Angry Birds Stars Wars is free from Starbucks app

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The Angry Birds Star Wars game for iPhone is free for a limited time if you use the Starbucks iOS app. Check your messages in the app for the free download link.

iPhone

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FCC iOS/Android speed test app turned off

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The recent update for the FCC’s speed test apps for both Android and iPhone turned off the ability to run a test. And, the new app is not available yet.

Android
iPad
iPhone

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Windows Blue designers drawing inspiration from Windows 1.0

Image courtesy  of Wikipedia.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Microsoft Windows features non-overlapping windows, drew a bit of interest, but failed to capture the mind-share and marketshare of its popular predecessor. I am, of course, speaking of Windows 1.0 and MS-DOS. But, the description fits Windows 8 and Windows 7 too. Windows 1.0, however, could do something Windows 8 Metro (Modern Design) cannot: Windows 1.0 could display more than two tiled windows at the same time.

The designers of the update to Windows 8, codenamed Blue, appear to be drawing inspiration from Windows 1.0. The Verge reports that Blue will allow more than two tiled windows too. Unfortunately, only a single row of tiles will be allowed. I encourage the Blue design team to take a closer look at Windows 1.0 (see screenshot above) to draw from its advanced 1985 design.

Image courtesy of The Verge

Image courtesy of The Verge

Microsoft

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New MobileViews Podcast cover art

MobileViews_Podcast_x320On March 21 Apple sent email to podcasters publishing through iTunes telling them that they need to provide new cover art that conforms to the new 1400×1400 pixel format (JPEG or PNG). So, my old ugly MobileViews cover art has been replaced by this new ugly cover art. The new cover art reflects that this one podcast stream hosts both the MobileViews and ComicsViews podcasts.

Apple
podcast

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Fender USB Stratocaster Guitar: Broken oddball cable connector

fender_usbstat_HA153The Squier by Fender USB Stratocaster Guitar is unique among Fender’s legendary guitar series for a couple of reasons:

1. It has a USB interface that lets it work with the iPad and iPhone.
2. It is only available through the Apple Store.
3. It has an oddball Apple 30-pin connector to mini-USB connector cable.

This last item has caused a bit of grief for a good friend of mine who is notorious for taking meticulous good care of his gear. This is the only 30-pin to mini-USB cable I’ve ever seen. So, if it breaks, it is difficult to replace (aside from using a Rube Goldberg collection of adapter cables). And, break is exactly what it did for my friend. You can see his photo below. The mini-USB connector completely disengaged from the cable.

Fender no longer even features a product page for the guitar. So, one has to wonder what is going on there. However, it is still listed as available through the Apple Store. So, my friend’s next step is to contact Apple and Fender to see if:

(a) This cable breakage is covered by some kind of warranty since the guitar was only introduced in November 2012 and my friend bought his a few months after that.
(b) If a replacement cable can be found anywhere.

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Apple
iPad
iPhone
Mobile Lifestyle

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Nexus 4 charges wirelessly just fine with Energizer Qi charger

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The Verge reported that the wireless inductive charger accessory for the Nexus 4 (which became widely available just recently itself) is now available for $59.99. I was giving it some thought as a possible purchase when I remembered that I had an Energizer Qi-Enabled 3 Position Inductive Charger (Amazon link) that I used tested with an iPhone 3G a couple of years ago. The Nexus 4 also uses the Qi wireless charging technology. So, it seemed like it should charge using the Energizer product.

Initial testing indicates that it does. Placing the Nexus 4 (in a case) on top of one of the two Energizer Qi pad’s charging areas started charging the phone after waiting a few seconds. You can see in the photo above that the Nexus 4 indicates it is, in fact, being charged while sitting on the Energizer Qi pad. The current Amazon price of the Energizer Qi pad is $68.24. So, it is $8.25 more than the custom dock for the Nexus 4. However, it can charge two Qi devices at the same time. And, it is not limited to the Nexus 4 form factor.

