‘Flappy Bird’ Creator: I Might Bring It Back

by Samantha Murphy Kelly

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For those still mourning the loss of the highly addictive Flappy Bird mobile game that was pulled from app stores just last month, creator Dong Nguyen said he’s “considering” bringing it back.

In an in-depth interview with Rolling Stone, Nguyen said there is a chance he could release it once again: “I’m considering it.”

The publication met with the man who mysteriously removed the app, despite it bringing in a reported $55,000 in ad revenue each day. Although the app launched in May 2013, it became an overnight sensation in February as it climbed to the top of Apple’s App Store and Google Play for Android.

But the stresses of success had gotten to its creator. There were rumors he might be sued by Nintendo. He received death threats, couldn’t eat and even contemplated suicide. This led him to send a series of tweets on Feb. 8 warning that he was going to remove the app in just 22 hours. Fans pleaded with him to keep it available, but by the next day, the app was no longer in either store.

In response to a question about how he felt after removing the app, Nguyen responded: 

 

“Relief. I can’t go back to my life before, but I’m good now.”

Although Nguyen said he isn’t working on a new version of the game and is turning down offers to sell it, he would bring back the original release but with a specific “warning” to “please take a break.”

Fans of Flappy Bird who downloaded the app before it was pulled are still generating tens of thousands of dollars for him, according to the report. He quit his job and is developing new games, such as a flying game called Kitty Jetpack and a “action chess game” called Checkonaut due out this month.

Some believe Flappy Bird was so popular because it is so frustrating to play. The concept of the game is to keep a bird afloat by tapping it through a series of obstacles. It’s designed to be simple but, in practice, the task is extremely difficult.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Full Story: http://mashable.com/2014/03/11/flappy-bird-app-coming-back/

Chromecast SDK now available for iOS developers

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Google announced today a public SDK for Chromecast allowing developers to build support for casting into Android, Chrome, and iOS apps and websites.

If you’re a developer looking to bring your content to the big screen, head on over to the Google Developers Blog for a deep dive into the nuts and bolts of it all. Meanwhile, for everyone else, a current list of apps that work with Chromecast can be found at chromecast.com/apps.

The Chromecast currently supports a number of content streaming services including Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Pandora, YouTube, and more.

Google introduced support for Plex, Vevo, Songza and more last December shortly after introducing a Chromecast section to the Google Play Store.

Today’s announcement likely means support for a lot more services from networks and independent providers as developers can build in support on Android, Chrome, and iOS apps and websites independently.

Chromecast SDK is now open to all developers, look forward to all the new apps coming


(@sundarpichai) February 03, 2014

full story: http://9to5mac.com/2014/02/03/chromecast-sdk-now-available-for-ios-developers/

Apple execs say iOS and OS X won’t merge, and 10.10 will prove that

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Among the hoopla surrounding the 30th anniversary of the Mac last week, Macworld‘s Jason Snell had an excellent interview with Apple’s Phil Schiller, Craig Federighi, and Bud Tribble about both the past and the future for the Mac. While the entire interview is well worth a read, the talk from Apple executives about iOS and OS X convergence being a “waste of energy” stood out to me the most.

“It’s obvious and easy enough to slap a touchscreen on a piece of hardware, but is that a good experience?” Federighi said. “We believe, no.”

“We don’t waste time thinking, ‘But it should be one [interface]!’ How do you make these [operating systems] merge together?’ What a waste of energy that would be,” Schiller said. But he added that the company definitely tries to smooth out bumps in the road that make it difficult for its customers to switch between a Mac and an iOS device—for example, making sure its messaging and calendaring apps have the same name on both OS X and iOS.

Of course, it appears that the Apple executives are taking shots at Microsoft, Windows 8, Surface line of products, and Google’s new Touch-enabled Chromebooks. Microsoft is well known to believe that computer operating systems should be the same regardless of devices. On the other hand, Apple has two complete different operating systems: one for the iPad and iPhone, and the other for the Mac. Federighi explains why:

“The reason OS X has a different interface than iOS isn’t because one came after the other or because this one’s old and this one’s new,” Federighi said. Instead, it’s because using a mouse and keyboard just isn’t the same as tapping with your finger. “This device,” Federighi said, pointing at a MacBook Air screen, “has been honed over 30 years to be optimal” for keyboards and mice. Schiller and Federighi both made clear that Apple believes that competitors who try to attach a touchscreen to a PC or a clamshell keyboard onto a tablet are barking up the wrong tree.

