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Daily Update for August 7, 2012

It’s the TUAW Daily Update, your source for Apple news in a convenient audio format. You’ll get all the top Apple stories of the day in three to five minutes for a quick review of what’s happening in the Apple world. You can listen to today’s Apple stories by clicking the inline player (requires Flash) or the non-Flash link below. To subscribe to the podcast for daily listening through iTunes, click here . No Flash? Click here to listen . Subscribe via RSS Daily Update for August 7, 2012 originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Tue, 07 Aug 2012 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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Daily Update for August 7, 2012

Big updates for Fairway Solitaire and Junk Jack

Two of my favorite iOS games from the last few years have gotten big updates today. Fairway Solitaire is a really brilliant puzzle/card game that combines golf and solitaire in a fun way, and it’s gotten a big update that adds a whole bunch of ongoing content. The game now has a “Daily Mode” where you can play a brand new challenge every single day, and earn new Challenge Cups to unlock even more courses. There’s also a new card back and push notifications — Fairway Solitaire is completely free, and that makes it one of the best cost-to-fun ratio games I’ve ever seen on any platform. Definitely give it a look if you haven’t yet. Junk Jack has also gotten another big update, although the team behind that game has warned players not to install it just yet (there’s apparently a game-breaking bug involved). Whenever the expedited update does drop, there will be a whole mess of new items in the 2D Minecraft-like sandbox title, including bows, animals to tame, new hidden treasures, lots of inventory and UI updates, and lots of revamped graphics in the world. The update sounds awesome, and Junk Jack is a great game. It’s too bad the team got caught by a bug, but hopefully the next update will be out as soon as possible and everything will work fine again. Big updates for Fairway Solitaire and Junk Jack originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Tue, 07 Aug 2012 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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Big updates for Fairway Solitaire and Junk Jack

Sprint: iPhone worth the huge financial commitment

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse told Ina Fried of AllthingsD and other reporters who are touring Sprint’s headquarters in Kansas that the iPhone is worth the billions that the carrier is spending on the device . According to Hesse, Sprint considered Apple’s offer and “saw no reason to bet against Apple.” In the end, the wireless carrier agreed to buy US$15.5 billion worth of iPhones over the next four years. Agreeing to buy the iPhone is painful now for Sprint as the carrier tries to balance paying Apple and building out its LTE network at the same time. Hesse, though, believes this gamble will pay off as more and more customers decide to stick with carrier because they can get the iPhone. Sprint: iPhone worth the huge financial commitment originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Tue, 07 Aug 2012 17:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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Sprint: iPhone worth the huge financial commitment

Xcode 4.4.1 released as standalone app

Apple has finished smoothing out its Xcode releases with version 4.4.1, which finally brings Xcode out as a standalone app . Instead of just including the developer tools (such as legacy simulators and optional command-line tools), it now has sectioned those off into a separate downloads preference pane. This is a smart way to go about things. It allow for Xcode to be easily updated from the Mac App Store. You can get Xcode 4.4.1 for free, though remember that actually submitting apps or developing on iOS will require a developer subscription, from the Mac App Store . Xcode 4.4.1 released as standalone app originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Tue, 07 Aug 2012 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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Xcode 4.4.1 released as standalone app

