TIME apps

Good Idea: Dock a Tiny Netflix Window in Your Browser While You Work

+ READ ARTICLE

Behold Netflix Mini in all its glory.

The idea was spawned from one of Netflix’s hack days. That’s the bad news: Netflix Mini is still just an idea at this point.

It would ostensibly be an extension for Google’s Chrome web browser that would dock a tiny window in the lower-right corner, allowing you to work on whatever you’re working on while catching up on whatever show you’re binge-watching. A similar extension called PIP Video already exists, but I couldn’t get it working with Netflix videos. YouTube videos worked fine, however.

While Netflix Mini may or may not become real someday, can we all agree that it probably should? Yes? Handshake?

Check out Netflix’s writeup of its summer hack day for other ideas that were presented.

[Geek.com]

TIME Software

5 Cheap Must-Have Apps for Back to School

+ READ ARTICLE

Ready for the school year to begin? Once you’ve picked out a tablet or laptop for your student, it’s time to grab the software that will make it the most useful. We’ve found the best cheap apps and programs to help kids study, work more efficiently and keep up with their assignments.

YouCam Snap

Pictures of whiteboards, projector slides and book pages are great for notes. However, the camera apps that come with them can’t always handle these tasks well, especially if it’s not possible to take pictures head on.

YouCam Snap solves this problem. It can straighten out the curve of book pages, whiteboard text taken at an angle, and even correct the brightness and contrast to capture usable images of bright projector screens in a dark room. And the ability to output the captures as PDFs that can be annotated and shared is a big plus.

Price: Free at iTunes and Google Play

iStudiez Pro

A digital student planner can be just as useful as its paper counterpart, especially if it syncs data across devices. iStudiez helps students keep track of class schedules and manage homework assignments, including pop-up notifications around due dates. Students can even keep track of their grades.

Price: $9.99 at the Mac App Store and $2.99 at iTunes

Looking for an Android alternative? Check out Class Buddy Student Planner for $1.99 on Google Play

Zotero

Zotero makes it easy to collect and organize information on the web as source material for research papers. When the software is installed, it detects usable content pulled up on your computer—text, images, video files, screen shots of web pages or documents, like PDF files—and gives the option to save with one click.

All of the text is searchable and tags can be assigned to each piece of content for easy organization. Once it’s paper-writing time, Zotero will create accurate citations for each item.

There are two versions of Zotero: a Firefox add-on that works across operating systems, and a standalone download for PC and Mac that plugs in to browsers. There are also plugins for MS Word and LibreOffice to make citing easier. All for free.

Price: Free at zotero.org

LibreOffice

If you want a full-featured free office suite, LibreOffice is the best choice. It can do everything that Word, Excel, and PowerPoint can do (except a very few functions only business/power users need) and can save to all the Microsoft Office file types as well as export to PDF.

The only things missing from the suite are Outlook and OneNote equivalents. If desktop email is a must-have, Thunderbird works well and has a great associated calendar app called Lightning. For notes, I suggest Evernote.

Price: Free for Windows and Mac at libreoffice.org

Looking for a good (free) mobile office suite? Check out WPS Office on Google Play and iTunes.

ezPDF Reader

PDFs are one of the most common file types students will encounter, and having an app that can read and edit them is a must. With ezPDF, students can add highlights, notes as comments, scribbles and written annotations, plus add, crop, rotate and delete pages.

Price: $2.99 on iTunes and Google Play, Free for Windows 8 at unidocs.com

Bonus: Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium Edition

Dragon NaturallySpeaking is not inexpensive, but it’s so useful for students that it’s worth the price.

Why? The top-notch voice recognition engine is able to easily to distinguish a voice from background noise, which makes it possible to get transcriptions of lectures. All a student needs is a good recording device or a smartphone with an external mic.

Price: $199 at nuance.com

This article was written by K.T. Bradford and originally appeared on Techlicious.

More from Techlicious:

TIME Google

YouTube Videos Playing Automatically? Sit Tight

Well, that's annoying.