That being said, Apple obviously believes in there being some shared design elements between products. Remember, by the time Scott Forstall was fired, OS X Mountain Lion and iOS 6 were both filled with similarly appalling linen. Now that Jony Ive has put his stamp on iOS, natural speculation points to him doing the same for the next release of OS X.

But I don’t think we’re in for that… just yet.

Sure, OS X 10.10 (codenamed “Syrah” and currently sitting around development build number 14Z109) will pick up some of the enhancements from iOS 7 like improved notifications (and perhaps AirDrop compatibility with iOS and Siri — which the company has been toying with for months on the former and years on the latter), but I don’t believe we should expect a thorough iOS 7-like overhaul for OS X 10.10 this year.

Instead, I am expecting OS X 10.10 to have user-interface tweaks that will make the interface “flatter,” but not as stark as iOS 7′s look. I’d also expect some blur and translucency effects in a few places, but not in anyway that is central to the experience like it is on iOS. There will be a little bit more white space, more defined menu bars, and squared-off window controls, but I would not expect a full color palette change and redesigns for every single application and icon.

So don’t expect OS X and iOS’s designs to converge this year. Instead, think of 2014 for the Mac OS as more of a transition year. A transition from glitz to flat(ter), but nothing too dramatic.

full story: http://9to5mac.com/2014/01/27/apple-execs-say-ios-and-os-x-wont-merge-and-10-10-will-prove-that/

Featured App Store Collection: Super Bowl XLVIII Apps

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Super Bowl Featured App Collection

This week’s featured app collections in the App Store include one for the nation’s biggest sporting event – Super Bowl XLVIII. It’s a curated selection of apps that are meant to enhance the experience on Super Sunday and / or just get you in the mood for the climax to the NFL season.

The Super Bowl XLVIII collection offers apps in a handful of sub-sections – Apps for the Big Game, Super Bowl Teams, 2013 Season: Full Games, Documentaries, More NFL Apps, and NFL Podcasts.

If you’re a rabid NFL fan there are plenty of good looking apps in the collection – from the official team apps for the Broncos and Seahawks to some greatest ever games for each franchise, to past Super Bowl highlights and greatest Super Bowls, to the latest iPad version Madden NFL and other fun pro football games.

So if you need some NFL goodness to fill the void between now and game day, or companion apps to go along with the ridiculous amount of pre-game coverage on February 2, then you’ll want to dive into this collection. You can find it in the top row of rotating featured collections on the Featured area of the App Store.

Google Is Working On A “Chromoting” App For iOS Users, Too

by  (@sarahintampa)

message spotted on Chromium.org, home to the open source browser project Google Chrome is based on, states that a “Chromoting” application is in development for iOS devices. This would allow users to control their computers from their iPhone or iPad, for example. An Android version of this same technology has been indevelopment since last year, it’s been previously reported.

These mobile clients would be an extension of Google’s earlier efforts with its Chrome Remote Desktop screen sharing and remote access service, which exited from beta in fall 2012. With that still somewhat under-hyped Chrome application, users can securely share their computer over the web with others for things like remote tech support, or simply access their own computers, applications and files from another desktop or laptop.

The benefit to using the Chrome application over competing solutions designed for professionals, like LogMeIn or TeamViewer, for example, is that it’s turnkey for existing Chrome users, and also, it’s free. (At least for now).

From the brief post on the Chromium.org site, we’ve learned that the iOS version of the so-called “Chromoting” mobile client is still very unpolished at this point, and not surprisingly, further behind in development than its Android counterpart.

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But at the very least, it’s a confirmation that the project is still in the works. (Today, there’s a version of the Android client available, but you have to compile the app from source because there’s not an official version being distributed at this time.)