IRIScan Book 2 mobile scanner: Review and giveaway

Although I tend to use my iPhone 4S and Readdle’s Scanner Pro (US$6.99) or JotNot Scanner Pro ($1.99) apps to do most of my scanning, there are still documents that need a regular scanner of some sort. For that, I have an old Epson 4490 Photo scanner, but it has issues handling anything that isn’t flat. For example, I’ve been trying to scan some sections of some really old books into a digital format, but due to the thickness of the book the section nearest the spine of the book is unreadable on a scan. The new IRIScan Book 2 (US$129.00) mobile scanner is a lightweight scanner that can handle a number of document types easily. Design When it comes to portability, the IRIScan Book 2 is almost as easy to carry as an iPhone. It’s a tiny 10″ long, 1-1/8″ wide wand that averages a little over 1″ in height. It’s entirely self-contained: the scanner contains a pair of AA batteries (included) and uses a micro-SD card (2 GB card included) to hold your scans until you’re ready to process them. There’s also a micro-USB port and included cable for dumping your scans to a computer for processing. Gallery: IRIScan Book 2 Scanner It’s an attractive little scanner, with a metallic blue finish and a carrying bag to protect it while in transit. Some addition value and power comes with the software that’s included with the IRIScan Book 2 — Readiris Pro 12 is an older version of the OCR and scan management software that is sold by I.R.I.S. Note that there is an iPad version of Readiris ($37.99) on the App Store; it is not included with the scanning hardware. Functionality The IRIScan Book 2 works like a flatbed scanner, only you provide the motion of the scanning head over the item to be scanned. There’s a large and clearly labeled scan and power button; pushing it for two seconds turns the device on (or off), and a quick push starts or ends the scanning process. I decided to test the device without reading the instructions, so I grabbed a catalog for a local community college where I teach and started scanning away. Although the original catalog was printed on newsprint and had been folded for mailing, the scans were still extremely clear and legible. I also like the idea that you don’t have to scan from top to bottom on a page; it’s also possible to scan from side to side, which works best with books. Another pair of buttons provides an easy way to switch between color and grayscale scanning, or change the resolution of your scan from 300 to 600 dpi. There’s a tiny LCD to show you how many scans you’ve made, what mode your currently in, and to help you set the time on the device. Let’s talk for a minute about Readiris Pro 12, the scanning and OCR software that comes with this little scanner. To be honest with you, I’m not a big fan of scanning software. OCR software, which I’ve used since the early days of scanners, always has the same problem — it works great for scanning one-column text, but start throwing a lot of columns, tables, and graphics at one and you end up doing a tremendous amount of manual labor to try to extract text from your scan. That’s not to say that Readiris Pro 12 doesn’t work well — it does. As an example, I scanned a page from a book with wide margins and the text was saved into an RTF file that was completely accurate. It’s just that the number of situations in which you’re going to get this type of OCR accuracy are relatively few. When I scan documents, I prefer to just keep them in a PDF format without doing any OCR. In other words, the documents are an image of a document rather than the textual information. Sure, that makes for larger file sizes, but at least I’m not fighting OCR software to try to get readable text. As for the scans, take a look at this gallery. The first two images show one scan from a book, the other from a tabloid-sized course catalog, both “scanned” with Scanner Pro. The next two images are the same types of pages scanned with the IRIScan Book 2, and the final two images are using JotNot Scanner Pro. Gallery: Scanner Tests: Software vs. IRIScan Book 2 The scans from JotNot Scanner Pro and PDF Scan are both curved somewhat due to the curvature of the book’s page, but they’re both quite legible. The IRIScan Book 2 scanned the curved page nicely, but note that if you’re scanning a book with very narrow margins, you’ll have problems. Looking at the catalog page, you’ll notice that the page is cut off in the IRIScan Book 2. That’s because the scanner only scans documents up to 8.5″ wide. The scans from the iPhone applications were both full-width; I felt that JotNot Scanner Pro worked better for this page. Conclusion Before you invest in a document scanner, think about your end goals. Are you planning on scanning every document you receive in order to achieve a paperless life? If so, maybe a sheet-fed scanner would work better for you. Are you thinking about just scanning receipts while traveling? If you already have an iPhone or iPad, then perhaps scanning software will work better for you. But if you often need to scan articles from magazines or if OCR is a necessity, then the IRIScan Book 2 is a reasonably-priced and definitely portable scanner for you. Pros Compact size makes it travel-friendly Does not need to be attached to a computer in order to scan Attractive design Comes with OCR software package Absolutely quiet in operation Uses widely available AA batteries Cons Is not rechargeable Limited to 8.5″ wide scans Who is it for? Best suited for those who need a small, portable scanner that is capable of scanning articles and converting them to editable text. Giveaway You know how we love to give away review items here at TUAW, and sure enough we have a full IRIScan Book 2 package complete with Readiris Pro 12 software, the 2 GB memory card (installed), and more. Here are the rules for the giveaway: Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older. To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button. The entry must be made before August 10, 2012 11:59PM Eastern Daylight Time. You may enter only once. One winner will be selected and will receive an IRIScan Book 2 scanner and software valued at $129.00. Click Here for complete Official Rules. Loading… IRIScan Book 2 mobile scanner: Review and giveaway originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Tue, 07 Aug 2012 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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Amazon responds to iCloud account hacking

Amazon is taking action after learning of the inadvertent role it played in Wired writer Mat Honan’s digital nightmare last week, when his iCloud account password was compromised and his Mac was wiped. Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris told Wired on Monday that processes were being reviewed, but Amazon has actually enacted a new security policy in light of what happened to Honan. As of today, Amazon will no longer allow users to change account settings, including credit card information and email addresses associated with the account, via phone. Wired confirmed this change while trying unsuccessfully to replicate the social engineering steps used to get into Honan’s accounts. We’ve yet to see exactly what steps Apple is taking to rectify the security issues, but Wired’s Robert McMillan has written a good piece on why Apple’s secure password advice is no help against the sort of information phishing that caused the loss of Honan’s data. Amazon responds to iCloud account hacking originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Tue, 07 Aug 2012 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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Steve Jobs and the "rubber band" patent

