock performance to the success of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and "excitement" about the Apple Watch, due to ship early next year....



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TMO Daily Observations: 2014-12-23

Procrastinators rejoice! Kelly Guimont and Bryan Chaffin join Jeff Gamet to offer up some great last minute holiday gift giving suggestions that'll keep friends and family from knowing you waited until the last minute to get them something special. They also take a look at Tim Cook as CNN's CEO of the year, and the positive recognition Apple has been getting throughout 2014.


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Apple Rolls Out OS X Yosemite 10.10.2 Public Beta

Mac owners who just can't wait to get their hands on the latest updates for Yosemite can try out OS X 10.10.2 public beta. The latest public beta release rolled out over the weekend and is available to anyone who signed up to get at the releases.

The Mac Observer Spin: Public betas will give you an early look at what's coming next for OS X, but don't install the beta operating systems on mission critical Macs. There is a possibility you could lose data if something goes wrong.


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Rumor Claims 12-inch MacBook Air Production Coming...

The long-rumored 12-inch MacBook Air will finally start production in early 2015-or so claims the latest rumor. That news comes from Digitimes, which has a dubious record with its laptop predictions, but will no doubt have many hopeful shoppers holding their breath waiting for a summer launch.


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Hands On: Manual Photo Camera (iOS)

We often get a photo with sub-par quality when we use a cellphone or tablet as our go-to camera. One of the main reasons for this, of course, is because users have minimal control over individual camera functions like focus, white balance, and ISO sensitivity. The iPhone's camera is far more akin to a point-and-shoot than a professional model, and frequently the automatic settings can leave a picture feeling a bit lacking. But there's still hope -- something like Manual Photo Camera, by Rego Korosi, allows a person to take maximum control over shooting....



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Hands On: System Monitor (iOS)

Anyone who has been caught without a charger, or with no storage space left to download pictures, music, or apps when away from their computer, is aware of how frustrating that situation can be. It's not always easy to tell how much RAM, free space, or talk time a user has left on their beloved iPhone or iPad. However, System Monitor by Tekton Technologies, is a very useful app that keys users in to the inner workings of their devices....



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Forums: songs won't erase, trackpad troubles...

This week in the MacNN forums, members are plagued with songs that won't erase from their iPods, trackpad problems and more. "I can't erase songs from my iPod touch" says one frustrated Mac Elite, who is also baffled as to why there are random U2 songs on there that he never downloaded. After doing an update on an iPad 2, one Mac Enthusiast found that the unit is stuck on "searching" for cellular service....



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Several Apple Pay partners likely to miss 2014...

Several app and retail partners for Apple Pay will likely miss an initial 2014 deadline, a change on Apple's website suggests. The company has tweaked the headers for its lists of upcoming partners to read "Coming soon" instead of "Coming later this year." The retail businesses include ACME, Albertsons, Anthropologie, Free People, Urban Outfitters, and Walt Disney World; the last is mentioned only because it's slated to launch support tomorrow....



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Briefly: MegaSeg 5.9.4, LumenRT update

Fidelity Media has released a new update for its professional DJ and radio automation software, MegaSeg. MegaSeg is available in Pro and DJ editions, with MegaSeg DJ focusing on live mixing features and visual beat syncing with Magic Trackpads, and more, and the Pro version adding video playback with ambient visuals, sound effect hot keys, and other advanced features. Now featuring optimizations for OS X Yosemite, MegaSeg's new sound engine includes higher quality pitch-locking, looping and swappable output devices. Controller presets for Denon MC2000 and MC3000 devices are now available, and...



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Apple tops poll of Xmas gadget hopes for college...

A new survey of college students contains lots of good news for Apple, with the company clearly the most-desired brand for holiday gifts in all the categories Apple competes in. Cash and gift cards are still king, followed by clothing, but electronics was the third most-popular category of gift, reaching second most-popular among males. The overall second-place finish of clothing was due to a strong preference compared to electronics by women rather than men. Apple and its new Beats brand, however, did well with everyone....



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Report: one neglected server caused JP Morgan Chase...

Back in July, five bank networks were hacked, the most notable of which was JP Morgan Chase, which resulted in more than 76 million households' information being leaked. At first, it was suspected that a "zero-day" exploit had been utilized to gain access, but an unidentified source has indicated the real story is somewhat more mundane....



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Kelly’s Alternate Holiday Tunes

Tired of the same old holiday songs? Kelly hooks you up with a few of her favorites. Keep in mind Kelly believes Die Hard is a holiday classic, so you may have guessed these are not the standards you're used to.


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Rockstar Patent Sale Indicates Further De-escalation...

Rockstar Consortium, Inc. announced a major patent sale to licensing firm RPX on Tuesday. The company, which is co-owned by Apple, Microsoft, BlackBerry, Ericsson, and Sony, will part with more than 4,000 patents, the bulk of its remaining patent portfolio. The move signals a further de-escalation of the patent wars in the mobile space, because RPX will license the patents to some 30 different groups of companies across the industry.


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Apple’s Angela Ahrendts Posts Holiday Message...

Angela Ahrendts has posted her latest update to LinkedIn. She discusses a holiday song and the leadership message she wishes to convey this holiday season.


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Obama wants stronger cyber-security laws in 2015

Last Friday, at President Barak Obama's year-end press conference, Carrie Budoff Brown of Politico asked the first question. Her inquiry was whether Sony had done the right thing in canceling the release of the Seth Rogan comedy The Interview, and what a "proportional" US response to the North Korean-led cyber-attack on Sony would look like. While discussing the answers to those questions, President Obama called on Congress to help create stronger cyber-security laws....



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Hands On: Echoes communication app (OS X, iOS)

We've all had days in the office when there is great pressure and you can't afford time to leave your desk. Some of us have also had the rather less-satisfying situation where bosses frowned on you stopping to chat, and while those do tend to be the same sorts of bosses who won't let you install non-corporate-approved apps, if you can get it by them, Echoes (for Macs and iOS devices) is a way to bring a little humanity into your day. Possibly also a lot of irritation, as well -- but that'll depend on your colleagues, not on Echoes....



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FCC petitioned by hotels to allow disrupting guest-...

The FCC has been petitioned by Marriott and an association of hotel owners to allow the jamming of Wi-Fi hotspots, usually set up by guests, on their premises for reasons of "managing Wi-Fi networks and security." The petition is possibly in response to when Marriott International and Marriott Hotel Services was fined $600,000 by the FCC for knocking guests off their own Wi-Fi networks (provided by hot spots and tethering to cell phones), forcing them to pay for the hotel's Wi-Fi access....



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PNAS study shows e-readers, tablets negatively...

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) of the United States of America has published a study entitled Evening use of light-emitting e-readers negatively affects sleep, circadian timing, and next-morning alertness. The study compared e-readers with screens that project light, versus those that don't, as well as printed books read under reflected light....



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The Beyond-Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

We're some 40 years overdue for flying cars, teleportation and printers that can output copies of our dreams, but there are a few methods by which the chronic procrastinators of this world can still swoop in with a last-minute gift for someone at Christmas they'll actually like. While Amazon has closed the doors to physical delivery of any products at this point -- even for Prime members - by the 25th, you still have perhaps a few hours left to send a Boxing Day present, or get in now to ensure a timely New Year's gift. Or you can read on for more suggestions....



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Uber indicted in South Korea for breaking local...

South Korea has become the latest country to fight against the rise of ride-hailing service Uber, by indicting the local subsidiary and CEO Travis Kalanick shortly after launch. The company is said to be "violating a law prohibiting individuals or firms without appropriate licenses from providing or facilitating transport services," a legal challenge previously arising in a number of other markets around the world....



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OS X: Adding a Folder to the PDF Services Menu

Ever played around with PDF Services? Well, even if you have, you may not be aware that you can specify folders that appear in the menu. This'll let you save whatever you're looking at as a PDF right to a particular folder in just a couple of steps. We'll introduce PDF Services and teach you how to select which folders to save to, all in today's Quick Tip.


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Twelve South Offers Free Dual-Screen Mac Wallpapers

I've had a lot of very lovely Christmas/holiday greetings from some terrific Mac and iOS companies cross my desk this year, but Twelve South's stood out because the company is offering a free gift to everyone. Twelve South commissioned four sets of wallpapers from San Francisco photographer Scott Gordon designed for people with two displays. The one I included is called Nightscape, but there's also Fall in San Francisco, Cloudveil, and Soma. Each comes with a left image and a right image (though any one of them would be great for one-screen Mac setups, too), and they've been formatted specifically for seven different screen sizes, from an 11-inch MacBook Air to a 27-inch iMac/Thunderbolt Display.


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Dr. Mac’s Tips for Maximizing and Adding Storage on...

Many of Dr. Mac's readers and friends had problems updating to iOS 8 over WiFi, reporting that their iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch complained that the update couldnât be installed because it requires at least 5.7GB of storage. If your iDevice only has 8 or 16GB of storage, chances are you saw a similar message. Here is Dr. Mac's advice to those whose iDevices are full or nearly full...


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PowerCube Outlet Expander - 4 Outlets and Dual-USB...

