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According to Flurry Analytics, 50% of all devices activated on Christmas Day 2014 were Apple products and the amount of apps downloaded increased by 150% in just 24 hours! With so many apps available to Mac users, it’s difficult to know which ones are really worth your time or money, especially since each of us has different needs. Below are 10 apps that any one and every one who owns a Mac should download right away, from financial software to photography apps!

1. Because You’re Usually A Bit Disorganised: Use Evernote

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Chances are you are already an Evernote user, but just in case you aren’t or are yet to install the app on your mac it’s crucial to include this versatile and simple brain-replacing app! Evernote allows you to store photos, website articles, and of course notes amongst numerous other facilities and enables you to sync anything you store amongst multiple devices.

The basic Evernote app is free for Mac users, however you can pay $5 a month (or %45 annually) for Evernote Premium. The Premium version allows users to annotate PDF files, store more notes and search for text in Office documents!

2. Because Your Hard Drive Is Always Full: Use Disk Doctor

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Awarded the title of Best Selling Programme 2014 on the Apple Store for Mac, Disk Doctor is every avid Mac users best companion. Disk Doctor will clean up your hard drive by scanning your Mac for old or useless files and data that are stopping your Mac functioning at it’s best.

For just $2.99, Disk Doctor will keep your Mac healthy and your hard drive free of clutter!

3. Because You’ve Upgraded To Yosemite: Use Command-C

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Without a doubt Yosemite is a success for Apple as far as iOS goes, however nothing is without it’s faults. Somehow, Apple users’ were left unable to copy text on a Mac and paste it onto their iPhones or vice versa. Command-C fixes this blunder with a simple, seamless patch and allows you to once again work smoothly between platforms that are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

Although the app is free in the Mac App Store, it will cost you $3.99 on the iPhone. However, it is a huge time-saver and incredibly practical for anyone who requires the use of multiple devices!

4. Because It’s An Apple Staple: Use iWork

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For many years, Apple lagged behind Microsoft when it came to building software that would compete with Office. Of course, Apple did release iWork a decade ago but it is only just evolving into a substantial application. Currently, iWork includes three separate apps:

  • Pages – an application used for writing.
  • Numbers – a spreadsheet programme.
  • Keynote – fantastic for building professional presentation.

Each of these apps is easy to use and even easier on the eyes! In addition, anyone who purchased a Mac after September 24 2014 will receive works free of charge.

5. Because You Need Distraction Free Writing: Use iA Writer Pro

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For anyone who is required to write often, be they a professional, author or a student, iA Writer Pro will allow you write without any distractions. For $19.00 iA Writer Pro extends a blank page to fill your entire screen covering menus, apps or any other distractions that may hinder your writing flow.

Once you’ve started to write, iA Writer Pro will also kick it’s syntax feature into action and pick out adjectives, verbs and nouns that work to make sure your sentences are the best they can possibly be.

6. Because You Have A Lot Of Thoughts And Nowhere To Put Them : Use Notability

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Named App of the Year 2014 by Apple themselves, Notability allows you to capture any thought any time. For $9.99 you can record a thought, write it down, store a photo or even a sketch, as well annotate PDFs and other documents. By backing up your stored thoughts to Google Drive or Dropbox you can share them over various devices running touchscreen version of Notability via iCloud.

7. Because You Love Photography: Use Pixelmator

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Despite the fact Apple users have notoriously supported Adobe Photoshop, Pixelmator is swiftly becoming a strong competitor. This $29.00 graphics software allows it’s user to retouch photographs with expert precision, paint, draw and apply 160 beautiful effects to their photos. If you use Pixelmator in conjunction with Apple’s new cross-platform application Handoff you will also be able to switch seamlessly between Mac and iPad.

8. Because Nothing Compares To Word: Use Microsoft Office

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Yes, yes. I know I said that iWork was good but nothing competes with Microsoft Word just yet, especially if you are familiar with Microsofts famous software. Starting at $139, Microsoft Office will supply you with Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook and OneNote. Or you can subscribe to Office 365 for $6.99 a month, which can be used across devices!

