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Updated: 21 min 21 sec ago

White elephant: There's a reason they give this advice away

Sat, 2014-12-20 05:00

Just like that tacky sweater your mom got you in 1997 that everyone keeps re-gifting, Forbes is the gift that keeps on giving.

And speaking of giving, Eric Jackson doesn’t think Apple should be giving money back to shareholders.

“Apple Returns Cash To Shareholders Because It’s Out Of Ideas On How To Invest It” (indirect link and tip o’ the antlers to weid1)

Jackson, you may recall (if you keep up to date on each outlandish piece of advice for how Apple should light its money on fire), has long suggested that Apple should have bought Twitter. Because social mumble mumble. So, when he says “invest,” what he really means is “blow dramatically on a high-profile vanity purchase with little definable ROI.”

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BrandPost: How to design an environmentally friendly website

Fri, 2014-12-19 12:02

Your website could be doing a lot more harm to the planet than you think. It might seem like a flash on a screen couldn’t cause much damage, but every small feature of your site has a discernible impact on the environment, with more complex features requiring greater resources to maintain. Over time and in great quantities, it adds up. Many factors - from the color palette you choose to where you host your site - can influence your site’s carbon footprint.

Designing more environmentally friendly site for your business lets your customers know you have an ethical stance that reaches beyond the balance sheet. Plus, going green can also make your website more efficient, allowing users to access your content more quickly. 

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BBC documentary highlights conditions at a Chinese iPhone factory, but is it all Apple's fault?

Fri, 2014-12-19 10:31

I’ve worked at a lot of different jobs in my life, but there are a few I’d never like to try: picking crops on a farm, working in a chicken processing plant, and working in any kind of factory. The relentless assembly lines and the noise of the machines would be hard to deal with. Even those factories without deafening machines still seem like harsh places to work, if only because of the cadence they impose on employees.

Whatever device you’re reading this article on was built in a factory, most likely in China. In this country, not known for its pleasant working conditions, all the major computer manufacturers have their devices built and assembled. Including Apple.

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Instagram's spam purge reveals high-profile accounts with fake followers

Fri, 2014-12-19 09:42

Instagram made good on its promise to delete spam accounts that have plagued the service and other social networks like Twitter. Sounds like a positive move, right? Well, the sudden evaporation of millions of fake users is enraging Instagram fans who care about things like high follower counts.

Millions of accounts vanished in the Great InstaPurge of 2014, also dubbed the “Instagram Rapture,” and the Instagrammers whose follower counts declined the most were the ones with the highest number of followers. Celebs like Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian, and Beyoncé saw millions of followers disappear on Thursday in the clean-up. In a funny twist, Instagram’s own account was hit the hardest, losing nearly 19 million followers or almost 30 percent of its total follower count.

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Ask the iTunes Guy: Missing ringtones and explicit radio

Fri, 2014-12-19 09:00

Another iOS update, another round of bugs. This time, a recent update to iOS 8 deleted ringtones and alert tones. I explain how to get them back. I also look at using multiple Apple IDs in the iTunes Store and App Store, discuss not being able to block iTunes Radio, and look at a question about moving an iTunes library to a new Mac while retaining metadata.

Lost ringtones

Q: All my ringtones are missing from my iPhone and I can’t find any way to re-download them. What can I do?

None of my devices were affected by this issue, and the iTunes Store tells me so.

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BrandPost: Today's Hot Deals: Dell Inspiron 300 for $450, ASUS Celeron Laptop for $199, and more

Fri, 2014-12-19 09:00
Before you fly home for Christmas or lock down your holiday plans, why not pick up a sweet new Samsung HDTV for $198, or an Alienware Gaming Console for $499?

How to uninstall MacKeeper from your Mac

Fri, 2014-12-19 07:00

Reader Michael Downend is having difficulty ridding his Mac of a utility he no longer desires. He writes:

How do I get rid of MacKeeper?

I won’t go into why you’d want to. Some people have found MacKeeper useful, others not. But many people I’ve encountered are confused about how to delete it.

Versions of MacKeeper made in the last couple of years are actually pretty easy to uninstall, but the process isn’t entirely straightforward. If you click on the MacKeeper menu in the Mac’s menu bar you won’t find a Quit command, which might lead you to believe that it can’t be quit. Force quitting doesn’t seem to work either.

