Global launch allows Skype use within browser
Outlook.com users across the world will be able to use Skype from within their browser, Microsoft has revealed. Previously tested with a small number of users in the US and UK, the service allows all users of the e-mail service to make video calls, audio calls, and send messages to other Skype users, all from within the Outlook.com inbox.
Mac owners get custom UI colors
Quark has released a major update to QuarkXPress, v10.1. The software adds several important features, such as 8,000X zoom, and dynamic guides. The latter appear automatically when objects align with others, have the same width and height, and/or have the same distance to several more objects.
New protocol should be cross platform, and apply to computers or mobile
Tablet and software creator Wacom has proposed that the drawing-tablet industry adopt a new standard -- what it is calling WILL (Wacom Ink Layer Language). The company claims that what the industry needs is "a universal and open standard for digital inking which will allow users to work across OS, hardware platforms and cloud services," and it believes that its effort will pave the way to greater collaboration and information sharing.
Company continues spreading iOS 7 aesthetics
Apple has revamped the look of its retail website to borrow cues from iOS 7, visitors note. This includes things like a flatter, less skeuomorphic design, more white space, and iOS-style blue buttons. The changes extend to individual store pages as well.
Font manager offers new typography options, more templates
Extensis has released a new update for Suitcase Fusion 5 today, featuring a wider font selection and organizational tools. The professional-grade font manager now includes additions that focus on generating design inspiration, such as a new "Fontspiration" panel, which showcases current typography trends. The panel features examples of real-world projects, as well as fonts that were popular in previous eras. Doubling the collection of "QuickComp" templates, users can experiment with a greater variety of fonts, and pair typefaces in print or Web templates.
Music videos given more prominence in related searches
Google has made two updates to search, for desktops as well as its Android search app. Web-based Google searches will now more prominently display YouTube videos for searches using musical terms, while the Android search app introduces a number of Google Now tweaks, with the option to set specific on-demand and TV providers in the search settings being the biggest change.
Search results proposal acceptance ends three-year antitrust investigation
The European Commission has settled with Google over its antitrust allegations for anti-competitive behavior in search. The tentative agreement between the search company and the regulator will see Google display the search results from competing services, among other proposals for promoting other companies, in order to put the three-year antitrust investigation to an end.
All users receive unique minute-long recap of Facebook lifetime
Facebook is celebrating ten years of operation, by providing its users a video-based compilation. The "Look Back" video is just over a minute long and is unique to each Facebook account, containing an assortment of most-liked photographs, status updates, and other events that are popular with friends, family, and acquaintances of the user.
Should open up many more iOS, Android, Chrome apps for casting
Google has released the finished and long-anticipated Google Cast Software Development Kit, needed for third-party developers wanting to add Chromecast support to apps. The package includes resources for iOS, Android, and websites in Chrome. Until now, Google has only worked with individual developers to expand Chromecast support.
Complaints of blocking legitimate websites answered with whitelist
The government of the United Kingdom is working to create a whitelist of websites mistakenly blocked by the country's new adult content filtering system. After complaints about the filter's flagging of sites relating to health, sex education, and drug issues, the whitelist is hoped to allow access to legitimate websites operated by charities and health organizations in the near future.
Korean regulator fines Google over 2010 Street View car Wi-Fi data harvesting
Google has received yet another fine over the Wi-Fi data collection by its fleet of Street View vehicles. The fine of 210 million won ($196,000) from the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) of South Korea is accompanied by an order for Google to delete any and all personal information the Street View cars received while it mapped and photographed roads in the country in 2009 and 2010.
Outage affected Gmail, Google+, Hangouts, Google Play
Google suffered an outage on its e-mail service that affected all users of Gmail, as well as affecting Google+, Hangouts, and Google Play. Starting at approximately 2pm Eastern Time today, the outage prevented Gmail users from accessing the service at all, instead presenting "Temporary Error (500)" message, though after 20 minutes, a number of users started to regain access to various affected services.
Includes SLI graphics, multicore optimizations
Pixelmator has released an important update of its namesake image editing software, v3.1, also codenamed Marble. The release is mainly geared toward supporting the 2013 Mac Pro, for instance enabling 16-bit-per-channel color, multicore optimizations, and the use of both of the Pro's graphics cards simultaneously. This should speed up rendering and various other tasks, offering what Pixelmator claims is "profoundly" better performance.
