Due to capital controls in Greece that prevent residents from making payments abroad due to the country’s ongoing financial crisis, many Greek customers have been unable to make purchases through online services such as iTunes and Paypal. The emergency measure has created a problem for iCloud users in Greece, who have been unable to renew their premium storage plan subscriptions since late June.
Bloomberg News shared Apple’s email received by its Athens-based staff earlier this week:
“On June 30, we tried to charge your account for your iCloud space of 20GB, but there is a problem with your payment details,” said one e-mail received by Bloomberg News staff based in Athens. “If we don’t manage to renew your subscription, your account will be downgraded to the free 5GB space program.” The user has a standing monthly payment for a 0.99-euro-cent ($1.11) payment for the storage service.
Fortunately, Apple has now sent an email to iCloud customers in Greece (via iPhoneHellas) to inform them that their iCloud storage plans have been extended by an extra 30 days at no additional cost. Apple will not attempt to charge iCloud customers in Greece until 30 days after their original renewal date, which buys some much-needed time for Greek customers while the country attempts to sort out its financial situation.
Dear iCloud customer,
To prevent interruption in your iCloud service during the current fiscal crisis, and to make sure you have access to your content, we’ve extended your iCloud storage plan for an extra 30 days at no additional cost.
We won’t attempt to charge you for your plan until 30 days after your original renewal date. If we are unable to renew your plan, you may need to reduce the amount of iCloud storage you use.
The iCloud Team
Greek customers can also use an iTunes gift card to renew their iCloud storage plans in the meantime.
As technology became a part of modern life in the 19th century, an increasing amount of scientific study led to breakthroughs in electronic sound engineering — often as a byproduct of other research. Humans became enamored with the crystalline clarity of these exotic machine-borne tones and as the technology matured, so did the range of output. Electrically powered machines were recreating the sounds of traditional instruments and even mimicking human speech. Once computers arrived, the possibilities seemed boundless as software for composing and performing electronic music were developed. Below, we’ve gathered together a few pioneering moments that’ve helped shaped our electronic soundscape. So listen and learn.
Today on In Case You Missed It: The nightmare-like genius of Theo Jansen’s Strandbeest inspired a Segway-like inventor to get creepy with personal transport. Comic-Con attendees will of course see R2-D2; but this time, he’ll also be flying overhead. And a new 3D-printed robot is inspired by a species of mussel to jump and bounce without breaking.
We are also bringing you some of the week’s most important stories in a quick headline round-up, in case you were too busy doing work things or having a life.
And our favorite bonus video just for readers of the site: Have you seen this incredible Guardian video of the retired Ronald McDonald? It’s maybe the most poignant video we’ve watched this week. Well that and the meditation for dealing with dickheads.
Recommended Reading highlights the best long-form writing on technology and more in print and on the web. Some weeks, you’ll also find short reviews of books that we think are worth your time. We hope you enjoy the read.
The Subversive Science Fiction of Hip-Hop
by Rose Eveleth
I’d never really thought about all of the science fiction references in hip-hop until I read Rose Eveleth’s piece for Motherboard that pointed out all of the ties. I listen to a lot of hip-hop, but for some reason, all of the mentions of sci-fi stuff — from superheroes to dystopia and our human limits — only got a passing glance from me. This offers a solid look at all of the crossover and serves as further proof that nerdery is universal.
Streaming Music Has an Offline Problem
In a time of data caps and battery woes, being able to play music from streaming services that you pay for monthly is a must. Unfortunately, the experience as it stands is rather messy.
Let’s Explore the Corrupt Town that Inspired ‘True Detective’
No, the city of Vinci, California, in True Detective season 2 isn’t real. However, it was inspired by a real place, and this piece offers the back story.
Why Tomorrow’s Best Digital Experiences Will Feel Analog
The use of natural materials on our devices is becoming ever popular. Wood, leather and more have all made an appearance, and their inclusion could change how we relate to our gadgets.
Inside Amazon’s Warehouse, Human-Robot Symbiosis
Can humans and robots work together? Amazon is looking to find out inside its new warehouse where automation and old-fashioned elbow grease are being put to work side by side.
[Image credit: Jim Dyson/Redferns]
Filed under: Misc
Google seems to be working on a lot of small refinements to their apps lately to help make their use that much easier. A new update for Google Maps on the desktop works with the latest Google Maps update for Android devices to do that by easing the process of sharing directions you look up on the desktop to your Android device.
In the past, users who looked up a location on the desktop would have to do a new search for the same place when launching the Google Maps app on their device. This was not too terribly complicated as the location would appear in the recent history listing. Still, this took some extra steps to get everything loaded up and ready for navigation or providing directions.
In this latest update, users will see they have a new link in the information card that shows on desktop maps “Send to device…” Selecting this opens a small dialog box where users can select which one of their devices to use.
On the receiving Android device, users get a notification listing the location that was sent. A couple options are available from the notification to either launch straight into navigation or view the directions. You can also tap on the location itself to pull up its information card in the Google Maps app.
source: Android Police
Come comment on this article: Google adds path to send Google Maps directions from desktop to Android device
With the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge Plus drawing close, chances are good buyers interested in last year’s Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge can find a deal on those devices. Earlier this week Samsung started a promotion offering a rebate on the Galaxy Note 4. Now U.S. carrier AT&T has launched their own $200 discount on the devices.
Visiting the AT&T site reveals the discount is only applicable for users willing to jump into a 2-year contract with AT&T. Buying the Note Edge device outright or using the AT&T Next program to make installment payments means paying the full price of $966 while the Note 4 runs $846.