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Details regarding the overall feature set, or a general timeframe to launch are still under wraps for these official “Chromoting” clients, but we’ve reached out to Google to see if the company would be willing to clarify the status of the project. We’ll update this post if or when we hear back.

UPDATE, 1/17/14, 4:45 PM ET: Google declined to provide any clarification on this matter, saying only: “We’re always experimenting with new features in Chrome, especially in the Dev channel, but have nothing to announce at this time.”

Hat tip: 9to5Mac

full story: http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/17/google-is-working-on-a-chromoting-app-for-ios-users-too/

Stylish screensaver recreates the iOS 7 lock screen experience on your Mac

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Want to bring iOS and OS X even closer together than they already are?
Christian Heudens has recreated the iOS 7 lock screen to your Mac as a free downloadable screensaver. The thin fonts look great on a Retina Display. It’s a neat way to give your Mac a bit of individuality and make your experience across your Apple devices even more consistent.

The developer has done a good job of replicating the feel of iOS 7, using the same starry wallpaper by default and font style. The screensaver adds a zoom effect to the background too, which is a sophisticated yet subtle addition.

Set up is easy; just drag the file to your Mac’s screensaver folder and then select it from System Preferences. There are a few customisation options too. You can change the wallpaper from the starscape to a custom image (to match your desktop wallpaper, perhaps) as well as adjust the clock size and toggle the zoom effect if you find it distracting.

The beauty is, because there is no installation per se, if you don’t like it, you can revert back to your previous screensaver just as easily. It’s free so there’s no harm in giving it a try … in fact, it could foreshadow where an iOS 7-influenced OS X is going in the future.

full story: http://9to5mac.com/2014/01/14/stylish-screensaver-recreates-the-ios-7-lock-screen-experience-on-your-mac/

Glam’s FoodieTV App Is A Curated Collection Of Great Food Documentaries Built For The Small Screen

by  (@ryanlawler)

 

Digital media company Glam Media has introduced a new video app designed to appeal to foodies everywhere. The new FoodieTV app, which is available for iOS, gives viewers a weekly smattering of the best videos related to food and travel.

The new app is one example of how Glam is trying to move beyond just running advertising for a large number of network sites. The company is also building a number of its own lifestyle-focused brands and properties to appeal to a wide range of users.

Last spring, Glam unveiled its Foodie Top 100 Restaurants Worldwide guide, for instance, introducing traditional publishing as a new revenue stream built off its Foodie.com site. Now, Glam is leveraging the same Foodie brand with an iOS app that is meant to appeal to viewers who love travel and food.

Each week, the FoodieTV app introduces new content to viewers, connecting five short-form food and travel videos to create an “episode.” Those videos range in length, generally from three to five minutes each. Combined, they provide snackable entertainment about a variety of subjects pertaining to food.

Glam Product designer and strategist Marc Escobosa says the app was designed to emulate TV programming, but on a smaller scale and on a smaller screen. The app also provides a way for content creators who have filmed these vignettes of food and travel programming, to be seen and get paid without having to worry about the vagaries of YouTube advertising.

“If the way you tell stories is 10 minutes or less, you’re put in a box where you have to be on YouTube, and you have unpredictable banner ads that you can’t predict or have any control over,” Escobosa said.

Instead, FoodieTV has been licensing content from independent creators, making them more visible to users and putting them in context. The videos in the app might not be exclusive to Glam and might be viewable elsewhere on the Internet, but FoodieTV is designed to provide a high-quality, highly curated and immersive experience in which they can be viewed.

While the app is only on mobile and tablet now, you can imagine how it might be applied to larger screens. For instance, you can AirPlay the videos from your iPhone to an Apple TV, and that should give viewers a taste of the possibilities for translating the FoodieTV mobile app onto smart TVs and other streaming video devices hooked up to the TV.

full story: http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/14/glam-foodietv/

Review: Evomail+ is not the Mail replacement it tries to be

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Evomail launched in 2013 as one of the many new contenders in the iPhone email client market. Today Evomail 2.0 (now branded “Evomail+”) has been released to the public. The update features a redesigned interface to blend in with iOS 7’s new aesthetic.

