Kickstarter RTS game Planetary Annihilation shows considerable polish
In August 2012, a team from Uber Entertainment launched a kickStarter campaign, aiming to raise $900,000 to make a new real-time strategy game called Planetary Annihilation. After two years of work and raising over $2.2 million, as well as other funds via "early access," the game is finally released outside of beta, and gamers can finally try out what backers have been playing for some time during the game's development.
No shortage of new, upcoming mobile games at Penny Arcade Expo Prime 2014
At this year's Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle, there was no shortage of iPad games on the show floor. From independent developers to more well-known names in publishing, there weren't enough genres of games to keep all levels of players engaged. Electronista was on hand to take a look at some of the games that are out now or coming to iOS in the future.
SecureMac releases PrivacyScan 1.6, improves OS X compatibility
SecureMac has released an update for its privacy software for OS X, featuring a new digital footprint security wipe functionality. PrivacyScan allows users to erase sensitive information to securely prevent recovery, as such cache files, browsing history, cookies, temporary files and more. The latest version (v1.6) improves compatibility with future versions of OS X, and also adds greater Firefox web browser support and fixes. PrivacyScan is priced at $15 on the App Store, with a free demo version available directly through SecureMac.
Four Android apps brought to Chromebook operating system, more on the way
People waiting for their favorite Android applications to work on Chrome OS might not need to wait much longer. Today, Google announced the first set of Android apps were available for Chromebooks. The move makes good on a demonstration from Google I/O, which teased the idea of Android apps running on Chrome OS through an app runtime.
New screenshots reportedly reveal multiple changes in Windows 9
The next version of Windows has apparently leaked yet again, with a new collection of screenshots surfacing. Believed to depict the Windows 9 Technical Preview, the images show a number of previously-rumored features which will probably appear in the preview version, expected to be released to developers within the next few weeks.
Google officially extends app refund window from 15 minutes to 2 hours
Google has extended the opportunity to receive a refund from purchases in the Google Play Store to two hours. Android Central notes the support page for the store has been updated to show the upgraded refund period for apps and games, up from the previous 15-minute limit. It is understood that Google offered the longer refund window to some customers over the last few weeks, and has only just made the policy official recently.
Google says there is no evidence of a breach, many logins are said to be outdated
Another credential scare has turned up online, this time for one of the world's largest free email services. The emails and passwords of around 4.66 million Gmail users have turned up on a Russian Bitcoin forum, traced backed to English, Russian and Spanish users of the service. It's not clear where or how the list was collected, but it is said that many of the logins are outdated.
Addition to Hangouts signals impending end of Google Voice
Google Voice is being integrated into Google Hangouts on Android, in what appears to be an an attempt by the search company to streamline its messaging services. Previously only available in the iOS version of Hangouts, the Android app now gives the option of making or receiving voice calls, text messages, and the ability to access voicemails on Google Voice.
Friend of Snapchat founders accepts settlement of 'mutually agreeable terms'
Snapchat's largest legal issue came to a close today, as the company decided to settle its dispute with Frank Reginald "Reggie" Brown. In a press release announcing the closure of the legal battle, it was stated that the settlement would bring an end to the suit that Brown filed alleging that he originally came up with the idea for a disappearing picture message.
iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus?
Today Apple unveiled the highly-anticipated iPhone 6 with a larger 4.7-inch screen, and followed it up with the iPhone 6 Plus, which boasts an even larger 5.5-inch screen. This has MacNN forum-goers discussing what new model they will choose in the thread titled "iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus?". Moderator "Rumor" has been using Connect360 to stream content from OS X to an xBox 360, and wonders if anyone else has any recommendations.
Likely to be final pre-release versions of each
Apple has started seeding the gold master versions of iOS 8 and Xcode 6 to developers. The former is build 12A365, while the latter is 6A313. Both should be the identical to the versions that reach the public, barring the discovery of serious bugs that might prevent the software from working or create serious security issues.
Control4, Creston, RTI, URC work with Nest Protect, Thermostat
Nest Labs has confirmed its range of devices are compatible with a number of major home automation systems. Revealed at CEDIA, the company advised its Learning Thermostat and Protect will work with Control4, Crestron, Remote Technologies Incorporated (RTI), and Universal Remote Control (URC) systems, with Dropcam also joining the list of companies in the Works with Nest program.
Cards in Office Delve show related contacts, documents
Microsoft is introducing a new search system to Office 365, which aims to provide information to the user just as they need it. Office Delve, previously codenamed "Oslo," will operate similar to Google now in pulling content from various online services and files stored in the cloud, in order to try and find relationships between documents, messages, and contacts.
Jawbone Up platform to work with Android Wear, Healthkit, Fitbit
Data from the Jawbone Up and Up24 fitness trackers could be used by more apps and devices in the future, courtesy of the device's new API. The company's platform, itself called Up, will be able to incorporate data from multiple devices and sources, including Fitbit, Android Wear smartwatches, and devices compatible with Apple's HealthKit.
