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Thursday March 27

08:07
Skunk Baxter Gibson Firebird

I’m happy that Gibson honored Skunk with his own model, but I was never a big fan of the Firebird.
∞ Read this on The Loop

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08:00
The Week in iOS Apps: Here comes the sun

Here comes the sunThis week’s roundup includes a cool new way of looking at the sun. Plus, there are apps for seeking real estate, organizing your life, and fighting in the Game of Thrones universe.DIY Sun ScienceBy now, you know we’re fans of NASA, space, science, and any app that does cool things with those topics. DIY Sun Science is a free iOS app from NASA that helps young users learn about the sun—either in classroom settings or on their own. It includes live satellite views of the sun, videos, and activities with step-by-step instructions to guide even young users in learning more about our closest star.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

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07:57
BusyContacts

BusyContacts is a complete replacement for the built-in Contacts app on OS X that is designed to make creating, finding, and managing contacts faster and more efficient.

From the same company that brought us BusyCal.
∞ Read this on The Loop

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07:52
Where and When to Find TMO Team at Macworld/iWorld...

It's Macworld/iWorld time again, and here's the full rundown on where you can find Bryan Chaffin, Jeff Gamet, and Dave Hamilton around the show.

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07:45
Microsoft announces Office for iPad

As expected, Microsoft officially announced Office for iPad today at an event featuring new CEO Satya Nadella. Office for iPad will go live at 2 p.m. EST today with Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint in the App Store. For free, users can download the apps to read and…

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07:31
WD ships the first Thunderbolt-powered portable dual...

WD today announced immediate availability of the My Passport Pro, which it bills as the first Thunderbolt-powered portable dual-drive. The two internal 2.5-inch hard drives and an integrated Thunderbolt cable are packed in a svelte aluminum enclosure that weighs just 1.59 pounds. Users can easily choose between a RAID 0 setup for increased performance or RAID 1 for data redundancy. It’s capable of speeds up to 233 MB/s and to help put that in perspective, it is capable of  ”copy[ing] a 22 GB high-definition video file in half the time typically required by a USB 3.0 drive working in RAID 0 format.” Combined, it is about half the speed of an SSD but with much more space/$.
The My Passport Pro is available in 2TB ($299.99) and 4TB (429.99) capacities now from the WD online store. It’s expected to hit Apple stores and other e-tailers very soon....

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07:07
Adoption of OS X 10.9 Mavericks significantly...

The rate at which Mac owners are upgrading to Apple's OS X 10.9 Mavericks has far outperformed the operating system's predecessor -- OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion -- with one report saying the latest OS is now running on over 40 percent of active Macs.  ...

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07:04
PencilCase reimagines HyperCard to let non-...

Robots & Pencils, a company that has up until now been making mobile apps for others, is launching a new platform for Mac that it says reimagines Apple’s HyperCard and allows non-developers to create & publish native iOS apps. Dubbed ‘PencilCase,’ users can create native apps with a drag and drop interface for adding UI elements, 3D models, programmed animations, and physics with no code required. There’s also a full built-in Javascript engine for those that might want to add some code.
We’ve seen a few similar build-your-own app platforms aimed at non-developers, but Robots & Pencils CEO Michael Sikorsky told us a little bit about why PencilCase is different:...

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07:01
Expo Notes: Western Digital reveals new Thunderbolt-...

Western Digital kicked off its booth at Macworld/iWorld by unveiling the new My Passport Pro portable hard drive equipped with Thunderbolt.While the My Passport Pro looks similar to WD’s My Passport Air, the new drive is much thicker because it has two 2.5-inch hard drive mechanisms configured as a RAID 0 or 1.The My Passport Pro also has an integrated Thunderbolt cable, so not only do you not have to worry about buying an expensive Thunderbolt cable, but you also don’t have to worry about carrying and losing that cable. The integrated cable also provides power to the drive, so you don’t need an external power supply.To read this article...

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07:00
Runtastic 5.0 update brings redesign, hydration...

Runtastic today updated its Running and fitness app, bringing a brand new look to the app and few notable new features.

The biggest changes users will notice is a fresh, new UI with improved automatic syncing to a user's Runtastic account when an...

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06:51
Sonnet’s new rack mount turns the 2013 Mac Pro into...

Sonnet's rack mount enclosure for the new Mac Pro fits in tons of expansion options.

Sonnet

After Apple discontinued the Xserve in early 2011, it introduced a pair of options Mac buyers could turn to if they still wanted systems they could fit into a server rack. One is the Mac Mini Server, a $999 configuration that adds a quad-core CPU and extra hard drive to the standard Mini. The other was the Mac Pro Server, a version of the big silver box that came with lots of CPU cores and OS X Server but was otherwise not so different from the standard workstation. Apple still sells the Mac Mini Server, but the Mac Pro Server was discontinued when Apple shrank the Mac Pro ...

