Google adds Send Money option to Gmail in United Kingdom
Google is adding the Send Money option to Gmail in the United Kingdom. Originally available to US users since 2013, the option allows users to attach funds to an outbound email by selecting the £ symbol, which can also be used to request money, with funds transferred between users via Google Wallet. The feature is rolling out to all Gmail users in the UK over the age of 18 in the coming weeks.
Source code mandated to be made available for inspection, other onerous rules
At the end of last year, the Chinese government approved a 22-page set of regulations for the sale of computer equipment to Chinese banks, but that will ostensibly apply to all enterprise sales. The rules require foreign companies to turn over source code, submit to audits, and build "back doors" into hardware and software so that the government can monitor devices. The new rules are expected to be the first in a series to be introduced across the next few months.
Vulnerability found in Silent Text app included with BlackPhone
A flaw in a security-focused Android smartphone's software caused it to be susceptible to attack, according to a security researcher. A now-patched vulnerability in an app included on the BlackPhone allowed attackers to read encrypted messages, contacts stored on the smartphone, and to also remotely control device functions.
You'll want to use PDFs more when you've got one of these
Right, here's the thing: by the time we're done here, you really must own PDFpen for Mac. It's just a question of which version -- and it's a more complicated question than it might be. For while there's now a new version 7 and it introduces some excellent features, it introduces them in two editions -- PDFpen and PDFpen Pro -- yet its very best abilities are already right there in version 6. Plus, there is the iPad version which we've already said we rate very highly.
what's wrong with my MBP?
Yesterday, one Dedicated MacNNer turned to the MacNN forums, looking for help figuring out some graphical problems with their 15-inch MacBook Pro from 2011. Also yesterday, Mac Elite "jeff k" was asking fellow forum-members how to get images off of an iPhone after having some trouble transferring photos.
$150 off Dell 27-inch LED monitor
Save $150 on the Dell 27-inch LED 1080p monitor right now at Staples.com. It was $350, but has been discounted to $200 after a variety of instant savings are applied. That's around $70 less than the next-lowest price. This monitor features a 27-inch display, 1080p resolution, a contrast ratio of 1000:1, a 6ms response time, and it is backed by a one-year warranty on parts and labor from Dell.
Upgrades Time Machine with iCloud Drive browsing
Simultaneous with the launch of iOS 8.1.3, Apple has also released the finished version of OS X 10.10.2. As anticipated, the one feature addition is the ability to browse iCloud Drive items from within Time Machine. Elsewhere, the update is dedicated solely to squashing bugs, such as Wi-Fi disconnects, webpages loading too slowly, and various security and stability problems in Safari.
Allows viewing, dismissing iOS notifications, sharing files and links
Pushbullet has introduced a native Mac client for its namesake notification and file/link sharing service. When used in tandem with the company's updated iOS app, the software can not only display iPhone and iPad notifications on a Mac, but be used to dismiss them without picking up the mobile device. More significantly, users can copy and paste between platforms, push links, or download and open exchanged files.
Video on Twitter allows for clips to be shared without using Vine
Twitter has started to add some features it hinted at last November to its mobile apps. Rolling out slowly, users will be able to send Direct Messages to groups of people for the first time, while those who typically post videos to the micro-blogging service will benefit from being able to upload video clips directly to Twitter from within the app, without using a secondary service.
Pandora's iOS app receives redesign, new mini-player
Music discovery app Pandora has announced an update to its iOS app, featuring a new design and additional components. Pandora allows users to create personalized music stations that play their preferred music. The latest version (v5.7) offers a refreshed design that improves the ease of shaping a station, including a new Personalization icon for quick access to one's history, and being able to "un-thumb" a song previously marked "up" or "down" by re-tapping the Thumb icon.
Unexpectedly handy iOS addition to the Alfred 2 application launcher
When we recently reviewed Alfred 2 for Mac -- it was a rave. We noted how it was the perfect app to feature in a Hands On piece because that's the point: just about anything you can do on your Mac, Alfred 2 lets you do from the keyboard. It's not the only application that does this, but it does it very well, and is a true boon for getting things done. So much so that the application has been around and continuously developed for many years, just always with this hands-on idea. Until now.