I have an extremely cool device for today's deal. It's called the PowerCube, a very clever way to maximize your power outlets. As the name suggests, it's a cube, which has six sides. One of those sides has a male plug for your wall. Four of the sides each have a female plugs, while the outside sixth face has two USB ports for dual charging. It's a very efficient way of turning one plug into four, with two USB ports to spare-all with a very small footprint. You can get the PowerCube for just $17.95 through our deal, so snap it up!


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Hands On: Scrolls (OS X, Windows, Android)

Scrolls has finally been released to the adulation of gamers everywhere. The game was created by Mojang, the developers behind Minecraft, and written by Jerry Holkins, the writer of Penny Arcade. Scrolls feels similar to a traditional two-player board game like checkers or chess, as well as a player versus player card game, like Magic the Gathering or Hearthstone. We spent a bit of time with Scrolls to see how it stacks up against similar titles....



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4 Free Santa Trackers for the iPhone, iPad and Mac

Keeping track of Santa's location on Christmas Eve moved from blind trust in our parents and occasional evening news reports to our computers years ago, and now to our iPhones and iPads, too. What's the best way to follow along Kris Kringle's holiday route? We put together a list of our favorite apps and website so you can keep track of Father Christmas's travels at home or on the go.


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FCC Moves Forward with Plan Reclassify Streaming...

The Federal Communication Commission is moving forward with its efforts to give Internet streaming services access to content, just like cable and satellite TV services. The change would prevent companies like Comcast and Time Warner from blocking streaming services from entering the market, and give potential cord cutters more options for watching the shows they want.

The Mac Observer Spin: The FCC's proposed changes are a nice step in the right direction for protecting companies trying to move into the online TV content space. Excluding Netflix, Hulu, and other on demand content providers, however, doesn't do much to help preserve net neutrality.


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Apple Drops the Ball on Sony’s “The Interview” Deal

What do you do if North Korea strong arms you into pulling a movie from release? If you're Sony, you turn to the White House in hopes of convincing Apple to release it through the iTunes Store. And if you're Apple, you blow the chance for an exclusive deal so YouTube and Xbox Video can jump in instead.


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‘The Interview’ Movie on YouTube for Rent, Google...

Google announced Wednesday that The Interview will be available to rent on YouTube starting at 1:00 PM EST. It will also be available for purchase through Google Play. In a blog post announcing the deal, Google even pointed out that it will be available to Xbox Video customers and at seetheinterview.com (that URL redirects to kernel.com as of this writing).


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Merry Christmas from Electronista and MacNN!

Merry Christmas Eve, Electronista and MacNN readers! Large portions of the US and Canada are dealing with some pretty nasty travel weather, so if you're reading us from there, please be careful! Otherwise, we wish you and yours a Merry Christmas....



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Hands On: Starlight: Find Stars and Constellations (...

There are billions and billions of stars in the night sky, and most of us can identify at least a few of them. However, it isn't always easy. Those among us who have never been good at finding anything other than the Big Dipper or the North Star shouldn't worry. Starlight: Find Stars and Constellations allows anyone to become an expert stargazer, picking out every constellation from Andromeda to Virgo in no time....



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Embattled Sony Pictures 'The Interview'...

Sony and others have unveiled a massive effort to make the Sony Pictures title The Interview available online. Google's YouTube Movies paid service paved the way with its announcement a bit earlier today, with Google Play, Xbox Videos, and a special Sony website all having declared that the movie would be available at 1PM Eastern Time. The picture will cost $6 to rent, and $15 to own in HD....



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TMO Daily Observations: 2014-12-24

Not only will "The Interview" be in theaters on Christmas Day, but it's available to watch online right now, unless you look at Apple's iTunes Store. Bryan Chaffin and Dave Hamilton join Jeff Gamet to look at the deals Sony penned to get the movie North Korea wanted banned onto Google Play, YouTube Movies, and Xbox Video, and they talk about the obvious omission from Apple's iTunes Store.


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ACM 286: Apple and The Interview, Rockstar and the...

Jeff and Bryan want to know why Apple didn't jump on the opportunity to run The Interview, the Sony comedy about two Hollywood celebrities tapped by the CIA to assassinate the dictator of North Korea. They also explore the implications of the Apple and Microsoft-owned Rockstar Consortium, Inc. selling off all or most of its vast patent holdings. Is this the end of the mobile patent wars? It's a holiday episode that counts as short in their world.


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Dragon Dictate for Mac 4: $99.99

The commercials are annoying, but the product is great: Nuance's Dragon Dictate for Mac, version 4. This voice recognition software allows you to transcribe, write, and edit on your Mac with your voice. You know it's good, because Apple licenses the underlying technology for Siri. It's regularly $199.99, but through our deal, you can get it for half that, $99.99.


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5 Great Tools for Supporting Your Family’s Computers...

If you're home for the holidays, there's a good chance you're doing some tech support. Kelly has five tools you can set up now to make remotely supporting your family even easier.


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More iOS App deals for those last-minute gifts

Although we have mentioned some app bargains in our "beyond the last minute" gift guide this morning, the elves at MacNN and Electronista have been hunting up some additional discounts by shaking the App Store tree and seeing what falls out. We found a few more, so click through to save a bundle on some awesome app deals -- and don't forget to check back with us regularly for DealNN reports, Apple refurb store bargains, and our usual Friday Deals all year long!...



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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from The Mac...

Dave Hamilton, I, and the entire staff of The Mac Observer would like to wish you a Merry Christmas, or whatever winter solstice holiday you celebrate. We hope that you and your family have a great holiday weekend!


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Apple offers Boxing Day iTunes sales for UK,...

As was the case last year, Canadians are once again getting a sale on selected albums in iTunes as part of a "Boxing Day" event, part of a traditional observance throughout Canada and a number of other Commonwealth countries. The UK iTunes Store is also having a sale on hit albums, but doesn't label the event as a "Boxing Day" sale. US users don't get a sale, but are instead enjoying special holiday channels on iTunes Radio, which remains unavailable in the UK and Canada....



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Reviews: DoxieGo Portable Scanner

Sometimes, people need to scan things, but having a computer at hand to do so isn't exactly feasible. Maybe it's the home of a relative that lives on the outskirts of civilization with no Internet, looking to organize family photos. Maybe it's an office filing room that's too small to set up shop. Maybe it's the cabin of an airplane and a traveler just wants to scan a page from Skymall. In th ......



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Review: DoxieGo portable scanner (Windows, OS X)

Sometimes, people need to scan things, but having a computer at hand to do so isn't exactly feasible. Maybe it's the home of a relative that lives on the outskirts of civilization with no Internet, looking to organize family photos. Maybe it's an office filing room that's too small to set up shop. Maybe it's the cabin of an airplane and a traveler just wants to scan a page from Skymall. In this situation, the solution is generally to move items that need to be scanned to a location that has a scanner. With DoxieGo by Apparent, users don't have to worry about transportation; they can just throw...



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Amazon lays claim to 10 million new Prime members...

In a release today, Amazon claims that the company's 20th holiday season has brought "record growth" to the Amazon Prime subscription service, despite a price hike to $100 per year earlier in 2014. Amazon reports that more than 10 million new members worldwide tried Prime for the first time, with nearly 60 percent of customers shopping on a mobile device....



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DealNN: HDTVs, wireless keyboards, and more

With the new year right around the corner it's time for Tigerdirect.com's End of the Year Clearance Event, featuring the Seiki 65-inch Class 2160p, Ultra LED HDTV. Currently priced at $999.99, this HDTV has dropped an impressive $2,500 off its once $3,499.99 list price, and includes a $100 mail-in-rebate that lowers the cost even more, down to $899.99. The Seiki HDTV comes with three HDMI ports, a 120Hz refresh rate, 4k signal compatibility, and a maximum resolution of 3840 x 2160. Shipping rates start at only $30, and sales tax applies for residents of Florida, Illinois, Texas, and North Caro...



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Apps: Duplicate Annihilator, Airfoil, GarageSale




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Apple deals: Save up to 22 percent on select iMacs...

Right now at Apple's online store, save up to 22 percent on select iMac and Macbook computers, including the refurbished 3.2GHz, 27-inch iMac that's dropped an impressive $450 in price, and is available for only $1,549. Features range from 8GB of RAM to a Nvidia GeForce GTX 675MX graphics card with 1GB of memory, and include a 1TB hard drive, as well as a quad-core Intel Core i5 processor. Priced significantly lower, at only $1,199, is the refurbished 21.5-inch, 2.9GHz iMac, which offers savings of up to $300, and comes complete with the same 8GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, and quad-core Intel C...



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Forums: 27-inch iMac problems and more

Yesterday in the MacNN forums, one Dedicated MacNNer started having problems booting their 27-inch iMac. After trying a variety of methods to get it to boot, they turned to the forums for some advice. On his quest to fix a problem with an unresponsive 13-inch MacBook Pro, "Thorzdad" asked fellow forum-goers for some advice....



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Logitech Harmony Universal Remote Finally Gets It...

For years Iâve been searching for the perfect universal remote control, one that was easy to set up and manage, able to control all aspects of all of my audio and video components, and reliable enough that I could throw the deviceâs original remote in a drawer and never miss it.

I finally found one -- and it's awesome -- but you'll have to read the column if you want to know more...


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Pre-Order Exclusive for Limited Edition Code Black...

