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Dear Apple, Please Copy This Android Smart Lock Feature

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It's a given that if Apple has a good feature, it will find its way into Android and vice versa. "Good artists copy, great artists steal" is the line Steve Jobs stole from Picasso, so we don't need to argue over who stole what. It happens. So I am hopeful that Android's new Smart Lock features (enhanced in Android 5.0 Lollipop) will end up in iOS in one form or another. This feature lets you determine when your smartphone should remain unlocked by more than just a time setting. Trusted Devices allows for unlocking via a nearby device, like a smartwatch.



Run a Bar or Restaurant? Jon Taffer to the Rescue with BarHQ!

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I have a good job. I get to review apps and accessories, often before they hit the market. But today that good job is a great job, as I had the opportunity to interview Jon Taffer, host of two of my favorite shows, Spike TV's Bar Rescue and Hungry Investors. Unlike most "reality" TV shows, Taffer's programs are truly real (although condensed for practical purposes) examples of bars and restaurants that need help, and get it, from one of the industry's most renown experts. Jon walked me through how the unscripted shows are produced, without his meeting any of the players in advance. The one thing we don't see is his crew of more than fifty working in parallel to rebuild each bar from the inside out, in less than five days. But this interview wasn't just about his TV shows.



Amazon Echo Wants to Be the Centerpiece of Your Smarthome

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Amazon may have stumbled with the Kindle Fire Phone, due to pricing missteps and other issues, but they're not done innovating and working on integrating their technology into our daily lives. Today, Amazon preannounced the Echo, an unassuming speaker that does a lot more than play music. The cylindrical device sits in your home and is always listening for verbal commands. Similar to Siri, you can ask Echo for weather reports, to play music, etc. The gadget has omni-directional speakers and microphones that can listen to commands even if they come from far away.



Flashcard Languages - Brush Up Your Language Skills Anywhere!

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I have crammed for many a test using flashcards, and can attest to the timeless effectiveness of using them as a study aid. I have attempted to learn Spanish since high school, which has so far proved largely ineffective. Flashcard Languages ($1.99) cuts out the fancy app embellishments and focuses on the key words and phrases you need to make real progress in expanding your vocabulary.



Double Review: Replay Video Editing App, Featuring Parrot's A.R. Drone 2.0

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This is really two mini reviews in one. A while back the folks at Parrot wanted me to check out their A.R. Drone remote controlled aerial vehicle. So I spent a couple of months doing some product testing. In the process I utilized the quadricopter's two onboard cameras along with Parrot's FreeFlight (Free) drone control app to shoot some video, which I wanted to include with my reviews. Then the dilemma arose of where the heck to find the time in my busy schedule to both write a review and edit about 25 minutes of aerial video down to a short snippet that I thought people might be interested in watching. Enter the remarkable video editing app, Replay, which I learned about during Apple's live presentation of the iPad Air 2.



SoundHound and TouchTunes - Convergence of Online and On-Premises Music Services

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If you like and use the SoundHound music app (free), which can guess melodies like a musical savant, then you might want to add TouchTunes (free). SoundHound recently announced a team up with TouchTunes: an in-venue entertainment and music platform that provides service at over 60,000 locations. With SoundHound and TouchTunes together, you can now get your online music choices queued up when visiting any TouchTunes supported location!



Figure Out Tips and Splits Without an App with Tip 'n Split

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There are a lot of tip calculators and bill-splitting apps, but many restaurants frown upon patrons pulling out their smartphones. And now that iPhones are getting larger and larger, I long for the days of a truly pocketable phone. The folks behind Tip 'n Split have come up with a handy, dedicated device that makes dining out a little easier, especially for seniors. This rugged little unit includes a 2.5X magnifying glass, which makes reading menus and bills easier. There's even a flashlight button to light things up. Of course, the main point of Tip 'n Split is to make it easier to figure out the tip, and to split the bill among multiple diners.



Yantouch Offers 2 Smart Home Devices in 1

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There are several trends in the consumer electronics industry. Smart home accessories are a big thing now. Bluetooth speakers are big. And convergence is big. So it was nice to see the convergence of both a Bluetooth speaker and an app-enabled lighting unit, all in one cool looking gadget from Yantouch.



Infinity Blade Chronicles: The Movie

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If ever an iOS game deserved to have a movie made about it, it is Infinity Blade. In what will come as great news for any fans of the groundbreaking, award-winning iOS game, Infinity Blade is potentially about to be made into a short, fan-funded movie. At the helm of a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for this project is Josh Aker, composer of the Infinity Blade soundtracks. He talks to us about his vision and the incredible talent he's already amassed for this project in his Kickstarter video below. As you will see, his enthusiasm for the game and for the movie is infectious.



Game Centered Special Edition: Rejoice Core Gamers, Bioshock for iOS Has Arrived!

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Game Centered features roundups and in-depth reviews of the best in iOS games and related gaming news. This week we’ve got a special edition to pay respect to the console classic first-person shooter, Bioshock ($14.99). This game not only took gaming to the next level at the time, its cinematic visuals and terrifyingly creepy storyline make this game equally compelling today as it makes its way to the gaming platform of the future, the iDevice.



Best iPhone Apps, iPad Apps, iPod Touch Apps | iPhone Life Magazine

We review the Best iPhone Apps, iPad Apps, and iPod Touch Apps.  Whether you want to play a game (like Chillingham Manor), navigate with GPS, or discover new apps, you can easily get lost.  There are so many on the market and the number is increasing on a daily basis.  So where to begin?  The following examples are just a few of what is out there.

The Head Finder is one of the iPhone apps around. It is a task management or schedule management that helps you organize all the different things you have to do.  It has a very simple user interface and it seems they designed all the most common functions to be done with as little tapping and typing as possible which is a real time saver.  Several time management apps, in the past, have seemed to waste more time entering events and tasks into the app than you might save by being more organized.  With Head Finder you can have a new task entered in less than thirty seconds with their quick three tap process to create a reminder.

Another one of the best Iphone apps we've seen is The JumiCam. This app allows you to view streaming video from any web cam you want with ease.  It's easy to set up the software on your PC and then connect your phone to see what's going on at your house.  The JumiCam also works very well on either a 3G connection or WiFi. This app allows you to connect to as many different web cams as you want so you can monitor your entire house while you're away if you want.  It can really take the place of an entire security service if you wanted it to.  There are many ways to use this, from keeping an eye on a babysitter while you're out on a date to making sure your pet is safe at home while you're at work.

As the name describes, U.S. Traveller is made for travelers that call the United States their home and travel to countries outside their own. In opening the iPhone app, on the "Countries" tab, you are presented with a list of countries & their correlating flags. The added flags next to the country names are a nice touch, especially since most people can quickly find a country based on visual representation versus textual representation. You can travel from the U.S. to numerous countries - Chile, Argentina, Germany & Italy to name a few. This may not adequately prepare you for the countries you visit, but this will for sure help you. The amount of information and the ease of access it gives to people is incredibly invaluable.