Numerous web browsers have already stopped supporting Windows XP and Vista, but not Firefox. To this day, Mozilla’s latest software can work with your decade-old PC. However, even that team has its limits — it’s phasing out support for XP and Vista starting next year. Mozilla will start by moving users on these operating systems to the Extended Support Release in March 2017, limiting them to feature updates that can be “several cycles” behind the curve. And while the company plans to unveil a final support end date in the middle of that year, it’ll effectively cut the cord in September, when it stops delivering security updates.
This doesn’t mean that Firefox will stop working on XP or Vista in September, of course. But when security flaws are hard to avoid, it’ll be impractical to keep using Firefox on those platforms when you could remain permanently vulnerable to exploits. There aren’t likely to be many people who both run a 10-year-old operating system and care enough about their web experience to use a recent browser, so the impact may be limited. However, it’s still a big deal if you’re stuck on a work PC or otherwise haven’t had a chance to upgrade to a newer version of Windows. Like it or not, you’ll probably have to consider a new OS (or a new PC) if you want to experience the modern internet next year.
Earlier this year, Apple required all app developers to switch on App Transport Security by January 1st, 2017. The feature (introduced with iOS 9 back in 2015) would have boosted apps’ security, since it forces them to connect to the internet over HTTPS. Unfortunately, not everyone took advantage of the feature, and Google even released some codes that allowed developers to bypass ATS. If you were expecting to be protected by this extra layer of security in a few days’ time, though, you’d be sorely disappointed. Cupertino has decided to extend the deadline and give developers more time to prepare for the switch. In a post on the Apple Developer website, the company wrote:
“App Transport Security (ATS), introduced in iOS 9 and OS X v10.11, improves user security and privacy by requiring apps to use secure network connections over HTTPS. At WWDC 2016 we announced that apps submitted to the App Store will be required to support ATS at the end of the year. To give you additional time to prepare, this deadline has been extended and we will provide another update when a new deadline is confirmed.”
Apple doesn’t have a new deadline yet, but it promises another update when it has a date in mind.
When Amazon started shipping its latest Fire TV Stick with Alexa voice controls built in, the company also mentioned that a refreshed look was on the way for its streaming devices. Well, Amazon tells TechCrunch that update is starting to roll out today. If you have a Fire TV or Fire TV Stick, you’ll soon notice that “cinematic experience” the company promised which includes more trailers and screenshots from movies and shows.
The biggest change is that the menu has been relocated from the left side of the screen and situated across the top. Another key tweak is that Amazon will show you a lot more options than just its own content, providing recommendations from other streaming services like HBO and Netflix. Of course, the online retailer will still push its original shows and movies up top. Speaking of Netflix, navigating through the library of apps and content on the Fire TV works similar to that streaming repository. You can browse what’s available by scrolling horizontally through the menus.
In addition to the new layout, Amazon is adding the ability for you to assign a PIN to access certain apps alongside parental controls. There are also accesibility improvements for users with hearing and visually impaired.
Amazon’s Echo line already has a truckload of skills that tap into Alexa’s ability to lend a hand with tasks, and the company adds new ones on a what seems like a weekly basis. This week, Google announced Netflix support for its connected Home speaker through Chromecast alongside the ability to display images from Google Photos. It turns out that was just the beginning as Google revealed over 30 more actions for Home from third-party developers.
Using voice commands, you can try to find out why you feel crappy with WebMD, sort your to-do list with Todoist, order pizza from Domino’s and get news updates from the likes of The Wall Street Journal, NBC News, NPR and more. And those are just a few examples. The so-called Conversation Actions from dozens of companies will roll out over the coming weeks, but some are already available.
VentureBeat reports that this is the largest addition of actions since Home launched and there are now 35 third-party options total. 32 of those are available now. We were able to confirm that the collection of services are accessible inside the Google Home app.
The new features for Google Home follow the company’s announcement that it was opening up those Conversation Actions from its Assistant to other developers earlier this month. Of course, those tools play nice with the company’s Pixel phones, too. To get in on the actions, er, action, for the household gadget, head to the Services section of the Settings menu inside the Google Home app for Android and iOS.