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06:50
Samsung 'puzzled' as South Korean carriers...

Apple's chief rival Samsung had big plans for the debut of its flagship Galaxy S5 smartphone on April 11, but carriers in its native country of South Korea have opted to upstage that launch date by releasing the new handset early.  ...

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06:43
Political move? Russians shelve iPads

Journalists spotted that ministers at a cabinet meeting were no longer using Apple tablets, and minister Nikolai Nikiforov confirmed the changeover “took place not so long ago.”

He said the ministers’ new Samsungs were “specially protected devices that can be used to work with confidential information.”

Something smells fishy here.

Nikiforov denied that Russia was clamping down on US technology in response to Western sanctions imposed over its takeover of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.

Ah, that was it. Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck. Political bullshit is what it is.
∞ Read this on The Loop

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06:33
WD ships My Passport Pro, dual-drive bus-powered...

Drive manufacturer WD today introduced My Passport Pro, the first portable, Thunderbolt-powered dual-drive. The peripheral is available in 2TB and 4TB capacities, and sports a Thunderbolt cable built into the case itself, which also powers the drive....   ...

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06:30
BusyMac launches all-new Mac contact-manager

BusyMac Software, maker of the popular BusyCal app for OS X, has announced the upcoming launch of the all-new BusyContacts.
The new app is designed to be a complete replacement of OS X’s built-in Contacts app; it features customizable views, the ability to add tags to each contact, as well as smart filters that allow users to quickly find and group entries. Of course, it is also designed to work alongside the company’s calendar-management software, which allows it to keep track of your appointment history with each contact, turning the combination into a personal CRM system of sorts.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

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06:18
MS Enterprise Mobility Suite may debut today next to...

Alongside Office for iPad, Microsoft may also be preparing to launch a new licensing bundle today called the Enterprise Mobility Suite, sources say. The bundle is reportedly aimed at large-scale customers who need a way of managing Windows, iOS, and/or Android devices. While cross-platform support has been available from Microsoft for a while, EMS is expected to include Windows Intune, a new Azure Active Directory "Premium" option, and Azure Rights Management Services. Active Directory Premium is described as a paid version of Azure Active Directory with features like group-based app access... ...

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06:09
Apple exploring new iPad Smart Case with integrated...

iPad owners might soon have a new, more compact option when choosing a keyboard to pair with their tablet as Apple is contemplating a redesigned iPad Smart Case with an integrated, multitouch keyboard.  ...

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06:00
UpTo calendar app relaunches with a renewed,...

When UpTo originally launched, it focused on being what it described as “half-social, half-calendar.” Unfortunately, that didn’t work out so well as the social side and the calendar side fought for dominance, resulting in an app that felt like it didn’t know what it wanted to be when it grew up.
Today the company behind UpTo is re-launching the app with a new design and a new focus: rather than trying to turn calendars into a social network, the app is now focused entirely on being the best calendar app it can be. That being said, the new version of the app is not entirely devoid of social features.
Keep reading to find out how the developers finally figured out how to balance these two sides to the software.
...

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06:00
Rumor Roundup: 'Multiple sources saying pretty...

Apple to Move Production of iPhone Batteries to Automated Lines (MacRumors)

"[...] according to a report from DigiTimes." BZZZZT! Next!

New leak may finally reveal Apple's iPhone 6 design (BGR)

From the article: "A user on 9to5Mac's discussion...

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05:46
App Annie releases monthly App Store and Google Play...

There is a ton of great data to sift through. Amazing how big an impact Flappy Bird had on the App Store. Check the post for my top 3.
∞ Read this on The Loop

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05:45
Apple patent may hint at sapphire touchscreens

A newly published patent application further hints at the possibility of sapphire displays in Apple products. The application for “oleophobic coating on sapphire” reveals a component that would feature a surface coating and transition layer on top of a sapphire glass base layer, which may be “a window for…

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05:30
Bioprinting, Part 2 - The Ethical Conundrum


Nearly 120,000 people in the United States are on the waiting list for an organ transplant that may save their lives, according to the American Transplant Foundation.
"In the short term, we need many more people to register to be a potential organ donor," said Jordan Miller, assistant professor of bioengineering at Rice University.
However, donor organs require immunosuppressive therapies, which can limit the recipient's quality of life, so over the long term, the medical community is "extremely excited" about 3D printing's potential.

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05:28
Neurosurgeons successfully implant 3D printed skull

This is absolutely fantastic.

A 22-year-old woman from the Netherlands who suffers from a chronic bone disorder — which has increased the thickness of her skull from 1.5cm to 5cm, causing reduced eyesight and severe headaches — has had the top section of her skull removed and replaced with a 3D printed implant.

