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22
May

Pixelmator Updated With Improved 16-Bit Color, Locking Layers and an All-New Repair Tool [Mac Blog]


pixelmatorPixelmator has updated its incredibly popular image editing software to version 3.2, including a completely redesigned repair tool, 16-bits per channel color support and a much-requested Lock Layers feature.

The new repair tool includes quick, standard and advanced modes that use retouching algorithms to remove imperfections or unwanted objects from images more efficiently. The Lock Layers feature lets users prevent any alterations to finished layers so they can’t be changed accidentally, and the 16-bits per channel support, introduced in Pixelmator 3.1, now works on all Macs, not just the Mac Pro.

“Packed with incredible features, Pixelmator 3.2 Sandstone delivers the most empowering image editing experience Pixelmator fans have ever had,” said Saulius Dailide of the Pixelmator Team. “Redeveloped from the ground up Repair Tool, 16-bits per channel support and Lock Layers feature make Pixelmator an excellent image editor that is just as fun and easy-to-use as it is powerful.”


Pixelmator 3.2 is a free upgrade for existing users, while new users can download the app from the Mac App Store for $29.99. [Direct Link]



22
May

BBC Sport app brings World Cup streaming to UK Roku boxes


The BBC’s desire to launch apps for all manner of connected devices sees it bring sporting coverage to UK Roku boxes at an exciting time. With the 2014 World Cup just a few short weeks away, the Beeb’s new Sport app delivers the latest news and highlights on all Roku streaming players (including the new Streaming Stick). More importantly, it also offers live streaming of major sporting events. To help users enjoy the greatest footballing show on earth, the BBC has introduced a dedicated filter option for the tournament, opening access to the 31 games it’ll broadcast in its “first 24/7 World Cup.”

Filed under: HD

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Source: Roku UK

22
May

Samsung is making a VR headset for its phones and tablets


Samsung is known for its ubiquitous Galaxy smartphones and tablets, popular smart televisions and, most recently, smartwatches. The Korean consumer electronics giant is about to enter another major new category: virtual reality headsets. We’re told by sources close to Samsung that a virtual reality headset is not only in the works at the company’s mobile division, but it’s set to be announced this year. The urgency is said to be a measure of beating Facebook’s Oculus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus to market. Some developers already have early versions of the headset, which — at least in the development stages — is powered by flagship Galaxy devices (think: Note 3, Galaxy S5). The consumer model, however, is said to require the power of next-gen, unannounced Galaxy phones and tablets.

First things first, what are we talking about here specifically? A peripheral. We’re talking about a virtual reality headset — along the lines of Oculus Rift, but more akin to the Android-powered GameFace Labs prototype (seen below) — created by Samsung, powered by Samsung products. This is not the rumored “Galaxy Glass” project.

We’re told it has an OLED screen, as good or better than in the second Rift dev kit; it’s not clear how the headset connects to your phone/tablet, but we’re guessing it’s a wired connection rather than wireless. Given VR’s reliance on immediacy, a wired setup is a requirement (any lag introduced breaks the immersion, and often makes people sick). It’s also not clear how, or if, Samsung’s VR headset tracks head movement depth-wise. In the case of both Project Morpheus and Oculus Rift, separate cameras face the player and track depth by reading sensors on the respective headsets.

Beyond beating the competition to market, Samsung’s said to be targeting a lower price tier with its headset. Don’t expect anything too low — we’re still talking about a VR headset — but the idea again is to undercut Oculus and Sony. Unlike Galaxy Gear smartwatches, we’re told that Samsung’s in-house OS, Tizen, doesn’t play a part in the VR headset.

This is a device meant for use with games. What type of games? Android games! Sure, but which ones? That’s certainly the question. Great games make the platform, and VR games are especially tough to crack given the newness of the medium. One thing’s for sure: most major games won’t work on VR as direct ports. Something like Minecraft VR makes sense on paper, but does it actually play well?

That question, and many more surrounding Samsung’s VR headset, remain a mystery. For now! Perhaps you know more? We’d love for you to get in touch! We’ll have more on Samsung’s virtual reality plans as we hear more; for now, the official line from Korea is, “Samsung doesn’t comment on rumor and speculation.”

Filed under: Displays, Gaming, Peripherals, Wearables, Samsung

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22
May

Smartglass interface turns any surface into a touchscreen using AR and fingertip heat


A developer called Metaio believes it can make a smartglass interface far more interesting than what has Google done thus far: one that can turn any surface into a touchscreen. Unlike Disney’s REVEL or that Ubi Kinect app, which can do similar things, Metaio’s technology tracks the heat of your fingertips using an infrared and a regular camera. When you do touch something, the system will complete the experience with augmented reality — for instance, “clicking” Like on a physical magazine will show you an animation of the action through your smartglass. While the technology’s far from coming to market, the company says it has a lot of potential applications. People can use it to play virtual board games, designers can use it to visualize their creations in 3D before making real-world versions and it can add digital content to toys, among many other possibilities. Sound interesting? If you’re in Santa Clara, California, you can see the “Thermal Touch” prototype at the Augmented World Expo on May 27 to 29. Otherwise, head after the break for a video that demonstrates what the interface can do in the future.

