Users will now be able to get their hands-on the first public release of VLC media player for Windows 8 via the Windows store on March 10th, coming this Monday. The announcement was made by VideoLAN via its Twitter account.
Earlier in 2012, VLC started a Kickstarter campaign which ended as a success in raising the necessary funds. Along the way, VideoLAN showed off their work-in-progress media app player. Some time ago, it was reported that VLC was passed to have its passed and will be placed on the app store. Now that the team was able to take care of last minute bug fixes, it was two days away for its release.
Oscar Mayer is a company that has been making lunchmeats and bacon for decades. The company has unveiled an interesting, if a bit weird, accessory for the iPhone called Wake Up & Smell the Bacon. This device is an app and hardware combo.
The hardware plugs into the iPhone and has some sort of system for producing the smell of cooking bacon using a scent canister. The app portion has an alarm clock and when your alarm goes off you are woke up to the sound and smell of cooking bacon.
I can't think of a better way to get up in the morning than the scent of bacon. It would be better if you woke up to real bacon. A company called Scentee in Japan makes the device and you can't buy the device at all. The only way to get your hands-on the bacon-scented alarm clock is by answering a quiz at the Oscar Mayer website. The good news is that anyone who wants to will be able to download the app.
Twitch made an announcement recently that they've released its mobile software development kit which will allow developers to add livestreaming and screen capture functionality in its mobile games. This will allow mobile gamers to livestream their mobile game online via Twitch and even capture screenshots.
"Our vision is to provide the Twitch community with the ability not only to view, but to broadcast live video game content wherever they are, whether they're on the go or in the living room," VP for marketing Matthew DiPietro said. "We've achieved that with our PC and console integrations, so the trifecta will soon be complete with our deep and concerted foray into mobile broadcasting."
Evernote for Windows got a big update today that includes several new features that users have been asking for. The first new feature allows users to annotate images inside their notes by simply mousing over the image and clicking the annotate button that appears in the top right corner of the image. Once annotation is open, users can use arrows, and stamps to highlight portions of the image as well as adding text, shapes or even crop and re-size the image.
The other new feature affects Evernote Business users or those with very large accounts. Their data will sync much faster now, and in some cases, Evernote says that the syncing will be instantaneous and not noticeable by users. Additionally, Evernote says that stability has improved, as well as a few bugs have been squashed with this update. I never really got into the Evernote craze, but with these new features, I may just have to give it a second chance.
Facebook's messenger app has been available on Android and iOS for quite some time now but has taken its sweet time arriving on Microsoft's Windows Phone platform. Today Microsoft announced that Facebook Messenger is now available for for download in the Windows Phone store. The app is quite similar to its counterparts on Android and iOS, with features like group-chat, stickers, and picture messaging, but the nifty Chat Heads feature is missing.
Industry analyst are quick to point out that Facebook Messenger has arrived just before Microsoft releases its next update to Windows Phone 8.1, an update that will see Redmond pull back from some of its integration of FB and Windows Phone. This is a move that will allow Facebook to handle more of the functionality itself through separate apps, just like it does on iOS and Android. The Windows Phone 8.1 Update is expected to arrive in early April, but that date could change if any delays occur in the mean time.
One of the cool things about Dish Network is that with its Hopper Whole home DVR system you can watch your favorite shows from anywhere using apps. The apps let you catch up with shows you miss on the road and were previously offered for Android and iOS devices only.
Dish has announced that it is now supporting another popular platform with a new Dish Anywhere app that has just launched. The app is now available for the Kindle Fire HDX line of tablets. The app is available now on the Amazon Appstore.
The app gives Kindle Fire HDX tablet users the ability to watch their DVR recordings, TV programs, and on demand titles away from home. The app only works with the Hoppe DVR that has Sling built-in. The app will work when the table is connected to Wi-Fi or mobile broadband.
XMBC recently made an announcement about its BETA 1 edition of the new media center software: V13.0 codenamed "Gotham". The team says that they have worked hard on this project and made improvements since the release of the older 12.0 release.
The new XMBC interface comes with a lot of features based on the user's feedback and requests. Some of those features are Android Hardware Decoding, Rasberry Pi and Android speed improvements, Stereoscopic 3D Rendering better touchscreen support, better audio engines and other setting improvements. The team assured that this version of XMBC should run on Android 4.0 and higher for ARM and x86 architectures. Users required this software to run smoothly on Rasberry Pi and Android, of which the team was able to work on it and make improvements. More specifically: opening and browsing libraries, loading images and initial starting of videos. For 3D lovers, XMBC now supports SBS, TAB, anaglyph and interlaced.
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.
Just a day after releasing a fix for authenticating SSL certificates, there's another security flaw found in iOS that's equally dangerous. It was recently found that iOS allows a malicious apps to keep a track on your keystrokes.
This flaw was found by a security firm called FirmEye. To prove that this flaw exists, the security firm uploaded a dummy app in Apple's app store. The dummy app was able to record touch and keystrokes when changing wallpaper, pressing buttons like home, volume up/down and TouchID buttons. The app then sent the records to a remote server. According to the security company, attackers can use these information for reconstructing every character that the victim uses to access any types of accounts.
MWC 2014 - Samsung has taken the wraps off of its Knox 2.0 software, which will be capable of using the Galaxy S5's fingerprint scanner. Knox 2.0 will use two-factor biometric authentication, which will access a central keystore that will require not only a fingerprint, but a passcode.
Corporate app makers and security policy developers can push this into their software, which should keep devices safe from unauthorized access. Not only that, but now Knox can run "most" applications from the Google Play store without setting up a new environment, all while keeping the system and kernel secure from malicious code.
Samsung's refreshed Knox software can now secure individual apps data, and prevent unauthorized editing and access to system partitions and other sensitive areas and databases. The company is setting forward a bit more, offering up a Knox marketplace, which will allow IT staff to set up and deploy apps across all users' phones.
Knox 2.0 will come pre-installed on the Galaxy S5, as well as other Galaxy smartphones - but requires Android 4.4 - in Q2 2014.
Today WhatsApp announced a new upcoming feature that most likely played a major role in Facebook's recent acquisition of the company. WhatsApp says that later this year it will be adding voice calling services to the popular text messaging app, a move that will undoubtedly send it rocketing even further past its competition. The new Voice calling feature will arrive on Android and iOS first, with Windows Phone and BlackBerry receiving the new features later down the road.
WhatsApp says that the new voice calling feature will be free initially, but could charge for the service in the future, much like the way its messaging service is free for the first year and then requires a $0.99 per year subscription fee. If the company can keep the new voice calling service in the same $0.99 to $2.99 per year range, I can see almost everyone subscribing at the new rate, which in turn would equate to massive revenue growth for Facebook and WhatsApp.
Additionally, WhatsApp's founder issued an official apology for the downtime the service recently suffered. Jan Koum, WhatsApp co-founder and CEO said that the outage was the app's longest ever, lasting about four hours. As someone who uses WhatsApp almost exclusively for all of his text messaging, the outage was an annoyance, but as a techie myself, I know that these things happen. I do find it refreshing to see a CEO apologize about the outage, something not many other leaders of tech companies do when their services go down.
The UTorrent dev team released 3.4 version of the client with a promise that it would change the way uTorrent chooses peers and therefore improves the download speeds and preventing DDOS attacks.
Other than the bug fixes and new features, BitTorrent's Adam Kelly explained how the new system works. He said,"If a BitTorrent client chooses poorly, or if there are malicious actors in the swarm, the connections between clients are not well distributed through the swarm, leading to a large number of hops from node to node. That slows down the ability to each client to pass data on to the next."