How fortunate is this woman that 3D printing technology was available to her surgical team. I can’t get over how cool this is.
∞ Read this on The Loop

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05:19
Twitter rolls out two major new features

You’ll now be able to tag up to 10 people in a tweeted photo and attach up to 4 photos in a single tweet.
∞ Read this on The Loop

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05:16
Searching iTunes Now Faster And Easier With fnd.io...

Searching in iTunes has never been a very good experience, and now fnd.io is looking to fix that. Developed by Jeremy Mack and Ryann Pierce, the new search tool was launched this week.

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05:00
Apple patents iPad smart cover with built-in gesture...

On March 27, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals an all-new iPad smart cover configuration that includes a keyboard panel. One of the aspects of this design which differentiates itself from Microsoft’s Surface tablet cover is that Apple’s keyboard has been uniquely designed to double as a multi-touch gesture keyboard eliminating the need for a touchpad.

I like the premise, the idea that you can gesture on the surface of the keyboard itself.
∞ Read this on The Loop

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05:00
Daily App: PhotosPro will make you think Apple'...

PhotosPro (US$1.99) is a very appealing app that could teach Apple a few lessons. Think of it as a replacement for Apple's Photos app.

It will display your photos in a long list, or let you see what you took on a particular date or within a range of...

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04:45
iPhone IP Wars: Nokia vs Apple vs HTC, Motorola...

In 2007 Apple introduced iPhone, emphasizing that virtually every significant aspect of its entirely new experience and industrial design was protected by patents. Three years later a global patent war erupted. Who's to blame?   ...

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04:36
Apple patent for fingerprint-resistant coating adds...

A new Apple patent application filed last year and published by the United States Patent & Trademark Office today adds more proof that Apple is preparing to use sapphire displays in upcoming devices (via AI). There has been no shortage of proof that Apple is preparing to do something— most likely next-generation iPhone screens— with the large Sapphire plant it recently picked up in Arizona. We already know...

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04:00
The 3rd Generation Drobo: Faster and less expensive

Drobo announced the 3rd generation of its 4-bay namesake device yesterday, and by any indication the newest member of the Drobo family should be quite popular. Sporting a pair of USB 3.0 ports, the Drobo 4-bay starts at just US$349 for the bare box...

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04:00
FlippedBITS: Do Privacy Policies Mean Anything?

Most companies that do business on the Internet have published privacy policies, and although they’re often full of tedious legalese, they’re worth reading. Whether they do anything to protect you is another question. Read the full article at TidBITS, the oldest continuously published technology publication on the Internet. To get a full-text RSS feed, help support our work and become a TidBITS member! Members also enjoy an ad-free version of our Web site, email delivery of individual articles, the ability to make long comments with live links, and discounts on Take Control orders and other Apple-related products.

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03:32
Apple tips hand on sapphire displays with patent for...

While Apple remains coy about plans to incorporate sapphire into its product lineup, a new patent application published on Thursday suggests the company is at the least experimenting with the hard material for use in touch-capable displays.  ...

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03:27
External Link: BusyContacts to Offer Alternative to...

Finally! For years now we’ve been asking BusyMac for an app that will do for Apple’s Contacts what BusyCal does for Calendar — that is, replace it. (Can you tell we’ve never liked Contacts?) At Macworld/iWorld, BusyMac announced BusyContacts, which promises to do just that — provide a multi-account solution for syncing, sharing, and maintaining address books via iCloud, Google Contacts, Exchange, and any other CardDAV-compatible service. BusyContacts will offer customizable views, tagging, smart filters, social network integration, and more. It is slated to enter public beta within a few months and will cost $49.99 when it ships later in 2014. Read the full article at TidBITS, the oldest continuously published technology publication on the Internet. To get a full-text RSS feed, help support our work and become a TidBITS member! Members also enjoy an ad-free version of our Web site,...

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02:07
Apple's 'transparent texting' tech...

Apple is looking into technology that offers users an easier, safer, way to text and walk by making an iPhone's screen "transparent" during messaging operations through the clever use of live video.  ...

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Wednesday March 26

23:01
Sonnet creates new Mac Pro enclosure for rackmount...

Hardware upgrade and card maker Sonnet on Wednesday unveiled a long-promised Thunderbolt 2-compatible rack-mountable docking station for the new, Mac Pro that adds ports and slots galore while encasing the cylindrical workstation so that it can be mounted in a rack using a 4U enclosure for use in datacenters. Now scheduled to ship in June, the XMac Pro Server enclosure offers a total of four USB 3.0 ports (one of them in the front), two Gigabit Ethernet ports, an HDMI port, BNC connectors and three PCIe single-width expansion slots alongside Thunderbolt 2 compatibility.... ...

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23:00
Join us for the Macworld/iWorld 2014 State of Apple...

