iTunes and iOS6: A Wish List…of Sorts

There are changes coming to iOS6, and as a result iTunes, that may or may not make everyone happy. Here’s what I’d like to see

Everyone is talking about iPhone 5 and what it is and isn’t going to look like. While the hardware drives a lot of features, it’s the software that makes the device what it is. The OS, iOS6 and iTunes, are really going to drive what happens to the latest version of the phone that most everyone loves to hate. Here’s what I think (and would like to see) will happen with the latest version of both.

 

iOS6
I’m working with iOS 6 right now, and have since Beta 1 was released in June 2012. Here are some of the changes that I see coming to the OS.

Maps
Apple is ditching Google Maps for a home rolled version of its own creating. You’re going to see a huge amount of work poured into this effort, with underpinnings for everything changing over. The tool also gets native turn by turn navigation built into the OS. Look for some serious changes to the GPS world as well as search in iPhone before it’s all crammed in the can.

Passbook
Apple says that Passbook is for the stuff in your pockets – tickets, coupons, loyalty and discount cards, tickets, boarding passes, etc. Given that Apple is rumored to be working on an NFC solution for iPhone 5, this could be a shoe-in for winning the digital wallet contest, provided that it works with all iOS6 compatible iPhones and doesn’t REQUIRE NFC hardware.

Reorganized Settings
There’s a lot going on under the hood with iOS6. You’re going to find that a lot of that shows up in the Settings area. One of the BEST things to happen to Settings is that Bluetooth has been moved OUT of General Settings and sits off the root of the applet. You’re also going to see specific settings for Twitter and Facebook integration that hasn’t been there before.

Music & iTunes Match
Playing music from your iCloud locker just got easier on your iPhone. With iOS6, you can now stream music directly from iCloud to your PC our linked iDevice. While you can still play content directly from the device, the upside is that if you didn’t sync something and got a hankerin’ for it, you can still listen to it.

Siri
Siri got the “six million dollar upgrade.” She’s better, faster stronger…and by far still Apple’s little iOS darling. Her accuracy has improved. She’s better at things than she was in iOS5. She still has a long way to go, though. I’d love to be able to use her to turn system components (like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth) on and off. I’d still like to be able to tell Siri to find “X” Bluetooth device and pair with it. Perhaps that will come in a future update…one can only hope.

Reminders & Geofencing
This is a cool little dealio… You can now create a reminder that will go off when you arrive or leave a specific location. Reminders can now ping you to buy that gallon of milk when you get to a specific intersection or when you leave the office. You can even use Siri to set the geolocation specific reminder. My guess is that as Maps becomes more mature, you’re even going to get it to automatically start a navigation session when the reminder goes off.

Mail
Some nice UI updates here. Mail now supports the standard, “drag down to update” method. It’s not a huge improvement, but nice that the app that you rely on to get all of your mail goodness now works like every other iOS app out there.

Twitter and Facebook Integration
Updating your status is now easier than ever. You can use the iOS notification try to kick off an update to either social network. The biggest opportunity for growth however, is for Apple to put together a process that allows you to update both networks at once as well as individually. Right now, if you want the same update to go to both networks, you have to do each separately.

What Apple Needs To Do with iOS6
While iPhone hardware updates are great and will definitely drive sales, they need to go the extra mile with iOS6 and tie it all together there. iOS5 didn’t go far enough, especially with Siri, and we never really saw a tweak or update for her that helped us understand what Apple’s vision is for her. I’d love to be able to have a basic conversation with her about checking weather, meetings and to-do’s on my way to the train station and have her ask if I need or want to create any additional meetings, tasks or if I need to notify anyone of anything (based on mail or messages she should read to me while I drive). Yes, I may be getting way ahead of myself here, but I don’t really care. Based on what Apple has already implemented, it’s just a matter of time, effort and expense before we get there. We could be there now, if Apple concentrated solely on Siri for a while… It also wouldn’t matter where options were located in Settings if Siri could change things for you if you asked her to. I don’t want SkyNet, but I would like to see a bit more…

The other big thing Apple needs to concentrate on is Maps. Google Maps with Navigation is smokin’ hot. It is. Don’t be hatin’ ‘cuz I said it. Apple needs to spend time and effort here to bring this up to speed to give us back what we lost with the removal of Google Maps, PLUS what Google has on the Android side of things.

My initial tests with Maps indicate a great deal of promise, but again, Siri could help out a great deal here, too. My guess is that by the time iOS8 or 9 gets here, we won’t HAVE to do anything by hand on our iPhones. Siri should be able to do most of it for us.

Come back next time, and I’ll go into what is and should happen with iTunes as we get nearer to the release of iPhone 5 and iOS6.

