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Limbo Is Dark, Moody, Gory - and Irresistible
July 15, 2013
Some games on iOS are original creations -- designed for the touch interface and ready for fun -- while others are ports from previously released PC or console games, giving these popular-yet-obscure titles a whole new audience and life on iPads and iPhones. Enter Limbo, first released in 2010 exclusively for the Xbox Live Arcade. Playdead later ported it to PS3, Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
Blinding Light and Deep Dark Evil: Apple's App Store After 5 Years
July 11, 2013
The iTunes App Store is one of the most transformative Apple innovations ever, perhaps the most important to the world, and yet, despite its shiny bright flickering light of goodness, it's freakin' evil. I've been reflecting on the 5th anniversary of the App Store, and in some ways, I'm blinded by the staggering numbers and pure joy certain apps have brought to my life.
Ulysses III Banishes Word-Processing Bloat
July 2, 2013
During the fledgling era of word processing, developers divided into two camps over formatting documents. Software makers like Xywrite believed formatting and composition should be distinct. They designed their word crunchers to have two modes -- one for writing, another for formatting a document. Other programming outfits, like Microsoft, favored the "what you see is what you get" approach.
Google May Crash Game Console Party
June 28, 2013
Hard on the heels of the arrival of the Ouya video game console earlier this week, Google may be looking to get into the action. In fact, the company is currently working on an Android-powered console of its own, according to a Friday report. Apple is reportedly working on something similar as well. "There are too many screens to deal with," said IDC's Lewis Ward.
Opera Mail Sings but It's Sometimes Off-Key
June 25, 2013
At one time, all the major browsers had email programs cooked into them. The practice was largely discontinued as webmail became more robust. One holdout -- until recently -- was Opera. With the introduction of Opera Next, its next-generation browser based on Chromium, the Norwegian browser maker has stripped its email program from its Web navigator and given it legs of its own.
Watch for an Apple Sneak Attack on Living Room Gaming
June 20, 2013
Despite all the cool updates Apple promised to bring the world at its Worldwide Developers Conference -- iOS 7, OS X Mavericks, a new Mac Pro -- the most tantalizing new possibility wasn't described at all: games. Gaming. An Apple-made gaming console. A new vision for living room gaming delivered via home WiFi and an Apple TV. What suggests Apple might be going in that direction now?
Airmail Flies Into Sparrow's Email Space
June 18, 2013
Two schools of thought have begun to emerge about email. One says the technology has passed its prime and needs to be replaced by some kind of social networking technology along the lines of Facebook. The other maintains that email can be saved by better software, like Airmail. Airmail is being compared to Sparrow, a popular email client that became too popular for its own survival.
Behind the WWDC Glitter
June 14, 2013
Going into WWDC I think Apple enthusiasts were so pent up for some Apple awesomeness -- myself included -- that we let the soft and low-voiced cooing of design knight Jony Ive lull us into a receptive state more akin to the wooing of a potential partner than a critical study of design principles. It's not like we had beer goggles on going into the iOS 7 portion of the WWDC keynote, but. . .
WWDC 2013: All About Managing Expectations
June 12, 2013
There was no shortage of news coming out of Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference this week, including a glimpse at the next generation of iOS. On the hardware front, meanwhile, the company revealed it will launch a new desktop computer and a refreshed MacBook Air line. Then, of course, there was its new streaming radio application.
Apple Brings Back Sexy at WWDC
June 11, 2013
While Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference focuses on developers who create applications and services around Apple's products, the company always reveals something new for everyday consumers, too. At this year's keynote address, Apple delivered a little love for everyone, including a new flat but astoundingly layered iOS 7 and the next version of Mac OS X, aka "Mavericks."
Windows Phone, iOS Outpace Android
June 4, 2013
Google's Android operating system leads the smartphone market with a majority 51.7 percent share in the United States, but competitors are gaining ground, according to a report released Monday by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. Apple's iOS and Microsoft's Windows Phone platforms are now actually surpassing Android in terms of growth rates.
Your iPhone Could Be Poisoned by Its Charger
June 4, 2013
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a way to hack into iOS devices through a modified charger. Billy Lau, a research scientist at the institute, together with two Ph.D. students, will present a paper on it at Black Hat USA 2013. It took only 1 minute for an iOS device to be compromised after being plugged into a malicious charger.
What's Riding on Jony Ive's iOS Redesign
May 30, 2013
Jonathan Ive, the famed knight and industrial designer of the world's most admired Apple gadgets, has his work cut out for him. On the surface, he's the guy at Apple who's going to get rid of the hideous green felt that is our Game Center iOS app and the yellow lined notebook paper in the Notes app, along with other silly skeuomorphic designs in iOS.
Apple Stews in EU Pressure Cooker
May 29, 2013
The European Union reportedly is launching an antitrust investigation into Apple's iPhone sales tactics. Company CEO Tim Cook may have made it through last week's congressional hearings on the company's corporate tax policies relatively unscathed, but that doesn't mean the regulatory pressure is off for the tech giant. The EC last week sent several telecom operators a nine-page questionnaire.
Nothing Nutty About Acorn 4's Powerful, Affordable Image Editor
May 28, 2013
Acorn 4's tagline says all you need to know about the app. It's "The Image Editor for Humans." Image editors are like a new pair of shoes. You have to walk in them awhile before they get comfortable. With this latest version of Acorn -- the first major overhaul since 2011 -- author Gus Mueller keeps that comfort period short and sweet.