All the livelong day, YouTube videos have been autoplaying in my web browser (I’m using Google Chrome). I just opened 19 tabs at once, and my computer basically threatened to walk off the job. My other browsers aren’t affected, so this appears to be a Chrome-YouTube joint.

A fix is coming. It’s apparently a problem on YouTube’s end, and the team is aware of it. Check out this Google thread for updates.

[Android Police]

TIME Software

Photo App Makes You Wait an Hour for Your Snaps to ‘Develop’

1-hour photo
The 1-Hour Photo app makes you wait to see your photos Nevercenter Labs

Free for iPhone, this 1-Hour Photo app aims to whisk us all away to simpler times.

The premise is straightforward: You can use the app to snap photos, but you have to wait an hour for photos to virtually “develop” before you can see them. And just to add an extra old-timey touch, your photos are converted to black and white.

The interface is even more straightforward: just a big button, flanked by the number of photos processing on the left and the number of minutes until the processing’s done on the right.

The idea is that you shouldn’t get so caught up in reviewing, sharing or deleting photos right after you take them that you miss out on whatever’s actually happening around you. As a super bonus (for the rest of us — maybe not you, though), the front-facing camera is disabled, meaning no selfies.

[Uncrate]

TIME Software

Apple’s OS X Yosemite Beta Is Rolling Out Now, but Be Aware of These Issues

The anticipated 10th version of OS X is finally deploying to one million users who signed up for Apple's public beta.

As promised, Apple has started rolling out a public beta version of its forthcoming OS X Yosemite operating system for Mac computers and laptops. The beta build, listed by Apple as 14A299l, is a tick higher in enumeration than the fourth developer preview released on Monday, though it’s not clear whether there’s a meaningful difference between the versions or simply a designative one.

The beta build will go out to one million program participants in the form of a code, downloadable through the Mac App Store. Beta members can retrieve their code by logging into the beta website and following the instructions. Apple says you’ll need to be running OS X Mavericks 10.9 or later, have at least 2GB of memory and at least 8GB of free disk space.

Don’t expect to receive updates as frequently as developers, says Apple, but you’ll be able to upgrade to the final version whenever it’s released (sometime this fall) seamlessly.

Before you dive in, be aware that some of Yosemite’s iOS 8-related features won’t be available in the beta (until you have iOS 8, which won’t be out until this fall, and which is only available now in beta through Apple’s developer program). It’s also worth scanning through the following issues Apple’s listed as present in the initial public beta to determine if they’re deal-breakers for you:

  • Safari may hang when playing certain Netflix content.
  • iPhoto 9.5.1 and Aperture 3.5.1 are required on OS X Yosemite. Update to these versions from the Mac App Store.
  • When entering edit mode in iPhoto, a black screen may be displayed instead of the selected photo.
  • Photo Stream and iCloud Photo Sharing may not function properly when both iPhoto and Aperture are installed.
  • The shared purchase history page on the Mac App Store is disabled for Family Sharing accounts.
  • iCloud Drive may appear empty in the Finder after first time setup. Restart to resolve this problem.
  • AirDrop may not show nearby Macs.
  • Sending files to another Mac using AirDrop may not work.
TIME Companies

Microsoft to Cut Up to 18,000 Jobs

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella gestures during the keynote address of the Build Conference in San Francisco, April 2, 2014
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella gestures during the keynote address of the Build Conference in San Francisco, April 2, 2014 Eric Risberg—AP

Most of the cuts will come from Nokia, which it bought in April

Correction appended 11:o9am ET

Software giant Microsoft Corp will cut up to 18,000 jobs over the next year, it announced in a press statement Thursday.

The company said the cuts are part of “a restructuring plan to simplify [the] organization and align the recently acquired Nokia Devices and Services business with the company’s overall strategy.”

The bulk of the cuts, around 12,500 professional and factory positions, will come from the Nokia business, which Microsoft purchased for $7.2 billion in April. The acquisition brought Microsoft’s headcount to around 127,000 staff.

