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Dev-Team: Palm Pre May Track User Location, but 3rd Party iPhone Apps Do Too!

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The iPhone Dev-Team take a break from the Jailbreak to throw some light on the issue of 3rd party iPhone apps tracking users’ location. Joey Hess and our friends over at PreCentral.net kicked up a bit of a ruckus last week detailing how the Palm Pre reports users’ location data back to Palm HQ. Well, says the Dev-Team:

Although we have yet to find an application by Apple that tracks your location, there are certainly a number of “free” applications in the official AppStore that are designed to do just that. Case in point: there’s this rather cute/gimicky app that lets you determine the tip for your waiter or waitress by tilting your phone as you pass it around the restaurant table. But if you dig a little deeper (like bushing did) you’ll find it uses a library by Pinch Media that is specifically designed to track your geographical location through time, then upload that data to Pinch Media. (Oh and it also show you an ad, as an extra bonus).

iphone_palm_pre_ufc

They point out that the iPhone will ask before any app is allowed to use location data, but also that it will keep asking to the extent that users might just agree to prevent being constantly annoyed with popups.

The Dev-Team goes so far as to describe these types of apps using the dreaded “s” word. That’s right — SPYWARE. However, in a web increasingly dominated by companies seeking to aggregate (hopefully anonymized?!) user data as a way to monetize (providing free or cheap apps in exchange for the shared data and tolerance for advertising), how broadly can that term now be applied? Many, especially tech-savvy, users are happy to let Google’s Gmail scan their email and serve ads in exchange for the service (and don’t even get us started on Chrome parsing all URLs a user enters through Google, or their purchase of DoubleClick…)

Should we be concerned more about small, 3rd party companies? About Apple, Palm, and Google-type companies? Or is it just the way of the world now?

How about this — Perhaps Apple could give us app-specific Location settings, much as we now have app-specific Notification settings? That way, there’d be a list of apps that use location, and we could individually turn off those with which we don’t want to share our location. How about it, Apple?

derek-home-screens

The iPhone Dev-Team take a break from the Jailbreak to throw some light on the issue of 3rd party iPhone apps tracking users’ location. Joey Hess and our friends over at PreCentral.net kicked up a bit of a ruckus last week detailing how the Palm Pre reports users’ location data back to Palm HQ. Well, says the Dev-Team:

Although we have yet to find an application by Apple that tracks your location, there are certainly a number of “free” applications in the official AppStore that are designed to do just that. Case in point: there’s this rather cute/gimicky app that lets you determine the tip for your waiter or waitress by tilting your phone as you pass it around the restaurant table. But if you dig a little deeper (like bushing did) you’ll find it uses a library by Pinch Media that is specifically designed to track your geographical location through time, then upload that data to Pinch Media. (Oh and it also show you an ad, as an extra bonus).

They point out that the iPhone will ask before any app is allowed to use location data, but also that it will keep asking to the extent that users might just agree to prevent being constantly annoyed with popups.

The Dev-Team goes so far as to describe these types of apps using the dreaded “s” word. That’s right — SPYWARE. However, in a web increasingly dominated by companies seeking to aggregate (hopefully anonymized?!) user data as a way to monetize (providing free or cheap apps in exchange for the shared data and tolerance for advertising), how broadly can that term now be applied? Many, especially tech-savvy, users are happy to let Google’s Gmail scan their email and serve ads in exchange for the service (and don’t even get us started on Chrome parsing all URLs a user enters through Google, or their purchase of DoubleClick…)

Should we be concerned more about small, 3rd party companies? About Apple, Palm, and Google-type companies? Or is it just the way of the world now?

How about this — Perhaps Apple could give us app-specific Location settings, much as we now have app-specific Notification settings? That way, there’d be a list of apps that use location, and we could individually turn off those with which we don’t want to share our location. How about it, Apple?

Speed Brain for the iPhone: Exercise Your Brain!

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It’s easy to get overwhelmed these days with the avalanche of information about how to get fit, take care of your body, live longer, live better,  eat better, and so on. Diets come and go, new fitness machines are peddled faster than you can say “infomercial” and Chuck Norris’ age seems to be the only constant.

It may be easy, then, to ignore the brain and forget the old adage ”mind over matter.” Without the mind, it won’t really matter. The folks at lumosity.com understand the importance of exercising your brain and have a scientifically-proven method for doing so. Fortunately, exercising your brain doesn’t require expensive equipment or hauling around heavy workout apparatus – if you own an iPhone or iPod Touch and can summon the physical strength to tap the glass, you can start exercising your brain now with their app, Speed Brain.

How does Speed Brain work? Read on after the break!

iPhone 4
Speed Brain quickens the mind through a series of matching or mismatched images that the user must then quickly react and identify matching images in quick succession. Accuracy and speed will produce a higher score, which will be saved to monitor your progress and for comparison with your friends who are also using Speed Brain.

The interface is very simple and easy to use. As the images flash in front of you, just select “No Match” or “Match” as quickly as you can. You receive instant feedback when a selection is correct or incorrect, and the goal, of course, is to get as many correct as possible using the least amount of time you can to react and tap.

From my own experience after using Speed Brain over the course of several days, I have improved my time, accuracy and score. I can make decisions more quickly with respect to the symbol matching or not matching the previous symbol. Just moments ago, I used Speed Brain and was 100% accurate in my matching. Now, the challenge will be to consistently produce 100% accuracy in matching while getting it done faster and faster.

