Archive for the ‘Apple’ Category

Apple releases final OS X Yosemite non-security update

Signals September launch of El Capitan

Apple on Thursday updated both OS X Yosemite and iOS 8, probably for the last time other than for security fixes.

The updates’ appearance Thursday signaled that Apple is just weeks away from introducing their successors, OS X El Capitan and iOS 9. The latter will almost certainly be unveiled Sept. 9, the best-guess date for Apple’s debut of new iPhones, while the former may release to customers shortly after.

The Mac’s operating system update, pegged as 10.10.5, boasted a short list of reliability and compatibility improvements to Yosemite’s baked-in Mail, Photos and QuickTime Player apps. Meanwhile, iOS 8.4.1 focused on bug fixes for the new Apple Music, the subscription-based streaming music service the Cupertino, Calif. company kicked off June 30. Both also featured dozens of vulnerability patches.

Yosemite 10.10.5’s arrival pointed to an earlier-rather-than-later release of El Capitan, aka OS X 10.11.

Over the last two cycles, Apple has released the fifth — and final — non-security update of its then-current Mac operating system five to six weeks before the successor goes public. Last year, for instance, Mavericks final non-security update, 10.9.5, made the scene on Sept. 17, or 29 days before Yosemite’s launch. In 2013, the fifth non-security update for Mountain Lion reached users 40 days before Mavericks’ release.

If Apple hewed to the same schedule, El Capitan would materialize between Sept. 11 and Sept. 22, or about a month earlier than the last two upgrades.

There have been other clues that Apple may beat the calendar with El Capitan: Its developer preview build release tempo has accelerated in the last month, with three versions since July 21.

Also on Thursday, Apple issued what was likely the final security update for OS X Mountain Lion, patching 33 vulnerabilities in the three-year-old operating system.

OS X 10.10.5 (Yosemite) and Security Update 2015-006 (Mountain Lion and Mavericks) can be downloaded from Apple’s website or installed using the operating system’s built-in update service.

iOS 8.4.1 can be downloaded over the air from iPhones, iPads, iPad Minis and iPod Touches, or through iTunes.


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Apple’s 14 most important announcements at WWDC 2015

Apple’s 14 most important announcements at WWDC 2015

From Apple Music to iOS 9 to the Apple Watch, here are the biggest announcements from Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference this week.

WWDC 2015
Apple on Monday kicked of WWDC with its standard keynote address. Per usual, the event was chock full of exciting and surprising announcements that touched on all things iOS, Mac, and Apple Watch. From a brand new music service to an Apple Watch SDK, there’s a whole lot of information to digest, and both developers and Apple enthusiasts alike will have a lot to look forward to in the coming months. Here are a few of the more important announcements Tim Cook and co. made yesterday.

Apple Music
Apple on Monday introduced its long-anticipated streaming music service. As expected, the service will feature on-demand music streaming, a worldwide radio station, and song recommendations based on user tastes and artist recommendations. Price-wise, Apple Music will cost $9.99 for a single license. A family license which can support six users will cost $14.99 a month. The new service will be bundled inside the iOS Music app and will come with a free three-month trial. Whether or not it can topple Spotify remains to be seen.

iOS 9
The introduction of iOS 9 was perhaps the revelation that got developers most excited. As anticipated, iOS 9 features a number of new consumer-oriented features alongside some under-the-hood tweaks aimed at improving performance. Some of the more intriguing aspects of iOS 9 will be detailed later on, but it’s worth noting now that iOS 9 will be a much smaller upgrade (in terms of size) than iOS 8 and will also run on devices as old as the iPhone 4s. Clearly, Apple wants as many iPhone and iPad users as possible on its most recent OS.

Transit Directions in Maps
At long last, Apple Maps will be getting transit directions. So whether you’re travelling via bus, subway, or train, Apple Maps can tell you how and where to go. At launch, transit directions will be supported across 30 U.S. cities and 300 cities in China.

OS X El Capitan
The next iteration of Apple’s desktop software will be called OS X El Capitan. Much like iOS 9, the upcoming iteration of OS X will feature a number of under-the-hood improvements that will help overall system performance and make your Mac extremely snappy. With El Capitan running, applications will reportedly launch 1.4-times faster, while app switching will be twice as fast. Additionally, Apple is bringing its Metal framework to OS X, setting the stage for even greater desktop graphics performance.

iPad Multitasking
A long-rumored feature, iPad Multitasking is finally official. For the first time, iPad users will have the ability to have two apps open at the same time, with the option to choose between a 50/50 or 70/30 screen split. This feature, we should point out, will only work on the iPad Air 2.

iOS 9 ‘Low Power’ mode for better battery life
iOS 9 features a new “Low Power” mode that can increase iPhone battery life by upwards of three hours. What’s more, because of the software’s improvements, iPhones running iOS 9 can enjoy an extra hour of battery life even without “Low Power” mode enabled.

Apple Watch SDK
Apple on Monday also unveiled an Apple Watch SDK that will enable apps to run locally on the device itself. As a result, we can expect faster app performance all around. What’s more, developers will have API access to a whole host of Apple Watch components, including the digital crown, the device’s health sensors, and the Apple Watch’s haptic engine. Having said that, it stands to reason that the quality and utility of Apple Watch apps is poised to expand dramatically in the months ahead.

Apple Pay
Apple announced a few notable Apple Pay updates on Monday. First and foremost, Apple Pay is coming to the UK this summer. Additionally, Apple Pay will soon be supported by Discover Card and a number of retail-based loyalty cards. Apple also announced that even more retailers will be supporting Apple’s mobile payments service in the coming weeks, including Best Buy and Baskin Robbins.

Siri grows up
Apple rolled out a more contextually aware Siri that, in many ways, actually resembles what Google is doing with Google Now. Siri, for instance, can predict what type of music you want to listen to based on the time of day, and it can even make an educated guess as to who is calling from a phone number not stored in your address book. Siri can also conduct smart searches across both your photos and videos.

Notes
Evernote might want to take note, as the default Notes app in iOS 9 was beefed up in a major way. Now users can add photos, maps, and URLs to their notes. Additionally, the Notes app also allows users to draw inline sketches with their fingers. And with everything synced up via iCloud, Notes may put a damper on third-party note taking applications.

Split View apps in OS X
Borrowing a feature that Windows has boasted for a few years now, OS X can automatically fill up your desktop screen with two apps of your choosing, making for a more efficient working environment.

News
With iOS 9, Apple has kicked Newsstand to the curb and replaced it with a new Flipboard-inspired app called News. With the News app, users can take a look at a sampling of stories from top news sources based on topics that can be pre-selected. Apple says users will be able to “explore over a million topics” from top news organizations and indie publications such as The New York Times, Buzzfeed, and ESPN. Even better, the more you use News, the better the app will be at presenting you with stories you might find interesting.