The cuts, which will be fully completed by June 30 next year, are the largest in Microsoft’s 39-year history. In 2009, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer cut 5,800 jobs or 6 percent of staff to stem the effects of the recession.

The plans were announced in an email from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who was appointed in February. This email follows Nadella announcing plans for a “leaner” business in an open note to employees last week.

Nadella’s cuts may be an attempt to make Microsoft more competitive against Google and Apple. Computer-maker Hewlett Packard has also announced job losses with plans to cut 50,000 of their 250,000 workforce over the next three to five years.

Correction: This article originally misstated how many staff joined Microsoft with the Nokia deal. It was around 32,000.

TIME Software

BlackBerry Has a Virtual Assistant Now

BlackBerry Assistant
The BlackBerry Assistant app is meant to compete with Apple's Siri, Google Now and Microsoft's Cortana virtual assistants BlackBerry

Because you can't have a modern smartphone platform without advanced voice commands.

BlackBerry is still fighting for survival as a mobile phone maker, and its latest move is to add a virtual assistant on par with Apple’s Siri, Google Now and Windows Phone’s Cortana.

Newer BlackBerry phones already support voice commands, but the BlackBerry Assistant sounds more advanced. Users can set reminders, launch apps, send BBM messages, search through e-mail and calendars, listen to recent e-mails, set the ringer to “phone calls only” and find out what’s happening on Twitter. All of these actions happen within the app, which apparently adapts to the user’s behavior and becomes more accurate over time.

While it doesn’t sound like a major departure from virtual assistants on other platforms, the ability to use more than just a rigid set of voice commands has become table stakes on mobile devices. BlackBerry needs this kind of feature if it wants to hang onto its mobile device business.

BlackBerry Assistant will be part of the company’s BlackBerry 10.3 software. While there’s no word on when BlackBerry 10.3 will launch, it will be built into the BlackBerry Passport–a phone with a square screen and physical keyboard–when it arrives in September.

TIME Smartphones

10 Free iPhone Apps Everyone Should Download

+ READ ARTICLE

There are tons of apps on my iPhone that I love and use all the time, from my local supermarket’s app to fun games like Threes. It’s really hard to choose favorites, but that’s exactly what my editor Suzanne asked me to do: Pick my 10 favorite free iPhone apps.

It wasn’t easy. But after much deliberation, I narrowed the apps I use every day down to a list of 10 that spans multiple genres, from GPS navigation to fitness tracking. Take a look at my faves, and if you’d like, use the comments section to tell us all your favorite free apps that I might have missed.

 Maps
Google

Google Maps

To be sure, the stock Maps app on your iPhone has improved a lot since its disastrous launch two years ago, but it’s still not as well designed and robust as the Google Maps app it replaced. Google Maps 3.0 offers highly accurate traffic reports, construction alerts and road closings provided by Waze, lane guidance so you don’t miss your next turn, the ability to save maps for offline use and even mass transit directions with schedules built in. And if a new, faster route becomes available, Google Maps will alert you and ask if you’d like to switch.

You can download Google Maps for iOS on the Apple App Store.

Weather Channel App

Yahoo has long been the provider of your iPhone’s stock weather app, but that’s about to change later this year in iOS 8 when Apple will switch to The Weather Channel. But you shouldn’t wait for iOS 8 – the stand-alone Weather Channel app is leagues ahead of Yahoo’s version now. It offers extended 10-day forecasts and hyperlocal rain reports down to your exact location. It looks great, and as an added bonus, it doesn’t glitch out like the stock iPhone app occasionally does.

You can download The Weather Channel app for iOS on the Apple App Store.

Stitcher

I’m a big fan of NPR shows like Radio Lab and Wait, Wait, but I’m rarely around a radio when the shows are broadcast. That’s why I like the Stitcher radio-on-demand app. It streams podcasts direct to your phone from all the biggest names, from popular NPR shows to The Nerdist to Penn Gillette to Joe Rogan. There are plenty of news briefs, too, so you can stay current on what’s going on in the world.

