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Red Cross Mobile Apps: Preparing You For Emergencies

Life is very much unpredictable. Most of the time, we are faced with challenges whenever we least expect them. As such, it pays a lot to be always prepared to face anything life throws against us. Surely, there have been a number of instances wherein we were faced with adversity or emergency and we did not have a clue on how to handle situation.

To remedy this, the American Red Cross has developed a slew of Tools and Resources packaged inside their Disaster and Safety Library to help you in preparing your home, school and workplace in the event of a disaster or emergency. Here, we highlight the six free mobile apps they are promoting and how they could be of great help in preparing us for the days ahead. Although some are only applicable for the United States and its territories, these should still be helpful for you and your loved ones here and abroad. 

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How To Publish An App in 10 Easy Steps

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Are you an aspiring programmer? Are you dreaming of owning your own app development company someday? I know I do. That has been my aspiration, among other things, since I graduated from college. And boy, getting there isn’t as easy or glamorous as it sounds. Enter Chad Mureta.

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iPhone 5S: leaks and rumors

Are you itching to know what Apple has in store in its next iteration of the iPhone? Would it be sporting a newer form factor? Would there be a new processor or more RAM? Would it have a bigger screen than before?

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Lazada celebrates its 1st birthday with $100M funding and its first mobile app

Lazada, arguably one of the biggest online retailers in Southeast Asia, just celebrated its first year anniversary with a bang. Joining existing investors Holtzbrinck Ventures, Kinnevik, Summit Partners and Tengelmann Group, Verlinvest, a Belgian holding company, invests an additional $100M into the website’s parent company in Germany.

After only a year since its introduction, Lazada just surpassed 1M online orders. This is where Verlinvest Chairman Frédéric de Mevius gets his confidence in the venture. According to him, “we are thrilled to join Lazada as a partner of Rocket Internet and an investor, the company’s scale and achievements after only one year of operations are highly impressive. Given the management’s track record and the region’s macro outlook we are very confident in Lazada’s future.”

A large chunk of the Verlinvest funding will be used to further improve delivery time and customer satisfaction with the company. To accomplish this, Lazada will be investing in its IT infrastructure in the foreseeable future. Complementing this strategy is the company’s announcement of its new mobile application to provide its customers a fast and intuitive shopping experience even on-the-go. Already available in Android and coming soon in iOS, the app uses an advanced internal search engine to allow users to explore products by categories, brands, price and more. Using the app, customers are able to discover amazing deals and discount vouchers to use, not to mention exclusive updates on special promos and offerings.

For Android phone users, you may download the app from the Google Play Store here.

Contra now coming to iOS

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Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right. Does this seem familiar?

If it does, well surely, you are one of the lucky ones who were able to play Contra back in the 90s. The NES classic was developed by Konami and is an alien and human shooting side-scroller game that is highly addictive and entertaining. I know, because I was really hooked to the game back then.

Anyway, iOS developer CocoaChina/Chukong will be bringing the good old days as they were able to obtain a licensing agreement for the game that will enable them to remake the classic game on iOS. The new game, called Contra Evolution, will be first fully licensed mobile version of the Konami classic.

Already launched in Chine, it will be landing to the US App Store (and hopefully, to other geographies as well) on June 27. The iPhone version is priced at $0.99 while the iPad one is at $2.99.

Source: Geek.com

App Alert! Man of Steel now on iOS!

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With the nationwide blockbuster showing of the Man of Steel in theaters starting few days ago, it is but timely that Warner Bros has finally released the iOS game that complements the movie. On the said game, you play the role of, who else, Superman as you battle against adversaries with the ultimate goal of facing and eliminating Zod. From the game’s official App Store page:

***THE OFFICIAL GAME OF THE MAN OF STEEL MOVIE!***

General Zod has begun the invasion of Earth and only the Man of Steel can stop him. Utilize the powers of Superman to fight your way to victory and save the planet from certain destruction.

RELIVE THE EVENTS OF THE MAN OF STEEL MOVIE!
-Attack, dodge, block, and utilize various super powers including flight, super speed, and heat vision to defeat Zod and his evil forces.
-Play through an in-depth Story Mode or set a personal high score in the intense Survival Mode.
-Battle a challenging cast of mini-bosses and technologically advanced foes featured in the film.

