Odds are that you weren’t riveted by Beats Music when it first arrived, but the streaming service has just delivered a pair of big updates that may give you a good excuse to tune in. For the iOS app, the biggest improvement is visible when you’re signing up — you can now subscribe from within the software rather than heading to the web. The move makes it that much easier to keep the music flowing after your trial is over, and may just help Beats grow its fledgling customer base.
Not that Beats is neglecting its Android app by any means; you get a “brand spanking new widget” for your home screen if you’re running Google’s mobile platform. Both the Android and iOS releases also share some common improvements, including the ability to find Facebook friends who use Beats, better social network linking and thousands of new tracks in the Sentence playlist generator. There’s no guarantee that either refresh will have you rethinking that Rdio or Spotify subscription, but it’s hard to knock upgrades that make it easy to start listening.
Almost all the major brands have been releasing their core apps on to the Play Store as it becomes easy to update those parts without pushing an update to the whole system. Sony has released the Xperia Keyboard in the Google Play Store. Although it is only compatible with Sony Xperia devices running Android 4.4.2 KitKat. Which leaves out a the Xperia Z and Xperia Z1s with T-Mobile (Story gave it a look.). The latest version of Xperia Keyboard (6.4.A.0.6) comes with features such as swipe typing, language learning and predictions. It learns a user’s language through GMail, Facebook and Twitter.
The new version also comes with data sync. It will backup and sync service with your Sony Entertainment Network account, assuming it is available in your region. This makes sure that even when you switch to a different Sony device, the typing experience stays the same. This keyboard includes all the major languages worldwide except Chinese, Japanese and Korean.
If you happen to have an Xperia device with Android 4.4.2, then be sure to update and give it a whirl. Assuming you haven’t already of course.
Autonomous aircraft serve their purpose, but there’s no question that pilotless passenger flights are a long way off, if they ever become a reality. Still, there’s obviously room for improvement when it comes to on-board systems that assist pilots in their duties. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is in the process of creating an advanced autopilot system called ALIAS (yes, another acronym). The Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (there you go) would control military aircraft in all stages of flight, from takeoff to landing — even during a system failure. Pilots would interact with the system using a touchscreen and voice control, supervising a flight instead of commanding it. Of course, we’ll see this technology make its way to military planes long before it’s adopted by airlines, but ALIAS could play a key role in keeping us all safe at 30,000 feet.
happy Friday Android peeps! Today is a particularly good Friday for those of you rocking a LG G2 with Verizon though. Verizon has begun rolling out an update to your beloved device that brings you up to Android 4.4.2 KitKat.
The list of enhancements is pretty boring though. Looks like they went through and just renamed a bunch of settings. It will be like learning a new phone all over again. In addition to all the label changes and the obvious OS update, they also improved the Premium Visual Voicemail and the Basic Visual Voicemail.
Go ahead and take a quick check for the update in your device’s settings, just make sure you have 50%+ battery, a Wi-Fi connection and some time to download the file needed.
After last week’s Very Special Episode, we’ve grabbed a Hair of the Dog (or two…or three), a bit of rest, and we’re back for a regular ol’ episode of The Engadget Podcast. We’re discussing a triplet of topics that are assuredly close to your heart and head: the experimental and bizarre phones from Amazon and Google, and the hit security flaw that all the kids are raving about (Heartbleed). The show starts at 12PM ET sharp(ish), so grab your favorite plate of leftovers, a set of cans and a comfy seat. And tune in!
If a Windows Phone app disappoints you, it’s probably right that you call out its failings and warn others to steer clear. Don’t be surprised, however, if the minds behind the software start responding to your gripes directly. Microsoft is slowly rolling out a program whereby developers can comment on your reviews of their handiwork. Fortunately for you, however, the devs won’t get access to your personal details, and, if they overstep the mark, you can report them for poor conduct. Still, the notion that coders will now get the chance to openly gain feedback from users seems like a step in the right direction — just as long as everyone remains civil.
Via: The Next Web
Has it truly been six months already? It feel like just yesterday we were kicking the tires on a fresh install of Saucy Salamander. Now Canonical is pushing out the latest version of its popular Linux distro. Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (code named: Trusty Tahr) is part of its long term support series which means it will receive support and security updates for five years rather than the usual nine months. That’s a major deal for companies using either on desktops and servers. But servers and enterprise desktops aren’t where the excitement lies. What makes Trusty a huge deal for Canonical is that it finally makes the OS ready to use on touchscreens, high DPI displays and tablets. Until now Ubuntu didn’t scale properly on high resolution displays (which this editor discovered the hard way when he installed it on his shiny new Carbon X1). The bigger news though is that 14.04 marks the first stable version of Ubuntu for tablets. The OS is packing a number of improvements to its touchscreen support, which will be essential when commercial tablets hit the market, which Canonical suggest will be happening this year in its press release. You can go download Ubuntu 14.04 now for free.