Read Part 2 Of This Article

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Get a handle on your passwords and keep your private information private with Trend Micro’s DirectPass

With everyone and their brother getting online and creating this account on this website, and that account on another, security is an issue, especially if those websites have electronic stores on them. Having the right kind of password for your sites and stores is important and can be the difference between you buying with peace of mind and working through identity theft procedures. This is one of the reasons why I like DirectPass. It’s a password vault for Windows.

According to Trend Micro, 8.1 million adults were victims of identity fraud in 2010, totaling $37 billion in losses. It’s possible that this wouldn’t have been so severe if those people secured their web accounts and credentials with strong passwords.  The big problem though is that it can be very difficult to remember and manage all these different accounts and passwords this is where tools like DirectPass come in handy.


DirectPass is a secure password generator.  It provides a place to securely store confidential notes, is an automatic form-filler, and is a secure browser for when you visit banking and financial websites.  It automatically syncs your login information across multiple devices.

The app is free and allows you to store for up to 5 passwords.  If you want to store more than that, it’s going to cost you a bit.  The software is billed as a service and not a traditional licensed application.  You get unlimited passwords for $15 bucks a year You also get automatic web form filling, a secure browser for banking and financial sites as well as  auto mobile device synching.

DirectPass is a decent application. Coming from Trend Micro, a security and anti-malware expert, you know the application is secure and  won’t be a point of insecurity. The app is very good at what it does.  The free version does little more than give you a small taste of what the paid version does. With room for only 5 passwords, the rest of your information is unprotected without purchasing an annual subscription.

Honestly, the subscription model bothers me a bit. Once your subscription expires, you’re not able to access your information or get access to passwords. If you give the software a try and like it, the best thing to do is buy the two year subscription, as that way, you’ll have access to your secured information for at least 24  months.

download DirectPass

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Convert several video files at the same time with GOM Video Converter

Putting video where you want it and where you need it isn’t always as easy as you think it should be. With the adoption of this ecosystem or that ecosystem users often make investments that allow their toys to work and play well with each other. However, when you mix and match, it isn’t always easy. That’s why I like tools like GOM Video Converter. It’s a video conversion tool for Windows.

GOM Video Converter is a powerful, all-purpose video conversion app. It supports a wide variety of input and output formats. Generally speaking, if GOM Media Player can play it, GOM Video Converter can convert it. Whether you want to download videos from YouTube and put them on your iPod or upload a video from your 3G mobile phone to your blog, GOM Video Converter is the easy all-in-one solution for you.

The app has an intuitive user-interface; and built in conversion presets make GOM Video Converter easy for anyone to use. GOM Video Converter boasts faster conversion speeds than most other video converters. Computers with multi-core processors can also use the app’s multi-conversion function to convert several files simultaneously. Intel based PC’s with Intel Quick Sync Video Support can also convert videos at blinding speeds.

With GOM Picker you can download embedded flash video from your favorite video websites and can convert it to something that you can play any time, anywhere. The app supports a comprehensive array of input and output formats and enables you to convert to almost any format for any device, including iPad, iPod, iPhone, PSP, PS3, Xbox 360, Zune, Blackberry, and Android. If you want, you can also add subtitles, extract audio, as well as embed your own logo. The app does a lot. The registered version is a bit pricey though, so unless you’re going to use the advanced features a lot, this may not be the right app for you.

Download GOM Video Converter

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Keep track of weather on your PC with Weather Bug

The weather is often a funny thing. No one ever, EVER seems to get it right until its nearly right on top of you.  However, keeping track of it, knowing what the weather may be, is something that most everyone wants to know.  This is one of the biggest reasons why I like Weather Bug. It’s a multi-platform weather utility.

Weather Bug desktop helps you keep track of current, local weather conditions, extended forecasts, and severe weather alters. Its animated Doppler radar maps are exceptionally valuable in severe weather conditions, as are its satellite and temperature maps.  The best thing about Weather Bug desktop is that it works on just about any computer you can throw at it.


On the Windows side, Weather Bug has its traditional desktop app, but also desktop gadgets for both Windows Vista and Windows 7 Side Bars.  On the mac, Weather Bug Alert for Mac provides live temperatures and desktop alerts. On both platforms ,you’ll have access to live, local current conditions, 7-day, hourly and weekend forecasts, animated radar and maps as well as severe weather alters.

Weather Bug is a great application suite. It provides a great service and very valuable information. Its gadgets, may or may not be working any longer, as of this writing, Microsoft has ended support for its Side Bar due to security concerns.  The rest of its components, however, are fine and again, provide valuable information.  This is a must have app on any Mac or Windows PC.

download Weather Bug

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Speed up your browsing with Adguard Web Filter

The internet is said to be the next great operating system. With so many different web based applications available – Gmail, Office 365 and the like – keeping unneeded and unwanted ads out of the way isn’t easy. This is one of the reasons why I like Adguard Web Filter. It’s a Windows based internet tool.

