Archive for December, 2014

Xbox One SDK reportedly leaked by hackers in order to ‘end 2014 with a bang’

Xbox One SDK Leaked

As if the massive DDoS attack from Lizard Squad wasn't enough of a disastrous end to the year for Sony and Microsoft, a new group called H4LT has apparently leaked the Xbox One software development kit on to Twitter. According to H4LT, this is the first step to bringing homebrew to the Xbox One.

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Jacob Siegal

December 31st

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The Science of How Champagne Gets Its Bubbles

Without its bubbles, champagne is ordinary white wine, unfit for sabering or smashing against new ships. So what gives sparkling wines their sparkle? A fascinating process called secondary fermentation.

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Sarah Zhang

December 31st

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Brooklyn’s Best NYE Tradition Ends Tonight 

If Times Square is too gaudy, crowded, and frankly insane for you, then there is another New York tradition worth your New Year's Eve—one that is, in fact, ending tonight. For the past fifty years, the Pratt Institute has set out its amazing collection of big old steam whistles out on the lawn of its Brooklyn campus. Tonight's your last chance to steam blast your way into the new year.

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Sarah Zhang

December 31st

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Turn any watch into a smartwatch with the Kairos T-band

Kairos T-Band Smartwatch

So you're not impressed with the current slate of Android Wear smartwatches and you don't think the Apple Watch is going to do anything to change your mind. You might be willing to put something intelligent on your wrist, but you don't want to replace your watch with some dorky gadget.

You need to check out the Kairos T-band.

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Jacob Siegal

December 31st

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What the Hell Is Champagne Sabering?

What the Hell Is Champagne Sabering?

The first time you see someone sabre a bottle of Champagne a series of thoughts run through your mind:

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Joshua Malin - VinePair

December 31st

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The Craziest Dash Cam Videos Of 2014

The Craziest Dash Cam Videos Of 2014

In 2012, dash cams introduced themselves to the world. In 2013, dash cams started breaking worldwide news. In 2014? Things got weird.

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Raphael Orlove

December 31st

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Review: Skech’s Base and Skechbook join the early iPad Air 2 case ranks, but add bulk

skechbook-3

As 2014 comes to a close, there aren’t a lot of iPad Air 2-specific cases on the market, and some developers are already taking shortcuts — cutting extra holes in old iPad Air cases — just to get “iPad Air 1+2″ products out. So when new cases are supposedly tailored just for the iPad Air 2, I’m interested in seeing how well they actually fit and protect Apple’s latest tablet, even if their designs are otherwise highly familiar. That’s why Skech’s Base ($45) and Skechbook ($40) are here.

They’re both fabric folios with iPad Air 2-sized plastic hard shells inside. Offered in black, blue, or pink, Base has rounded corners and feels like waxed canvas, while the black-only Skechbook has boxy, hardcover book-like edges and is wrapped in “vegan leather.” Just like Apple’s more expensive iPad Air 2 Smart Case, neither accentuates the Air 2’s thin body, but they work as basic protective and stand solutions.

base-3

Base is simultaneously the more conventional and yet better-contoured of the two cases. Soft-lined with fabric on the inside and a vinyl-like material on the outside, it’s stitched around its outer edges, and along a foldable seam in the back. The fabric deliberately ends roughly a half-inch short of the top, left, and bottom, exposing the hard plastic iPad shell, which itself leaves holes for the ports, microphones, camera, buttons, and speakers, plus an unnecessary 1.6″-long strip of metal on the Air’s edge. Without button, speaker, and full side coverage, it’s far from the most protective iPad folio we’ve seen, but it’s adequate under most circumstances.

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Skechbook uses the exact same iPad plastic shell, only tucked inside a boxy folio that extends out to the shell’s furthest edges. The folio is not tailored around the iPad’s side or top buttons, which makes them a little difficult to press, though the extension of the faux leather winds up providing a little extra coverage for the shell’s open ports and speakers. Of the two cases, the book-like Skechbook is a little more handsome and distinctive, but the difference isn’t huge.

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Both cases operate in the same basic way. Open the front lid and hidden magnets activate the iPad Air 2’s screen, only unlocking it if Touch ID is disabled; closing the lid always turns the screen off. Fold the iPad shell onto the base and you can adjust the screen angle for video viewing; Base uses a thin strip of Velcro to hold numerous angles, while Skechbook uses anti-slip rubber to similar effect. Both cases do a nice job of holding whatever landscape viewing position you prefer, but only Base can support a typing angle.

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The chief issue with both of these cases and most others we’ve seen for the iPad Air 2 is their thickness. Between the plastic shell, the front lid and the rear support, they nearly triple the Air 2’s naturally thin body — bulkiness that will only be fixed by rethinking the necessary thickness of the fabrics and cardboard commonly used in folio designs. No one, even Apple, appears to have taken this step yet; SwitchEasy’s markedly thinner but similarly functional Rave (reviewed here) is the best alternative we’ve seen at a similar price point.