Filed under: Software
When it comes to being fit, it’s really the small stuff that counts. You can go to the gym as much as you want, run five miles every morning — but if you eat like crap, drive yourself to the corner store and take the elevator every morning to your 2nd floor office, it’ll be all for naught. RunKeeper can already help track each training session as you make your way from couch to 5K, now it’s trying to motivate you to keep moving between runs with Breeze. The iOS-only app uses the iPhone 5s’ M7 chip to track your movements and count the number of steps you take. Of course, pedometer apps are quickly becoming a dime a dozen. Breeze attempts to set itself apart through simplicity and minimizing user interaction.
The biggest part of the app are its notifications. If you’re sedentary for too long a motivating message pops up to get you off your ass. Every morning you’ll get a daily goal pushed to your phone and you’ll get an occasional status update to let you know how close you’re getting. It can even map out when the most active parts of your day are and where you are at those times. It’s not all notifications though, there is an actual app that you can launch and poke around in. The UI is stunningly simple, making it easy for the uninitiated to find their way around. But you won’t find the same depth of features and reporting here that you would with companion apps designed for wearables like Fitbit and the Jawbone UP.
RunKeeper is already planning for the future as well. The company is promising that its flagship activity tracker will integrate with Breeze. And while only the iPhone 5s is supported at the moment, other devices are on the horizon. Though we have no specifics about what phones will be supported or when.
Dropbox just debuted its Carousel photo management app last week, and it’s already making strides to boost the software’s storage chops. Today, the cloud-minded outfit acquired Loom: a photo storage service that became a popular alternative to Everpix and Apple’s iCloud Photo Stream. The snapshot organizer provides users with the ability to automatically upload images from multiple sources (or folders) to a single repository, accessible from both mobile devices and a desktop browser. Of course, it synced over cellular and not just WiFi as well. Loom allows better organization and sharing than the first iteration of Carousel does, too. Dropbox’s increased emphasis on captured imagery is already quite clear, but the company has other plans too.
It also swiped up Hackpad: a collaborative document service a la Google Drive via the web or its iOS app. Details are pretty scarce, but it seems Dropbox is interested in peppering in collaboration tools to its existing offerings. This productivity addition comes just over a week after Dropbox released the popular Mailbox app that it nabbed up last year for desktop and Android. While we’ll have to take a wait-and-see approach for now, it certainly looks like the company is diving head-first into productivity software that allows users to easily create as well as share, organize and store.
Loom will continue to operate until May 16th, and existing users will be given options to migrate over to Dropbox with similar storage rates and incentives for switching over to Carousel. Hackpad, on the other hand, will continue to support it’s offering.
Frank Spinillo contributed to this report.
You know that page with a check box you haphazardly agree to on the way to signing up for various online services? The one with the hundreds (or thousands) of words of legal mumbo jumbo? Yeah, we do the same thing — it’s okay. It’s because those pages, the Terms of Service, are boring, lengthy, and probably meaningless. Right? Right?!
Not necessarily. And a new study from Georgia Tech of the “top 30 social and fan creation sites” (from Facebook to Daily Motion) backs that up. Well, first things first: yes, Terms of Service agreements really are difficult to read. Of the 30 sites surveyed, an average reading level of college sophomore was required for comprehension of the TOS. To put it another way, around 60 percent of working age adults in the US (25 – 64) don’t understand what they’re agreeing to. “It is likely that users may not know what rights they are granting,” the study says.
So, back to the question at hand: are these documents meaningless? Like so many answers in the realm of law, the answer really depends on how that law applies to you. What freedoms do you value in the content you create and/or host online?
Georgia Tech examined the freedoms we’re giving up when agreeing to these documents. Most of that involves giving away whatever content is added to the service (so-called “royalty-free use”), but also includes duplicating said content elsewhere (“non-exclusive use”). In plain terms, of course, those translate to “you won’t get paid for the content you add here” and “we can publish what you add here anywhere else we want” (respectively). A small fraction of the sites studied even granted the site advertising rights on user content.
A handful of more specific stats are in the chart below. To find out whether or not your favorite site’s TOS are agreeable, the latest version should be readily available from the home page. And remember: the best defense against restrictive TOS agreements is taking the time to read and understand the document.
Source: Georgia Tech