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    March 11, 2015
    Apple Store Breaks Down For 10 Hours

    If you were one of the millions of people that depends on Apple’s products, you had a pretty rough day today.  After all, you pretty much depend on Apple to keep track of everything, right?  That’s the whole point of the cloud.  Without that, you’re in a lot of trouble.  Apple suffered a 10-hour outage thanks to a DNS issue, which took Apple’s… everything offline for the bulk of the day.

    So what was offline?   Well, the App Store, Mac App Store, iBooks Store, and iTunes Store, to begin with.  Even if you could get your apps to load, there was no capability to do any sort of in-app purchasing, which means that Apple was hurt, but app developers were really in a bad state thanks to the outage.  The estimated financial damage was estimated at $1.14 million dollars per hour, which is a staggeringly high sum despite the fact the DNS outages weren’t worldwide, but more limited geographically.  Still, knock out Europe and North America and there go most of your purchases, at least in this particular part of the day.

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    March 4, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Canada Gets Spocked

    Via Toronto Sun.

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    February 24, 2015
    Apple Is Adding Diverse Emoji

    Emojis are apparently a big thing, and people really have opinions about emojis.  Apparently they’re a big deal, and apparently people aren’t terribly happy with the options that are out there.  People want more diversity, and it’s not a surprise that Apple and the Unicode Consortium are willing to make that happen. Apple is making emojis more diverse, with a variety of racial and ethnic options.

    When you tap and hold on a face, hand, or person, another six skin tones pop up, provided it’s appropriate for the character.  There’s no way to change the color of the space invader or the skull or whatever, but the people can all change colors at will.  They’re also adding a host of new flag options, making the smartphone into an iPhone 6, AND changing the watch into a smart watch.  I’m sure there are some other changes being made, but these are the big ones, and they’re the ones people seem to want the most.

     

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    February 20, 2015
    Fun Friday: 25 Years Of Photoshop
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    Video via CNET.

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    February 19, 2015
    Apple Aiming To Launch Electric Car By 2020

    The future is here.  Apple’s aim isn’t the dashboard or the stereo or the television anymore; instead, it’s the whole shebang.  Apple is reportedly aiming to launch an electric car by 2020.  The company has been hiring up experts in batteries and robotics and has previously attempted to purchase Tesla, the electric car manufacturer, to no avail.  They’ve also been trying to hire Tesla workers in an attempt to jumpstart their rumored electric car business, with little success.

    So would Apple choose to launch in a field that’s already getting pretty full between Tesla and traditional car powers increasing electric offerings?  It seems a little strange for Apple, but there were other MP3 players, other tablets, other smartphones, other streaming media servers, and other computers when Apple got involved with those things, and yet they still made a mint.  They have the name, and they have the style at the forefront of all their designs, plus they intentionally engineer devices that are impossible to fix yourself without custom equipment.  Maybe they’ve been planning to be a car company all along!

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    February 16, 2015
    AT&T Will Charge $29 Extra Not To Be Tracked

    With Google launching gigabit Internet service throughout the country a city at a time, it only makes sense that the other competitors in the filed, particularly AT&T, would step their games up and join in.  Hence, Uverse with GigaPower, AT&T’s competitor to Google Fiber, will be launching shortly in Kansas City, Missouri.  However, it’s not without a catch.  AT&T will charge customers an extra $29 per month to opt out of having their habits monitored.

    “We’re proud to launch in these cities as the first locations where we will offer ultra-high speeds to local consumers and employers in the Kansas City area,” said AT&T Kansas president Mike Scott.  ”The AT&T GigaPower network will help encourage economic development in the area by facilitating a new wave of innovation through enhanced opportunities for education, health, research and small business growth.”

    Of course, if you’re willing to be tracked, the cost for Internet only will be a smooth $70.  Internet and television service will run $120 per month.  That matches Google’s prices, but Google’s offer doesn’t come with targeted advertising for every user, just those that use Gmail and YouTube.

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    December 25, 2014
    Merry Christmas From Shaktronics

    In lieu of any actual posted content, I’m going to take a day with family and friends and to decompress and just ride out the rest of the holiday season on what I hope is a cloud of relaxed, fun stuff.  Like, for example, looking at some Christmas lights before they all start coming down around the beginning of 2015.  Since 2014 was the year of Frozen mania, it’s only fitting that the lights of 2014 are all set to songs from Disney’s newest masterpiece.  While we’re all still feeling festive, feast your eyes upon this awesome display.

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    So if you celebrate, Merry Christmas.  If you don’t, enjoy the random day off in the middle of the week.

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    December 24, 2014
    Wordless Wednesday: Happy Holidays

    Via Marvel’s Twitter account.

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    December 19, 2014
    T-Mobile Hit With $90 Million In Cramming Case

    Once upon a time, there was a commercial every few hours.  Get a horoscope, subscribe to something, and you’d get updates, text messages, and all kinds of other weird stuff.  It was a problem for phone users, because once these started, they tended to multiply, and they were practically impossible to get taken off the bill.  T-Mobile was a big offender of this, at least according to the federal government, and now they’re paying the price.  T-Mobile will refund customers $67.5 million dollars, state attorneys general $18 million in fines and penalties, and the Federal Communications Commission $4.5 million.  T-Mobile was one of the first companies to jump on the cramming bandwagon, and now they’re paying for it.

    “Mobile cramming is an issue that has affected millions of American consumers, and I’m pleased that this settlement will put money back in the hands of affected T-Mobile customers,” said Federal Trade Commission chairwoman Edith Ramirez.  ”Consumers should be able to trust that their mobile-phone bills reflect the charges they authorized and nothing more.”

    Phone bills are super tricky, even now, but things are a little clearer than they used to be.  Now people are getting gouged on data plans, not horoscopes and trivia texts.  At least it’s honest gouging.

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    December 14, 2014
    Microsoft Now Taking Bitcoins

    It wasn’t Apple or Google that struck the blow that turned BitCoin into something closer to legitimate money, but Microsoft.  The company that was late to the smartphone party and who has struggled to catch up in most of the big consumer electronics areas–video games aside–is a leader in one key area.  Microsoft will now accept bitcoins as a way to add money to your Microsoft accounts.  One small step for cryptocurrency, one giant leap for Microsoft.

    “You can only use bitcoin to add money to your Microsoft account and then purchase digital goods at select Microsoft online stores.  You can’t use bitcoin to purchase Microsoft products and services directly at this time,” says Microsoft’s webpage.

    Of course, there are some conditions.  Once you’ve made the transaction, it cannot be reversed.  There’s a limit of $1000 per day for a personal account, with a limit of $5000 total for an individual’s account.  Bitcoins can only be used to add money to the Microsoft account, not pay directly for products.  Still, baby steps forward.

     

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