Dropbox Announces Forthcoming Integration with Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides

Ryan Christoffel:

Today on its blog, Dropbox announced an exciting piece of news: the company will soon add integrations between its service and Google’s G Suite. The most prominent of those new ties involves Google Docs:

Dropbox users will be able to create, open, edit, save, and share Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides directly from Dropbox. And when you’re working in Dropbox, you’ll be able to save Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides to your Dropbox account.

Considering how much effort Dropbox has poured into building its own Google Docs competitor in Dropbox Paper, it’s surprising to see the company embrace the competition wholeheartedly with a full-fledged integration like this. It’s certainly good news for Dropbox users though, as Google Docs has long been the gold standard of web-based, collaborative document services.

Today’s announcement post is unfortunately short on details of exactly when this integration will launch (besides saying “later this year”), or what it will look like. It’s unknown, for instance, if the change will primarily impact Dropbox on the web, or if Dropbox’s mobile app will be also optimized to do things like preview Google files and open them in their appropriate iOS apps for editing; one would hope mobile will reap the benefits too. The solid implementation of Dropbox’s existing support for Microsoft Office gives hope that the service will play just as nicely with Google when the time comes.

Source: https://www.macstories.net/linked/dropbox-announces-forthcoming-integration-with-google-docs-sheets-and-slides/

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Vero is just bad

Bryan Menegus, writing for Gizmodo:

Vero was supposed to be the better Instagram. It was supposed to save social media. It was supposed to do loads of things that other blip-on-the-radar social networks like Ello and Peach promised. Turns out Vero doesn’t do very much of anything, and its CEO is genuinely awful.

At first blush Vero is a sort of night-mode Instagram that doesn’t force crop photos, and it has a whole bunch of ancillary features for sorting various interests its users might have. All of that might be OK, if the app functioned properly. Since downloading Vero early this week, I’ve been unable to upload any photos. Uploading photos to a photo-sharing app is, one assumes, a core feature, but I could be missing something. Nothing is impossible.

Search is broken, too. The app reports a “server side time-out” repeatedly while open, and when blessedly closed it nags me with push notifications to “complete my collections,” another feature that refuses to work at all.

[…]

What are a few technical difficulties in exchange for the future of authentic online connection? As it happens, just enough time to discover the team behind Vero is headed by a notorious violator of labor rights. Per the Daily Beast’s Taylor Lorenz:

Before beginning his social media escapades, [CEO Ayman] Hariri served as deputy chief executive officer and vice chairman of his family’s now defunct construction company, Saudi Oger, a business that was the source of most of his family’s wealth […] under Hariri’s watch over 31,000 complaints of non payment for wages were filed against the Saudi Oger.

The company was so negligent that in some cases the Saudi Arabian government had to step in and provide food and basic living supplies to workers spurned by the company.

The company shut down last July, leaving thousands of its workers unpaid.

Just stay away from even trying Vero, you’ll be so much happier for not experiencing it.

Source: https://gizmodo.com/we-regret-to-inform-you-that-vero-is-bad-1823389901

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Apple security changes will end iTunes Store access for 1st gen Apple TV, Windows XP/Vista

Apple:

Starting May 25, Apple will introduce security changes that prevent older Windows PCs from using the iTunes Store. If you have Windows XP or Vista PC, your computer is no longer supported by Microsoft, and you’re not able to use the latest version of iTunes.

[…]

Also beginning May 25, security changes will prevent Apple TV (1st generation) from using the iTunes Store. This device is an obsolete Apple product and will not be updated to support these security changes.

The 1st generation Apple TV was the silver one that looked close to a Mac Mini. It’s always been the more limited of the Apple TV models.

Source: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208104

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BlackBerry will remove paid apps from the BlackBerry World app store on April 1st

Nick Statt, writing for The Verge:

BlackBerry Limited, the company that manages BlackBerry brand licensing and software, today began informing some app developers that it will forcibly remove paid software from the BlackBerry World app store on April 1st. BlackBerry says the marketplace will become a “free-only storefront,” and that “all purchasing mechanisms will be disabled.”

Apps can still be monetized, the company says, but payment backends must be supported by the developer and built into the app itself. Refunds for paid content will be supported until April 30th, 2018, the note confirms, and customers will retain access to paid content even after it is removed. If a developer chooses not to transition an app from paid to free, the company will remove it by March 31st.

Effectively, BlackBerry is announcing the end of BlackBerry World here, as developer Steve Troughton-Smith notes on Twitter, where he posted the notice from the company and called it the final “nail in the coffin” for BB10, BlackBerry Limited’s final custom mobile operating system before it transitioned to Android in 2015.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2018/2/27/17060092/blackberry-world-app-store-paid-apps-discontinuation-removal-april-1

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Amazon to acquire Ring video doorbell maker open the door in home security market

GeekWire:

Amazon has reached an agreement to acquire Ring, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based maker of video cameras, doorbells and other smart home technologies, GeekWire has learned. The companies are expected to announce the acquisition this afternoon.

The surprise acquisition marks the latest move by the Seattle-based tech giant into the smart home technology market. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Reuters puts the deal at more than $1 billion. Amazon is expected to treat the Ring deal similar to past acquisitions such as Zappos, Twitch and Audible, pursuing product and feature integrations where appropriate but maintaining the Ring brand and largely allowing the company to continue operating as it has in the past.

