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Monthly Archives: November 2013

New Jersey Supreme Court

Cellphone users have a reasonable expectation of privacy of their cellphone location information, and police must obtain a search warrant before accessing that information, the Supreme Court of New Jersey ruled Thursday. “When people make disclosures to phone companies and other providers to use their services, they are not promoting the release of personal information to others,” wrote Chief Justice Stuart Rabner in an unanimous ruling on an appeal. “Instead, they can reasonably expect that their personal information will remain private.” The issue of boundaries in the use of cellphone data by law enforcement agencies has figured in other courts and state legislatures. The Montana legislature passed a law recently requiring police and other agencies to obtain a search warrant from a court before tracking a person using location information from an electronic device.

Read the full story at ComputerWorld.

BlackBerry Q10

Back in the day, owning a smartphone (pretty much) meant owning a BlackBerry. If you needed to get work done on the go, a BlackBerry was THE phone to get. Being a “CrackBerry addict” was a badge of honor and, if a high school kid had one – he or she was absolutely in the “in” crowd because BBM was the “cool kids” social media tool of choice.

That was then. Today, in a world dominated by touchscreens and (most importantly) apps, having a BlackBerry screams to all the world about your “old school” roots or that the IT department at your job is so antiquated that it is forcing you to use this distant relative of a modern-day device.

Whether you’re on iOS or Android – which, according to StatCounter, combine to make up over 60 percent of the mobile market – you have access to hundreds of thousands of apps. Apps define today’s mobile experience more so than any other feature on your phone. Secondary mobile platforms, like Windows Phone and BlackBerry, simply can’t compete; their app stores are suboptimal when compared to Apple and Google.

But do they need to compete?

Back in January, BlackBerry showed off its newest operating system, alongside its new flagship phone, the Z10 (which recently had its price slashed all the way down to $49.99 after poor sales in its first six months). The Z10 was a smartphone modeled after top-tier phones like iPhone and Galaxy S III, and featured a 4.2″ touchscreen. But much like Windows Phone, a lack of app support and lackluster hardware made the Z10 a nonstarter.

Perhaps the last act of a desperate organization, BlackBerry recently launched the Q10, which is a return to the familiar BlackBerry form factor for hardcore BlackBerry fans. The Q10 has a keyboard and a small, but serviceable touch screen.

So – what makes the phone special? Is it worth buying? Should you switch from your iPhone or Android to a Q10? Is it worth an upgrade from older BlackBerry phones?

What Makes it Special?

The Q10 is the BlackBerry that should have come out three years ago. It’s the next generation BlackBerry with a keyboard, and anyone who is a BlackBerry fan is going to want this phone.

The Q10 looks like your traditional Blackberry. It has a 720 720 pixel touchscreen that takes up the top of the device, and a physical keyboard on the bottom. The phone resembles the BlackBerry Bold, the most popular BlackBerry device of a generation long past. There’s no track ball on the Q10 as the touchscreen renders it obsolete.

If you want flawless e-mail and texting with a physical keyboard – and don’t need much more than that out of a smartphone – this is the device for you. I’d forgotten how nice it feels to type on a physical keyboard. I’ve been a glass keyboard user for quite some time, between my new Galaxy S IV and the iPhones I’ve had for the past few years.

What Are the Downsides?

Try as it might, BlackBerry is not an app-driven platform. If you’re an app person, this isn’t the phone for you; you’re going to want to stick to an iPhone or high-end Android device. (But you already know this.)

We live in a world where new phones have to have all kinds of new capabilities. Apps really make the phone. Since Steve Jobs created the App Store and let third-party developers take his platform to the next level, having a bountiful app store is a necessity for a smartphone to succeed.

It is important to understand that the BlackBerry App Store does have apps for the most popular services: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Sports, News, Weather, etc. It just doesn’t go deep and, to be frank, it never will.

The BlackBerry is not an AppPhone; Androids & iPhones are not BlackBerrys

If you hold up a Galaxy S IV next to the Q10, side-by-side, even a person who’s never used a smartphone before will be able to tell that the devices are very, very different.

Side by Side: Galaxy S IV and BlackBerry Q10

It’s easy to tell which is the better, more modern phone.

There’s no contest. A 720 720 screen – even with a nice, physical keyboard – isn’t enough to make up for the lack of screen real estate that the S IV (or other phones of its size) provides. The Q10 is not a device you will enjoy reading an eBook with, nor will you care for its web browsing experience. That said: in a pinch, it will do.

