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Posts tagged ‘apps’

26
Nov

VLC media player now supports 360-degree videos


VLC, the app that lets you play basically any video format on practically any platform, is about to add support for a whole new medium. The company just unveiled a technical preview that enables its desktop app to play 360-degree videos, so folks can watch their dizzying footage those on their computers. The preview is now available for Windows and Mac machines, and the full version will arrive with VLC 3.0 , which is expected at the end of the month.

VLC’s creators VideoLan teamed up with 360-degree camera maker Giroptic to develop its system, which supports can display photos, panoramas and videos. You can use your mouse and keyboard to control your point of view in the footage. VideoLan says it will make these features available on its mobile apps as well, and let users navigate the clips by moving their accelerometer-carrying devices around. It also said it will support VR headsets such as the Oculus Rift, Google’s Daydream and the HTC Vive in 2017. The app is also getting 360-degree audio support “including head tracking headphones,” says the company, although it’s not clear when that will happen.

Since it’s still just a technical preview, those who are itching to try VLC 360 out should temper their expectations as it might be buggy. Even so, it’s clear that VLC is making a big push into enabling VR experiences across all its supported platforms, which should be good news for its large base of tech-savvy fans.

Source: VideoLan

22
Nov

Moto Z phones are Daydream ready thanks to Android Nougat update


Motorola promised to upgrade its Moto Z and Moto Z Force phones to Nougat before the end of the year and today the company revealed that it’s rolling out the update before the end of November. Motorola says the Android 7.0 update will being rolling out globally this week and it delivers a big feature to the phones: Daydream. That’s right, with the addition of Nougat the Moto Z and Moto Z Force are ready to take advantage of Google’s VR platform.

What’s more, Motorola’s Moto Z duo are the first phones other than Google’s own Pixel devices to be certified as Daydream-ready. Back when the virtual reality platform as first announced, Google mentioned that existing handsets likely wouldn’t make the cut. The Moto Z and Moto Z Pure were revealed just after Daydream’s debut and both house a Snapdragon 820 processor to help with the immersive visuals on mobile. Of course, the new VR features that Nougat delivers to Motorola’s modular phones mean you can use with with Google’s $79 Daydream View headset.

Source: Motorola

16
Nov

Pinterest highlights curated content with new Explore tool


After an update last week attempted to keep us all organized, Pinterest has now given its users a new way to get inspired. Following the current trend of apps pushing curated content, Pinterest has jumped on the bandwagon with its new Explore section.

A lot of the features in Explore already existed on Pinterest; today’s update is all about putting them in one place. Upon clicking Explore, you’ll be greeted by a new series of personal recommendations every day. These featured picks are either based on your Pinterest browsing history to date, or if you fancy a change, these can be swapped with different topics.

Rather than just showing you the small scope of topics you’re interested in, Explore gives you a glimpse into what’s currently trending across Pinterest. If you’re after tips on a more specific subject, selecting a topic will instantly show you its trending boards too.

Explore won’t just be showing you algorithmically sourced content from other Pinterest users. This new section will also compile featured picks from a mixture of brands, influencers and Pinterest employees. Yet that’s not the only major change brought by this update, as Pinterest now supports native, auto-playing videos into the platform. Among these videos are of course the inevitable ads, with companies like American Express and Sony Pictures already utilizing the platform.

Source: Pinterest

16
Nov

Todoist uses AI to suggest deadlines for your tasks


The folks at Doist, the company behind the popular productivity app Todoist, regularly add features to help boost its users’ workflows. After tasking Alexa with the ability to add items to lists last month, the company has an update for its stable of apps that will help you stay on top of your obligations with the help of AI. The latest version of Todoist includes Smart Schedule, a feature that analyzes factors like task urgency, how you’ve completed items in the past and your upcoming workload before suggesting a due date for an item.

Doist says it researched how users postpone tasks in what it calls a “snowball,” constantly pushing things to the next day or week until their to-do list is packed with dozens of items. This editor is certainly guilty of that. Once you hit a certain point, that list becomes much less effective in helping you prioritize your day or ensuring that you’re completing tasks in a timely fashion.

To help keep the amount of things in your Todoist at a manageable sum, Smart Schedule uses AI to help plan your day and week. What’s more, it can help you reschedule those items you don’t get around to finishing on time. With Smart Schedule any overdue tasks can be rescheduled as a group and all the stuff that hasn’t been given a due date can be slotted in where it fits best. And yes, you’ll always have the option of accepting, editing or rejecting the timeline the app suggests.