Our friends at Stack Social got access to a limited number of pre-order units for the Code Black Drone + HD Camera. It ships in February, and this preorder lets you get it for $89-it will increase to $99 once it ships in volume. The Clode Black Drone is a very cool-and very small-quadcopter. This version also includes an HD camera on the nose. I've got one equipped with the SD camera, and it's a lot of fun. Check it out!


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Editorial: Seeing Sony's 'The Interview...

To much fanfare, and terrible reviews, Sony Pictures finally released The Interview -- a contentious, and some say trite, light comedy vehicle where a pair of bumbling reporters are recruited by the CIA to assassinate the leader of North Korea. Conventional media, and governmental figures, have put this forth as a victory for the US' right to freedom of expression, and a defiant Sony agrees. However, viewing the picture isn't the act of defiance and patriotism that Sony wants you to think it is - in fact, viewers are now supporting a company that has called for censorship of journalists and US...



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Apple Japan to start 'Lucky Bag' promotion...

Apple Japan will begin its traditional promotion for Japanese retail buyers, known as Fukubukuro or "Lucky Bags," starting on January 2, the company has announced. The promotion involves customers buying one of several "grab bag" gift boxes for a set price -- last year it was about 36,000 yen, or roughly $300 in current US dollars -- that could contain very valuable gifts, and usually at least top the value of the list price. Some of the boxes contained iPads or MacBook Airs, for example....



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Hands On: iStat Menus 5 (OS X)

This is a Mac troubleshooting app that once you've used it to track down one problem, you'll simply leave it running all the time. It gives you at-a-glance access to details about your Mac that vary from a little bit geeky to very geeky – but always useful. This is not something every user will need and it's not something that should come supplied on every Mac, but you'll wish it were. The latest iStat Menus is one utility that gives you immediate and constantly updated details of what your Mac is doing. It tells you how fast you're uploading to the internet and how much, it tells you how ve...



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More iOS App deals for those last-minute gifts (...

Although we have mentioned some app bargains in our "beyond the last minute" gift guide this morning, the elves at MacNN and Electronista have been hunting up some additional discounts by shaking the App Store tree and seeing what falls out. We found a few more, so click through to save a bundle on some awesome app deals -- and don't forget to check back with us regularly for DealNN reports, Apple refurb store bargains, and our usual Friday Deals all year long!...



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Hands On: Application Wizard 3.5 (OS X)

Hand on heart, we were not certain what the point of Application Wizard was when we got started. Ostensibly, the app is meant to make it quicker for you to open applications, which is fine except we have Apple's own Spotlight to do that. It's intended to make it very fast switching between apps but if you've not yet discovered what happens when you hold down the Apple key and press Tab, do that now and you'll never forget how useful it is. Application Wizard by developer Mabasoft, seems to duplicate many features we have on our Macs or in some of the most popular utilities. However, with use,...



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Sony accused of pirating music for use in The...

Besides Sony Pictures' feature The Interview attracting the ire of both the North Korean government and hacker group "Guardians of Peace," it is also irritating a South Korean musician. Sony has used singer Natasha Shanta Reid's (also known as Yoon Mi Rae) "Pay Day" song in the movie without negotiating rights, or paying the artist in any way for its use. A lawsuit is pending....



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Hands On: Peggle Blast (iOS)

When PopCap Games released the casual-puzzle game Peggle for the PC in 2007, it was an instant hit. Somewhere between pachinko and bagatelle, the game has seen success across a number of games in the series and multiple platforms. Now Peggle Blast has made its way to iOS. How does Peggle Blast stand up against the classic version?...



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Aereo bankruptcy auction approved for week of...

Legally defunct over-the-air television streaming company Aereo has been given permission to sell its assets and technology in an auction. The Manhattan US Bankruptcy Court ruled this week that the sale would happen, under strict supervision by the broadcasting industry. The broadcasters will receive weekly updates on the process, and have the ability to block any sale that to participants they don't like for any reason shortly after the conclusion of the auction....



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Weekly Game Replay: Nintendo patent disputes,...

Every Sunday, Electronista and MacNN offer up a single article with some of the significant happenings in the video game industry for the previous week. In this edition of the Weekly Game Replay, we take a look at Nintendo winning two patent disputes, the catch with free game offer for Assassin's Creed Unity issues, new details on Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward, Resident Evil HD cross-buy, and expansion of PlayStation Now to non-Sony devices....



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Hands On: Ortelius map-making software (OS X)

Ortelius is map-making software designed to be used by anyone -- from the amateur wanting to show you where the fire exits are, to the cartographer making maps for tourists. If you're doing this for a living, or at high resolutions for print publishing, then there are Geographic Information System applications and there are even fractal coastline-generating apps. Ortelius, by Mapdiva, is more for the non-specialist -- and it's made by the same company that does the similar but more general illustration package Artboard....



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Gmail reportedly inaccessible in China after...

China has blocked Gmail, preventing users in the country from accessing the email service, according to reports. Starting from December 26, Chinese authorities have reportedly added Gmail URLs to the "Great Firewall," in what is believed to be an attempt by the country's government to reduce Gmail and Google's prominence in the region, on top of earlier censorship efforts....



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Talks in progress to bring Apple Pay to UK

Apple is in negotiations with "Britain's top banks" in preparation for launching Apple Pay in the region, sources tell the Telegraph. The service is expected to arrive in the UK in the first half of 2015. At least one bank is said to be uncomfortable about the amount of personal and financial data Apple wants to collect from its customers, however, and some executives are said to be wary that both Apple Pay and the data the company wants could operate as a "beachhead for an invasion of the banking industry," as the Telegraph writes. It's nevertheless predicted that the banks will bend, as Appl...



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Apple Pay Data Collection a Big Concern for Some UK...

Apple is negotiating with UK banks to bring Apple Pay to iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners in the country in the first half of 2015. At least one bank, however, is concerned about how much data Apple will collect and fears the company may be trying to take over the country's banking industry.

The Mac Observer Spin: Personal privacy is a serious concern when our data is collected, especially when it's related to what we buy. But for the UK banks, it looks like this is more about fears over whether or not Apple will take the credit card market from them.


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Sony’s ‘The Interview’ (Finally) Available on iTunes

Apple added The Interview to iTunes on Sunday, three days after Google's YouTube and Google Play, as well as Microsoft's Xbox Video services launched the movie. The low-brow comedy starring Seth Rogan and James Franco had been pulled from distribution after the largest U.S. theater chains backed out of showing in the wake of terrorist attacks by a North Korean hacker group called Guardians of Peace (GOP).


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Apple Puts Iovine to Work on Landing iTunes-...

Apple wants exclusive album releases from top artists for the iTunes Store, and Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine is working at getting deals in place. Apple bought Beats Music in 2014 and Mr. Iovene has plenty of connections in the music industry, which makes him just the man to get those content deals in place.

The Mac Observer Spin: I've felt that when Apple bought Beats they more or less got Jimmy Iovine with a streaming music service and headphone maker thrown in. Assuming he can swing plenty of exclusive album releases for the iTunes Store, that'll go a long way towards making Apple the fist company people think of when they want to get the latest music from their favorite artists and bands.


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Infographic: Biggest Online Data Breaches, by the...

Who has the dubious distinction of the single biggest data breach? That would be Adobe, but AOL earns the honor for ongoing data breaches. In Adobe's case, that amounted to 152 million customer IDs stolen, but Ebay isn't that far behind with 145 million records stolen. How about Target at 70 million credit card number stolen? All these numbers-and more- are packed into a fantastic infographic from Information is Beautiful. It does a great job of putting the biggest data breaches back to 2004 into perspective, and it's a great reminder why it's important to use unique logins for all of your online services.


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Apps: NetShade, Totals, CloudPull




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Beats' Iovine negotiating for more Beats Music...

Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine -- whose company is now owned by Apple -- is in negotiations with a number of artists about securing more exclusives for Beats Music, sources claim. The idea is reportedly to copy the success Beyoncé and Apple had with an iTunes exclusive, Beyoncé by Beyoncé, in December 2013. Iovine is known for his connections in the music industry, which include acts like Will.i.am, Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, and Gwen Stefani; Minaj sometimes advertises Beats products via placements in her videos. A potential obstacle, though, is opposition from record label...



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Apple cements 14-day refund policy for European...

European shoppers now have a definite 14-day window in which to claim refunds for iTunes Store purchases, according to updated support documents (PDF). Customers can ask for a refund "without giving any reason," the documents say, and in most cases simply need to find the "Report a Problem" tool. In other instances -- namely those involving iTunes Match, Season Pass, Multi-Pass, or unredeemed iTunes gifts -- a person has to contact iTunes Support. Refunds are unavailable to people who have redeemed an iTunes gift code. The company promises that approved refunds will be delivered no later than...



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Fingerprint security may be vulnerable to spoofs...

The European group that first demonstrated a hack of Apple's Touch ID using a fake fingerprint says it has discovered a way of recreating a fingerprint without a physical sample. The Chaos Computer Club's Jan Krissler, better known as Starbug, demonstrated the technique at the Club's recent 31st convention in Hamburg, using German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen as an example. Through commercial software called VeriFinger, Krissler says he was able to piece together Von der Leyen's thumbprint based on publicly-available photos of her digits....