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The Week in iPhone Cases: Multi-functional and elegant designs for everyone

Fri, 2014-12-19 06:00
Multi-functional and elegant designs for everyone

This week’s roundup of new iPhone cases has a focus on versatility. These cases can carry your credit cards, provide a comfortable way to watch movies, and more. Plus, of course, we included a selection of classy cases for everyday use.


Although this isn't a new case, it's worth a mention—especially as we approach the holidays. Apple's Leather Case (iPhone 6 and 6 Plus; $45 to $49) is a hard-shell case with a premium leather upgrade. The case features a soft microfiber lining that cushions your iPhone, and sports a raised bezel to prevent scratches to your screen when placed face-down on a flat surface.

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You Should Play: Micromon is the best Pokémon knock-off on the App Store

Fri, 2014-12-19 05:00

These days, keeping up with games can be a full-time job. So how do you separate the signal from the noise, the wheat from the chaff, the Temple Runs from the Temple Jumps? Allow us to help by regularly selecting a game You Should Play.

If you love Pokémon, you’ll also love Pocket Trend’s Micromon—because it’s practically the same game.

Micromon is an adventure game in which you use “Micromons,” or “micro monsters” (instead of “Pokémon,” or “pocket monsters”) to battle other characters and players. You—a newly minted Micromon tamer—travel throughout the world of Pixekai catching Micromons, training them, and battling gym leaders—er, Legion members—to collect certificates that prove your skill. 

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Send last-minute holiday photo cards right from your iPhone or iPad

Fri, 2014-12-19 04:38

Oh crap—it’s less than a week until Christmas. Seriously, when did that happen? I barely registered it was getting so late in December until the holiday cards started showing up in my mailbox. I love getting cards (especially photo cards), but the thought of sitting down and doing a mass mailing so the cards arrive before December 25 stresses me right out.

If you haven’t sent any cards yet this year either, follow my two-step plan. Step 1: Don’t panic. Step 2: Send on-demand “Happy New Year” postcards from your iPhone or iPad. Tons of apps can do this, and I’ve tried a few, but my personal favorite is Ink Cards, by Sincerely.

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Apple's 10 biggest hits, misses, and head-scratchers of 2014

Fri, 2014-12-19 04:35
Setting the stage for 2015

Apple had a blockbuster year. New iPhones, new iPads, a mobile payment solution that might actually change the way we pay, and an entirely new product category in Apple Watch.

That’s not to say there weren’t missteps: iOS 8.0.1, anyone?

We recap the year in Apple, from the high of record-breaking iPhone orders to the low of legal battles, and all the heartwarming and hilarious moments in between.

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The Week in iOS Apps: The latest from Google, MSN, and more

Thu, 2014-12-18 13:15
The latest from Google, MSN, and more

Some of the biggest names in the computer industry have new or fresh iOS apps available this week. Read on!


This $3 app is supposed to make email on your iOS device a frictionless experience—if you don’t sign in, the app will automatically use your iOS email address for sending and receiving. It integrates with other apps, letting you send information from Maps and Safari, and even lets you attach GIFs with a built-in Giphy search. It bundles together with the new Group Text+ app for just $4.

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No fitness for Christmas: Jawbone delays UP3 until 2015

Thu, 2014-12-18 11:25

If you were planning to star the new year on a healthy note with Jawbone's UP3 fitness band, you'll have to put that resolution on hold.

Jawbone's website now lists an 8-week to 9-week shipping window for its high-end fitness band, and the company told Wareable that even the earliest pre-orders won't arrive until early next year. Jawbone had previously said the UP3 would be available this year.

The good news is that Jawbone's site shows no delays on the new UP Move tracker, which costs $50, and the company continues to sell its UP24 fitness band for $100. The UP3 adds advanced activity and sleep tracking, along with a “heart health” sensor.

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Family Sharing is convenient, but comes with its own risks

Thu, 2014-12-18 10:53

UPDATE: This article originally omitted discussing how location sharing can be selectively disabled for members of a Family Sharing group, and has been updated to include that.

No Mac is an island, and every iPad is part of the main. But Apple has, for many years, had trouble with letting a group of allied people—let’s call them a “family”—make best used of shared devices and shared digital purchases. Family Sharing is the latest attempt by Apple to facilitate families’ sharing (if not caring).

