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Saturday, January 24

Hands On: iWatermark+ (OS X, iOS, Android, Windows)

This is impressive. Watermarking your photographs so that at least you have your name on them if they get used online is not precisely the most thrilling job in the world but iWatermark+ comes pretty close to making it enjoyable. There are limits: you'd rather be creating the images than sitting someone popping copyright notices on them but that's the thing about iWatermark+: it does what it does so quickly and so we...

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WalMart ships Vudu Spark video streaming HDMI dongle

WalMart has commenced sales on the Vudu Spark video streamer on its website, in addition to 2,500 stores US-wide. The HDMI dongle is, as expected, a one-feature device intended only to provide streaming content from the Walmart Vudu service powered by a USB port, controlled by a dedicated remote control. Connectivity is through 802.11n Wi-Fi. Resolutions supported include 1080p 60Hz, with the addition of 7.1 surround...

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Google Fiber's expansion pegged to be Research Triangle, NC

According to "industry sources," Google's next fiber construction is slated for both the Research Triangle in Raleigh-Durham and the Charlotte area in North Carolina. Google has sent out invititations to press in the area for Wednesday and Thursday for an unspecified event, which has been pegged as the official announcement of the project. The high-speed fiber-optic network is in Kansas City now, and is expanding int...

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FTC: Dish Network liable for 57 million illicit telemarketing calls

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has decided that Dish Network is liable for making 57 million phone calls in flagrant violation of telemarketing laws, including calling members of the "Do Not Call" list established by the US Government. A trial has been set for July in Illinois, with penalties of up to $16,000 possible for each violation. The Department of Justice filed the complaint at the FTC's request in Mar...

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FiOS expansion essentially over, Verizon CEO declares

Sometimes, quarterly investor reports hold more than just dry numbers. Verizon CEO Fran Shammo confirmed that new FiOS location expansion is ceasing, as the company shifts focus to more profitable wireless expansion. In the conference call discussing the results, Shammo said that "we are getting to the end of our committed build around FiOS," which will cut the company's capital expansion....

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High-Rely NetSwap Mini+E NAS brings core i3, block-level encryption

US-based backup and disaster recovery hardware company Highly Reliable Systems has announced the immediate availability for their two-bay NetSwap Mini+E backup NAS server appliance, which includes replication, two removable drive trays, and hardware-based encryption. The High-Rely NetSwap Mini+E backup NAS series comes equipped with a powerful 3.4GHz Intel Core i3-4130 processor, capable of block-level AES-256 data e...

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MO lawmaker proposes requiring ID for Google Wallet, Apple Pay sales

A St. Louis, Missouri governmental official sees weakness in electronic payment security, and is seeking to mandate identification presentation in conjunction with an Apple Pay transaction, or other similar electronic payments. Democrat Joshua Peters from Missouri's state House of Representatives bill will, if passed into law, not only mandate sales staff to verify the identity of the purchaser, but retain this infor...

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Friday, January 23

Apple poaches second Burberry exec for Watch rollout

Apple has once again lured a top executive from UK fashion retailer Burberry: following the hiring a year ago of former CEO Dame Angela Ahrendts, the company has brought in former Vice President of Digital and Interactive Design Chester Chipperfield from Burberry to work with the "Special Projects" group at Apple, which is likely to involve the forthcoming Apple Watch. The company also recently hired one of Burberry'...

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Briefly: Blue Hummingbird launches, Yamaha AG03, AG06 mixers revealed

Blue unveiled its Hummingbird Class A small-diaphragm microphone at NAMM. Based on the Blue B1's cardioid capsule, the Hummingbird has a head that rotates 180 degrees, measures just 70mm (6.7 inches) tall, and offers a signal-to-noise ratio of 85.5dB-A and a maximum sound pressure level of 130dB. Shipping later this spring, the Hummingbird will cost $300. ...

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Apple takes majority of US phone activations in Q4

Apple's share of the US mobile phone market has nearly doubled following the release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 in October, a new study has revealed. The report, by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, finds that the iPhone went from 28 percent of the market in the July-to-September quarter to just over 50 percent in the final three months of the year, an improvement even over the same time the year before, whe...