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Hands On: Necklace of Skulls (iOS)

Gamebooks combine the enjoyment of reading a book with the interactivity of a text adventure. Similar to a choose-your-own adventure with quite a bit more control, gamebooks are becoming ever more popular. We checked out Necklace of Skulls, a Mayan action-adventure, by Cubus Games recently to see if it's earned it's place in the genre....



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EU iTunes Stores, App Stores get 14-day Refund Policy

iTunes Store, App Store, and iBook Store customers in many EU countries can now request refunds for any reason up to 14 days after making a purchase. The change brings Apple into compliance with EU consumer rights regulations that allow for a 14 day right of cancellation or return.

The Mac Observer Spin: Just because Apple is complying with the EU's 14-day refund policy doesn't mean there's a loophole that lets people buy apps, use them for two weeks, and get their money back. Sorry, cheapskates, Apple has your number.


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Apple Device Activation at Christmas Crushes...

Flurry Analytics tracked device activations worldwide from December 19 to 25th and found that Apple accounted for over half. The runner-up was Samsung with 18 percent. In addition, Flurry also found that, at Christmas 2014, iPhone 6 Plus activations were cannibalizing iPads.


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TMO Daily Observations: 2014-12-29

There's a good chance someone in your life picked up a new computer over the holidays and they're going to turn to you for technical help. Kelly Guimont and Bryan Chaffin and join Jeff Gamet to talk about some great options for helping your friends and family remotely, and they take a look at the news that Jimmy Iovine is working on landing exclusive album deals for Apple's iTunes Store.


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Apple's Campus 2 project to preserve historic...

Apple's upcoming Campus 2 complex will preserve a historic structure, the Glendenning Barn, says the San Jose Mercury News. The barn was built in 1916, and is one of the few remnants of Cupertino's past as an orchard. The News writes that while tearing down the abandoned HP campus previously on the site, Apple dismantled the barn and made detailed notes on its construction, promising to restore it elsewhere....



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Chevron to roll out Apple Pay at gas pumps in early...

Chevron is planning to bring Apple Pay to its gas pumps starting early next year, according to Bloomberg. The company actually first laid out that goal when Apple Pay debuted on October 20th, but has stayed relatively quiet since. In the meantime the company has been deploying the technology elsewhere, such as in stores; some previously announced Apple Pay partners include Chevron's Texaco and Extra Mile brands....



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The Next Generation Flying Car from Aeromobil

The future, in the 1950s, was supposed to be all about flying cars. But they didn't come to pass except for some rare, early prototypes. But thanks to Aeromobil's co-founder Åtefan Klein, advanced technology may yet bring the dream to fruition. According to the website, "Mr. Klein has devoted the last twenty years into making his dream come true. It is a dream that only few people believed in-a flying car. Currently he works on prototype of AeroMobil 3.0 after he successfully tested concepts and pre-prototype." Version 3.0, shown here with wings extended, seats two, has a top speed in the air of 124 mph (200 km/h), and has a range 435 miles (700 km). The car's (ground) specs are similar to that of a small, economy car. The site's photos are phenomenal, and the prototype is said to be close to commercial availability, subject to each country's certification.

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Apple reports progress in latest Environmental...

On Monday, Apple updated its previously-released 2014 Environmental Responsibility Report and its Environmental Initiatives website with new figures covering both fiscal 2013 and some revised figures from fiscal 2012. Due to a recalculation of energy use in 2012, the company now says it reduced carbon emissions for that year by three percent -- and that while energy use overall has increased 44 percent since fiscal 2011, the carbon footprint has been offset dramatically by the use of renewable resources....



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Apple took lion's share of worldwide holiday...

Mobile analytics firm Flurry posted new data on the holiday buying season on Monday, and summarized its findings on global mobile devices purchases for Christmas in a single sentence: "It's clear that Santa is no longer into cookies -- he prefers Apples." On a worldwide scale, 51.3 percent of mobile activations between December 19 and Christmas Day were Apple devices, outstripping the combined might of all competitors and leaving each individual company -- even Samsung -- far behind....



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Hands On: Quick Paint image creation (OS X)

It doesn't seem to matter just how many drawing apps come around -- because sometimes, you still just want to have a really basic one that looks familiar right away. What ends up being deemed "familiar" can take many forms, of course, but in this instance we refer to the glory days (okay, maybe that is a tad hyperbolic) of MS Paint, which first appeared in Windows 1.0 and remains something of a cult favorite for "pixel art" and basic usage. Today, we are taking a hands-on look at a contemporary OS X equivalent, available for $5 on the Mac App Store: Quick Paint....

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SyFy Expands Light Track Support to Philips Hue in...

SyFy has updated their Sync app to expand the feature that controls Philips Hue lighting and coordinates it with what's on TV, now including all episodes of a new series that starts airing in January.

The Mac Observer Spin: This could be cool if it's subtle. However this is from the makers of Pirahnaconda so I'm reserving judgment until we actually get a good look at both the show and this effect.


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MGG 533: Schrödinger’s Boson

For this last show of the year Dave and John talk about Dave's iMac repair (it was the graphics card, but took a lot to get there, and Dave benefitted nicely!), then a tip for scanning WiFi networks on your standard (non-jailbroken) iPhone, how to create iTunes Extras, Aperture to Lightroom migration techniques and lots more. Download and enjoy today!


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Hands On: GraphicConverter 9 (OS X)

Perhaps you're used to getting a BMP image from a Windows user, and having to convert it to JPEG to make it usable online. If you do that a lot, you immediately see the benefit of software like GraphicConverter 9, which is best known for its conversion abilities – though you can also use Photoshop if you're the sort that does this for a living. Both can do myriad conversions, and you can set them up to run in batches: drag a folder full of images onto Photoshop, and it chugs through converting the lot for you. GraphicConverter does this too, but as part of a rather dizzying number of options...



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Xiaomi laptop that shamelessly clones MacBook Air...

If you've ever wondered why top-rated startup Xiaomi -- now valued at more than $45 billion thanks to its ability to attack Samsung successfully in the former's home market of China -- hasn't yet entered any major first-world markets like the US, the answer is because the company has a distinct tendency to model its mid-range offerings as direct copies of popular Apple products, to a level that puts even Samsung's "shameless" copying to shame. Xiaomi's latest notebook, recently leaked to GizmoChina, is a direct lookalike of Apple's MacBook Air....



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Apple ends '12 Days of Christmas' iTunes...

As has become obvious, Apple has decided to end its six-year tradition of giving iTunes-based "gifts" to its customers as part of a "12 Days of Christmas" campaign that had been running since 2008 in Europe, the UK, Canada and -- finally, in 2013 -- the United States. No reason has been given for the ending of the promotion, which offered free apps, e-books, movies, music and other offerings starting on Boxing Day (December 26) and continuing until January 6, celebrated by Orthodox Christians as Jesus' birthday....



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Hands On: DockPhone (OS X)

A stand-out, landmark, must-have feature of OS X Yosemite is how you can now make phone calls from your Mac. We knew it wouldn't be quite as easy as it sounds and we were fine with having to set it up, we were fine with having to have an iPhone for it to work. We've been less fine since, because it's proved too fiddly. DockPhone, an app that promises to simply the process somewhat, is not perfect either -- but it's so very good that it caused us to start using the feature more than we have since it launched....



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Briefly: Verizon Ellipsis Jetpack ships, Hue syncs...

The Verizon Ellipsis Jetpack mobile hotspot has gone on sale in the United States. The XLTE-ready device is able to provide connectivity to Verizon's 4G LTE network for up to eight devices over Wi-Fi, with the 2.9-ounce unit also sporting a 0.9-inch OLED display to show signal strength, data usage, and remaining battery life. The Ellipsis Jetpack is priced at $150, or $1 on a two-year contract, and can be added to an existing More Everything plan for $20 per month....



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Stained Glass Logos: Taking Your High Tech Logo Old...

Photoshop and Illustrator may be the defacto standard for creating logos, but sometimes going hands on with real world materials can give our business identities a warmer and more personal feel-like the stained glass logo art Howard Perlman makes. Just give him your logo and he'll hand craft it into stained glass, ready to hang. Each piece is unique, and you can check out Howard's handiwork with the WordPress, Drupal, and Linux logos on his website.


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Xiaomi’s MacBook Air Lookalike Outdoes Samsung’s...

Xiaomi, like Samsung, has a reputation for copying the look of Apple products, and its first effort at making a laptop outdoes even Samsung's efforts. Aside from an orange logo, Xiaomi's laptop is a dead ringer for the MacBook Air.

The Mac Observer Spin: Xiaomi is amazingly good at copying Apple designs, and their new laptop is no exception. Samsung could take notes from these guys.


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Hands On: Ink Cards (iOS)

Taking a trip to the greeting card store can be pretty hit-or-miss, and home printing cards takes quite a bit of time and effort. What if there was an easier way to create customized cards without spending an arm and a leg, or hours of free time? That's where Ink Cards, by Sincerely Inc., comes to the rescue: simply open the app, select the desired template, upload a photo into it, and then order it....



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Macs vulnerable to firmware rewrites via Thunderbolt...

