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MTN Review

MTN Review

MTN is an adorable, talking pet mountain that is less game and more zen garden.

MTN is not a game. It is not highly interactive app. What it is, is a serene part of your day that will bring you a few minutes of amusement.

The MTN app, by David O’Reilly, opens by asking you to draw things based on 1-word prompts. According to David O’Reilly, “The drawings influence things like the shape of the mountain, the type of vegetation, the amount of vegetation, the length of your summers, the amount of snow you’re going to get, all sorts of different things.” After the prompts are answered the app generates a small, free-floating mountain in the middle of space.

mtn6mtn1As time passes the mountain changes. Trees and flowers grow, fireflies appear, and the seasons pass by at a relaxing pace. Every once in a while a piece of space debris will come hurtling out of the atmosphere to impact on your mountain’s surface. These falling things are as varied as they are strange: giant pieces of cake, anvils, crates, etc.

O’Reilly, who was an animation director on the feature film “Her” (and wrote, directed, produced, and animated the Adventure Time episode “A Glitch is a Glitch”), shows off his animation background with the gorgeous graphics. Since the only interaction you can have with MTN is to rotate, zoom in/out on your mountain, and play music for it with the small invisible keyboard provided at the bottom of the screen, I can’t really consider the app a game. It is better described as a distraction from your day.

mtn2mtn4I found setting up my iPad with MTN running while I worked gave me a little friendly reminder to relax and not to get stressed out by the little things. The MTN would say things like, “I’ve had dreams about this rainy afternoon.” There is something so sweet, and silly about it all that it trivialized whatever bad thing was going on at the time.

If you’re the kind of person who needs action and adventure then this might not be your cup of tea, but if you can find some enjoyment out of the simple life of a mountain then MTN will make a great addition to your collection.

Posted in: Games, iPad Apps and Games, iPad Games, iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews

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Review disclosure: note that the product reviewed on this page may have been provided to us by the developer for the purposes of this review. Note that if the developer provides the product or not, this does not impact the review or score.

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Verizon’s second quarter profits soar, highest recorded revenue in six quarters

Verizon

Verizon has posted its second quarter earnings, which saw the carrier accruing a double-digit percentage increase in operating income and earnings per share. Over the course of the quarter, Verizon has managed to add 1.4 million new postpaid wireless subscribers, up from 941,000 over the same period last year.

The carrier posted profits of $4.21 billion and $1.01 earnings per share, up from $2.25 billion and 78 cents per share in second quarter 2013. Overall revenue for the carrier was the highest recorded in over six quarters at $31.48 billion. The $130 billion buyout of Verizon Wireless from Vodafone had a significant impact in the uptick of profits.

Other highlights include a 75 percent smartphone consumer base, up from 72 percent last year. Verizon has also bolstered its LTE service during the quarter by launching an XLTE network that takes advantage of the AWS spectrum to boost bandwidth in select regions, and is in the process of rolling out VoLTE services across the country. The carrier is also bringing changes to its FiOS wired broadband service by offering upload speeds to match a customer’s download speeds at no additional cost.

Interested in looking at other statistics from this quarter? Head on over to Verizon from the link below for all the details.

Source: Verizon

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iSkin exo case winners have been chosen!

Michelle Haag

A nerdy little birdy and the Doctor’s next companion. While I’m waiting, I do the dirty work for Mobile Nations.

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Apple reaffirms it has never worked with any government agency to create a backdoor in any product or service

On July 18, Jonathan Zdziarski, a former iOS jailbreaker and current iOS forensic scientist and law enforcement consultant, gave a talk at the HOPE X conference in New York City. Zdziarski’s talk was on backdoors, attack points and surveillance mechanisms in iOS. In the talk he alleges that there are a number of ways for government agencies, including law-enforcement, to get at the personal data you store on your iPhone, iPod touch, and/or iPad. Zdziarski posted slides from the talk, based on an earlier journal publishing, on his website a couple of days ago. They’ve since been shared via other websites and social networks, and a lot of confusion and concern has arisen.

When reached for comment, Apple reiterated to iMore that it has never worked with any government agency to create a backdoor in any product or service:

“We have designed iOS so that its diagnostic functions do not compromise user privacy and security, but still provides needed information to enterprise IT departments, developers and Apple for troubleshooting technical issues,” Apple told iMore. “A user must have unlocked their device and agreed to trust another computer before that computer is able to access this limited diagnostic data. The user must agree to share this information, and data is never transferred without their consent.”

As we have said before, Apple has never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services.”

So, what’s going on here?

