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Gadget Ogling: Vertical Vinyl, Kid-Friendly Video Chats, and a Smart Pool Monitor
June 27, 2015
I enjoy music as much as anyone, though I'm no real audiophile and I have not an enormous passion for one format over another. I admire the romance of vinyl but find it unwieldy and cumbersome when digital recordings work just fine for me. The Floating Record turntable is beautiful, though, and I'm almost tempted to race to my record store to stock up on vinyl to play on one of these.
IBM, Box Team Up to Conquer the Cloud
June 26, 2015
IBM and Box have entered a global partnership to combine the two companies' best-in-class technologies and resources to transform work in the cloud. The two will offer customers IBM analytics and social solutions, IBM security technologies, the IBM cloud, and Box's cloud content collaboration platform. "IBM provides Box with a global go-to market footprint," said IDC's Chris Chute.
Red Hat, Samsung Ramp Up Enterprise Mobility
June 24, 2015
Red Hat and Samsung Business Services on Tuesday announced a strategic alliance to deliver the next generation of mobile solutions for the enterprise. The alliance, announced at the Red Hat Summit 2015, combines the strengths of each company -- Samsung's mobile device portfolio and Red Hat's open source middleware, mobile and cloud technologies.
Uber Loses Crucial California Legal Battle
June 18, 2015
Uber on Tuesday filed an appeal of a California Labor Commission ruling that is widely viewed as a threat to the company's business model. The ruling resulted from a claim filed by a San Francisco driver against Uber last year. The commission found that the plaintiff was an employee of Uber rather than an independent contractor, as the company had maintained.
Amazon May Try Out Delivery-Sharing
June 17, 2015
Amazon reportedly is developing a mobile app that will be the cornerstone of an Uber-type service for neighborhood package delivery. Under the scheme, the app would allow Amazon to compensate people to deliver packages in lieu of using a commercial carrier. People would pick up packages at Amazon's partnering brick-and-mortar stores, and make deliveries on their way to another destination.
Apple's Safari Declares Open Season on Mobile Ads
June 16, 2015
Apple is sending a shiver down the spine of anyone who depends on mobile advertising for a living with the inclusion of ad-blocking extensions for iOS 9 in the next version of its Safari browser. The news surfaced last week, after developers discovered the provision in documentation following iOS 9's introduction at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference.
Apple Music Steals WWDC's Scattershot Show
June 9, 2015
To cap off Monday's wide-ranging keynote at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, Apple CEO Tim Cook introduced a three-pronged music initiative -- a streaming service, a live radio broadcast station, and an app that lets artists connect with fans. "Music is such an important part of our lives and our culture," Cook said, showing off Apple's famous "one more thing" slide.
It's Hard to See WWDC Through My Apple TV Tears
June 4, 2015
By the time you read this, I'll have finished swearing in the privacy of my office, and likely will have entered the acceptance stage of grief. Already, realization is dawning that I was right to withhold hope that Apple would reveal a new Apple TV at its WorldWide Developers Conference on Monday. I hate it when pessimism wins. But how can I know that Apple isn't going to introduce a new Apple TV?
BitTorrent's Bleep Hides Messages From Prying Eyes
June 4, 2015
BitTorrent's Bleep, a secure peer-to-peer messaging service, last month reached the end of its third trimester in alpha testing, and an official version became available for iOS, Android, OS X and PC. The official release is the first to reach iOS. Bleep's Whisper feature enables ephemeral messaging, along with the service's cloudless, end-to-end encrypted calling function.
Google's Android Permissions Get Granular
June 4, 2015
Google appears to be heeding warnings of security experts who say Android users need better control over what apps do with information from their phones. At I/O, its worldwide shindig for developers held last week, the company announced that the next version of its mobile operating system, Android M, would take a more granular approach to permissions for data requested by apps.
