The popular language learning game, Duolingo, has finally launched with English courses for Hindi speakers today. Duolingo allows users to make use of their idle time by learning languages efficiently in a fun manner. Continue reading Popular Language Learning Game, Duolingo Launches for Hindi speakers
BlackBerry Messenger or BBM used be the one killer features of BlackBerry. In fact it’s still the reason why many people purchase a BlackBerry. However, thanks to the popularity of multi-platform apps like WhatsApp, Kik, and Viber, BBM no longer commands the respect it used to. WhatsApp recently reported that it has 200 million active monthly users, which is more than thrice that of BBM’s active user count. Sure, BlackBerry Messenger is a lot more secure than WhatsApp, which is frankly a security nightmare. However, this can hardly enough to sway the opinion of millions of smartphone buyers. It has long been rumoured that the struggling Canadian smartphone manufacturer will be opening up BBM. Perhaps feeling the pressure, BlackBerry has finally bit the bullet.
BlackBerry just announced at the BBLive conference that it will be launching the BBM as an independent app on Android and iPhone this “summer”. No concrete dates were given; however, Android Police is reporting that the BlackBerry Messenger will be a free download that will require at least ICS (Android 4.0). It will be initially released with support for messaging and groups with additional features including voice, screen share, and channels being added later on. BBM users will be able to setup groups and share voice notes, calendar, photos, files and more. “For BlackBerry, messaging and collaboration are inseparable from the mobile experience, and the time is definitely right for BBM to become a multi-platform mobile service”, said Andrew Bocking, Executive Vice President, Software Product Management and Ecosystem, at BlackBerry.
Finally, I say. After deflecting the need for and promising the availability of 2-step verification, Microsoft officially announced the roll out of optional 2-step verification on Microsoft account on April 17.
First, what is 2-step verification? It is a method by which services force you to provide an additional verification item to ensure you are actually who you say you are, before allowing you to login. Typically, this is done through a code sent via SMS after logging in with username and password. That way, the service ensures that just because someone has access to your username and password, they won’t be able to easily login to your account.
For Microsoft account, you can enable this feature by going to https://account.live.com/proofs/Manage. Once you enable it, you will be required to provide the code sent to your phone or if you set up a secondary method like email, then via email after providing your username and password. Additionally, for smartphones there are authenticator apps that work with Microsoft’s 2-step verification and Microsoft has also built an app for Windows Phone for the same purpose.
Once you set up the 2-step verification, it will work on Windows Phone, Windows 8, the web as well as Microsoft services on iOS and Android. As is the case with Google and other services that have already implemented 2-step verification, for clients that cannot support entering codes like Xbox, Microsoft will allow you to set up an app password. Once you have the app password for a particular client, it will remain associated with that client so you don’t have to enter the code at every login.
Microsoft has also enabled functionality where you can choose to have the code remembered for a particular application or service. If you do that, the code won’t be requested for 60 days, thereby making the process seamless.
It is also worth noting that Microsoft has enforced 2-step verification for some of its services already. For example, with SkyDrive you can remotely fetch files from other computers. Since this is a critical feature which can be abused by someone breaking into your account, Microsoft required a security code to be entered in addition to username and password.
Finally, remember that if you change your phone number or email, it is important to update the information in your account preferences before losing the number or email since it is something that cannot be updated by customer support. If you do lose the number and it is not reflected in your account preferences, you will have to wait for 30 days which is the typical account recovery period.
I like this step that Microsoft has taken. 2-step verification is not easy and has a lot of issues when the account is also used for authentication on other services besides the provider’s. It does seem like Microsoft is aware of the complexity involved and have tried to make it a bit more user-friendly than competing services. With more of our lives being stored in digital form, it is important to have good “locks” installed to protect our digital properties. 2-step verification is just one of the steps, and I am glad Microsoft has chosen to implement it.
Images are from the Official Microsoft Blog
Some of the changes and additions in this update are:
- Support for iPhone 5 and iPad Mini
- Updated app icons and user experience
- Works better with your photos:
- Download full resolution photos to your iPhone or iPad
- Control the size of photos you upload and download
- Photo metadata is retained when you upload to SkyDrive
- Opening and saving files to SkyDrive works better with other apps on your iOS devices
- Many other small changes, bug fixes and performance improvements
Given that the last update to the app was about a year ago, this news is very welcome for those who use SkyDrive.
