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Apple unveils iOS 8 to fanfare, criticism: super brief overview

(Tech News) Apple has gone public with what all iOS 8 entails, and there is big news for developers and consumers alike.

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Apple announces iOS 8 for fall launch

At the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) today, it was announced that this fall, the new operating system for mobile devices (iOS 8) will go live, offering improvements and new features, which some have hailed as revolutionary, while others have simply yawned at, asserting that it should be called iOS 7.1.

From a consumer perspective, there are dozens of updates that mostly focus on saving you time and making your Apple devices talk to each other, and from a developer perspective, Apple announced a new programming language, Swift, which offers full programming language with the simplicity of a scripting language (in other words, expect a whole new generation of programmers to be jazzed up about the language that will be used for at least the next decade).

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Lovers and owners of iPhones and iPads will be able to enjoy new features starting this fall, such as:

1. Continuity

Continuity makes your ipad, iPhone, and Mac work together seamlessly, as the new mobile and desktop operating systems (iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite) all play nicely together so you can place and send messages and calls from mobile or desktop devices. Part of Continuity is Handoff, a feature that tells devices what they’re using so it can be picked up on another device (so if a user is creating a document in Pages using their Mac, a tiny Pages icon shows up on their iPhone or iPad on the bottom left, and sliding up the icon takes over the document from their other device).

2. Messages

The new messaging app is similar to Facebook’s WhatsApp, wherein users can send short video and audio messages to contacts immediately, or share their location with contacts. There is a section devoted to attachments so all photos and videos between you and a specific contact can be viewed easily.

3. Keyboard

The new keyboard offers predictive text based on how and what a user types and with whom they are typing, as well as the form of messaging. You’ll get different word suggestions when talking to a client versus your old buddy from college.

4. Health

There is a huge buzz around Apple’s new app, Health which will be coming with iOS 8, pulling in all information from your device and other apps, putting it in one place, creating a dashboard for all of your health info.

5. Family Sharing

Music, movies, and apps can be shared with family members to avoid duplicate app purchases within one home – brilliant. Further, calendars will sync between family members and location tracking is available (which can be turned off). Better parental controls have also been put into place that require permissions before any purchases are made.

6. Spotlight

Spotlight is said to have been massively improved, with much better search functionality – now, when entering search terms, Spotlight will instantly guess a query and offer information, whether it is a movie time or Wikipedia entry.

7. iCloud Drive

Apple has upgraded iCloud and now offers iCloud Drive which works across iPad, iPhone, and Mac so anything stored on one of your devices can be accessed from any of your other devices.

The American Genius (AG) is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.

Tech News

Time is money and Clockify helps you make the most

(TECH NEWS) Tracking your time worked as a freelancer can easily be lost in the shuffle. A new tool has been designed to make this important aspect easier.

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After years of searching for a method that works for me in terms of organization and productivity, the answer seemed to be simple: a calendar I can write on and Post-It notes. This method is a little old school, but seems to get the job done for my organizational needs.

However, there are some things that slip through the cracks with this method, but it’s more user error than it is the actual practice. One thing I struggle with is keeping track of my freelance hours this way.

I have a tendency to guesstimate how much time I worked throughout the day and know that I wind up underdocumenting my hours. I would hate to know how much money I’ve missed out on keeping (sometimes inaccurate) handwritten notes.

But, like many other small scale issues, there is a simple solution. And that is found in the form of time trackers.

One of the newest members to join the online time tracker team is Clockify, who operates under the idea of “your time, your rules.” It is a free time tracking tool designed for agencies and freelancers.

Clockify allows users to manage as many team members, projects, and workspaces that you need in an effort to help your business run smoothly. This allows for a complete overview of team productivity.

The tool offers a way to enter time manually as well as clock time automatically. This way you can keep tabs on what you’re working on and assign and label time logs to the appropriate clients.

With this time tracking, you are able to generate weekly, monthly, and annual reports at any given time. These reports can be saved, exported, and shared with clients to give them more information about your work process.

The real-time tracking helps to improve business efficiency and gives more insight into what each team member is spending their time on. Having this information available can give visual representation of how to improve in the future.

Clockify currently exists in desktop format with iOS and Android apps coming soon.