A big part of current-gen gaming we just have to live with is spending time we could be playing waiting for things to download. Microsoft is looking to ease that burden with an update to Xbox One. With the latest version of the console’s operating system, the company says it increased download speeds 80 percent if you’re internet connection is faster than 100Mbps. If you’re on a slower connection that’s less than 100Mbps, the update should still boost game and app downloads by 40 percent.
Of course, Microsoft warns that exact figures will vary based on your home configuration and your ISP. Download speeds will also be slower when you’re playing a game as Xbox One prioritizes that action over any background activity. Speaking of background downloads, this update optimizes that process to withstand any intermittent connection issues.
Additional updates include a firmware refresh for the Xbox One wireless controller and tweaks that should make streaming music in the background more reliable across different apps. There are also the usual “general performance and stability improvements” where further details aren’t provided. To grab the update, head to Settings on the console and select “Console info & updates” from the System menu.
Source: Xbox Support
With so much to do around Christmas time, any app or website that can save you time and help you plough through that ‘to do’ list is always welcomed. Fancy outsourcing some of those projects? Here’s a few suggestions.
An app that writes your Christmas cards
Inkly lets you write and send real cards from your smartphone or tablet. Choose your Christmas card design; add a photo, if you choose; and take a photo of your handwritten message or write it straight on to your tablet with a stylus. Then choose the envelope, decide who you’re sending you cards to and Inkly prints it all out and sends it off. The app is free, but there is a charge for the cards and delivery. Still, it’ll save you a trip to the shops to buy the cards and the stamps.
Christmas gift lists
The Christmas Gift List Android app enables you to create gift lists, set a budget for each person you are buying for and mark the gifts as purchased as they are bought. So that you don’t repeat a gift the next year, it archives your gift lists once the new year rolls around. Santa’s Bag does a similar job on iOS devices.
No time to pick out your own Norwegian Spruce? Don’t worry, with Pines and Needles you can specify the height and type of tree and have it delivered to your living room. If you’re London-based they will even decorate it for you too. If you’re outside London, you can ask TaskRabbit to dress it for you.
Deck the halls… and the rest of the house
Do you fancy a Christmas light display to rival London’s Regent Street this year? Or, would you just like the interior of your home to look like a magazine Christmas at home spread. It’s time to bring in the professionals. The Christmas Decorators offer a nationwide decorating service and will cover everything from the wreath on the door, to the garland on the stairs. They will create a pretty amazing illuminated display outside your home too.
The Christmas food shop sorted
Don’t fancy negotiating a trolley through the aisles of a heaving supermarket to the piped out tune of Jingle Bells? Not a problem. At Riverford Organic you can order a full Christmas Dinner box for delivery. Their Christmas Dinner Box with Turkey and Trimmings includes festive veg, an organic turkey, pork and cranberry stuffing balls, pigs in blankets, cranberry sauce, mince pies, a Christmas pudding, clementines, oatcakes and a Cropwell Bishop stilton.
Christmas Dinner Under Control
Do you get in a tizz just thinking about all the preparation you need to do for Christmas dinner? The Perfect Christmas Dinner app for iOS provides expert guidance from the professional chefs at the renowned Ashburton Cookery School. There are over 25 video recipes that you can tap into, covering everything from creating canapes to preparing the turkey, delicious desserts and even drinks. Plus, there is a shopping list maker and menu list too.
You probably don’t trust your laptop’s battery life estimates, and that’s especially true if you happen to own the latest MacBook Pro. It’s supposed to last for up to 10 hours, but the estimated time can vary wildly depending on what’s running at any given moment. Apple has a very simple solution to that: get rid of the estimate entirely. The company has released macOS Sierra 10.12.2, which ditches the “time remaining” display from the menu bar. That’s not so hot if you depend on that figure to determine when you’ll need to recharge, but our TechCrunch colleagues understand that this might be necessary given evolving technology.