Hires from VoiceSignal, Nuance talent hints at further work on in-house Siri engine
More evidence of earlier speculation that Apple was developing its own Siri engine to replace the licensed one from Nuance emerged on Monday, as a local newspaper reported that Apple is expanding its Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Siri operations with recent hires from Nuance and VoiceSignal Technologies, a company now owned by Nuance. The team would be staying in the same building, but moving to larger quarters on the upper floors -- enough for 65 workers, reports say.
Network appears to have been granted insider access, keeping mum for now
Apple plans on making a "groundbreaking" announcement tomorrow, alongside its introduction of new iPhones and a possible "iWatch," according to ABC News. The network plans to run a post-announcement special segment at 6:30PM in most time zones hosted by its lead anchor David Muir -- who has apparently been given special insider access to the event and what Apple has planned. The teaser trailer infers that Muir will be interviewing Apple executives, possibly including CEO Tim Cook.
Social media company evolves to include more commerce models, give exclusive offers
Twitter appears to be diving deeper in to the pool of commerce as the social media company announced today that it was beginning a new test of a "buy" button. A previous version of the button appeared in small-batch testing that appeared in June and in a mock-up dating back to January, but it's only now being officially announced by Twitter.
Premier Pro, others get major feature upgrades
Adobe has announced updates to the slate of video production apps on Creative Cloud. Perhaps the most significant is support for Retina/HiDPI resolutions in OS X and Windows. Adobe has also added support for AJA RAW files though, and improved performance, particularly in Masking and Tracking, and (via GPU acceleration) when viewing 4K and UltraHD footage taken from Phantom Cine, Canon RAW, and RED R3D files.
Sponsored sessions provide advertising-free Spotify for 30 minutes
Spotify will soon be showing video-based advertising to listeners of its free service. The streaming music company has revealed it will start airing the videos to its free users shortly, with both desktop and mobile app users set to see the clips, though marketers will have a few options for how their advertizing efforts get utilized by the service.
Paid, free digital resources for coders, game creators now available
Developer Epic has opened its marketplace for user-created and other curated content for the new cross-platform Unreal Engine game creation tool. Developers can now buy and sell community-created premium content for use in projects. In addition to all of the previously-released free content, the new Marketplace is launching with a variety of asset packs including environments, props, characters, sounds, materials, animated meshes, and a number of other asset types.
Testing areas unchanged
A little over a week after the last one, Apple has issued a new beta of OS X 10.9.5 to developers. Listed as build 13F31, no significant changes appear to have been made. Areas of testing focus remain set on Safari, Gatekeeper, graphics, Thunderbolt, and USB/USB smart cards. It remains unclear how close Apple is to pushing out the final version of 10.9.5 to the public.
Macnn and Electronista weekly deals for September 5, 2014
It's that time of the week again! Every Friday afternoon, we're going to take a look at sales, and bring you what we think are some of the best deals on prime apps, gadgets, and peripherals for you, the discriminating MacNN and Electronista reader. All prices are verified at the time of publication, and any sales may not be valid if you're reading a few days down the line. Check pricing before you click buy. We do add deals over the weekend, so keep checking!
Yosemite on old Mac Pros, repurposed iBooks and more
Yesterday in the MacNN forums, Mac Elite "schalliol" informed fellow forum-goers of a plan he had to run Yosemite on an old Mac Pro after finding information about the Chameleon bootloader, and wonders if anyone else has already done this. "Waragainstsleep" is considering a custom modification that consists of an iPad in a clamshell iBook, stating that it "would actually be a pretty cool iPad case."
New design offers more analytics, revamped iCloud-esque visual refresh
On the heels of a similar refresh for the Apple Store iOS app, Apple has also rejuvenated the iTunes Connect web app used by developers to gather statistics and information about sales, publishing data and other tidbits about their apps and App Store performance. The new design, originally shown off at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers' Conference but only just implemented on Thursday, offers more analytics and a new, more iOS-like design.
Update for Lumia devices will include 4K video capture, Dynamic Flash
Microsoft has detailed the version of the Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 heading onto its Lumia smartphones. On top of the expected new additions, including wider resolution support, Live Folders, and the Cortana virtual assistant, the Lumia Denim update includes some Lumia-specific extras, with the majority of new features relating to photography, though some functions are said to be dependent on the phone's hardware.
Smart Editing, Quick Mask brush, noise reduction and other improvements featured
On Wednesday, photo software maker onOne has announced that it is now accepting pre-orders on a new version of its Perfect Photo Suite, version 9, in late October. The software, which will be available as a standalone "Basic" set or a "Premium" version, also offers plug-ins to most of the top photo-editing programs. Changes in the forthcoming v9 include an overhaul of the Browse module for faster "culling" of RAW images, a new Smart Photo editing feature, a new Quick Mask brush, noise reduction features and more.