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Russia vetoed cryptocurrency and came back with CryptoRuble

(TECH NEWS) Russia put a hard pass on other cryptocurrencies in their country so that they could hop in the crypto-game with their own CryptoRuble.

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Just days after The American Genius reported that the Russian Central Bank would attempt to block access to cryptocurrency trading cites, the Coin Telegraph has reported that the Russian government will issue its very own cryptocurrency, the CryptoRuble.

The report cited local Russian papers, who quoted the minister of communications, Nikolay Nikiforov.

Earlier this week, head of the Central Bank, Sergei Shvetsov, said that he would work with the Prosecutor General’s Office to ban Russian citizens from accessing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, calling such currencies a “negative phenomena for our markets” and a “pyramid scheme.”

Now it appears that the Kremlin will create its own cryptocurrency – one it can keep an eye on — which, some might argue, defeats the entire purpose of cryptocurrency.

However, like other cryptocurrencies the CryptoRuble will be based on blockchain and will presumably help prevent online fraud.

CryptoRubles will be exchangeable with regular Rubles, although the systems of exchange have not yet been set up. Experts think that Russia is hoping to stimulate e-commerce without the need for foreign money markets, which will allow them to have more independence from the United States.

According to Nikiforov, the Russian government is setting up its own cryptocurrency under the assumption that if they don’t, other European governments will.

Said NIkiforov, “I confidently declare that we run CryptoRuble for one simple reason: if we do not, then after two months our neighbors in the EurAsEC will.”

Traders using CryptoRubles will be asked to provide documentation of retail transactions and services rendered – or pay a 13 percent tax for undocumented transactions, leaving a wide loophole for money laundering.

Critics say that Russia is trying to facilitate, while also profiting from money laundering; that the Kremlin is stealing the market from other cryptocurrencies; and that the CryptoRuble fundamentally defies the spirit of decentralization that inspired other cryptocurrencies.

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Microsoft’s overseas email storage piqued the Supreme Court’s interest

(TECH NEWS) Microsoft has been in a pretty large dispute about storing user emails abroad and the Supreme Court has taken an interest in it.

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The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday that it will hear a case that will decide whether or not U.S. law enforcement officials can force tech companies to turn over emails and data stored in overseas servers.

The case will review a lower court decision made in 2013 after federal officials attempted to obtain emails from Microsoft that would provide evidence for drug trafficking cases.

At that time, Microsoft refused to comply with the government, even though they had a warrant, instead taking the case to court, claiming that the U.S. government did not have the right to access data stored in servers in Ireland.

The court of appeals ruled in favor of Microsoft, citing a 1986 digital privacy law that allows law enforcement to obtain warrants for electronic communications, but not if the data is stored outside of the United States.

Judge Susan Carney said of the law, “Neither explicitly nor implicitly does the statue envision the application of its warrant provisions overseas.”

The Trump Administration and the Justice Department say that this ruling has majorly blocked efforts to prosecute criminals.

“Under this opinion, hundreds if not thousands of investigations of crimes — ranging from terrorism, to child pornography, to fraud — are being or will be hampered by the government’s inability to obtain electronic evidence,” said Deputy Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall.

Because Microsoft stores data and communications closest to the user’s location, Wall said that the lower court’s decision made it all too easy for terrorists and other criminals to hide their communications by claiming to live in a foreign country when signing up for an account.

Microsoft argues that, instead of handing this decision over to the Supreme Court, legislators should update the 1986 law.

“The current laws were written for the era of the floppy disk, not the world of the cloud.” wrote Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith in a blog.

“We believe that rather than arguing over an old law in court, it is time for Congress to act by passing new legislation.”

In Congress, Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) are pushing for just such an update with a piece of legislation called the Stored Communications Act.

Microsoft further argued that allowing U.S. law enforcement to obtain data from other countries was an “incursion” on those nations’ sovereignty, which would make U.S. citizens more vulnerable to foreign governments.

“If U.S. law enforcement can obtain the emails of foreigners stored outside the United States, what’s to stop the government of another country from getting your emails even though they are located in the United States?” said Smith.

The Justice Department says that, along with Microsoft, Google, Verizon, and Yahoo have all stopped complying with search warrants since the lower court’s decision.

The Supreme Court will hear the case early in 2018 and hope to have a decision by June.

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