Yosemite! Woo! iOS 8! Yay! New way of programming! Huzzah! These were the obvious highlights of Apple's WWDC keynote yesterday, but as the dust settles there are some additional interesting tidbits emerging. As this was a developer conference, it should come as no surprise that the announcements and revelations have the most immediate impact on developers -- but things will also filter down to users. One change that was not given any fanfare at the WWDC is an alteration to Apple's App Store Review Guidelines which paves the way for virtual currency support.
The guidelines themselves are surprisingly easy to read -- this document is nothing like an EULA! But if you'd like to cut to the chase, jump to 11.17 in the "Purchasing and currencies" section. Here you'll find the advice that "Apps may facilitate transmission of approved virtual currencies provided that they do so in compliance with all state and federal laws for the territories in which the app functions". There is no reason that this possible virtual currency support should not include Bitcoin, although the currency has not been specifically mentioned.
No week would be complete without a little Windows news, and this week was no different. A registry hack emerged that should make it possible to receive updates for the no-longer-supported Windows XP right up until 2019. Microsoft later spoiled the fun by pointing out that it could lead to problems as the updates that would be made available as a result of implementing the hack would not be designed for regular desktop versions of Windows XP.
Last week we were wondering why it took eBay quite so long to warn users to update their passwords after a security breach earlier in the year. This week we discovered that it was because the company was under the impression that no user data had been accessed. Apple forgot to renew its SSL certificate, and in another Apple-related security story, a hacker managed to take control of iOS and Mac devices, and hold them ransom. To console itself, the company then splashed the cash on Beats Music -- Joe pondered whether this was just another indication of Apple's lack of innovation.
Coast, from Norwegian developer Opera, is a browser designed specifically for iPhones and iPads. Unlike other browsers it’s been built for simplicity. Instead of buttons, the app uses swipes for navigation. Gestures have replaced the typical functions. Despite this ease, Coast offers most of the features you could want, including a powerful, intuitive search and address bar that suggests keywords and site thumbnails as you type.
I spoke to Coast's creator, Huib Kleinhout, about the browser and his plans for the future.
Ever wished you could receive notifications from your iPhone or iPad apps on your Mac? While some -- typically network-based ones like iCloud updates or Twitter notifications -- get channeled to both devices, what happens if you’re relying on receiving an important reminder from your mobile, but get distracted while working on your Mac?
The answer -- of sorts -- lies with Notifyr, a cross-platform solution that uses Bluetooth to channel iOS-specific notifications to your Mac via its own Notification Center.
Holding a device for ransom is a scary practice. Hackers seize control, and then ask the owner to pay a fee to unlock it. If the victim does not comply with their demand, there is little that can be done to regain access to private data, which may include sensitive information like bank account passwords, photos, work documents and so on. Some people cave in, paying the hackers. Others refuse and end up losing everything on their device.
Some Australian Apple users are reporting they are dealing with a hacker (or group of hackers) that goes by the name Oleg Pliss, that holds their iOS and Mac devices for ransom, demanding a certain fee (initial reports say $100) to relinquish control. Affected Apple devices have been locked through Find My iPhone, a tool that lets users track their enrolled iOS and Mac devices, basically rendering them useless.
It should come as no surprise that this week's big news was Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 unveiling. Brian had been looking forward to the NYC event and was at the event to get hands on with the new device. There's certainly a lot to love about Microsoft's third generation tablet, but there is that price to consider. If you like the look of what you see, the device is available for pre-order right now -- and if you're undecided between the Surface and a MacBook Air, Mihaita compared the two. Maybe you're one of those who thinks it’s a niche product.
The Surface Mini failed to make an appearance, but there are still lots of other tablets to choose from -- although they are yet to make much of an impression in higher education, unlike Chromebooks which have found their way into Welsh schools. Will Microsoft's tablet manage to attain the longevity of Apple's iPad? You'd be forgiven for thinking that hell itself had frozen over at the news that work is underway that will make it possible to run Android and iOS apps side by side on the same device.
Data organization wars have claimed a victim. Springpad, the notebook service designed to help users "get inspired, get organized, get more done" is to close. After six years of helping people store notes, recipes, project ideas and more, Springpad will close in just over a month. The world of note taking tools, managers and general information organizers has become crowded. The likes of Evernote, OneNote and even Google Keep have all been vying for attention in recent years, and there are only so many users to go around.
The closure rumors started last night with the Verge citing the oft-mentioned "person familiar with the company's plans", but now it has been confirmed. In a blog post the Springpad team confirms what hundreds of thousands of users hoped and prayed would turn out to be untrue -- as of June 25, the service will cease to function. At this stage no reasons are being given for the closure, but it will leave users scrabbling to find a new home for their data.