9. Because You Love Art: Use Topaz Impression

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At $99 you may think that Topaz Impression is a little bit over priced, but if you are an art lover and creative than this app may be your greatest investment. Topaz Impression will convert your photographs into pieces of art like no other on the planet at over 10,000 brush strokes a second. You control the stroke style, size, volume and strength and will have access to more than 100 effects, 72 textures and 17 different types of brushes, ensuring that no two pictures will ever be the same.

10. Because You Need To Keep On Top Of Your Accounts: Use Quicken 2015

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Like Topaz Impressions, Quicken 2015 is a pricey application at $72 but besides that these apps could not be more different. Quicken has been popular amongst PC users for quite a long time, however as it’s refreshed software moves to Mac many Apple-devotees will soon be using this incredible financial software. Quicken automatically categorises your accounts and transactions, ensuring you will always be on top of your bills and funds!

Source:  lifehack.org

Categorized in Internet Technology

The proposals aren’t just bad for Google, but for everyone.

There’s a lot to like about the copyright proposals that the European Commission unveiled Wednesday—easier access to video across the EU’s internal borders, more copyright exceptions for researchers, and more access to books for blind people.

However, two elements in particular could be disastrous if carried out as proposed. One would make it more difficult for small news publications to be able to challenge legacy media giants, and the other would threaten the existence of user-generated content platforms.

In a way, it’s good that digital commissioner Günther Oettinger has finally laid his cards on the table. But the battles that begin now will be epic.

The first contentious proposal is the introduction of so-called neighboring rights for press publishers, also known as ancillary copyright.

The move sounds pretty obscure, but isn’t. Much as it is possible for someone to get rewarded for performing a work—as opposed to writing it, which involves copyright—publishers would get to command fees for the stuff their writers write, based their own (new) rights rather than the copyright held by the journalist.

In effect, this would allow publishers to try wrangling fees out of others for any “use of the work”—a dangerously vague term in this context. What’s more, they’d get to do so for a whopping 20 years after publication.

This idea has been tried before in Germany and in Spain, where large publishers used new laws to try getting Google GOOG 0.11%  News to pay for using snippets of their text and thumbnails of their images.

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Both times the attempts failed. In Germany, Google stopped reproducing snippets of text in Google News, and the publishers granted the firm a free (albeit temporary) licence once they saw how their traffic suffered. In Spain, the publishers had no such leeway and Google News ended up pulling out of the country, hammering the industry’s income in the process.

The Commission’s new proposals aren’t as suicidally rigid as what went down in Spain, but they’re also much vaguer than the German version. As currently phrased, they could allow press publishers to try charging for the reproduction of headlines, or even the mere indexing of their articles.

It’s hard to know whether the large press publishers who lobbied so hard for these measures really think Google will ultimately pay up, or whether their real goal is what happens when it refuses.

Because Google surely won’t pay for indexing their content or reproducing snippets of their text. It can’t—that would be the beginning of the end of its entire search engine business model, which can no longer scale if its links come with a cost.

If this law goes through and demands for licensing fees are rigidly enforced, Google will almost certainly pull Google News out of the entire EU.

Remember that it doesn’t run ads on Google News. It does run ads on its regular search engine, of course, and news results make that a fuller product, but it would have no reason to maintain Google News in Europe if it became a serious financial liability.

And if Google News exits the EU, the biggest victims will be the smaller publications, as happened in Spain. They rely on Google News and other aggregators because that’s how people find their articles, visit their sites, and view and click on their ads.

More established media outlets have much more brand recognition and traditional marketing clout, particularly in linguistically semi-closed markets such as Germany and France. They have everything to gain from reversing the Internet’s opening up of the media market; their rivals, and the reading public, have everything to lose. No wonder they’ve been pushing Oettinger to bring in ancillary copyright.

The other major flaw in the new proposals would also be bad news for smaller players, and for the rights of the public.

Under the e-Commerce Directive of 2000, the operators of user-generated content platforms—YouTube and SoundCloud and the like—are not liable for the content their users upload, as long as they take down the illegal stuff once someone flags it. That directive also explicitly says there can be no laws forcing platforms to generally monitor the content they manage.

Despite having consistently denied it is going to change these rules, the Commission is now proposing exactly that. In its new copyright directive proposal, it wants to force all user-generated content platforms to use “effective content recognition technologies,” which sounds an awful lot like generally monitoring content.