But is a redesign and an improved feature set enough to make you switch away from your current mail app? Keep reading to find out.

EvoCloud and Push Updates
Evomail+  includes upgrades to the EvoCloud back-end that claims it makes server-side operations up to 80% faster and improves the number of errors users see. Of course, the 80% number is theoretical, so how does it stack up against real-world usage?

Not too well, unfortunately. I turned on push notifications the night I installed the app. After reading and archiving a few emails, I woke up the next morning and found two push notifications waiting for me. These notifications were for some of the emails I had read and archived the previous night, and most of the emails I had gotten never actually showed up as push notifications at all.

Push wasn’t  the only problem I had with EvoCloud. I found that I was able to compose and send new emails with no issue, but every single time I tried to send a reply, I got an authorization error from the server. I finally uncovered the issue, though: the app was not automatically filling in the recipient’s name when you press the reply button. I reinstalled  the app and haven’t had as many issues with replys, though they definitely still persist is some cases.

It’s also important to note that EvoCloud stores copies of all of your emails on a third-party server. If that’s an issue you would prefer to avoid, Evomail+  may not be for you. This isn’t really a new feature of EvoCloud,  but it is something important to be aware of when logging into your mail account.

Redesigned Interface
Starting with iOS 7, apps are expected to forego the traditional colorful interfaces and instead rely on sparse white interfaces with color used only to emphasize important elements. Evomail+ holds to this principle pretty well, but that alone isn’t enough to give them a pass on design. Let’s dig into the design a bit more.

Evomail+  features a “one-button interface” in the mail inbox view. That’s right, there’s just one button that controls everything. That button resides in the lower-left corner. You can tap it to compose a new message, or swipe it up from the bottom to open a control bar with controls for mass-editing your inbox.

This control bar just not well designed. The first icon on the bar is an arrow pointing up. This glyph has absolutely nothing to do with the function of the button: labeling a message. Tapping it with no messages selected presents a error telling you to select some messages in order to label them or put them in a folder. If you do select a few messages and try again, and those messages happen to be from separate email accounts, the app will pop up a full-screen error telling you to only select messages from one account. Of course, it took me two or three tries to actually hit this button at all, since it was so close to the “compose” button that I kept accidentally hitting that.

The next button on the control bar has two arrows pointing to the right. I couldn’t  tell if this meant “reply,” “reply all,” or “forward,” so I selected a message and tapped tapped the button. As it turns out, that button allows you to postpone a message for later.

The third button is a checkmark.  This one is pretty straightforward. It’s supposed to mark images as read, right? Wrong. This button archives the selected messages. Thankfully there’s an undo button for all of those times you press a button thinking it does one thing only to discover that it does something entirely different.

The last button on the bar is an X. This one actually does what you assume: it deletes the message.

To hide the control bar, you can drag the One Button To Rule Them All back down. (Notice that the button doesn’t actually move, you just have to swipe down across it to hide the bar.) Swiping or tapping in the blank space where there aren’t any messages in the list view doesn’t close the bar.

Another use for the single button is to reply to (or forward) messages. I actually didn’t realize for a while that you have to tap and hold the button to access these functions. By “a while” I mean about three days. I ended up discovering it by accident.

Next, let’s talk about the sidebar. You can access the sidebar by swiping the button to the right. Unlike many apps that have been out for some time now, you can’t swipe anywhere on the left edge to open it. You have to use the button. Once the sidebar is open you can swipe any part of its edge to close it.

The sidebar itself contains a bunch of useful features. This is where you can find your account-specific inboxes and folders. You can also add a new account and reach the app’s settings.

In the settings page you can modify your accounts and setup signatures, aliases, gestures, your default “from” address when composing new messages, and a bunch of other features. One unfortunate omission is the inability to change the label color associated with each account. By default, a purple strip along the side of messages in the inbox indicates that they came from your primary account. A green strip indicates that the message is on the second account you added. Unfortunately, at the moment you can’t customize these colors. I have a specific color scheme that I keep consistent between my mail clients, but I was unable to implement it in Evomail 2, which did not help my workflow.

