August 20, 2012

Twitter Starts Clamping Down On Third-Party Apps With New Rules

Twitter Starts Clamping Down On Third-Party Apps With New Rules

Twitter Starts Clamping Down On Third-Party Apps With New Rules

Twitter has announced some new changes that make it significantly more difficult and tedious to develop third-party software around the social network. We’ve known that Twitter was evolving its business model and changing its attitude towards developers for quite some time, but this recent announcement marks the first major shift towards a closed Twitter. To put it plainly, many developers probably won’t be looking at Twitter as a potential platform to build on anymore.

What’s changed? Along with a host of new rules and restrictions that limit how apps like Flipboard interact with Twitter, developers are now being told to basically stop developing traditional clients like Twitterrific and Tweetbot. The golden age of Twitter is over.

From now on, developers will need to work “with” Twitter before their apps can attract large user bases. The amount of times per hour an app can call on Twitter to retrieve new tweets has been greatly restricted, and developers have a max user base they can serve. If, say, an app like Tweetbot were to reach 100,000 users, no more users would be able to use the app until the developers got in contact with Twitter to work something out. If an app already has more than 100,000 users as of today, it can double its user base before the developers have to contact Twitter directly. What happens when Twitter gets involved remains up in the air. It’s Twitter’s game now.

Twitter Starts Clamping Down On Third-Party Apps With New Rules

Twitter also says, “Tweets that are grouped together into a timeline should not be rendered with non-Twitter content. e.g. comments, updates from other networks.” This means that a Twitter timeline cannot be grouped together with any other information, like a stream of multiple feeds from different social networks. There are all kinds of vague restrictions in the new rules that developers will have to figure out through trial by fire in the coming months.

The scariest thing about these changes is that Twitter could add more rules at any moment. This feels like just the tip of the iceberg. The third-party Twitter apps you use now probably won’t change for awhile, but Twitter is sending the message that it wants its whole user base on its own official clients. Less and less room is being left for third-party developers, and it’s only a matter of time before there’s no room for third-party, consumer-orientated apps in Twitter’s universe.

And no, Twitter still hasn’t announced any changes to its incredibly outdated Mac app.

Cult of Mac

Apple Store down late Saturday night

Long odds that there’s any sort of product update late on a summer Saturday, but you never do know. The Linen Page Formerly Known As The Yellow Sticky is up right now; if you see anything of interest when the store comes back, do please let us know.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Fluent, The Sparrow-Like Webmail Service, Shuts Down

Fluent screenshot

Fluent screenshot

Remember Fluent? It was a webmail service which made your Gmail look like now-defunct iOS and Mac app Sparrow.

Now, like Sparrow (and the similar-looking Tweetie before it), Fluent is dead.

Fluent.io, to give it its full kennel name, not only made your Gmail look a whole lot slicker but also turned it into a useful place to keep track of tasks. It featured instant search, easy discussions and support for multiple accounts. And now it has gone. Or will be when it shuts down at 5PM (Sydney time) on Friday August 17th.

Why? According to the Fluent team’s blog post, “There are many things that cause startups to rise and fall: fund raising, runways, scaling and other promising opportunities; they all played their part.”

And it wasn’t for lack of interest. In addition to the regular users who made it into the beta, 70,000 others were waiting, having signed up to be on the list (I was among them).

The problem appears to be free email, in that nobody wants to pay for either the service or the client. That’s why Sparrow sold to Google, and seems to be why Fluent is shutting down. Perhaps the only company still making money from e-mail these days is Google, and that’s because of the ads.

Charlie SorrelCharlie Sorrel sits in his gadget nerve-center in Barcelona, Spain, and spits out words about  various weird plastic widgets while the sun shines outside his iCave. Previously found at Wired.com’s Gadget Lab covering cameras, power cables and sneaking in as much Apple-centric coverage as he could, Charlie spends his rare moments outside perched atop a bicycle and snapping photos. You can follow him on Twitter via @mistercharlie

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Cult of Mac

Fluent, The Sparrow-Like Webmail Service, Shuts Down

Fluent screenshot

Fluent screenshot

Remember Fluent? It was a webmail service which made your Gmail look like now-defunct iOS and Mac app Sparrow.

Now, like Sparrow (and the similar-looking Tweetie before it), Fluent is dead.

Fluent.io, to give it its full kennel name, not only made your Gmail look a whole lot slicker but also turned it into a useful place to keep track of tasks. It featured instant search, easy discussions and support for multiple accounts. And now it has gone. Or will be when it shuts down at 5PM (Sydney time) on Friday August 17th.