Revamped Safari
The next-gen version of Safari supports pinned sites and, naturally, a host of performance improvements. But what’s even better is that Safari will now inform you which tabs are playing audio, a feature that Google Chrome users have enjoyed for some time now.

Apple Watch alarm clock mode
One nifty new Apple Watch feature, available with Watch OS 2, is that you can put it on its side and use it as a makeshift alarm clock.



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Review: MacBook Air killer from ASUS

Review: MacBook Air killer from ASUS

ZenBook UX305 is a Windows Ultrabook that copies the MacBook Air’s look, but not its price.

Zenbook
At first glance, you might mistake the ASUS ZenBook UX305 as a dark-gray edition of the 13-inch MacBook Air. It shares nearly the same design cues and size, but is thinner than the Apple notebook is at its thickest point, and weighs less. It also beats many of the current 13-inch MacBook Air’s hardware specs. And it costs less — a whole lot less – at $699, compared to $999 for the MacBook Air.

Form factor: Kudos and coolness
Because its innards are sealed in an all-aluminum chassis, the UX305 feels persistently cool to the touch. The bezel, bottom and keyboard panel have the same matted surface, and won’t become easily marred with fingerprints; the lid is smooth with a circular polish that is more prone, though, to picking up smudges. The lid closes with a secure tightness making the notebook feel like a single milled object — a slightly wedged slab.

Keyboard and touchpad: Touches all the bases
The keys have generous spacing among, but the keyboard doesn’t have back-lighting, which the MacBook Air has. The top of the keys are level with the surrounding paneling; when pressed, they don’t feel mushy, and pop back up without looseness. The palm-rest areas are more than large enough for most hand sizes. Because the touchpad is so large (about 4.75 inches) and close to the spacebar, you’d be best to keep your fingers and palms raised in proper ergonomic fashion as you type. The touchpad moves the pointer at an increasingly accelerating rate over the wide expanse of the high-resolution display, with only a short swipe by your finger that feels about right — neither too slow nor too fast.

Screen: Looking sharp
The surface of the 13.3-inch display is matted. It’s so effective that I didn’t experience glare whether I used the ZenBook indoors or outside in sunlight. The backlight looks even throughout the display — it remains consistent when viewed from extreme horizontal or vertical angles. The colors appear discernible without any particular one popping out distractingly or bleeding over to another. Text shown on the UX305’s 1920-by-1080-pixel screen, at the default font size settings of Windows 8.1, look sharp. Even the tiny wording of Tiles on the Start Screen are legible if your eyesight is healthy.

Speakers: Sounding weak
Two speakers are set at the bottom of the notebook’s chassis: one each near the edge of the width sides. Because they feature audio technology from Bang & Olufsen, you might expect them to belt out full, warm sound. But, in actuality, the various genres of music I played on the UX305 tended to come off thin in the low end with weak bass. These speakers didn’t necessarily sound bad; they were not unlistenable. They just lacked a powerful audio presence.

Performance: Powerful, quiet
Since this notebook has a resolution that matches high-definition video, I played through a gamut of 1080p videos. With a fast Internet connection, the videos played without lag or stutter. The bottom of the notebook’s aluminum casing barely began to feel warm, as I played videos for over an hour. The Intel Core M-5Y10 processor managed to stay cool, and, because it’s fanless, this notebook doesn’t make any extraneous noise. Even when multitasking, streaming music and video playback hardly faltered, and I purposely kept five other programs open, to try to grind down the processor.

Webcam and mic: In focus
Using the Windows 8.1 Camera app, I found the front-facing camera excellent at focusing on objects held up-close, even within a few inches, and it did so instantly. Taken under typical indoor lighting during the daytime, images and video had a noticeable graininess and leaned a little toward a yellow tint, but they were clear and in focus. Testing the mic, I recorded a few audio clips of my voice, using the Windows 8.1 Sound Recorder app, as I sat a few feet in front of the notebook. The clip of me speaking sounded clear and crisp with no buzzing or other distortion.

Software: Limited third-party apps
The Windows 8.1, 64-bit installation on the UX305 includes a medley of ASUS brand tools. The only third-party apps are Foxit PhantomPDF and McAfee LiveSafe. Over on the Windows Store app side, though, several nonessential ones neither by ASUS nor Microsoft are pre-installed (e.g. iHeartRadio, Netflix, Twitter).

Battery Life: Definitely an issue
The display’s native resolution of 1920-by-1080 pixels eats more power than the 13-inch MacBook Air’s 1440-by-900. ASUS says the UX305 can run up to 10 hours on a fully charged battery. With this notebook on its default settings, I got only around 6 hours and 30 minutes. Charging the battery took about 2 hours and 40 minutes. I then installed all the Windows 8.1 updates, minimized playing streaming media, turned on “power saver,” turned off all the Live Tiles on the Start Screen, turned on auto-dimming, and uninstalled McAfee security. These actions resulted in an additional 30 or so minutes. That’s not terrible, but nor is it as good as one might expect from a notebook like this.

Conclusion: Premium notebook, low price
Although battery life probably had to be sacrificed, the ZenBook UX305 still has a lot going for it: 256GB SSD, beautiful display, good keyboard and touchpad, speedy performance (assisted by 8GB RAM), and a light and thin form that, to be frank, is a knock-off (and a good one at that) of the 13-inch MacBook Air’s. These all add up to a premium notebook that you can buy without paying a premium price.

The specs:
OS: Windows 8.1, 64-bit
Processor: Intel Core M-5Y10, 2 GHz
RAM: 8GB
Onboard storage: 256GB SSD
Display: 13.3”, 1920 x 1080 pixels
Audio: microphone, speakers (two)
Camera: 720p, front
Networking: Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi (802.11n)
Ports: headphone/microphone combo jack, Micro HDMI, SD/SDXC, USB 3.0 (three)
Battery: Up to 10 hours (listed); 6 to about 7 hours (as tested)
Dimensions (width, depth, height): 12.8” x 8.9” x 0.5”
Weight: 2.6 lbs.
Price: $699


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Apple spent $700,000 on CEO’s personal security last year, a first

Tim Cook’s 2014 pay package dwarfed by new hire Ahrendts’

Apple CEO Tim Cook’s total 2014 compensation of $9.2 million, while more than double his pay package the year before, was dwarfed by the $73.4 million awarded to one of his subordinates, retail chief Angela Ahrendts, regulatory filings revealed yesterday.In a preliminary proxy statement filed Thursday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Apple spelled out Cook’s compensation for the period ending Sept. 27, as well as that for four other current executives: Ahrendts; Eddie Cue, who heads Apple’s online efforts; CFO Luca Maestri; and Jeffrey Williams, chief of operations.