Gets new look, including Retina optimizations
VMware has introduced Fusion 7, a major update of its virtualization tool. The software lets users run Windows apps within OS X instead of having to boot to a separate partition. Fusion 7 brings support for OS X Yosemite, and should be more compatible with Windows 8.1. The look of the program has in fact been overhauled for Yosemite, and optimized for Retina displays.
Public beta, developer interest credited for unusually high percentage
Thanks in large part to the release of two public betas in a program that was limited to one million signups, the forthcoming OS X 10.10 Yosemite is now running on approximately 2.6 million Macs, thought to be around 3.3 percent of the worldwide Mac user base, according to statistics from Net Applications. The figures come statistics gathered in August, and are 33 times higher than the pre-release version of Mavericks, though of course the latter didn't have a public beta component.
Includes features previously not available for Windows, such as iCloud Drive
Selected AppleSeed public testers are being contacted by Apple via email and being offered the opportunity to download and test a new beta seed of iCloud for Windows, which was announced earlier this summer at Apple's Worldwide Developers' Conference. Candidates need to have a PC running Windows 7 or later, and will gain access to the forthcoming advanced features of iCloud such as iCloud Drive and iCloud Photo Library.
Changes so far undiscovered
[Updated with some early changes] Apple is now distributing a seventh developer preview of OS X 10.10 Yosemite, as well as matching betas of Xcode 6, OS X Server 4.0, and Configurator 1.6. Any changes to Yosemite are unmentioned in release notes, but will probably be uncovered within the next few days. The last preview build of Yosemite was released roughly two weeks ago.
BBOS addition BlackBerry Blend may appear alongside Passport at events
BlackBerry has sent out invitations to events held in Toronto, London, and Dubai on the 24th of September. The invite offers little in the way of clues as to what the three events will involve, but the use of a map and a plane symbol suggests the manufacturer will be formally launching the Passport smartphone, while rumors claim it could potentially include a software update allowing for the usage of BlackBerry Messenger from a desktop rather than a smartphone.
Komplete gets new Rounds, Kontour, Polyplex instruments
Native Instruments has announced Komplete 10, the next version of its audio production suite, bundling together all its instruments with some extra perks. This version adds several new instruments, including Rounds, Kontour, and Polyplex. Rounds combines sound design and sequencing functions, while Kontour is a synthesizer with "organic" textures. Polyplex designs drumkits, combining up to four samples per slot; randomization can be applied on a global, sound, or sample level.
new channels on Apple TV and more
With the long holiday weekend, and kids heading back-to-school, the last few days have been rather quiet in the MacNN forums. Forum members continue to discuss price differences between SSDs and HDDs in the thread titled "Hard Drive Ripoffs" started by "reader50" late last week. Moderator "P" noticed new Apple TV channels appearing in Sweden, and wonders if there have been more channels added in other regions as well.
Weibo posting about Windows 9 Start Menu quickly pulled from view
Microsoft's Chinese business arm may have jumped the gun, by mistakenly promoting Windows 9 too early. The company's regional Weibo account reportedly put an image up promoting the next iteration of Microsoft's operating system along with a question hinting at the Start Menu, a posting which has since been removed from view.
Latest remarks give Microsoft 20 days to respond to anti-trust complaints
China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) has questioned Microsoft Vice President Chen Shi regarding allegations of abuse of Microsoft's monopoly on operating systems, productivity software, and browsers in the country. As part of the questioning, Microsoft has been given 20 days to respond to complaints alleging that Microsoft's use of serialization of software may have violated China's anti-monopoly laws.
Best Buy discounts LG G Watch price by $50
Best Buy has cut the price of the LG G Watch by $50. One of the first Android Wear smartwatches revealed and released, recently superseded by the G Watch R, has been spotted by Android Police priced at $180 for both the black and white models. Despite the discount, it is likely the G Watch will continue to be sold for some time, most likely as a budget option compared to the round-faced stablemate's estimated $300 price tag.
DrinkMate breathalyzer adapter for Android nears Kickstarter goal
Breathlyzer adapter for Android phones, DrinkMate, is -- at the time of writing -- a few thousand dollars away from reaching its Kickstarter fundraising goal. A 1.8-inch long device, DrinkMate will plug into a powered Micro-USB port, and used in conjunction with its companion app can display a blood alcohol content rating upon use. Users blow into its air inlet, removing the need for a mouthpiece, and the app compensates for impairment-related misreadings by ensuring the readings are taken long enough after the last drink. Data is intended to be visible and sharable, as to promote safety-related peer pressure. Those interested in backing DrinkMate's Kickstarter can make a pledge starting at $25 to later receive the device.
