Beats Music has released an app update today that is sure to please many users of the music service. Mixed in with some player fixes and the ability to link and unlink your Facebook and Twitter accounts is a brand new widget.
You asked for it, and we listened! Some highlights in this release include:
–A brand spanking NEW WIDGET
–”FIND YOUR FRIENDS” feature lets you find and follow your Facebook friends on Beats Music
–Ability to link and unlink your Twitter and Facebook accounts
–NEW TRACKS available in The Sentence
–Offline Mode & Downloading improvements
–and much, much more!
I cruised through their website at beatsmusic.com to see if I could find a more complete listing of changes and additions, but there didn’t seem to be anything listed. Regardless of what else is probably under the hood, the good news is that they are listening to what the users want. That alone can go a long ways in loyalty. If you have Beats Music, be sure to check out the update. If you still haven’t given it a shot, you may as well. hit the link to the Play Store down below and let us know what else you find in the update that they don’t list.
The Internet is good for a ton of things, but comparing two like (or unlike) devices isn’t usually one of them. If there isn’t a popular news story written about it, you may find yourself looking up spec sheets that look nothing alike, trying to decipher which device is better. There’s a new app called Versus, and it aims to make your experience a bit better.
Versus does one thing, and it does it very well. It’s a comparison engine that’s super easy to use. Type in the name of both devices you’re comparing, and check out the results. Swipe to each side of the devices shown to view the winning specifications. If you scroll down far enough, you can see users’ submissions as well. To submit your own reason, pull down on the spec sheet, like you would normally do to refresh.
Versus compares phones, tablets, cameras, and much, much more. It’s super easy to use, and offers it in a beautiful way.
Unfortunately, the app is still in Beta. You can join the Google+ Community, then install it from the Play Store after you become a tester. If you’d like to join, you can access the Community here.
Let us know what you think!
The post Versus pits your favorite devices head-to-head [App of the Day] appeared first on AndroidGuys.
Popular Photoshop alternative Pixelmator today announced that it is planning to introduce a new Repair Tool in an upcoming 3.2 “Sandstone” update, allowing users to remove dust, blemishes, and entire objects from images with “an unsurpassed level of precision and quality.”
To promote the future update, which will be available for free to existing Pixelmator users, the app is on sale for half off for the next week, dropping the price from $29.99 to $14.99.
Pixelmator regularly updates its image editing software, with the future 3.2 update following its January 3.1 update, which added full support for the Mac Pro, with 16-bit per channel images, full GPU support, and optimizations for the multi-core processors in the computer.
Back in October, the app was also updated with Mavericks support and a new image editing engine, greatly enhancing its performance.
Thanks in no small part to T-Mobile’s free global data initiative, US carriers have begun to lighten the fee load when it comes time to roam. But you’ll still pay an arm and a leg in many countries, and discounted plans from AT&T and Verizon, while more reasonable than they once were, require a monthly subscription that can be a hassle to add and remove. If you’re expecting to use gobs of data abroad, KeepGo’s disposable-SIM program is probably your best bet, but an intriguing alternative from KnowRoaming will keep leisure travelers and other casual users connected in 220 countries without the need to worry about coming home to an enormous bill. That solution, an incredibly thin card with passthrough leads and an adhesive back, simply sits atop your existing SIM, springing into action whenever you arrive in a foreign country. Join me as I travel to Europe and beyond to see how well this sticker works.
Hardware and software
What’s most interesting about KnowRoaming’s offering is the SIM “sticker” concept. Your starter kit includes a sticker and an applicator, which you use to literally stick KnowRoaming’s device directly on top of the SIM that came with your phone. The sticker is incredibly thin — it’s designed to permanently sit atop your existing card, with enough clearance to fit into your phone. Of course, as with any fresh-off-the-line product, I experienced some hiccups (folded or bunched-up stickers) when trying to squeeze prototype stickers into certain smartphones (more on that below), but once you’ve successfully installed the device in your phone, you’re good to go.
KnowRoaming is designed to minimize hassle when it’s time to switch networks. While you’re in your home country, the sticker sits dormant. It’s more or less invisible to your phone, and all calls and data will be handled exclusively by your original SIM. When you leave the country, though, the device should switch to the new network automatically. You’ll receive a text message detailing local rates; your incoming calls will be forwarded to your roaming number (outgoing calls appear with your home number); and after you add “knowroaming” as your APN, you’ll be ready to surf at 3G speeds anywhere you go.
Theoretically, KnowRoaming includes (and requires) two companion apps. One is embedded in the SIM sticker (it’s a standard SIM toolkit) and will load immediately after you install the sticker in an unlocked phone. The second is available as a free download from iTunes or Google Play. You’ll use the smartphone app to set up your account, which entails selecting a local number (located abroad), configuring the forwarding service and adding credit to your account. The other app (the one embedded on the SIM) can be used for troubleshooting, but even if you see it pop up in your app tray, you’ll likely never need to open it.
