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Intelligent Time Management App ‘Timeful’ Launches on iOS [iOS Blog]

Timeful, described as “the first intelligent time manager” for mobile devices, is a new iOS app designed to help users manage their lives by combining a time management app with a calendar, a to-do list, and habits. Timeful aims to provide a personalized experience that encourages people to commit to various self-improvement activities and complete goals.

The app connects to the calendar on an iOS device, importing already existing events into a daily view that includes all tasks that must be completed. It also incorporates to-do functionality, allowing users to create tasks and file them under separate colored headings like Personal, Work, Fun, and, Important. To-do tasks can be scheduled for “Today,” “Tomorrow,” “Someday in the next 7 days,” or on a specific date.

Specific calendar events can be scheduled in much the same way, entering the task and selecting a time. One major negative of Timeful in comparison to other calendar apps is the fact that it doesn’t accept conversational input, meaning users have to manually select times and dates for calendar events.

Along with accepting calendar and to-do input, Timeful also includes a “Habits” feature that sets it apart from other time management and task apps. With Habits, users can enter frequently repeated tasks such as “Take a Walk,” selecting preferred days and times to perform the tasks, which Timeful will then work into a busy schedule. Events and habits show up directly on the calendar at scheduled times, while to-dos are listed at the top and can be completed at any time during the day.

As users complete tasks and fulfill habits, Timeful will learn more about a person’s habits, figuring out the optimal time to present each task for completion.

Timeful is the first Intelligent Time Assistant that gets things scheduled so you’ll get them done.

Timeful combines your calendars and to-do lists so you can see everything that’s competing for your time in one place. It uses sophisticated algorithms and behavioral science to suggest – based on your own available time and location – the best times to schedule to-dos and good habits throughout your day.

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

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Initial iWatch Shipments May Be Limited Due to Sapphire Issues, Half of Devices May Use Glass Displays

Echoing his earlier iWatch predictions, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo today suggested (via AppleInsider) that Apple’s iWatch will be available in limited quantities in 2014, with only three million devices hitting store shelves before the end of the year.

Kuo says that while market predictions point towards shipments between 5 and 10 million smart watches before the end of 2014, his own prediction based on supply chain checks is at three million units due to the iWatch’s late production date.

Balogh-iwatchTraditional watch-style iWatch concept by Gábor Balogh
Earlier this month, Kuo released a report pointing towards a November production date for the iWatch. Difficulties developing the screen for the device as well as its sapphire crystal cover are said to have slowed development on the iWatch, pushing back targeted production dates. “We believe developing the hardware and OS of iWatch will be a much more difficult task than for Apple’s existing products,” Kuo wrote.

Kuo believes that continued problems with the sapphire display for the iWatch may lead Apple to produce some of the devices with glass covers instead of sapphire. In the note, he also points towards TPK as the supplier for the iWatch’s touch module. TPK’s recent earnings report has suggested iWatch production has been delayed and will not begin until until the fourth quarter.

Apple is said to be aiming to introduce the iWatch at an October event, which means it may debut before production even begins. In the event that the device does not enter production until November, Apple may launch the device well after it is first introduced, much like it did with the Mac Pro. As a result, the iWatch may be available in very limited quantities in 2014, with availability increasing in early 2015.

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BlackBerry’s BBM messenger app officially arrives on Windows Phone

Have a Windows Phone and crave access to BlackBerry’s famed messaging app? Today’s your lucky day. Announced in a video posted today, BBM is now exiting beta to become available for download in the Windows Phone store. The company said it spent considerable time tweaking the app’s interface to fit with Microsoft’s mobile OS, and the result is a clean UI that looks considerably different than the versions you’ll see on iOS and Android (not to mention BlackBerry OS 10). BBM for Windows consists of three main screens — chats, feeds and contacts — and you’ll have the ability to pin a chat right to your phone’s start screen. Windows Phone users who are new to BBM can pick up a few tips on getting started via the video (posted below). As of this posting, the app wasn’t yet live in the Windows Phone store, but the rollout should begin shortly.

Filed under: Storage, Software, Mobile, Microsoft, Blackberry


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Microsoft’s Office for iPad Apps Gain New Picture Tools, Fonts, and Ability to Send Files as PDFs

Microsoft’s Office for iPad apps, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint received a major update today that adds several new user-requested features to each app. All three apps have gained the ability to export files as PDFs, and each one has also gained new Picture Tools that let users crop to focus on the right part of an image. Third-party fonts have also been added to each app.