EVGA launches Torq X5L, X5, X3 gaming mice
EVGA has revealed the Torq X5, X5L, and X3 gaming mice to their range, alongside its existing Torq X10. Featuring customizable RGB LEDs, onboard storage for five profiles, and eight programmable buttons using Omron switches, the mice ship in four different models, with the standard X5 and X3 having 6,400 dpi and 4,000 dpi optical sensors respectively, while the X5L uses 8,200 dpi laser sensor. The new collection starts from $40, rising up to $60.
Neat way of keeping a log of hours worked, though setting up is weak
[Updated with correction for program authorization] This is you: you may be no good at the money side of anything. Unless you're an accountant, in which case we apologize. Everyone else, though, most especially anyone who works freelance, or in a one-man or one-woman company, often struggles with the financial side -- because the money part is not primarily why you got into business. Hopefully you'll be earning lots, but you started your business because you wanted to do what that business does, and you'd rather be your own boss and risk failure than do some other kind of work to make somebody else wealthy. Consequently, your interest and focus is on the job. Somehow, you have to also keep an eye on the money -- and that's where TaskTime4 comes in.
Update should also fix Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Mail security problems
[Updated with claims about Thunderstrike fix] Apple has seeded a new beta of OS X 10.10.2 to its workers -- build 14C109 -- that includes release notes explaining the update's major changes. The most significant may be the addition of iCloud Drive browsing within Time Machine, which should let people track related changes and find items that were previously stored in the cloud. Apple has also made a number of fixes though, most notably solving a Spotlight vulnerability that automatically loaded remote content in Mail messages.
All previous versions vulnerable, attacks on un-updated machines seen in wild
Adobe has again had to issue an update to the browser plug-in version of Flash due a critical flaw in the program that allows remote attackers to take over un-updated Macs or PCs, the latter running either Windows or Linux. The company urges users to update to the latest version, first issued on Friday, that patches the problem -- however, all previous versions should be considered at risk, and there are not yet any Chrome browser or standalone updaters available.
MacNN and Electronista Deals for January 23, 2015
[Updated Sunday with more deals!] Welcome to the latest edition of Friday Deals, the post where we search for great deals on hardware, software, gadgets, and other items for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. As per normal, the prices for offers listed are correct at the time of posting, but may change in the meantime, so check before buying. Remember to check this post in the future, as more deals will be added to the list throughout the weekend.
Powerful, hugely customisable application launcher for Mac
It's only right and proper to review Alfred 2 in a column called Hands On, because that's its entire point: with this installed, you can do just about anything on your Mac without ever once taking your fingers off the keyboard. As much as the mouse and the trackpad changed the world, every time you use them you are losing time. Yes, it's probably only about a second, but that's enough: your concentration moves to where-is-the-mouse and then where-is-the-cursor before it can get back to the work at hand. With Alfred 2, your fingers will remember keyboard shortcuts like muscle memory, and you will feel you are hugely faster at everything.
Extremely good watermarking app for all platforms
This is impressive. Watermarking your photographs so that at least you have your name on them if they get used online is not precisely the most thrilling job in the world, but iWatermark+ comes pretty close to making it enjoyable. There are limits: you'd rather be creating the images than sitting around putting copyright notices on them, but that's the thing about iWatermark+: it does what it does so quickly, and so well, that you can get back to your proper job sooner.
Thorough online and anti-malware security – if you want that kind of thing
Look, it's not that Macs are completely free of risk, but we're not running Windows here. One of the advantages of our platform of choice is that it isn't so riddled with viruses, that there aren't so many malicious applications that you need third-party security software just to be able to sleep at night and work in the day. Macs currently face no known virus threats, and almost no malware (apart from a recent scourge of "adware" that attacks both Mac and Windows web browsers, and the ongoing issues with Flash and Java). So what's the point of a OS X "anti-virus" program like Kaspersky Internet Security?
Latest Windows Insider preview build of Windows 10 available to download
Microsoft has made the latest version of its Windows 10 Technical Preview available to download by the participants of the Windows Insider program. The update introduces some of major features shown off during this week's Windows 10 event, with the Spartan browser and the Xbox One game streaming expected to arrive in Insider builds closer to launch.