What was not mentioned in the change log was that the option to buy additional storage on SkyDrive has been removed. This is because as per Apple’s App Store policies, if any app provides such functionality or even a link to their own site, the company has to pay 30% fee to Apple.
In fact, it is widely believed that the app was held back from being released because the negotiations between Microsoft and Apple were not going anywhere. Microsoft was trying to convince Apple that this is a special case and they should not be charged the 30% fee for the functionality. Clearly, Apple did not budge and Microsoft had to remove the link.
However, the silver lining here is now that Microsoft has published the SkyDrive app, we may not be too far away from Office on iOS making its appearance. The generally believed theory among those who watch Microsoft is that Office on iOS (specifically, iPad) is going to be free apps with read-only functionality unless a user has a Office 365 subscription. If they sign in with their Microsoft account tied to the subscription, they will be able to edit the Office files on iPhone and iPad. Given how important the “real” Office is for consumers and enterprises alike, it is natural that Microsoft would not want to pay 30% of the entire Office 365 subscription fee to Apple. Here’s hoping there was a good deal worked out between Cupertino and Redmond so end users like us can finally see Word, Excel, PowerPoint (and wishfully thinking, Outlook) on the iPad.
Do you use SkyDrive? Do you use it on iPhone/iPad? What do you think of the latest update? Let me know!
Image courtesy Microsoft from the Windows Blogs
The Indian Premier League is back, and it’s that time of the year again, where cricket fans across the world simply go out of control with excitement. IPL 2013 season 6 kicked off yesterday with a grand opening ceremony in Kolkata, India.
With over 76 matches to be played for nearly two months, cricket fans across the world are excited to catch the action live on televisions as the first IPL cricket match begins today. Android, iOS and Windows Phone users have yet another reason to celebrate and talk about cricket as we have compiled a short list of the top best apps for IPL 6 2013, which will keep track of all the latest news, scores, and schedule.
Top Best IPL 6 2013 Apps:
The official Board of Control for Cricket in India app for Android and iOS will provide you with the latest score updates, news, upcoming matches, live play-by-play, stats, standings, and other relevant information for IPL 6 2013. Along with that the app also features live commentary, scoreboards and live score of all matches.
#2 Yahoo Cricket [Android/iOS/Windows Phone]
Yahoo! Cricket is yet another awesome iOS and Android app that provides you with instant real time notification updates of a live match, be it a wicket, 4, 6 or an important milestone. With Yahoo! Cricket you’re sure not to miss anything important for you. The app also has a widget that can be placed on the home screen for Android users.
#3 IPL 2013 Schedule & Live score [Android]
As the name of the apps says you can now get IPL 6 schedule, live score, team records, team details, players records, and several other information right on your smartphone.
#4 ESPN Cricinfo [Android/iOS/Windows Phone]
The ESPN Cricinfo app offers live score updates Indian Premier League 2013 providing with ball-by-ball commentary, latest news updates, match results, upcoming matches and more. The app now supports video and audio podcasts. Watch and listen to the latest ESPN Cricinfo video and audio podcasts and stay updated with the latest news of IPL 2013.
Stay updated with this app as the latest version offers the following features:
- Event quick filter for match list view
- LIVE match view fine tuning
- Reducing the video ad view request only during wicket falls (to fewer times in a match)
Flipboard is an extremely popular news reading app for smartphones and tablets running on the iOS and Android Operating Systems. Flipboard was originally designed for the iPad, which was later updated to add support for the iPhone and iPod Touch followed by Android smartphones and tablets. Flipboard is one of those apps which I’ve been using almost everyday on my iPad.
Flipboard recently released the version 2.0 of this amazing app. The new Flipboard allows you to collect and save articles, photos, audio and video by organizing them into beautiful magazines. You heard it right! Now you can even create you own digital magazines on Flipboard. These magazines can be made public to share them with the Flipboard community or you can choose to make your magazines private.
What’s new in Flipboard 2.0?
- You can now collect and save content into your own magazines, tap the new “+” button to get started.
- Your magazines are public, but can be made private (viewable only to you).
- Use the new bookmarklet to add items to your magazines from your browser.
- Get Flipboard notifications when people like, comment or subscribe to your magazines.
- Easily email or share magazines to Facebook, Twitter, G+, etc.
- Personalized recommendations for more to add to your Flipboard.
- Search is now front and center on your Flipboard, with new and improved results.