When it rains, it pours. Sure enough, it has been raining here in drought-stricken Northern California, so much so that numerous flights were delayed coming into the city yesterday. And after a drought of Apple-related liveblogs, we actually have two...

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13:24
Street Blaster: OMG, a Kilowatt of Portable Audio...

Is it a small turbojet engine? Is it an NFL benchwarmer for sub-zero weather? Nope. It's Pyle Audio's Street Blaster, a boombox that can generate a 1000 watts of stereo audio on the go. Features include Bluetooth and NFC support, multiple audio inputs and USB for recharging the battery. (Size not disclosed.) "The AUX input allows users to connect iPods, tablets, MP3 players, PCs and various other devices for even more play options."

At over two feet long (62 cm) and a dainty 21.7 pounds (almost 10 kg), it's not going into your carry-on items. Instead, it's going to have special outdoor and arena uses that will likely provide plenty of audio shock and awe. The Street Blaster is available now for US$249.99.

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12:55
Analyst McCourt Sees iPhone Share of U.S. Market...

Raymond James Financial Advisor's Analyst Travis McCourt, in a recent assessment of the U.S. smartphone market, reported that the iPhone's share looks to be stabilizing at about 50 percent. He also thinks the game is just about over for Nokia's Lumina and BlackBerry with 3.4 and 1.5 percent U.S. market share respectively.

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11:17
Omni Group Resumes OmniFocus 2 For Mac Testing,...

CEO of Omni Group Ken Case revealed on the company blog Wednesday that testing has officially resumed on OmniFocus 2 for Mac, after last year's delay. He also announced a new improved ship date for the long-awaited GTD app.

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10:05
New Rumors for Retina MacBook Air and 12-inch iPad...

DigiTimes has posted a pair of speculative statements, but they seem to fit in with what we've been expecting all along. Even so, they must be considered rumors.

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09:00
Mail: Turn On Toolbar Text to Eliminate Guesswork

Apple Mail's toolbar isn't as intuitive as it could be, but luckily, there's an easy solution. If you're new to the Mac or to Mail (or heck, if you just prefer clearer controls for what you're doing), then come on in and read this tip on how to make the toolbar a friendlier place.

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08:19
Drobo Announces Third-Generation Four-Bay Device

Drobo has announced the third generation of their 4-bay storage device, which has USB 3.0 and a lower price.

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06:43
Apple engineer shares details on iPhone creation

Apple senior software engineer Greg Christie has revealed a number of details about the birth of the iPhone to the Wall Street Journal. Christie and his team were struggling with the original iPhone’s software when Apple co-founder and then-CEO Steve Jobs told the group it had two weeks to…

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06:39
New York Times Announces Two New Digital...

On April 2, the New York Times will unveil two new digital subscription choices. One of them will be a subscription iOS app called NYT Now.The Mac Observer Spin: A digital Times subscription for the same monthy price as Netflix sounds like a pretty good idea.

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06:26
Former Delta VP joins Apple online retail

Bob Kupbens, former vice president of marketing and digital commerce at Delta Air Lines, has joined Apple. According to his LinkedIn page, Kupbens’ title is VP, Apple Online Retail. Advertising Age noted the title was unconfirmed, but regardless, Kupbens looks to play a large role in Apple’s online…

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05:44
Apple working to add diversty to emoji

Apple is working on adding more diversity to the emoji keyboard character set, according to MTV Act. The website reached out to Apple CEO Tim Cook about the lack of diversity in emoji, and received a response from Katie Cotton, Apple Vice President of Worldwide Corporate Communications: “Tim forwarded…

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05:11
WSJ Interviews iPhone Engineer Just Before Another...

The Wall Street Journal has published an interview with Greg Christie, an engineer responsible for the original iPhone.The Mac Observer Spin: Some of the smaller details in the piece remind us what Apple was like under Steve Jobs. Getting to read about it at all is a reminder of what Apple is like under Tim Cook.

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Tuesday March 25

19:17
Leitz Label Printer Combines iOS App and Wi-Fi for...

Label printers have always been an iffy affair. If an OS X upgrade didn't render it unusable, then the connector became obsolete. Or it was too much fuss to get going quickly. Now, Leitz is introducing the Icon, the first label printer that's accessed with an iOS app. It allows one to start creating a label with just a few taps.

The Icon prints at 4-inches (10 cm) per second on labels up to 3.5-inches wide (9 cm.) It creates its own Wi-Fi hot spot and prints at up to 600 dpi. A battery pack makes it portable. Best of all, it's made by Leitz and that typically means quality and a class act.

The Leitz Icon launches on April 1 and will retail for about US$109.

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15:40
Adobe Announces Marketing Cloud Upgrade, Now With...

Adobe has announced an upgrade to Marketing Cloud, a suite of apps that now includes integration with iBeacons and PhoneGap Enterprise, a way to build mobile apps without learning to code.

