Reduce the chaos of your workflow with one simple app [Deals]

Computers were supposed to make work easier. But all the different kinds of documents, data and sources we work with on a daily basis add up. So it’s easy to wind up a tangled workflow that costs productivity. DEVONthink Pro is a one-stop organizational tool for all your data and documents. It stores information in […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

Cult of Mac

Find and eliminate duplicate files with this simple app

We’ve foolishly come to accept that living with duplicate files is just part of life, but that need not be the case. These pesky doubles make it difficult to organize albums, needlessly take up space on our hard drives, and diminish processing power—and Gemini 2 for Mac wipes them all out for $ 12.99…. Read the rest of this post here

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Mobile security firm says it defeated Strava’s privacy feature with simple geometry

Strava, Inc., the maker of a GPS-based fitness app that has faced backlash in recent days for a heat maps feature that shows US military locations, has encouraged users to read about their privacy options and update their settings if they’re that concerned.

But one of those key privacy options may not be very private at all, a mobile security firm says.

Strava’s Privacy Zones feature, which allows people to create a geofence around their home or office in order to block other users from seeing those locations, is rendered useless through simple geometry. That’s according to Wandera, a UK-based mobile security and data management firm that managed to figure out a Strava user’s exact end point after a run, even with Privacy Zones…

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The Verge – All Posts

This simple machine recycles plastic bottles into iPhone cases

Plastic bottles are one of the biggest sources of polution in the world, but a briliant inventor has created a brilliant solution to get rid of it: turn all the old plastic into iPhone cases. Phonebloks creator Dave Hakkens recently revealed his latest creation that uses CNC-milled tools to recycle milk bottles, coffee tops and […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

Cult of Mac

How a Simple App About a Frog Raised Chinese App Store Concerns

The Chinese iOS App Store is host to a popular app about a traveling frog. But, as innocent as it may sound, the app is raising some alarming questions about Apple’s App Store policies in China.

What Is Tabi Kaeru?

The app in question is actually a Japanese app called Tabi Kaeru, or “Travel Frog.” But while the app may have originated in Japan, Tabi Kaeru has become an unexpected viral hit in China. It’s so well-known, in fact, that the New York Times profiled the app’s rise to popularity earlier this month.

Tabi Kaeru’s premise is a simple one. It features a digital frog that requires regular care and feeding from its “owner,” but the main draw of the app is the frog’s random traveling. Periodically, the frog will leave on trips and bring back virtual souvenirs for users.

As the Times points out, the app appears to have struck a chord with Chinese mobile gamers. Its appeal lies in its ease of use, as well as its offering of digital companionship and vicarious adventuring. Tabi Kaeru has risen to the top of the App Store game category in China, and players regularly discuss the app on social media and post pictures of their frogs’ travels.

But what could have been an app success story is being undermined by something else entirely. The app’s sheer popularity is raising concerns that Apple doesn’t pay as much attention to its Chinese App Store as it does to platforms in other countries.

What’s the Problem?

While Apple is well-known for its strict app vetting, there’s evidence that this process isn’t nearly as stringent in China. According to research conducted by marketing firm China Channel, more than 30 knockoff apps mimicking Tabi Kaeru have been accepted into the Chinese App Store.

Worse still, the most successful fake app seems to have made a ton of money for its creators, TechCrunch reported. The fake app was accepted on Jan. 22 as a paid download, and a combination of factors allowed it to surge to the top of the paid-app category for about 10 hours before it was removed.

After Apple’s 30 percent cut, the fake app has probably made its developers around $ 100,000. That’s concerning since the authentic Tabi Kaeru is free.

The implication is that there’s a gap in Apple’s vetting process in China. This may be due to a lack of cultural understanding among U.S.-based App Store reviewers, but some developers have even speculated that the company is outsourcing its China App Store vetting process to a local third-party.

Of course, this is problematic for a number of reasons, but particularly because China is the world’s largest smartphone market — and it’s still rapidly growing. It’s also Apple’s single largest market for app revenue.

What Apple Is Doing About It

Shortly after TechCrunch broke the story, Apple reportedly removed all Tabi Kaeru knockoffs from the App Store.

The company didn’t respond to TechCrunch’s questions about the vetting process but confirmed that it had removed the apps and referred the publication to its App Store Review Guidelines — which prohibit plagiarization.

But the important question that remains is whether the Tabi Kaeru incident was a one-off issue, or if it just revealed a more widespread problem. Either way, for the sake of users and developers everywhere, Apple would do well to better police its own ecosystem — and hopefully, this simple app about a traveling frog has served as a wakeup call.

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