Should you rate App Store apps when prompted?

I can’t even count the number of times that I’ve opened an app that I want to use to do something quick, only to immediately be nagged by the pop up prompting for my feedback. There are even times when I try to put a star rating and add in some comments, but most of the time I find it troublesome, and I’m not the only with who feels that way.

Daring Fireball’s John Gruber has his solution, though I’m pretty sure it’s something that app developers won’t like.

Instapaper founder Marco Arment has also chimed in on this issue.

I’m personally hoping that Apple will revamp the app review mechanism and offer something that isn’t so jarring to the user.

Attention Developers and Publishers: Apple is Not Your Publicist

But in not recommending the modal prompt, this still leaves the problem open. How do developers solicit reviews from users without bothering them? In reality, they can’t. This is the Internet and its denizens want what they want the way they want it without any hindrance. To them, review reminders are the pop-up ads of the mobile era, a problem in need of a solution no one has yet to provide. Sure, we hate having to take the one second is requires to dismiss a dialog box, but in all the blog posts whining about this issue, no one has suggested any real ways in which developers can fix it.

ISP turns on porn filter by default

I personally advocate net neutrality, though I can understand that the concept will present its own set of challenges.

This specific report we’re discussing isn’t too a big deal, since the porn filter is just turned on by default and users have the option of disabling it, but how many users actually bother to tweak the default settings of their devices?

Maybe next we’ll see ISPs block websites of its competitors, preventing you from checking out competing packages.

New ISP customers will have porn filters turned on automatically

New customers, says BT in a press release, “[will] have to make a choice on whether or not to activate the parental controls when setting up their internet connection for the first time,” adding that “the option of having the controls implemented is pre-selected.” You’ll either have to confirm that you’re happy with the pre-selected protection level, or actively choose to change the settings, which BT is keen to remind you might expose you to “content potentially unsuitable for children.”

Zuli’s Smartplugs turns your phone into a proximity-based switch in your home

Darrell Etherington reports for TechCrunch on Zuli’s Smartplugs that turn your phone into a proximity-based switch for your home appliances.

Zuli’s Smartplugs can detect when you walk into or out of a room, and trigger customized actions based on what you want them to do in either case. That means you could have your computer, desk lamp, space heater and more turn on when you enter your office, for instance, or have everything but the radio turn off when you leave home for the evening. The Zuli Smartplugs also work in tandem with one another, creating a Bluetooth mesh network to let them communicate with each other. A minimum of three outlets is required for accurate location tracking within a home, according to Zuli, but even without that the gadget can still be used to monitor your energy usage and manage smart scheduling and instant control of power outlets.

The is what iBeacons for the home would be like.

Like the idea? The starter kit of a three plug set costs $135 and it will be available if the Kickstarter meets its goal of $150,000.

Google might ditch Intel and design its own chips

The Verge reports that Google might be designing its own processor chips.

Seems like Google is learning the importance of being in control of the production processor chip. Apple has control over the its chip architecture and iOS structure, hence it is able to optimise hardware and software for best performance.

Loop case turns your phone into a swipe-able credit card reports on Loop, a phone case that turns your phone into a credit card.

“Loop’s technology transmits the same magnetic signal wirelessly, emulating a swipe without any change to the merchant’s card reader,” says Loop CEO Will Gravis.

Like Coin, Loop also comes with a card reader — they call it a “fob” — that plugs into the headphone jack of a smartphone. You swipe your card through the reader to load it into the Loop app. But while the Coin card then uses Bluetooth from the app to transmit data to the separate card device, the Loop app transmits its data straight through the phone case.

Good idea, but I still favour a solution that is built into the phone rather than a third party one.

Twitter 3.0 for Mac brings in-line photos, detailed tweets and full profiles

Engadget reports that Twitter has released version 3.0 of its Mac app.

There are some of the new features:

  • In-line photo preview for supported services
  • Expanded tweets with full conversations
  • Full user profiles with more emphasis on visuals

While the second and third are not completely new to Twitter, they are new on the Mac app.

In case you missed it: Viber Out, Instagram Direct, Spotify on mobile for free, and more

U.S. Government may never know how much Edward Snowden stole

Considering how much the NSA is currently spying, it’s a litle ironic that it wasn’t able to track Edward Snowden tightly enough when he was working for them to fully understand the amount of data taken by him.

It’s been said that Snowden passed his entire trove of data to a small group of journalists, and you can be sure those journalists are in the crosshairs of governments around the world, as we’ve already seen before this.

Officials Say U.S. May Never Know Extent of Snowden’s Leaks

Investigators remain in the dark about the extent of the data breach partly because the N.S.A. facility in Hawaii where Mr. Snowden worked — unlike other N.S.A. facilities — was not equipped with up-to-date software that allows the spy agency to monitor which corners of its vast computer landscape its employees are navigating at any given time.

Six months since the investigation began, officials said Mr. Snowden had further covered his tracks by logging into classified systems using the passwords of other security agency employees, as well as by hacking firewalls installed to limit access to certain parts of the system.

Uber releases new Uber Lost update

Matthew Panzarino reports for TechCrunch about Uber’s new version of Uber Lost.

The system is nothing complex, it just provides you with a simple list of your recent trips, with beginning and end points to help you figure out where you were when you lost the item. Each ride entry contains the driver’s name and phone number so you can ring them up directly to ask them if they’ve found your item.

With the Uber system you’re presented with a way to call the driver back directly, rather than wading through the call center of a cab company and trying to cross reference time, location and cab availability.

Twitter vulnerability lets apps send DMs without user permission

The Next Web reports on a Twitter vulnerability that lets apps send direct messages without user permission.

Nevertheless, by using the command “d twitter_username message” the app can send a DM to anyone you can normally send DMs to. The app never has to check with the user if he or she is okay with sending a DM.

It’s worth noting that some apps block this functionality. Buffer, for example, gives the following error: “Sorry, direct messages can’t currently be sent through Buffer.” Other apps we tested, however, sent DMs without a hitch.

This means that third party apps can spam direct messages through your account without you knowing, unless you check your messages inbox.

It is a security concern because apps can exploit this for phishing.