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Archive for May 13th, 2014

13
May
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Logic Pro X Updated With Improved 12-Core Mac Pro Support, App Enhancements and Fixes [Mac Blog]


Apple today updated its professional audio software Logic Pro X to version 10.0.7, adding support for 24 processing threads on 12-core Mac Pro models along with several new features to enhance the functionality of the app and an array of bug fixes.

logic_pro_x_screenshot

What’s new

– Now supports 24 processing threads on 12-core Mac Pro models
– The current volume, pan, and send values for all selected tracks can now be inserted at the playhead position
– Enabling Low Latency Mode no longer creates sync issues for Drummer, Ultrabeat, Native Instruments Machine and other plug-ins with integrated step sequencers
– Automation can now be copied and pasted to any location using the Marquee tool
– Adds an option for MIDI volume and pan data to control the instrument plug-in instead of the channel strip
– Resolves several snap and alignment guide issues
– Various fixes that improve XML import and export with Final Cut Pro X
– Contains multiple enhancements to Accessibility

Logic Pro X 10.0.7 can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for $199.99. [Direct Link]



13
May
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Tim Cook Charity Lunch Action Ends, Earning $330,001 for RFK Center


Tim Cook’s second CharityBuzz auction, for a one hour lunch meeting with Cook at Apple’s Cupertino headquarters, ended today at $330,001. Bids for this year’s auction were quite a bit more reserved than the coffee charity meeting Cook auctioned last year, which brought in $610,000.

timcookauction
The money earned from the auction will benefit the RFK Center for Justice & Human Rights, a charity that aims to achieve “a just and peaceful world by partnering with human rights leaders, teaching social justice and advancing corporate responsibility.”

The winner of the auction will be able to meet with Tim Cook for approximately one hour at Apple’s Cupertino campus, on a “mutually agreed upon date.” The cost of the meal is included, but travel to Cupertino must be paid by the auction winner.

On May 10, Tim Cook added an additional benefit for the auction winner — a VIP guest spot at an upcoming Apple event, announced on Twitter.

Following multiple shill bids last year, CharityBuzz implemented a credit card authorization requirement for all bidding customers, a policy that may explain why this year’s auction was ultimately less popular with bidders.



13
May
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Plex for Android updates and brings in automatic photo backup Support



Plex is one of our favorite media streaming server applications available. Sure, there are plenty of others out there, but the Plex app, the support and the updates that Plex works to bring keeps them on our top favorite must haves list. Today Plex has started rolling out another update to the Android app that is sure be welcomed by the thousands out there that use it. The new update adds in an auto backup option for your camera photos.

Plex for Android updatePlex for Android updateThis is pretty great for a number of reasons, mainly because they are backing up to your personal storage on your server vs some cloud somewhere. I have yet to give it a whirl, but I also imagine that it also means you can view those photos through Chromecast as well.


If you don’t have Plex yet, it is a pretty simple app to use and understand. The real question you will need to ask yourself is if you want to buy the app or sign up for a Plex Pass subscription. Personally, a Plex Pass subscription is the way to go in my book, especially since this feature requires Plex Pass to use, for now.  Hit the link below to go grab the update, or to learn about it for the first time.

Plex for Android on the Play Store


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13
May
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The Boyfriend Log merges data obsession with your love life


​If we can log our exercise and eating data to get recommendations on how to improve our health, who’s to say we can’t apply the same concept to our love life? After all, with every day comes 1,440 minutes in which your relationship will live, breath and — gasp — change. Sometimes those fluctuations can be a lot to digest, and an app called The Boyfriend Log is here to help. Currently available on iOS, it does exactly what you’d think: monitor satisfaction with your S.O. on a day-to-day basis, showing you mood patterns to help you decide whether or not you’ve found “the one.”

With The Boyfriend Log, you answer the question “How was your relationship today?” with one of several color-coded responses, including romantic, flat, sad, happy and angry. A calendar view lets you see which moods are the most predominant; a lot of blue days might mean you have some reevaluating to do. If you’re dating multiple people at once, comparing your calendars for each suitor could provide some additional clarity. According to the app’s website, you might even use the data as a jumping-off point for a “loving, truthful discussion about what’s really going on.”

