Pim de Koel is not the most interesting man in the world, but he may be interesting enough to make you want to travel to Holland. Koel headlines a new Dutch travel spot, “Holland. The Original Cool.” that was put together in a joint effort from Mustache, the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions, KLM Airlines, Schiphol Airport, and Amsterdam Marketing. The commercial focuses on how Holland is fun, quirky, pretty, forward-thinking, artsy, and generally better than wherever you live. They also like to say Van Gogh in thick accents. I can’t argue against their sophisticated European sensibilities, Holland is cool. You should visit there just so you can meet the one old, bitter Dutch dude who doesn’t speak English. And there’s no need for weed jokes or Red Light District quips, because Pim keeps it clean. The pitch has worked thus far, racking up close to 125,000 views in only one day (see how it’s blown up this week on Reddit after the jump).
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FreeCiv is one of my favorite open source projects out there. Civilization is one of my favorite games, and FreeCiv is an open source version that you can download and play for free. The latest update of the game has added an HTML 5 version, which means that you can now load up and play FreeCiv right in any compatible browser. And that includes mobile Safari, which means you can now navigate to play.freeciv.org on one of your iOS devices, and play the game at will.
Pretty excellent. There is no version of FreeCiv in the App Store, unfortunately, though there has been a port to Android just recently. And Civilization Revolution has been available on both iPad and iPhone for a while now -- it's a simpler, more accessible version of the 4X strategy game. Firaxis has just recently stepped up its efforts on iOS, so it's possible that we will see a more full, official version of Civ arrive on the iPhone before too much longer. Or wait -- what if they ported Alpha Centauri? Drool.
But until then, FreeCiv will have to do. If you have never had a chance to play, the game manual should help you out.
FreeCiv now playable in browsers, including on iOS devices originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Wed, 15 May 2013 22:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
I have to say -- the iPad is a terrific platform for interactive ebooks, but so far, I haven't been very impressed by the options out there. I do use my iPad for reading a lot, but the vast majority of my reading is done in either iBooks or a comic book reader. It's very rare that I will pick up an app that's designed to work as just one single book, no matter how many extras or interactive features are included.
However, I'm happy to say that Steve Jackson's Sorcery! is a clear exception to the general rule. It's excellent, and mostly because the book it is based on (actually a "gamebook" released back in the '80s) was already interactive to begin with. Add in iOS interactive touchscreen, some excellent graphical flairs and a whole lot of polish, and what you end up with is something very akin to playing a Dungeons and Dragons game, where the few game elements present are really just intended to ignite your imagination, and get you role-playing in the game's world.
Sorcery's story is pretty basic: You're a hero who sets out into a dangerous world, hoping to either save or conquer it. And the combat gameplay is extremely simple as well -- you essentially guess whether your opponent is attacking or defending, and trying to mirror their actions to do damage as you can. But the real meat of Sorcery! is in the inbetween. You travel from town to town, talking to various NPCs and even solving a few puzzles, all while exploring this world through the game's scrolling text.
I really have no problems at all with this app -- I was fascinated by the story's well-written text, and while the gameplay isn't extremely innovative, it's paced well enough to keep the action rolling. The one hitch might be that you need to use your imagination on this one, so if you're expecting a game like Skyrim, that will draw out the world for you, you might find this a bit boring. But as a die-hard pen and paper RPG player and a fan of Steve Jackson's work, I think this is an excellent adaptation that's well worth a purchase. You can pick it up from the App Store for $4.99 right now.
Daily iPhone App: Steve Jackson's Sorcery is interactive ebook bliss originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Wed, 15 May 2013 21:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Political is reporting that Tim Cook is set to testify at a Senate hearing next week that is investigating the offshore tax practices of American corporations:
Apple CEO Tim Cook is expected to testify at the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigation's hearing Tuesday, POLITICO has learned.
Apple has been under fire for its tax practices. The company recently avoided paying as much as $9.2 billion in taxes by buying back stock with debt instead of offshore cash, Bloomberg reported. Apple has a reported $100 billion in offshore funds.
The hearing is part of the panel's continued examination of how companies shift profits offshore and how that impacts the tax code. Representatives from Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard testified in September 2012 in a hearing on the same topic.