Motion graphics theme FrostyGlass now available for Final Cut Pro X
Factory FX has released FrostyGlass, a set of eight fully-customizable plugins for Final Cut Pro X that aim to enhance a project by simulating glass distortions. Including a filter effect and a theme and title generator, FrostyGlass creates glass distortion on top of one's video project.
Problem reproduced -- no Wacom supplied fix provides relief
Widespread reports are surfacing of some sort of incompatibility between Wacom's driver package, OS X 10.9 "Mavericks," and Adobe Creative Cloud products. Users are reporting serious lag between input and recognition, crashes from Creative Cloud, and extremely high CPU usage, often necessitating a reboot to regain system stability. As of yet, there is no official fix from Wacom, other than a reinstallation of the driver, which does not seem to fix the problem.
Two Chrome extensions pulled under new Chrome Web Store rules
Less than one month after it introduced a number of Chrome Web Store rule changes, Google has removed two Chrome extensions from its store for spamming. Add to Feedly and Tweet This Page were both excluded from the store after complaints emerged that they were serving up unwanted advertising to their users, shortly after the extensions were sold by their original developers to another company.
Frere-Jones claim 50 percent of the foundry is his, seeks $20 million
The eponymous founders of the Hoefler & Frere-Jones type foundry are likely to meet in court over the future of the foundry. Tobias Frere-Jones has sued Jonathan Hoefler for $20 million, claiming that Hoefler told him that he would be a 50 percent owner in the combined company when Frere-Jones signed on in 1999, and sold his portfolio of fonts allegedly worth $3 million to the company for $10.
T-Mobile expands reach of Early Termination payment scheme to more carriers
T-Mobile is expanding the reach of its Early Termination Fee (ETF) payment offer to cover more carriers, after seeing high transfers and more than 80,000 "breakup letters" published to social media. The carrier told Re/code that the plan, launched last week and pays up to $350 per line transferred to it, will now be extended to customers of US Cellular and 12 other smaller carriers. T-Mobile will also be expanding the number of handsets that can be traded in, and will also accept damaged phones, though at a lower level of credit.
Skype's iOS apps receive two-way HD calling, improved chat sync
Social messaging platform Skype has updated its iPhone and iPad apps with the release of Version 4.17 launched today. Users can message, voice or video call friends and family who are also on the service for free with Skype's service. Version 4.17 has added two-way HD video calls, supported on the iPhone 5s, iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display.
3D tech intended for refining previously-designed objects
Adobe has today launched several improvements to Photoshop CC for Creative Cloud subscribers. Perhaps the most significant is support for 3D printing; while the software isn't designed for creating objects from scratch, users can import files created in modeling tools or 3D scanners, apply colors and textures, and get automatic mesh repairs. Compatible file formats include OBJ, STL, 3DS, Collada, and KMZ.
Facebook news reader app for mobile allegedly close to completion
Facebook could be launching its Flipboard-style news aggregating app this month, according to a report. The app, known as "Paper" and rumored a number of times in recent months, will be a mobile-based news reader in a magazine format that is set to be separate from the usual Facebook News Feed, though it apparently shares a number of traits with that part of the social network.
Stars premiering Michael Bay-produced show one week before broadcast
A pirate drama by Starz will be taking the unusual step of premiering online one week before being broadcast. Black Sails, produced by Michael Bay, will be made available to view on January 18th through iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Xbox Video, the Maxim website and Xbox Live app, and the Machinima YouTube channel, according to Variety, with Comcast, DirecTV, Dish Network, Time Warner Cable, Cox, and Charter Communications also set to offer the show through alternative platforms.
Upgrade for Google Flight Search could be on the way
Google is planning to change the way passengers buy tickets for air travel, according to the head of an airline. Michael O'Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, claimed in an interview that the airline is working with the search firm, with Google said to be constructing a flight comparison site that sounds like an improved version of the company's existing Flight Search capabilities.
Testing of hands-free Beacon system expands
Transaction service PayPal has started testing a new web feature called In-Context Checkout, reports say. Normally, web-based PayPal transactions have to be completed at paypal.com. With the in-context code in place, choosing PayPal checkout at a retailer's website will simply conjure a pop-up, where billing and shipping information can be entered. At the moment only a handful of retailers have the option, but PayPal is promising that more vendors will adopt it in the first half of 2014.
Cloud storage service distances itself from hacking reports
A service outage endured by Dropbox over the weekend was caused by human error rather than malicious intent, the company has revealed. The service issues, which affected some users for close to 48 hours, stems from a mistake made during routine maintenance work, with the company distancing itself from suggestions that the outage was caused by hackers.