Hey, if it helps you to keep a diary of your relationship’s ups and downs, more power to you. And, interestingly, one of the App Store reviewers notes that she’s used it to rate her success at work each day. (Talk about dating yourself!) That said, not every boyfriend (or girlfriend) would be thrilled to learn they’re being treated like the subject of a study. And while the app is protected by a PIN of your choosing, if your partner does crack the code, you could no longer have a relationship to analyze.

Filed under: Software

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Source: The Boyfriend Log, The Boyfriend Log (iTunes)

13
May
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Google’s voice-activated Spell Up game hones your speling skills


We’ve seen charming and freaky in Google’s games, but the search giant has a nobler aim with its latest experiment: improving your English skills. Spell Up is a mishmash of a spelling bee, Wheel of Fortune and Jumble, with voice recognition thrown in for good measure. You can launch it in any Chrome browser on a desktop, Android or iOS device, though you can only use a keyboard on an iPhone or iPad. Once you’re in, you’ll be able select a difficulty level and build a tower of words, until a wrong move crashes the whole thing down. It worked great for me on Android, but using it on my desktop was a F-A-I-L for some reason, as letters like ‘G’ and ‘S” couldn’t be recognized. Perhaps you’ll have better luck, though — you can try it here.

Filed under: Gaming, Internet, Google

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Source: Google

13
May
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New smart glasses warn when you’re fatigued


JINS MEME smart glasses

Many people know that they should take breaks when they’re fatigued, but actually recognizing that worn-down state is tricky; it’s all too easy to push past the breaking point. If JINS’ upcoming Meme smart glasses live up to their billing, though, you’ll always know when it’s time to relax. The Bluetooth wearable includes both eye and motion sensors that can tell when you’re close to nodding off. If it gets to that point, a companion smartphone app will give you a heads-up. The eyewear is useful even when you’re fully alert, as it can handle basic fitness duties like step counting and calorie tracking.

While the Meme glasses won’t ship until spring 2015, JINS will offer a programming kit this fall so that third-party apps can make use of its head tracking skills. Pricing also hasn’t been nailed down, but the company plans to release three styles (including the sunglasses you see above) in its native Japan for somewhere between ¥70,000 to ¥100,000, or $685 to $979. There’s no word on a US launch, unfortunately, but we’re hoping they’ll be available for import — they’d be perfect for dealing with that mid-day slump.

Filed under: Wearables

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Via: Engadget Japanese (translated)

Source: JINS (translated)

13
May
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Flower Power review: Can technology give you a green thumb?


Sure, you’ve heard of the connected home, but what about the connected garden? If you’re someone who manages to always kill your plants, Flower Power, a new gadget from Parrot, might sound like just the thing. The $60 Bluetooth-connected device aims to turn your black thumb green by sending you daily push notifications about your garden’s health. The small sensor can provide up-to-the-minute reports that can ensure everything from your potatoes to your petunias are getting exactly the right amount of sunlight, water and even fertilizer. So, is the tiny gadget what your garden needs?

Hardware

The Flower Power measures roughly eight inches long, with most of the hardware taking the form of a thin, spiked sensor that lives underground. The top section looks a bit like a sprout with two branches, the longest of which houses a sunlight sensor to measure how much light your plant is getting each day. There’s also a temperature sensor in both the top and bottom of the device, allowing you to track the temperature in both the soil and the surrounding air. As for power, the device runs on a single AAA battery that lives inside the smaller branch.

All told, I really dig the design here. The bottom of the Flower Power is sharp enough that it was able to push through some fairly hard soil in the azalea bush where I did much of my testing. At the same time, it’s durable enough that I wasn’t concerned about breaking it while placing it in the soil. Although the plant monitor definitely stood out a bit in my home, the above-ground portion of the device will probably blend in more often than not, especially with larger bushes and vines there to help mask the hardware.

Setup

Setting up the Flower Power takes just a few minutes, and follows roughly the same process as pairing any other Bluetooth device. The plant sensor requires the use of Parrot’s specific Flower Power iOS app (Android support is on the way), which takes you step by step through the setup process for your specific plant. The experience is somewhat like preparing a social networking profile — you’ll identify its species, tell the device where your plant lives, give it a name and even choose a profile pic for it.