Doppler Labs Kickstarts 'Bionic Ear'
June 3, 2015
Doppler Labs on Tuesday launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Here Active Listening system, which takes noise-canceling technology to a new level. Unlike typical noise-canceling headphones, Here's Bluetooth earbuds allow a listener to customize ambient sound, not just block it out. Paired with a smartphone app, Here can be used to control volume, mix sounds and even add effects.
Scrappy Hound Stalks Siri and Cortana
June 2, 2015
SoundHound on Tuesday launched a private beta of Hound -- a personal assistant similar to Siri, Google Now and Cortana -- and began fielding requests for invites. SoundHound built its music ID service on voice and pattern recognition technologies. In developing Hound, SoundHound has retrofitted that technology's framework with what it calls its "Speech-to-Meaning" engine.
Google Creates One-Stop Privacy and Security Shop
June 2, 2015
Google has rolled out "My Account," a hub that lets users manage their Google settings, along with a new site that answers questions about its privacy and security practices. In addition to letting users manage their password and account-access settings, My Account allows them to review their security settings and activity. My Account also lets users manage personal information about themselves.
Google's Cardboard May Help Build Strong VR Foundation
June 1, 2015
It's a whimsical approach to virtual reality, but Google's Cardboard VR platform breaks down the barriers of entry and allows consumers to bring their own devices to the movement. "I think [Cardboard] will help with the general popularity of VR," said Marxent CEO Beck Besecker, "but I think the folks that are really going to gravitate to VR are going to want a high-quality experience."
Phone Companion App Lets Cortana Get Around
May 27, 2015
Microsoft advanced its "if you can't beat'em, join'em" mobile strategy with Tuesday's announcement of Phone Companion, an app built into Windows 10 that's designed to synchronize information across multiple platforms, including Android and iOS. Windows 10 Phone Companion works like a hub on a PC for a user's mobile devices, allowing apps like Cortana to work across multiple platforms.
Is Home Where HomeKit's Heart Is?
May 26, 2015
Since Apple SVP Craig Federighi announced HomeKit at last year's Worldwide Developers Conference, the company has been working on making it ready for prime time. Now, a year later, Apple finally may have an app to go with its framework for integrating home management and monitoring devices with iOS. Whether Apple will announce the new app, called "Home," at this year's WWDC is unknown.
Spy Agencies Planned to Corrupt Google Play
May 22, 2015
The United States and its leading Western allies, known as the "Five Eyes," reportedly planned to hack into smartphones through their links to Google and Samsung's app stores. They wanted to infect apps with spyware and find ways to send misinformation to targets, according to documents released to the media by National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
The Rampant, Risky Babbling of Android Apps
May 19, 2015
Eurecom researchers recently developed an Android app that can monitor the network traffic of other apps to alert users of suspicious or malicious activity. With more than 1.2 million applications in the Google Play store, there are multiple programs for performing a particular task. That can make choosing an app a chore for users, they noted in a report released last month.
Swiftkey's Clarity Keyboard Puts Auto-Correction in Context
May 12, 2015
Most auto-correction programs correct mistakes as you make them. They even predict words for you as you type. Swiftkey's recent release for Android, Clarity Keyboard Beta, corrects mistakes -- up to several at a time -- after you've typed them. "SwiftKey, for a long time, has had context awareness, but it's applied it looking forward," explained SwitfKey's Chief Marketing Officer Joe Braidwood.
Discover Card Completes Apple Pay
May 7, 2015
Discover last week announced that it would allow its cardmembers in the United States to make contactless payments in participating stores through Apple Pay. Users will be able to pay for goods and services beginning this fall via iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch, as well as the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. With this new partnership, Apple Pay will have support from all the major U.S. credit card companies.
Steer Clear of iOS 8's Infinite Loop
May 1, 2015
A flaw in iOS 8 allows hackers essentially to crash apps that perform SSL communications whenever they like. Skycure reported the bug at the RSA security conference held last week, advising owners of iOS devices to upgrade to iOS 8.3. Apple this week confirmed that iOS 8.3 addresses the vulnerability. An attack would involve specially crafting an SSL certificate to regenerate a bug.