There’s a lot of patent throwdowns going on in the tech industry lately, and it’s very easy to see them as just a battle of titans, of huge corporations going up against each other for assets and portfolios of arbitrary “features.” But here’s a story that reminds you of the human side of all of this, and of what these patent battles are really supposed to be: Protection for those people who have the creativity and courage to put new ideas forward. One of the patents involved in the Apple/Samsung battle right now is the so-called “rubber-band” patent , according to Yoni Heisler at NetworkWorld it was one of Steve Jobs’ favorite features. That’s the scrolling effect that occurs when you reach the end of a webpage in Mobile Safari. It was later used for a “pull-to-refresh” effect that quite a few companies have copied since. The Next Web recounts that this patent was ascribed to a UI designer named Bas Ording , who Steve Jobs reportedly hired after meeting him in the lobby the afternoon after an unsuccessful job interview. Ording supposedly showed him a demo of a feature that would allow users to see more icons in their OS X Dock by pulling up a magnifying glass whenever they hovered over the icons already there. “I said, ‘My God,’ and hired him on the spot,” says Jobs in Walter Isaacon’s biography. Ording later came up with the scrolling feature and, according to testimony from Scott Forstall in the ongoing Samsung/Apple trial, the role it played in creating the iPhone interface made it one of Jobs’ favorite patents. Forstall said that “rubber banding is one of the sort of key things for the fluidity of the iPhone and – and all of iOS, and so I know it was one of the ones that Steve really cared about.” In initial talks with Samsung, that patent was one of the items that Jobs specifically laid claim to as Apple’s. That’s one of the main reasons that Apple and Samsung are fighting so vehemently over the patent portfolio. It’s easy to see these as patent battles as two companies fighting over millions of dollars, but it’s also important to remember that there are human achievements to recognize among these patents as well. Steve Jobs and the “rubber band” patent originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Tue, 07 Aug 2012 19:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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Steve Jobs and the "rubber band" patent

Shadow Era physical cards now being shipped to retail stores

Shadow Era is an iOS app that came out a long time ago — it successfully combines a collectible card game (fairly similar to the World of Warcraft card game, if you’ve ever played that one) with a freemium business model, a plan that has worked out very well for developer Kyle Pool. So well, in fact, that he announced a little while ago that Shadow Era would be getting physical cards to go along with the iOS title, and indeed, the company has announced that Call of the Crystals, the first physical version of the original iOS title, is now headed to a game retail store near you. You can see unboxing videos floating around already — this is a full, high quality collectible card game that originally began only on Apple’s iOS platform. That’s great. Apple usually brags about how much software it has seen released on its iOS, but when you look at things like all of those Angry Birds collectibles and then a game like this, that has gone from an indie developer’s idea to a full franchise, it’s really fascinating to see just how popular and powerful this App Store has become. Shadow Era physical cards now being shipped to retail stores originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Tue, 07 Aug 2012 21:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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Shadow Era physical cards now being shipped to retail stores

AppleCare freezes over-the-phone password resets in wake of hacking incident

The ripples from Mat Honan’s weekend security incursion keep pushing outward. Earlier today Amazon shifted policy to prevent account details from being changed via a phone call, which blocks one avenue the hackers used to get the personal info used to compromise Honan’s iCloud account. Now, according to Wired , the other shoe has dropped: Apple’s phone support team is in a 24-hour freeze for account resets by phone . This change, which Wired confirmed with an internal Apple source and also tested directly by trying to perform a password reset in a call with AppleCare, might be a temporary holding action until Apple comes up with a more permanent adjustment to its security policies. As Honan’s story unfolded late Friday night, it wasn’t immediately clear how the hackers gained access to his iCloud account, but it turned out that with just an email address , mailing address and the last four digits of the account’s credit card, AppleCare would provide a temporary account password over the phone. Apple could implement a two-factor authentication scheme similar to Google’s approach, but that’s confusing to set up for mobile devices and in situations where a separate challenge step doesn’t work smoothly (calendar or email apps, for instance). Apple could also do a callback step to the phone that’s on the account, although in the case of a stolen phone that might not help. Even a multiple-choice “which of these songs did you purchase on this date” account detail check might add some security to the process, but a perfect system hasn’t been invented yet. As risk guru Bruce Schneier points out (in the context of a far more tragic incident), “Novelty plus dread plus a good story equals overrreaction.” Human beings aren’t particularly good at accurately assessing risk, and we focus on solving the last problem rather than the next one. Hopefully Apple will take this wake-up call on account security as an opportunity for a clear-eyed evaluation of some of the ongoing, high-incidence security issues it faces rather than focusing exclusively on the headline problem. [hat tip to MacRumors ] AppleCare freezes over-the-phone password resets in wake of hacking incident originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Tue, 07 Aug 2012 22:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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AppleCare freezes over-the-phone password resets in wake of hacking incident

Spoiler alert: Sneak peek at tonight’s Conan O’Brien Show

Thanks to a headsup from our friends over at Team Coco, we have a sneak peek at a fun clip from tonight’s Conan O’Brien show. This is a video “released by a Samsung VP” showing how Samsung products are completely different from those made by Apple, proving the lawsuit is ridiculous. I can’t wait to get my hands on that vacuum myself, it looks really powerful! You can catch the rest of Conan’s show weeknights at 11 pm on TBS. Until it shows up on television, you can kill time watching clips from other episodes on their site . Spoiler alert: Sneak peek at tonight’s Conan O’Brien Show originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Tue, 07 Aug 2012 22:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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Spoiler alert: Sneak peek at tonight’s Conan O’Brien Show