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13:55
Apple Quietly Sells 500 Million iPhones

Half a billion iPhones have been sold in six and a half years. This is even more remarkable since it took over half that time to make it to 100 million.

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13:14
How and When to Use Both Ethernet Ports on a Mac Pro

Unlike all other Macs, the Mac Pro line has two Ethernet ports. How and when would one want to use both of these ports? John Martellaro looks at a pair of typical scenarios.

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11:29
Report: Apple sells 500 millionth iPhone

Apple has likely sold its 500 millionth iPhone during the past few weeks, Forbes estimates. There has yet to be an official announcement from Apple regarding the milestone; the company sometimes heralds large-scale sales in press releases, and at other times waits to mention them during media events. …

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09:42
Karen Gillan Does Reddit AMA

At this moment, Karen Gillan of Doctor Who fame is doing a Reddit AMA or "Ask Me Anything". She's answering questions live and so far the two most useful bits of information are that her last name is pronounced with a hard G, and Wil Wheaton has asked her to come play a game on his show Tabletop. When someone does a Reddit AMA, they have to submit proof. Here's Karen's:

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08:39
Apps: FireChat, Photowall for Chromecast, Second...

FireChat is a new free app from Open Garden that lets users send messages to other nearby users without an Internet connection or mobile coverage, using iOS 7’s Multipeer Connectivity Framework to link users together. Users can see what FireChat users everywhere are talking about, or they have the…

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07:28
Apple wins Japanese patent infringement ruling

Apple didn’t infringe on certain Samsung patents and won’t have to pay damages in a Japanese court ruling, Bloomberg reports. A Tokyo District Court ruled the iPhone 4, 4s, and iPad 2 don’t infringe on Samsung data communication patents. Samsung expressed their disappointment with the decision and noted that…

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06:30
Apple ‘related’ search spotted in App Store

Apple is apparently testing a new feature in the App Store that offers users related term suggestions when doing a search. A number of reports have noted the new feature, though it appears it was first spotted by developer Olga Osadcha. Osadcha found the feature while using iOS 7.1.…

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06:07
Japan Court Rules Apple didn’t Infringe on Samsung...

Samsung took it on the chin in its patent infringement fight against Apple in Japan. A court in the country ruled on Tuesday that the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPad 2 aren't infringing on Samsung's data communications patents, which is matches with a similar ruling just over a year ago.The Mac Observer Spin: Samsung's most recent loss in Japan is yet another feather in Apple's legal cap. Win after win can add turn into strong legal arguments for Apple, and the company already has a nicely stocked bag full of wins as it heads into its next U.S. infringement trial with Samsung.

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04:55
Former Democratic Staff Director Now Lobbies for...

Former Democratic Staff Director for the Senate Finance Committee Amber Cottle has a new job as Apple's senior lobbyist. She has a history with the a Washington DC crowd, and was the committee's Chief International Trade Counsel, too.The Mac Observer Spin: Lobbying isn't anything new for Apple, or any other big tech company, for that matter. If you have to play the game, you might as well have as strong a team as you can get.

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Monday March 24

18:56
Apple Hires (Another) Privacy Counsel

Apple hires Sabrina Ross as "Privacy Counsel," according to AppleInsider, and her experience might give some insight into what Apple is spending time on these days.

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14:50
How to Find Out ‘What’s on Apple TV’ in Your Browser

Every so often when you fire up the Apple TV, you'll see a new channel or two appear as if by magic. What do they show? Wonder no more, because it turns out Apple has a "What's on Apple TV," and Kelly Guimont will show you hot to use it.

| Read more »
13:09
Apple Reportedly Discusses iTunes Subscriptions With...

Apple is reportedly considering expanding its music offerings in the face of declining iTunes sales, including the option of offering a subscription service. The more interesting options being discussed include a Spotify/Beats Music-style paid subscription service for on-demand listening, and perhaps even a version of the iTunes store for Android devices.The Mac Observer Spin: An Android version of iTunes? Really!? Well, yeah, maybe.

| Read more »
12:42
Apple Should Have Bought Time Warner When it Had the...

It's a challenge, from the outside, to figure out just what Apple wants. For example, just like the original iPhone deal with AT&T, Apple appears to want to leverage off the Comcast network and then create its own relationship with the customer. AT&T benefitted from that, but Comcast is not that desperate. That puts Apple back at square one.

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11:19
TMO Highlights Macworld Presentations on MacVoices

The Mac Observer's Jeff Gamet, Bryan Chaffin, Chuck La Tournous are all speaking at this week's Macworld/iWorld Conference in San Francisco, and they all paid visits to Chuck Joiner's MacVoices podcast to talk about what they have in store for attendees.

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11:06
Clever FlipStand Case for All iPad minis Features...