The BigBoss source is a default source that you will get once you finish jailbreaking on your device. It will be added automatically once you start Cydia application and configure its files. Here, you can find a great opportunity to download many amazing Cydia tweaks, apps, themes and wallpapers. This source is the most popular source for free Cydia apps and tweaks.

Now I want to show you some of the most important Cydia apps that you can find on the BigBoss Source. The most important is the iFile, a simple tweak that gives you full access to every file in the operating system. In this way, you will be able to modify, change or delete any file you want. The Activator tweak is the most popular app to create various system shortcuts. With a simple slide of hand, you are able to start Camera, to turn on
Bluetooth or radio and many other great things. Another notable app is the BiteSMS. This tweak has become quite famous once millions of users download it from Cydia download. It will bring you multiple features for the SMS option. You will be able to change the background, the keyboard or to assign photos to contacts to show them when typing or receiving a message. I am convinced that you are all familiar with the SBSettings tweaks. This is one of the most popular Cydia tweaks and it offers you access to the most important features such as the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or 3G without exiting the running application.

Iphone 5

The Categories tweak is very useful because it allows you to create categories of apps and tweaks installed and displayed on the Springboard of your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. It will be easier to look up for a certain app once you have arranged them, as you want and need. If you want to have access to the most important Cydia tweaks and apps, you should visit the BigBoss source right away. You will find many other amazing Cydia apps if you browse this source.

App Review: Hurricane Tracking for the iPhone

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Back when I lived in Florida, hurricanes were a yearly concern. Now that I am in Texas, they don’t play such a prominent role but they are still something to think about. Hurricane is an app designed to try to take away some of that concern.

I have actually had this app for well over 4 months, but I wanted to wait till the middle of hurricane season so I could see it in action. And let me say, the app generally performs very well. The app starts off with a screen where you can select Atlantic or Pacific hurricanes, and then gives you a list of the active storms as well as completed storms. When you click on a storm, you can look at the radar loop, projected path, tracking map, satellite images, and bulletins. All of this allows you to try to keep on top of these potentially devastating storms.

In addition, you can look a historical storms (from last year going back to 1851) and specific data feeds (like satellite images) from a variety of sources. For people with little hurricane experience, you can also see how hurricanes are rated on the Saffir-Simpson scale. While it certainly isn’t necessary, it would be nice to have some sort of hurricane checklist included (what to do, or not do, when one hits, for example).

Unfortunately, the app doesn’t provide any customization options. You can specify your location and only look at storms that may hit you. You can’t mark a storm as a “favorite” to keep close tabs on it. You don’t get push notifications when a storm status changes (or a new alert is released). These are all kinds of features that would put this app into an elite category. In addition, there is no ability to sort or search the historical data. I can’t look for all historical Cat 5 storms that have him Florida, for example. If I am curious about how frequently a specific area has been hit, I can’t only include storm that hit Texas. The historical data is nice, but in the present form it is a little unwieldy unless you know exactly what you are looking for.

Conclusion

As hurricane tracking apps go, this is a nicely designed app, giving you a lot of the pertinent and critical information. If you live in a hurricane prone area, it could certainly be worth the $3.99 price. However, the app is missing some features that would move it into a premium app category (which, I should note, I haven’t seen in other hurricane apps as well).

Cydia Store has proved its utility during time with all those amazing tweaks and apps available for download. This platform encompasses millions of great tweaks, which are meant to make all iDevices powerful and stronger while enhancing their functionality. As a primordial condition to get access over this great platform of tweaks and apps is to jailbreak your iOS device. Fortunately, there are many jailbreak tools that can help you to perform this process.

Back to out things, I want to show you some important Cydia apps for iOS in 2012. Some of you might be familiar with these must have Cydia apps because some of them are only updated to be compatible with iOS 6. With the only desire of making you aware of some great Cydia tweaks for iOS 6, I will try to gather the most important ones in a Must Have Cydia Apps for iOS in 2012 list.
SBSettings1. The first Cydia tweak I want to mention here is the Winterboard. This already famous tweak gives us the possibility of changing themes, icons and backgrounds, as we want. Throughout Cydia store, you can find hundreds of impressive themes that can transform your dull device in something pretty interesting.

2. Secondly, the SBSettings is quite useful if you want make shortcuts for other apps and settings right in the Notification Center. For example, you can turn on/off Wi-Fi easily if you place this respective shortcut. The same thing goes with Bluetooth or the level of brightness.

3. The Activation is one of the must have Cydia apps for iOS 6 if you ask me. This simple but in the same time, amazing tweak allows you to assign various gestures in order to launch certain apps or to change settings. It is easier and more convenient for those of you who hate browsing throughout their devices for a particular feature.

4. Five Icon Dock has been around for so long but it is still useful especially for those of you who still do not own an iPhone 5 yet. This simple app will turn your Four Icon Dock in a Five Icon Dock. This means more room for you to place your favorite apps and tweaks for a quicker access and use.

5. In the last part, I want to mention one of the best iOS 6 apps in 2012 for iPhone, iPod and iPad. The SwipeSelection tweak brings you new ways of editing, changing, copying and moving text from one way to another, while you move the cursor by swiping on the keyboard. I know that it will turn out to be quite useful for those of you who send larger mails or who read e-books.

If you want to have a stronger iPhone, iPad or iPod, you need to know where to look for the best Cydia apps for iOS 6. This short must have Cydia apps list for iOS 6 contains only several notable apps. The Cydia store is a platform with millions of tweaks waiting for you to download them.