When you connect your iPhone or iPad to iTunes on Mac or Windows — and choose to trust that computer — a pairing record is created that maintains that trust for future connections. Zdziarski claims that if someone takes physical possession of that computer, they can steal those pairing records, connect to your device, and retrieve your personal information and/or enable remote logging. If they don’t have your computer, Zdziarski claims they can try and generate a pairing record by tricking you into connecting to a compromised accessory, like a dock (juice jacking), and/or by using mobile device management (MDM) tools intended for enterprise to get around safeguards like Apple’s Trusted Device requestor.

Because the NSA surveillance controversy is still fresh in many people’s minds, Zdziarski added a “don’t panic” statement on his blog at Zdziarski, emphasizing that he wasn’t accusing Apple of working with the NSA, but does suspect that the NSA might be using the techniques he outlined to collect data.

Zdziarski also praises iOS 7 security, saying that Apple has hardened its devices against typical attacks, including making changes that have shut down a “number of privately used spyware apps.” However, he’d like to see them strengthened it further with asymmetric encryption of incoming messages and media, the file system equivalent to “session keys,” a boot password, and a backup password.

Apple is rolling out new security and privacy protections as part of its upcoming iOS 8 software update, scheduled for release this fall. These improved features include MAC address randomization to prevent stores from tracking you as you walk around to shop, “while-in-use” rather than “always-on” location permissions to prevent apps from tracking your when they don’t need to, better privacy controls for your contacts, always-on VPN to secure your connections, and more.

Security is constant vigilance, and companies are only ever as good as the speed and efficacy of their last patch. Bottom line, following Zdziarski’s presentation, there’ll be a lot more attention paid to just these kinds of data leaks, and that’s good for all of us. Until then, if you’re at all concerned about privacy and security, Apple provides several tools and features you can use to further lock down your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad:

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Apple’s new ad proclaims the MacBook Air is ‘the notebook people love’

The MacBook Air is a pretty awesome piece of equipment and Apple knows it. A new commercial has hit the airwaves and it proclaims the MacBook Air is the “notebook people love”. While it might not be the preferred laptop in Apple’s lineup for everyone, those who have one generally don’t hesitate to share how much they love the MacBook Air.

The ad itself is rather simple and just flashes through a bunch of MacBook Air lids all decked out in stickers ranging from the Beats logos, Snow White, Homer Simpson and various other pop culture characters, logos and symbols. A sight that’s no doubt familiar to many readers out there.

Even my own MacBook Pro has several stickers on it so I can see where Apple was going with this one, the ad creates a relationship between the company, their products and the user. Hit play on the video above and let us know what you think of the ad in the comments. Does your Apple gear resemble anything like the lids in the commercial?

Source: FooltechFromTheAshes via: @liquiddigital

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Apple reportedly bets big on big screen iPhone 6 models

Apple bets big on big screen iPhones

Recent supplier information suggests that Apple is making big bets on the much rumored iPhone 6, which is expected to come in two different screen sizes. The oft-rumored Apple smartphone is anticipated to arrive in a 4.7-inch model and a 5.5-inch model, both up from the 4-inch iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, and iPhone 5c, and represent Apple’s largest smartphones to date.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple may be ordering as many as 70 to 80 million units of these phones combined, which is a big jump from 50 to 60 million units of the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c production run last year. Citing “people familiar with the matter,” the increased order is for the initial production run that will last through the end of the year.

So far Apple has remained quiet and the company typically does not comment on rumors. If recent history will serve as a trend, then Apple is expected to introduce its next iPhone model(s) sometime in the September time frame. The new models are believed to come in metal sporting a variety of colors, though that’s not confirmed.

Though the orders sound impressive, the Journal is also reporting that Apple may encounter some snags with production of the larger iPhone 6 model. In particular, the new display technology, which means a thinner screen that doesn’t require a separate touch layer, may be challenging to manufacture for the 5.5-inch display. Additionally, Apple may face some complications with making the rumored sapphire glass for this model, which could delay the release or make initial shipments harder to accommodate.

Are you looking to upgrade to Apple’s iPhone 6? Which model are you interested in, the 4.7- or 5.5-inch?

Source: WSJ

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Apple reminds developers that latest iOS 8, OS X Yosemite developer previews now require for CloudKit

Apple reminds developers that latest iOS 8, OS X Yosemite betas required for CloudKit

Apple is sending out emails reminding developers that CloudKit will require the latest developer previews of either iOS 8 or OS X Yosemite to work starting tomorrow. While both developer previews were released today, starting Tuesday July 22 they will be required for developers who use CloudKit.