Cook received $1.7 million in salary, $6.7 million in a bonus, and $774,000 for sundry expenses, including Apple’s contribution to his 401(k) plan, company-paid life insurance, $57,000 for vacation time converted to cash and a new entry of $700,000 identified as “security expenses.”

That money, Apple said in the proxy statement, was spent to protect Cook, an unusual move by the company. “The company provides home and personal security for Mr. Cook because his personal safety and security are of the utmost importance to the company and its shareholders,” Apple stated. “The company considers the security measures to be a reasonable and necessary expense for the benefit of the company.”

Part-way through the year, Cook’s salary was bumped up to $2 million from $1.4 million, while the others’ base was increased to $1 million from $875,000.

For fiscal 2014, as for the year before, Cook and the others received the maximum bonus allowed. According to Apple, the company’s net sales and operating income — both which grew 7% — exceeded the targets set by the board, triggering the bonuses.

Cue and Williams were awarded bonuses of $3.4 million atop their $948,000 salaries, both appreciably higher than in 2013, while Ahrendts and Maestri received smaller amounts because they entered their positions after the fiscal year began.

Including stock awards handed out in 2014, all four of Cook’s underlings were paid more than the CEO.

That was especially true of Ahrendts, the former CEO of luxury retailer Burberry, who joined Apple during 2014. After taking the Burberry CEO spot in mid-2006, Ahrendts led a turn-around of the 157-year-old company, which had suffered from brand over-exposure and a resulting tarnish in the last decades of the 20th century.

Much of Ahrendts’ package was in stock, and included $37 million worth of shares to replace the equity she had in Burberry before leaving for Apple, as well as another $33 million in what the proxy statement called “new hire RSUs,” for “restricted stock units.” It was essentially a signing bonus, but in future stock equity. Apple usually awards major new hires with similar deals.

“The New Hire RSUs were intended to encourage Ms. Ahrendts to join the company and to provide her with a meaningful equity stake in the company,” the statement read.

Unusually for Apple, the company also struck a severance agreement with Ahrendts that runs until May 1, 2017, her third-year anniversary with the Cupertino, Calif. company. If Apple fires Ahrendts — other than for cause — or if she resigns “for good reason” she will be paid the remaining amount of her base salary for the time left in the three-year span.

Maestri, who was promoted to CFO in May, was the other new face on the top-five executive panel that Apple defined in the proxy. Maestri’s total compensation for 2014 was about $14 million. Cue and Williams each earned approximately $24 million for the year in cash, bonuses and stock grants.

Each Apple executive, excluding Cook, was granted large stock awards in 2014 based on the company’s performance during the year: Cue and Williams, for example, were given about $16 million worth each. Apple also changed its every-other-year equity plan for top-tier executives to an annual grant that will kick off later this year.

Those stock grants were at their maximum because of Apple’s market performance during 2014. Apple uses a metric called “total shareholder return” (TSR), which is a combination of share price appreciation and dividends paid to shareholders, to measure its performance. For 2014, Apple’s TSR was in the top 10% of the S&P 500.

Cook also benefited from Apple’s high TSR ranking, since part of the vesting schedule for the massive grant given him in 2011 relies on the metric. Cook was handed the cache of shares when he assumed the chief executive role a month before co-founder Steve Jobs died.

Unlike in 2013, when Cook forfeited about $3.6 million in stock because of the company’s weak TSR, all his at-risk shares vested during fiscal 2014. Those 280,000 shares had an on-paper value of $31.5 million at Thursday’s closing price.

Altogether, approximately 1.4 million shares from the 2011 award and others vested in 2014 for Cook, with a value at vesting time of $145 million. If Cook held onto those shares, they would be worth $161.3 million at yesterday’s market closing.

The proxy statement was issued in preparation for the upcoming stockholders meeting, which will be held March 10 on Apple’s campus. Millard Drexler, the CEO of J. Crew and former CEO of The Gap, has said he will retire and not seek re-election to Apple’s board of directors. Apple has not named a nominee to replace Drexler, who has been an Apple board member since 1999.


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20 great productivity apps for Android, iOS, and the Web

20 great productivity apps for Android, iOS, and the Web

These 20 essential apps work on all three platforms, helping you stay productive no matter what device you or your co-workers use

Android, iOS, and Web: 20 multiplatform apps for maximum productivity

Man, the days of “Mac or PC” sure were simple.

It wasn’t long ago that the only question you had to consider with compatibility was whether something would run on those two types of computers. These days, most of us interact with a multitude of devices and platforms, either on our own or as a result of our colleagues’ choices, and finding productivity tools that work across them all isn’t always easy.

When you stop and think about it, it’s nothing short of a miracle that any service can provide a consistent experience on an iPhone, an Android phone, an iPad, an Android tablet, and any computer with a modern Web browser. Amazingly enough, though, such tools do exist.

We’ve tracked down 20 useful options to help you stay productive and in sync from one device to the next. Install them on your various computers and gadgets — and get your co-workers to do the same — and you’ll be living in multiplatform harmony.

(Quick tip: If you don’t have time to read all of this right now, skip to item 15. You’re welcome.)

Google Docs
Google’s free cloud-based office suite has come into its own over the past several months, with the recent addition of offline access across all platforms along with the ability to edit standard Word documents in their native format. Editing from the mobile apps is also now fairly full-featured, thanks to Google’s integration of Quickoffice, a former third-party app the company acquired. Functions like find and replace, undo, and table creation are all available, as are a range of font, paragraph, and table formatting tools. Docs may not be the most robust standalone word processor on any given platform — you won’t find a way to measure word count on the mobile apps, for instance — but if you’re juggling devices, it’s a solid option for getting the basics done.

App: Google Docs
Developer: Google
Category: Word Processing
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

Microsoft Office 365/Office Mobile
For those who still rely on the traditional Microsoft Office ecosystem, the company’s Office 365 service provides cloud-based access to documents on the Web and via its Office Mobile Android and iOS apps. The mobile apps are significantly less full-featured than Google’s, and they’re rather restricted, with no offline access unless you opt to pay a $7- to $10-per-month subscription fee. Access to the iPad app requires a subscription as well, and there is no app for Android tablets as of now. All in all, it’s not the greatest suite of services, but it’s at least something for folks stuck under Microsoft’s umbrella.

App: Microsoft Office 365 / Office Mobile
Developer: Microsoft
Category: Word Processing
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

Google Drive
Google’s cloud-storage service comes with 15GB of free space (shared with Gmail and Google+ Photos) and the option to upgrade to various higher tiers — anywhere from 100GB to 30TB — for $2 to $300 a month. Drive offers seamless integration with Google Docs, as you’d expect. It also excels in search, allowing you to search for objects shown in stored images and text present in scanned documents. Beyond that, Drive is able to display numerous file types — even Photoshop and Illustrator files, if you’re using Android or the Web — and it provides offline access to your files via both its Web and mobile apps.