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Microsoft updates Windows 10 Technical Preview with Cortana

Microsoft has made the latest version of its Windows 10 Technical Preview available to download by the participants of the Windows Insider program. The update introduces some of major features shown off during this week's Windows 10 event, with the Spartan browser and the Xbox One game streaming expected to arrive in Insider builds closer to launch. ...

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First HomeKit-ready products may not ship until spring

The first home automation products based on Apple's HomeKit platform probably won't ship until spring, sources say. Reports note, for instance, that specifications weren't issued to chipmakers until October, and that the MFI licensing program for HomeKit only began in November. More recently, chipmaker Broadcom has been working with some customers to develop HomeKit devices using an existing chip design, in lieu of i...

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Friday Deals: Lenovo Z50, Vizio 49-inch Smart TV, Transparent

Welcome to the latest edition of Friday Deals, the post where we search for great deals on hardware, software, gadgets, and other items for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. As per normal, the prices for offers listed are correct at the time of posting, but may change in the meantime, so check before buying. Remember to check this post in the future, as more deals will be added to the list throughout...

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Apple, Google, Rdio, Sony sued over pre-1972 music royalties

A new lawsuit has targeted Google, Rdio, Sony, and Apple (including Beats Music) over the music royalties associated with pre-1972 recordings, new reports say. Zenbu Magazines, which owns copyrights on many pre-1972 songs, says that the companies have been making money streaming recordings without paying their copyright holders. Within US copyright law, compositions have been protected since 1831, but sound recording...

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Sony starts accepting compensation claims for 2011 PlayStation breach

Sony is providing compensation to PlayStation Network users in the United States affected by a major breach in April 2011, half a year after agreeing to a settlement stemming from a class action lawsuit. The original attack, resulting in the closure of the online service and Qriocity for close to a month, risked the personal data and payment details of more than 77 million accounts. ...

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Avid launches free, limited version of music software Pro Tools

Avid today unveiled Pro Tools First, a free version of the company's Pro Tools software suite that offers many of the same music creation capabilities used by top artists and recording studios worldwide. Built upon the Avid MediaCentral Platform, Pro Tools First is is intended as a gateway to the full package, and usable by beginners and experienced music producers alike....

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Apple extends Crimean measures to block product sales and shipments

Apple has extended its actions against Russia by blocking authorized retailers from selling or shipping products in Crimea in accordance with sanctions, reports say. The measure was first mentioned on Twitter by blogger and consultant Eldar Murtazin, and then picked up by Russian media. The move follows the termination of all developer agreements with Apple and software makers located in the region. The measures take...

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Verizon updates prepaid plans, confirms will not offer rollover data

Verizon will not be joining competitors AT&T and T-Mobile in providing a rollover data plan to its customers, its chief financial officer Fran Shammo has advised. The denial comes at the same time the carrier introduces updates to its prepaid plans, with a focus on providing more data and more options to add more data if required. ...

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Surface RT will miss out on majority of Windows 10 upgrades

Owners of the Microsoft Surface will not receive the full upgrade to Windows 10, but will still benefit from some updates, a report claims. While Microsoft will be making the next version of its operating system available to systems running Windows 7, 8, and 8.1, including the Surface Pro range, the Windows RT-based Surface will be missing out. ...

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Telefonica, Hutchison Whampoa confirm negotiations over O2 acquisition

Telefonica, owner of British carrier O2, and Hutchison Whampoa, the parent company of competitor Three, have confirmed they are in talks over a potential acquisition, following earlier reports. The two have entered "exclusive negotiations," which could see O2 change hands for an estimated £10.25 billion ($15.4 billion) if discussions between the executive teams succeed. ...

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Alleged 12-inch MacBook Air photos appear online

A set of photos purporting to show the assembled display of the rumored 12-inch MacBook Air has emerged from a Chinese enthusiast site. The pictures are claimed to be a 12-inch Retina display assembly, but feature an iOS-device like metal Apple logo rather than the usual translucent plastic lighted Apple logo, potentially undermining the credibility of the images. The display is seen to be thinner than a typical MacB...

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Apple outlines compatibility with non-HomeKit gear

Apple on Thursday clarified its guidelines on its HomeKit home automation platform and its ability to "play well with others" in terms of third-party automation products and their own connectivity platforms. The iPhone maker will allow HomeKit products to be compatible with some competing protocols such as Zigbee or Z-Wave, but there are limits to the compatibility allowed. In addition to requiring an Apple TV for ou...

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