Apple Watch Could Be a Password Alternative
April 30, 2015
With password tolerance levels at an all time low, alternatives to the pesky and insecure authenticators are beginning to abound. One of those alternatives could be the Apple Watch. Even before Apple's latest gadget began shipping last week, MicroStrategy announced it was extending its Usher enterprise security solution to the Apple Watch. Usher on the Apple Watch allows it to act as a digital key.
Shiny Apple Has a Few Soft Spots
April 29, 2015
Apple on Monday reported another quarter of stellar earnings, detailing its drive to 27 percent revenue growth on the backs of its iPhone, Mac and App Store sales. The company generated $58 billion in revenue in the second quarter -- about a $12 billion increase year over year -- and posted a net profit of $13.6 billion, roughly $3 billion more than the year-ago quarter.
Gadget Ogling: Pretty 3D Printing, an Eye-Catching Engagement Ring Box and a Sturdy Smartphone
April 28, 2015
3D printing is fascinating. It still seems wild to me that you can download schematics for anything and have a plastic version of a physical object in your home a short while later. However, not many printers can switch up the color or the types of filaments you use in your creation. The Pallette could change that, with a peripheral to brighten up that mono-colored trinket you're ready to print.
Dev Aims to Light the Way for Apple Watch Gaming
April 24, 2015
Racking up more preorder sales in a couple weeks than the combined sales of all Android Wear units in 2014, the Apple Watch is in a position to redefine the nascent smartwatch market. It won't do that alone, however. The key ingredient is likely to be apps, apps and more apps. WayForward wants to be on the vanguard of the movement, claiming an early position with its Watch Quest game.
Google Dresses Up Android Wear
April 20, 2015
Google on Monday released an update to Android Wear -- just the second significant feature refresh for its wearable device software since its introduction more than a year ago. "This update is overdue," said Ian Fogg, senior director and head of the mobile and telecoms team at IHS Technology. "With other products, Google adds features fairly continuously," he noted.
Apple Devs Play WWDC Lottery
April 14, 2015
Apple on Tuesday announced that its 26th annual Worldwide Developers Conference will take place in San Francisco June 8-12. The event will include more than 100 technical sessions on developing, deploying and integrating the latest iOS and OS X technologies. Attendees will get access to the latest innovations, features and capabilities of the OSes.
Gadget Ogling: Capacious Cases, Dumb Domestic Drones, Smarty-Pants Cups
April 11, 2015
When it comes to adding extending your smartphone or tablet battery life during the day, Mophie's been trying to make life easier a little longer than most, with time to iterate on its battery pack cases. The company's going a little further now, as it expands its Space line of cases that house not only batteries, but external storage for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and iPad mini.
Emojis Get Real in New iOS
April 10, 2015
Apple on Thursday released a new version of iOS that adds racial diversity to its emoji library. In addition to the fair-skinned faces found in prior versions, the new assortment includes brown, black and golden yellow mugs. What's more, there are emojis of same sex couples and families, too. "Emoji have become huge for people," said Kantar Worldpanel ComTech's Carolina Milanesi.
IBM, Apple Deepen Their Mobile Enterprise Incursion
April 7, 2015
IBM and Apple have released an octet of iOS apps for the enterprise aimed at improving productivity in the healthcare, airline and insurance industries, and on the factory floor. The eight new apps are part of IBM's MobileFirst for iOS program, an offshoot of the alliance the companies forged last summer. This is the third batch of apps produced by IBM and Apple for the MobileFirst program.
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I plan to do my holiday shopping…
Online only -- I like the convenience and comfort.
Online only -- I'd shop in stores if their stock weren't so limited.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I like to see what I'm getting.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I enjoy the holiday shopping atmosphere.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I want to support local merchants.
Online and in stores -- I want the best of both worlds.
I'm not planning on doing any holiday shopping.