Tax avoidance by big corporations is (finally) become a hot topic in the US. Here in the UK, pressure has been mounting for months on companies like Google, Amazon, and Starbucks over their tax avoidance schemes (Amazon only paid £3 million in UK taxes off of £4 billion in UK sales). Other EU countries are following suit in clamping down on offshore tax practices. In addition to Tim Cook, Politico states that representatives from the IRS and Treasury are also set to testify.
Tim Cook to testify at Senate hearing on offshore tax practices originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Wed, 15 May 2013 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Rovio has announced, via tweet and then by news release, that it has lined up a deal and a date with Sony Pictures to distribute the upcoming Angry Birds movie. Rovio's been working on putting the frustrated fowl into a motion picture for a while, but this announcement makes it more or less a done deal -- all that needs to happen is that it gets made. Rovio says the movie will be out in theaters on July 1, 2016.
The film will be in 3D (and animated, of course). It'll be produced by "Despicable Me" producer John Cohen, along with David Maisel. There's no director or writer yet announced, but this isn't exactly rocket science: Odds are that there will be green pigs stealing the birds' eggs, and the birds will have to team up together in a heartwarming way to get revenge. In fact, Rovio, if you need a hand, I could punch out a treatment for you. Just let me know.
Rovio teams up with Sony for the Angry Birds movie, coming July 2016 originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Wed, 15 May 2013 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
It's the TUAW Daily Update, your source for Apple news in a convenient audio format. You'll get all the top Apple stories of the day in three to five minutes for a quick review of what's happening in the Apple world.
You can listen to today's Apple stories by clicking the inline player (requires Flash) or the non-Flash link below. To subscribe to the podcast for daily listening through iTunes, click here.
No Flash? Click here to listen.Source | Permalink | Email this | Comments
Google's long rumored music streaming service became a reality today with the announcement of Google Play Music All Access. The company has already cleared licensing deals with all three major labels left standing - Warner, Universal, and Sony - meaning they'll have millions of songs available upon launch.
Beyond the expected streaming service, All Access will also feature a Pandora-like radio service that allows each individual song to become a radio station with a simple button press. The service will also feature a component called Listen Now, which will highlight new releases and recommendations based on your listening habits. Music from your Google Music locker will also be included.
All Access will require a monthly fee of $9.99, with no free ad-supported option like competitor Spotify, though anyone who signs up before June 30th will get $2 off the monthly fee.
Google Play Music All Access announced at Google I/O originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Wed, 15 May 2013 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Florida woman Debra Hilton filed a class action suit against Apple alleging that the power button on the iPhone 4 sports a manufacturing defect that Apple is well aware of and chose not to fix. The suit specifically claims that the iPhone 4's flex cable is defective and designed to cause the power button to malfunction shortly after the 1-year warranty on the device expires, thereby forcing users to either get it repaired for $149 or spring for an entirely new device.
The complaint reads in part:
The Apple iPhone 4 is plagued by a latent defect that causes its Power Button to fail, usually shortly after the 1 year warranty covering the device has expired, thereby rendering the phone unusable.
Apple knew when it manufactured, marketed, and sold the device that this defect existed, but failed to disclose it, instead touting the purported superior attributes of the telephone in Apple's various advertisements and marketing campaigns.
To support her claim that Apple was well aware of what she deems to be a problem affecting thousands of consumers, Hilton's suit points out that Apple's community support forum is filled with hundreds of complaints from users experiencing similar power button failure issues.
She further points out that said complaints have been viewed more than 720,000 times and that a YouTube video featuring solutions to fixing the iPhone 4's faulty power button have been viewed more than 1 million times.
The class action suit was filed under RICO (a federal Racketeering Act) and seeks $5 million in damages.Source | Permalink | Email this | Comments
Shortly before 5 p.m. ET, Apple officially hit the 50 billion app mark on the App Store. The grand prize for achieving this is a $10,000 gift card redeemable on the App Store and $500 App Store gift cards to the next 50 customers following that. We'll let you know the winners as soon as they're announced, and congratulations to Apple for hitting the milestone!Source | Permalink | Email this | Comments
Today at the Google I/O 2013 keynote, developers were treated to a long (3 hour) keynote that covered the gamut from Android developer tools to Google+. The most fascinating parts of the talk for those of us in the Apple world were the variety of features that will be available to iOS users (and those using Google products on the web) almost immediately.
