Electronista

Saturday, April 25

Hands On: SmartDown 1.0.4 (OS X)

It's not as if you are stuck for applications to write in: whether you go for Microsoft Word or TextEdit, there are just about 40 different word processors for every man, woman and child on the planet. It's just that not many work in Markdown, which is a form of writing, a format, and a syntax that works well for the web. SmartDown is one of those, and it works very well....

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Friday, April 24

Hands On: Sorcery! 3 – The Seven Serpents 1.0.2 (iOS, Android)

The third installment of Steve Jackson's Sorcery! game series is now available from iTunes. It isn't necessary to play the first two chapters to enjoy the third; each leg of the journey is its own self-contained quest and story. However, for those willing to put in the time, a magic word is given at the end of each game to add input into the next. Friendships, items, curses, abilities, and knowledge transfer from on...

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Apple wins three-year Chinese patent case against Siri technology

After two legal defeats, Apple has won its case on appeal in a lawsuit brought by Zhizhen Network Technology that dates back to 2012. The Beijing Higher People's Court has ruled that Apple did not violate any patents held by the Shanghai-based Zhizhen, and thus no infringement has occurred. Apple first attempted to have the Zhizhen patent, which covered only "a type of instant messaging chat bot system," invalidated,...

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Hands On: Hazel 3.3.5 (OS X)

You don't hear enough about Hazel from Noodlesoft. Its simplest description is that it automatically does things for you to do with files and folders, it moves and renames and sorts them. Unfortunately one reason you don't hear enough about it is that once you've set it up, you never have to think about it again. It just keeps right on doing its stuff. That's admirable and it's also a shame for Noodlesoft which shou...

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Apple unveils three new TV ads for Apple Watch

Celebrating the launch of the Apple Watch, the company has posted three new ads showcasing its newest device -- complete with Apple's signature style of illustrating everyday use of the Watch ahead of explaining features or giving the product a false image equating it with power, sex, or glamor. The three ads -- "Us," "Up," and "Rise" -- offer dramatized but realistic normal uses for the Apple Watch, with differing e...

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The Feature Thief: Apple taketh away, sometimes giveth back

Stop us if you've heard this one: Apple takes one of its key software applications, radically changes it, losing important features along the way. Existing users say Apple has dumbed down an app that was perfect, while new users say this is fantastic, they can finally understand the application. Flash forward a few months, and Apple has stealthily added back some or all of the features. We've seen this with iMovie an...

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Forums: New iMac problem, jpg editing on iPod Touch, more

Today in the MacNN forums, Forum Regular "Harvey" explained some troubling behavior with their 8-month old iMac and wonders if anyone else has experienced anything else like this on Yosemite. Also today one Mac Elite was trying to figure out how to edit jpg files on his new iPod Touch, and fellow forum-members began suggesting apps to use. ...

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Apple deals: up to $600 off Mac Pros

At Apple's online store this week save big on refurbished Mac Pro models, with savings of up to $600 off. The refurbished Mac Pro with a 3.7GHz Intel quad-core Xeon E5 processor, 12GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage has been reduced to $2,549 for a savings of $450 off the list price. Priced at $3,219 is the refurbished Mac Pro with a 3.5GHz Intel 6-core E5 processor, 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. ...

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Daily Deals: Crucial 960GB SSD, Jongo T2 speaker, Garmin Vivofit

Welcome to Daily Deals, the regular post where we search online and offline retailers for discounts, offers, and sales on an array of hardware and software for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Today, we cover the still-active deals from throughout the week, while the new deals list includes a sub-$300 960GB SSD, the Pure Jongo T2 wireless speaker, and the Garmin Vivofit fitness band. ...

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Apple Game Roundup: Batman GOTY, Total War: Warhammer, D&D VTT

On Tuesdays and Fridays, MacNN takes a few minutes to round up important goings-on in the Mac and iOS gaming world. Today, we're looking at Total War: Warhammer's announcement, Retina MacBook gaming benchmarks, Dungeons & Dragons downloadable content for virtual tabletop Fantasy Grounds, and Feral's release of Batman: Arkham Asylum – Game of the Year Edition...

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Hands On: Deliveries 6.1 (iOS, Mac)

We've said it before in other venues, but it's worth repeating: when you become an adult, you get really excited over the strangest things. You know that part in the 1979 film The Jerk when Steve Martin's character jumps up and down yelling, "the new phone book is here! The new phone book is here!"? That was us when we tried out Deliveries: a package tracker by Junecloud. We tested Deliveries on an iPhone 5 and an iP...