I used the Flower Power with a potted, indoor azalea, which is where I ran into my first issue. Though I knew my plant was an azalea, I didn’t know quite what kind of azalea it was (and there are thousands). The app has colorful photos you can flip through to try and find the type you’re looking for (and I was indeed able to find a match), but if you pick the wrong one, you could be setting yourself up for failure.

Software

Flower Power is designed so that you receive push notifications on your phone when your plant is in need of something. In addition, you can customize the app so that you get alerts only at specific times. I actually programmed the app to send notifications all day, which didn’t quite work out according to plan. During my month with Flower Power, I didn’t receive consistent push notifications from my plant. Which is a shame, since that’s the feature that makes the device useful in the first place. Occasionally, notifications would come in overnight and be buried amid all my other alerts, but more often than not I didn’t hear from Flower Power unless I launched the app. And that’s despite the fact that I was within range of the plant much of my day, both while sleeping and when I was working from home.

When I did launch the app on my own, Flower Power was quick to let me know what (if anything) my plant needed. Over a month of testing the device indoors, the plant asked for water, more sun and a little fertilizer. When you complete a task, you have to manually confirm in the app that you’ve done it, at which point the notification goes away.

One issue I had with this is that while you can dismiss the notification manually, I wasn’t always sure I resolved the problem. Yes, I watered the plant, but did I water it enough? Beats me. The sunlight issue was a particularly big one for my azalea, which was unhappy in my dining room with just a few blinds open during the day, producing “need more sunlight” alerts every day for almost a week. I attempted to provide more sun by opening blinds, but there wasn’t really a way to figure out if I had achieved enough for the plant until I stopped receiving notifications after several days of trials.

On the other end of the spectrum, I randomly got an add fertilizer alert one day on the plant. Since I didn’t have any around, I just dismissed it for the time being. Now, several weeks later, the alert has yet to return. So maybe it didn’t need fertilizer after all?

The experience was much different when I tried Flower Power with an outdoor plant. After several weeks of use (and plant-friendly weather), I received just one “needs water” notification. Having tried both scenarios, the device seems much more useful outdoors. I could see walking up to a vegetable garden a few days a week and launching the app to see how everything is doing quickly. Using Flower Power for just one plant indoors (or out) isn’t quite as helpful. A mildly educated gardener can probably tell their pea plant needs a little H2O faster than they can launch the app to get the same info. If you’re looking at a whole garden’s worth of data at once, however, the message is a lot more powerful.

Wrap-up

Despite my good intentions, I’m notorious for killing plants — and I’m not sure Flower Power is going to be the device to change that. While it sounds like a good idea on paper, I had trouble figuring out if I had adequately satisfied my plant’s needs. (I had trouble getting notifications from it in the first place, which is a different issue altogether.) While the device could be useful for a more experienced gardener, someone who kills plants on the regular isn’t going to be much better off with this sensor guiding their way.

I’m also not convinced that Bluetooth is the best technology for Flower Power. While it seems like a good idea, receiving Bluetooth notifications means you need to be somewhat close to your plant to find out it needs something. By the time you’ve walked outside to look at your plant, you should be able to see that it needs water or a little more sun on your own, without the help of technology. If you’re working with a whole garden of Flower Power-connected plants, however, the gadget will definitely help highlight those plants in your collection that could use a little more TLC.

Filed under: Household, Alt

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13
May
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Google Search for iOS Updated With Smarter Conversations, Google Now Improvements [iOS Blog]


googlesearchGoogle today updated its Google Search app to version 4.0.0, adding new voice question capabilities that let users have smarter conversations with Google.

For example, after initiating a casual conversation with an “Ok Google” command, users can ask simple questions like “What’s the weather like?” followed by “What about this weekend?” Google Search is able to interpret that the questions are linked together, providing weather information for each query.

The app’s Google Now functionality will also inform users of interesting articles on preferred topics, give information about upcoming trips, and share information on favorite blogs and authors.

Finally, the app has also been updated with cricket sports cards in Google Now, faster loading of both Google Search and Google Now, and more fluid image results.

