Apple announces OS X Yosemite, works better than ever with your iPhone/iPad

Apple has yesterday announced updates for OS X and iOS at their annual developer conference – WWDC. A lot of focus was on OS X this time, and rightly so.

Last year’s Mavericks release was all about memory/battery efficiency, with iOS 7 taking center stage at the WWDC. It was OS X’s turn this time and they did what everyone expected – integrate it deeply with iOS.

Design

Though Jony Ive is touted as one of the best industrial designers of current time, most people, even fanboys, would accept that he didn’t do a great job with iOS 7 redesign.

Finder

Excessive use of Helvetica, neon colours, childish icons and more, there’s nothing perfect about iOS 7.

Now here’s the bad news: All of this is going to make it to Yosemite.

That’s pretty scary right? Turns out Apple didn’t do such a terrible job with design in Yosemite. The icons do look terrible, but as a whole it looks not too bad. Apparently, one needs to use it, to make a firm comment on design.

One of the most intriguing feature for me is dark mode. It basically turns all the context menus dark, which is a huge visual change.

Spotlight

Spotlight is one of the standout features in Yosemite. Apple basically borrowed a lot of inspiration from Alfred, a third party app launcher.

Spotlight

It’s not just a menubar app anymore. Instead it floats as a small window on top of all apps.

Apart from searching for files/apps, you can now get showtimes for Movies, locations, unit and currency conversions and more. Think Google Now.

I really wish they open it up for developers to add custom search engines. You could then search Spotify for songs etc.

Continuity

This is probably the best feature Apple has baked into OS X Yosemite and iOS 8. It’s a problem many people face and Microsoft has tried to solve it with Windows 8. They couldn’t, but Apple probably has got it right.

Calling from Mac

The idea is simple: you are composing an Email on your iPhone, turns out the Email is lengthy, you want to use your Mac. You put the iPhone to desk and start drafting the exact same Email on your Mac. Exactly where your left off.

This works with most system apps and of course developers can use it for their apps.

In addition to this, you can now make and receive calls/SMS messages right from your Mac. That’s pretty amazing. You can even start a Wifi hotspot on your iPhone, from your Mac (which isn’t connected to internet).

There’s a lot more stuff packed into this update, like redesigned system apps, mainly Safari, bringing widgets to Notification Center, MailDrive and iCloud Drive.

The update will be available this fall. For free.

For the first time, Apple has a public beta program, where you can sign up with your Apple ID and get hands on OS X Yosemite this summer. Follow this link.

Have you watched WWDC? Tell us what you think in the comments.

OS X 10.10 to take center stage at Apple’s WWDC

Last year has been pretty huge for iOS, with major changes in interface, along with addition of lots of new features. Apple did release OS X Mavericks, but it wasn’t a huge update and iOS took all the limelight.

This year however, might be totally opposite. According to 9to5Mac, Apple is set to revamp OS X with 10.10 update, bringing it on par with iOS in interface.

OS X 10.10

Apple has been bringing iOS features to OS X for quite some time now. It started with Lion, introducing LaunchPad, Calendar and Contacts apps etc. In Mountain Lion, we have seen Notification Center, Messages app and more.

This is going to continue in OS X 10.10. Aesthetics of iOS 7 will indeed make their way into OS X.

But what’s important is, will Apple dumb down OS X, to make it appealing for iOS users? 9to5Mac says, power user features like Mission Control, Finder etc. will be left untouched. Unlike Microsoft, Apple has no intentions of merging the two operating systems and only wants to bring design consistency between them.

It will be really weird to see OS X in the neon colours of iOS 7 and the glyph icons, but I’m sure Apple won’t go that far. Surely, Jony Ive knows what people think about his design.

Webapps at iCloud.com, like Calendar, Mail, Contacts etc. give a pretty good hint at what the revamp could look like.

While we’re not sure how this update will turn out, it’s good to see OS X getting focus at WWDC after a long time. Of course, this won’t be the only thing releasing. iOS 8, Apple TV upgrade and the one more thing (iWatch?) are on list.

This year’s WWDC is set to start on June 2nd at San Francisco. Are you looking forward to the event? Tell us in the comments.

Spotify rolls out dark redesign for its Android app

A month back, Spotify gave a peek of its new design for Mac, Web, Android and iOS. It has then released for those platforms and now Android is the last to get it.