Excel now includes improved external keyboard support to make the experience of using Excel on the iPad more like a desktop usage experience. There are more print options available, and a new “Flick to Select” feature lets users flick to select all data in a row or column.

Word didn’t gain new features beyond the Picture Tools, Fonts, and ability to send PDFs, but PowerPoint has seen some improvements. The app has a new Presenter View that lets users view and edit speaker notes, see next slides, and jump to other slides while presenting. Presenter tools allow for highlights and drawings to be erased within presentations, while new media features make it possible for users to play videos, sound effects, and background music while presenting. There are also new tools to insert videos from the Camera Roll and add/edit hyperlinks.

Today’s update is the second major update the Office software has gotten since its March release. Back in April, the three apps gained some important features that had been missing since launch, including the ability to print directly from the apps.

Microsoft’s Office for iPad apps have proven to be highly successful for the company and back in May, just over a month after the software had been released, the apps had seen more than 27 million downloads.

Microsoft has committed to continually improving its Office for iPad apps, which now directly compete with Apple’s own iWork suite including Numbers, Keynote, and Pages.

All of the updates to the new Office apps are currently available and can be downloaded from the App Store for free. While the apps can be accessed for free, unlocking full capabilities, including editing and creating documents, requires an Office 365 subscription.

Microsoft Word for iPad [Direct Link]
Microsoft Excel for iPad [Direct Link]
Microsoft PowerPoint for iPad [Direct Link]

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NFL players to wear shoulder pad RFIDs for on-field stats tracking

The NBA isn’t the only professional sports league in the States getting serious about accurate stats accounting. With some help from Zebra Technologies’ location system, 17 NFL stadiums will use receivers and RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags inside player’s shoulder pads to track movement. The setup provides real-time position data for each player, offering up precise info on acceleration, speed, routes and distance as part of the “Next Gen Stats” initiative for fans. Referees are getting the tags too, in case you’ve ever wanted more info on those fellas. “Zebra’s tracking technology will help teams to evolve training, scouting and evaluation through increased knowledge of player performance, as well as provide ways for our teams and partners to enhance the fan experience,” says NFL VP of Media Strategy Vishal Shah. The 15 venues that are hosting Thursday night games are getting outfitted, with Detroit and New Orleans added in to make sure each team gets tallied.

Filed under: Wireless


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The perks of being ‘somebody’ online

The web was supposed to be the great equalizer. But, it turns out, the haves and have-nots exist online too. And they’re separated by a mark of distinction: verification.

​A month ago, William Shatner got into an unfortunate public spat on Twitter with John Colucci, our social media manager, over why he was verified on Twitter. Shatner argued that recognition should only be given to public figures who are in danger of being impersonated. In Shatner’s words, “nobodies should not be verified because it shows a huge flaw in the Twitter system.” This spiraled into a big kerfuffle involving several other Twitter users. When our Editor-in-Chief Michael Gorman stepped in to defend Colucci by saying he was verified because he’s good at his job, Shatner interpreted that as an abuse of the verification system. Things died down eventually, but Shatner held tight to his belief that verification is a privilege for a select few.

Of course, Twitter isn’t the only social network that offers verification. Facebook, too, has a verification system for certain public figures and popular brands and so does Google+. Facebook even released a Mentions app specifically tailored for verified celebrities such as Shatner, who recently posted a rather thorough review of the app on his Tumblr (in sum: He wasn’t a fan). These social networks are ostensibly open to all members of the public, allowing us to connect with politicians and celebrities directly. But verification is a reminder that just because everyone’s using the same network, that doesn’t mean everyone’s treated in the same way.

In Shatner’s words, “nobodies should not be verified because it shows a huge flaw in the Twitter system.”

The concept of verified accounts is fairly recent. Twitter implemented it in 2009, Google+ in 2011, while Facebook only started it in 2012 with verified pages appearing in 2013. It began initially as a way to curb account impersonations by authenticating certain individuals and brands — essentially a way for people to know that you are who you say you are. And for the most part, it works. For example, I know that @MayorEmanuel is a parody account and not really Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Not only because he likely would never tweet, “Fuck you, you motherfucking time vortex. I fucking love dancing with my friends,” but also because it doesn’t have an identifiable blue check icon next to his name.