App: Google Drive
Developer: Google
Category: Storage
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

Microsoft OneDrive
Microsoft’s storage offering comes with 15GB of free space and the option to various higher tiers — 100GB, 200GB, or 1TB — for $2 to $4 a month (with the 1TB plan requiring a one-year commitment). OneDrive is unique in its tight integration with both Microsoft’s Office suite and Windows itself: You can store and access files in OneDrive from the various Office applications, and you can share files to OneDrive directly from Windows File Explorer.

App: OneDrive
Developer: Microsoft
Category: Storage
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

Dropbox
Dropbox gives you 2GB of free cloud storage, and you can bump that up to 1TB for $10 a month. While its starting level may be lower than what Google and Microsoft offer, Dropbox provides a wide range of features, including shared folders synced across multiple users and devices, nicely formatted photo galleries that are simple to share, the option to automatically back up photos as they’re taken on mobile devices, and the option to remotely wipe a lost device (available only to paying customers). Dropbox’s powerful API has also made it a popular storage integration choice for many mobile apps.

App: Dropbox
Developer: Dropbox
Category: Storage
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

Box
Box provides 10GB of free space with the option to upgrade to 100GB for $10 a month; unlimited storage plans are also available for businesswide accounts with at least three users for $15 per user per month. Box is working hard to set itself apart with enterprise-targeted features like an integrated file-commenting system and granular controls over permissions, allowing you to control what people can do with a file once you share it. Box also offers a powerful API that enables developers to use Box as an integrated file system for their mobile apps.

App: Box
Developer: Box
Category: Storage
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

Google Hangouts
Google’s free Hangouts service makes it easy to have one-on-one or group conversations as well as individual and group voice calls and video calls from whichever platform you prefer. The quality is typically quite good, so long as you’re on a reliable and reasonably fast Internet connection. Video calls between Google users are free and unlimited, and voice calls to regular phone numbers within the United States and Canada are free. (You can call outside of those countries, too, but you’ll have to pay a per-minute fee for the talk-time.)

App: Google Hangouts
Developer: Google
Category: Communication
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

Skype
Skype may not be as robust or user-friendly as Hangouts, but it’s still a popular communication platform that can’t be ignored. It provides free voice and video calls between users, but voice calls to regular phone numbers require either a monthly subscription or a per-minute fee. While there’s (rather astonishingly) still no stand-alone Web app for the service, you can get to it from a desktop computer by signing into Microsoft’s Outlook.com.

App: Skype
Developer: Skype Communications
Category: Communication
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

Trello
Whether you’re working alone or as part of a team, Trello offers an easy yet powerful way to organize tasks, lists, and projects. No matter which platform you access it from, your data remains synced and looks the same to every user who sees it. Trello uses an intuitive whiteboard and notecard interface for task management, offering checklists, commenting, labels, attachments, notifications, and activity logs, as well as the ability to assign tasks to team members.

App: Trello
Developer: Fog Creek Software
Category: Project Management
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

Basecamp
When it comes to project management, Basecamp is one of the biggest names around. The service provides a centralized place for organizing and coordinating projects, allowing teams to create notes, lists, and schedules; upload files and plans; assign and manage tasks; and communicate with colleagues about progress on each individual element. With the company’s multiplatform approach, you can view and edit anything you need from any device you have handy. (You’ll need a Basecamp subscription, which is free for 60 days, then runs anywhere from $20 to $150 a month.)

App: Basecamp
Developer: Basecamp
Category: Project Management
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

Wunderlist
For simple lists, you want a simple app, and Wunderlist is one of the best around. Its clean and minimalist interface puts your tasks front and center, organized into topic-oriented lists, and it looks just as good whether you’re on Android, iOS, or the Web. Wunderlist offers the ability to share lists, comment, delegate tasks, set reminders, and attach and share photos and files to your to-dos.

App: Wunderlist
Developer: 6 Wunderkinder
Category: Task Management
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

Any.do
Another excellent list-centric option, Any.do offers a solid all-around experience, and Android users get bonus features like the ability to turn a missed call directly into a reminder. Regardless of your platform, the service provides all the basic organizational tools you’d expect, including shared lists, folder-based organization, and calendar-like alerts for important tasks. It syncs with Google’s Tasks system, too, so you can access it from Gmail as well as from Any.do’s own Web interface.

App: Any.do
Developer: Any.do
Category: Task Management
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

Evernote

Evernote offers a robust notebook-like service that features regular to-do lists along with the ability to store and manage photos, handwritten notes, and articles from the Web. In addition to its standard free suite of services, the company has a business-focused platform designed for larger-scale company-wide collaboration. Evernote is also blessed with a rich ecosystem of integrated apps and services, thereby extending the power of an already powerful productivity tool.

App: Evernote
Developer: Evernote
Category: Notebook
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

OneNote
Microsoft’s note-taking solution provides plenty of tools for keeping yourself and/or your team organized. You can create regular notes and lists, organize your stuff into notebooks or with tags, and add audio or video files into your notes. You can even take photos of receipts, memos, or whiteboards, then later search for the text shown in those images. OneNote also syncs with a stand-alone Windows app for those who prefer a more traditional desktop-based approach.

App: OneNote
Developer: Microsoft
Category: Notebook
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

Pocket
If you find yourself stumbling onto more interesting content than you have time to read, Pocket is exactly what you need. Pocket integrates into all the major platforms and allows you to save an article for later with a couple quick taps. Once it’s been saved, you can get to it from any device and view it online or offline within the app’s own excellent reading utility. Pocket also allows you to save videos and images for later viewing, share what you’ve saved with other Pocket users, and file away your Pocket favorites to Evernote.

App: Pocket
Developer: Read It Later
Category: Notebook
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

QuickBooks
QuickBooks is the de facto standard for small-business accounting for a reason: The service is jam-packed with functionality, and it works well regardless of what platform or type of device you’re using. QuickBooks has all the accounting tools you’d expect, ranging from budget management to expense tracking and invoice creation and fulfillment. It all comes at a cost, though: The various apps require an active QuickBooks account, which runs $13 a month or $125 a year.

App: QuickBooks
Developer: Intuit
Category: Accounting
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

Expensify
If logging and managing expenses is all you need, a simple app like Expensify can get the job done without costing you a dime. From your Android or iOS device, Expensify makes it easy to snap photos of a receipt, which it then quickly analyzes in order to extract the relevant details and put them (along with an actual image of the receipt) into your records. It has other handy features, too, like the ability to track and log mileage using your phone’s GPS, and the data is always available on any device you sign into as well as via its Web-based application.