In addition, Apple is also recommending that developers backup their public databases as they will be performing a server-side wipe. This will not affect iCloud Drive, iCloud Photo Library, or Mail Drop as those were already wiped earlier this one.

“We will perform a server-side data wipe on all CloudKit public databases on July 22,” the company’s email reads. “If you are using iCloud containers with public databases, consider creating a copy of your data so that you can re-upload once the data wipe is complete. iCloud Drive, iCloud Photo Library, and Mail Drop will not be impacted by the targeted data wipe.”

CloudKit was announced at this year’s WWDC to allow developers to more easily work with server-side data.

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Apple reminds developers that latest iOS 8, OS X Yosemite developer previews now required for CloudKit

Apple reminds developers that latest iOS 8, OS X Yosemite betas required for CloudKit

Apple is sending out emails reminding developers that CloudKit will require the latest developer previews of either iOS 8 or OS X Yosemite to work starting tomorrow. While both developer previews were released today, starting Tuesday July 22 they will be required for developers who use CloudKit.

In addition, Apple is also recommending that developers backup their public databases as they will be performing a server-side wipe. This will not affect iCloud Drive, iCloud Photo Library, or Mail Drop as those were already wiped earlier this one.

“We will perform a server-side data wipe on all CloudKit public databases on July 22,” the company’s email reads. “If you are using iCloud containers with public databases, consider creating a copy of your data so that you can re-upload once the data wipe is complete. iCloud Drive, iCloud Photo Library, and Mail Drop will not be impacted by the targeted data wipe.”

CloudKit was announced at this year’s WWDC to allow developers to more easily work with server-side data.

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PureGear unleashes a torrent of accessories; we’re giving them away

PureGear Accessories

Every once in a while TUAW will receive a boxful of accessories from a manufacturer. That presents a dilemma for a writer — do you break the box out into a bunch of single posts, or write one über-post that covers all of the items? The latter path is what I decided to follow for a bunch of goodies we received from PureGear ranging from some fun iPhone 5/5s cases to earbuds with a built-in mic. So follow along as I take a look at the individual items, then enter our giveaway for all of the accessories.

PureGear Retro Game Cases for iPhone 5/5s

When I was just a kid back in the previous century, they used to put some really cool little prizes in boxes of Cracker Jack. Some of my favorites were little plastic and cardboard maze games that you’d tilt to guide a tiny metal ball between two points. Well, the Retro Game Cases from PureGear recreate those games pretty well. The first is aptly called Amazing (US$29.99), a cyan- and magenta-colored case that has a surprisingly tough maze puzzle on the back of it.

Not sure which case to put on your iPhone 5 or 5s in the morning? Then maybe the Undecided ($29.99) case in bright magenta and orange will help you decide. It’s almost like a pachinko game, except when you shoot the ball to the top of the game (yes, there’s a little spring-loaded shooter), it just bounces against the hundreds of tiny pins and ends up in either the “Yes” or “No” area. It’s going to help you make decisions — especially important on those occasions where you may not have a coin to toss.

I liked the cases — they’re playful, colorful, and they’ll protect your iPhone. On the other hand, I’m not sure they’re really worth paying $30 for. There’s a third model we didn’t test — Groovy (also $29.99) — in which your goal is to place three balls in the center of the maze at the same time. Good luck with that!

Rating: 3 stars out of 4 stars possible

TUAW rating, three star rating out of four stars possible

PureGear PureMove Sports Armband with Dry+Flex

If you walk, run, ride a bike, or even work out on equipment in your local gym or at home, you probably know what a pain it is to find a place to put your iPhone when you’re moving about. You can stick it into a pocket, maybe place it on the console of the treadmill… A much better idea is a sports armband, and the PureMove Sports Armband with Dry+Flex (for iPhone 5/5s, $39.99) is one of the nicer-looking ones I’ve seen.

The armband comes in two sizes — S-M, which comes in a bright pink color, and M-L/G, which is a fluorescent green. Both have a gray band, it’s just the highlights of the carrying case that have dots of the color.

I found the PureMove to be very easy to adjust to a comfortable tightness, and the band itself is elastic so that it gives just a bit as your muscles flex. The band is make with Dry+Flex antibacterial technology to make sure that it stays odor free, and the material is also designed to wick moisture away from your arm. If the band gets dirty, you can remove it easily for cleaning in a washing machine.

Two more features — there’s a “cord keeper” on one side for wrapping up excess earbud cables so they’re not flopping around as you exercise, and a reflective logo to keep you safe when running or riding at night.

The only negative I can see with the PureGear PureMove is the price. There are many other sports bands available, ranging in price from $7.50 on the low end to $29.99 for one from iLuv. I’m not sure that the Dry+Flex capability is worth an extra $10; you’ll need to make that decision.