Twitter says it focuses its verification efforts on “highly sought users in music, acting, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, sports, business and other key interest areas.” Similarly, Facebook and Google+ verify profiles and pages that include celebrities, journalists, government officials and popular brands and businesses. Facebook, Twitter and Google+ don’t accept verification requests from the general public. We’ve asked all three for more information as to the exact requirements for verification, but none were willing to cough up much detail, instead pointing us to their respective FAQ pages.

But being verified is more than just having your identity authenticated — it’s also a status symbol. Verified accounts on Twitter get special “perks,” like the ability to filter their Mentions and access to analytics like how much “engagement” a particular tweet gets. The aforementioned Facebook Mentions app provides the verified “celebrity” more tools to engage with their fans like Q&A posts, for example. Of course, these perks aren’t terribly useful to the average person, but it’s certainly an indicator that verified users are somehow more special than everyone else.

… Being verified is more than just having your identity authenticated — it’s also a status symbol.

“Verified accounts were created to solve a practical matter, especially as people couldn’t tell if celebrities were the celebrity or someone pretending to be the celebrity,” says danah boyd, a social media researcher at Microsoft Research and author of It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens (she prefers her name to be written in lowercase). “Needless to say, this quickly became a status game and people begged to be verified. Unlike followers, which could easily be purchased by third parties running bot networks, verification required Twitter.”

The whole idea of a different tier of Twitter or Facebook reserved just for the elite runs counter to the idea of the internet as a democratizer. Similar to how the printing press enabled the mass dissemination of ideas, so too has the internet, but on a much wider scale. Social media in particular has been upheld as a bastion of democracy, as in the case of the Arab Spring, where ordinary citizens used Twitter and Facebook to organize rallies and spread awareness of government atrocities.

Cartoon by Peter Steiner for The New Yorker

But more than that, the reason the internet is seen as the great equalizer is because no one can see what you look like. There’s a famous cartoon in The New Yorker with a caption that simply states, “On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” It’s emblematic of this idea that the internet breaks down real-world barriers like gender, race and class, so that all of us are on equal footing. Unfortunately, that simply isn’t the case.

“It’s a complete myth,” says boyd. “The internet reinforces many inequalities, hierarchies and existing social divisions. … This technology simply mirrors other aspects of life back at us.” After all, our brains are not separate from our bodies — when we go online, we bring with us a whole host of pre-existing prejudices and preconceived notions of how the world works. In It’s Complicated, boyd writes this about inequality on social media: “Social media magnifies many aspects of daily life, including racism and bigotry. Some people use social media to express insensitive and hateful views, but others use the same technologies to publicly shame, and in some cases threaten, people who they feel are violating social decorum.”

“No site does the work of democracy. It is people who do that through technologies, not technologies in and of themselves.”

When we ask boyd if anonymous forums like Reddit offer a more even playing field than other social networks, she says, “No site does the work of democracy. It is people who do that through technologies, not technologies in and of themselves.” Jen Schradie, a sociologist at UC Berkeley, adds to this, telling us that the poor and working class are much less likely to be online in the first place, so there’s already a built-in class disparity. “What we are left with is a digital production gap,” she says. “The internet in general, and social media in particular, is dominated by the elite. … The verified/non-verified divide is just the tip of the iceberg.”

As is evidenced by Shatner’s reaction to some of us being verified, he certainly believes in that divide — that those who are verified are somehow more privileged than those who are not, and they should be deserving of that privilege. As a verified user on Twitter myself, I’ll admit that it’s nice to be deemed worthy of the status, if only because it adds legitimacy and credibility to what I do.

But being verified doesn’t make me special. It doesn’t make me better than anyone who’s not verified — I don’t get preferential treatment at restaurants and I don’t get to skip ahead in line at the airport. Further, you don’t need a verified checkmark to have credibility. Dick Costolo, the CEO of Twitter, does not have a verified account. I was unverified on Twitter for years and I’m still unverified on Facebook. Not having that little checkmark did not and does not impact how I do my work. I’m sure the majority of people I interact with on a daily basis have no idea what in the world being verified on Twitter means. As Colucci himself mentioned in a response to Shatner, the verification status is “just for work, and outside of that it really means nothing.”

And yet, the prestige associated with that silly little verification icon persists. At least among the elite few who know what it means.