You can download Stitcher for iOS on the Apple App Store.

gas-buddy-ios-app-510px
Gas Buddy

Gas Buddy

I recently took a cross-country road trip, and as you can imagine, I spent a lot of money on gas along the way. But I was able to save a lot of money on gas, too, thanks to the Gas Buddy app. It relies on crowdsourcing to constantly update gas prices at fueling stations across the country, letting you compare prices no matter where you are. You can even overlay prices on a map, pinpointing the best, cheapest location to refuel on your route. Prices tend to be accurate, and are generally quickly updated when they’re not.

You can download Gas Buddy for iOS on the Apple App Store.

Facebook

Pretty much everyone is on Facebook these days, for better or worse. To stay connected with everyone in your social circle, I recommend downloading the official Facebook app. It learns your preferences as you use it, delivering content it thinks you’ll find most relevant. And you can change your own profile and write your own updates on the go, making all your friends jealous of your exciting night out on the town. It’s a guilty pleasure that I just can’t do without.

You can download Facebook for iOS on the Apple App Store.

Google Now

It the past, I’ve called Google Now “creepy” – and it is. But that’s just because it’s so good at learning about you and your life. Google Now learns where you work, where you live, and where you travel, providing you with instant weather alerts, traffic and mass transit updates based on where it thinks you’re going. And if you’ve got a Gmail account, Google Now pulls travel bookings and restaurant reservation confirmations from it, automatically notifying you if your flight is delayed and letting you know when you’ll need to leave home to catch it. Plus, it learns from your Google searches to deliver sports scores and news headlines it thinks you’ll be interested in. You have to give up a lot of privacy to Google to use it, but Google Now is so good that doing so feels worth it.

Google Now is part of the Google Search app and is available for iOS on the Apple App Store.

Adidas miCoach

There are plenty of great fitness apps available on your iPhone, but one of my (and Suzanne’s) favorites is Adidas miCoach. It offers coaching, training plans, exercises, performance tracking that includes steps taken and calories burned, and GPS tracking. You’ll get the most out of miCoach by pairing it with a compatible activity monitor, but it still works great as a standalone app. Give the free app a try – you have nothing to lose but a few pounds.

You can download Adidas miCoach on the Apple App Store.

yelp-app-ios-pizza-search-510px
Yelp

Yelp

Whenever I’m feeling hungry away from home, I reach for the Yelp local discovery app. It ranks local businesses based on user-submitted ratings and reviews, making it easy to discover a great new hair salon or the place with the best pizza in your town. Yelp learns your preferences as you use it and check in to businesses, tailoring recommendations to your own individual tastes. Yelp also helps you save money: Occasionally, businesses offer coupons and specials on the app just for stopping and checking in.

You can download Yelp for iOS on the Apple App Store.

RedLaser

RedLaser is a shopping assistant app designed to help you find the best prices on any item with a barcode. Just use the app to take a photo of an item’s barcode and RedLaser will figure out what the item is, which local stores and websites sell it, and at what prices. And as a bonus, the app stores all your loyalty card info and offers coupons, helping you turn a good deal into a great deal.

You can download RedLaser for iOS on the Apple App Store.

Spotify

I’ve said it before, but Spotify is my absolute favorite app for streaming music to my iPhone. I pay for the $9.99 monthly premium service, but there are plenty of free listening options available for those who don’t mind a few ads every now and then. Spotify lets you create and modify your own radio stations, create playlists and shuffle through songs by your favorite artists. And if you install the app on an iPad, Spotify now lets you listen to individual songs on demand without you having to shell out the cash to become a premium subscriber.

You can download Spotify for iOS on the Apple App store.

This article was written by Fox Van Allen and originally appeared on Techlicious.

More from Techlicious:

TIME Software

Apple’s iOS 8 Borrows Liberally from Android, and That’s Great

Apple

Don't call it a rip-off: Apple adds its own imprint on features that Android users have long enjoyed.

Apple gave its fans plenty to swoon over at its Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, but it also gave its haters a lot to sneer at.

Although Apple introduced each feature as if it was brand new, some of iOS 8’s biggest additions have been available in some form on Google’s Android platform for years.