It comes with a hidden curse, though: Families that share together can have all their devices wiped together and all track each other’s locations, regardless of one’s age. One could argue these are good things when you’ve chosen to opt into Family Sharing and location sharing. But, as your faithful writer keeps stressing, you have to know the risks in order to evaluate them.

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Apple's holiday push for AIDS-fighting nonprofit (RED) raised $20 million

Thu, 2014-12-18 09:17

Apple’s past Black Friday deals were never anything major—usually small discounts that covered sales tax and not much else. For last year’s annual shopping holiday, the company moved to free gift cards with purchase, and this year was more of the same. But this past Black Friday, your purchases also raised money for the AIDS-fighting nonprofit (RED) and The Global Fund—more than $20 million in total.

In an email to Apple employees first reported by Re/code, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company has raised more than $100 million for (RED) since first partnering with the Bono-led nonprofit in 2006. Apple donated a percentage of (RED)-branded iTunes gift cards that were handed out with select Black Friday purchases, and on Cyber Monday (which was also World AIDS Day), the company donated a portion of every online and in-store sale. That holiday fundraising push alone generated more than 20 percent of the total amount Apple has raised for The Global Fund in eight years. Not too shabby.

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Review: Duet Display brings fast response to the iPad-as-external-monitor game

Thu, 2014-12-18 09:14

Laptop users who occasionally need more screen real estate can benefit from an additional display. And there are quite a few iOS apps (with companion Mac apps) that let you use an iOS device as that display. But, up to this point, what they lack is speed due to the slow Wi-Fi signal that allows the two devices to communicate. A team of ex-Apple employees address this issue with Duet Display, an iOS app that works in conjunction with a Mac app and a wired connection between your Mac and iPad.

Just how bad is using a Wi-Fi connection? Try to play a web video on the iOS screen, for instance, and the experience is choppy at best. If you move that movie window around, the video will typically freeze and then lurch back into motion once you’re done dragging.

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Revisionist history: Apple chastised for not sticking it to customers

Thu, 2014-12-18 08:00

What did we used to do before Forbes? Whatever it was, even if it was writing overwrought poetry in the freezing cold by candlelight shortly before dying of tuberculosis, the Macalope is nostalgic for those times.

Writing for Forbes Jay McGregor warns:

“Don’t Get Too Excited About The iPhone 7” (indirect link)

Uhhh, OK. Kinda easy since the next iPhone (whether it has a 7 or some “s” variation stapled to its name) is at least 10 months away and the Macalope is still enjoying his iPhone 6. Really, other than that Star Wars trailer, the horny one doesn’t get too excited about things that are longer away than you could conceive and birth a human baby.

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Amazon Prime Now delivers your order in an hour, but only in Manhattan for now

Thu, 2014-12-18 07:25

Earlier this month reports surfaced that Amazon was testing out a new bike delivery service in Manhattan called Amazon Prime Now. On Thursday, Amazon officially announced the service.

Prime Now is available only to select areas of Manhattan and—as the name suggests—it's for Prime members only. Amazon says it will expand the service to more cities in 2015. 

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LoopPay CardCase review: The best mobile payments system aside from Apple Pay

Thu, 2014-12-18 04:50

Mobile wallets are finally starting to get some traction. Apple Pay is driving new interest in digital payments, but relatively few people actually have an iPhone 6. Even if you do, you’re likely to find that Apple Pay far from universally accepted. It only works with a few major credit cards, and chains like Wal-Mart and CVS are shutting Apple out in favor of their own, proprietary payment system.

That’s an opportunity for LoopPay. CardCase is the company’s newest electronic payment system. It’s a case for the iPhone with a detachable electronic card that you can use to make purchases almost anywhere you’d ordinarily swipe a traditional credit card. It’s unaffected by the Apple Pay lockout, so in general, if you can swipe your magnetic stripe credit card, you can use CardCase instead.

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Editor’s Picks: Our favorite cases for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

Thu, 2014-12-18 04:30
Case, or no case?

The great case debate: Though it’s a shame to cover up your shiny, pretty new iPhone, the downside is that you risk dropping it or getting it all scratched up if you leave it bare. So, if you have to put a case on it, might as well make it a good case.

We try out a ton of cases, but there are some that we just keep coming back to, despite our differences in taste. Here are some of our favorite cases for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

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