Should You Upgrade?

The BlackBerry Q10 has one purpose and one purpose only: If you’re a BlackBerry Bold or Curve user, and you want the next-generation BlackBerry, it’s here. The Q10 has 4G LTE, an app store with basic essentials and a decent camera. If you’re sporting a Bold or Curve – or, if you already have an iPad or other tablet and simply need the best possible typing experience available on a handheld device. upgrade to the Q10 now.

If you’re anyone else… $199 with a two-year contract will put you in a much more powerful, much more capable device running Android 4.2.x. Did I forget to mention the iPhone 5? Yep. That is not a device you should be considering right now. It’s already two-year-old technology. If you’re in the market for a smartphone or app phone right now, go with Samsung, Sony, LG or HTC. Apple has a lot of catching up to do.

Turning 30

Ever wonder what it’s like to be 80 years old?

Oliver Sacks, a neurology professor at NYU, shares the truth about life as an octogenarian in a piece for The New York Times called “The Joy of Old Age. (No Kidding).” In the column, Sacks writes:

“I do not think of old age as an ever grimmer time that one must somehow endure and make the best of, but as a time of leisure and freedom, freed from the factitious urgencies of earlier days, free to explore whatever I wish, and to bind the thoughts and feelings of a lifetime together.”

Isn’t that beautiful?

An 80th birthday is cause for celebration, but along the way other milestones matter too. For instance, the big 3-0.

By the time we say goodbye to our twenties, what should we have experienced in our careers?

  1. At least one intern has addressed you as “Mr.” or “Ms.”
  2. Seven words: moved from your parents’ house for good.
  3. Handled every schedule imaginable – days, nights, weekends, weekend nights, holidays, holiday nights… you get the idea.
  4. Written so many cover letters that you could pen an autobiography of failed job applications.
  5. Had such a terrible boss that you questioned the very idea of working to earn a living.
  6. Realized that your college major – once a pivotal career decision – really didn’t matter all that much.
  7. Slaved away in your office on a picture-perfect Sunday because, well, the work’s just gotta get done.
  8. After several years in the professional ranks, your resume no longer has traces of college clubs and achievements.
  9. Battle tested, you don’t even flinch when the client says, “This isn’t what I wanted. You’ll need to do it again.”
  10. Maintained a 401k and contributed funds to the point that you can actually see it working.
  11. Defused a stressful office situation by saying, “In my experience, here’s what we should do.”
  12. Landed a nice raise and proceeded to buy something you would never get otherwise.
  13. Elected to take an advanced education course (or pick up a new skill) because of the value it added to your career.
  14. After bouncing from job to job, you finally see the value of a stable situation with long-term potential.
  15. Been there and done that long enough to understand who you are and the type of work that gets you out of bed in the morning. If your twenties were the decade to get knocked around, then may you spend the next ten years cashing in on the education.

What would YOU add to the list? Comment below!

(This content was originally posted at News to Live By.)

Apple

Apple’s developer website has been down for days, and the company has just confirmed in an email that “an intruder” attempted to access personal information from its registered developers. In the email sent to its developers, Apple writes that “sensitive personal information was encrypted and cannot be accessed.” But despite the claim that no sensitive information was stolen, Apple warns that some developers may have had their names, mailing addresses, and email addresses accessed in the breach. During the downtime, Apple indicated that the site was undergoing maintenance, but did not address malicious activity – leading some developers to question if the site had been hacked. As Neowin reported on Saturday, some developers indicated on Twitter that they had received password reset emails from Apple, fueling speculation that the site had been compromised.

Read the full story at The Verge.

HopStop

Apple agreed to buy online transit-navigation service HopStop.com Inc., people with knowledge of the deal said, seeking to improve mapping tools after a rocky debut for its directions software last year. The people asked not to be identified because the deal isn’t public. AllThingsD reported yesterday that Cupertino, California-based Apple is purchasing Locationary Inc., a Toronto-based company focused on business-location maps. New mapping software Apple debuted in September with the iPhone 5 has been faulted for getting users lost and for its lack of public-transportation directions. HopStop shows users in more than 500 cities the fastest way to travel by foot, bike, subway and car; Locationary deploys real-time data from a variety of sources to help users find featured businesses. Apple, which touted the map features as a key software change in the iPhone 5, built its navigation application amid a growing battle with Google.