To wit:

  • Interactive notifications will let users quickly respond to messages, accept calendar appointments, “Like” Facebook posts and more without having to enter the app itself. Android has offered these kinds of actionable notifications since 2012.
  • Apple will add a row of word predictions above its software keyboard, just like Google Keyboard for Android. iOS 8 will also support third-party software keyboards, which Android has always allowed.
  • Apple has extended iCloud to support all file types, and will let users easily access their files and folders across all their devices. It’s similar to the Google Drive integration found in Android 4.4 KitKat and Chromebooks.
  • Notification Center will support third-party widgets for things like sports scores and breaking news. Google has allowed third-party widgets on the Android home screen for years.
  • The App Store will allow video previews, just like Android’s Google Play Store.
  • Sharing in iOS will be open to all apps instead of just a handful of Apple-approved ones. Android’s Share button already allows sharing to any app that supports it.

If you’re an Android fan, it’s tempting to lampoon Apple for lifting features from its rival. But calling iOS 8 a rip-off of Android would be disingenuous for a couple reasons.

For one thing, Apple isn’t just copying Android features verbatim. It’s adding its own spin. Notifications, for instance, will be interactive straight from the lock screen, which is not currently the case on Android. The addition of widgets in the Notification Center also shows an Apple-like touch: It lets the home screen stay as simple as possible, while moving more advanced functionality off to the side for power users.

Even app-to-app sharing is more advanced than what Android offers. It’ll allow developers to create photo filters within the main Photos app (this feature is actually borrowed from the “Lenses” function in Windows Phone), and extensions such as text translation or document watermarking that work across many apps.

Taking concepts from Android and refining them is not a new approach for Apple. Although Android was first to allow multitasking, Apple’s version had tighter controls on how apps could run in the background, saving system resources and battery life. Android was first to allow copy-and-paste, but Apple’s version was better-executed when it finally arrived. Google, in turn, tweaked Android over time to better handle system resources and to make copy-and-paste more consistent.

Meanwhile, Apple is adding plenty of other features to iOS 8, including HomeKit to make home automation simpler, HealthKit to unify all your health tracking apps, and a bunch of ways to make all Apple products more connected.

This is exactly how competition should work. Instead of just blindly copying Android, Apple has found ways to improve upon key Android features, while adding other things that are entirely new. Now it’s Google’s turn to try and do the same.

Whether you prefer iOS or Android, that’s a very good thing. Over the last couple years, mobile operating systems have felt stagnant, with only minor tweaks to the way we use them. The new features in iOS 8 are a sign that there’s plenty of room left to innovate. I have a hard time getting snarky about that.

TIME Apple

Apple Unveils New Operating System Dubbed “Yosemite”

Apple today unveiled the next version of its Mac OS X operating system. The new release, called OS X Yosemite after the famed national park, includes a largely redesigned user interface more closely aligned with the look of its mobile iOS software.

Craig Federighi, Apple’s software engineering chief, took the stage of the firm’s annual Worldwide Developer’s Conference to show off the software. The new version, which features a sharper, flatter look, is more similar to the iOS software that runs on iPhones and iPads than any previous version of the Mac operating system.

OS X Yosemite also includes a “Dark Mode” that minimizes the translucency effect and introduces a darker color palette. Executives previewed changes to the software’s Notification Center, Spotlight search, Maps, Calendar, Messages, and Safari web browser.

A system dubbed “continuity” is intended to allow iOS devices and Macs to communicate seamlessly. A user can, for example, begin composing an email on an iPhone and automatically finish writing it on a nearby desktop computer. The system can also be used to place and answer phone calls and text messages that come to a phone on a nearby computer.

To show off the feature, Federighi placed a call from his desktop to new Apple employee Dr. Dre. “How you doing this is Dre,” said the rapper who is joining the company as part of a $3 billion deal for headphone-maker Beats Electronics. “Thanks for creating such amazing apps,” he said. “Say, what time should I show up for work?”

Apple made a developer preview available to conference attendees today. It will be available for free to all users this fall.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 45,334 other followers