Here mapping app for Android exclusive to Samsung
Nokia has made a deal with Samsung to provide Here Maps to its Android devices, as well as items running Tizen. Here for Android will be exclusive to Samsung's Galaxy smartphone line as a free download, while Tizen devices such as the Gear S smartwatch will be able to display maps on their small displays, as well as providing turn-by-turn navigation.
Chinese MSN Messenger service closure marks end of app's 15-year life
Microsoft is ready to close the last remnants of MSN Messenger, also known as Windows Live Messenger, on October 31st. Chinese users have reportedly received a notification of its shutdown via e-mail, encouraging users to migrate over to Microsoft's other messaging service, Skype, before the service is terminated in the country.
Google promises 'number of speed and security improvements'
For Mac users, the latest beta channel release of Chrome -- Chrome 38 -- makes the switch to a 64-bit codebase, Google has announced. The primary benefit is said to be speed, since it grants access to "a superior instruction set, more registers, and a more efficient function calling convention," according to Google. The company points out that in some cases Chrome can be the only 32-bit app that's running, forcing OS X to load 32-bit system libraries that consume extra memory and launch time.
Free subscriptions for basic users, paid Pro level for photographers
After years of good reviews as a series of iOS apps, Autodesk has now brought its image-editing app Pixlr to the Mac. While it bears great resemblance to the myriad other filter-and-effect photo editors from the iOS world, the app does offer some features rarely seen in competitors, such as a "double exposure" collaging feature. As with the company's Sketchbook, Autodesk offers several "tiers" of use, the most "pro" level of which is available on an annual or monthly paid subscription.
Note-taking iOS app Notability jumps to OS X, offers iCloud syncing
Notability, an iOS app well-regarded for its ability to handle multiple ways of taking notes -- audio recordings, handwriting, drag-and-drop and typing -- has arrived on the Mac. The OS X version ($10) matches the iPad and iPhone version feature-for-feature, but is optimized for the Mac environment. Users can drag in various file types to add to the note, scale and transform handwriting and sketches, and -- new to the program -- work with smart keyboard shortcuts. The iOS version is also available as a separate $3 purchase.
App crackdown part of Microsoft Windows Store certification changes
Microsoft is cleaning up its Windows Store catalog, by ejecting misleading apps. After modifying the Windows Store app certification requirements to try and prevent fake apps from reaching the app store in the first place, the company has started to comb through its app listings, and has already removed more than 1,500 apps from the store.
Improves language detection, complex object handling, Outlook accounts
On Wednesday, Microsoft updated its standalone version of Office for Mac, Office 2011, to version 14.4.4. The update provides the latest fixes for Office, and includes general functionality improvements in Microsoft Word, particularly with keyboard language detection. For PowerPoint, it improves handling of certain complex objects, and in Outlook the update includes new descriptions for supported account types.
Testing continues slow advance
A little over a week after the last one, Apple has issued a new beta of OS X 10.9.5 to developers. The code is identified as build 13F24. Areas of testing focus remain unchanged, and include Safari, graphics, Thunderbolt support, and USB/USB smart cards.
Also gains new Text and Shape Cutter tools, Smart Edges
Corel has released PaintShop Pro X7, a major upgrade of its photo-editing suite. The biggest addition is said to be Magic Fill, a Photoshop-like "content-aware" tool that can erase an object and replace it with content that matches the background, even if that background is varied. Several other tools have also been added, including Text and Shape Cutters -- used to create objects based on underlying images -- and Smart Edge, which prevents brush strokes from crossing lines.
BruteProtect to be rolled into Jetpack, paid service ends to make all features free
Automattic, the company responsible for the WordPress blog platform, announced today that it acquired BruteProtect. The pick up will allow the company to strengthen security of the WordPress platform through its Jetpack service, without additional cost to users. BruteProtect started its life as a plug-in for the popular blogging software, only to expand into other areas of security, server management and premium services.
Test taking place in Santa Monica, offers daily lunch item in three-hour window
Ride share service Uber is apparently looking to expand into some other functions, as the company is testing a service dubbed UberFresh starting today. The program is attempting to deliver lunch to people in a short time frame, utilizing a menu specific to the area being tested. The service is only being offered for a limited time, but a successful test could mean the program would be expanded further.
stubborn files, encryption keys and more
Yesterday, Mac Elite "jeff k" took to the MacNN forums looking for assistance with trying to figure out why a stubborn file won't clear out of the trash can. Mac Elite "rotuts" sparked a conversation about apps that can be used to catalog hard drive file usage by date.
Windows users get better fonts via DirectWrite
Google has released Chrome 37 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The biggest change affects only Windows users, in the form of DirectWrite support for better font rendering. Previously, Chrome for Windows depended on the Graphics Device Interface, and Google explains that the change "required extensive re-architecting and streamlining of Chrome's font rendering engine."