In addition to your work habits, task urgency and upcoming schedule, Todoist Smart Schedule also factors in things like minor items you might be able to take care of over the weekend. Based on how you cross off items in the app, the new tool estimates when you stop completing tasks and will no longer suggest that day as a due date. Last but not least, Todoist will let you set and track goals in terms of how many things you want to get done in a day. The app can suggest due dates to help you meet that mark.

The new Smart Schedule feature is available inside Todoist for Android, iOS, Mac, Windows and the web starting today. If your device hasn’t alerted you to the update yet, head over to your respective app store to nab the latest version.

Source: Todoist

16
Nov

Shazam for Mac leaves the mic on after the app is turned off


Shazam brought its music-searching chops to the Mac over two years ago, but former NSA hacker and Mac security guru Patrick Wardle revealed this week that the app has a big flaw. With the version of the app for Apple desktops, the software continued listening even after it was turned off. That’s right, the microphone on a Mac was still hot even after Shazam performed its duties and users flipped the switch. The company says it isn’t saving anything extra, processing your conversations or storing what it overhears on its servers.

According to Shazam’s vice president of global communications James Pearson, this is a feature and not a bug. If you’ll recall, the always on nature of the app was touted during its announcement, a tool that would continue to run the company’s identification methods in the background if you allowed it to do so. However, even with the software is specifically toggled “off,” the mic is still on and it’s still listening. Shazam only does this inside the Mac app, so if you’re using it elsewhere, other versions don’t work the same way.

“If the mic wasn’t left on, it would take the app longer to both initialize the mic and then start buffering audio,” Person explained to Motherboard. He went on to say that if the microphone wasn’t on, the user experience would suffer, causing users to “miss out” on whatever song they wanted to get more info on.

So, what if a hacker wanted to get their hands on the data that would allow them to listen in from your Mac? Well, Shazam claims that can’t happen. The company’s chief product officer Fabio Santini told CNET that the method the app uses to identify songs uses “fingerprints” or pieces of the audio that are then matched to other “fingerprints” in its database.

“Those points can’t be reverse-engineered to reconstruct original audio,” Santini said.

Never say never, Shazam. In response to this week’s revelation, the company plans to “address” the issue in an upcoming update, but there’s no word on when that might happen. Again, Shazam says that there’s no risk to users with the app’s current configuration. Wardle argues that a piece of malware could be engineered to pull audio from a Mac’s microphone without having to turn it on.

“We could get creative an easily design a piece of malware that steals this recoding without having to initiate a recording itself (which would likely generate an alert),” Wardle explained.

Via: CNET

Source: Motherboard, Objective-See

14
Nov

Microsoft will release Visual Studio for the Mac


If you needed any further proof that Microsoft is welcoming cross-platform development with open arms, you just got it. In a prematurely revealed blog post, the company has revealed that it’s working on Visual Studio for Mac — yes, one of the mainstays of the Windows world is headed Apple’s way. This isn’t really intended for Windows development (you’d need Boot Camp or a virtual machine to run your creations), but you can write Android, iOS and Mac apps (thanks to Xamarin) as well as server software through .NET Core. And importantly, Mac and Windows users can share projects. You won’t have to convert your work just to make sure that everyone in your team can use it.

You’ll get to download a preview edition of Visual Studio for Mac sometime during Microsoft’s Connect() conference, which kicks off November 16th. It’s not certain when you’ll see a finished version, but the timing of the preview likely puts the polished release sometime in 2017.

The Mac version may seem odd at first blush. Wouldn’t this discourage developers from writing on or for Windows? However, it’s more logical in the context of Microsoft’s “mobile first, cloud first” strategy. If you’re already building apps on a Mac, you might as well build them in a tool that makes porting to Windows easier — and Microsoft would rather you write for its cloud platform on a Mac than risk losing you to a rival offering. The Redmond crew no longer benefits greatly from making you buy a Windows PC to write code, and the new Visual Studio reflects that reality.