Filed under: Wearables

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Source: Metaio

22
May

‘Gutted’ NSA reform bill passes the House, but sheds supporters


It’s not exactly what privacy advocates and most tech companies wanted, but it’s something. The USA Freedom Act has passed through the House of Representatives, but it didn’t escape unscathed. While many of the main components survived, other elements were lost to amendments or dramatically altered. One of the most controversial changes from the bill that passed out of the Judiciary Committee was a broader definition of a “specific selection term,” which is used by the NSA to define their data requests. The original language allowed the government to ask for records relating to a “person, entity or account.” What was passed by a vote of 303 to 12 on the floor of the capital added “address, or device” to that list, leaving the scope for data request quite broad. Obviously the original version of the bill had a much more narrow definition, which has led many privacy advocates like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and tech companies like Google to drop support for the bill as they feel it leaves too much room for abuse.

The amended bill would also put declassification reviews under the control of the Director of National Intelligence, instead of the Attorney General, ostensibly leaving the intelligence community to police itself. The level of detail that companies can share about data requests is also scaled back from what Wisconsin Republican Jim Sensenbrenner envisioned. The NSA is also allowed to collect material “about” a specific target, rather than just messages sent to or from the potential threat. These changes have left several early advocates of the bill feeling betrayed. The EFF said it was “dismayed” by the “gutted” bill that eventually cleared the House. While companies like Google and Facebook that supported the bill have now withdrawn support.

But the USA Freedom Act is not without its supporters. Many in the House, including Sensenbrenner himself, believe that this is a step in the right direction, no matter how small. While it likely won’t end the bulk collection of data, it will limit the NSA’s access to it. The databases will now be housed by the telephone companies for 18 months, rather than indefinitely by the government. The NSA will have to specifically request any information it wants and provide probable cause for the requests. That’s a pretty dramatic shift from the current system that has the government collecting all the data it wants. Sensenbrenner acknowledged the issues but urged others to support the bill saying, “don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good.” The bill also has the support of the White House, though that won’t count for much among privacy advocates.

The USA Freedom Act will now go to the Senate where there is the possibility of more amendments. But if it passes there without significant modification, it’s almost guaranteed to be signed into law by President Barack Obama.

Filed under: Internet

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Source: Washington Post

22
May

Minecraft arrives on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 this August


Look, playing Minecraft on a console is really great. It’s basically the same delightful/terrifying experience from PC, albeit in the comfort of your living room. What’s not to like? Well, on last-gen consoles, there was at least one unfortunate side effect of the platform: the procedurally generated world of Minecraft was significantly smaller than what could be done on PC. With Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions arriving this August, that changes. As development studio Mojang puts it, “It brings significantly bigger worlds and a greater draw distance than Xbox 360 Edition.” Hot dog!

Of course, should the more bite-sized world of last-gen Minecraft suffice (and believe us, it’s plenty big), the PlayStation Vita version also arrives this August. Here’s even better news: if you already bought the game on PlayStation 3, you own it on Vita. A similar deal applies to folks converting from PS3/Xbox 360 versions to PS4/XB1 versions: if you already own the prior version and you want to upgrade to current-gen, it’s just $5. The latter deal only applies for the first year of availability, so you’ll wanna upgrade soon-ish to snag it on the cheap.

To sweeten the deal even further, saved games from last-gen/Vita will scale up to current-gen consoles (though it’s not possible to go back — beware!). All the updates to last-gen versions will come packed in to this August’s version, and the whole package goes for $20. Oh, and the creepers are still super, super creepy.

Filed under: Gaming, Software, HD, Sony, Microsoft

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Source: Mojang

22
May

Amazon giving away five free apps and $10 worth of credits


free_five_memorial_day

We’re fast approaching Memorial Day weekend here in the United States which often means barbecues, swimming, time off work, and sales! Amazon, getting things started a few days early, has put together a little package of five free apps with Amazon Coin deals. More specifically, instead of one free app to give away each day, you’ll have five to pick from.

Each title comes with 200 in Amazon Coins which equals $2.00 in app/game credit. Put all five together and you’ve got ten bucks to use on other apps or games for your phone, tablet, Kindle Fire, or Fire TV.

The Memorial Day Weekend promotion lasts until May 31.

 

The post Amazon giving away five free apps and $10 worth of credits appeared first on AndroidGuys.