My usual partner in crime, Shawn "Doc Rock" Boyd, and I will be getting together this afternoon for an hour of chat about these announcements and more. This week we're starting something a little different: you'll be able to watch today's show on the TUAW TV Live page. You wanted a wider video, you've got it.
Be sure to bookmark the page after you click the link below, because that's where we'll be every week from now on. Remember that you can watch previous episodes on our YouTube channel any time.TUAW TV LiveSource | Permalink | Email this | Comments
Apple's Stocks app on iOS isn't terribly exciting, but in typical Apple fashion, it does have a bit more functionality lurking beneath the surface.
Pictured below is what you typically see when you fire up the Stocks app.
The information is pretty basic. We see that Apple's current share price is $456, and to the right of that in green we see how much Apple's share price has gone up for the day, in this case $3.98.
If you tap the green rectangle, however, the display changes to reveal Apple's current market cap.
If you tap the green rectangle once more, the information changes yet again, this time displaying Apple's daily gain or loss as a percentage.
So with a few taps, one can quickly toggle through Apple's market cap and information as to how the stock is performing percentage wise or terms of dollars and cents.
But wait, there's more!
If we take another look at the default Stocks view, you'll note that there are three circles at the bottom of the screen.
From here, one can simply swipe to the left (from anywhere on the bottom half of the screen) to reveal more information about the selected stock, in this case Apple.
On screen two, we're presented with a chart mapping Apple's stock performance over the last 6 months. One can also tap on the other durations to see Apple's stock performance over other periods of time.
What's more, if you rotate the phone into landscape mode, you'll not only be presented with a wider chart of a stock's performance, but you'll also be able to drag your finger across the chart and see at what price a stock closed on a particular day.
If we return the phone into portrait mode and swipe to the left one more time, we're now presented with Apple related news stories.
What may not be so apparent, however, is that one can swipe upwards on the presented news stories to reveal even more Apple-related stories from around the web.
Lastly, if you want to add stocks to keep an eye on, simply tap the info button at the bottom right of the screen.
You'll then be whisked away to the screen below where you can tap on the "+" sign and add whatever stocks you like.
So there you have it. Apple's Stocks app may be seldom used by those who don't follow the market, but it does house a tad more functionality that one might expect from an ostensibly boring and vanilla application.
iPhone 101: Getting more out of Apple's Stocks app on iOS originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Wed, 15 May 2013 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Google I/O is going down today (as you have probably noticed from all of the Google updates), and one of the new products announced there is a new version of the Google Maps app, due out to the App Store later on this summer. Google says the new Maps app will include integrated information from Zagat, and a redesigned routing process that will now take into account traffic incidents and push you around obstacles in real time. The new version will be targeted at more personal use, so it will combine those reviews with user ratings and even some Google Offers options as well.
Additionally, the app will boast a new tablet experience for the iPad. Google had a road bump with its Maps app last year, when Apple decided to replace it as the default maps client on the iPhone with Apple's own solution. But Google says that the Google Maps app, despite not being the default, has still been a "tremendous success," and so this followup seems designed to differentiate Google's offering even further than Apple's new default.
We'll keep an eye out for the Maps update, and hopefully we'll see it on schedule later this summer.
Google announces new features for its Maps app, coming soon originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Wed, 15 May 2013 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
This morning at Google I/O the company announced that Google Play is coming to iOS. No, not the Android store, but Google Play Game Services -- a new group of application programming interfaces (APIs) the company is releasing to developers today. The APIs allows gamers to pick up their games across platforms, meaning if some is playing a game on an Android phone and it dies, their game state is uploaded to the cloud allowing them to pick up where they left off on an iPhone.
In addition to cloud save, the new API includes support for achievements and leaderboards. These features will also be worked into its Google+ social network, allowing players to compare stats with their friends. In addition Google+ users will be able to use their Circles in the social network to find friends for online gaming.