Mac Pro update in 2015, iPad tips and more
The updated Mac Pro has now been available for purchase for a little over a year, and one Fresh-Faced Recruit started a discussion this week in the MacNN forums, asking when we might expect an update, as he is considering buying one. Today, the conversation continues in the thread titled "signs your iMac is on its last legs".
Third exploit may have already been patched
OS X 10.10.2, still in beta, fixes a pair of zero-day exploits uncovered by Google's Project Zero, reports say. The Project Zero team has newly-published data relating to three OS X vulnerabilities, in accordance with a 90-day disclosure policy; Apple was informed of them in October. One is believed to have already been fixed in OS X Yosemite as of January 8, but in theory the remaining two could be used to attack v10.10.1 users.
Gateway OS X and Windows product expandable with in-app purchases
Avid today unveiled Pro Tools First, a free version of the company's Pro Tools software suite that offers many of the same music creation capabilities used by top artists and recording studios worldwide. Built upon the Avid MediaCentral Platform, Pro Tools First is is intended as a gateway to the full package, and usable by beginners and experienced music producers alike.
Aspyr ships OS X Mac App Store version of Sim City: Complete Edition
Aspire has revealed that the latest installment of Sim City is available to purchase on the Mac App Store. Sim City: Complete Edition contains the expanded core game, Sim City: Cities of Tomorrow, Heroes and Villains, plus the Amusement Park, Airship, Heroes and Villains, French, British and German City sets. Sim City: Complete Edition is an exclusive bundle to the Mac App Store, and is available now for $40. MacNN is working on a review.
Full upgrade to Windows 10 not available for Windows RT devices
Owners of the Microsoft Surface will not receive the full upgrade to Windows 10, but will still benefit from some updates, a report claims. While Microsoft will be making the next version of its operating system available to systems running Windows 7, 8, and 8.1, including the Surface Pro range, the Windows RT-based Surface will be missing out.
Good entry-level app that makes the basics easy and fast
It's harder to make podcasts than you might imagine. No, strike that: it's easy to make bad podcasts, to make the kind of audio that makes grown NPR and BBC radio producers sob and listeners disappear. What's harder is to make anything worth listening to, and that's chiefly a mix of your talent and your technology. The new Opinion Podcast Recorder & Editor app won't make a scrap of difference to your talent -- except that it will let you concentrate on getting better, because it sets out to make the technical side of podcasts simple. It aims to be the one place you record your podcast, edit it, and then distribute it.
DJ tool adds Spotify, better MIDI support
Thanks to numerous technological advances over the past 40 years, the tools -- and skills -- needed to cut and mix music together in a live environment has been drastically reduced. What used to require multiple record decks, crossfaders, and not to mention a large library of vinyl records, has been reduced down to a single piece of software that can run on a laptop. Algoriddim, a company that has become well known for its iOS DJ apps, recently released a new Pro version of its desktop app Djay. Built specifically for OS X, Djay Pro takes full advantage of 64-bit processing, multi-core track analysis, and Retina displays, but does it do so in a way that is accessible to anyone? We have spent the last few weeks digging around the app to find out.
Win a copy of Audio Hijack 3
Recently, audio software maker Rogue Amoeba released a major update for their audio recording title, now called Audio Hijack 3. One very enthusiastic member of our staff just finished his hands-on review of this latest update, and had a lot of good things to say about it. We have also received three redemption codes to give away to our readers.
Contextual note-taking app integrates audio, video, and images with manual notes
Back in October, we took a look at AudioNote, a document creation tool from Luminant Software designed to synchronize notes and audio. An additional contribution to the note-taking category that Luminant offers is Note Studio, which builds upon Audionote's strengths by adding video, web, PDF, and subject-organization capabilities. Most people have at least some grievances attached to the task of note-taking, and this software aims to simplify the ordeal by integrating source material (audio, video, etc.) within the note making process, and the final result. Priced at $20 -- four times the present cost of Audionote -- is Note Studio worth shelling out more for the extra features?
Excellent iOS note-taking app is equally good on Mac
It's not like there's a shortage of note-taking apps on either iOS or Mac: however, it is particularly good to see the familiar stubby-pencil icon of Notability on Mac because it's a boon to know your notes are with you everywhere. Although if you're a die-hard Evernote fan, currently thinking about reading a different review, hang on just one sec: The most important reason to use Notability is how it feels as you write in it. However, it also comes with a killer feature -- but it's a feature that specifically kills your desire to use Evernote.