22
May

Any.do task manager now available for the web


Any.DO_

Any.do task manager is on of the most robust, beautifully designed task managers out there. Using the app helps simplify your day by breaking your tasks down into Today, Tomorrow, Upcoming, and Someday categories. One of the most requested features to come from the app is the ability to manage your tasks from the web. Beginning today, that feature is available to the masses, bringing Any.do to the desktop.

any.do 2

The interface is just what you’d expect. It’s simple, clean, and doesn’t do too much for its own good. Once you sign in, you’ll see the categories towards the top, waiting for you to add something to them. Once a task is complete, hover over it and press the check mark button. It’s as easy as that!

any.do 1

There are two different interfaces you can choose from: Focus Mode and Planning Mode. Planning Mode is the default, giving the four columns in plain sight. After switching to Planning Mode, the interface switches to a more planner-like interface. It’s more of an agenda view, with the ability to scroll down to see your next events, rather than cluttering up the whole page. To switch between the two, click one of the two top-right buttons.

Users must “apply” to use the web app before use. Don’t worry, though. We got our confirmation email within a few seconds of “applying.”

Head here to use Any.do on the web. Now is a great time to begin if you’ve never tried it out. If you have used the web interface, how do you like it? We’d love to hear your experiences!

Via: Android Central

The post Any.do task manager now available for the web appeared first on AndroidGuys.

22
May

Apple Preparing iOS 7.1.2 Update, Likely Addressing Email Encryption and iMessage Issues


With just eleven days to go until the expected public unveiling of iOS 8 at its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, Apple also appears to be working on an upcoming iOS 7.1.2 update, as has also been hinted at by recent statements from the company. Devices identifying themselves as running iOS 7.1.2 and coming from Apple’s networks have been showing up in our web logs since last Friday.

Activity is still low, but that is typical for the early stages of update testing, particularly minor ones that may not require widespread internal or external testing. As a minor update, iOS 7.1.2 is likely to focus on bug fixes and other tweaks rather than major feature additions, and it likely will not even be put through a developer testing period before release.

ios_7_1_2_hitsVisits to MacRumors.com from devices running iOS 7.1.2
Details on changes included in the update are currently unknown, but there are two issues likely to be addressed. One is a fix for an email attachment encryption issue disclosed several weeks ago. At the time the issue gained widespread publicity, Apple issued a statement indicating it was aware of the issue and that a fix would be included in a “future software update.”

The second is a long-standing iMessage issue that has recently gained new attention. The issue, which results in lost messages for those switching away from the iPhone to another device and not having their phone numbers disassociated from iMessage, has been worsened recently by server problems. Just today, Apple reported those server problems have been fixed and that it will be including “an additional bug fix in a future software update”.

For both of these issues, iOS 7.1.2 would be the first iOS update since Apple’s promise of fixes, so it’s reasonable to assume those problems will be addressed in the forthcoming update.

While Apple is expected to preview iOS 8 at its June 2 keynote and begin making builds available to developers, a public release of iOS 8 is not expected until around the September timeframe, in line with the release of new iPhone hardware. Apple has on occasion continued to release updates to iOS after it has begun developer testing of the next major version, but these updates have historically been specialized ones targeting significant performance or security issues rather than broader sets of improvements.

Heading into WWDC, traffic from devices on Apple’s network identifying themselves as running iOS 8 has been rising fairly steadily in recent months, while OS X 10.10 traffic has been fairly stable.



22
May

Environmental VP Lisa Jackson Discusses Apple’s Carbon Footprint Balancing Act [Mac Blog]


At Fortune’s recent Brainstorm Green conference, Apple VP of Environmental Initiatives Lisa Jackson spoke about her role at Apple and the company’s green initiatives, reports Philip Elmer-DeWitt of Apple 2.0. Jackson joined Apple’s executive team last year and formerly served as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency.


After a brief discussion of Jackson’s background and Apple’s green achievements, the highlight of the 16-minute interview occurs when Jackson was questioned by Patagonia’s environmental chief Rick Ridgeway. Ridgeway inquired how Apple can boast about reducing its carbon footprint on individual products, when its overall footprint increases each year as the business grows. After chuckling about being “put on the spot,” Jackson responded seriously:

Listen, if all of us sustainability professionals have to resort to “make and sell less stuff” as the answer to the problem, then we are suffering from an extraordinary lack of imagination. And innovation. One of the things that your company — certainly I think Apple — is about is trying to understand where the technology innovations and other innovations are that help us to reduce carbon intensity. We’re not advocating for less people to have access to our products. That’s not the answer we’re looking for.

Apple has made great strides in the area of the environment, reducing the carbon footprint of its Mac business by 27 percent over the past eight years and powering most of its facilities almost entirely with renewable energy.



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