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28
Jan

TracFone nailed by FTC for $40 million for throttling ‘unlimited’ data plans


There has been a lot of debate over the years regarding unlimited data and exactly what it is and isn’t. Consumers believe it should be just that, unlimited full speed data every month. Where as many carriers force it to be unlimited, but high-speed access limited to a set amount with a heavy throttle after […]

The post TracFone nailed by FTC for $40 million for throttling ‘unlimited’ data plans appeared first on AndroidSPIN.

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28
Jan

Calendar Notify review: a widget for your notifications



If you are like me, you tend to forget things like deadlines and meetings easily. Having my schedule on my phone helps some, but I still find tasks sneaking up on me. Putting a widget on my homescreen helps sometimes, but I often overlook the widget and go right into another app. If this sounds familiar, then Calendar Notify is an application you need to download now.

The easiest way to describe Calendar Notify is to say it is a widget for your notification shade. This app creates a constant notification that shows you the next 7 appointments in your calendar up to a certain date. With Calendar Notify, you can change several things about the notification’s appearance and abilities. You can set the priority of the notification so that it will always display at the top of your notifications or you can set it at a lower priority. You can choose for the app to look 1-7 days or two weeks ahead in your calendar for events. Something that I liked was that when my calendar had no upcoming events, the notification would hide itself which is much better than simply displaying a blank notification since it frees up space in my notification shade. The look of the app is fantastic because it utilizes Material Design and the notification looks great on Android 4.1 and up. Also, expanding the notification give you the option to refresh the notification and add events.

Application
Notification Collapsed
Notification Expanded

After using this app for only a few hours, I immediately bought the premium version for $0.99 to utilize the extra features. In the premium version, you get more control over the notification layout and design. It adds the ability to include durations and end times for events and you can hide the icon to the left of the events to create more room. You can change what the notification icon displays (such as day of the month, number of appointments that day, etc.) or you can even hide the icon to make space in your notification bar.

I have to recommend this app to everyone because it is a simple and elegant solution for event reminders. It is much harder to overlook this widget since it appears every time you pull down you notification shade. For those running Lollipop on their device, the app will even display the notification on the lockscreen. If you do not like the idea of having this app add a notification, you also have the option to use Calendar Notify as an actual widget on your homescreen. Go get Calendar Notify for free in the Play Store and quit forgetting about lunch with your mom!

 


The post Calendar Notify review: a widget for your notifications appeared first on AndroidGuys.

28
Jan

Home Screen Plus updated with resizable widgets, new countdown timer and bug fixes!


While the last update to Home Screen Plus brought forth some massive changes including widgets and a name change, the latest release has now arrived in BlackBerry World and keeps the changes a bit smaller while still adding some new features that folks are sure to appreciate.

Building on the widget experience, this release adds the ability to resize most of the included home screen widgets and also introduces a new countdown timer that shows the remaining days until a holiday or event with many major holidays already pre-set up within the app and of course, the ability to add you own as you see fit. If that’s not enough, multiple bugs have also been squashed based on user feedback.

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28
Jan

Bill Gates is helping Microsoft create ‘Personal Agent’, thinks HoloLens is ‘amazing’


Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates wrote today that the company’s recently revealed Microsoft HoloLens hardware is “pretty amazing” and “the start of virtual reality.” He also revealed, as part of a Reddit AMA session, he is working with Microsoft on a project called Personal Agent.

28
Jan

Facebook’s ‘Paper’ App for iOS Updated With Photo Sharing Improvements [iOS Blog]


facebookpaperFacebook today updated its Paper app to version 1.2.5, adding several improvements to the app’s photo management capabilities. It’s now possible for users to access their “Favorited” photos album on iOS for faster sharing of preferred photos, and the Camera Roll in the app organizes photos by date.

The “Favorites” album was introduced with the iOS 8 Photos app revamp and houses all of the images that a user favorites via tapping the heart icon on individual pictures within the app.

Today’s Paper update also includes performance enhancements that are designed to make various features within the app run faster, including photo uploads.

We’ve been working to perfect your experience with Paper. In this release, we’ve focused on making it even faster and easier for you to share photos, in addition to fixing a few issues you’ve let us know about. Thanks for your feedback!

Here’s what’s new and improved:

– Camera Roll organized by date. When selecting media to share in the composer, photos and videos are now organized by the date they were taken.
– Share your Favorited photos. Quickly share photos from the new Favorites album introduced with iOS 8.
– Faster performance. We’ve improved the responsiveness of several parts of Paper including posting a photo.

