All items in the category "Featured stories"

Full category list for displayed posts: Featured stories, Top stories

California closer to smartphone ‘kill switch’ law

CC-licensed, Aquilaonline, via Flickr.

CC-licensed, Aquilaonline, via Flickr.

SACRAMENTO — The state where the iPhone was born came a step closer to a law that might help keep it in your hands.

State Sen. Mark Leno’s Smartphone Theft Prevention Act (Senate Bill 962) passed the state legislature this morning with a 51-18 vote. Now it will move on to the Senate for a vote on amendments.

California won’t be the first state to flip the kill switch – that distinction goes to Minnesota, which heeded the call from consumers in May. If the law passes in the most populous state in the U.S. and the birthplace of the iPhone, it may mark a sea change in similar legislation. California’s law will affect any smartphone manufactured on or after July 1, 2015.

Read the rest of this post »

Make money off your Instagram photos? There’s an app for that

Snapwire mobile

In four years, Instagram has gone from having one million to over 150 million users. The app’s reach as a platform for sharing photos is incredible, but for many, the value of what’s posted maxes out at a number of likes.

Many photographers with tens or even hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram have little-to-no prior professional experience. Yet they’ve managed to gather huge followings around the photos they take and share from their smartphones.

“My God, these guys have no idea how talented they are,” Chad Newell remembers saying to himself during Instagram’s early days. “We could sell this stuff.”

The lack of commercial opportunity for a new class of mobile photographers led Newell, a veteran of the stock image industry, to create a startup for buying and selling photography called Snapwire. Think of it like 99designs and 500px combined with Shutterstock.

While still in its early days, Snapwire is already drawing big-name advertisers to its growing of library premium stock photography. And it’s filling that library with the kinds of shots you would normally see in your Instagram feed.

Read the rest of this post »

A tale of two stores: Apple vs Microsoft

The 10 coolest companies founded by ex-Apple employees

Lust List: Gear so great we can’t stop talking about it

How startup Cubr might kill the business card and foster dangerous liaisons

Rolling with Cubr. Photo courtesy Sébastien Leidgens.

Rolling with Cubr. Photo courtesy Sébastien Leidgens.

SAN FRANCISCO — Sébastien Leidgens wants to put a new angle on the business card.

His invention, Cubr, is a six-sided die that connects people through private mobile web chat. When a red, blue or green Cubr is tossed your way, you hit the website or download the app, then enter the code to start your instant message convo or share photos with the person who gave you the die. The enterprising Belgian, a former project manager at a digital marketing agency, is taking a gamble on the idea that people are tired of handing out one-dimensional cards.

“It’s a business card for non-business people,” Leidgens says in an English heavily influenced by his native French. “Young people don’t have business cards. This you can use for private situations in everyday life. It’s a lot more fun and outside of the usual public circles.”

Read the rest of this post »

Top 3 iPad apps that let you get real work done

Though our iPads can be great for relaxation, sometimes it’s crucial to use these mobile workhorses for business. Luckily, when there is a lot being asked of you and deadlines are to be met, there are applications that can help save the day.

In today’s video, we reveal our top three must-have applications that will help you get your work done more efficiently. Take care of your documents, get your to-do lists organized and more with these functional apps.

Subscribe to Cult of Mac TV on YouTube to catch all our latest videos.

This app will guide you to parking — and may get you a ticket, too

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The VoicePark app could be the solution to San Francisco’s parking problems. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

SAN FRANCISCO — A parking app that reliably helps find open spots in this congested city was coded on a turn-of-the-century tugboat in Sausalito.

The Terrapin served David LaBua as a coding den for VoicePark, a free app that uses sensors to monitor parking spots. It’s the only one we’ve tested to date that guided us to viable public spots on the busy streets of San Francisco.

“Parking is probably San Francisco’s biggest stressor, and writing about it has been very therapeutic for me,” says LaBua, who holds a master of science in psychology. “I had no intention of getting into the app game, but there was a real need for it.”

Read the rest of this post »

How a dev who couldn’t code built one of world’s hottest photo apps

Merek Davis, gets mexturized. Photo: Merek Davis

Merek Davis gets mexturized. Photo: Merek Davis

Merek Davis is not a coder. The developer never even made an app before 2013. Yet on his first iOS at-bat, he hit an App Store grand slam with Mextures, his photo-editing app that quickly became one of the top photo apps of the year.

Mextures is like Photoshop for your iPhone, only easier to use. The app’s editing tools and formulas let you tweak and re-tweak pics, adding light leaks, textures and color gradients that can turn even your crappiest pics into something majestic.

It’s a bona fide hit, with some of the most-followed names on Instagram using Davis’ creation. But it almost never happened.

Read the rest of this post »

Why iPad art is more than a passing fad — though you soon might smell it

Early doodles on the iPad looked a lot like this generation’s Etch-a-Sketch.

But in just a few years, after celebrated artists such as David Hockney have shown their iPad works in galleries, Apple’s revolutionary device has come into its own as a canvas.

The eclectic group of works above are finalists in the second annual Mobile Digital Art Exhibition (aka MDAC Summit 2014), an upcoming art-packed weekend of workshops and a celebration of digital art in Palo Alto, a stone’s throw from Apple headquarters. Take a gander and vote on them by July 31 for the People’s Choice Award.

Read the rest of this post »