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Ahrendts in China, lines at boutique locations for Apple Watch launch

While Apple has since abandoned its former April 24 retail launch day for the Apple Watch due to a global sellout, a few select stores -- almost entirely third-party fashion boutique sellers who secured allotments early -- are said to have or have had actual stock of Apple Watches to sell. Customers hoping to score one today are lining up outside these shops, even as Apple Retail chief Dame Angela Ahrendts spent the ...

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Plug officially pulled on Time Warner Cable and Comcast merger

As expected, Comcast and Time Warner Cable have both walked away from the blockbuster merger deal, citing governmental resistance from the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission. In a statement about the collapse, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said that "we would have liked to bring our great products to new cities, but we structured this deal so that if the government didn't agree, we could walk...

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Briefly: Google Maps image insults Apple, X-Files HD hits Netflix US

Users of Google Maps may find an odd image if they search Pakistan. Team Android reports someone has inserted an image of the Android mascot urinating on the Apple Logo. While it is unlikely to be an addition by a Google employee, it is possible that the image was added as part of Map Maker, a system that allows users to submit edits to the map for inclusion into the main Google Maps service, with the insulting image...

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Apple Watch Sport laid bare in disassembly by iFixit technicians

As is the norm for the iFixit crew, a teardown of a new Apple device has been accomplished -- this time, the 38mm Apple Watch Sport is on the disassembly bench. Alongside the breakdown, the company has disclosed the chipsets accompanying the watch, with a mix of new and old technologies combined in the device. In addition to well-known components, a couple of new discoveries were made....

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Pointers: Timers, Siri and soft-boiled eggs

This is not going to be the longest tutorial you've ever read. Here it is: you can tell Siri to set a timer that includes seconds, not just the whole minutes you're forced to with the dials. Its a bit finicky, but here's the way to do it. That's it. It's short, and we're not going to pretend that it's a power-users hidden zen-ninja tip but, oh, is it useful. Also, there is just a fraction more to it than it sounds. A...

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Briefly: iMac graphics update, 15-inch MBPs growing scarce

Apple has issued an update for selected 2013 and later model iMacs that fixes a graphics issue that caused the machines to freeze after viewing large JPEG files in either Finder or Preview under OS X 10.10.3. The problem specifically affects the late-2013 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMacs, as well as the late 2014 27-inch 5K Retina iMac. The problem could, in some circumstances, trigger kernel panics or force a restart....

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Thursday, April 23

Apple updates iMovie as AV software head Ubillos retires

As if on cue, Apple on Thursday announced a bug-fix update to its consumer video-editing program, iMovie, on the same day that the head of Apple's photo and video software teams, Randy Ubillos, announced his retirement. Ubillos, who has been with Apple for the past 20 years, has been the key engineer behind the modern versions of iMovie, Final Cut Pro, iPhoto, and Aperture -- and before joining Apple, was one of the ...

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Apple Watch: now shipping, Watch App Store opens, Ion-X scratch test

There are an indeterminate number -- possibly as high as a couple of million -- very early pre-order customers who are very excited today, having received confirmation from Apple that their order for the Apple Watch has shipped. Various forms of evidence, from emails from the company notifying buyers of the status change to UPS alerts with tracking numbers has confirmed that a number of customers who got in early sho...

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Review: Brother HL-3140CW Color Wi-Fi Printer

It's inevitable, at some point somebody needs a hardcopy of a document. Paper never runs out of battery charge after all. Our Mom, just as an example, prints out recipes like most people eat corn chips. We've been throwing all of our print jobs at a Brother HL-3140CW laser printer for a while now to see how it works out. We think it's a good model for home use or for light business use. Unfortunately, it lacked a few...

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Microsoft profits down on reported revenue rise to $21.7 billion

Microsoft today announced that revenues for the quarter that ended March 31 grew to $21.7 billion. Net income, however, was a bit less than expected, coming in at $5 billion -- a 12 percent drop from the same quarter a year ago. These financial results include $190 million of integration and restructuring expense related to Microsoft's turnaround plan, and the ongoing integration of the Nokia Devices and Services bu...

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Amazon continues trend, posts $57 million loss on $22.7 billion sales

Despite posting sales figures of $22.7 billion, e-retailer giant Amazon has posted a net loss of $57 million in its first quarter of business of 2015. Net sales increased 15 percent to $22.72 billion in the first quarter, compared with $19.7 billion in first quarter 2014. Excluding the $1.3 billion unfavorable impact from changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, net sales increased 22 percent compare...

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Comcast, Time Warner Cable deal near death; may be slain tomorrow

Facing stiff opposition from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), as well as staunch opposition from the Department f Justice and members of Congress, Comcast is reportedly going to drop plans to acquire Time Warner Cable. A final decision will be made today, and an announcement of the breakdown could be as soon as Friday, according to sources familiar with the matter....