With today’s update, you can ask questions with your voice & get updates on topics you care about.

Have a smarter conversation with Google:
– Tap the microphone or say “Ok Google” to start
– Ask questions such as “What’s the weather like?”
– Then follow up with “How about this weekend?”

At Google, we know the web well. With Google Now, we’ll tell you when there’s an interesting article for:
– Your favorite topics
– Your upcoming trips
– Your favorite authors and blogs

Smaller updates include:
– Cricket sports cards in Google Now
– Faster loading of Google Search and Google Now
– More beautiful and fluid image results

Google Search can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]



13
May
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Sonos overhauls mobile app


SonosLogos

Today the wireless speaker maker Sonos has pushed out a big update to its app featuring a multitude of new functionality.  Some of feautures are brand new and some of them you may not have tried out yet, but Sonos has listed the top six things to try out on the new Sonos app today.

Must try features:

  • World’s Most Popular Streaming Music Services: Explore 38 (and counting) music streaming services worldwide, including many that offer a free experience on Sonos like Songza, Hype Machine, Pandora, Google Play and Shuffler.fm. Select Add Music Services from the Menu.
  • Universal Search: Only Sonos offers one window to quickly search across all your music services. Start typing an artist and discover their new album, radio station and more. Search for a track and discover all the versions across services including live performances, remixes and covers. Click the search icon in the top right corner of the Menu.
  • Now Playing Shortcuts: Enjoy simple one-touch control from the Now Playing screen. Touch the info button to add tracks to playlists, save to favorites and more. Easily turn on shuffle, repeat, cross-fade or set timers at the bottom of the Now Playing window.
  • Playlists: Bring your favorite music together across sources, blend tracks from Beats Music, Spotify and  your iTunes library – all into the same playlists. Easily add to your playlists from selecting track info in the Now Playing screen and manage them from the Menu.
  • Alarms: Wake up to the music you love and schedule it to come on automatically whenever you want and wherever you want, like when you get home from work. From the bottom of the menu screen, set multiple alarms on as many speakers as you like.
  • Rooms: It’s easier than ever to control all the rooms in your home from a single touch in the new app. Play different music in each room or group them to play the same song simultaneously. Tap the top right corner from the Now Playing screen.

Check it out all you Sonos fans and let us know what you think in the comments below!

Source: Sonos

App Store Link

The post Sonos overhauls mobile app appeared first on AndroidGuys.

13
May
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Airbnb goes instant: book stays for tonight or tomorrow, starting today


It’s been a long 24 hours. First, that assassin woke you up with attempted murder. Then, after plunging to the Paris streets, you narrowly avoided death while leading your assailant on a high-speed chase through the backstreets of the 6th arrondissement. Thankfully, you managed to make that flight to Los Angeles from Charles de Gaulle. But oh no! Zeut alors! You don’t have somewhere to stay in LA! What’s a raconteur to do? Airbnb may be your new solution. The company known for facilitating stays in individually owned properties (rather than, say, a hotel) is expanding into the immediacy market, today adding the book it tonight/tomorrow function to Los Angeles and San Francisco. Of course, that’s just the beginning, with more cities to come in the coming months. Perhaps Paris?

Airbnb’s mobile app is the main use case for the new service, with bookings for tonight/tomorrow showing up under the Discover area and in search results. Why San Francisco and Los Angeles? Well, SF because that’s where Airbnb is based (surprise!), and LA because it’s a major market. That the company’s seen a lot of demand for such a service there also doesn’t hurt.

Of course, with instant access to Airbnb vacancies, the elephant in the room is illegal activity: drug trafficking, prostitution, etc. The obvious stuff people will do because human beings are human beings. Fear not! Airbnb uses a form of two-factor authentication to verify both sellers and buyers; in so many words, Airbnb is being extra careful about these listings and the folks using them. It’s another reason for the limited rollout, in fact.

The company’s also experimenting with a new discoverability option, offering packages called “This Weekend.” Say you’ve got a free weekend and some extra dough. Need some ideas? “This Weekend” is your jam. The perfect option for lucky folks with the perfect blend of too much money and time on your hands. Hey, can we borrow some of that stuff?

Filed under: Household, Internet, Software, Mobile

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