BECOME SUPERMAN LIKE NEVER BEFORE
-Unlock and purchase up to 6 different suits from the Man of Steel movie.
-Upgrade your suits to become a truly unstoppable force!
-Customize your experience by upgrading the specific abilities YOU want to use.
-Embrace the true strength of Superman with bone-crunching combos, all with the swipe of a finger.

AMAZING GRAPHICS
-Delivers next-gen graphics on your phone or tablet with beautifully detailed animations and cinematic sequences.
-Fight in a variety of detailed and interactive 3D environments including Smallville, the Kent Farm, and more.

Requires iOS 5 and later

Pricing is at $4.99 for the HD version and $2.99 for the standard one.

Anki: bringing AI closer to YOU

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Last Monday, at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, a five-year-old startup company called Anki delivered a keynote address about their new app Anki Drive. It is a racing game that pits real cars against players and each other with your iOS device serving as a controller. Although seemingly amusing and innocent at first, most of us would probably miss the bigger picture of such innovation: the company is bridging the gap between artificial intelligence (AI) and real life. As Anki’s Boris Sofman puts it,

“We’re passionate about AI and robotics, and we know these advanced technologies are more than just science fiction. We want to harness them, to interact with them, to be entertained by them, and use them to do things that have simply never been done before. We believe the time is right to bring AI out of robotics labs and research institutions and into life.”

According to the company’s official blog, Anki Drive is the first video game that actually runs in the real world. Each toy car is said to be equipped with sensors and intelligent software that makes thousands of decisions every second — similar to the algorithmic calculations a human being does while driving. Sofman adds,

“When we look at Anki Drive, we see the first steps of the future of robotics and artificial intelligence being realized. We see an entertainment experience transformed today, and we see countless possibilities in the future.”

Anki Drive will be available this Fall exclusively on iOS.Before its release, the app is available for download on the App Store for users wishing to better understand the technology behind the game. Everybody is also welcome to sign up for a spot on the game’s beta program.

About the company:
Based in San Francisco, Anki is dedicated to bringing artificial intelligence and robotics to our everyday lives. The company was founded in 2010 by Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute graduates who sought to create new consumer experiences using technology that was once confined to robotics labs and research institutes. Its first product, Anki Drive, will be available in North America later this Fall. The company is backed by Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures and Two Sigma. Anki (pronounced AHN-key) means “to learn by heart.” To learn more about Anki, Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or subscribe to us on YouTube.
 

Source: Anki

 

Fresh from WWDC 2013: Actual Screenshots of iOS 7!

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This morning, Apple held its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) and during the said event, a handful of design improvements and innovation in both software and hardware products of the company were introduced. And probably, of all the announcements made on the two-hour long event, the most notable of them all is Apple’s announcement of the next iteration of its mobile operating system: the iOS 7.

Coming along the new and redesigned iOS 7 is a slew of features and capabilities along with the overhaul of the operating system’s UI. And although the initial release of iOS 7 is still a few months away, Brian Rozen, an iOS developer, just uploaded a number of screenshots from the new beta that was released to the developer community today.

From the screenshots, you can see that indeed, similar to what Apple announced today, the new UI design features a flat and more simplified approach. This gives the OS a much more modern and clean look and feel compared to the current version of iOS.

With quite a long time before the consumer release of iOS 7, a lot can change on the operating system over a few months, although one could safely expect that the overall look and feel of it will be very much the same as the screenshots. What’s interesting, though, is how people would be reacting to the shift in design philosophy and functionality of iOS and whether these changes would bring about good or bad results to Apple. For now, all we could simply do is wait.

Source: Brian Rozen

Apple’s WWDC 2013 updates

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Finally, after much speculations, anticipation and buildup, the WWDC 2013 launched today a number of great news and updates regarding Apple’s software and hardware products that would surely excite and energize the wide and loyal fanbase of the Cupertino-based company.