Disclosure: Energizer provided the charger, a charger case for a BlackBerry, and a charger case for an iPhone 3G for evaluation.

Android

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Fitbit: 10 million steps, 9000 floors climbed (so far)

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I passed 10 million steps on my Fitbit today. And, it looks like I passed 9000 floors climbed about two days ago.

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Mobile Devices
Mobile Lifestyle

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Podcast 61: What’s going on with Apple’s stock price?




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In MobileViews Podcast 61, Todd Ogasawara, Jay Stone, and Emil Reyes (none of who claim any expertise in investment) wonder aloud and speculate about the steep multi-month decline in Apple’s stock price. It closed at $702/share on September 19, 2012. And, its share price on January 25, 2013 was $439.88. That is a $262 price drop in four months for a 37% loss of value.

FYI: Emil runs a 3D printing design business. You can find some of his recent work here:

“Make Me That”

Apple
podcast

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Microsoft HelpBridge for Android, iOS, Windows Phone: Connect quickly after a disaster

Microsoft released free apps for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone to request help or offer help (in a variety of ways).

Download a Lifeline: New Disaster Response App Launches

The HelpBridge mobile application simplifies the process of notifying loved ones by simultaneously sending an e-mail and SMS to the communities you select & posting a message to your Facebook wall. You can even include your GPS coordinates so that message recipients will know where you are and the circumstances surrounding you.

The apps are named HelpBridge.

Android
iPhone
Microsoft
Mobile Devices
Windows Phone

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Finally! Jelly Bean 4.1.1 available for Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0

tab2_70_41_20130111It took over a year 7 months but Android Jelly Bean (the 4.1.1 version, not the 4.2 new flavor) finally appeared for my Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 tablet.

4.1 includes Google Now but does not include 4.2’s Multi-user, Daydream, or Photo Sphere. And, while the 4.1 update does not include 4.2’s Gesture Typing, Samsung added a gesture typing feature to its proprietary Samsung keyboard. This feature is turned off by default.

Samsung retired its handy screenshot applet in favor of the less handy but standard screenshot (press Power + Reduce Volume buttons simultaneously) function introduced in Jelly Bean.

Jelly Bean (4.1) feels fast and smooth on the Tab 2 7.0 so far. And, it is good to finally have a stable Google Play apps update function. Google play frequently stalled and froze in Ice Cream Sandwich and required forced Android restarts to get a series of apps updates completed.

Android
Tablet

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Amazon Cloud Player: No app needed for Windows RT

Amazon Cloud Player in Windows RT IE10

Amazon Cloud Player in Windows RT IE10

Earlier today Amazon announced their free CD AutoRip service that places some of the CDs you’ve bought over the years automatically in the Amazon Cloud for streaming to your desktop or mobile device. If you have an Android or iOS device, you can download a free player to play these automatically ripped songs. But, what if you have a Windows RT tablet like the Surface?

In that case, just open up the IE10 browser and point it to the Amazon Cloud Player just as you would on a desktop or notebook computer. The IE10 browser will play it just fine on the Microsoft Surface tablet running Windows RT.

Microsoft
Windows RT

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Featured Windows RT App: Bento news reader

Bento for Windows 8/RT.

Bento for Windows 8/RT.

News Bento for Windows 8/RT is a simple news aggregation app that is easy to navigate and presents news items from a variety of sources in a clean view. And, yes, it is free.

Bento lets you select news feeds from a variety of well-known news sources and blogs. The app can also draw any or all the RSS feeds you might collect in Google Reader to let you personalize the news collection even more. While it does not have a way to deal with your Facebook, Google+, or Twitter sources, it is as close you can get to a Flipboard experience on a Windows 8 or RT device. I don’t think it is a stretch to say it may be one of the most useful third party apps available for the Metro UI on Windows 8 or RT.

Microsoft
Windows RT

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