Via: The Verge

Source: Microsoft (cached)

12
Nov

Samsung: Please, somebody, make mobile apps for Tizen


Samsung is eager to get developers to build applications for its Tizen smartphones. In an effort to drive up interest, the company has created the Tizen Mobile App Incentive Program, which will offer $9 million in cash prizes from February through October of 2017. According to Samsung, devs with apps that end up in the top 100 chart can earn $10,000 per app — definitely not a bad way to lure people in. Those who want to participate in the program can register starting in “early” January.

While Samsung obviously wouldn’t admit to it, it’s easy to wonder whether the company is doing this as a reaction to Google making its own phones. Because let’s face it, without the Note 7 around, the Pixel and Pixel XL are the Android handsets to beat. Sure, Google’s never said it plans to leave mobile partners behind, but it still makes sense for Samsung to want to further invest on its own ecosystem.

Either way, if you’re a developer who wants to give it a shot, the tech giant says target devices are the Samsung Z1, Samsung Z2 and Samsung Z3, as well as other undisclosed Tizen smartphones expected to launch next year.

Via: VentureBeat

Source: Samsung

12
Nov

iBooks StoryTime app narrates children’s stories on your Apple TV


To encourage parents and kids to read together, Apple has debuted a new app for tvOS. The iBooks StoryTime app features “Read-Aloud” tool that narrates books and flips pages automatically. For the times when you’d rather read to your child yourself, you can turn the feature off and turn to the next page by swiping with the Apple TV remote.

Selections include books with Sesame Street characters and stories from other children’s favorites like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. You can purchase iBooks from any Apple device and the Read-Aloud stories will sync automatically in the library on your Apple TV. iBooks StoryTime for tvOS is free and it comes with Dora’s Big Buddy Race Read-Along Storybook at no extra charge so you can test drive the app without having to hand over any funds.

Via: The Verge

Source: App Store

12
Nov

Apple’s iOS support app surfaces in the Netherlands


Reports of an Apple support app began making the rounds a year ago and now it looks like the company may be close to an official launch. The software is now available in the Dutch App Store, but our editors have confirmed the switch hasn’t been flipped for iOS users in the US, UK or Hong Kong. We’ve reached out to Apple for more information on availability and we’ll update this post if we hear back.

The app serves up product information and tips to help with any minor issues. It also helps you schedule a repair appointment at an Apple Store or with an authorized third-party who can assist with a more serious problem. There’s also the ability to chat, email or schedule a call with a support technician. You can view your recent support history to keep track of things as well.

What’s more, the Apple Support app also lists all the devices tied to your account. If you’re not sure of an exact model number and other information someone will need to help you, you have easy access to those details with this new iOS software. The app will also help you find answers and articles that are specific to the products you own, which will hopefully cut down on time spent searching for a fix.

Via: TechCrunch

Source: App Store (Netherlands)

11
Nov

The OnePlus 3 gets its first taste of Android Nougat this month


Watching Android Nougat make its way to phones Google didn’t have a hand in making has been, well, a little excruciating. Some major players are getting the update out first, but now it looks like the upstarts at OnePlus are next in line. Brian Yoon, the startup’s head of software, confirmed to Engadget that a Nougat beta “community” build would be ready for the OnePlus 3 this month. Even better: once all the kinks have been ironed out, Nougat will be pushed out over-the-air to all OnePlus 3s by the end of the year. Not a bad way to ring in the holidays, right?

Yoon also confirmed that older devices like the OnePlus 2 will be updated to Nougat as well, though there isn’t a firm timeframe set for that yet.

The company’s push to bring Nougat to its phones comes after a pretty dramatic internal restructuring. Earlier this year, OnePlus leadership merged the teams working on HydrogenOS (their software for OnePlus devices in China) and OxygenOS (their software for everywhere else). It was a smart, and ultimately necessary move — OnePlus hasn’t had the best reputation where speedy software updates are concerned, and their users were vocal in their frustration. By combining software teams, the company hoped to marshall its resources more effectively and ultimately just get stuff done faster.

So far, it seems to be working — word of OnePlus’ Nougat update plans come just days after much bigger companies announced their own. LG was first off the line with a Nougat-powered phone, and followed up just a few days ago to push the update to its flagship G5. Then came Samsung, which made the update available to S7/Edge owners through its Galaxy Beta program very shortly after LG made its move. While it’s heartening to see Nougat finally making the rounds, here’s hoping the pace picks up: it’s almost time for the Android 7.1 update to take its turn in the spotlight.

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