Facebook user claims not to have endorsed company, seeks $750
Facebook is being sued over apparent false "likes" being used in advertising on the social network. Anthony Ditirro has filed a class-action suit against Facebook in San Jose, for allegedly showing that users are endorsing products on the service to friends and acquaintances linked to the user, even if the claimed endorser did not actually "like" the associated Facebook page.
Gmail users can e-mail Google+ contacts without knowing address
Google is allowing Gmail users to send messages to contacts on Google+, in a new update to the e-mail service. Gmail now brings up a list of people listed in the user's Google+ circles when writing in the contact field, effectively allowing people to e-mail each other without being required to know the e-mail address of the potential recipient at all.
HTML5 now default across all platforms
Streaming video site Vimeo has launched a major redesign of its web player. The new one is said to start playback faster, resize smoothly, and sync preferences across multiple players within the same browser. People using Vimeo on Demand can choose to buy or rent videos from with the player, regardless of where the clip is currently playing.
Site includes unique TV Mode
Twitter has today launched a web version of Vine, its video snapshot-based social network. The new interface is located at vine.co, and lets visitors access feeds for themselves and others, where they can like, comment on, or share posts. The web interface should also make it easier to share content with friends, since people can simply copy and send the appropriate URLs.
Netflix trials single-stream, standard definition tier with some customers
Netflix is testing a possible new price plan for customers that do not require a HD stream. The new tier spotted by Adweek offers the user a single stream at standard definition for $6.99 per month, $1 cheaper than the normal two-stream standard and HD version typically offered by the service. Netflix has since confirmed its tests, advising "Not all people will see this option and it may not be something we ever offer generally."
Google warned of lack of time before European Commission decides fate
European Union antitrust officials have declared that Google's offer to modify its search results do not go far enough to settle complaints about anti-competitive behavior. A change of heart from what was said in October, the decision by the European Commission (EC) comes with a warning that it is short of time to offer a better solution, and could end up receiving fines of up to $5 billion.
Flame Painter 2.5 offers full 64-bit update, new effects
Escape Motions' Flame Painter program has received an update, offering a full 64-bit application with a variety of new tools. Flame Painter is a paint application for desktops that provides tools for creating original artworks with flame effects, intended for designers and enthusiasts alike. Version 2.5 of Flame Painter features new Blue and Glow effect filters, and a new Basic Brush for simple strokes. Users can now zoom up to 800 percent, have larger file dialogs, and show and hide dock panels.
Fails to block all adult sites, blocks public health resources
Adult content filters rolling out on the major Internet service providers (ISPs) in the United Kingdom are found to be a mix of ineffectual and over-effective, according to a report. The new filters, pushed for by Prime Minister David Cameron, are seemingly blocking access to useful health-related sites, while at the same time failing to block pornographic material.
British Airways allows passengers to use electronics throughout flight
British Airways has become the first European airline to allow the use of smartphones and tablets throughout a flight. The change in policy at the airline after the European Aviation Safety Agency's (EASA) rule alterations mirrors that of American counterparts after the FAA made a similar decision. While passengers will be able to use mobile devices from terminal to terminal, Reuters reports that devices are still required to go into "Flight Mode" for the journey itself.
LumenRT 4.4 update adds improved export capabilities
E-on Software's LumenRT 4 Studio has received an update, offering improved exporting for LumenRT plugin platforms, including CityEngine, MicroStation, Revit and Sketchup. LumenRT 4 Studio is a comprehensive system for terraforming three-dimensional models and designs, aimed to deliver realistic natural elements for videos, images and immersive experiences.
Performance beats QuarkXPress 9
Quark has introduced a maintenance update for its QuarkXPress publishing software. Version 10.0.2 primarily focuses on performance and stability improvements. The release is claimed to represent the first v10.0 build to beat QuarkXPress 9 in many performance categories, though the company admits that panning/scrolling speed is one exception that will be resolved early in 2014.
Video ads on Facebook will automatically play silently
Facebook will be rolling out video advertisements to the News Feed of its users this week. A statement from the social network about the new ads effectively confirms an earlier report from the Wall Street Journal, with both desktop users and mobile device owners expected to see the new advertising units with automatically-playing video on their screens in the coming days.
Pebble updates software with alarm settings, notification controls
Pebble has updated the software for its smartwatch, adding a new "Do Not Disturb" setting. As well as allowing wearers to designate a period of time when notifications are not displayed, the update adds changes to the way it handles alarms, including adding multiple alarms, toggling them on and off, and a new "Snooze Alarm." Added controls for notifications, improved iOS performance, and a number of bug fixes are also included.