App: Expensify
Developer: Expensify
Category: Accounting
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

Google Calendar
When it comes to maintaining a cross-platform calendar, Google Calendar stands in a league of its own. The free service provides a simple interface for managing meetings and personal appointments as well as sharing both individual events and full calendars with friends, family, and colleagues.

While Google doesn’t yet offer its own official Calendar app for iOS, you can sync your Google Calendar data with Apple’s native Calendar app or use third-party programs like Sunrise Calendar and Cal to tap into the info. On Android, meanwhile, an official Google app is available in addition to a variety of third-party contenders, allowing you to pick the setup that best suits your needs.

App: Google Calendar
Developer: Google
Category: Calendar
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

TripIt
TripIt is a must-have app for anyone who travels. Once you sign up for the free service, all you do is forward any travel-related emails — airline confirmations, hotel reservations, even concert ticket receipts or dinner reservation confirmations — to a special email address, and TripIt automatically organizes them into trip-based itineraries.

For $49 a year, you can upgrade to TripIt Pro and get advanced features like real-time flight monitoring and alerts and a one-tap way to find alternate flight plans from your phone midtrip. TripIt also has an enterprise-level plan for organizations that want to implement its services company-wide.

App: TripIt
Developer: Concur Technologies
Category: Travel Management
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

LastPass
We all have a billion passwords to keep track of these days — and if you’re using the same password for every website you sign into, well, you’re doing it wrong. LastPass, which topped InfoWorld’s recent review of the best password managers for PCs, Macs, and mobile devices, helps you create unique and strong passwords as you surf the Web, then keep track of them securely.

With AES 256-bit encryption, local-only decryption, and multifactor authentication, LastPass keeps your data under lock and key, giving you one fewer worry in your digital life.

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“Jekyll” test attack sneaks through Apple App Store, wreaks havoc on iOS

Like a Transformer robot, Apple iOS app re-assembles itself into attacker

Acting like a software version of a Transformer robot, a malware test app sneaked through Apple’s review process disguised as a harmless app, and then re-assembled itself into an aggressive attacker even while running inside the iOS “sandbox” designed to isolate apps and data from each other.

The app, dubbed Jekyll, was helped by Apple’s review process. The malware designers, a research team from Georgia Institute of Technology’s Information Security Center (GTISC), were able to monitor their app during the review: they discovered Apple ran the app for only a few seconds, before ultimately approving it. That wasn’t anywhere near long enough to discover Jekyll’s deceitful nature.

RELATED: Malicious power-charger can infect Apple iOS devices

The name is a reference to the 1886 novella by Robert Louis Stevenson, called “The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.” The story is about the two personalities within Dr. Henry Jekyll: one good, but the other, which manifests as Edward Hyde, deeply evil.

Jekyll’s design involves more than simply hiding the offending code under legitimate behaviors. Jekyll was designed to later re-arrange its components to create new functions that couldn’t have been detected by the app review. It also directed Apple’s default Safari browser to reach out for new malware from specific Websites created for that purpose.

“Our research shows that despite running inside the iOS sandbox, a Jekyll-based app can successfully perform many malicious tasks, such as posting tweets, taking photos, sending email and SMS, and even attacking other apps – all without the user’s knowledge,” says Tielei Wang, in a July 31 press release by Georgia Tech. http://www.gatech.edu/newsroom/release.html?nid=225501 Wang led the Jekyll development team at GTISC; also part of the team was Long Lu, a Stony Brook University security researcher.

Some blogs and technology sites picked up on the press release in early August. But wider awareness of Jekyll, and its implications, seems to have been sparked by an August 15 online story in the MIT Technology Review, by Dave Talbot, who interviewed Long Lu for a more detailed account.

Jekyll “even provided a way to magnify its effects, because it could direct Safari, Apple’s default browser, to a website with more malware,” Talbot wrote.

A form of Trojan Horse malware, the recreated Jekyll, once downloaded, reaches out to the attack designers for instructions. “The app did a phone-home when it was installed, asking for commands,” Lu explained. “This gave us the ability to generate new behavior of the logic of that app which was nonexistent when it was installed.”

Sandboxing is a fundamental tenet of secure operating systems, intended to insulate apps and their associated data from each other, and avoid the very attacks and activities that Jekyll was able to carry off. It’s also explicitly used as a technique for detecting malware by running code in a protected space where it can be automatically analyzed for traits indicative of a malicious activity. The problem is that attackers are well aware of sandboxing and are working to exploit existing blind spots. [See “Malware-detecting ‘sandboxing’ technology no silver bullet”]

“The Jekyll app was live for only a few minutes in March, and no innocent victims installed it, Lu says,” according to Talbot’s account. “During that brief time, the researchers installed it on their own Apple devices and attacked themselves, then withdrew the app before it could do real harm.”

“The message we want to deliver is that right now, the Apple review process is mostly doing a static analysis of the app, which we say is not sufficient because dynamically generated logic cannot be very easily seen,” Lu says.

The results of the new attack, in a paper titles “Jekyll on iOS: when benign apps become evil,” was scheduled to be presented in a talk last Friday at the 22nd Usenix Security Symposium, in Washington, D.C. The full paper is available online. In addition to Wang and Lu, the other co-authors are Kangjie Lu, Simon Chung, and Wenke Lee, all with Georgia Tech.

Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said that Apple “some changes to its iOS mobile operating system in response to issues identified in the paper,” according to Talbot. “Neumayr would not comment on the app-review process.”

Oddly the same July 31 Georgia Tech press release that revealed Jekyll also revealed a second attack vector against iOS devices, via a custom built hardware device masquerading as a USB charger. Malware in the charger was injected into an iOS device. This exploit, presented at the recent Black Hat Conference, was widely covered (including by Network World’s Layer8 blog) while Jekyll was largely overlooked.

 


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Expert: iPad Wi-Fi issues may be linked to power management

Unlikely that faulty hardware causing poor wireless connections

Computerworld – The Wi-Fi reliability problems reported by iPad owners can probably be solved with a software update, a hardware expert said Friday.

“It’s unlikely that hardware is the primary cause of the [problem],” said Aaron Vronko, CEO of Michigan-based Rapid Repair, a repair shop and do-it-yourself parts supplier for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. “This is probably a software problem, or a hardware quirk that software must negotiate.”

Vronko said iPad owners hinted as much. “If this was hardware related, it would almost certainly have to be an error in assembly or failure in the chip itself,” Vronko said in an email reply to questions. “However, chip-related failure would likely be more absolute in its effects.”

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Users have not said that their iPads are never able to connect to a Wi-Fi network; instead they have said the signal is weak — and download speeds are extremely slow — or they’re unable to maintain a connection.

Complaints about the iPad’s wireless reliability surfaced within hours of the iPad’s March 16 sales debut.

Vronko also relied on advice given by Apple to back up his speculation. Last week, an Apple support representative told Computerworld that resetting the iPad’s network settings to their factory defaults might solve the Wi-Fi problem.