Of course, YouTube already has its Content ID technology for identifying and purging illegally uploaded films and so on, but what about new platforms? It cost Google more than $60 million to develop and implement Content ID, and it has to constantly tweak it to counteract those users who figure out ways to get around it.

You know how people upload movies to YouTube that are re-filmed from a funny angle, or that cut off the edges of the screen? That’s an attempt to circumvent Content ID and fighting it costs money, as does handling disputes when the system incorrectly flags videos as infringing copyright.

Quite apart from the fact that this would clash with another piece of EU legislation that’s trying to protect freedom of expression, this would be a huge burden for anyone trying to set up a new user-generated content platform, making it a problem for both innovation and competition.

Yes, creators deserve fair remuneration for the works they create. Yes, the Internet has turned their livelihoods upside-down by forcing them to compete with millions of rivals in an open market. Yes, lack of funding threatens media diversity. Yes, change is hard.

But these new proposals wouldn’t help creators make the best of the new landscape. All they would do is entrench the positions of the big players—the legacy media outlets in the case of ancillary copyright, and funnily enough Google in the case of the user-generated content proposals.

The European Parliament and the EU’s member states have a lot to fix over the next year or two, as this proposal wends its way through the legislative process.

 

Source : http://fortune.com/2016/09/14/europe-copyright-google/

Categorized in Internet Ethics

For now, just drivers in Los Angeles get the difficult intersections feature.Left-hand turns can be fraught with peril, particularly when there’s no traffic light.

Turn the backdrop to rush hour in Los Angeles, and left-hand turns become a scourge that most drivers try to avoid. And that can cause a new problem—more right-hand turns and a longer commute.

Waze, the mapping and navigation app acquired by Alphabet’s Google GOOG 0.29% in 2013, has introduced a new routing feature—initially for the Los Angeles area—to help drivers bypass those difficult intersections, when possible. The “Difficult Intersections” setting is automatically enabled for drivers in Los Angeles. Users can disable the feature in settings. The feature will expand to New Orleans soon, Waze says. Other cities around the world will be added as needs are identified, the company says.

Waze says it tries to strike a balance between avoiding difficult intersections and an efficient, short route. By default, the app will calculate the best possible route the bypasses a difficult intersection. If that bypass is significantly longer, the driver may still be routed through a difficult intersection, Waze says.The goal of the feature is to reduce the amount of these intersections, not completely eliminate them.

To create this feature Waze turned to locals—specifically the people who help edit its maps. These Angelenos shared lists of what they perceived to be the most difficult intersections and provided alternate solutions. The company also worked with the city of Los Angeles to better understand the area.Users who don’t live in Los Angeles, but who think their city has some particularly tricky intersections can report it from the app under Report > Map Issue, Waze says.

Google and Fiat’s minivan might actually be a hit:

Waze is constantly rolling out new features. Last month, the company introduced a feature to help drivers avoid speeding by giving users alerts if they’re driving too fast. It was created to help drivers navigate unfamiliar areas where the speed limit may be unposted or changes seasonally, according to Waze. The feature is now available in 18 countries including Austria, Brazil, Colombia, France, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, and Uruguay. The U.S. was notably absent from the list.

The company also recently started experimenting with carpooling in the San Francisco Bay area. Waze, which began testing its carpooling service last year in Israel, expanded the pilot to 25,000 local employees at select companies, including Adobe and Walmart Global eCommerce.

Source:  http://fortune.com/2016/06/18/google-waze-difficult-intersection/

Categorized in Internet Technology

It’s been almost five years since we heard that “software is eating the world.” The number of SaaS applications has exploded and there is a rising wave of software innovation in the area of APIs that provide critical connective tissue and increasingly important functionality. There has been a proliferation of third-party API companies, which is fundamentally changing the dynamics of how software is created and brought to market.

 

 

The application programming interface (API) has been a key part of software development for decades as a way to develop for a specific platform, such as Microsoft Windows. More recently, newer platform providers, from Salesforce to Facebook and Google, have offered APIs that help the developer and have, in effect, created a developer dependency on these platforms.

 

Now, a new breed of third-party APIs are offering capabilities that free developers from lock-in to any particular platform and allow them to more efficiently bring their applications to market.

 

The monolithic infrastructure and applications that have powered businesses over the past few decades are giving way to distributed and modular alternatives. These rely on small, independent and reusable microservices that can be assembled relatively easily into more complex applications. As a result, developers can focus on their own unique functionality and surround it with fully functional, distributed processes developed by other specialists, which they access through APIs.