The firmware on some Macs can be rewritten via a Thunderbolt device loaded with a special option ROM, according to Trammel Hudson, a security researcher who spoke at the 31st convention of the Chaos Computer Club, held in Hamburg. The hack is dubbed "Thunderstrike," and reportedly can't be detected once it's installed. More importantly it can't be removed by reinstalling OS X or replacing a hard drive, since it impacts the boot ROM (which is independent) and replaces Apple's public RSA key, blocking future firmware updates unless the attacker's key is used. It can even copy itself to option RO...



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DealNN: Zoom video recorder, headphones, and more

Shop year-end deals at BHphotovideo.com this week, which features the Zoom Q2HD Handy Video Recorder, complete with 1920 x 1080p maximum resolution, an integrated mid-side stereo microphone, support for both USB 2.0 and Mini HDMI outputs, as well as a variety of low-cut filters and light selection options. Priced at $79.99, customers now save $160 off its once $239.99 list price, and $15 if compared to the next best deal we have seen this model for. FREE shipping is also available, and sales tax applies for residents of New York....



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Forums: battery swapping, problems with Notes and...

Today in the MacNN Forums Fresh-Faced Recruit "Ryan700" was asking if it was possible to move a battery from one 13-inch MBP to another 13-inch MBP after the battery in his wife's computer needed to be replaced. A frustrated "jeff k" has turned to the forums hoping someone will be able to help him figure out why it is that the Notes app on his new iPhone keeps deleting notes at the end of the day....



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VLC returning to iOS early next year, developer says

VLC -- a popular multi-platform video player -- should be returning to the App Store early next year, says the lead developer on the iOS project, Felix Paul Kuehne. The title disappeared from the App Store nearly four months ago, shortly after the release of iOS 8. At the time it was only said that the development team was "working with Apple on a solution" to bring the app back....



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Belkin Portable Tablet Stage is a Boon for iPad...

The Belkin Portable Tablet Stage is an ideal accessory for anyone who teaches or makes frequent presentations using their iPad. It folds flat for easy carry and has a nice little feature that lets you instantly include paper images during your presentation by using the iPad's camera.


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Apple deals: Refurbished MacBook Air as low as $769

This week, Apple's online store has a selection of refurbished MacBook Air models on sale for as low as $769. The refurbished 11.6-inch MacBook Air with a 1.4GHz dual-core Intel-Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of flash storage, and 720p FaceTime HD camera has been cut by $130, bringing the price down to $769. Priced at $869 is the refurbished 11.6-inch, 1.3GHz MacBook Air, featuring a larger 256GB flash drive, the same 4GB of RAM and dual-core Intel-Core i5 processor, as well as an LED-backlit widescreen display with 1366 x 768 maximum resolution....



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Xiaomi, Apple, others cleared of violating Taiwanese...

Taiwan's National Communications Commission has issued a report clearing a variety of companies of breaking local data privacy laws, according to Reuters. The organization says that all 12 of the previously implicated cellphone brands -- including Apple, Huawei, Samsung, LG, Sony, ZTE, and Xiaomi -- are in the clear, despite Xiaomi being the impetus for the investigation. In August Xiaomi apologized and promised to make changes after a Finnish security firm discovered Xiaomi software was collecting address book data without permission....



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The Extreme Micro Drone 2.0 with Aerial Camera for $...

Check out the Micro Drone 2.0, a tiny drone equipped with a camera that you can get for just $74.99 (it's usually $139.99). According to the manufacturer, you can throw it into the air like a frisbee, upside down, or any angle, and its self-righting algorithm and sensors will immediately stabilize it back to its horizontal flying position. Why would you do such a thing? Because you can. Duh. There's a video on the deal site. Check it out.


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The Missing Apple TV Ad: The Case for Apple Pay

So far, major banks have been running TV ads promoting Apple Pay, and that's great. But why is Apple being so shy about its own technology and not running its own ads? John Martellaro has wondered about that too.


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Touch ID Cracked, Requires Complex Steps and...

Common biometric methods for authenticating include facial recognition and fingerprint scanners, which aren't necessarily all that secure. Another authentication method shown to be crackable is Touch ID, and even then it's a pretty tall order.


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Hands On: WordTarget menubar word counter (OS X)

There's a famous Charlie Brown cartoon where he writes out the title "What I Did On My Summer Holiday" and then counts the words. Seven. He has to write some impossibly high number of words, something like a whole hundred, and it is going to be agony. With WordTarget by Kickcode, he wouldn't even have the hopeful delay while he counted: WordTarget displays the number of words constantly....



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Judge dismisses 'wage theft' suit against...

Apple has won in a pair of lawsuits lodged in the summer of 2013 by disgruntled employees that charged the company with a form of "wage theft" by not paying workers while they were being checked during mandatory security and loss-prevention screenings. Citing a Supreme Court decision in a similar case, Federal Court Judge William Alsop ruled that such screenings are not "integral and indispensable" parts of the retail workers' jobs, therefore the plaintiffs were not entitled to compensation for the time spent in such activities....



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GT Advanced seeking court approval for executive...

In a move sure to be opposed by the myriad companies it owes money to, former Apple sapphire supplier GT Advanced Technologies is currently asking a bankruptcy court judge for permission to hand out over two million dollars in "executive bonuses" designed to help motivate and retain "key" employees -- largely the same group of senior executives who ran the company into the ground. In total, the company expects to apply for nearly $6 million in total bonuses and incentives to various levels of employees....



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Analyst: profits for Android hardware down 50...

In a blog post of all the notable developments in the mobile market for 2014, industry analyst Chetan Sharma includes a number of observations about Android hardware and its profit margins. The primary one is that the Android device manufacturer community suffered its "most significant ever" drop in profits during 2014, with earnings having dropped 50 percent from expected levels across 2014....



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Hands On: Scanner 2 PDF (iOS)

As great as the cameras are on our iPhones, the only reason to use them as document scanners is when you have no other choice. There are just too many inherent problems -- from the difficulty of focusing evenly, to how hard it is to just line up the paper edges consistently. Then, of course, if you do get it perfectly straight and perfectly lit, the instant you tap the iPhone screen you introduce a judder. Scanner 2 PDF aims to be that best scanner, and specifically to do one particularly important job well, but if it's got the features then it falls down on the execution....



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Ongoing investigations into Sony hack pointing to...

The saga of "who really stole all that data from Sony" continues, in spite of the FBI's adherence to its findings that North Korea alone was responsible. Independent investigations by security organizations have expanded the suspect list to include ex-employees, while net vandals Lizard Squad have, in their continuing quest for attention, claimed partial credit....



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Hands On: Scribe cross-platform clipboard utility (...

Is it our typing speed, or just our attention span? Back in the olden days, we would copy out a telephone number, and type it into our cell phones. Mind you, back in the even more olden days, we would just remember the numbers and, let's be fair, that's completely unreasonable. Now that we all tend to have Macs and iPhones or iPads, we are forever going between the two -- and sometimes, that means the information we need is on the other one. Scribe is a clipboard utility for, well, copying anything from your Mac. If you can select it, you can copy it, and Scribe will send it on over to your iO...



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New York City mulls enabling Apple Pay for parking...

New York City is considering upgrading its options for paying parking tickets to include more modern platforms, such as Apple Pay, according to MarketWatch. The focal point would be a new mobile app allowing people to scan a ticket and then use Apple Pay, or other options such as PayPal or potentially Bitcoin. The same app would give drivers the choice to schedule a hearing instead....



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Some iPhone 6 owners unable to update Apple Pay...

A number of iPhone 6 owners are complaining that they have been unable to add their cards back to Apple Pay after restoring iOS. The problem -- described in Apple's support forums -- can manifest whether restoring from a backup or starting fresh, and so far the only solution involves getting a replacement phone from Apple. Genius Bar technicians appear to be offering replacements to most affected people, whether in the form of a refurbished or genuinely new device....



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Uber suspends Uberpop service in Spain following...

Uber is closing its Uberpop ride-sharing service in Spain, following a court request. The service is temporarily suspended in the country, as Uber is planning to appeal a court ruling granting an injunction requested by the Association Madrileña Del Taxi, the taxi drivers association of Madrid, as well as working with politicians to make the service legal in the country....



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Supreme Court Ruling Spurs Judge to Dismiss Apple...

Apple employees hoping to get back pay for the time they spend undergoing bag checks with their work shifts are in for a disappointment. U.S. District Court Judge William Alsop dismissed employee lawsuits following a Supreme Court ruling in a similar case that says the security checks don't fall under paid time requirements.

The Mac Observer Spin: Regardless of what Apple's employees think they're owed, it makes sense that Judge Alsop dismissed their case. The circumstances in the Supreme Court's ruling in the Amazon employee case are similar enough to apply here, too. Apple's employees will have to get pretty creative to convince Judge Alsop to change his mind.


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GTAT Wants to Pay Executives $6M Bonuses Amid...

GT Advanced Technologies wants to pay out US$6 million dollars in bonuses to company executives, which likely won't sit well with creditors hoping to recoup their money. GTAT filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after its finances spun out of control from a failed deal to produce synthetic sapphire glass for Apple.

The Mac Observer Spin: Paying out $6 million in bonuses to executives leading a sinking ship will be a hard sell. GTAT has plenty of creditors who want their money, and they won't take kindly to that going to the company's own executives instead.


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Lawsuit says Apple deceptive about space iOS 8...