Rating: 3 stars out of 4 stars possible

TUAW rating, three star rating out of four stars possible

PureGear DualTek XT iPhone Case

Next I’m going to take a look at an “Extreme Terrain” iPhone 5/5s case, the PureGear DualTek XT ($49.99). Right away, I noticed that the case has an IP65 rating for dust and water resistance, which means that you can get it into some pretty gritty or wet conditions without worry. It’s not waterproof; you’ll need to look elsewhere for something that you can take into the ocean or pool with you.

The case is two-tone, utilizing a black front and back with either blue or gray highlights on the side. The highlighted section contains covered buttons and doors to keep water out, and has a ridged, grippable surface. Your screen is protected with a TouchID-compatible cover, and there’s even a wrist strap that you can add to make sure you don’t drop the case.

Of all of the PureGear accessories I looked at today, I think the DualTek XT is my favorite. It adds a lot of protection to your iPhone 5 or 5s without a lot of bulk, and the blue version we got was actually quite attractive.

Rating: 4 stars out of 4 stars possible

TUAW rating, four star rating out of four stars possible

PureGear PureTEK Roll-On Kit

Next, we’re moving on to a protective screen shield for your iPhone 5, 5c, or 5s called the PureGear PureTEK Roll-On Kit ($24.99). I’ve had an issue with screen shields since the days of the Newton MessagePad, since it always seems like when I’m installing them I get them fingerprints on the sticky side or bubbles appear.

Well, PureGear has come up with an ingenious way for you to precisely install the screen shields without your fingers every having an opportunity to add fingerprints. There’s no way for bubbles to appear under the shield thanks to this same design, which uses a tray to hold your device and a roller to apply the shield.

I was seriously impressed with the PureTEK Roll-On Kit, which comes in either anti-fingerprint or anti-glare versions. If you use your iPhone 5 in situations where glare can cause viewing issues, then the anti-glare version is probably for you, otherwise the anti-fingerprint version is perfect.

Rating: 4 stars out of 4 stars possible

TUAW rating, four star rating out of four stars possible

PureGear PureBoom Premium Sound Buds Headset

PureGear appears to have a full line of accessories, considering that they have everything from cases and armbands to headsets. The PureBoom Premium Sound Buds Headset ($29.99) can be used with your iPhone for listening to music or even making phone calls.

The Sound Buds use in-ear earbuds, with multiple cushions available to make the perfect fit. On the cable is a microphone and switch, with the switch providing the common answer/end/play/pause functions. The three-foot cable is of a triangle design, providing a way to keep from tangling the cable — they also provide a nice storage case to carry the headset in as well.

Sound-wise, I found the PureBook Sound Buds to be quite middle-of-the-road, although when I called someone for a test of the microphone, they thought the audio was clearer than usual.

If you’re happy with Apple’s EarPods, then you’d probably replace a defective or worn-out pair with another set as the price is almost identical. However, if you’re thinking about replacing a pair of Apple’s $79.00 In-Ear Headphones, definitely take a look at the PureGear PureBoom Sound Buds.

Rating: 3 stars out of 4 stars possible

TUAW rating, three star rating out of four stars possible

Giveaway

How would you like to win all of these great accessories? Three iPhone 5/5s cases to play with, an armband for workouts, a pair of earbuds for listening, even a scratch-resistant and fingerprint-proof screen shield. Well, we’d love for you to be the winner, but you have to enter first. Here are the rules for the giveaway:

  • Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
  • To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button.
  • The entry must be made before July 25, 2014 11:59PM Eastern Daylight Time.
  • You may enter only once.
  • One winner will be selected in a random drawing and will receive a gift pack of PureGear accessories for iPhone valued at $204.94
  • Click Here for complete Official Rules.








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EFI update to address rare wake from sleep issues on mid-2011 MacBook Air’s now available

If you have a mid-2011 MacBook Air and have been experiencing issues with the system taking longer to wake from sleep than expected or your fans run at full speed when after waking device up, Apple has now made available a new EFI update that aims to address those problems.

It’s a small 4.3MB download available directly from the Apple website and should be ran over top of EFI versions 0077.00, 0077.08, 077.0E, 0077.0F with OS X 10.9.2 and later. Luckily, you won’t really have to check all that yourself though you can if you wish.

The installer once downloaded will double check to ensure it can be run on your computer before actually installing so even if you have a mid-2011 MacBook Air and just want to ensure you’re not affected, you can download the update and run it to see if it applies to your system.

Source: Apple via: Apple Insider

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