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Microsoft's answer to Apple's personal digital assistant, Siri, is coming with Windows Phone 8.1. Cortana has been teased by Microsoft to The Verge, where it will go head-to-head with Google Now and Apple's Siri.
Windows Phone 8.1's built-in search functionality which usually leans on Bing, will be shifted over to Cortana. Cortana will appear as a circular animated icon instead of the female character in Halo, with the diital voice assistant animating when it's speaking or thinking. This makes Cortana a much more personal experience versus the invisible, and sometimes helpful Siri.
Cortana will allow Windows Phone users to customize the assistant to their liking, where users can call people by their name, or set nicknames to their BFFs. Cortana is also capable of saving information and data in a Notebook system, which allows Cortana to access information such as location data, behaviors, personal information, reminders, and contact information.
I can type much quicker than I read, so anything that helps me read faster, is great. Spritz, a Boston-based startup, is working on an incredible text streaming technology, that will see people reading pages of text much faster than they've ever previously thought possible.
The way this is possible, is that Spritz has crafted a technology that stops you from you having your eyes moving from word to word, by removing the page altogether. With Spritz, all you need is 13 characters to show all of your content, with fast streaming coming in and changing this all up. Spritz's technology is capable of being pushed into photos, maps, videos, and websites for much faster, more effective communication.
The way Spritz does this is instead of you reading in a line, it has the words appear in front of you, positioned much differently - something the startup calls the "Optimal Recognition Point", or ORP. The ORP is the "fixation point" which stays still, while the words flash through it. ORP is displayed in red, which saves a lot of recognition time in your brain when reading.
It looks like Microsoft's Windows Store is seeing more traffic, where it is serving over four million app downloads per day. This represents an approximate 135% increase from October 2013, where Microsoft reported 1.7 million daily downloads.
When compared against Apple's App Store, which averages a daily download of around 5.5 million to 6 million from last year's numbers, this is not bad at all. Developers should continue to build apps for Windows Phone, which should only see those numbers increase.
Tor Foundation is currently working on a concept called 'Tor Instant Messaging Bundle' (TIMB) where people can use instant messaging service in real-time while being anonymous to evade any surveillance. Tor's chat servers will be concealed in its hidden array of network.
This project was funded by an anonymous organization which was originally called as 'Attentive Otter'. TIMB will be a tool that will force IM traffic through Tor network irrespective whether its mean to go through TOR servers or not. Tor was trying to decide which open source based IM to use for this concept: Pidgin or InstantBird. Pidgin was ruled out because it required a lot effort to audit and maintain the library and certain security concerns.
The number of mobile gamers out there that use smartphones and tablets is booming. Many of these mobile gamers are kids that download freemium apps that are supported by in-app purchases. The problem is that many of these apps don't clearly let players know that things in the game cost real-world money.
This often leads to accidental purchases by kids and adults alike. Officials from the European Union have announced that they are meeting with Apple, Google, and others on how developers are representing in-app purchases to consumers in Europe. The officials want to set regulations that will force app developers to be more transparent.
The ultimate goal is to prevent children from making accidental purchases. The EU justice commission says that the new rules will help to make customers aware of exactly what they are buying when they make purchases in-app.
Dish Network is one of the most popular satellite TV providers in the US. The company has a slick Hopper whole home DVR system that will shoot recorded shows out to any TV in the home. That DVR system can also be controlled using an app running on the iPad.
The app for iPad users is called Dish Explorer. Dish has announced that it has made some updates to the Dish Explorer app that users of the system will appreciate. The updates include the addition of new controls for volume and power. The ability to control TV volume and power was missed by many users of the app in its last iterations.
Along with the new controls, the app also gets new personalized program recommendations. The program recommendations are based on your previous viewing habits. The Dish Explorer app is a second screen app that gives viewers a way to integrate social networking with their viewing.
Over a 24-hour period on Wednesday, there were approximately 293 new iOS games uploaded to the App Store. Out of this slew of 293 games, 95 of them were Flappy Bird clones, or at least inspired by the original Flappy Bird game.
Starting a couple of weeks ago, Apple began rejecting some of the Flappy Bird clones, but it looks like the company has all but given up trying to filter out the Flappy Bird clones. Developers are trying to capitalize on Dong Nguyen's success with the original Flappy Bird, as it saw him earning $50,000 per day.
Google has just pushed out Hangouts 2.0 for iOS, which is now "fully optimized" for iPads, featuring a "two-pane" conversation window, and much more. The latest update also provides users with the ability to send 10-second video messages to friends.
Animated stickers also make an appearance in the updated Hangouts for iOS app, but most of all its all about the redesign - which looks beautiful. Hangouts on iOS now looks more beautiful than Hangouts on Android, what is happening, Google? You can grab Hangouts 2.0 for iOS from the iTunes App Store.
I'm sure a bunch of people out there are wondering if they need glasses right about now. The problem for many people is that going to the eye doctor is expensive and takes a lot of time. A new service has turned up online called Opternative that will give you an online eye test and a legit prescription for glasses or contacts.
Once you get that prescription, you can take it wherever you want to have the glasses or contacts made. The test takes about ten minutes and costs about $35. The only potential drawback is that you need to pay for the test whether or not you end up needing glasses.
This is a real test according to the co-founder of the company, Dr. Steven Lee. Lee is an optometrist and he says that the Opternative test given uses a series of images that is able to tell what sort of eye problems you might have.
If you work in an office often the only time you can get out before closing time is when you head out for lunch. The problem is that much of the time lunch break isn't long enough to go to a restaurant, order, eat, and get back. That means you need a quick and easy way to order your food and get it back to the office on time.
If you are familiar with Square, the company that makes the mobile credit card readers and operates a mobile payment system, you might be interested in Squares latest offering. The new offering is an app called Square Pickup and it lets you order food from any eatery that takes Square payments.
The app lets you view the full menu offered for all participating restaurants, choose what you want, order, and pay in one place. That means all you need to do is drive over, get your food, and get back before the boss misses you at your desk.