A new lawsuit, filed in a federal court in California on Tuesday, accuses Apple of failing to inform people how much space iOS 8 will consume on a device, while simultaneously prompting them to buy online storage via iCloud. Specifically the suit claims that iOS 8 can occupy as much as 23.1 percent of device memory, but that not many people realize this when making a purchase. The plaintiffs are seeking damages, as well as changes by Apple to comply with state law. The case is being pursued as a class action....



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How to Visually Distinguish the 3 iPad mini Models

There are minor visual differences between the iPad mini, mini 2 and mini 3. If you don't want to fuss with looking up model numbers and serial numbers, there's an easy way to distinguish the three models just by visual inspection. John Martellaro shows how easy it is.


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TMO Daily Observations: 2014-12-31

Word on the Internet is that it's pretty easy to trick Touch ID and get into someone's iPhone. Kelly Guimont and John Martellaro join Jeff Gamet explain why hacking Touch ID isn't nearly as simple as the media would have you believe, plus they offer up some iPhone security tips, and take a look at the Apple employee pay class action lawsuit that was just dismissed.


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Review: iRig Pads

When it comes to mobile music products, IK Multimedia has positioned itself as one of the top suppliers. Right from the early days of iOS, IK Multimedia has remained at the forefront of the iOS music creation market with products like the original iRig and iRig Mic. As iOS has developed and become more powerful, so has the line-up of iRig products - its latest introduction, iRig Pads, brings musicians a full-featured 16-pad MIDI groove controller. Is the iRig Pads worthy of the space in your bag for creating a mobile loop workstation? We put the hardware through its paces in our full review....



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Reviews: iRig Pads

When it comes to mobile music products, IK Multimedia has positioned itself as one of the top suppliers. Right from the early days of iOS, IK Multimedia has remained at the forefront of the iOS music creation market with products like the original iRig and iRig Mic. As iOS has developed and become more powerful, so has the line-up of iRig products - its latest introduction, iRig Pads, brings music ......



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Briefly: Goodreader loses some iCloud functions,...

PDF reader app Goodreader has gotten rid of several functions related to iCloud Drive, in compliance with Apple's guidelines. Users can no longer create and delete new folders inside iCloud, or move iCloud files. Other changes made with the latest release include VoiceOver compatibility, and a fix for opening iCloud containers. Goodreader is priced at $5, and is available for iPhone and iPad....



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Don’t Fear The Reaper, Even in iPad Form

A fun one to put up on the Apple TV during New Year's Eve festivities, here's YouTuber Samurai Guitarist using an iPad (he notes in the comments that it's borrowed) to cover Blue Oyster Cult's classic Don't Fear The Reaper. Sadly he doesn't mention the apps involved, because I'd love a good cowbell app. Anyway, aside from the digitized vocals and the lack of "needle to the record" noise, it sounds really close to the original. I love videos like this, partly because of the novelty of it, and partly because it might introduce this song to someone who hasn't heard it before. And let's be honest when it comes down to it, we all need a little more cowbell. Check out the full video below.

(via Melissa Davis)


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Kelly’s Top Mobile Accessory Picks for 2014

2014 was the year of mobile accessories for Kelly. Always on the lookout for bits and bobs that make mobility even easier, Kelly scored some goodies in 2014 she's happy to share with all of you.


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The August Smart Lock for Doors: Convenient and Cool

If you haven't heard of the August Smart Lock, here's the scoop-it's a Bluetooth device that unlocks your door when you approach with your iPhone and relocks it a set number of minutes after you come home. It also lets you issue temporary electronic keys, so you can allow the cleaning lady in for a couple of hours and receive a notification when she leaves. Come on in for the whole review of this spiffy little gadget!


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Apple Encourages People to ‘Start Something New’...

Apple has launched a new subsite called "Start Something New" encouraging people to do something creative with their Apple gear and third party software. The company highlights several artistic endeavors from photographers, artists, and filmmakers, including examples.


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Apple goes global with 'Start Something New...

Having started a new ad campaign in Japan, Apple has expanded its "Start Something New" online art gallery to many of its international sites, including the US -- offering a curated collection of photos, illustrations and other pieces created using iOS or Mac hardware and software. As is typical for the company, the aim of the campaign isn't to blatantly push hardware as it is to provide inspiration to action, and showcase how people use the products rather than the products themselves. Apps such as VSCO Cam, Waterlogue, Final Cut Pro and Brushes 3 are among the apps featured....



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Chick-Fil-A reports nine-month-long payment security...

A rash of credit and debit card fraud cases have been tracked back to accounts that were all used at various Chick-Fil-A locations around the US. The fast food restaurant joins the ranks of retailers with point of sale security issues. This particular breach appears to have run from December of 2013 to September of 2014....



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FTC finalizes settlement with Snapchat over privacy...

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has finally finalized its settlement with Snapchat over privacy issues. Initially settled in May but only finalized by the FTC on December 23, the settlement requires the messaging service to allow itself to be subjected to independent privacy monitoring for a 20-year period, among other items....



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Apple's iTunes Connect open, 2014 app deals...

Yesterday, Apple re-opened it's iTunes Connect developer portal to allow app creators access to sales reports, analytics of app downloads and use, and the ability to submit, delete, and change prices on apps. The service was shut down between December 22 and December 29, which also contributed to the late addition to iTunes of the movie The Interview. Some bargains on apps and other items that are set to expire at midnight, or sales that have been extended, are explored below....



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NewerTech releases new mounts for iMac models 2012...

NewerTech has released a new adapter that allows a 2012 or newer model iMac (including the latest Retina 5K iMac) to be hung with a universal VESA mounting system. Since 2012, Apple has made it so that iMacs must be ordered with a VESA mount at the time of ordering, which means four screw holes would be drilled into the back -- if the original purchaser did not order the custom VESA fitting, there was no option to remove the stand, or add the option to mount it later....



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Hands On: A Better Finder Rename 9 (OS X)

It's been a long time since you came back from a vacation with just 24 or 36 photographs. These days, you're taking hundreds of shots on your iPhone, and every tourist spot you visit is trying to sell you a few more. It's not really as if it will take you another vacation in order to sort out your photos, but it feels like it, and one problem is how they're all named. If cameras could automatically label a photo as 'Great Day at Santa Barbara With Aunt Mabel 001' you'd be set and A Better Finder Rename 9 would be out of business. For ABFR--– a utility that saves you time really shouldn't hav...



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Hands On: Files United (iOS)

If you're like most of us, chances are you've got at least one cloud service -- probably more. And if you're like most of us, chances are you've probably loaded up your phone or tablet with individual apps for every single one. Instead of installing separate apps for every cloud service, why not check out Files United by developer Zuhanden GmbH?...



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Japanese media claims most of Mt. Gox stolen...

Citing sources close to the law enforcement investigation, Japanese media is reporting that the Mt. Gox Bitcoin exchange theft was an inside job. A report published today claims that of the 650,000 purloined coins, only about 7,000 are missing as a result of external theft, with the rest having been stolen by a source internal to the exchange. However, the newspaper stops short of naming any specific suspects in the case....



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ACM 287: GTAT Bonuses, Twitter Shenanigans, and...

GT Advanced Technologies wants to pay out US$6 million in bonuses to company executives in the midst of its bankruptcy proceedings, and that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Jeff and Bryan look at the pros and cons of GTAT's bonus plan, plus they rant on Twitter's sponsored links in our Following lists, and they share their favorite Apple-related stories for 2014.


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Register for the Xbox One and Grand Theft Auto V...

We have another cool giveaway for you: we're giving away an Xbox One plus a copy of Grand Theft Auto V. All you have to do is register to receive our Deal emails-which you should do anyway, and you're entered. So do it.


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Apple Hit with Lawsuit over iOS 8 Storage Claims

Apple was slapped with a potential class action lawsuit this week alleging the company intentionally misled customers as to how much storage their iPhone has after installing iOS 8, and then tries to sell more through iCloud subscriptions. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. Federal Court in San Francisco by the law firm Cuneo Gilbert & Laduca.

The Mac Observer Spin: Complaints about stated versus actual storage space aren't anything new. The twist in this case is that the plaintiffs are claiming Apple used that as a bait-and-switch tool to pressure customers into paying for iCloud subscriptions. Still, the case feels an awful lot like a money grab.


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Use Touch ID to Unlock Your Mac with MacID

Touch ID is wonderfully convenient for unlocking your iPhone, and thanks to MacID you'll be able to use your fingerprint to do the same on your Mac. The iPhone app uses Bluetooth LE to talk with your Mac and enter your lockscreen passcode with a touch. You'll need the companion app on your Mac, too, and your laptop, iMac or Mac Pro needs to be new enough to support Bluetooth LE. MacID is awaiting approval for release on the App Store and should be available soon.


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Happy 2015 from The Mac Observer!

We'd like to wish everyone a wonderful 2015, and we look forward to the best year Apple has yet had. Click through for a short walk down Memory Lane.


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Jeff Gamet’s Top iPhone and iPad Apps for 2014

2014 was a good year for iPhone and iPad apps, and a few stood out as must-have choices for TMO's Jeff Gamet. Curious which apps earned a special place on his iPhone and iPad? Read on to see which apps he just can't live without.


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Twitter Goes Over to Dark Side, Decides Who You’ll...