Filed under: Internet


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French company Iliad reportedly wants to buy T-Mobile too


Sprint isn’t the only company hoping to shell out billions for the privilege of scooping up T-Mobile’s US branch; according to the Wall Street Journal, a French company called Iliad wants in on the action as well. Iliad, which owns a mobile operator in France known as Free, recently made a bid to counter the reported $32 billion offer T-Mobile is already entertaining with Sprint’s parent company Softbank. The terms of the deal are unknown, and it’s unclear how Iliad can pay for such a transaction, since its market value of $16 billion is merely half of what Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son is putting on the table.

Iliad’s point of view is that its offer will be looked upon more favorably by regulators than a potential merger between Sprint and T-Mobile. If its bid is successful, the company plans to take control of the carrier, which means there would still be four major national players in the US. Since competition is one of the biggest concerns to the Powers That Be, Iliad believes its offer would stand a much better chance of clearing the necessary legal hurdles. And if the company were to use the same strategy with T-Mobile as it does with Free, it’s likely the UnCarrier moves would not only continue but get even more aggressive in pricing. It’s hard to say at this point if T-Mobile and parent company Deutsche Telekom will entertain Iliad’s offer, but at least the situation just became a whole lot more intriguing.

[Image credit: Getty Images]

Filed under: Cellphones, Wireless, Mobile, Sprint, T-Mobile


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CIA admits to spying on US Senate computer network

Committee chair, Sen Diane Feinstein,D-C

Back in March 2014, two United States senators accused the Central Intelligence Agency of infiltrating Senate computers. Worse, they accused the CIA of hacking Senate computer networks and accessing files while the Senate’s Intelligence Committee was actively investigating CIA detention practices. Following an internal investigation by the CIA, it turns out that the senators were right. “Some CIA employees acted in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding reached between SSCI (Senate Select Committee on Intelligence) and the CIA in 2009,” a statement issued by the CIA spokesman Dean Boyd says.

As McClatchyDC points out, the battle between the Senate’s intelligence committee and the CIA stems from a 2009 agreement that formed the basis of the Senate’s investigation into the CIA detention program. According to that agreement, the Senate committee could access classified CIA files through a database set up for and only accessible to the Senate. When CIA director John Brennan privately raised concerns to Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, Feinstein realized that the CIA were monitoring the files her committee was supposed to access exclusively.

Feinstein then took to the Senate floor, accusing the CIA of intentionally intruding on her investigation. The CIA’s denied that claim. CIA director John Brennan said, “When the facts come out on this, I think a lot of people who are claiming that there has been this tremendous sort of spying and monitoring and hacking will be proved wrong.” This week, Brennan met with Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein and vice chairman Saxby Chambliss to apologize. The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report is set for release in the near future.

[Image credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images]

Filed under: Networking, Internet, Software


Source: McClatchyDC

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HTC to face a tough time in Q3 considering other big players are about to showcase their smartphone offerings

htc profit___

HTC really can’t catch a break. They’ve been facing financial loses for a long time now and have finally managed to turn profit in Q2 this year, their first profit since Q2 2013. It seemed like their financial situation is getting better, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. HTC One (M8) boosted their… Read more »

The post HTC to face a tough time in Q3 considering other big players are about to showcase their smartphone offerings appeared first on AndroidGuys.

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Apple Now Replacing Damaged iPhone 5s Displays in Retail Stores [iOS Blog]

iphone5sApple will soon be able to offer display repairs on the iPhone 5s directly within its retail stores, alleviating the need to send the devices to an off-site repair center. As noted by 9to5Mac, Apple Stores are currently accepting large deliveries of iPhone 5s screens for the repair program and in-store repairs are set to begin on Monday, August 4.

The in-store repairs are part of an effort to lower repair costs. Apple first began offering in-store phone repairs for the iPhone 5 back in June of 2013, and expanded to iPhone 5c repairs in January of this year.

Users with a cracked or damaged iPhone 5s display that do not have AppleCare+ now have the option to pay a $149 fee to get the screen repaired right at an Apple retail location. Prior to establishing an in-store repair center, users were forced to pay $229 for a replacement screen as Apple had to send damaged devices off-site.

With the ability to replace iPhone 5, 5c, and 5s screens, Apple can significantly cut down on repair costs and wait times. In a June 2013 employee meeting, Apple noted that its in-house repair policies could save the company as much as $1 billion per year.

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