The new design brings consistent iconography, a dark theme with stark green colour popping out. It looks gorgeous, especially on Android (most dark themed Android apps look great).

Spotify's redesign

The typography is nice and the app follows Android design guidelines perfectly.

This update is not all about UI, though. It brings one of the most requested features – called ‘Your Music’.

On Spotify, generally whenever you like a song you’re listening, you star it and it will then get added to Starred playlist. You don’t have to do that anymore. You can save the music to your account which can be seen as a list under Your Music.

You can view Your Music as a list of albums, tracks or artists. (as you can see from the screenshot)

If you’re from India, here’s some great news – you can make Spotify work here without any proxy. You just have to use Hola Unblocker while logging into Spotify for the first time and that’s all, it will work fine even if you uninstall Hola Unblocker afterwards.

Overall it’s a great update that brings the Android app inline with apps on other platforms. If you’re in a country where Spotify is supported, then you can grab the app from Google Play. Otherwise, there’s an APK.

Did you try out the new Spotify for Android? Tell us what you think in the comments.

Link: Spotify on Google Play | Spotify APK

Select, Copy, Modify Text inside an image using Project Naptha

Have you ever thought if there was a way to select and modify text inside an image? It’s possible now, with just a Chrome extension.

That’s right. With this extension, you can treat text inside image, as normal text. It’s called Project Naptha.

Selecting text inside image

Project Naptha applies OCR (Optical Character Recognition) on all the images in the browser, allowing you to select text and do things like copy, erase, modify, translate and more.

It works as expected, for most images, especially for screenshots and other text embedded images. Apparently, no OCR technology is perfect.

To use it, just hover your cursor on text in an image, and just start selecting. You’ll see the text highlighted with transparent blue colour. You can then right click and perform some action on the text – like, search text on Google, erase it from image, translate it into other languages and so on.

Even thought it sounds like this extension needs a lot of processing power, it runs just fine. No crashes or memory hogging till now.

It’s only available for Chrome right now. The developer says there will be a Firefox add-on releasing in a few days.

So if you’re on Chrome, head on to Chrome Webstore and try out this nifty extension.

Link: Project Naptha

Lyrics Finder grabs and embeds song lyrics in your MP3s

If you like to keep your Music library complete or like to sing along to your songs, here’s a great little app called Lyrics Finder.

Lyrics Finder

Lyrics Finder scans your music library for MP3s and downloads the lyrics.

To get started, drag-and-drop a file or a folder containing MP3s.

You’ll of course need to make sure your Music Player app supports lyrics, otherwise there’s no point in embedding lyrics inside the MP3s.

For example, on Android, there’s Poweramp, Shuttle and more music players which support lyrics. On Mac, I use Muzzy, a great mini player for iTunes.

If an MP3 file already has lyrics, then the app leaves it intact, i.e. no overriding.

Searching and downloading lyrics is pretty fast, it took less than a minute to grab lyrics for 400 songs in my iTunes library. A green indicator is shown on the song’s album art, if lyrics were available for that song (see the above screenshot).

Lyrics Finder is available for OS X and Windows, the link is below.

Link: Lyrics Finder

Automation app IFTTT releases for Android

IFTTT, short for “If This Then That”, is a great web service for automating tasks between internet services. It’s been a while since it has started and now it’s on Android (and iPhone too).

IFTTT

Most Android users would have heard about Tasker, an app which runs specific tasks based on the context. IFTTT is like Tasker, but for the web.

There’s a lot you can do with the service, most obvious ones are: changing your Twitter picture automatically as your Facebook picture is changed, getting a notification if it’s raining tomorrow, backing up your phone’s contacts to Google spreadsheets etc.

Now that IFTTT is available on Android, you can be even more creative. There are five new channels introduced: Android Device, Location, Phone call, Photos, SMS.

So if you’ve misplaced your phone which is on silent mode, you can increase the ringtone volume by sending an E-mail. This is possible because IFTTT now has permissions to control your Android device.

To get started, check out the most popular recipes in their site.

To enable the Android channels, you have to first install the app on your device. Get it from the link below.

Link: IFTTT for Android

Rdio buys Indian Music startup Dhingana, will launch later this year

Here’s some exciting news for Music addicts in India. Dhingana, a popular Indian Music streaming service which was shut down this month, is bought by Rdio.