First introduced in January of 2014, Facebook’s Paper app is a news creation and curation tool that pulls in content from a user’s Facebook news feed and other well-known publications, organizing it into a magazine-style layout for easy reading. Many people have come to prefer Paper over the standard Facebook app to read through their news feeds.

Facebook’s Paper app can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]



28
Jan

Why Apple is underestimated so insanely always


Last year, the level of stupidity surrounding Apple was best exemplified by Haunted Empire, the calamitously bad book that tried to make the “Tim Cook’s company is doomed” meme mainstream. Yesterday, Apple announced the most profitable quarter in the history of the business world — of which the other four companies in the top five are oil magnates. So, beyond market manipulation and negative attention seeking, what makes otherwise rational, intelligent analysts and journalists experience such a continued, collective blindspot when it comes to Apple’s prospects?

Ben Thompson, writing for Stratechery:

It’s difficult to overstate just how absurd this is, but here’s my best attempt: last quarter Apple’s revenue was downright decimated by the strengthening U.S. dollar; currency fluctuations reduced Apple’s revenue by 5% – a cool $3.73 billion dollars. That, though, is more than Google made in profit last quarter ($2.83 billion). Apple lost more money to currency fluctuations than Google makes in a quarter. And yet it’s Google that is feared, and Apple that is feared for.

Ben chalks the endless underestimations up to bad assumptions — that markets are monolithic, that consumers care more about specs and price than they do experience, and that when Apple says all they want to do is make great products, it’s not given credence.

Tim Cook from our Q1 2015 transcript:

Apple’s mission is to make the greatest products on earth and enrich the lives of others. Through the success of iOS, we have provided hundreds of millions of people with powerful personal technology that is simple and fun to use. Our customers are using Apple products to transform education, discover new ideas for business, and express their creativity in ways that no one could have imagined when we sold the first iPhone less than eight years ago.

It’s amazing to watch, and it reminds us that people and great ideas are the reasons we make the things we make.

That the same people can be wrong about the same thing so completely always — and that people continue to publish and link to their wrongness — is what the rest of us have a hard time understanding.

“Okay, Apple made some money this quarter, but next quarter they’ll fail.”

“Okay, Apple made some more money this quarter, but now next quarter they really have to fail.”

I experienced it again yesterday. After reporting on Apple’s quarter, I was told it was just a temporary blip — pent up demand for bigger phones that, now exhausted, would leave Apple to “once again” plummet in the market.

It seems insane, but it’s really not that dissimilar to a certain kind of gambling mentality. Some people see Apple as betting on the same thing quarter after quarter, year after year, and they figure Apple’s luck just has to run out. The more Apple wins, the more they believe the odds stack against Apple, and the more likely they think it is the company has to lose — and soon. Every time Apple wins, they not only expect the loss to be inevitable next time, they want it to be.

The problem is, Apple isn’t betting. They’re investing.

The company is lining themselves up — rather conservatively — behind a very few product categories at a time, and with a strategy they’ve proven for decades. And like I wrote yesterday, while many continue to misunderstand or ignore the “make great products” strategy, Apple is doubling down on it.

28
Jan

Hands-On First Impressions of Pushbullet for iOS, Mac, and Safari [iOS Blog]


Following the release of Pushbullet for iOS, Mac, and Safari, we have been testing out the new software to see how well it keeps notifications, links, photos and other files in sync between devices. Pushbullet is the marriage of AirDrop, Notifyr and other OS X Yosemite features in one package, but is it a worthwhile alternative? Find out our first impressions in our hands-on video ahead.

Pushbullet
The process of setting up Pushbullet takes just a few minutes. Depending on which platforms or web browsers you want to send and receive links and files between, download the Pushbullet apps or extensions that you need and make sure that iOS to Mac notifications and universal copy and paste are enabled in each app’s preferences. iOS and Mac apps are available alongside Safari, Chrome, Firefox and Opera extensions.

You can optimize your experience further by going into the Mac app’s preferences and checking off specific apps that you would like to receive iOS notifications from. For instance, if you already receive mail notifications on your desktop, then you probably don’t need Pushbullet pushing the same mail notifications from your iPhone. Notification settings can be configured for both stock and third-party apps.


Pushbullet for iPhone has four tabs: Pushbullet, Contacts, Channels and Settings. The main launch screen allows you to compose a message, add links, attachments or maps, and send it to another device you have set up Pushbullet on. Contacts displays a list of your paired devices, contacts and subscriptions. Channels provides push notification feeds that you can subscribe to. Last, the Settings tab gives you a few options such as your choice of Safari or Chrome for opening links and Apple Maps or Google Maps for opening addresses.

