Recent Articles By Bryan Chaffin [RSS]
Apple added The Interview to iTunes on Sunday, three days after Google's YouTube and Google Play, as well as Microsoft's Xbox Video services launched the movie. The low-brow comedy starring Seth Rogan and James Franco had been pulled from distribution after the largest U.S. theater chains backed out of showing in the wake of terrorist attacks by a North Korean hacker group called Guardians of Peace (GOP).
Our friends at Stack Social got access to a limited number of pre-order units for the Code Black Drone + HD Camera. It ships in February, and this preorder lets you get it for $89—it will increase to $99 once it ships in volume. The Clode Black Drone is a very cool—and very small—quadcopter. This version also includes an HD camera on the nose. I've got one equipped with the SD camera, and it's a lot of fun. Check it out!
Dave Hamilton, I, and the entire staff of The Mac Observer would like to wish you a Merry Christmas, or whatever winter solstice holiday you celebrate. We hope that you and your family have a great holiday weekend!
Jeff and Bryan want to know why Apple didn't jump on the opportunity to run The Interview, the Sony comedy about two Hollywood celebrities tapped by the CIA to assassinate the dictator of North Korea. They also explore the implications of the Apple and Microsoft-owned Rockstar Consortium, Inc. selling off all or most of its vast patent holdings. Is this the end of the mobile patent wars? It's a holiday episode that counts as short in their world.
The commercials are annoying, but the product is great: Nuance's Dragon Dictate for Mac, version 4. This voice recognition software allows you to transcribe, write, and edit on your Mac with your voice. You know it's good, because Apple licenses the underlying technology for Siri. It's regularly $199.99, but through our deal, you can get it for half that, $99.99.
Google announced Wednesday that The Interview will be available to rent on YouTube starting at 1:00 PM EST. It will also be available for purchase through Google Play. In a blog post announcing the deal, Google even pointed out that it will be available to Xbox Video customers and at seetheinterview.com (that URL redirects to kernel.com as of this writing).
Rockstar Consortium, Inc. announced a major patent sale to licensing firm RPX on Tuesday. The company, which is co-owned by Apple, Microsoft, BlackBerry, Ericsson, and Sony, will part with more than 4,000 patents, the bulk of its remaining patent portfolio. The move signals a further de-escalation of the patent wars in the mobile space, because RPX will license the patents to some 30 different groups of companies across the industry.
I've had a lot of very lovely Christmas/holiday greetings from some terrific Mac and iOS companies cross my desk this year, but Twelve South's stood out because the company is offering a free gift to everyone. Twelve South commissioned four sets of wallpapers from San Francisco photographer Scott Gordon designed for people with two displays. The one I included is called Nightscape, but there's also Fall in San Francisco, Cloudveil, and Soma. Each comes with a left image and a right image (though any one of them would be great for one-screen Mac setups, too), and they've been formatted specifically for seven different screen sizes, from an 11-inch MacBook Air to a 27-inch iMac/Thunderbolt Display.
I have an extremely cool device for today's deal. It's called the PowerCube, a very clever way to maximize your power outlets. As the name suggests, it's a cube, which has six sides. One of those sides has a male plug for your wall. Four of the sides each have a female plugs, while the outside sixth face has two USB ports for dual charging. It's a very efficient way of turning one plug into four, with two USB ports to spare—all with a very small footprint. You can get the PowerCube for just $17.95 through our deal, so snap it up!
Need access to otherwise restricted web content? Don’t trust your WiFi connection? Need to ensure online security? You want to consider a virtual private network (VPN), and boom! We just happen to have a deal for three years of VPN Unlimited's Premium Plan for $19. With this package, your Internet data is encrypted between the VPN and you, greatly limiting your exposure to hackers, and for those who live in countries that block access, it can be the only way to get to some sites. There's a lot more information on our deal site.