The FlipStand case for the iPad mini from Felix provides protection and a stand that automatically opens when needed. It features the ability to stand up the iPad mini in portrait or landscape mode, and includes sleep/wake magnets. It is compact and functional with a flair.

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10:56
Rumor: Apple to Intro 12-inch MacBook Pro

Apple is reportedly working on a 12-inch version of its MacBook Pro laptop to ship later this year. Along with a smaller display, the new model will ditch internal fans as well as the mechanical trackpad button currently used on all Apple laptops.The Mac Observer Spin: It isn't any secret that Apple is phasing out built-in optical drives, so this year would be a perfect time to finally drop that from the 13-inch MacBook Pro. It would also make for a great time to seriously revamp the laptop lineup with improvements that go beyond incremental speed bumps.

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10:37
Apple’s iTunes Radio Expands to News with NPR Station

Apple has added its first news station to iTunes Radio, NPR News and Culture. The station went live Tuesday morning, and it offers a mix of live news and segments from the public radio network's shows, including All things Considered, and The Diane Rehm Show.

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08:55
NPR news channel coming to iTunes Radio today

iTunes Radio will add National Public Radio as its first news channel, Re/code reports. NPR’s channel is expected to go live today, and it will offer a free 24-hour stream of live news and pre-recorded shows. Additionaly, some local NPR stations will offer their own iTunes Radio channels “within…

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06:55
Apple, Comcast In Talks To Team Up On Apple TV

Late Sunday the Wall Street Journal reported talks are happening between Apple and Comcast, likely working out how to offer cable TV content on an Apple TV.The Mac Observer Spin: This sounds good for customers. Is it too good to be true?

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06:36
UK digital download taxes could increase in 2015

Digital downloads including App Store and iTunes purchases are due to see a tax increase in the U.K. under new laws next year, The Guardian reports. A new budget would force Apple and others to charge a 20 percent tax rate on such downloads. The budget closes a tax…

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06:16
WSJ: Apple talking with Comcast about streaming TV

Apple is talking with Comcast about working together on a streaming television service that would use an Apple set-top box like Apple TV, the Wall Street Journal reports. The deal would use Comcast’s cables to bypass web congestion, sources said. Using Comcast as a partner would, ideally, prevent buffering…

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05:08
UK to Drive Up iTunes Store Purchases through Tax...

The days of Â0.99 music downloads at Apple's U.K. iTunes Store may be coming to an end, and it isn't the iPhone and iPad maker that'll be driving the cost up. Britain's Government is looking to close a tax loophole that lets companies charge VAT rates from other countries -- something Apple and other companies currently do.The Mac Observer Spin: Closing the VAT loophole for Apple, Google, and other companies selling online may help increase money coming into the government, but it won't make consumers happy.

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04:35
Spotlight on the Mac: Searching the Current Folder...

If you'd rather look through the current folder when using Spotlight's search field in Finder windows instead of searching every drive connected to your Mac, you aren't alone. Lucky for you, Michael Johnston knows how to tell Spotlight to do just that, and he's ready to show you how, too.

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Saturday March 22

06:30
How to Visualize Your Music in iTunes

The iTunes Visualizer has been around since the very first version of iTunes. Sandro Cuccia helps you explore and get the most from this scantily documented feature that enhances your enjoyment of your iTunes music. Warning: Visualizer may cause drowsiness while working on your computer.

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Friday March 21

15:38
3 Free iOS Note Apps

Need a better iOS note app? Vern Seward points out 3 that might fit the bill in this week's Free on iTunes: DraftPad, Squarespace Note, and SwiftKey Note.

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13:00
Color Cables Have Just the Right Amount of Glow-in-...

A couple of weeks ago I posted a Cool Stuff Found article for Color Cables, an Indiegogo campaign for photofluorescent (i.e. glow-in-the-dark) Lightning, 30-pin Dock, and Micro USB charging cables. The company sent me a couple of their prototypes, and I thought I'd post a Quick Look review while the campaign was still active.

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12:54
Report: Apple to launch Spotify rival, iTunes...

Apple has “opened exploratory talks” with record executives about creating an on-demand music streaming service, à la Spotify, and the company is also considering making an iTunes app for Android, Billboard reports. The discussions are reportedly part of a strategy to help Apple cope with declining downloads in the…

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12:47
iLounge Game Spotlight: Star Horizon

Star Horizon ($4) is a new space shooter from Tabasco Interactive. A graphically impressive game, Star Horizon puts players into the ship of space fighter pilot. The on-rails shooter supports iOS controllers. Star Horizon certainly looks like a premium title. With…

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12:35
Google Glass is on the Ropes. Could be Finished

Google Glass has been an inspired product. Along the way, however, Google forgot one important thing: to create a thoughtful and beloved product, support it, and develop a considered path to market. That's why Glass looks to be history according to one of its strongest supporters, Robert Scoble.