Reportedly, Apple has double-checked battery life on real-world MacBook Pros and believes that the battery is behaving properly. The problem stems from a combination of both modern Intel processors with the very nature of battery life estimates. An operating system can only calculate battery life based on what’s happening at any given moment, which is a problem when the Skylake-based chips in the new MacBook Pros have rapidly changing power states. You may be getting solid battery life in practice, but you won’t see that in the estimate if the processor is running at full tilt when you’re checking the menu bar.
There are other changes and fixes coming with this update. It tackles a serious graphics bug with newer MacBook Pros that triggered “visual artifacts,” to start with. Also, it’s clearer about what happens when you use iCloud storage syncing (which backs up your desktop and Documents folders) or Optimize Storage (removing files when backed up to iCloud) so that you’re not alarmed when files seemingly disappear. You should also see improved Bluetooth audio when using FaceTime or Siri, a better Auto Unlock experience and support for new installs of Windows 7 and 8 using Boot Camp. In short: even if you’re on a desktop Mac and don’t care about battery life, there are quite a few reasons to update.
When Apple replaced the physical function keys on the new MacBook Pro with a swipe-friendly Touch Bar, the company touted its ability to make edits with apps like Final Cut Pro and Photoshop a breeze. While the new laptop has been available for a few weeks now, today Adobe announced that its flagship photo-editing app is ready to play nice with the machine.
As part of an update to Photoshop that’s available now, Adobe’s custom support for the OLED touch panel means you’ll be able to use that space above the keyboard to help with adjustments to your image and design files. The company says in addition to giving you quick access to tools, it’s also handy for providing a contextual next step based on the task you’ve just completed. In other words, the app will display the item you’re likely to need next to keep your workflow moving along.
Adobe also says that the Touch Bar makes adjustments that can be cumbersome with a keyboard or mouse a bit more comfy. It’s easy to see how any behaviors that employ sliders would benefit from the integration. Touch Bar functionality inside Photoshop is divided into three sections: Layer Properties, Brushes and Favorites.
The Layer Properties tab will give you access to things like blend modes, scrubbing through the file’s history, placing Smart Objects, clipping layers and more. For Brushes, a slider allows you to adjust color, size, hardness, opacity and flow with just a finger and a swipe. Last but not least, Favorites brings the items that you use most to the Touch Bar so you can get at them quickly. Tools like full screen mode and flipping the canvas horizontal or vertical are examples of the options here.
Adobe explains that it will “continue to evolve” Touch Bar support, so perhaps we’ll see even more features down the road. For now, you can get started with what’s already here by updating to the latest version of Photoshop via Updates from the Help menu inside the app. When you need a break from work, Doom and a piano are waiting for you.
If you’ve ever thought that you’d rather browse Tinder profiles on your TV screen rather than swiping on your phone, you’re in luck. The company now has an Apple TV app that will allow you to just that. Thanks to the set-top box and its touch-friendly remote, you can swipe right, left and up while browsing for perspective matches on the biggest screen in your house in HD.
Tinder offers the scenarios where you would want to use a dating app on your TV as being able to take a look when phones aren’t allowed at the table or getting feedback from family. However, it’s probably best to wait until they’re not around to start looking for love, but what do I know. In addition to the swipe controls, Tinder Plus subscribers can also shake the Apple TV remote to rewind. If you’re ready to get started, the app is available for the streaming device now from the App Store.
Apple has showed off a number of uses for the newfangled MacBook Pro Touch Bar, including DJ and other music making controls. It also plays Doom, which is quite handy. When you need to do your best Elton John impression, there’s an app that can help with that. Appropriately named Touch Bar Piano, the software brings 128 different instruments to that touch panel above the laptop’s keyboard.
If you don’t happen to own the latest model, the free polyphonic piano app “does nothing useful on other Macs,” according to its developer Graham Parks. In addition to piano sounds, there’s a smattering of strings, drums, voices and more for you to make noise with using the tiny display. If you’re still a bit skeptical about the whole thing, you can see the app in action down below.
Via: FACT, Ask.Audio
Source: Touch Bar Piano