- Faster page-loading and faster flipping performance.
Flipboard 2.0 has also introduced a new commenting system which allows you to comments on articles and even use @mentions to interact with other Flipboard users. Apart from that, Flipboard also brings new “Flip It” bookmarklet which lets you flip the current page on Flipboard. This update is currently available only for iPad and iPhone users. Android users might have to wait for few weeks before getting their hands-on these amazing new features.
Just a day after we learnt that Google Now is making its way to the Chrome browser and OS, Engadget is reporting that Google is also working on porting its Siri challenger to the iOS. Apparently, a short promo video featuring Google Now for iOS appeared yesterday on YouTube. The clip was quickly pulled down, but not before several enterprising viewers managed to save a copy. Here’s one of the many such copies currently available on YouTube.
While we can not vouch for the veracity of the video, it does look pretty convincing. Even the voice actor seems to be the same as the original Google Now announcement video. Due to restrictions imposed by Apple, Google will not be able to integrate its personal assistant into the system in a manner Siri is on the iOS. Instead, Google Now will live inside the Google Search app, which already features voice recognition. A quick swipe up from the main screen will bring up the Google Now interface.
The big question is how many iOS users, who already have the charming and cute Siri, will find a need for Google Now. Google’s personal assistant app does have its own set of advantages including the ability to offer neat nuggets of information pre-emptively through several pre-defined cards. It might also be compatible with a wider range of iOS devices than Siri, which only supports iOS 5 and later. However, Google will not be able to offer the deep system level integration that Siri features. That being said, there is clearly a segment of iPhone users that want Google Now, as evident from the popularity of the NowNow mod for jailbroken iPhones.
Today, Apple released the fifth beta of iOS 6.1 for developers for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation iPad, the iPad mini, and the iPhone 3GS/4/4S and 5.
Surprisingly, according to the hacker community, the fifth beta can be activated “without developer registration and has no release keys.” If Apple wants, it can very well release the fifth beta of iOS 6.1 to the consumers as the final version without making any changes. The beta also carries the build ID of a final iOS 6, and not that of a beta build.
iOS 6.1 will bring with it the ability to purchase movie tickets via Siri in the United States, new lock screen music controls, and the ability to easily report issues in the iOS6 Maps app. Other changes include the option to download music from the iTunes store over a mobile data connection, enhanced iCloud setup and other minor tweaks and enhancements.
Via – 9to5Mac
Today, Apple announced that it will be bringing the fourth generation iPad and the iPad mini to China beginning from Friday, January 18th.
The iPad mini sports a 7.85-inch screen, a dual-core A5 chip, and a 5MP camera. Its bigger brother, the fourth generation iPad, sports a 9.7-inch Retina Display, 1GB of RAM, and a very powerful A6X SoC. Both the tablets will come with iOS6 pre-loaded, which Apple dubs as the most advanced version of iOS yet.
The iPad mini with Wi-Fi and Cellular model will set buyers back by US $459 for the 16GB model, and US $559 for the 32GB model. The 16GB iPad with Wi-Fi and Cellular radio is priced at roughly US $629, while the 32GB variant costs US $729.
The iPad mini and the fourth generation iPad will be available at Apple’s online store and retail stores, along with certain authorized resellers from this Friday in China.
iOS users who pirate apps, here is some bad news for you. Hackulous is shutting down! Hackulous has acted as a gateway for all jailbroken iOS devices to install pirated apps on their devices using Installous or AppSync.
The reason behind the shut down according to the Hackulous team is the lack of activity on their forums. Below is their official statement -:
Goodnight, sweet prince.
We are very sad to announce that Hackulous is shutting down. After many years, our community has become stagnant and our forums are a bit of a ghost town. It has become difficult to keep them online and well-moderated, despite the devotion of our staff. We’re incredibly thankful for the support we’ve had over the years and hope that new, greater communities blossom out of our absence.
With lots of love,
While the death of Hackulous does not mean that iOS piracy is dead, it will definitely help in reducing piracy. Keep in mind that Hackulous itself did not host pirated iOS apps. Instead, it had in its repos two of the most popular and easiest way of installing pirated apps on iOS – Installous and AppSync. Since Hackulous repo is already down, there is no way to install Installous or AppSync for now.
It is just a matter of time and some work from developers before Installous or AppSync once again make an appearance on jailbroken iOS devices.