Pushbullet

While much of its core functionality is already possible through other apps and services, Pushbullet for the most part has proved to be a faster and more reliable solution for quickly sending notes, links, files and more between a smartphone and computer or vice versa. Channels also provide a great way for receiving notifications from a particular source so that you can stay informed at all times.

Overall, Pushbullet is a worthwhile recommendation for iPhone, iPad, Mac and Safari users that are looking to move lots of content between devices. Pushbullet for iOS [Direct Link], Pushbullet for Mac [Direct Link] and the Safari extension are all free to download, making the software an even more valuable option for multi-device users.



28
Jan

YouTube Begins Using HTML5 Instead of Flash for Default Video Playback [iOS Blog]


youtube.pngYouTube yesterday announced it has begun using HTML5 video by default for all playback on its website, marking a substantial step in its gradual move away from Flash. The company states the new default will work in most popular web browsers including Safari.

Richard Leider, Engineering Manager for YouTube, reiterated on the adaptability of HTML5 over Flash and the use of the former’s capabilities beyond a simple web browser. With YouTube’s extension to devices like gaming consoles, and even the Apple TV, the benefits of dropping Flash became far more apparent over the years.

Over the last four years, we’ve worked with browser vendors and the broader community to close those gaps, and now, YouTube uses HTML5 by default in Chrome, IE 11, Safari 8 and in beta versions of Firefox.

The benefits of HTML5 extend beyond web browsers, and it’s now also used in smart TVs and other streaming devices.

The new shift to HTML5 will allow better video streaming in adjustment to shifting network conditions, quicker video playback, easier access to 60 FPS HD and 4K content, with updates to encrypted media extensions that will allow the service to overall be “faster and smoother.”

Despite having long dominated web video and other interactive content, Flash has been under fire for years over performance and security issues. Back in 2010, Steve Jobs famously wrote an open letter, his “Thoughts on Flash,” to address the ongoing controversy over Apple’s refusal to support Flash on its iOS devices. After summing up a series of shortcoming of Flash, Jobs end his letter by suggesting “Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.”



28
Jan

Your Facebook feed is going to be unbearable during the Super Bowl


HILVERSUM, NETHERLANDS - JANUARY 28, 2014: Facebook is an online social networking service founded in February 2004 by Mark Zuck

The Super Bowl, the enormous advertising event that has some American Football between the commercial breaks, takes place this Sunday. If you’re not a fan, then you may have wanted to find some respite inside your Facebook feed but, unfortunately, that avenue has been closed off this year. According to Reuters, the social network is hoping to muscle in on Twitter’s real-time advertising turf by letting businesses target users depending on what messages they post.

For example, if you post a status mentioning New England, Patriotism or the inflation levels of a football, then a flashy clip sponsored by Toyota might pop up. In many ways, the move is an attempt to capture the instant-reaction adverts that brands like Oreo post to Twitter whenever an event happens in-game. Also, considering that the price of a regular TV spot during the event is around $4.5 million per 30-seconds, targeted advertising gives companies a cheaper, more effective way to reach prospective customers. It’s just a shame that no-one asked us if we wanted to be distracted in this way.

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Source: Reuters

28
Jan

Video chat and screen sharing are coming to Slack following recent acquisition


slack-logo

Slack, the popular team communication service, has just acquired Screenhero, a service that specializes in voice, video and screen sharing. Screenhero began around the same time as Slack, and now they’re joining forces. In the coming months, we’ll start to see video chat, voice chat, screen sharing and a number of new features roll out to Slack. From now until Screenhero is completely integrated with Slack, users on the Standard or Plus Plans will be able to try Screenhero for free. Unfortunately, new paid users won’t be able to sign up for Screenhero for the time being.

Once the integration is complete, Screenhero as a standalone service will shut down. The Slack team assures us that a “generous notice period and transition plan” will be provided prior to the shutdown.

We use Slack here at Android Authority, and we couldn’t be happier about this acquisition. It already provides a speedy central hub for all internal communications (as well as a smooth Android app), so we’re really excited to see what Screenhero brings to the table.

The Slack team didn’t provide any information as to when the integration will be complete, so we’ll likely just have to wait for updates in the coming months. If your Slack team is on a Standard or Plus Plan, head to this link to get more information about trying Screenhero out for free.

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