Gmail image change accompanied by Android app updates
Gmail users will no longer have to manually permit images to load for messages, in a new update rolling out to accounts from today onwards. Messages with images will automatically load by default rather than requesting the user to accept the downloads, though users will still have the option to set it back to permission-based loading if they wish.
Yahoo Mail issue claimed to be harder to fix than initially believed
Yahoo has acknowledged that a number of users were not able to access Yahoo Mail for part of this week, with the company apologizing for the outage on the official blog. The mail downtime commenced on Monday, with the company claiming to have fixed the issue for the majority of affected users last night, though support teams are apparently still working on some loose ends.
New development company aims to streamline production of manuscripts
A pair of ex-Pixar employees have formed 180g -- a software development company that has now released an e-book publishing tool, Vellum. The new OS X software package allows authors and small publishers to easily create, modify, and publish elegant e-books compatible with the three major US platforms: Apple's iBookstore, Amazon's Kindle, and Barnes & Noble's Nook.
Amazon updates Cloud Drive Photos for iOS with video support
The Amazon Cloud Drive Photos app for iOS has received an update, bringing support for videos. Appearing on iOS months after Android, TechCrunch reports that the app allows for videos up to 2GB or 20 minutes in length to be uploaded, with the Cloud Photos Auto-Save also updated to allow existing videos on an iPhone or iPad to be automatically uploaded to the service. Other tweaks include a "large upload mode" that disables the iOS lock screen to let uploads finish, and an indicator in the Settings screen showing the usage of Cloud Drive by media.
Scans, converts documents into numerous formats
ABBYY has released FineReader Pro, an OCR tool for the Mac. The software pulls images from cameras and dedicated scanners and converts the content into text files. During the import process, FineReader can apply pre-processing options to fix distortions; an Image Editor lets users manually correct elements like contrast, noise, motion blur, and split pages.
Archives of e-mails, messages, appointments downloadable from Google
Google has finally allowed Gmail and Google Calendar users to download a copy of all data on the services. E-mails and messages from Gmail, along with appointments and other notices within Google Calendar, can now be requested and pulled from Google servers by users, providing an offline backup of their data as well as allowing it to be imported into other apps and services.
Skitch iOS update restores PDF reading, markup support, web capture
The iOS version of screen capture and markup app Skitch (free) has been updated, mostly restoring features that were previously removed. Users can now once again open and read PDFs in the program, as well as markup and re-save a PDF (the latter feature requires an Evernote Premium account, however). Crop mode has been removed and various bugs fixed, and web capture has been added back in. Evernote, which bought Skitch two years ago, has dealt with continuing criticism over the company's changes to the program, which was originally created to quickly capture, annotate and share screenshots. Evernote Premium accounts cost $5 per month or $45 per year.
Natural-media software works with photo-editing apps or as standalone
Photo-manipulation software maker Alien Skin has debuted a new version of its natural-media tool Snap Art, now at version 4.0. The update features a redesigned user interface and significant improvements in speed, and now requires OS X Mountain Lion or later for Mac and Windows 7 or newer for Windows users. The program, which can turn photographs into drawings or paintings emulating human artists in a wide variety of styles and media, is available as a stand-alone application or as a photo-editor plug-in.
Pioneer release includes specialized SuperHero, Frontier variants
Following up on the release of flagship xStream and Infinite editions, e-on Software has shipped the Esprit, Studio, Complete, and Pioneer versions of Vue 2014, its scenery rendering software. As its name implies, Complete is intended to be a completely self-contained scenery tool. Studio is focused on vegetation, while Esprit is more basic still. Pioneer is a free, feature-limited edition of the software, meant to introduce people to concepts and the platform; images it produces include logos and watermarks.
Visa takes on PayPal, Google Wallet with online payments system
Visa has launched its online digital wallet in parts of Europe, one it initially announced in April last year, as the company tries to take on PayPal and Google Wallet. V.me by Visa is able to store payment details for multiple cards, which can then be used to make payments with retailers online instead of providing debit or credit card details.
Incoming YouTube updates to fight against bad links, impersonation, ASCII art
Google will be making its first major changes to YouTube comments since the company connected the system to Google+. An apparent increase in spam comments on the video streaming service is pushing Google into altering its spam detection system, with the proposed changes likely to affect current protests on YouTube about the Google+ changes.