Source: https://www.geekwire.com/2018/amazon-acquire-ring-video-doorbell-maker-cracking-open-door-home-security-market/

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15 awesome tips and tricks to master Apple’s HomePod

HomePod is primarily a music playback machine. And it’s got Siri, which means it can do obvious things like set timers, take notes, and tell you what the weather is going to be tomorrow.

But it can do more.

It’s no Echo or Google Home in its flexibility, but HomePod has a few neat tricks up its… um…power cord.

Here are some of the things you might not know HomePod can do.

Source: https://www.macworld.com/article/3253953/home-tech/homepod-tips-tricks.html

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WatchKit Is a “Sweet Solution”

Marco Arment:

In the original 2007 iPhone introduction, Steve Jobs famously derided other smartphones at the time for running “baby” software and the “baby” internet. He was right.

Developers weren’t given access to make native apps until the iPhone’s second year. Before the native development kit was ready, Apple tried to pass off web apps as a “sweet solution” for third-party apps, but nobody was fooled.

Apple wasn’t using web apps for their own built-in iPhone apps — they were using native code and frameworks to make real apps. Developers like me did our best with web apps, but they sucked. We simply couldn’t make great apps without access to the real frameworks.

Apps were terrible, and didn’t take off, until we had access to the same native tools that Apple used.

[…]

The separation of Apple’s internally-used frameworks from WatchKit has two huge problems:

  • Apple doesn’t feel WatchKit’s limitations. Since they’re not using it, it’s too easy for Apple’s developers and evangelists to forget or never know what’s possible, what isn’t, what’s easy, and what’s hard. The bugs and limitations I report to them are usually met with shock and surprise — they have no idea.
  • WatchKit is buggy as hell. Since Apple doesn’t use it and there are relatively few third-party Watch apps of value, WatchKit is far more buggy, and seems far less tested, than any other Apple API I’ve ever worked with.

Apple will never have a very good idea of where WatchKit needs to improve if they’re not using it. But this sweet solution is the only choice anyone else has to make Apple Watch apps.

WatchKit only lets us create “baby” apps. That’s all it will ever let us create.

[…]

One solution is for Apple to reimplement all of its own Watch apps with WatchKit instead of their internal frameworks, which will force them to fix WatchKit’s many bugs and dramatically expand it.

The much better solution, and the one I hope they take, is for Apple to expose its real watchOS UI and media frameworks to third-party developers, as it has done on iOS.

Source: https://marco.org/2018/02/26/watchkit-baby-apps

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You’re Probably Underestimating What You Can Do With Your iPhone Home Screen

Michael Lopp:

I wrote this short piece on the current state of apps on my iPhone. People started sharing their home screens and I was blown away. The full list can be seen here. Here are a few that I ❤.

Source: http://randsinrepose.com/archives/youre-probably-underestimating-what-you-can-do-with-your-iphone-home-screen/

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Jeffrey Zeldman: “we need design that is faster and design that is slower”

Jeffrey Zeldman:

When I say  “we,” I mean our whole industry, when I say “our whole industry,” I mean design, and when I say “design,” I mean: web design and development; digital product design; digital user experience design; digital user interface design; digital interaction design; “mobile” design (which is the same thing as web design and development); graphic design as part of UX, UI, interactive, digital, and web design; publishing and editorial design; and other  design practices specifically empowered by the internet and digital technology and built largely around reading and interacting with words on screens.

A mouthful, isn’t it? Some people mean all the above when they say “UX.” I generally mean all the above when I say “design” and call myself a designer.

I exclude from the category, for this specific discussion, tactile, conversational, and passive design powered by the internet of things. Not because those practices are uninteresting or unimportant—on the contrary, they are fascinating, exciting, and fraught with critical ethical questions—but because they are not specifically screen- and reading-driven. And it’s our screen- and reading-driven design that needs a reset.

Our whole industry, as I’ve just defined it, needs design that is faster for people who are trying to get things done, for they are our customers and should not be burdened by our institutional surrenders. We need design that is slower for people who are trying to comprehend, for they are our only chance of saving the world.

[..]

How can we tell which sites should be faster, and which should be slower? It’s easy. If the content is delivered for the good of the general public, the presentation must facilitate slow, careful reading. If it’s designed to promote our business or help a customer get an answer to her question, it must be designed for speed of relevancy.

Interesting points from Zeldman

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Cheesy Zucchini Bread

Love cheesy bread? But want a healthier alternative that still tastes good? This cheesy zucchini bread is both healthy and tasty.

What you need:

  • 3 medium zucchinis
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • crushed red pepper flakes for taste
  • 2 teaspoons Freshly Chopped Parsley
  • Marinara, for dipping

How to make it:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Using either a box grater or in a food processor, grate zucchini.
  3. Wring excess moisture out of zucchini.
  4. Place zucchini in a large bowl and add eggs, garlic, oregano, 1 cup mozzarella, Parmesan, and cornstarch.
  5. Stir until completely combined.
  6. Transfer “dough” to prepared baking sheet and pat into a crust.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes until golden.
  8. Sprinkle with remaining 2 cups mozzarella, salt and pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and parsley and bake until cheese is melted for another 8 to 10 minutes.
  9. Slice and serve with marinara.
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