Why? According to the Fluent team’s blog post, “There are many things that cause startups to rise and fall: fund raising, runways, scaling and other promising opportunities; they all played their part.”

And it wasn’t for lack of interest. In addition to the regular users who made it into the beta, 70,000 others were waiting, having signed up to be on the list (I was among them).

The problem appears to be free email, in that nobody wants to pay for either the service or the client. That’s why Sparrow sold to Google, and seems to be why Fluent is shutting down. Perhaps the only company still making money from e-mail these days is Google, and that’s because of the ads.

Charlie SorrelCharlie Sorrel sits in his gadget nerve-center in Barcelona, Spain, and spits out words about  various weird plastic widgets while the sun shines outside his iCave. Previously found at Wired.com’s Gadget Lab covering cameras, power cables and sneaking in as much Apple-centric coverage as he could, Charlie spends his rare moments outside perched atop a bicycle and snapping photos. You can follow him on Twitter via @mistercharlie

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Cult of Mac

Invalid Keynote document? Calm down and try this fix

Keynote

Let’s set the scene: It’s Monday morning, and you’ve been working tirelessly all weekend, tweaking and putting finishing touches on a big Keynote presentation that you’ll be using at today’s board meeting. Now that it’s finished, you decide to run through it one last time, just to be safe. So you fire up Keynote, and your heart sinks as you stare unbelieving at the message above.

“WHAT?! I just opened it this morning! What do you mean it’s not valid?” You’re practically screaming at your computer now, and repeatedly trying to open the file to no avail. After taking a few moments to calm down and avoid tossing your Mac out the window, you suddenly remember the Versions feature in Lion that automatically saves versions of your file as you work. You jump into Finder, restore an older version, and… it doesn’t work. Keynote still tells you that the file is invalid. So you try another version, and another, but Keynote remains adamant that your attempts are futile, and now you begin to panic as the realization sets in that your presentation starts in 15 minutes and your work is gone.

But before you give in to despair, here is something you can try that just might work. It’s no secret that many “files” in OS X are really folders or other archives that themselves contain many more files. You can easily see this in action by right clicking on an Application or an archive in Finder and choosing the Show Package Contents… option. A Keynote presentation file is really no different — except that the menu option to show the contents doesn’t appear when you right click. The files are still there, it’s just that Finder doesn’t see the file as an archive, so it doesn’t let you see inside of it.

So, how do you get at these files, you might ask? It’s actually deceptively simple — but before we begin, I can not stress enough to you to make a backup copy of your file. Sure, it might be “invalid” and already broken, but you still should make sure you have an untouched copy somewhere should you need it. Once you’ve got a copy, continue on with the instructions below.

Step 1: Rename the file to a .zip file.

Now that you’ve made a copy, you need to locate your file in Finder, highlight it, and then press the Enter key to rename the file. If the file name ends with .key, change it to .zip. Otherwise, just add .zip to the end of the filename, and press Enter again. When Finder asks, tell it to Use .zip.

Keynote

Step 2. Open the zip archive.

Your file should now be named something like Presentation.zip. Go ahead and double click on it, and Finder should decompress the .zip archive into a folder of the same name. If you open the folder, you should see a bunch of files there, including any images you’ve added to your presentation, similar to the screenshot below:

Keynote

Step 3. Rename the folder back to a .key file

At this point, if everything has gone well, you should be feeling somewhat relived, as you can at least see that your work is not completely lost, just hidden. So, how do you get this back into Keynote, you might ask? No, you won’t have to redo everything.

Simply highlight the name of the folder, press Enter to rename it again, and add the .key extension to the end:

Keynote

Step 4. Cross your fingers and open the file with Keynote

Here’s where you have to cross your fingers and hope for the best. If all went well, you should be able to just double click on the file and Keynote should fire up with your presentation, in all of its glory.

If it doesn’t work, go back and double check that you didn’t miss anything above. If you’ve checked and it’s still not working, then sadly, there’s a good chance that something really is wrong with the presentation. If this is the case, hopefully you still might be able to salvage some of your work out of the file by digging through the folder you get in step 2.

If it did work, congratulations! Now you can relax… after you go give your presentation, of course.



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

HTC revenues down 27%, blames competition

By Daniel Eran Dilger

Published: 02:38 PM EST (11:38 AM PST)
HTC lowered its guidance after missing analysts’ expectations and reporting a 27 percent drop in revenues and a 57 percent drop in operating profits. The company’s slide is being blamed on increasing difficult competition in the smartphone arena.