Stay and StatsBar Worthy Additions to a Mac's Utility Belt
May 21, 2013
Designers of operating systems can't think of everything that should be in their programs. Utilities are a testament to that. Utilities are software programs that do things that should have been included in an operating system, but weren't. They can help you keep your system performing at top speed or solve irritating problems.
The Clock Is Ticking on 30/30's Simple, Powerful Task Manager
May 20, 2013
I'm a sucker for productivity management -- too much to do, never enough time, and there is always, it seems, some sort of flashing distraction. There are plenty of people out there with similar problems: Even if they survived a round of layoffs, there's usually a business need to get more done with fewer resources and people.
iOS Loses Market Share as Windows Phone Gains
May 16, 2013
Android continues to rule the global smartphone marketplace with the OS accounting for 75 percent of shipments worldwide in Q1, according to the latest IDC report. Apple's once-dominant iOS had only 17.3 percent of the market. Windows Phone unexpectedly took third place from BlackBerry, which was relegated to fourth.
Apple Tries Patent Fight to Cool Off Samsung's Hot New Phone
May 15, 2013
Apple is attempting to add Samsung's Galaxy S4 smartphone to its list of infringing products in its ongoing California patent lawsuit. The hope is to strike down its rival's latest smartphone before it can penetrate the market. Apple's claims against Samsung are nothing new. However, the patent process can be slow compared to an industry that's moving fast.
WebStart's a Snore-Worthy Substitute for iGoogle's Snappy Style
May 14, 2013
With iGoogle scheduled to be axed in November, orphans of that offering will be looking at alternatives like uStart, Protopage, Netvibes and Myfav.es. While those alternatives will meet the needs of many iGoogle users set adrift by the search company, some souls may want to create their own homepage substitutes for the versatile portal.
Silk's Cool Art App Lets You Swipe the Light Fantastic
May 13, 2013
Wow. I don't think I've ever started any review with a "wow," much less an italicized wow, but here it is: That one word sums up my first impression of Silk -- Interactive Generative Art, an app for the iPad and iPhone. The app lets you create flowing, mirrored strands of silk-like lines of colored light. You do that simply by swiping and dragging your finger.
The Dastardly Benefits of iOS Homogenization
May 9, 2013
Google's Android offers up more cool homescreens and customizations than Apple's iOS. In iOS, you get to jiggle your stack of icons around on the iPhone or iPad homescreen and swap out the background photo. Woohoo. I can hardly contain my excitement. There are no live tiles, like Windows Phone. There are no fancy weather images, no retro themes.
Easy, Elegant Scapple Brightens Mind Maps
May 7, 2013
Scapple isn't a spelling mistake for that Pennsylvania Dutch concoction made with pork scraps, corn meal, flour and spices. In fact, scapple is actually a word meaning to work roughly, or shape without finishing. It's also the name of a dynamite new mind mapping program from Literature and Latte, the folks who brought the Mac world Scrivner.
Twitter #music Tops the Charts for Song Discovery
May 6, 2013
The new Twitter #music app for iOS is the coolest app I want to love forever. However, it still gives me the nagging feeling that its slick graphics and fast play might leave our relationship just an empty shell of glitz and hope. Like those hot-and-heavy relationships that defy explanation, #music is a hard app to truly love -- or let go.
iOS 7 Will Be Flat by Design
May 3, 2013
Compared to recent Apple announcements, the secrecy surrounding the next release of the company's mobile operating system, iOS 7, has almost been hermetic. There have been reports of improvements in email and calendar apps, as well as a possible expansion of the operating systems' gesture library so it will match Apple's OS X products.
The Report of Tablets' Death Was an Exaggeration
May 2, 2013
When I saw the widely reported quote from BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins that there won't be a reason to have a tablet in five years, my first reaction was one of keen interest. After all, what's the opposite of dead tablets? Something else that's supercool. I expected that Heins would say something revolutionary -- that he would express, at the very least, a better vision of a tablet-free world.
iOS7's Road Could Include More Auto Integration
May 1, 2013
Apple is reportedly working with automobile makers to push more integration of its operating system into vehicles. iOS 7 is expected to debut at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June, and the refreshed version might launch with a total user interface overhaul led by company design guru Jony Ive. That update will include embedding Maps and Siri into new cars.
A Bond Sale Today Keeps Apple's Taxman Away
May 1, 2013
A week after announcing its first drop in quarterly earnings in a decade, Apple is selling $17 billion in bonds to fund a $100 billion buyback program for its stakeholders. The sale will be the largest non-bank bond deal ever. The move was somewhat unexpected coming from a company with $145 billion in cash on hand and no debt, a rarity among tech companies.
Google Now Could Steal Siri's Voice on iOS
April 30, 2013
In yet another challenge to Apple on the mobile front, Google has made its Google Now intelligent personal assistant available for iOS devices. Google Now is part of the Google Search application. It recognizes repeated actions that a consumer performs on a device to learn about usage patterns. The app displays more relevant information as cards that can be swiped on and off the screen.
CallNote Dials Up Clean, Easy Skype Recordings
April 30, 2013
Recording phone calls has always been a gray area of the law. That's because there are both state and federal wiretapping laws that govern the practice. Federal law allows a conversation to be recorded if one party consents to it. Some states use that rule, too, but others require the consent of everyone on the call. Nevertheless, those uncertainties haven't deterred people from recording calls.
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What is the most consequential impact of social media on society today?
It has opened up valuable new channels for civil discourse.
It has destroyed the meaning of "truth" and "fact."
It has made people stronger by facilitating grass roots activism.
It has deepened divisions among groups with opposing views.
It has made it easier for people to support and help each other.
It has made it easier for people to humiliate and hurt each other.