Adguard Web Filter helps you remove online ads from the web pages your view.  Online ads always slow down the loading of web pages you need and may open ones you don’t. The biggest problem is when indecent ads damage your reputation at work or affect the wellbeing of your children.  Web ads are widely used for fraud, circulation of viruses and other types of malware. Ads often distort the appearance of web pages.

Adguard Web Filter removes these annoying ads, reduces the page loading time and saves your traffic. It works with all major browser, including Internet Explorer, Opera, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. Adguard Web Filter blocks video ads, rich media and other non-standard types of ads, as well as standard ads. It prevents counters and tracking by ad networks. Adguard starts working right after installation, requires no additional configuration and is regularly updated.

Adguard Web Filter is an app that nearly everyone can benefit from. The app installs quickly and easily and the benefits are seen immediately. The removal of online ads is something that you don’t necessarily think about when the ads are gone, but immediately comes to mind when they blink and flash in front of you when they are left unchecked. Available at no charge, the application is something everyone should use to improve their browsing experience on their Windows PC.

download Adguard Web Filter

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Securely store payment information and purchase items on line with Dashlane

eCommerce is something that’s been around for quite some time. Buying online is relatively simple – you browse, you compare, you read reviews, and then you click this, click that, enter account information, log-in, determine which credit or debit account you want to use, then enter in all those numbers, enter your expiration date and then hunt for the CVV numbers. OY! Paying and checking out takes three to four times as long as the actual shopping.  That’s why I like Dashlane. It’s a multiplatform eCommerce tool that makes buying stuff online very easy.

Dashlane puts you in the express lane no matter where you buy online.  With it, you can buy in seconds and save all your purchases.  Dashlane allows you to login anywhere and fill in forms in a flash.  The app saves your IDs, addresses, payment info, notes and passwords securely.  It allows you to access all of this important data whenever, wherever you need it; and no one – not even Dashlane – will be able to see your personal data.

More than an online shopping tool, Dashlane allows you to store addresses, phone numbers, passports, credit card info, and more in a secure vault encrypted locally on your computer, and sync them between multiple devices. All the data you enter and all the actions you take on Dashlane are entirely private, and accessible only to you – not even we can see your personal information.

Dashlane is a really cool idea. I like that it takes the best of electronic wallet apps and couples it with online purchasing, giving you the ability to securely purchase stuff without having to reenter all of your credit card information every single time you want to buy something. The fact that it allows you to sync info to your mobile devices as well as across browsers and computers (like your home and office computers) makes it a very compelling solution.  The premium version gets you access to a couple of other features, but aside from support, and future features that may or may not be released or made available in your monthly or annual subscription period, it doesn’t buy you much.

This shouldn’t keep you from registering the app, though.  Dashlane is amazing. You get a lot from this app for free.  Supporting the dev team will help insure that the app continues to get support and will work for quite a while.

download Dashlane

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Record and edit audio files like a pro!

I’ve been using for a long time a very sophisticated and expensive software to create my own ring-tones for my phone with the parts that I want from a song or to edit any audio file that I want. Yes, it was expensive, and I can’t believe that now there is a FREE software almost as good as other PRO versions.

Free audio editors are everywhere, so it’s always hard to know which to use. Free Audio Editor is an award-winning audio editing tool, and it is easy to understand why. Free Audio Editor features editing capabilities, effects units, basic audio recording tools, CD authoring and basic audio conversion. Free Audio Editor, unlike many freeware audio suites, has evolved as Windows has been updated. There’s no aged-looking graphical user interface in Free Audio Editor, instead you have an Office-esque ribbon, with a logical and easy-to-navigate button setup. With this interface, Free Audio Editor rarely feels like a chore to either use or learn. Everything is exactly where you would expect it.

Free Audio Editor – it’s LIGHT, runs fast, has plenty of options that allows you to do whatever you want to any audio file, or something you’ve recorded! You can remove the background noise (the annoying noise that you hear when you record something at home in the background), add echo effects, amplify, apply restoration, and many other filters!

Another cool feature is that you can download anything from Youtube and edit the audio file immediately! Maybe you would like to record yourself singing an instrumental version of one song… you just download the song, and record your voice over the instrumental version! It’s never been that easy!

After you have recorded your tracks, you can use the mixdown option to merge them into one single track and get your final result! At the last, Free Audio Editor allows you to burn your audio files directly on a disk whenever you want, making your task even easier!

Download Free Audio Editor

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