Faster, cheaper, smarter

 

Developers realize that much of the functionality they need to build into an app is redundant to what many other companies are toiling over. They’ve learned not to expend precious resources on reinventing the wheel but instead to rely on APIs from the larger platforms, such as Salesforce, Amazon and, more recently, specialized developers. We’re still in the early innings of this shift to third-party APIs, but a number of promising examples illustrate how developers can turn to companies such as Stripe and Plaid for payment connectivity, Twilio for telephony, Factual for location-based data and Algolia for site search.

 

Indeed, the area is booming. On last check, ProgrammableWeb was providing searchable access to almost 15,000 APIs, with more being added on a daily basis. Developers can incorporate these APIs into their software projects and get to market much more quickly than going it alone.

 

While getting to market more quickly at a lower cost is a huge advantage, there is an even more important advantage: Companies that focus on their core capabilities develop differentiated functionality, their “secret sauce,” at higher velocity.

 

 

Another advantage is third-party APIs are often flat-out better. They work better and provide more flexibility than APIs that are built internally. Companies often underestimate the amount of work that goes into building and maintaining the functionality that they can now get as a third-party API. Finally, third-party API developers have more volume and access to a larger data set that creates network effects.

 

These network effects can manifest themselves in everything from better pricing to superior SLA’s to using AI to mine best practices and patterns across the data. For example, Menlo’s portfolio company Signifyd offers fraud analysis as an API. They aggregate retail transactions across hundreds of companies, which allows them to understand a breadth of fraud markers better than any individual customer could.


A new breed of software companies

 

Releasing software as an API allows those companies to pursue a number of different adoption routes. Rather than trying to sell specific industry verticals or use cases, often the customer is a developer, leading to an extremely low-friction sales process. The revenue model is almost always recurring, which leads to an inherently scalable business model as the end customers’ usage increases. While the ecosystem of API-based companies is early in its evolution, we believe the attributes of these companies will combine to create ultimately more capital-efficient and profitable business models.

 

This opportunity is not limited to new upstarts. Existing developers may have the opportunity to expose their own unique functionality as an API, morphing their product from application to platform. Some outstanding companies have built API businesses that match or exceed their original focus: Salesforce reportedly generates 50 percent of its revenues through APIs, eBay nearly 60 percent and Expedia a whopping 90 percent.

 

The model is attractive to entrepreneurs and investors. Rather than trying to create the next hot app and having to invest heavily in marketing and distribution before validating scalable demand, it may make more sense to build a bounded set of functionality and become an arms merchant for other developers.

 

The API model creates a compelling route to market that if successful can scale capital efficiently and gain a network effect over time. Currently, there are 9 million developers working on private APIs; as that talent sees the opportunity to create companies versus functionalities, we may see a significant shift to public API development (where there are currently only 1.2 million developers).


Rethinking the value chain

 

In the past, the biggest companies were those closest to the data (e.g. a system of record), able to impose a tax, or lock-in to their platform. In the API economy, the biggest companies may be the ones that aggregate the most data smartly and open it up to others.

 

This enables new types of competitive barriers, as in Twilio’s ability to negotiate volume discounts from carriers that no individual developer could obtain, or the volume pricing that Stripe enjoys by pooling payments across many developers. Companies like Usermind (a Menlo Ventures portfolio company) show great promise in allowing enterprises to move beyond their single-application silos by creating workflows and simplifying the API connections between their existing SaaS applications.

 

 

While the ecosystem for API startups is attractive today, we believe it will only become stronger. Over the last five years there’s been a broadening of interest in enterprise-oriented technologies like SaaS, big data, microservices and AI. APIs are the nexus of all four of those areas.

 

As the world of enterprise software development further embraces third-party APIs, we expect to see a number of large companies emerge. The low-touch sales model, recurring revenue and lack of customer concentration lead to a very attractive business model. In addition, the benefits for the rest of the software development ecosystem are profound, as app developers can focus on delivering the unique functionality of their app and more quickly and less expensively deliver that ever-important initial product.

 

Source:  http://techcrunch.com/2016/05/21/the-rise-of-apis/

 

 

 

Categorized in Internet Technology
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