Bottom Line
There are a few other upgrades in Evomail+, like landscape composing or support iOS 7’s background update feature, but the clunky, difficult, and unrefined interface controls, frequent server errors, and unreliable push notifications give me no choice but to recommend avoiding Evomail+ until the developers can get these issues fixed. I certainly can’t say it’s replaced the stock Mail app on my phone.

If you’d like to give Evomail+ a try anyway, you haven’t got much to lose. Even though it’s a separate download from the original version, it’s available for free to all users on the App Store.

full story: http://9to5mac.com/2014/01/14/review-evomail-is-not-the-mail-replacement-it-tries-to-be/

 

Apple patents dynamic, motion-sensing iOS interface & 3D video editing

Apple patents dynamic, motion-sensing iOS interface & 3D video editing

MrGuyTsur

by Eric Blattberg

On Tuesday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple two separate patents.

Filed in 2007, Apple U.S. Patent No. 8,631,358 defines a ”variable device graphical user interface,” which would compensate for movement of a (presumably iOS) device with software adjustments.

The patent mentions accelerometers, gyroscopes, and proximity sensors as input methods it could use to determine how to dynamically adjust the size or placement of various user interface elements. Apple notes it could match the measured changes to predefined criteria — say, patterns suggesting walking or riding in a car — to help people use their mobile devices while in motion.

The second patent, Apple’s U.S. Patent No. 8,631,047, was filed in 2010 and outlines a method for editing 3D video in an application like Final Cut Pro.

The patent describes how a video editing application could associate pairs of clips taken from one or more sources by examining its metadata. If someone made an edit to one clip, the other would be updated automatically. (Stereoscopic 3D requires two slightly offset images, which when viewed selectively by each eye, produce what appears to be a 3D image).

Unlike Adobe Premiere and Sony Vegas Pro, two competing non-linear editing platforms, Apple’s Final Cut Pro application does not currently support 3D editing out of the box. You can add 3D editing to FCP with aftermarket plugins, however.

Neither patent implies that these functions will appear in consumer products down the line, as Apple patents often sit unused. But even as interest in 3D wanes, adding more options to Final Cut Pro seems like a common-sense move — and Apple has demonstrated interest in fitness applications for the iPhone, which could potentially benefit from a dynamic interface.

Hat tip: AppleInsider

full story: http://venturebeat.com/2014/01/14/apple-patents-dynamic-motion-sensing-ios-interface-3d-video-editing/

 

JayBird Bets On Intelligent Tracking For The Reign, Its First Foray Into Quantified Fitness

by  (@drizzled)

Bluetooth and sport headset company JayBird is venturing a little outside of its comfort zone with the new JayBird Reign fitness tracking wristband, a device unveiled earlier this week at CES 2014. The JayBird Reign goes beyond most existing devices like those from Fitbit, Withings, and Jawbone, tracking different types of fitness differently instead of just lumping them all in together.

There’s also a little bit of intuitive prognostication built into the Reign; JayBird says that it can actually recognize when your body is ready to get active, even if you can’t. It can then prompt you to get up and get moving even when you might not feel like it, to help you make the most of those times your body is ready to go for the most possible return on your workout investment.

Conversely, it also tells you when you need more rest thanks to built-in sleep tracking. The sleep tracking not only tells you when you’re sleeping heavily and when you’re sleeping light, like many other trackers, but also provides advice about how much sleep you should get the next night in order to feel as rested as is possible.

reign-jaybirdThe Reign uses Bluetooth to communicate data with a companion app for iOS and Android, and should be available sometime this spring for $199. That’s pricier than many entry-level fitness trackers on the market, but Jaybird is hoping people are willing to pay more for a device that automatically recognizes what kind of sport or activity you’re doing and switches its tracking rhythm accordingly. It’s also light and comfortable with a highly flexible band, an a simple LED notification light for communicating basic info.

Few device categories are growing faster than the health and fitness tracking gizmo market, and an increasingly crowded space means more companies competing for the same pool of potential buyers. At least JayBird hasn’t just thrown its brand on something that simply matches what’s already out there, but we’ll still have to wait and see what kind of tolerance consumer demand has for a growing number of suppliers.

full story: http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/10/jaybird-reign/