Read the full story at Bloomberg.

When it comes to iDevice game apps I have a tendency to divide them into three categories – good games, bad games and games that I am obsessed with. The games in the last category do tend to fall in and out of favor. For a while – like everyone else – I was all about Angry Birds. However despite all the new levels that are continually released I have grown tired of birds and pigs.

One game I have yet to even begin to get bored with though is Fruit Ninja and I am far from alone in that. So when I was asked to try Cut the Buttons, a game developed by Open Name Ltd and available for iPhone and iPad, I was intrigued, as some people had said that it has a similar concept to my beloved Fruit Ninja. So, having grabbed both the iPhone and the iPad versions I set out to find out if they were right…

Graphics and Sound 4/5

Right off the bat I loved the graphics, both on the iPhone and on the iPad. The HD rendering on the iPad is of course exceptionally nice but everything still looks sharp and clear on the iPhone too.

The graphics are not at all complicated – some scissors, buttons attached to material scraps flying all over the screen and the button basket to catch snipped buttons in. However the variations in the cloth scraps are wild and colorful and overall the visuals give the game an almost retro look that is just well, cool.

Sound wise you have a nice little background tune and the snipping sound as you separate the buttons from their cloth and a click as you (hopefully) catch them in your button box. In other words, just enough.

Gameplay 5/5

On the face of things Cut the Buttons might sound like it is the most boring game in the world. Take control of a pair of virtual scissors and snip buttons off pieces of cloth as they fly past you. Then again, slice fruit as it flies past – that does not sound like too much fun either.

But just like Fruit Ninja, Cut the Buttons is so much more than it sounds at first. The fabulous physics involved really boost the gameplay to a level I had not expected. To begin with this is a two handed game – making it easier to play on the larger iPad – but still lots of fun on the iPhone.

With two fingers from one hand you must control the snapping scissors. You should be aware that whatever the speed, angle and direction you attempt to cut the buttons in will affect the way they fall. As you need those buttons to fall into the bucket to score this is very important to remember. Miss just three buttons and your game is over (in Classic mode at least)

Your other hand is needed to move the bucket to catch the buttons. This two handed gameplay took a bit of getting used to at first but after I got the hang of it it was not as complex as it sounds. And by the way, if you happen to be a lefty there is a button in the menu screen that lets you change the scissors from right handed to left handed so your southpaw tendencies are not a handicap in Cut the Buttons.

There is another twist. Some of the buttons that will fly past you are “attached” to their cloth with a metal stud instead of thread. You cannot snip them off and attempting to do so decreases your score and wastes precious time if you happen to be in Arcade mode.

In the iPad version of Cut the Buttons there is also a multiplayer mode, although I do have to say that got a bit frenetic and messy when we tried it out. Call me anti-social if you like but I really do prefer to play this game alone.

After just an hour or so playing Cut the Buttons I was hooked and the game is definitely in my obsession category right now. I still ove Fruit Ninja and will continue my high score quest on it but I am also beginning a campaign to master Cut the Buttons. And i do not think that campaign will be ending any time soon.

Value for Money 4.5/5

Both the iPhone and the iPad versions of Cut the Buttons cost $0.99. The game went free for a week recently so it may still do so again but if I were you I wouldn’t wait. This gams is worth every last cent of its price and then some, which is more than you can say about a lot of games that cost much more.

Summary

Cut the Buttons is a wildly addictive, clever little app that I think a lot of people will love. Its not a mindless game though – it takes thought and concentration to master and a lot of both. despite the comparisons I have drawn with Fruit Ninja this is an original game with a very neat concept. In the end though nothing I tell you will compare to having a go yourself, so I suggest you do that as soon as possible.

As Apple has scheduled an event on March 7, sources from its upstream supply chain pointed out that the company is expected to launch two iPad 3 models – a 16GB version and 32GB version.

In addition to iPad 3, Apple is also expected to unveil an 8GB iPad 2, allowing the tablet PC series to cover different segments and to defend against Windows 8-based tablet PCs, the sources noted.

Since Apple has put high hopes on its new iPad 3 and has been aggressively placing orders, iPad 3 shipments in the first quarter of 2012 are expected to double from original estimates.

The iPad 3 is expected to have a 9.7-inch Full HD QXGA panel with a resolution of 2048 by 1536 (264dpi) and its backlight module will adopt two LED light bars.

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