As expected, major updates to both iOS and OS X were announced at today’s press conference. Skeumorphism was almost nearly abandoned on both operating systems, with Apple executives joking about the felt, stitching and leather textures featured in the older versions of the operating systems. The latest OS X, steering away from the feline naming convention that we were accustomed to, is now dubbed Mavericks. In many ways, the company’s announcement of the many software tweaks of its operating systems further exemplifies Apple catching up to the industry design norms today. As far as hardware goes, a new line of cheaper MacBook Airs sporting Intel’s new Haswell processors were announced, as well as the long-anticipated redesign of the Mac Pro Desktop. However, there were no signs of the much rumored iWatch. Want more details on WWDC 2013? Read on to find out more!

Hardware

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With a number of laptops now sporting Intel’s new Haswell processors, the company also announced a refreshed line of MacBook Airs that will be using the said chip. Comes with the announcement are promises of dramatic battery improvements, with an 11-inch Air now expected to get 9hours of battery life, and the 13-inch with 12hours. A 40% boost on graphics processing power is also to be expected, says Apple. Shipping today starts for the new Airs, with SRPs of $999 for the 11-inch variant and $1,099 for the 13-inch one.

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A newly redesigned Mac Pro was also announced in WWDC 2013. It now comes with dual AMD GPUs, claiming 7 teraflops of performance and supports Thunderbolt2 and 4K displays. The high-end desktop is also several inches shorter and thinner than the previous version. The machine is slated to come later this year and is being manufactured in the US.

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Lastly, the AirPort Extreme router and Time Capsule backup, Apple’s pair of internet peripherals were also updated, with next generation 802.11ac Wi-Fi (which is said to offer 1.3Gbps of throughput) being added to both. Airport Extreme is available now for $199, while 2TB and 3TB versions of the new Time Capsule will be available for $299 and $399, respectively.

iOS 7

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iOS 7 got an overall interface overhaul from Jony Ive. Keeping the same basic structure of iOS, the new and improved operating system now features redesigned icons that have a flatter and more stylized look. Gradients were stripped out and the whole UI’s palette was given a brighter and simpler tone. Scrolling through the menus and apps also provides a subtle parallax feel. Fonts were also slimmed down, and a new version of the classic slide-to-unlock function of iOS was also introduced.

A translucent panel dubbed Control Center now slides up from the bottom for quick access to frequently used settings such as Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb, flashlight, and rotation lock. You can also adjust brightness, manage music playback, and connect to AirPlay or AirDrop on the panel. Touch gestures will also be more utilized in iOS 7 with its reliance on more swiping and pinching. More so, folders are now capable of storing unlimited apps.

As far as multitasking goes for iOS 7, it is now similar to how webOS and Windows Phone behaves. Double-tapping the home button gives you large thumbnails of your apps with identifying icons underneath them. You can scroll horizontally through them, with three available on the screen at a time.

The Notification Center has also been overhauled in iOS 7. Now, the operating system allows you to access notifications from the lock screen. Notifications are now also synced between devices so there is no more need to dismiss the same update multiple times. The top of the new Notification Center features three tabs, “today,” “all,” and “missed.” The first is a bit reminiscent of Google Now: it gives you a heads-up on what’s coming up today, with calendar appointments, weather, birthday notifications, stock prices, and more. The pull-down menu is now transparent, and it features the new fonts and swipe interactions we’ve seen in the rest of the updated operating system.

Bringing the same feature from the Mac, AirDrop is a new way to share files over Wi-Fi on iOS. Initially available on the iPhone 5, it is a secure and encrypted means to transfer files from one iPhone to another. AirDrop could be configured to accept files from other people on the same network or just your contacts.

Taking design and functionality cues from other advanced apps, the Photos app on iOS automatically organizes photographs into categories called “moments”, which is based on where and when the images were taken. Photos will be then correspondingly labeled based on the moment they’re in. Increased emphasis on sharing is also evident on the redesigned app, with photos now possible to be automatically cropped into a square shape for Instagram uploads. Photostreams can also now be shared, which allows users to create streams that friends could add photos into.

