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jimmylvo at 2015/01/27  17:58:00  

If you have an iOS device you're going to be treated to a full day of Super Bowl XLIX coverage thanks to NBC's new streaming promotion it's appropriately calling "Super Stream Sunday." NBC announced the plans today, which include the full live stream of the NFL's season finale along with pre-game coverage that will start at noon EST on Sunday, February 1st and finally wrap up some 11 hours later.

All the content will be streamed via the NBC Sports Live Extra app, which has had a bit of a rough go on the App Store since its debut back in 2012. The app holds an overall App Store rating of just two stars with over 20,000 ratings. Most reviewers have taken issue with spotty compatibility on various devices and issues with the ability to log in under certain cable providers. Thankfully, the Super Stream Sunday content will not require you to have a cable provider account, so it's a total free-for-all.


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jimmylvo at 2015/01/26  18:09:00  

Among other things, Apple's Second Coming of the Mobile Payment Solution was meant to fix our broke-ass credit card security system. Only, according to (unconfirmed) reports, it's doing exactly the opposite.

The Drop Labs blog has a good (if technical) post on how Apple Pay security does — and doesn't — work. In essence, the hardcore tech stuff for Apple Pay works just fine: no-one is breaking TouchID, stealing iPhones to pay for stuff, or hacking the NFC transmission protocol. Rather, the flaw lies in credit cards themselves.

According to Drop Labs, people are buying credit card numbers online, then loading those same numbers into Apple Pay, in essence making themselves a handy fake credit card, without going to the trouble of making a physical fake. And it's not a small problem: Drop Labs claims that for some issuers, fraud levels are as high as 6% (meaning $6 of every $100 spent is fraudulent). That's bad even when compared to regular credit cards, whose fraud rate averages out at under 1%.

This is possible because of two flaws with the system. Most problematically, it's easy for hackers to steal credit card numbers from stores, and then sell those numbers online. That's a fundamental problem with the credit-card system (and especially the stupid dumb magnetic stripes they all use), and something that Apple Pay is just an unwitting victim of.

The second issue, however, is specific to Apple Pay. In short, banks aren't taking the proper measures to ensure that the credit card owner is the one using the credit card in Apple Pay. According to Drop Labs, most banks use a phone call to authenticate when a card is loaded into Apple Pay, a method that's woefully inadequate.

While there's obviously not a lot that can be done about stolen credit card numbers (bar burning the whole broke-ass system to the ground, but that's a different conversation), banks *should* be able to fix their authetication system to make Apple Pay less fraud-ridden in the short run.

But what this data really tells us is that while credit cards and their stupid unencrypted magnetic strips continue to exist, no system — not even one that uses fingerprints and special super-secure chips — can prevent nefarious hackers buying hookers with your credit card. 

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jimmylvo at 2015/01/25  18:30:00  

You've probably heard the output of Avid's Pro Tools audio production software, even if you don't know what it's like -- it's virtually a staple of the music industry, and spawned now-famous (or infamous) effects like Auto Tune. There hasn't been a cheap way to try it for nearly 15 years, however, so it's not exactly practical for crafting songs in your basement. Thankfully, Avid's about to lower the barriers to entry. It recently unveiled Pro Tools First, a free version that lets you get your feet wet. It includes a "subset" of the usual features (you're mainly missing extra tracks, score editing and video playback), but it otherwise behaves like the paid version. You won't have to relearn anything if you hit the big time and start using the full software. 

The real catch (besides the lack of a release date) is Avid's dependence on after-the-fact purchases to make money. You'll get 21 audio effect plugins from the outset, but you'll have to pay for more. Also, First only lets you keep three projects in the cloud for free. While you can export finished tracks when you're done, you'll have to fork over cash if you want permanent offline copies or more online space. All the same, this junior version of Pro Tools may be enough if you want to spruce up your indie band's sound without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars to get started.

Pro Tools | First is a free version of Pro Tools available to everyone – coming soon. It includes a subset of Pro Tools features primarily aimed at musicians and audio enthusiasts that are new to Pro Tools, but it’s a lot deeper than that, so let’s take a look at what a free version of Pro Tools is really all about.

The big questions are why Avid is making a version of Pro Tools available to everyone for free, how does it compare with other versions of Pro Tools, and in reality what can and can’t you do with it creatively.


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jimmylvo at 2015/01/23  18:05:00  

As promised, Amazon is selling 1-year memberships to Amazon Prime for just $72 right now (down from $99) in celebration of the 72nd Annual Golden Globes. Plus, everyone can also stream the award-winning Transparent for free today, even without a membership. I've watched it, and can't think of a better way to spend a lazy Saturday.

New Amazon Prime members can lock in their $72 memberships the traditional way, but if you're already a member, you'll need to take advantage of a loophole. Just head over here to purchase a gift subscription for the promotional price, and then email it to yourself. Note that you'll have to cancel auto-renew on your existing Prime membership, and wait to redeem the gift email until after your existing membership expires, but that's a small inconvenience for a $27 savings.

It really can't be overstated how rare this deal is. Amazon Prime never goes on sale unless it's bundled with other products, so you'd be crazy to pass this up. We took a detailed look at the value proposition of Prime in the post below (spoiler alert: it's an amazing deal), so be sure to read that post if you're on the fence. [Amazon]

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jimmylvo at 2015/01/22  17:52:00  

31 years ago today, Apple's legendary "1984" commercial was broadcast nationally during Super Bowl XVIII. The advertisement, directed by the famed Ridley Scott, is to this day still considered one of the top commercials of all time. Over the years, the commercial won innumerable awards, including a 2003 Hall of Fame award from the World Federation of Advertisers.

In celebration of the commercial's 30-year anniversary, former Chiat/Day ad executive Steve Hayden sat down with Forbes last year and relayed a few interesting tidbits surrounding the creation of the advert. For example, Hayden noted that a memo from Steve Jobs regarding the tone of the commercial simply stated, "Stop the world in its tracks."

As an additional point of Apple trivia, the commercial, contrary to popular belief, did not only air once. Rather, the commercial in its entirety aired once nationally but actually debuted on December 31, 1983 on a TV station in Twin Falls, Idaho. The timing here was no accident. December 31 was chosen so that the advert could be eligible for that year's advertising awards. The location was also no accident as the nighttime viewing audience in Twin Falls, Idaho wasn't exactly large.

See the video


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