Apple makes Garageband for iOS free of charge and readies iLife/iWork apps for iOS 7

A month ago, during the Apple special event, there was an announcement confirming that Apple’s iLife and iWork suite of apps will be available for free for new iOS customers. The apps list include iPhoto, Pages, Numbers, Keynote and iMovie.

Adding to the list is Apple’s music creation app, Garageband.

Garageband - part of Apple's free iLife apps

As reported by Macrumors, Apple has updated its Apple apps section on their site, bringing in Garageband and new iOS 7-optimised icons for the suite apps. The information is supposedly removed now, but it looked like the image above.

Garageband costs 4.99$ currently. The app will be available as a free download, with extra instruments and sounds as an in-app purchase. It’s a wonderful app letting you play music using ‘touch instruments’, like Pianos, Guitars, Basses, Drums and more.

This is a great news for customers, but not so much for app developers. Because Apple is indirectly feeding free stuff to its customers. It’s a hard time for developers to make big bucks from their apps.

Apple should be releasing the app updates tomorrow, as part of its event at San Francisco – along with new iPad mini, Mac Pro, MacBook Pros, Mavericks (lots of Mac stuff this time!) and more.

Source: Macrumors

Paytm brings new user interface, ‘Fast Forward’, new billers

Paytm is the leading mobile, data recharges and bill payments service in India. It has a new user interface, a new feature called Fast Forward and new billers now.

#1 New user interface

The user interface has been revamped completely, is simple and shows everything necessary in one single page. The Paytm logo has also been given a revamp.

#2 ‘Fast Forward’ for quick recharges

There is no denying that having your Paytm cash loaded helps you make recharges within seconds. Patym cash has been useful till date and is still in use.

Online Recharge- Online Prepaid Mobile

Fast Forward is a new option in the recharge section that helps you make recharges in one click. After you enter the recharge details, enable the Fast Forward option, available below in the recharges section, to immediately make the recharge. You should make sure that your Paytm cash is loaded, or you will face troubles.

#3 New Billers

Paytm has a couple of new billers now. They are :

  1. Mahanagar gas service
  2. 2 new landline billers – MTNL and Tata
  3. 5 new electricity billers – BSES, Tata Power, Reliance energy, MSEB

And also, Paytm has waived the additional fee placed on postpaid bills for a short time now.

Reading List for the Weekend [20th October 2013]

While the festive season of Diwali gets nearer, gadget companies are making a scramble to catch the attention span of busy shoppers. Google has Android stores opened in India, Apple will be unveiling a new iPad (worldwide) in a couple of days. The festive season got be thinking and searching about new gadgets expected and e-commerce retailers in general. So those thoughts have influenced my curated list of 4 articles you might enjoy reading over the weekend.

  1. Nexus 7 2013 – In-depth Review – While Nexus 7 (2013 version) is not available in India as yet, it probably should be released here soon. I am interested in this one and hence looked for the most indepth review of it online. AnandTech does a good job and also suggests that Google is moving from just innovative pricing to innovative excellence, a line often used to describe the products and service associated with Google.
  2. TED Talks is Lying to You – Though this article on Salon is not exactly critical of TED Talks but is critical of the familiar marketing and packaging of books, talks and conferences which not just sell the idea of “creativity” but also try to sell us tips and seemingly profound discussions on “how to become creative”. The whole point of the article being there seems more literature on understanding creativity than actual literature that is creative.
  3. Fasten Your Seatbelts: Google’s Driverless Car is Worth Trillions – Staying with the whole theme of Google being innovative, I looked up a good article that took a overall view of one of its most innovative experiments called driverless cars. This Forbes articles, reels of potential stats and theories on how millions of lives will be saved, better usage of land will be done, billions of dollars saved in accidents, insurance claims and fuel costs and billions of hours collectively saved on commuting if driverless cars became reality.
  4. I want it today! – While the Indian e-commerce retailer Flipkart faces interesting times ahead with Amazon India becoming its competitor, it is interesting to see how innovative Amazon is as a e-commerce retailer. They have a service that makes delivery on the same day in certain US cities. Amazon is buying companies that make picking robots to become more efficient with their deliveries.