You can watch the announcement below.Source | Permalink | Email this | Comments
With ABC adding live streaming to its iPad app and the growth of live TV services via iOS in the past few months, the time is right for Belkin to announce Dyle mobile TV receivers for the iPhone and iPad. The US$129.99 device is about the size of a half a deck of cards, weighs around 6 ounces, and includes a carrying case. It's only compatible with devices with 30-pin dock connectors at the moment. It'll bring live TV to an iOS device without the need for an Internet connection.
However, as Victor pointed out in his review of the Dyle receiver created by Elgato, is still pretty limiting. If you're in an area where the service is pretty strong, the receiver might be of use to you. But, it could be worth it to wait a few more months for Dyle to get stronger.
The Belkin receiver is available through its website and is up for preorder on Amazon.
Belkin releases Dyle receivers for iPhone and iPad originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Wed, 15 May 2013 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
TUAW readers know of my affinity for Belkin WeMo home automation tools, whether I'm using them to get Siri to turn on the Christmas tree or keep my cat cool in the summer. Today Belkin announced IFTTT multi-device control for WeMo switches.
What does that mean? It means that you can now control more than just one WeMo switch in your house with IFTTT recipes. Previously, you could only control one of those devices at a time through IFTTT. Now it's simple to write recipes for multiple switches as seen in the image at the top of this post.
Belkin announced that since the IFTTT.com WeMo Channels launched over 30,000 recipes have been created and over 400 shared recipes are available online. Now I just need to get one more WeMo switch so I can water my garden remotely through Siri...Source | Permalink | Email this | Comments
Google announced a new Hangouts app at its I/O conference, which will be available for iOS today. It's not out as I'm typing this, but the brief keynote demo showed a family of participants taking part in a long-running conversation of photos of text.
From what we saw, it looks like Messages with a whole lot more oomph. We'll have a look at it as soon as it has been released.Source | Permalink | Email this | Comments
EA has announced that its Frostbite game engine, used to power popular game like "Need for Speed" and "Battlefield 4," is coming to iOS. Dubbed Frostbite Go, the game engine is set to give a big graphics and performance boost to cutting-edge iOS games. From the Frostbite website where the engine was officially announced for the first time:
One of our most exciting current projects is called Frostbite Go, a mobile division empowering EA game developers with Frostbite's proven excellent workflows and features to bring true Frostbite experiences to all major mobile platforms.
Currently there's no release dates for any games using Frostbite Go, but the site does mention that EA games using Frostbite Go are actively in development.Source | Permalink | Email this | Comments
It's time to save some of that hard-earned cash with our Daily Deals, featuring a handy list from Dealnews and our own hand-picked selections that include some sweet deals on iOS and OS X software (all prices are USD).Deals from Dealnews
- li>StackSocial: [Mac Software] MacX Video Converter Pro for Mac for free
- MacMall: [Apple Computers] MacMall Mac Blowout Sale: Up to $1,099 off Macs, iPads, and more
- Other World Computing: [Computer Accessories] OWC 2012 Featured Move 'em Out Sale: RAM, accessories, HDDs, more
- eBay: [Home Security] Refurbished Philips WiFi Home Monitor for iPhone / iPad for $60 + free shipping
- MacUpdate Promo: [Mac Software] YourtTrip for Mac downloads for $9
- Other World Computing: [Media Receivers] NewerTech NuStand Alloy Display Stands from $16 + $4 s&h
- eBay: [Media Receivers] Denon 5.1-Channel 3D Network Receiver with AirPlay for $340 + free shipping
- MidnightBox: [iPhone Cases] Waterproof / Shockproof Bicycle Bracket Case for iPhone 5 for $12 + $4 s&h
- Adorama: [Camera Accessories] Flashpoint Version II Carbon Fiber 65" Tripod for $100 + free shipping
- Adorama: [Camera Accessories] Sunpak Aluminum Tripod w/ Pistol Grip Ballhead for $25 + free shipping
- all4cellular.com: [iPhone Accessories] Apple iPhone 4 / 4S Bluetooth Keyboard Case for $15 + free shipping
- StackSocial: [iPhone / iPod Apps] Building iOS Apps From Scratch Without Programming Course for $79
Rail Maze Pro HD [iPad; Category: Games; Now free, down from $0.99] Rail Maze Pro HD is the iPad version of All new Rail Maze Pro game.