If you didn’t know, Rdio is one of the best Music streaming services, not yet available in India though.

So here’s the big news: Rdio is coming to India.

Dhingana

If you’re in India and want to use Rdio, you should stick to a VPN like Hola Unblocker and even then you won’t be able to get it to work on Mobile.

Apparently, if Rdio comes to India, we’ll be able to use it without having to trick anything. Expect ad-supported free Music streaming and premium plans on other side.

Rdio currently charges 9.99$/MO for its Unlimited subscription – Web and Mobile access. For Web-only subscription, it’s 4.99$/MO.

I’m pretty sure these plans won’t work in India. Remember Flipkart’s Flyte? That’ll repeat again. Only difference is that, Rdio being a huge player in music streaming industry, will be fine even with losses.

I currently subscribe to Spotify using Entropay. That might change, if Rdio comes to India, and lower the prices a bit. There’s neck-to-neck competition between both of these services.

There’s no ETA given yet on release of Rdio/Dhingana in India.

Apple fixes Critical Security flaw in Macs with OS X 10.9.2

Last month, Apple has released a small update to iOS, patching a security vulnerability. Just like how Mac and iOS share a lot of things, it turns out they share this vulnerability too.

The bug is now patched in OS X too. Along with the bug fix, 10.9.2 brings FaceTime Audio to Mac and more.

10.9.2

If you got a Mac running Mavericks, update to 10.9.2 right now. Why is it so serious? Read on.

The bug lies in SSL protocol implementation on iOS and Mac devices. It lets an attacker to track and modify data exchanged in sessions protected by SSL.

So let’s say you’re connected to a public Wi-Fi hotspot and are doing a bank transaction (HTTPS) – an attacker can use a network analyser (like Wireshark) and decode packets of data that are being transmitted. This is a huge flaw.

It seems, the bug is a result of single bad ‘goto’ line. Check out this Wired article for in depth analysis on this silly bug.

Bug fix aside, OS X 10.9.2 finally brings FaceTime Audio for Mac. Ideally, FaceTime Audio should have been included in Mavericks itself, but it didn’t. iMessage app now has a ‘blocked’ list allowing you to block messages from people.

You can check the full list of change log on Apple’s website.

Greenify for Android prolongs your device’s battery and makes it faster

One of the first things I do when I get a new Android is unlock (boot loader) and root it. There are many reasons for why I do it, but the best one is, Greenify.

Especially, if your device is low on RAM and battery goes down quickly, Greenify can help.

Greenify

Greenify ‘auto-hibernates’ apps which are running in background, making your phone/tablet faster and long laster. Think of it like an alternative to the aggressive task killer apps which destroy your battery.

The latest version of Greenify, i.e. 2.0 – no longer needs root privileges, so it should work on non-rooted devices too. But, users have to manually open Greenify app and Force Quit apps, which is really pointless.

If you’re rooted, Greenify will use root privileges and auto-hibernate apps. If you launch a hibernated app, it will get out of hibernation and you can use it normally.

Just make sure you don’t hibernate Messaging/Alarm apps, because you’ll stop getting push notifications, as background services are killed. There’s a donate version of app which allows push notifications for hibernated apps.

Have your heard about Greenify before? Drop in your comments.

Link: Greenify

Google Now arrives in latest Chrome Canary, here’s how you enable it

When Google added rich notifications support for Chrome, it was obvious for everyone that soon we will be seeing Google Now cards too, in the same place.

Just yesterday, Google pushed an update to Chrome Canary with a flag letting you enable support for Google Now inside the browser.

Google Now

If you’re willing to try out the feature, download Google Chrome Canary, the bleeding edge version of Chrome.

Next, type chrome:flags in the address bar, search for ‘Enable Rich Notifications’ and change it from ‘default’ to ‘enabled’.

Next, search for ‘Google Now’, and change it from ‘default’ to ‘enabled’. Relaunch the browser.

You’ll now see a notification/bell icon in your system tray (on Windows) or menu bar (on OS X). Click on that and you’ll see set of Google Now cards.

You obviously need to sign in to your Google account in Chrome Canary, to view cards.

From what I observed, only few of Google Now cards appear on Chrome. Nevertheless, it’s a handy feature for keeping track of sports scores, events etc. The feature should soon arrive in the stable version of Google Chrome.

Would you like Google Now cards to pop up on Chrome? Drop in what you think in comments.