“The fact that a network settings reset can sometimes resolve the issue points strongly to a power-saving feature run amok,” said Vronko.

According to Vronko and several tear-down experts, the new iPad features the Broadcom BCM4330 chip, which handles Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. That chip, new to the iPad, also is inside the iPhone 4S, which launched last October.

“[The Broadcom BCM4330 chip] boasts a new design including several new power-saving features,” said Vronko. “Wi-Fi can be a hungry customer in mobile devices and Apple knew that the new LCD and its requisite monster truck GPU would be guzzling battery juice. They had to go aggressive on performance per milliwatt on every other component.”

For that reason, Vronko wasn’t surprised to hear users gripe. “Tune a few million test subjects tightly against the performance limit and you’re bound to have some problems in the field,” he said.

The solution could turn on adjusting the iPad’s power management software to make more battery power available to the Broadcom chip.

Apple has not publicly acknowledged a Wi-Fi issue in the new iPad, or hinted whether a fix is in the works, and if so, when it would be released.

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HTC reveals One X and S with Snapdragon S4 CPU at MWC 2012

Get the HTC One X from AT&T or the One S from T-Mobile, but you will have to wait until at last April.

HTC just made its flagship superphone lineup, the HTC One, official at Mobile World Congress 2012.

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Although HTC CEO Peter Chou cheekily kicked things off by declaring, “I’ve never been so excited by a phone like HTC One,” he eventually revealed there are three siblings in this family: the One X, One S and One V.

HTC One X

Photos: A closer look at the HTC One X

AT&T will be carrying the 4G/LTE HTC One X with Qualcomm’s new dual-core, 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 processor with Krait architecture under the hood, in a polycarbonate body like the Nokia Lumia/N9. (According to AnandTech, the dual-core S4 would actually out-duel an identical device powered by the quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 CPU.) Contrary to earlier rumors published by various tech sites, only the HTC One V will be using the Tegra 3 processor.

HTC One S

The One S manages to cram everything its more high-end brother has into a 7.95mm thin, scratch resistant unibody design, albeit with a slightly smaller 4.3-inch qHD Super AMOLED display. This is the model T-Mobile will be offering customers this Spring (see below, right). Not only will the One S be the sleekest phone in T-Mobile’s portfolio, it will also be among the fastest 4G (HSPA +42) phones available as it is capable of 42 Mbps that can be faster than some home broadband speeds.

Otherwise, all the HTC One brothers share the same DNA, including: (For a more detailed breakdown, check out Matthew Miller’s post.)

OS: Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
UI: HTC Sense 4 with ImageSense

Wi-Fi Sync means you will be able to update your media content library automatically and wirelessly after hooking the phone up to a computer for the first transfer
Lock screen offers a shortcut to launch the camera quickly
Every HTC device with Sense 4 will get 25 GB of free storage from Dropbox for two-years
Audio: Beats Audio is integrated into all apps (games, music services like Pandora); AT&T will be carrying Beats Audio accessories beginning this Spring
Camera: 8-megapixel rear camera with a f/2.0 lens and back illuminated sensor; 1080p HD video capable of 60 fps for slow motion videos

The One series’ camera actually offer some sophisticated features normally reserved for higher-end cameras. All three models allow users to take still photos while recording videos and during playback, with a fast 0.7 second shutter speed, a 0.2 second auto-focus, as well as auto-burst mode for continuous shots. Videos are also said to automatically remove jitters so they will look more sharp and focused. It’s hard to say whether the camera in these HTC phones will live up to its billing, but who would say no to a phone that happens to have a reliable camera embedded into it?

No exact price or release date for the HTC One X was announced at the press conference or by either carriers, but Chou did conclude the event by saying the One portfolio will launch globally starting in April, so HTC fans have some time to save up for this superphone.

Google, Motorola must capitalize on regulatory win to battle Apple’s iPad

The US Department of Justice and European Commission have okayed Google’s planned $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility. Now the two have to work together — and fast — to being Android 4.0 to Motorola’s Xoom and XyBoard and whatever other Android tablet platform that can grab some share against Apple’s iPad.

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Governmental clearance of Google’s $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility — both here and across the pond — is no doubt a big win for the open source Android operating system. But it’s no slam dunk.

Google and its new hardware device arm must get more serious in the tablet wars. Unlike Motorola’s roster of Android-based smartphones, Motorola’s Xoom tablet has competed poorly against Apple’s iPad.

And iPad 3 is getting set to debut.

Motorola won’t say exactly when Xoom will get Google’s Android 4.0 update, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich. A spokesman for Verizon confirmed that all of these devices are expected to get the update — Droid Bionic, Droid Razr, HTC Rezound, Spectrum by LG, Droid Xyboard, Motorola Xoom and Droid 4 — but he doesn’t known when.

Motorola, for its part, has said it is working to deliver the ICS upgrade for DROID RAZR and Motorola RAZR in the first half of 2012.

The Xoom? Xyboard? So far, nada news on those releases.

This is all Motorola Mobility has said:

”We are planning to upgrade DROID RAZR™ by Motorola, Motorola RAZR™, Motorola XOOM™ (including MOTOROLA XOOM™ Family Edition) and DROID BIONIC™ by Motorola to Ice Cream Sandwich. We will provide more precise guidance on timing after post-public push of Ice Cream Sandwich by Google, as well as any possible additions to this list of devices.”

Now that the US Department of Justice and European Commission have okayed the deal, Google and Motorola need to act fast.

First, Google must be careful not to stifle tablet innovation by restricting or delaying access to ANY Android 4.0 code to Motorola Mobility’s rivals. Heck, Samsung beat everyone to the punch.

That being said, ICS is a big deal and Motorola — with Google’s supercharged backing — ought to get something out the door fast. Really fast.

Young generations of users — my four-year-old included – are already adept at the iPad in a Droid heavy home. Google could lose the tablet war — and the smartphone war, for that matter — if the resulting merger slows down the Android product delivery cycle.

“Ice Cream Sandwich brings an entirely new look and feel to Android. It has a redesigned user interface with improved multi-tasking, notifications, Wi-Fi hotspot, NFC support and a full web browsing experience. With Ice Cream Sandwich, Android has been rethought and redesigned to be simple, beautiful and useful,” noted David Rothschild, a senior vice president of software and services at Motorola Mobility, which spun off from Motorola last year. “ Ice Cream Sandwich introduces innovations such as Face Unlock to unlock your phone, a Data Manager to control your network data usage, and advanced multimedia and imaging features. Ice Cream Sandwich also provides developers with new APIs, unified U.I for phones and Tablets, and improved performance by enabling developers to leverage hardware graphic acceleration.”