Some Twitter users woke up this morning to find that they were unexpectedly following @MasterCard, perhaps an implied endorsement that was unwanted. William Shatner was the first to notice this, according to Marketing Land. This appears to be a troublesome effort by Twitter to monetize what has become, in essence, a public utility.


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iPhoto: Ordering Prints

The Quick Tip Melissa Holt's got for us today is all about ordering prints from iPhoto. After you learn about this, no longer will you need to upload your images to a third-party service or schlep down to a photo-processing store. It's almost immoral how easy it is, folks.


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TMO Daily Observations: 2014-12-30

Turns out smart home devices can be part of our home entertainment systems, too. John Martellaro and Kelly Guimont join Jeff Gamet to look at SyFy's plans to control Hue LED lights as part of the 12 Monkeys series, plus they dive into why it's time for Jeff to get on the Hue bandwagon, look at the popularity of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus over the holidays, and talk about the distrust in Apple Pay some people are showing.


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Beta iCloud.com site loses Photos app [u]

(Updated with indications of potential technical difficulties) The iCloud.com beta site has suddenly dropped access to the Photos web app, users note. The app first appeared last October, and until this week was actually gaining features. Its icon no longer appears in any menu, and manually entering the app's URL returns an error message....



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Apple Japan's 2015 'Lucky Bag'...

Apple has run the 2015 edition of its annual "Lucky Bag" promotion, in which its Japanese stores sell bags containing surprise goods worth more than their initial price tag. This year's bags cost 36,000 yen (about $300) each, but held products worth anywhere between $640 and $1,280. Each one had a "big" surprise, along with an Apple TV, Beats Powerbeats2 wireless earbuds, a New Year's edition of a Mophie powerstation, and a 1,000-yen iTunes gift card. All of the items were secured in Incase ICON Slim Pack backpacks....



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Weather From: Your Daily Weather Forecast, from...

We always ask what today's temperature will be, but what we really need to know is whether or not we need a jacket. That's exactly what you'll get from Weather From, delivered from your grandmother. She's let you know if it's going to be cold or hot, if you need a jacket, and always has something to say about life, family, or politics. I can't imagine why you'd need to get your weather forecast anywhere else.


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The Mac Observer at CES 2015

The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) kicks off next week, and The Mac Observer will be on location to check out the latest tech products and trends for 2015. The trade show runs from January 6 through January 9 in Las Vegas, Nevada, and there'll be plenty of Apple-related gear for us to look at.


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New iCloud Exploit Claims to Circumvent Failed...

Hackers are ringing in the new year with another public threat to Appleâs online iCloud service. A new tool released Thursday claims to utilize a âpainfully obviousâ bug in Appleâs iCloud security infrastructure that enables the circumvention of automatic account lock-outs and multi-factor authentication.

The Mac Observer Spin: A hack that circumvents the automatic account lock-out is certainly believable, but we'd want to see a bit more evidence before we're convinced that this tool can succesfully defeat two-factor authentication.


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Montblanc e-Strap adds smartwatch functionality to...

Watch manufacturer Montblanc has created a way to add smartwatch functionality to traditional wristwatches, by replacing the strap with one housing an extra screen. The e-Strap band introduces a secondary face to the watch on the inside of the wrist, with the extra module offering smartphone notifications via a 0.9-inch monochrome OLED display....



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New iCloud account hacking tool dodges Apple...

A new hacking tool available on GitHub is claimed to be able to brute-force access to an iCloud account in a way that avoids Apple safeguards. Dubbed iDict, the tool performs "dictionary" attacks on target iCloud email addresses. Normally these would be stopped by Apple's rate-limiting measures for logins, but iDict disguises itself as an iPhone, a device which for whatever reason is exempt from those limits....



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iPhone Apps: Infuse Pro, GoodReader, Dropbox




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MGG 534: New Year, New Questions, Same Geeks

It's the same week but it's a new year and your two favorite geeks are at it again. Topics in this week's show include changing window size defaults, managing plain text documents (important for passwords!), RF interference with hard drive enclosures, advanced IMAP settings for Mail, managing large Dropboxes and more. Download and enjoy today!


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Apple hikes some European prices for developers,...

Apple has increased the costs for developers and products in a range of countries across Europe, reports say. German developers note that the cost of an annual Developer Program membership has jumped from €80 ($96) to €99 ($119). The change is presumably affecting all European Union countries, since Apple rarely makes changes in one euro market to the exclusion of others. In the UK, developer registration fees have been hiked from from £60 ($92) a year to £79 ($121)....



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TMO Daily Observations: 2015-01-02

There's a new hack out that supposedly makes everyone's iCloud account vulnerable to attack. Bryan Chaffin and TekRevue's Jim Tanous join Jeff Gamet to look into whether or not there's a real security concern behind the hack, plus they ramp up for next week's International CES event, and Jeff shares his new favorite weather forecast site.


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Forums: two operating systems, one Mac

Today in the MacNN forums, one Dedicated MacNNer was asking if it was possible to run two different operating systems on the same Mac as they are planning on replacing their original drive with a solid state drive. Grizzled Veteran "PHoynak" is looking for a way to use their old white MacBook as a second display with a 27-inch iMac and wonders if anyone has any advice on how this could be accomplished....



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Apple deals: up to $400 off refurbished MacBook Pros

At Apple's online store right now save big on a wide selection of refurbished MacBook Pro configurations. Prices start at $929 for the refurbished 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.5GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 500GB hard drive and SuperDrive. For $999, after a $200 price break, is the refurbished 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.4GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of flash storage....



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Friday Deals: Resolutions, 2.33Gbps Router, Yamaha...

Welcome to Friday Deals, the first installment in 2015 of the money-saving post where we find offers on hardware, gadgets, and software for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Just like last year, the offers are correct at the time of writing, but may change, so check before purchasing. Also, come back to this post later, as we will be adding more deals to it throughout the weekend....



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DealNN: 21 percent off 13.3-inch MBP and more

MacMall.com's end-of-the-year clearance sale includes the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro, complete with dual-core Intel Core i5 2.4GHz processor, Retina display, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of flash storage, and a battery life of approximately nine hours. Available for only $1,029.99 after the $40 mail-in-rebate, customers save 21% off the once $1,299 list price, and about $100 when compared to the next best deal we have seen on this MBP....



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Swiss Watchmaker Montblanc Announces eStrap...

Montblanc announced Thursday a wearable computing option for mechanical watch owners. Being launched initially for the Montblanc Timewalker Urban Speed line of watches for 2015, the eStrap includes an OLED screen and various fitness-related sensors.

The Mac Observer Spin: The smartwars in the watch industry are just starting, all thanks to Apple Watch. I personally expect a lot of smartstraps to be introduced throughout 2015, from startups and established watch brands alike.


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Follow-up: Apple Stores now showcasing user-created...

Less than a week after having expanded its "Start Something New" campaign from its Japanese site to the US and most other global Apple sites, the company has begun adding some of the pictures from its curated collection of artwork made on Macs or iOS devices to selected retail stores. The campaign focuses once again on how users use the products to enhance their own lives, but this time focuses on active productivity in the form of artwork creation. Photographs, drawings and videos dominate the collection....



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Peraso to demonstrate WiGig USB 3.0 Adapter at CES...

Networking hardware maker Peraso of Toronto, Canada focuses its efforts on designing integrated circuits but doesn't fabricate its own designs, instead outsourcing them to "foundries" -- as such, Peraso refers to itself as a "fabless semiconductor company." Next week at CES, however, it will be demonstrating a new USB 3.0 adaptor for the 802.11ad standard also known as "WiGig." The standard offers LAN speeds up to 10 times that of conventional Wi-Fi, and the adapter is expected to help home equipment take advantage of the increased speed as 802.11ad becomes more commonly used....



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Hands On: Stuffit Deluxe 16 (OS X, Windows)

Curiously, Stuffit Deluxe was the king of compression -- or at least serious monarchy -- back when our files were always minuscule anyway. It was when hard disks were measured in megabytes instead of terabytes, and a large file was one that filled a floppy disk. Now that we routinely fling around gigabytes of files and complain when we can't just email a feature film to someone, Stuffit Deluxe could be making a comeback with the new version 16....



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US sanctions North Korea for Sony Pictures cyber-...

On Friday, US President Barack Obama placed new sanctions on North Korea as a "first measure" of retaliation against the country's cyber-attacks on Sony Pictures through an executive order that targets individuals and companies or other entities affiliated with the North Korean government. Obama referred to the North Korean government as "destructive and coercive," and painted the incident as an attack on both a US company and at attack on the right of free expression. The movie that North Korea objected to, The Interview, has since been released and sailed to the top of the iTunes movie chart...



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CES: Nyne expanding its line of water-resistant...

Last year, speaker maker Nyne unveiled its "Aqua" at CES 2014 -- a Bluetooth speaker with an IPX7 rating, which means it's considered "waterproof" (immersion for up to 30 minutes at 3.3 feet (1m) of water). This year, three new "adventure models," the Edge, the Verge, and the Rock will be available to demo at Nyne's CES booth. While these new models don't have ratings high enough to designate them as waterproof, they are still water-resistant....