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10:57
Apple Death Knell #64: Apple Must Deliver iWatch in...

Mark your calendars. If Apple doesn't release the iWatch by April 19th, the company will "disappear" and become an "irrelevant zombie." Those are bold words from an analyst who is never right, and Bryan Chaffin is adding it to the Apple Death Knell Counter as entry #64.

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08:06
MGG 494: Webcam Tweaks, iTunes Clean-up, Using Mics...

John and Dave come to you on Friday this week, just to get ahead of their Macworld/iWorld travels for next week. This show sees your favorite geeks answering questions about optimizing your webcam, fixing iTunes messes, plugging a mic into an iPad, and more! Download today (it's free!) and enjoy.

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07:38
Golden State first NBA team to use iBeacons

The Golden State Warriors are the first NBA team to roll out iBeacons in their home arena, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports. Oracle Arena in Oakland uses iBeacons to push seat upgrades, as fans with the team’s smartphone app — and cheaper seats — are prompted to upgrade when in the…

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07:03
SimpleAir Wins $85M in Google Android Patent...

The patent holding company SimpleAir has been awarded US$85 million in its infringement fight against Google. The company won its case in U.S. District Court in Eastern Texas -- a court that's known for favoring patent trolls.The Mac Observer Spin: Just because Apple is fighting with Samsung and Google over whether or not Android OS infringes on its patents doesn't necessarily make SimpleAir's win a good thing. SimpleAir is just a patent holding company, often referred to as a patent troll, and its win only helps to line its own pockets and doesn't help to improve the overall patent system.

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05:51
The Definitive Chronological Order for Viewing Star...

There isn't anything wrong with watching the popular Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series in the order the episodes were released, but it turns out that isn't exactly chronological order. Now that the series is available on Netflix Streaming, StarWars.com had released a list showing exactly which order to watch the episodes to show how they really fit in the overall Star Wars timeline. You won't miss out on anything by watching in order of release, but for die-hard fans it's nice to see just how each story fits into the Star Wars universe.

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05:04
Apple Digital Camera RAW Update Adds New Fujifilm,...

If you're headed to Macworld/iWorld 2014 next week and plan on snapping photos with your brand new Fujifilm, Nikon, Panasonic or Pentax camera, Apple has you covered. The company released Digital Camera RAW Compatibility Update 5.04 for the Mac on Thursday, adding support for new camera models from all four companies to iPhoto '11 and Aperture 3.

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04:40
Recent Phishing Attempts: Avoid Being a Victim

Phishing emails are becoming harder to spot-and thus, it's getting more difficult to protect your data from malicious people. In this article, Melissa Holt is going to show you an example of a recent phishing attempt she received and give you some suggestions on how you can avoid falling prey to scammers' tricks.

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Thursday March 20

16:22
Fortune Names Apple CEO Tim Cook one of ‘World’s 50...

Fortune magazine released a list of the people it thinks are the "World's 50 Greatest Leaders," and showing up as #33 in the list is Apple CEO Tim Cook. The magazine cited Mr. Cook's "parade of winning new products" and his decision to hire Angela Ahrendt of Burberry to run Apple retail among the reasons he made the list.The Mac Observer Spin: Not mentioned by Fortune is the herculean task of managing a company like Apple in the wake of its iconic founder's death and working in that founder's shadow. Few people could have done that job, which is likely one of the many reasons Steve Jobs hand-picked Tim Cook to be his successor.

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15:31
Apple Pulls Fake Tor Browser After Media and...

Apple pulled a fake Tor browser called "Tor Browser" from the App Store on Thursday, a move that took almost three months of notifications from the Tor project, plus a little more than a day of media and security attention. The app written and submitted by someone not affiliated with the Tor project at all, and was reported to the Tor Project itself to be laden with adware/spyware.The Mac Observer Spin: Seriously? This made it through the review process and after being reported to Apple, only got yanked after it was reported by the tech press?

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14:21
Micro Phone Lens 150x on Kickstarter Turns Your...

Check out this Kickstarter project called Micro Phone Lens 150x, a tiny lens and light combo that turns your iPhone, iPad, or other smartphone and tablet into a 150x microscope. it works a little differently than other lenses-you place the Micro Phone Lens on your device's camera, shine a special light at it, and then place what you want to examine in a slide on top of the lens. Talk about bringing science to your desktop! Thomas Larson is looking to raise US$50,000 to bring the product to market, and he's alrady raised $39,772 with 28 days to go. Funding options that get just the lens start at $29, while the lens and light combo starts at $39.

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13:24
David Fincher Reportedly Wants Christian Bale to...

David Fincher wants to direct a movie about Steve Jobs written by Aaron Sorkin, but only if Batman star Christian Bale plays the lead. The movie has long been in the works, and is based on the Walter Isaacson biography, Steve Jobs.The Mac Observer Spin: Christian Bale as Steve Jobs in a movie directed by David Fincher and written by Aaron Sorkin based on Walter Isaacson's killer biography? Sign me up. That's a recipe for awesome.