The discount is listed as an “Online Discount” and may not be available if you drop in at your local AT&T retail shop. Pricing details indicate AT&T’s smartphone sale offers are only valid through July 13th, although it is not clear whether that also applies to these discounts.
With the discount, the Galaxy Note Edge ends up costing $199 while the Galaxy Note 4 can be obtained for only $99.
Come comment on this article: [Deal] Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge on AT&T get $200 discount
As the New Horizons probe gets closer to Pluto, the pictures its cameras capture also get clearer. Take for example the black-and-white image above: it’s no longer just a blob or an extremely blurry circle. Sure, it’s not as sharp as we’d all like it to be (pssst, you’ll only have to wait a few more days for those pics), but its details are pronounced enough to show the dwarf planet’s geology. What you can see here is the side of Pluto that always faces its largest moon, Charon. It was taken on July 9th by the spacecraft’s Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) from a distance of 3.3 million miles.
While the dark area encircled and marked as “whale’s tail” is the most eye-catching (as its name implies, it’s the tail end of a whale-shaped feature), scientists are more intrigued by the barely visible band of complex patterns. According to New Horizons scientist Curt Niebur, “It’s a unique transition region with a lot of dynamic processes interacting, which makes it of particular scientific interest.” These patterns stretch for 1,000 miles across the dwarf planet, with one end located near the “whales’ tail.” We’ll most likely see the band, the whale and that mysterious polygonal feature from a closer distance when the probe flies by Pluto on July 14th.
Filed under: Science
What if there was a way for you to share files with friends and family that didn’t involve physically sending them a DVD or CD, emailing, text messaging, or using Facebook? What if you could send entire home movies, large image files, or even a folder with hundreds or thousands of the images your holds the rights to in it? Well, you can, with P2P file sharing.
What Is Bittorrenting?
Bittorrenting refers to the transmission of data using a peer-to-peer file sharing protocol instead of centralized servers. Distribution of content is thus decentralized. For example, let’s say that you want to download some music. You buy a song on Amazon or iTunes. Amazon or Apple act as the central server. You get the music from them. (But don’t share what you have bought!)
But, what if you didn’t want music from either of these two companies? What if you wanted to download or share music that is authorized for sharing by the copyright holders, or that is in the public domain – some Baroque music written in the 1600s and performed many years ago? (You should know that new performances or sound recordings of music written many years ago may be protected by copyright, because there are usually at least two copyrights in sound records: the song or composition, and the performance or sound recording of it.) You could buy it from somewhere, but there’s no copyright on it. You could just download it from a friend, but how? Bittorrenting is how. Instead of going to Amazon, you reach out to a friend directly and he transfers the file to you.
But, instead of transferring the entire file, he gives you only a small piece of it. And, there are 10 other people out there with the same song. Each of them gives you a piece and, collectively, you end up with all the pieces of the song. A software program helps you arrange all of the downloading and “assembly” of all of the bits and pieces you’ve collected.
Why collect bits and pieces as opposed to the whole song, all at once? Because it’s faster. Each user only has to commit a small amount of resources to help you out. Are you excited yet?
Some Common Words and Phrases
Before you dive into the world of torrenting and file sharing, you’ll have to get some of the lingo down.
Let’s start with a “peer.” A peer refers to either an instance of a piece of software running on a computer that interacts with other software programs for the transfer of files. A peer can also refer to individual users.
A “client” is the technical term for this software. So, for example, you can download a very good client from www.Vuze.com. Vuze’s client installs on your computer, helps you find and download files, and it also scans those files for viruses or other malicious code.
A “torrent” is what you’re searching for – that’s the file you’re looking for via Vuze or a torrent search engine. Torrents are small files, only several hundred KBs in size. They contain information that allows you to download the target file – a music file, game, book, or video, for example.
A “seed” refers to a user (and individual, like you) or client (the software) that is uploading or sharing target files. A “leech” refers to a user or client that only downloads files, but rarely or never shares them with others. In the world of P2P file sharing, this heavily frowned upon and can get you banned or blacklisted from many different communities.
A “swarm” refers to all peers sharing a torrent. A “tracker” is a server than coordinates the location and downloading of files, but is not directly involved in the data transfer process and does not retain a copy of anything being shared.
The Legality Of P2P File Sharing
Files sharing has gotten a bad rap over the years. But it’s a legitimate way to share files with a large number of people. It’s fast, efficient, and free too (aside from the cost of downloading the client).
Still, you should always verify the copyright status of any file before downloading it. It cannot be overstated: never download or upload anything that is protected by copyright without the authorization of the copyright holder. You could end up getting sued or going to jail.
Irma Campbell has a head for technology. With a passion for helping others understand what tech can do for them, she enjoys blogging about the basics and how-tos of a variety of useful apps, software, and more.
If you need (almost) every publicly available Reddit comment for any reason — hey, maybe you’re a researcher or maybe you just love data — then ready your external HDD, because someone bundled ’em all up nicely. User “Stuck_In_the_Matrix” collected every comment he could from as far back as October 2007, two years since the website was founded, up until May 2015. It took him 14 months and about 20 million API calls to farm around 1.65 billion entries, though approximately 350,000 couldn’t be collected due to issues with Reddit’s API.
Those comments are saved as plain text, along with their authors’ usernames, scores and subreddit locations, among other info. Archive.org even considered the feat notable enough to preserve for future generations. You can get the compilation right now through the torrent file “Stuck_In_the_Matrix” provided, but take note that all that data totals 150GB when compressed and almost a terabyte uncompressed. In case you’re unwilling to invest time in downloading something you haven’t seen before, his original Reddit post also comes with a much smaller one-month sampler.
[Image credit: Getty Images]
Filed under: Misc