Calculating whether or not KnowRoaming is a good deal depends on your travel plans and regular data usage. If you’re expecting to spend several weeks or months in one country, you’ll want to buy a local SIM card. Monthly data often costs less through a carrier abroad than you’re used to paying in the US. You’ll miss out on the convenience of forwarded calls and the ability to country-hop, but for extended trips, plan to purchase a SIM once you arrive at your destination. Likewise, if you’re using tons of data (we’re talking a gigabyte or more in a week), but you’re planning to move from country to country, KeepGo’s 500MB plans are a good option.
However, if you’re simply doing some casual browsing, checking email, navigating with maps or even uploading a few Instagram photos each day, KnowRoaming is a solid bet. For example, during a three-day trip to Austria that also included side trips to Hungary and Slovakia, I used 195MB of data, costing a total of $29.25. Those 30 bucks got me from country to country using Google Maps, restaurant searches through TripAdvisor, dozens of tweets and emails a day and 10 or so Instagram uploads, including a few videos. Ten bucks a day for liberal use of a smartphone on a short trip abroad isn’t a bad deal.
A work in progress
I’ve been testing KnowRoaming’s SIM sticker since November, and while the product and service have improved significantly during that nearly six-month period, there’s still work to be done. Compatibility remains the most significant shortcoming at this point — theoretically, it’ll work with any unlocked Android or iPhone, but certain handsets and SIMs present challenges. When inserting multiple versions of the sticker into an LG G2, for example, it bunched up atop the SIM.
The company’s been working to slim down the sticker even further, and have been remarkably successful. Still, while I did finally get the most recent version into a G2, with the phone recognizing the KnowRoaming SIM, the passthrough function didn’t work, so the AT&T card that came with the phone wasn’t accessible until I popped the sticker off. Similarly, with a Motorola Droid Ultra, the sticker was easy to install, but the phone could no longer access its original Verizon SIM. (I’m told this issue is isolated to Verizon SIMs, with only three reported instances to date.)
I was most successful when using KnowRoaming with an AT&T Moto X, which worked flawlessly even with the first-generation sticker. The device performed exactly as advertised, appearing immediately after a restart and even switching to and from the home SIM when I returned to the US. The service, which was spotty last year, has worked very well in 2014. I still experienced periods of downtime, when KnowRoaming would drop its data connection, but restarting the phone always solved the issue, and issues are now few and far between.
The applicator, meanwhile, is still far from perfect, but you’ll only need to use this accessory once. The device is confusing at best, and if you end up with a faulty unit, you may need to apply the sticker manually, which has turned out to be my preferred method even when I received a working applicator. As for the occasional hardware mismatches, there’s unfortunately not much you can do at this point. KnowRoaming will send out a new sticker or issue a refund if this happens to you, and while the company’s been testing a variety of handsets, there’s no official compatibility report available just yet.
I’ve mentioned KeepGo a few times. It’s a service I swear by whenever I need a dependable connection anywhere in the world. I’ve used KeepGo throughout Europe and Asia — even in notoriously spotty countries like Cambodia and Indonesia — without running into a single connectivity issue. Expect to pay $10 for 100MB of daily data or $18 for a 500MB plan. Meanwhile, if you’re ready to switch carriers in the US, T-Mobile’s free data option is certainly appealing. Keep in mind that speeds may be limited, and while I haven’t tried the service myself, several colleagues have been pleased.
Finally, if you’re traveling to only one country and staying there awhile, buying a local SIM is likely the cheapest option. This can be a hassle, and you won’t be able to get online as soon as you arrive (as you can with KnowRoaming and KeepGo), but assuming you do your homework and research rates in advance, the savings can be worth the time you’ll spend buying and activating a local SIM. Of course, you can pair this option with KnowRoaming by using that service until you’re able to secure another SIM, so in this case, it doesn’t hurt to hedge your bets.
With the exception of T-Mobile’s Simple Choice plan, global data is still expensive. Spending $30 on a long weekend abroad does beat dropping $50 or more for the same access, however, and if you’re in the majority of cellphone users who don’t have access to free data across the globe, KnowRoaming is a generally affordable product that’s worthy of your consideration. While the initial run of stickers has already shipped out and pre-orders are currently closed, you should be able to hand over your 35 bucks for a starter kit soon. Fill out this form to join the queue.
Bad news if you’re relying on the Tor network to evade surveillance or otherwise remain anonymous: you’re not immune from the Heartbleed bug, either. Key developer Roger Dingledine warns that some Tor nodes are running encryption software that’s vulnerable to the flaw, and that they may have to be kicked off the network to safeguard its privacy-minded users. If all the service’s directory operators decide to boot compromised nodes, roughly an eighth of Tor’s capacity could go away — you may well notice the difference.