Pocket Cycle - Period & Fertility tracker [iOS Universal; Category: Health & Fitness; Now free, down from $0.99] Pocket Cycle keeps track of your period and fertility without all the inputting and upkeep of similar apps. Just tap the visual calendar to enter in your last period and choose your cycle length. That's it.
Circulets: the game for families, friends and parties [iOS Universal; Category: Games; Now free, down from $0.99] Circulets is a game that pits two players against each other on the same device on a fun trip to collect as many tiny colored circles - circulets, as the other player will let you.
iFileExplorer Pro - View and manager all files via WiFi or USB [iOS Universal; Category: Productivity; On sale for $0.99, down from $4.99] "iFileExplorer Pro" not only integrates all the features of various iFileExplorer versions, but also has unique features like "Web Download", and it supports both iPhone/iPad.
DMD Panorama [iOS Universal; Category: Photography & Video; Now free, down from $1.99] Here is why you should get this panoramic app:- complete the circle: up to 360 degrees- don't wait: we hate progress bars, the result is extremely fast- get quality pixels.
Dots (Pixel Art) [iPhone; Category: Entertainment; Now free, down from $0.99] Draw pixel art with Dots.
Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders [iOS Universal; Category: Games; On sale for $0.99, down from $4.99] You'll participate in visceral dogfights, protect cities and fleets, bomb enemy structures and even fly through tunnels.
TextCrafter 2.0 ~ Craft & Share Text [iOS Universal; Category: Productivity; Now free, down from $2.99] TextCrafter is a notes app for iPhone and iPad. Packed with features designed to allow you to quickly write messages, manage and search you notes, and share your writings across your social networks.
ProCollage [iPhone; Category: Photography & Video; Now free, down from $1.99] ProCollage is a powerful and professional photo collage app with almost all features you can imagine.
Percolator [iOS Universal; Category: Photography & Video; On sale for $0.99, down from $1.99] Percolator packs your images with well-rounded, full-bodied color - every time.
Two Dollar Tuesday [OS X; Category: Various; On sale for $1.99] Two Dollar Tuesday is offering three OS X apps for $1.99. Titles include PDF Creator +, Synalyze It! and Stills.
Breezy [OS X; Category: Developer Tools; Now free, down from $1.99] This tiny app keeps track of your recent encoding sessions and you can get to base64 code of up to 7 recent images with a single click.
Identical [OS X; Category: Utilities; Now free, down from $0.99] There are times, perhaps only a few times per year, when you want to quickly find out whether two or more particular files (not folders) are exactly the same.In these cases, download and use Identical.
The next time your Samsung Galaxy-toting friends try to annoy you, here's a piece of information you can throw back at them. According to a study published yesterday by investment bank Piper Jaffray, iPhones depreciate at less than half the rate of similar Android devices from Samsung.
Analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray referred to the new index as "a pulse on what consumers are willing to pay for unsubsidized phones in the US." The index compares US eBay auction ending prices for the iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II over a rolling 8 weeks to create a trend on resale prices.
"The key takeaway from 8 weeks of data is that the iPhone is holding slightly more of its value compared to the top two Galaxy phones," according to Munster. The iPhone 5's eBay auction ending value dropped about 11.2 percent in the last 8 weeks, while the comparable Samsung Galaxy S III dropped 13.7 percent in value.
The iPhone 4S kept its value the best, dropping only 7 percent during the same time period. The Galaxy Note II did the worst job of retaining its value, dropping a full 15 percent in just 8 weeks. Munster expects iPhone aftermarket prices to drop as the release of the next model of iPhone draws nearer.
Study: iPhone retains value better than top Galaxy models originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Wed, 15 May 2013 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
-Holy crap. A 24-year-old Ogilvy China staffer has apparently died from “overwork.” link
-Director/VFX artist/animator Drew Lightfoot has joined Toronto-based Untitled Films for Canadian representation. Lightfoot is represented by Passion Pictures here in the States.
-Campbell Mithun unit Compass Point Media has launched an ad agency trading desk called OdinRTB for retail and CPG clients. link
-Family-owned Massachusetts brand Late July Organic Snacks has tapped Twin Cities agency Haberman to handle its social marketing expansion and new 2013 campaign.
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