Recent Articles By Andrew Orr [RSS]

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite Launches July 21

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Harry Potter Wizards Unite

Niantic announced that its upcoming augmented reality game, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, will launch this Friday, July 21. In a press conference outside Universal Studio’s Wizarding World in Florida, Niantic said it would hold Wizards Unite events similar to its Pokémon GO Fests. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is set in J.K. Rowling’s fictional universe where players help protect the wizarding world from exposure to muggles. Players will use their smartphones to capture magical creatures running loose, hunt potion ingredients, and use portkeys to travel to popular locations in the wizarding world.

Openly Operated Wants to Improve Privacy Policies

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Openly Operated is a certification for apps and services. The certification process ensures that they live up to their privacy and security claims with an audit.

An OO-certified app or site must meet three criteria. First, it needs to demonstrate “a basic level of transparency” by making its code and infrastructure — among other things — public and fully documented. Second, it needs to lay out its policy in the form of “claims with proof,” establishing what user data is collected, who can access it, and how it’s being protected. Third, those claims must be evaluated by an OO-certified auditor who then makes the audit results public.

I’ve complained about privacy policies before, and this sounds like a great idea. I hope it gets traction.

What if Plants Could Be Smart Home Devices?

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What if plants could be smart home devices? That’s the idea of Harpreet Sareen and Pattie Maes in their cyborg botany research.

These experiments led the researchers to possible future applications that include sending notifications—the plant might jiggle to alert you when your package is delivered, for instance—or as a motion sensor, which could help you keep track of your pet or be applied to security systems.

Cool idea. When most people talk about “invisible interfaces” they usually mean things like smart clothing or using your voice like with a HomePod. Now if only trees transmitted Wi-Fi…

What Finder Sync on macOS Catalina Looks Like

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In macOS Catalina, you won’t sync your iDevices in iTunes. Instead, you’ll have Finder sync. Stephen Hackett gives us an idea of what it will look like and how it works.

When you plug in an iPod to a Mac running Catalina, the device appears in the Finder sidebar,and clicking it reveals a wide range of syncing options, organized in a much nicer fashion that what is found in iTunes 12…

As you would imagine, each section in this interface surfaces content across various apps on the system. For example, Finder sees the local files I have in the new Music app…

Critically, most of the UI is pretty much the same.

Cardhop 1.1 Adds Multiple Business Cards, Template Settings, More

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Cardhop 1.1 came out today, bringing with it a lot of improvements: Template settings to customize fields and labels for new contacts; smart group templates: Create smart groups that automatically update based on common contact searches; multiple business cards: create separate business cards for different situations; business card settings automatically sync between devices using iCloud; stickers! Express yourself in iMessage with Cardhop’s sticker pack; Gravatar support to automatically find contact photos by email when adding or editing contacts; support for sending messages to groups with the parser; added YouTube social profile label, and more. App Store: US$3.99

Cardhop 1.1 Adds Multiple Business Cards, Template Settings, More

Body Suite 2 Update Offers New Keep and Contacts Apps

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Boxy Suite is a collection of Google apps on the Mac, to give users a native, non-web experience. Today Boxy Suite 2 is rolling out, with automatic dark mode; new apps for Google Keep and Google Contacts; a quick launcher to change your account, navigate between sections, and launch task managers; integration with task managers like Things, OmniFocus, 2Do, and Todoist; instant account switching; unread counts for all accounts; notifications for all accounts; improved Minimal Mode; and opening links in the background. The Dashboard has also been revamped, and a bunch of fixes in Boxy for Calendar are also available.

Body Suite 2 Update Offers New Keep and Contacts Apps

HyperCube is a Data Backup iPhone Charger on Kickstarter

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Sanho Corporation, creator of the USB-C Hyper Drive for iPad Pro, is coming out with a new product. Called HyperCube, it’s a data backup iPhone charger. When you plug your iPhone into it, then plug the HyperCube into a power outlet, all of your photos, videos, and contacts will automatically back up to a micro SD card or USB drive (sold separately). Then, once the back up is finished, you can remove the micro SD card or USB drive to view your content on another device. Copy/cut/paste/move/delete/rename files on microSD and USB drive, supports audio/video streaming playbacK, supports photo slideshow/thumbnail view, measures 47.3 x 35.5 x 24mm / 1.86” x 1.4” x 0.94”, weighs 20g / 0.71oz /0.04 lb. Early bird backers can get HyperCube for US$29. Expected to ship August 2019.

HyperCube is a Data Backup iPhone Charger on Kickstarter

Video Editing App LumaFusion 2.0 On Sale for $14.99

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LumaFusion is a powerful video editing app for iOS, and yesterday LumaFusion 2.0 was released with new features. First, the UI is different and is designed to make it easy for beginners to start, and easy for professionals to find powerful features. LumaFusion 2.0 doubles the number of video/audio tracks to six, a new Timeline Overview makes it say to see your whole project, new media scrubber lets you find the perfect frame in your project, supports GNARBOX 2.0 SSD, and improves support for GNARBOX 1.0, and if you’re editing on your iPad LumaFusion 2.0 supports external displays. The sale lasts until June 27. App Store: US$14.99

Video Editing App LumaFusion 2.0 On Sale for $14.99

iOS 13 NFC Enables More ID Scanning

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Last week we reported that iOS 13 NFC will support Japanese identity cards. Now the German Federal Ministry of Interior announced support for its ID cards as well.

The Federal Ministry of the Interior, for construction and homeland welcomes this important step. This will soon allow users of Apple’s mobile devices to benefit from digital sovereign applications such as ID, ePass, and eVisum [including] in person checks at international airports.