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Hands On: OmniOutliner 2 (OS X, iOS)

If you're a writer or do any kind of long and complex work, then you're typically either a planner or you're not. You work out every detail of what you're going to do or you're a pantser: you do everything by the seat of your pants. Traditionally, the only difference between the two that mattered was that planners find it easier to get paid because they can show what they're going to end up with. Otherwise, it was down to you which you were and not even raging arguments would change a pantser into a planner. So as an outlining and planning tool, OmniOutliner is clearly for the planner type of...



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Friday Deals: Resolutions, 2.33Gbps Router, Yamaha...

Welcome to Friday Deals, the first installment of 2015 (alternately known as the "Santa didn't get me everything I wanted" edition) of the money-saving post where we find great offers on hardware, gadgets, and software for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Just like last year, the offers are correct at the time of writing, but may change, so check before purchasing. Also, come back to this post later, as we will be adding more deals to it throughout the weekend....



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Hands On: Remoter VNC (iOS)

Most of us still have computers, but they're not always convenient given the average person's fast-paced life. If you have a laptop or desktop, there have probably been a few times when you've wished you could check up on your computer, only to find yourself at the store, or stuck somewhere far away from your desk. But what if there was a way for you to easily check your computer while you're out and about? Remoter VNC by Remoter Labs, allows you to take control of your computer from anywhere right from the palm of your hand....

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Hands On: God of Light (iOS)

Puzzle games generally come in two varieties: casual and often too easy, or hard and often too stressful. Some puzzle games feel like they're designed only for children, while others feel like they're only designed for professional code breakers. Rarely are there games that flirt with the middle ground of being both enjoyably challenging, yet not so frustrating that you want to quit playing. One such game that has managed to come close is God of Light, by Playmous....



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CES: Acer launches pair of low-response-time gaming...

As part of its pre-CES announcements, Acer has released a pair of gaming monitors. The Acer XB270HU is the world's first Nvidia G-Sync gaming monitor equipped with IPS technology, and the Acer XG270HU is the world's first gaming monitor with an edge-to-edge frameless display. Both of these 27-inch displays come with WQHD (2560x1440) resolution, and a 144Hz refresh rate....



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LibreOffice 4.4.1.2 - Free, open-source...
LibreOffice is an office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, drawing tool) compatible with other major office suites. The Document Foundation is coordinating development and... Read more
Freeway Pro 7.0.3 - Drag-and-drop Web de...
Freeway Pro lets you build websites with speed and precision... without writing a line of code! With its user-oriented drag-and-drop interface, Freeway Pro helps you piece together the website of... Read more
Cloud 3.3.0 - File sharing from your men...
Cloud is simple file sharing for the Mac. Drag a file from your Mac to the CloudApp icon in the menubar and we take care of the rest. A link to the file will automatically be copied to your clipboard... Read more
Cyberduck 4.6.5 - FTP and SFTP browser....
Cyberduck is a robust FTP/FTP-TLS/SFTP browser for the Mac whose lack of visual clutter and cleverly intuitive features make it easy to use. Support for external editors and system technologies such... Read more
Firefox 36.0 - Fast, safe Web browser. (...
Firefox for Mac offers a fast, safe Web browsing experience. Browse quickly, securely, and effortlessly. With its industry-leading features, Firefox is the choice of Web development professionals and... Read more
Thunderbird 31.5.0 - Email client from M...
As of July 2012, Thunderbird has transitioned to a new governance model, with new features being developed by the broader free software and open source community, and security fixes and improvements... Read more
VOX 2.4 - Music player that supports man...
VoxIt just sounds better! The beauty is in its simplicity, yet behind the minimal exterior lies a powerful music player with a ton of features & support for all audio formats you should ever need... Read more
A Better Finder Rename 9.46 - File, phot...
A Better Finder Rename is the most complete renaming solution available on the market today. That's why, since 1996, tens of thousands of hobbyists, professionals and businesses depend on A Better... Read more
WALTR 1.0.9 - Drag-and-drop any media fi...
WALTR is designed to make it easy to upload and convert any music or video file to an iPad or iPhone format for native playback. It supports a huge variety of media file types, including MP3, MP4,... Read more
Default Folder X 4.6.14 - Enhances Open...
Default Folder X attaches a toolbar to the right side of the Open and Save dialogs in any OS X-native application. The toolbar gives you fast access to various folders and commands. You just click on... Read more

Check Out the Trailer for the Upcoming F...
Check Out the Trailer for the Upcoming FINAL FANTASY: Record Keeper Posted by Jessica Fisher on February 26th, 2015 [ permalink ] DeNA and Square Enix have announced that | Read more »
Legacy Quest is an Upcoming Rouge-like T...
Legacy Quest is an Upcoming Rouge-like That’ll Kill the Whole Family Posted by Jessica Fisher on February 26th, 2015 [ permalink ] Nexon Co. | Read more »
Grudgeball: Enter the Chaosphere Review
Grudgeball: Enter the Chaosphere Review By Jordan Minor on February 26th, 2015 Our Rating: :: MUSCLE MENUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Regular Show gets an above average game.   | Read more »
Action RPG League of Angels – Fire Raide...
Gaia is being invaded by the Devil Prince and the demonic Devil Army at his disposal, and it’s up to you and your avatar to defeat him in League of Angels – Fire Raiders. Raise a mighty army from hundreds of recruitable angel heroes and take the... | Read more »
Burn Rubber on the Ice With a New Cars:...
Burn Rubber on the Ice With a New Cars: Fast as Lightning Update Posted by Jessica Fisher on February 26th, 2015 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
AdVenture Capitalist Review
AdVenture Capitalist Review By Jordan Minor on February 26th, 2015 Our Rating: :: DAS KAPITALUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad An inadvertent Marxist manifesto.   | Read more »
Monster vs Sheep Review
Monster vs Sheep Review By Jennifer Allen on February 25th, 2015 Our Rating: :: SAMEY FUNUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad What Monster vs Sheep lacks in variety it makes up for with stress relieving fun. At least, for a... | Read more »
Is Your Face Ready for the New Outwitter...
Is Your Face Ready for the New Outwitters 2.0 Trailer? Posted by Jessica Fisher on February 25th, 2015 [ permalink ] One Man Left Studios has announced that their turn-based strategy game, | Read more »
HowToFormat Review
HowToFormat Review By Jennifer Allen on February 25th, 2015 Our Rating: :: USEFUL TIPSiPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad Making a presentation and want to get it just right? HowToFormat teaches you how... | Read more »
Thermo Diem Review
Thermo Diem Review By Jennifer Allen on February 25th, 2015 Our Rating: :: GETS TO THE POINTUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Want to know whether it’s warmer or colder tomorrow? That’s precisely what Thermo Diem will... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

New Travel Health App “My Travel Health” iOS...
Rochester, Minnesota based Travel Health and Wellness LLC has announced that its new iOS app help safeguard the user’s health when traveling abroad — “My Travel Health” is now available on the Apple... Read more
Sale! MacBook Airs for up to $115 off MSRP
B&H Photo has MacBook Airs on sale for up to $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 11″ 128GB MacBook Air: $799 100 off MSRP - 11″ 256GB MacBook Air: $999 $100... Read more
15-inch 2.0GHz Retina MacBook Pro (refurbishe...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished previous-generation 15″ 2.0GHz Retina MacBook Pros available for $1489 including free shipping plus Apple’s standard one-year warranty. Their price is... Read more
Wither The iPad mini? End Of The Road Imminen...
AppleDailyReport’s Dennis Sellers predicts that the iPad mini is going to be left to wither on the vine, as it were, and then just allowed to fade away — a casualty of the IPhone 6 Plus and other... Read more
Android and iOS Duopoly Owns 96.3% of Smartph...
IDC reports that Android and iOS inched closer to total domination of the worldwide smartphone market in both the fourth quarter (4Q14) and the calendar year 2014 (CY14). According to data from the... Read more
13-inch 2.4GHz Retina MacBook Pro available f...
MacMall has the 2013 13″ 2.4GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro available for $999.99 for a limited time. Shipping is free. Their price is $300 off original MSRP, and it’s the only sub-$1000 new Retina... Read more
Save up to $300 on a new Mac, $30 on an iPad,...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad at The Apple Store for Education and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free,... Read more
Mac minis available for up to $75 off MSRP
MacMall has Mac minis on sale for up to $75 off MSRP including free shipping. Their prices are the lowest available for these models from any reseller: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $459.99 $40 off - 2.6GHz Mac... Read more
WaterField Unveils Versatile Padded Gear Pouc...
San Francisco manufacturer WaterField Design’s new Padded Gear Pouch is a light and handy-sized, yet protective, organizer for every kind of take-along gear: technology, travel, toiletries,... Read more
College Student Deals: Additional $50 off Mac...
Take an additional $50 off all MacBooks and iMacs at Best Buy Online with their College Students Deals Savings, valid through April 11, 2015. Anyone with a valid .EDU email address can take advantage... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
**Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Consultant (ASC) you are the link between our customers and our products. Your role is to drive the Apple business in a retail Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC)- Retail S...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
**Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Consultant (ASC) you are the link between our customers and our products. Your role is to drive the Apple business in a retail Read more
Sr. Technical Services Consultant, *Apple*...
**Job Summary** Apple Professional Services (APS) has an opening for a senior technical position that contributes to Apple 's efforts for strategic and transactional Read more
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