Great. So let’s get moving, Google and Motorola. You’ve got the platform, the patents, the legal clearance and the innovation. But don’t let the bureaucracy and legalities of a merger blow your windows of opportunity. Time could be slipping on the tablet front.

Want your beer and wings faster? Order on the iPad, please

Pass the buffalo wings and the iPad.

IPads are popping up in the military, on car showfloors and at wineries and are now being tested out at customer tables by the Buffalo Wild Wings grill and bar chain.

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Nestled in a rugged case from integrator Hubworks, the 9.7-in. iPad is being tested for customers to make food and drink orders from their tables. They can also use the tablets to jump online to check out Facebook, Twitter and play interactive games.

The 830-store Buffalo Wild Wings chain is about to launch a second phase of the iPad pilot program at a Minneapolis location after working out technical kinks at a suburban Toronto site, said Tim Murphy, director of international business for the chain.

“Ultimately, we are trying to use the technology to enhance the customer experience,” he said in an interview. “People are familiar with iPads, iPhones and Android tablets, so this would enhance that.”

The chain hasn’t decided whether to combine purchasing from the device with purely entertainment uses, something it hopes to measure in its tests, Murphy said.

If the chain decides the device can be used for entertainment, it might sell advertising on the tablets, license popular games or even design custom-built games suited to its audience and brand, he said.

Buffalo Wild Wings doesn’t expect the devices to replace waiters. Instead, if customers make their own orders, waiters will be freed up to interact more with their guests and promote food and drinks or the in-bar live trivia games, Murphy said.

Other companies make table-top ordering devices used by some other restaurant chains, but most are smaller devices and some are fixed to a spot on the table, Murphy noted. He said he evaluated products by Ziosk, which provides a table-top surface touchscreen, and E la Carte, which uses a Presto tablet with a 7-in. screen.

Hubworks has included a charging capability and credit card reader in the rugged case, and has enhanced battery efficiency so that a single unit can last up 12 to 15 hours before being placed in a charging dock, Murphy said. Hubworks minimized the power drain with a screensaver and other features.

The Hubworks case doesn’t cover the glass screen of the iPads, and waiters must wipe them down after every use to remove fingerprints. “We’ve not added a protective layer over the screen, but we’re evaluating if we need one,” Murphy said.

Hubworks sells each 8GB iPad with the case, a magnetic credit card reader slot and extended charging capability for $750; it also offers integration with point-of-sale systems selling its software as a service and charging licensing fees, said Aaron Gabriel, vice president of sales and marketing and co-founder of Hubworks Interactive. Units can be mounted to tables, but Buffalo Wild Wings has included an RFID security system to keep the devices from being stolen, he said.

Murphy said that there were complications integrating the iPad with its existing point-of-sales system, so the chain may simply have customers order their wings and drinks through a Web-based ordering system already in place. That system is used by customers who order food for pick-up.

Depending on how the trials go, Hubworks believes restaurants could offer more functions, including video chat using the newer iPad 2 at each table.

Why the iPad?P Partly because the device is well-known and larger than others on the market, Murphy said. Plus, many customers come to the sports bars in groups and stay for several hours at a time.

In the first test, while men in a group typically watched a football or hockey game, women in the group would pick up the iPad and launch Facebook, Murphy said. “We have a very captive audience with good sales volume in our restaurants, so we view this iPad as a way for customers to stay connected socially and not have to use their own device.”

If the device cuts costs through advertising or offers greater restaurant efficiencies, so much the better. Those factors will be among those Buffalo Wild Wings evaluates.

“We have a lot to work out,” Murphy added. “Nobody knows where this is heading.”

Android bumps up smartphone lead over Apple’s iOS

Android continues to woo more customers, increasing its lead over Apple’s iOS in the U.S. smartphone arena, according to new stats from ComScore today.

For the three months ended October, Android’s share of U.S. smartphone users grew 4.4 points over the prior three months, helping it scoop up 46.3 percent of the market. Apple stayed firmly in second place, gaining an extra percentage point to win a 28.1 percent share.

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In third place was BlackBerry maker RIM with 17.2 percent of the market, a loss of 4.5 points from the prior three months. That left Microsoft’s Windows Phone with 5.4 percent and Nokia’s Symbian with 1.6 percent, both losing a small fraction of a percentage point.

Overall, 90 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones during the three-month period ending in October, a 10 percent gain from the prior period.

Among all mobile handset makers, Samsung remained the top dog with 25 percent of the market. LG and Motorola followed in second and third place, respectively, both losing a small slice of the market. That put Apple in fourth place with a 10.8 percent share and RIM in the fifth spot with 6.6 percent.

Using its MobiLens service, ComScore surveyed more than 30,000 mobile customers in the U.S to compile its numbers.

ComScore’s findings echoed a similar report from Nielsen pointing to Android’s widening lead over iOS. A recent study from Zscaler also showed Android outpacing BlackBerry and IOS in the enterprise market.

Next-gen Apple TV gets J33 codename

The next generation of Apple TV appears to be moving closer to reality.

Hints of the much-rumored product appeared today in a new beta of iOS 5.1 given to developers. As 9to5Mac notes, as products move closer to release, Apple gives them a codename, such as N94 for the latest iPhone. In this case, the blog found notes in the string code that refer to the next version of Apple TV as J33.
Apple’s current Apple TV model is a bit long in the tooth when it comes to processing power. The small set-top box sports an A4 processor, which Apple has since replaced in devices such as the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S with the dual-core A5.

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9to5Mac suggests the A5 could churn out something better than the 720p video at which the current Apple TV tops out. Apple’s latest iPhone has a 1080p video output.

Amazon recently updated its listing for the current Apple TV, redesignating it as the “(2010)” version of the product. By comparison, Amazon lists the most up-to-date version of other Apple products, such as the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, as the “(NEWEST VERSION),” suggesting that the 2010 label could be a precursor to it being outdated by something newer.

Robots v. humans: Real steel or dumb metal?

Robots are making huge strides in space, on the ocean floor and even in the dentist office

Right from the start let’s agree that the argument of humans or robots is getting close to being a dead heat in some areas. With advances in artificial intelligence and complex software, many robots are close to performing some duties better than their human counterparts.

 

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For example, NASA and General Motors built the 300 pound Robonaut2 – or R2 – a robot that is capable of using the same tools as humans and now works alongside them in space onboard the International Space Station. R2 can use its hands to do work beyond the scope of prior humanoid machines and can easily work safely alongside people, a necessity both on Earth and in space, NASA stated. It is also stronger: able to lift, not just hold, a 20-pound weight (about four times heavier than what other dexterous robots can handle) both near and away from its body. Granted the robot takes up valuable space station space, but it doesn’t have to be fed or go to the bathroom – major advantages in space.