Hope you enjoy reading these posts and drop in your comments any in-depth articles you want to read next week.

How to check whether you have won a Nexus 7 from KitKat

It was a few weeks back when Google partnered with Nestle to bring an exciting contest. 1000 Nexus 7 devices have been thrown in as the grand prize.

All the Android marked KitKat bars (2F, 4F and Dark) come with coupon codes inside them. Lucky coupons might receive interesting goodies.

  1. 1000 winners will get shiny a Nexus 7, each
  2. 20,000 winners get a bag of 8oz. KitKat Minis, each.
  3. 150,000 winners get a $5 Google Play coupon code, each.

Android-KitKat-Nexus-7-winners

To check whether you have won yourself a Nexus 7, head to the KitKat website, and in the Winners section, you can check whether your name and your mobile number is mentioned.

The winners list is updated daily.

Also, at the time of writing this post, the KitKat website mentions 580 Nexus 7 tablets remaining. This contest ends in 28 days, that’s November 15, 2013.

Good luck!

Google accidentally lists Nexus 5 in Play Store

More and more leaks happen as we get closer to the release of Nexus 5. In fact, it’s probably the most leaked Nexus ever. This time, it’s funny – because, Google itself (deliberate may be?) has put Nexus 5 on the Play Store.

The Nexus 5 was listed beside the new Nexus 7 and 10 in the devices section of Google Play. This includes a high resolution photo of Nexus 5 (as shown below), along with product description. It was of course pulled off after a few minutes.

Nexus 5

The product description says “Capture the everyday and the epic in new fresh ways. Starting at 349$”. That apparently gives a hint at Nexus 5’s camera improvements, along with the price tag of 349$ for the 16GB model.

You can also make out from the picture that, Hangouts has replaced Messaging app and there are little UI tweaks (transparent nav/status bar) here and there, in Kitkat. All this is of course leaked a few days back, this is just more of a confirmation.

We’re not sure when is the launch day of Kitkat/Nexus 5, but nevertheless, this is an exciting time for Android fans.

Do you look forward to get the Nexus 5? Do comment below.

Source: Engadget

How to upgrade to Windows 8.1 Pro version from Windows 8.1 Preview

Microsoft finally has released the Windows 8.1 Pro version to public. This is an update to Windows 8, which in my opinion was a terrible UI for a laptop. The Windows 8.1 Pro update has some useful changes like showing the Home or Start button, allowing a single and uniform wallpaper background to both the desktop and the start screen and also allows readjusting the sizes of the app tiles on the start screen.

If you are someone like me, who is already running Windows 8.1 preview version, then these next steps will be very helpful.

Upgrading to Windows 8.1 from Preview version installed over Windows 8

If you have installed your Windows 8.1 Preview on top of PC running Windows 8, then you can easily update through the Windows Store app from your home screen.

Click on this direct link to Windows 8.1 Pro on the store and the Store App should start on your PC. The Store should show you the following screen.

Windows 8.1 Pro
Windows Store Screen for updating your PC to Windows 8.1 Pro version

The download is about 3.63 GB and will keep your PC settings and files but all your apps will need to be re-installed. Microsoft is releasing a lot of built-in apps with this update so there will a lot of new apps showing up on your Home screen.

If you did not update to Windows 8.1 Preview from Windows 8 but did so by booting from a ISO media, you still can download the Windows 8.1 Pro update but will need to purchase the Windows 8 licence. You can buy this licence here.

Upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 Pro

Now if you are running Windows 8 and not the 8.1 Preview version, then this link to the store should still work and take your to the Windows 8.1 Pro upgrade option.

Download and upgrade the version free. This will save all your setting, files and even apps from the previous version.

Useful links:

KitKat Google+ Page hints Android KitKat coming on October 18

The official KitKat page on Google+ has posted an Android robot in KitKat style, with a description “Everybody dance now!

Google is known to tease users with interesting riddles from time to time. So what is special about this coded message?

If you happen to be a fan of the 90’s music, you might recognize that “Everybody dance now” is a popular line from a hit single by C+C Music Factory. The song was released on October 18, 1990.