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That said, Base and Skechbook are competent iPad Air 2 cases at a time when good options are few in number, and great options are not yet available. They don’t have the little frills of the company’s iPhone 6 cases, such as the dock-compatible slider Hard Rubber (above left), completely clear dual-material case Crystal (above middle), or fully rubber-wrapped shell Ice (above right), each armed with one uncommon design asset that sets it apart from the pack. But if you really like either Base or Skechbook’s look, and don’t mind the bulk, their build quality and pricing are reasonable.


Filed under: Reviews Tagged: case, iPad Air 2, ipad case, Skech

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Jeremy Horwitz

December 31st

Apple

Mac

Apple hit with lawsuit over shrinking size of usable space in base model iPhones following larger iOS 8 updates

iPhone-capacity

Just as one judge dismissed a class action case again Apple yesterday, today Siliconbeat reports that Apple will face a new class action case claiming iOS 8 takes up too much of the iPhone’s overall storage capacity. The case was filed in a Bay Area federal court this week and claims that iOS 8 can take up as much as 23.1 percent of an iOS device’s storage depending on the model:

“We feel that there are a substantial number of Apple consumers that have been shortchanged, and we’ll be pursuing the claims vigorously,” said William Anderson, a lawyer at Cuneo Gilbert & Laduca, a Washington, D.C.-based law firm… A spokeswoman for Apple declined to comment.

More specifically, the case reportedly claims that iOS 8 can take up as much as 23.1 percent of advertised storage space on iPods and around 18.1 percent for the iPhone 5s. While Apple does have disclaimers that note actual formatted capacity might be less than advertised in footnotes on its site and elsewhere, the case alleges most consumers are unaware. In addition, the case accuses Apple of exploiting  “the space constraints by peddling iCloud subscriptions when users run out of storage,” according to the report.

“Using these sharp business tactics, defendant gives less storage capacity than advertised, only to offer to sell that capacity in a desperate moment, e.g., when a consumer is trying to record or take photos at a child or grandchild’s recital, basketball game or wedding,”

The report from Siliconbeat points out that Apple, Samsung and other tech companies have faced similar cases over properly informing consumers that devices that come with preinstalled software taking up a portion of advertised storage space. At least one of which Apple successfully defended itself against back in 2011. 

Interestingly, the Windows tablets often come with as little as 50% of the advertised space after the base OS/Apps are loaded.


Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS

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Jordan Kahn

December 31st

Apple

Mac

Apple brings its “Start Something New.” page global for New Years 2015

Apple-start-something-new

Apple launched its Start Something New. campaign on its Japanese website 2 days ago and it looks to be propagating globally now in the run up to New Years Eve 2015. The page encourages Apple users to try out new products like Procreate, Brushes 3, Slow Shutter,  VSCOCam, Waterlogue and iDraw and highlights artists including Roz HallMatt Pyke and Craig & Karl.

Every piece in this gallery was created on an Apple product. Every brushstroke, every pixel, and every frame of film was brought to life by talented Apple users from around the world. As you explore their work, we hope it inspires you to create something new.

Although Apple has toned down its holiday celebrations this year (12 Days of Gifts?)  it will continue to run its Fukubukuro Lucky Bag sale in Japan on January 2nd.


Filed under: AAPL Company

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Seth Weintraub

December 31st

Apple

Mac

9to5Toys Lunch Break: Belkin 30% off sitewide, ZAGG iPad mini keyboard case $26, D-Link AC router $35, more

Keep up with the best gear and deals on the web by signing up for the brand new 9to5Toys Newsletter. Also, be sure to check us out on: TwitterRSS FeedFacebookGoogle+ and Safari push notifications.

Today’s can’t miss deals:

belkin-qode-ultimate-ipad-air-2 belkin-wemo-switch1 belkin-thunderbolt-dock-2

Belkin 30% off sitewide: iPad Air 2 keyboard case $91, Thunderbolt 2 dock $210, WeMo Light switch $35, more

zagg-ipad-mini-keyboard-case1ZAGG Bluetooth keyboard case for iPad mini w/ backlit keys $26 shipped (orig. $100)

d-link-wireless-ac-1000-mbps-home-cloud-app-enabled-dual-band-broadband-router1-e1420035120537

D-Link Wireless AC 1200 App-Enabled Dual-Band Broadband Router $35 shipped (orig. $140)

xbox-one-official-price-drop

PSA: this is your last chance to get in on the official Xbox One price drop

More new deals:

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More deals still alive:

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New products/ongoing promos/info:

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Filed under: Tips and Tricks Tagged: 802.11ac, 9to5Toys, app deals, Belkin coupon code, Daily Deals, free apps, iOS deals, iPad keyboard cases, itunes deals, Lunch Break, WeMo, Zagg

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Dan DeSilva

December 31st

Apple

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