Producer: Jon Turi
Hear the podcast:
Producer: Jon Turi
Hear the podcast:
Sure, Apple's legal scuffle over in-app purchases made by misbehaving youngsters has ended, but the firm's added a precautionary measure to avoid additional costly mishaps. Among other changes included in iOS 7.1, Cook and Co. snuck in an alert after micro-transactions that tells users similar payments can be made for the next 15 minutes without entering their password. Of course, the notice also directs the wielder of the iOS device to adjust the restriction if it's not to their liking. The 15-minute policy is far from new, but the message is likely a welcome -- albeit tiny -- addition for parents with shopping spree-prone offspring.
Google has long made it easy to find reviews of local businesses in its search results, but you've been out of luck if you prefer Yahoo. You won't have much trouble scouting those locations after today, though. As hinted earlier this year, Yahoo has integrated Yelp's data into its searches, including reviews and photos. Look at a sushi place, for instance, and you'll find out when it's open, what it looks like, and whether or not its rolls are any good. Yahoo may just be closing a feature gap with the Yelp deal, but we're not going to complain if it means that more of our friends make informed decisions about where they shop.
Sometimes you just have to wait until a retailer tosses together a bunch of tech that you're eying before you make the leap. In terms of new gaming consoles, today could very well be the day. There are tempting bundles for both Xbox One and PS4 on the other side of the jump, alongside two other entertainment-minded gadgets to help boost those high scores.
If there are other gaming devices you're after that we haven't included here -- join us and add them to your "Want" list. Every time there's a price cut in the future, you'll get an email alert!
If you're a fan of flinging Angry Birds across the screen or racing them in go-carts on your favorite mobile device, Rovio's next installment looks to offer a new challenge. Angry Birds Epic is said to be a turn-based RPG with all the battle and armor building players can handle. Kotaku reports that making weapons, potions and other provisions with funds acquired during conquests or via in-app purchases will be a key part in the storyline. Details are scarce for now, but an in-progress version is said to hit iTunes in Australia and Canada this week with a global launch across iOS, Android and Windows Phone sometime in 2014.
SXSW Interactive can hardly match the significance of CES, MWC or IFA when it comes to consumer electronics launches, but there's always a ton of awesome gear to see. This year, Chaotic Moon's "CUPID" stun copter was perhaps the most shocking innovation, but IBM's Watson-powered food truck, a Leap Motion-equipped Oculus Rift and Neil Young's PonoMusic player also dominated on the gear front. In between hands-on demos, we caught up with Aereo, BlackBerry, Shaquille O'Neal and even Snoop Dogg, while also sitting in on SXSW sessions featuring the likes of Edward Snowden and 23andMe's Anne Wojcicki. We say farewell today, but South-by 2014 will live on for a few days to come, with hundreds of concerts and other events dominating the seemingly countless performance venues in Austin, Texas.
We know that the NSA has been ramping up its efforts to collect data from computers, but it's now clear that the intelligence agency has the tools to compromise those computers on a grand scale. Information leaked by Edward Snowden to The Intercept has revealed that the NSA has spent recent years automating the way it plants surveillance software. The key is Turbine, a system launched in 2010 that automatically sets up implants and simplifies fetching data; agents only have to know what information they want, rather than file locations or other app-specific details. A grid of sensors, nicknamed Turmoil, automatically spots extracted info and relays it to NSA staff. The combined platform lets the organization scrape content from "potentially millions" of PCs, instead of focusing only on the highest-priority targets.
Nice to see Google is keeping the regular Google Wallet updates coming. A few weeks after introducing loyalty card scans, the company is adding a feature called "Orders," which lets you track your online shipments using Google Wallet's iOS or Android app. In particular, you can view receipts for purchases you made online, as well as check the shipping status (Google says it's made arrangements with "primary package carriers in the US"). The roll-out appears to have already begun, though it could take a while for the update to reach some devices -- yours truly, for instance, is still waiting.
Microsoft's OneNote app has been available on mobile, Windows and the web for quite some time, but Mac support for the note-taking software has proven elusive... at least, until now. Both The Verge and ZDNet hear that OneNote will be available for free on OS X later this month. Microsoft would also release a free desktop Windows app (the Windows 8-native app is already gratis) to better support its own platform. Both versions would include new features, too, including a Clipper service to save web content and a desktop variant of Office Lens' document scanning. We've reached out to Microsoft to verify the claims. It's easy to see why the folks in Redmond might expand OneNote's ecosystem, though. The app is facing stiff competition from Evernote, which is available on most modern platforms -- Microsoft would simply be countering a rival.
The web has changed a lot in the 25 years since Tim Berners-Lee first proposed its underlying technology, and not entirely for the better -- censorship, reduced net neutrality and surveillance are very real concerns. Berners-Lee and a host of partners are fighting these threats by launching Web We Want, a campaign pushing for an internet bill of rights in every country. The initiative asks you to start a discussion about the web you'd like to see, and to draft a matching set of rights. It's also fostering education efforts, offering small support grants and rallying groups at critical moments. There's no certainty that Web We Want will make a tangible impact, but it should provide a stronger voice to advocates of a free and open internet.