Ways to save power can return you to 'all-day' battery life
You've got to hand it to Apple. We were in an Apple Store, trying to decide between an iPhone 6 and a 6 Plus, as you do, and naturally a salesman came over. We mentioned that one thing that's really drawing us to the Plus is the battery life -- and you know what would have then happened in any other store selling any other phone. Of course the salesman would have immediately evangelized that feature. He'd somehow make it sound magical, how long you can go without charging the phone and yet, simultaneously, sold us some extra battery pack. Except this was Apple, and the guy didn't do any of that. Instead he asked us how long we were able to go without recharging our current iPhone, he tested our battery, and then he talked us through how to make it last longer.
App for managing store loyalty cards, gift cards no longer available for download
Amazon has quietly pulled an Android app for a service it launched half a year ago. The Amazon Wallet app, launched in July last year and previously available on Google Play and the Amazon Appstore, is now no longer available to download, suggesting that the app failed to make as much of an impact as the online retail giant anticipated.
Major update for already-superb audio recording app
When Audio Hijack 3 was announced, one of us actually squealed in delight. It wouldn't be right of us to mock him, but you can. In fairness, many people who had heard of the software -- and certainly every one who had used it -- was pleased too. For this is one of those applications that isn't just a regular part of your toolbox, it's one that reminds you every time why it is just so much handier working on a Mac than a PC.
Mail Drop, Air Drop supported in latest update; many features improved
On Wednesday, Apple released a major update to its flagship digital audio workstation program, Logic Pro X. Not unlike the fictional band Spinal Tap, the main focus in the new version 10.1 is a significant change in Drummers, bringing 10 new options covering more styles, particularly for dance and electronic music. In addition to the extra styles, the sound quality has been upgraded, controls have been re-worked, and the Drum Machine Designer plug-in has been revamped.
Xbox One will stream gameplay to Windows 10 devices
Microsoft's gaming ambitions will involve a new app for Windows 10, among other items, Xbox chief Phil Spencer has revealed. The Xbox app will be available on every PC and tablet running Windows 10, providing not only the usual social features already offered to Xbox One users, but also the Game DVR video creation and sharing function.
Bluetooth drops from testing focus
Apple is now seeding a sixth beta of OS X 10.10.2,, listed as build 14C106a. It follows just less than a week after the fifth release, 14C99d. As before, testing efforts are being directed toward Wi-Fi, Mail, and VoiceOver, though Bluetooth has apparently been dropped from the list. A version of the latest beta has also been made available to public testers who previously signed up for the Yosemite beta.
At today's Microsoft Windows 10 event, Windows Phone Program chief Joe Belifiore officially revealed the refresh of Microsoft-supplied browsers, with the previously rumored Spartan browser effort. The new browser, named after the company's hero of the Halo series, includes web page annotation and sharing, full PDF integration into the browser, and a baked-in implementation of Microsoft's Cortana "Personal Digital Assistant" technology.
Free upgrade to Windows 10 offered to previous versions for one year after launch
The next iteration of Windows will be a free upgrade to a large number of existing Windows users, Microsoft revealed today at its media event. Owners of computers running Windows 7 or later will receive an upgrade to Windows 10 at no charge, in a move that is highly likely to bolster user numbers for the operating system shortly after launch.
Quick and fairly easy-to-use database, but with serious flaws
The best database you can buy for the Mac or iOS is Filemaker Pro -- if by "best," you mean the most powerful. It's also comparatively easy to use, at least when what you're comparing it with is Microsoft Access for Windows. But even so, there is a market for a database that is so simple even non-technical users can get a benefit from it. For some years, that database was Bento, from the makers of Filemaker Pro, but it was discontinued in 2013. One alternative has been iDatabase, and on the surface it has a lot going for it.
Focus Eduction forced to drop unproven boast to improve childrens' concentration
A posting by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today describes a settlement between it and Texas software developer, Focus Education. The complaint, filed by the FTC, was over statements made by Focus on its website and infomercials regarding the benefits of playing its iFocus System "brain training" games.