This wouldn’t be a permanent cut, of course. The service will have to toss out a lot of identity keys (effectively resetting some parts of the network), but Dingledine believes that there may only be a “couple of bumpy days” while Tor recovers. It could take a while after that before everything is completely back to normal, but we wouldn’t worry about the anonymity service’s long-term prospects.
Filed under: Internet
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
A robot doesn’t have to big, powerful and terrifying to be worthwhile, and many people are working on miniature machines that are just as cool. Some of these endeavors show promise in medicine, but there are plenty of potential uses for microbots, especially when you can persuade a swarm of them to work together. Research outfit SRI reckons tiny automatons have a bright future in manufacturing, thanks to its new method for precisely controlling individuals within a larger group. You see, one of the best ways of propelling and controlling microbots is by using magnets. and it’s because there’s no need for an on-board power source that we can make ‘em so small. This poses a problem, however, as a pack of bots will all respond to a magnetic field in the same way, making it hard to give anything but a blanket order.
What SRI’s done though, is to create special surfaces for the microbots using printed circuit boards that let you control magnetism at a very local level. In this way, several of the things can get on with completely different tasks in close proximity to one another. And, to demonstrate how precisely microbots can be controlled with this technology, SRI’s had them building small structures in the lab. The thinking is that such technology could be used for creating “micro-factories” that manufacture electronics and the like, but SRI’s also interested in seeing what other applications researchers can come up with. In which case, we can look forward to more awesome clips of the microbots in action, just like the one below.
Source: SRI International
The self healing, flexible LG G Flex with AT&T has an update on the way today. AT&T has announced that OTA update that brings the LG G Flex up to Android 4.4.2 is rolling out as write this. Besides being brought up to a more recent Android build, the update is said to bring key enhancements to the user interface, battery efficiency and processing speed. Take a look at what AT&T has to say about it.
- Updated user interface with Android 4.4 KitKat: The latest version of Android includes enhancements such as restyled status and navigation bars, a new full-screen mode, improved closed captioning support, and stronger security.
- Improved battery efficiency: The phone plays music more efficiently and supports the battery-saving location mode, extending battery life.
- Faster processing speed: The latest version of Android provides a noticeable speed boost that runs applications faster than ever and improves web-browsing speed.
- Printing in the Cloud: Google Cloud Printer makes it simple to print documents via Wi-Fi or a Bluetooth connection.
- Knock Code ™: Tap a pattern to quickly and securely unlock the phone.
One of the more interesting additions is the Knock Code. That is where you can tap a pattern on your sleeping G Flex to unlock it. Those of you with a G Pro 2 will be pretty familiar with it.
If you don’t see the update yet you can always head into Settings>About Phone> Software Update>Update Now. You will want to make sure you have at least a 50% charge to your device, a Wi-Fi connection and some time to sit around waiting as the update comes in at 680MBs.
Project Ara, Google’s modular smartphone endeavor, will be here before you know it. Just a few days ago, they held a developer’s conference for Ara, and gave us some great insight as to what’s to come. During the conference, Google unveiled a contest to Ara developers with a $100,000 grand prize. The two runners-up will receive all-expenses paid trips to the next Ara devcon in the next few months.
The contest details will be released sometime around mid-May, and will run until mid-September. To enter, developers need to submit a detailed outline along with a hardware loan to ensure they’ll get their hardware for free. The judging will reportedly be based on everyday use of the product, uniqueness, feasibility, and overall quality of the hardware.
The point of this contest will be to create great hardware ideas and get the ball rolling on open-sourced hardware, rather than waiting for Google to come up with the bulk of the ideas. Since the first Ara smartphone is due around January 2015, Google is right on time with this contest.
As more details emerge about the contest and Project Ara, stick around for more coverage.
The post Google dangles $100k carrot for Project Ara developers appeared first on AndroidGuys.
Go ahead and dust off your OUYAs, friends — it’s updatin’ time. The little Android game console that could wasn’t exactly the runaway hit its creators were hoping for, but some fresh features found in the new Chupacabra update help this thing stand a bit taller. As far as the team is concerned, the biggest draw is the addition of AC3, DTS and AAS audio passthrough support for the exceedingly popular XBMC media center app. The OUYA itself doesn’t have the proper licenses to play certain bits of audio (say, a movie’s surround sound audio track), but now it can pass them over to a user’s home theater receiver that does have the licenses. In short, those of you using your tiny Android consoles as media centers can finally play some of the trickier videos in your collection.
Also tucked away in the update: a cleaner view at game information, a download manager and the ability to set certain games as favorites for easy access. Alas, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows here — OUYA said it would remove its free-to-try requirement, and that change has finally taken hold. Granted, the move basically neuters one of the most gamer-friendly parts about owning an OUYA (who doesn’t love free game demos?), but we suppose the company’s gotta do what it has to in order to keep those game developers happy.