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Daily Deals: Sony Action Cam, 3D scanner, Seagate 4TB NAS

Welcome to Daily Deals, that time of the day when the staff of MacNN and Electronista search the Internet for sales, discounts, and offers, compiling the more notable items into a single post. The usual recap of still-active deals is joined by a Sony Action Cam, a 3D scanner, a Seagate 4TB NAS, and a new way to discover deals for yourself. ...

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Nokia courting Apple, others to buy Here mapping tech, reports claim

Apple and a number of other companies -- including Facebook, Amazon, Sirius XM, and China-based services Alibaba and Baidu are among many other firms being targeted by Nokia as it prepares to sell off its Here mapping service and technology. While Apple has periodically purchased map technology that can be integrated with its Apple Maps service in the hopes of eventual public transit data, Nokia may be overvaluing th...

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Hands On: OmniPlan 2.1.1 (OS X, iOS)

OmniOutliner is for everybody, OmniFocus is for most people, but OmniPlan is is for comparatively few. It and the graphics app OmniGraffle can therefore seem the least important of the four Omni applications that have now been brought to the iPhone but if you do use OmniPlan, this is big news. If you don't but you are a project manager, it's big enough that you should take a hard look at OmniPlan....

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Investment bank bets AAPL will hit $185, become trillion-dollar firm

Although it is well-known that Apple is the world's most profitable and most highly-valued publicly-traded company, most of the public and even many investors are unaware that its market valuation of nearly $750 billion now puts it 75 percent of the way to world record that has been a dream of investors for decades: the world's first company valued at $1 trillion. A Virginia-based investment bank now believes Apple w...

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Hands On: Tiffen Dfx v4 digital filter suite with video demo

For more than 70 years, Tiffen has been a leading manufacturer of professional filters for photography and film. Generally, their premium glass filters are the first thing that comes to mind for anyone who hears the name "Tiffen." These filters would need to be applied at the time the photos or videos were being shot, but now in the digital age they can be applied in the post-production world as well with Tiffen's Df...

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Apple Watch tutorial video set now complete, offers 10 'guided tours'

After releasing the videos in drips, Apple now has completed its set of 10 "guided tour" videos covering the main functions of the Apple Watch. The last three, dealing with Apple Pay, the Activity tracker, and the Workout app were posted on Wednesday, joining videos covering the core user interface of the device and specific functions ranging from phone calls, to customizing the watch face, to sending "digital touch"...

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Briefly: new Apple stores, PR chief retires, Maps transit hiring

Apple appears to be constructing a second, but thus far unannounced, Apple Store in Cologne, Germany, report enthusiast sites Macerkopf and Apfelpage. Photos taken from a building opposite the proposed site on Schildergasse appear to show the company's trademark long wooden tables and some remaining renovation work for the forthcoming glass staircase. The store would not be expected to open until this fall....

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Hands On: Carcassonne 4.10 (iOS)

If it were any more famous, you'd have heard of it. Or possibly also have been there. For Carcassonne is a French town, and it's a board game, and it's now an iPad app. Take on the world through Game Center, take on the people in your house, or just play against the iPad and not have to spend an evening with anyone. If you like board games, this is so good that you've probably got it already....

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Ricoh adds GPS, 'Pixel Shift Resolution' to Pentax K-3 II camera

Ricoh has launched an updated version of its Pentax K-3 digital SLR from late 2013, improving a few elements while keeping the rest the same. Just like the original, the Pentax K-3 II has a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor, but this time Ricoh has introduced a Pixel Shift Resolution system, which uses the camera's shake reduction mechanism to move the sensor in single-pixel increments and capturing four images, combinable i...

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Some boutiques will have Apple Watch available to sell April 24

Most likely due to orders having been filled ahead of the April 10 pre-ordering debut of the Apple Watch, a handful of select high-end boutique outlets will actually have some Apple Watches for sale on April 24, as the company originally planned for its own stores. The boutiques are said to be receiving pre-alloted shipments of the Sport and Watch models, but the gold Edition version continues to be unavailable anywh...

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Review: Linksys WRT1200AC Dual-Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Router

Once upon a time, a brand-new Linksys router showed up on our doorstep. So we gathered some network-minded friends together, and hooked it up to the Internet. We ran it through its automatic set up, and downloaded a few iOS and Android apps that would allow us to do cool stuff like stream media from an external drive plugged into the router to our mobile devices or a Chromecast. We fiddled, poked, and prodded so we c...

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