Cloud storage firm ends support for 10.5, earlier on May 18
Users who are still using OS X 10.4 (Tiger) and 10.5 (Leopard) are probably used to it by now, but yet another company has announced it is dropping support for the 10- and seven-year-old (respectively) operating systems. Dropbox, the well-known cloud storage firm that offers browser-based and native-app cloud storage for a wide variety of platforms, is informing users who access the service on the obsolete OS versions that support for them will end on May 18.
Built-in OS X, iOS utility has extra dimension for added usefulness
Even if you're particularly good at making a note about tasks you need to accomplish, you often get tasked with something only when people think to tell you -- and if the job is some time away, you may completely forget that you were asked to do it at all, apart from that nagging feeling that you've forgotten something important. Apple's built-in Reminders app (along with Siri) can make it easy to create a to-do or reminder item, but a lesser-known feature leveraging Location Services can make it nearly impossible to forget.
iPhoto still slow on 27-inch 5K iMac
Yesterday in the MacNN forums, one Professional Poster was wondering why iPhoto is still running slow even after they upgraded their computer to a new Retina iMac -- so far there has been no input from fellow members. Forum-goers assist "Thorzdad" in troubleshooting an unresponsive 13-inch MBP, so far a solution has yet to be found.
Service previously web-, plugin-, and iOS-based
Password management service LastPass has announced a dedicated Mac client. The software saves logins, credit cards, and other data, and has several unique features as a local app. One of these is Quick Search, which speeds up finding logins and any associated notes. Users can also point their default web browser to a site automatically via a keyboard shortcut; LastPass will automatically fill in login fields.
Catalyst announces new waterproof case for iPhone 6
Waterproof accessories brand, Catalyst, has announced the release of its new iPhone 6 case. Measuring at 11.4mm thick, each case is waterproof up to a depth of five meters (16.4 feet), and is designed to meet or exceed Military Standard 810G for drops and shocks up to 6.6 feet. Both the touchscreen and Touch ID of the iPhone can be utilized while using the new Catalyst case, and its hard-coated optical lens allows for underwater camera usage.
Spotify adds darker theme, Your Music, new Browse option to Windows Phone app
Spotify has updated the Windows Phone version of its music streaming app, bringing it in line with the Android and iOS apps. Using a darker theme and an updated user interface, the app now includes Your Music, allowing users to manage their favorite tracks and albums, while the Browse function is said to offer more localized and personalized content, such as playlists based on the time of day.
Google Calendar coming to iOS with Material Design language
Google appears to be preparing to bring its Google Calendar app for iOS as a standalone app in the near future, featuring the Material Design language makeover the Android version got in November. Leaked screenshots (below) show that the app will emphasize shortcuts to Gmail, Maps and Photos, and offer side-by-side monthly and day overviews. In addition to integrated notification settings, the app also offers integrations with other Google services.
Part of sanctions imposed by US, Europe against Russian aggression
The tiny region of Crimea, recently annexed by Russia, has fallen victim to sanctions imposed against Russia by the US and European Union -- one aspect of which has been Apple's new notification to developers in the region that they are now suspended from the developer program and no longer allowed to sell programs in the App Store. The developer agreement have been terminated, effective immediately, in compliance with a US executive order, though there is a potential workaround.
Quick RSS news app a pleasure to read, now freemium
Go on, tell the truth. Were you tempted to stop reading after the word RSS or did you last all the way to 'news'? It's not that RSS divides people, it's more that people either love it or they have simply never heard of the thing. Similarly, there are those of us who are news junkies and want to know what's happening in the world, and there are others who just watch Fox News instead. Unread for iOS is not going to be the app that makes you an evangelist for RSS, but if you're already a newsreader fan, you may love the app. Plus, its new freemium model could help when you go around telling everybody how great it is.
Get this essential Mac tool for speeding up your typing
Here's the thing: yes, TextExpander speeds up your typing, but some of us like typing -- and some of us are 120 words per minute. If you're one of the latter, that doesn't automatically rule out that you wouldn't be interested in the venerable TextExpander's speed, but we figured it wouldn't be that much use to us; or so we thought. Doubtlessly, if you are a slower typist, then the speed is the key reason to buy TextExpander -- but it does so much else, it is so useful in other ways, that we are now dependent on it, and wish we'd bought it ten years ago.