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12:08
Apple Adds MP3 Export (Back) to GarageBand 10

Apple has once again given GarageBand users the ability to export songs as MP3s in an update to the consumer music recording solution. GarageBand 10.0.2 also adds three new drummers for those who bought the in-app purchase, as well as other improvements.

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12:00
Your iPhone is About to Have a Lot More Ads

It goes without saying that there has been a massive move to mobile, smart digital devices ever since Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007 with adequate Internet access. Accordingly, advertising goes where the eyeballs are and is about to follow.

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10:41
Apps: Cosmos, NCAA March Madness Live, NFB StopMo...

FOX Broadcasting Company’s Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (free) is a companion app to the new 13-part FOX series, Cosmos. The app offers a full view of an interactive cosmic calendar which visualizes the history of the universe throughout the year. Episode sneak peeks and synopses are included along with…

| Read more »
09:09
Fitbit Hit with Class Action Lawsuit Over Force Band...

Fitbit recalled its Fitbit Force wristband fitness tracker after some users complained of skin rashes. That wasn't enough for Jim Spivey because a class action lawsuit was filed on his behalf against the company claiming they didn't do enough to warn users of the possibility of skin irritation.The Mac Observer Spin: It's one thing to file a class action lawsuit against Fitbit when you personally suffered from the Force rash. The main plaintiff in this case, however, didn't. Maybe there was a better way for him to handle his disappointment with the company.

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07:07
Sponsor: Get MacX DVD Ripper Pro for Free This Week

I'd like to thank Digiarty for again sponsoring TMO this week. They're always good for a very useful freebee, and this time is no different. In fact, this time is even better than last! From now until the 24th, they're giving away MacX DVD Ripper Pro for free just for you.

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05:56
First Apple Retailer, FirstTech, to Shut Down

FirstTech may not be a familiar name, but it holds a special place in the history of technology because it was the very first store to sell Apple's personal computers. Time marches on, and now the Minneapolis-based retailer is closing its doors after more than 35 years in business, and will be taking a little bit of the glory days of the personal computing frontier days with it.The Mac Observer Spin: Smaller companies can't compete with retail and service providers working on the national level, so they're slowly dropping off the map. It's sad to see independent retailers close shop, and it's sad to see the very first Apple II retailer go out of business.

| Read more »
05:22
China Mobile added 1M new iPhone users in February

China Mobile sold about one million new iPhones in February according to Chief Executive Li Yue. “We added 1.34 million new 4G users in February and most of them are iPhone users. We are happy with the progress as we are still building our 4G network and the coverage is…

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05:05
EA Patches Flaw, Blocks Apple ID Phishing Scam

The gaming company EA has fixed a security flaw that let hackers use one of its servers to stage a phishing scam to trick victims into revealing their Apple IDs. Hackers used known issues in a years-old version of a Web calendar module as their hook into EA's servers.The Mac Observer Spin: It's great that EA acted so quickly to shut down the phishing scam. It isn't so great that they still had a version of WebCalendar from 2008 with known security vulnerabilities sitting there ready and waiting for hackers.

| Read more »

Wednesday March 19

17:47
ACM 247: New iPhones, Old iPads, and Sorting Out...

Apple added an 8GB version of the iPhone 5C to its product lineup, but not in many markets. The company also replaced the iPad 2 with the formerly discontinued fourth generation iPad, Microsoft is finally bringing its Office suite to the iPad, and it turns out DigiTimes reports aren't always wrong. All that, and Jeff and Bryan fill you in on their upcoming Macworld/iWorld appearances.

| Read more »
17:15
Bryan, Jeff, and John Interviewed Hither and Yon

The staff at The Mac Observer has been busy all over the Interwebs, including video podcasts and radio interviews you can stream. Bryan Chaffin and John Martellaro appeared on the Tech Night Owl radio show, and Jeff Gamet was interviewed on video as part of Chuck Joiner's Road to Macworld series.

| Read more »
14:35
Resize Image Lets You Scale Images Quickly on iPhone

Resize Image is a handy little free app for your iPhone. It's exactly what it says on the tin, you can scale images down from their current size, either by file size or by pixel measurement. Bonus: You get to determine what those pre-set sizes are, so if you need something particular just adjust the preferences. As noted in an iTunes review, this is great because you don't have to send full size iPhone photos over iMessage/MMS. Second, this is fab for those working with a blog platform or other web service where you want to send a smaller version of your picture from your phone instead of having to email it to yourself for further jiggery-pokery on your computer. It's ad-supported, but the US$1.99 IAP removes them if you prefer. [Via TUAW]

| Read more »
 
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