HTC was once a rising star, posting regular sales gains as a primary, higher end Windows Mobile licensee. It then partnered with Google in 2008 to introduce the first Android phone, Dream/G1, and has since continued to produce both Android and Windows Phone 7 models.

However, unlike Samsung, HTC primarily makes only higher-end smartphones, putting it into direct competition with Apple, the only other mobile vendor focused exclusively on the premium smartphone market.

HTC has also streamlined its product mix to be more like Apple, creating the “HTC One” to replace a series of confusing, overlapping smartphone models.

While Samsung recently reported sales of twice as many smartphones as Apple, it earned only half as much money because the company relies upon sales of low end models. Of the 52 million devices Samsung was estimated to have sold, only 10 million of those were its top of the line Galaxy S III.

All of the 26 million smartphones Apple sold were iPhones, and most of those were the newest iPhone 4S.

HTC continues to cite “intensified competition in the smartphone market” as a primary threat, noting that it plans to “strengthen execution to get ahead of competition” and “deliver a comprehensive range of products to offer customer choice.”

Also faces legal action

In March 2010, Apple engaged HTC in a patent dispute with the US International Trade Commission, asserting more than 20 patents and asking for a injunction against HTC’s infringing products.

HTC subsequently paid $ 300 million for a stake in S3 Graphics hoping to use the company’s patent portfolio to defend itself from Apple, but the iPhone maker was not found to infringe upon those acquired patents. HTC then acquired two patents from HP that it is using to countersue Apple.

AppleInsider

Reminder: iWork.com beta shuts down today

iWork.com is dead. Long live iWork.com!

Today is the last day that you’ll be able to sign into the iWork.com beta. Apple’s first attempt at creating a document sharing environment for Pages, Numbers, and Keynote documents never did make it to prime time. Tomorrow, iWork.com goes the way of the dodo and MobileMe.

Apple has built in the capability of sharing your documents between your own devices via iCloud, with a recent update to the OS X version of iWork adding the ability to save to and read from iCloud.

Any documents you have stored on iWork.com should have been moved to your iCloud account, provided that you used the same Apple ID to sign into both iWork.com and iCloud.

If your documents somehow failed to make the transition to iCloud or if you just want to move them back to your Mac, Apple has full instructions here on how to download those precious files.



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Citizens Chase Down An iPhone Thief In The Streets Of New York City [Video]

Citizens Chase Down An iPhone Thief In The Streets Of New York City [Video]

We’ve seen some pretty crazy stories of iPhone theft and sweet retribution. Remember when a cruse line employee stole a passenger’s iPhone and revealed his own identity by taking pictures that were uploaded to Photo Stream for the world to see? Or how about when an 8-year-old used Find My iPhone to locate over 300K worth of stolen goods?

There’s nothing quite like a good ol’ citizens arrest. In Manhattan, a would-be thief was run down and tackled by two New Yorkers before he could make off with a woman’s iPhone. 

Brian Hester and Chase Bunn were two normal dudes on a smoke break when they saw a scumbag blindside a woman outside her office on 100 Church Street. The perpetrator, Noah Udell, grabbed the iPhone out of 23-year-old Erika Silva’s hand while she was surfing the web, and the two were seen briefly wrestling for the phone before Udell overpowered Silva and started running.

That’s when Hester and Bunn became more than normal dudes; they became heroes.

The New York Post reports:

Bunn was the first to grab Udell, 26, but hurt his knee in the attempted citizen’s arrest. Hester then knocked the suspect to the ground but got slightly dazed himself in the fall.

That’s when a crowd of other outraged bystanders started to gather, and one man stomped his foot onto Udell’s throat.

Hester said he actually had to hold off angry onlookers. In the process, Udell jumped up and once again bolted.

Hester chased him a second time, catching him on Barclay Street near West Broadway.

“I was like, ‘I don’t have all day to be chasing you,’ ” Hester said he told Udell.

The two men caught and detained Udell until the cops arrived, and the scene was captured by bystander on the street (video is flash):

The Wall Street Journal recently profiled smartphone theft in New York City, noting that 40% of all devices stolen are made by Apple (dubbed “iCrime”). Soon all U.S. carriers will have blacklists that will block a smartphone or 3G tablet from getting service when it is reported as stolen.

Cult of Mac

iPhone 101: Switching sound off (or down)

Today’s iPhone 101 is all about audio volume. You may think that the volume toggle and the mute switch on the side of your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch are the beginning and end of noise control, but it turns out there’s more to the iOS sound story.