Twentieth in a series. Missed out on Weed Firm? Don't worry, Apple may have pulled that particular game from the App Store, but there are plenty of smoking new apps available to devote your time to.
New releases this week include an app that offers a fun way to find your missing iOS device, an HD remake of a Nintendo DS classic, a picture sharing app with a twist (you add songs to your shots), a construction game for kids, an app to help you catalog your favorite wines, a swarm-based game, and a GPS app for golfers.
Today is a day of celebration for fans of Any.Do -- the todo list and task manager for iOS, Android and Chrome. Some four years after its inception -- and after many, many demands from the service's user base -- Any.Do has, at long, long last, gained a web app. Founders Omer Perchik, Yoni Lindenfeld, and Itay Kahana have successfully avoided a brouhaha from users by finally delivering what they describe as "the number one most requested feature by our users".
Any.Do has proved incredibly successful on mobile platforms -- as well as in Google's web browser -- amassing more than 10 million users. Perchik says: "Web is a huge market we haven't even touched yet. There's a world of people who haven't considered us because they need a full web experience, right on their computer screens" of the launch. "We're conquering mobile, now it's time to break out in a broader market".
Weed Firm is one of those games, like Flappy Bird before it, that took the App Store by storm, reaching the number one spot purely through word of mouth. The trouble for Apple is the game follows the "vicious and lawless career of Mr. Ted Growing", an expelled botany sophomore, and is essentially a marijuana growing sim in which you produce and sell different types of weed, and interact with various shady characters including cops, gangsters, druggies and dancers. Not exactly the sort of game Apple really wants to see at the top of its charts.
It was perhaps a surprise that the Breaking Bad inspired app made it through Apple’s rigorous, and at times prudish approvals process in the first place, but having flourished far too well at the top, it was only a matter of time before it was hacked down. The game, inevitably, is no longer available in the App Store.
As a trained Sociologist, I am always analyzing my surroundings. One of my particular interests is the plight of the working poor. It breaks my heart to see people toil away for low pay, while struggling to pay bills. Even sadder, these hard-working people are often taken advantage of by "pay-day" lenders -- they offer an extremely high-interest loan which targets the poor who cannot make ends meet.
Luckily, technology can be developed to solve many of the world's problems, including the pains of the workers living paycheck to paycheck. Yes, a new app for Android and iOS, called Activehours, is aiming to solve this problem.
Since the mobile universe was first split into the great hulking behemoths of iOS and Android, smartphone users have been asking "How can I run Apple apps on my Android device?"
Well, this could be the answer you're looking for. A team of US computer scientists has announced the development and successful testing of software that allows Android and Apple apps to run side-by-side on the same devices.
After Edward Snowden’s many (and on-going) revelations, it’s easy to think there’s not much you can really do to avoid being spied upon or prevent your communications potentially being monitored. Of course you probably don’t have much to hide, and therefore what you say isn’t likely to be of major interest to the NSA or other snoopers, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least try to maintain a degree of privacy where possible.
SRD Wireless has today announced the launch of PQChat, a free app for iOS based on SRD’s own Never-The-Same (NTS) encryption which protects data using the McEliece cryptosystem, the strongest currently known, and which has never been broken (as far as anyone is aware, at least).
Nineteenth in a series. iTunes was updated to version 11.2 this week. As my colleague Brian Fagioli reports, it's not the most exciting release with most changes relating to improvements to podcasts. It also fixes an annoying issue whereby iTunes could become unresponsive when updating Genius.
New and updated releases this week include an iOS port of classic indie PC game Thomas Was Alone, the official app of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, a social network app that wants to be like a party, an arcade shooter, and a new app from FourSquare. RockMyRun has been updated too, and can now automatically adjust the speed of the music you're listening to so it matches how fast (or slow) you're running. There's a great travel app featured this week too.
There is no shortage of quality operating systems out there. Between Ubuntu 14.04, Chrome OS, Windows 8.1 Update and OS X, you can't make a bad choice. Most modern operating systems are pretty great. Personally, I utilize all of the previously mentioned OSes on a regular basis. However, I have been spending most of my time between Windows and OS X.
No, I don't own a Mac, but I did build a Hackintosh. This is just a normal PC that runs Apple's OS. This allows me to get great performance and customize my machine, while still enjoying the benefits of OS X. Today, after a period of open beta-testing, the final version of Mavericks 10.9.3 is gifted to existing Mavericks users. Is it worth the upgrade?