The App Store, not to be left behind, is now hooked into the phone’s GPS to offer app suggestions based on your current location. More so, app updates are now made automatic similar to Android. Siri also got an overhaul, with the new version coming with male or female voice options that are both more natural-sounding than the previous one. Support for several languages is provided, as well as multiple data sources for Siri. Now, Wikipedia and Twitter could be searched for queries, with Bing coming in as Apple’s search partner for pulling web results.

Not to be outdone by other streaming music services, Apple also launched today the iTunes Radio, a free albeit ad-based streaming music service that offers radio stations similar to other competing services. However, what sets Apple’s version apart is that iTunes Radio is geared more toward song purchases rather than purely streaming music. The initial version of the service is integrated into the Music app and offers selected radio stations that can be shared with your friends.

Lastly, Apple today announced that its latest iOS version will be sporting turn-by-turn directions and expanded vehicle options. A new system, dubbed “iOS in the Car”, is set to mirror your iPhone on the display found on your car, which means maps, Siri, messages and the like will be directly available to you from the car’s dashboard. However, we would have to wait before fully benefitting from this, as manufacturers will begin adding the feature to their cars in 2014.

OS X 10.9 Mavericks

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For OS X, a number of optimizations and revamps are incorporated to OS X 10.9. First, Navigation is a big focus in Mavericks. For the first time in OS X, Finder windows would not be cluttering your desktop as the new OS now supports browser-style tabs. Tags could also now be used to simplify search and organization of files.

The leather and felt interfaces of previous OS X versions have now been stripped away. The new Calendar features a flatter and softer feel, with the Game Center, phone and messaging apps undergoing the same aesthetic changes. iBooks, which was previously available only in iOS, is also coming to OS X.

Apple Maps, initially one of the more embarrassing pieces of Apple software, has gotten some attention with a desktop version for OS X and an SDK that lets developers add Apple Maps directly to their Mac apps. Desktop and mobile maps are integrated with the option to push directions to an iPhone.

Multiple display support has been fixed in Mavericks, with the Mission Control tool being redesigned to focus more on extra and extended displays. Now you can use two fullscreen apps at once, and if you have an Apple TV, the new features can extend to your television as well with AirPlay.

Notifications similar to iOS also come to OS X 10.9. Now, you can quickly reply directly from a notification without having to open the specific app. Push notifications from your iOS device can also be received directly on your Mac computer.

This year also marks dramatic changes Safari will be sporting. The redesigned browser features a new sidebar that will hold bookmarks, but it will also integrate reading lists as well as links shared by friends on Twitter and LinkedIn, turning it into a limited client for your social networks. In terms of sheer performance, Apple showed off a set of benchmarks putting Safari on top of its other competitors. More so, Macs and iOS devices will have access to a new feature called iCloud Keychain that can remember passwords and credit card information to auto-suggest them in Safari.

Editor’s Note: An article similar to this one also appears at TechGeeze.com, as only one writer contributed for both coverages. No copyright infringement intended.

Yahoo! Weather for iPhone: the forecast is beautiful!

Are you on the lookout for an alternative weather app for your iPhone? Yes, a number of capable and beautiful third party apps exist for this kind of task. However, Yahoo! just recently entered the game with their all-new weather app. With the aid of various photographers and the Flickr community, Yahoo! Weather screams simplicity and stunning beauty at the same time.

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The app works by pulling the exact coordinates of your mobile phone, the time of the day and the general weather condition in the area. Yahoo! Weather then selects and displays an appropriate image taken in your town to match the forecast. Scrolling upwards allows you to see the hourly weather forecast, five-day forecast, “feels like” weather, wind and pressure, chance of precipitation, etc. A map mode is also available to provide a wider area of coverage. Turning your iPhone horizontally lets the app into full display mode.

From the app’s App Store page:

The forecast is beautiful.

See the weather like never before – only Yahoo! Weather combines stunning photos with the most accurate forecasts.

Favorite Features:
– Beautiful photos that match your location, time of day, and current weather condition
– Detailed weather information and forecasts
– Interactive radar, satellite, heat, and wind maps, plus sunrise/sunset times

Tips:
– Swipe vertically for detailed weather information
– Swipe horizontally for favorite locations
– Submit photos to the app at Project Weather on Flickr

Download your copy now!

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