Android KitKat

To make things more interesting, the song happens to be exactly 4 minutes and 4 seconds long, another coded references to Android KitKat version being 4.4.

So the final conclusion is that Google might be launching Android KitKat on October 18. Just in time before they introduce a new Nexus phone, often called Nexus 5.

Source: Android Community

Related: Android 4.4 KitKat will let users choose one default SMS app

Twitter now lets users receive DMs even from accounts not followed

Since it’s launch, Twitter has always put a restriction on who can Direct Message (DM) whom (for example, you can DM me only if I follow you) But, starting today, this is about to change. Twitter has brought a new feature, that lets the users to receive DMs from any user, even from accounts that they do not follow.

This is an opt-in feature that you can enable in the Settings page of your Twitter account.

To enable this feature, check the box “Receive direct message from any follow

It hasn’t been announced officially by Twitter yet. But many Twitter users have already noticed this new feature on their accounts. @JimConnolly was one of the first users to notice this.

Twitter_DMs_Settings
Twitter’s DM settings allow users who do not follow you to send you Direct Messages

This might be useful for brands to get people who post complaints to send them details in a more private manner. But I think that this might lead to a surge of spam messages landing on my inbox from unknown users. But, also, in such a case, I can always go back to the Settings page and disable it. Nevertheless, this option will definitely means more spam but also a lot of advertising.

Since Twitter has filed an IPO and will be under pressure to generate revenues we can expect more such intrusive features to pay for Twitter. Though I expect Twitter have some sort of filter to ensure DMs from people you followed can be looked up exclusively.

Android 4.4 KitKat will let users choose a default SMS App

Android KitKat SMS DefaultWhile Android 4.4 “KitKat” will be releasing soon, there is very little information on new features. One major change will be that Android 4.4 will allow only a single app to manage all the text messages (SMS) on your phone. This single app will be the default app chosen only by the user.

Currently, what happens is that more than one app manages SMS messages on Android. In a new blog post for Android developers, Google advises app developers to get their apps to check if it is the default app and if not, then prompt users to select a default one. This means users will basically give access to their SMS messages to a single app.

What is Google planning with this change?

Google might be introducing a new feature with their Hangouts app to handle SMS on the phone. This is a big deal because if Hangouts manage SMS on a phone, it can potentially synchronize those messages on Chrome.

Getting Hangouts to manage all types of messaging, is something Google will definitely introduce. Hangouts will then probably become somewhat similar to what iMessages is on Apple’s various platforms.

Source: Android Developers Blog

Ghost: Kickstarter-backed Blogging platform releases to public

WordPress, being the most popular CMS, needs no introduction for most people. It’s everywhere, literally (even on the blog you’re on, right now). While, WordPress is great, it is becoming increasingly bloated and complex for simple blogging.

Ghost is a popular Kickstarter project, backed by quite a lot of people in its early stages. The catch here is that, Ghost wants to do only one thing, and that is to be a blogging platform.

dashboard

Internally, there are huge differences between WordPress and Ghost. The former is apparently based on PHP and MySQL. The latter doesn’t use any of those. Ghost is written entirely in Javascript and basing on Node.js, which is like the coolest thing right now in web development.

Node.js is a platform for running Javascript on the server (JS was meant to be a client side language) and build highly scalable apps, using asynchronous aka non-blocking I/O. This means that, Ghost will be much faster, scalable and simpler to manage.

Like in WordPress, theming is a big deal in Ghost too. Because it’s based off JS, Ghost uses HandlebarsJS, a popular Javascript templating library. It’s much simpler than say, writing WP themes in PHP. Take a look at the image below for reference.

WordPress Vs. Ghost in Theming

With all the technology aside, Ghost is well designed and easy to use. The web app is responsive, so it works just fine on mobiles. The dashboard is informative and shows numbers on overall reach of your blog.

In short, Ghost seems to be perfect for small blogs. It lets you concentrate on content, rather than managing the blog.

Ghost is free, open source and public. You can download it today, throw it on localhost and give it a try.

Link: Ghost