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Other robots such as the Octoroach being developed by UC Berkeley researchers can crawl into all manner of super-secret surveillance or emergency recovery applications that the human body just could not. The Octoroach is an eight-legged, sensor-laden, battery-powered device that can find its own way around a room and climb over obstacles. Its compliant, rather than rigid legs let it effectively mimic a cockroach scrambling across the floor.

Other robots such the REMUS 6000 autonomous underwater system recently conducted a 3,900 square mile search of Atlantic Ocean bottom looking for the deep-sea wreck site and black boxes from Air France Flight 447, which crashed off the coast of Brazil two years ago. The autonomous undersea vehicles are designed to operate in depths up to 6,000 meters (19,685 feet or 3.73 miles) and are capable of staying underwater for up to 20 hours. Human searches of the area never found anything, but the bots did.

But while robots can in certain areas achieve what humans cannot, you only have to look as far as say the products that are thought of and designed by the humans at Apple. Or look at the way humans can interact as a group to bring about social change -at least sometimes anyway. Getting robots to act as a group is a science that is only beginning to take shape.

Humans, at least some of them, still have feelings and emotions that robots just cannot mimic. Though some robots are getting close. Japanese researchers this year showed off a dentistry-training robot that can flinch, gag, blink and try to carry on a conversation with cotton stuffed in its mouth – effectively mimicking a real human visit to the dentist.

Still the notion that robots will at some point outperform us all is an interesting though scary proposition. In the current movie “Real Steel” a washed up boxer “teaches” a “sparing bot” how to fight in the ring with success. But in the movie the humans take control over the bots from time-to-time to help them box. Still, for purposes of our human v. robot argument, the movie was set in 2020 and the idea that robots could learn and perform boxing as a skill no longer seems that far-fetched.

Apple ‘fires employee’ for critical Facebook posting: Were they right to?

A UK employment tribunal reportedly upheld the sacking firing of an Apple retail store employee, who posted negative comments about the stores on the social network Facebook.

A supposed ‘friend’ showed the post to the store manager, who subsequently let the hapless employee go. Despite posting the negative comment as ‘private’, the employee appealed to an employment tribunal after being sacked for “gross misconduct”.

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But was Apple in the right, or should it have issued a stern warning? It’s ‘this old chestnut’ once again.

The Cupertino-based company has a series of serious brands to maintain, and clearly employees put their hearts and souls into maintaining that image. The brand, arguably, is what makes Apple what it is — a global giant for which tens, if not hundreds of millions around the world have utter adoration for.

But the company has strict social media rules to protect its commercial reputation, and forbids the posting of any negative comments on any social media site or social network.

According to the initial report, Apple “made it absolutely plain throughout the induction process that commentary on Apple products, or critical remarks about the brand, were strictly prohibited”.

The UK employment tribunal, according to CNET, upheld the firing because it ruled that posting even a seemingly private comment “does not give privacy protection”, therefore, “Apple successfully

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argued that it was justified and proportionate to limit this right (of posting) in order to protect its commercial reputation against potentially damaging posts.”

If this is the case, then any communication, whether verbal, written or electronically published, could be seen as ‘not private’, breaking the rules

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wide open for potential abuse by employers.

Companies can often be left in difficult territory when social media rules are not defined. A recent Cisco study suggests that amongst the Generation Y, two-thirds of college students will ask about social media policies during a job interview, with over half not accepting a job that bans social media in the workplace.

Social media is a tricky one to control. Anybody could copy and paste, and then tag — or not, if one were to be clandestine about it — and repost a comment; something which in itself leads to the spread of viral activity.

Many have been caught out by social media, particularly when it comes down to commenting on their jobs or colleagues. It was only during the summer where the U.S. National Labor Relations Board had to contend with a series of cases where employees were fired over Facebook.

But the rules between the U.S. and the UK are different. Had this case presented itself in ‘the land of the free’, perhaps the outcome would have been different. A settlement earlier

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this year led to a ruling whereby employees could not be disciplined by their employers over the content they post on Facebook.

For younger people, however, the divide between a ‘personal Facebook’ and a ‘work Facebook’ is yet to be differentiated. Ultimately, company policies need to be put in place to ensure that all employees are not only aware of social media risks, but also the brands they represent inside and outside of the workplace.

Best Android Honeycomb Tablet News, Magazine Apps

Honeycomb has matured to a large number of Tablet optimized apps, and its about time that we start talking about them, one at a time.

 

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Best & Top News, Magazine apps on Android Honeycomb for tablets

1. News 360

One of my favorite apps. Aggregates news from various sources and displays them beautifully.

2. CNN for Android Tablet
Clean, and very well designed app that brings world class news right to android tablet.

3. Pulse

Pulse aggregates news content from various top internet blogs and displays them in a very natural scrollable thumbnails. This is my fav app on Android phones, tablet. Syncs and downloads news for offline reading, automatically.

4. USA Today

Latest news, scores, weather, stocks and photos from USA TODAY. The latest news, scores, weather, stocks and photos you’ve come to expect from USA TODAY and now available in a beautiful new way, on the Android Tablet. Staying informed has never been this quick, easy or enjoyable.

5. Feedly

Integrates with Google Reader, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Read it Later and Instapaper.

6. Newsr:

Sync and read Google Reader feeds.

7. CNBC Realtime

Get real-time stock quotes, watchlists, news, videos & more. The CNBC Real-Time App for Android gives you free access to real-time stock quotes – before, during and after market hours, directly from both the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ Marketplace. Additionally, you will get CNBC breaking news alerts, top news stories & analysis, and access to the latest CNBC business video clips, CEO interviews and market updates via CNBC video-on-demand.

8. HackerNews
Love HackerNews? You’ll love this easy to user Hacker news navigator.

9. Press Reader
PressReader for Honeycomb brings over 1,900 full-content newspapers from 95 countries in 51 languages to your favorite Google Honeycomb operated tablet.
Choose from a growing list of the world’s most popular publications, including: The Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune.

10. F5 Reddit browser

Like Reddit? You would love this. Browse through various top links from around the web.

11. Financial times

Ge the latest in Finance via the official FT app.

12. Sports Illustrated

A Magazine that covers all your sports.

13. News Republic

Choose your favorite category of News and be bedazzled with them in a beautiful interface.

14. Time Magazine

The Famous Time magazine is now on Honeycomb. Various pay models for subscriptions.

15. SkyGrid

SkyGrid is the most powerful & only app for you to stay up to date on your interests. Follow your own topics and get updates on the exact interests you care about!

15. Appy Geek

APPY Geek, the best-rated Tech news app on Android is now available on tablets!
With hundreds of news articles every day (including TechRadar, New Media Age, Pocket-Lint, Technology Blogged, Tech Watch and more)

16. Honey Reader

A Simple RSS reader.

17. Fashion news app

A simple app that gives you different Fashion apps for android.

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