You can get some volume management by plugging in a pair of headphones; that mutes the main speaker but also redirects your primary output to the headphones. When placed on your desk, you still may hear tiny bits of sound from the ear pieces. Having headphones connected does not affect the sounds from system alarms or incoming phone calls — those still hit the main speaker.

The mute switch on the side of the iPhone will generally cut off all outward ringing, audio alerts and other noisy bits, with one notable and newsworthy exception: alarms that have been set will still be played audibly, regardless of the mute switch position. Most consider this a reasonable and long-standing UX compromise by cellphone makers (if not, the alarms would be critically unreliable; many people would simply forget to unmute their phones at night before bed), but there are plenty of dissenters.

Here are other ways you can limit your device’s volume.

Adjust the Ringer and Alerts volume. In Settings > Sounds, you’ll find a separate Ringers and Alerts volume slider, which you can adjust to your liking. If you set this too low, your alarm settings in the Clock app may not wake you up and you may miss incoming calls. An optional Change with Buttons toggle links your alerts/ringer volume to the hardware controls on the side of your device.

Two further options offer an alternative to your ringer. Select Settings > Sounds > Vibrate on Ring to transform alerts to vibrations. Enabling General > Accessibility > LED Flash for Alerts lets you “hear” your incoming calls with your eyes. This option adds a visual alert with your phone’s camera flash (which could be made more visible with some additional case technology).

Adjust the Siri volume. Stray touches on your phone or new iPad Home button may invoke Siri by mistake, and the double-chirp that starts a Siri session. Siri uses its own volume settings, separate from normal speaker output, alerts, and ringers. To mute Siri, press and hold the Home button to launch Siri — with the Siri microphone icon visible, use the hardware controls to adjust the volume down.

Alert Sounds. If you have the patience, you can currently disable notification alert sounds on an app-by-app basis in Settings > Notification > App Name > Sounds. Choose your ringtones, text tones, and other normal alerts in Settings > Sounds.

Volume Limit. Although this isn’t an outward audio feature, many parents choose to set a cap on the music playback volume for a child’s iPhone or iPod touch to prevent hearing damage. The limit setting (and an optional lock password) can be found in Settings > Music > Volume Limit.

Do Not Disturb. iOS 6 will introduce a Do Not Disturb feature in Settings that will disable updates arriving in your notification center and incoming phone calls. You’ll be able to adjust the settings to allow incoming calls from selected people and/or a repeat-call override for emergencies.

TUAW’s 101 series (Mac 101, iPhone 101 and iPad 101) all aim to help novice users get the most out of their Apple gear. Got a suggestion for a 101 topic or a question you want answered by Aunt TUAW? Drop us a line.



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Qantas Doubles Down iOS, Launches iPad-Based In-Flight Entertainment System

Qantas Doubles Down iOS, Launches iPad-Based In-Flight Entertainment System

iPads will soon replace the current entertainment options aboard Qantas B767 aircraft.

Earlier this week, we reported on the move by Australian airline Qantas to swap out the 1,300 BlackBerries used by its staff (and the related infrastructure) in favor of iPhones. It looks like Qantas is doubling down on Apple and iOS. The airline also announced this week that it will begin offering streaming entertainment on iPads across all the planes in its fleet of Boeing 767 aircraft.

Qantas is launching the new service, which it has dubbed QStreaming, following a successful trial of the service earlier this year.

The QStreaming service will offer every business and economy passengers an iPad connected to a in-flight streaming entertainment system. The system will be powered by Panasonic’s eXW system and will offer passengers access to more than 200 hours worth of on-demand programming.

Qantas Domestic CEO Lyell Strambi noted in a statement that Qantas was the first airline in the world to offer passengers a Wi-Fi based streaming entertainment with its initial trial earlier this year.

Our customers were the first in the world to experience the ground-breaking wi-fi entertainment technology and we received great feedback from our customers during the trial this year.

QStreaming will be available free of charge to all our passengers across the B767 fleet.

We’re now looking at ways to evolve this technology platform even further with our partner Panasonic to bring new standards of in-flight entertainment to our customers.

According to ZDNet, Qantas currently has 23 Boeing 767 planes in its fleet. The planes range between 229 and 254 seats depending on configuration. That means Qantas will be purchasing 5,000+ iPads as part of the new entertainment system.

The QStreaming service will begin rolling out to commercial flights during the fourth quarter of this year.

In addition the passenger entertainment Qantas also announced recently that it plans to follow in the footsteps of several other airlines and replace pilot flight bags with iPads. That roll out, which will begin in September on the airline’s fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft, involves a purchase of 2,200 iPads.

Cult of Mac