Loop case turns your phone into a swipe-able credit card

WIRED.com 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.

What Medium is for

Noah Nelson explains what Medium is for after John Gruber wrote that he does’t get what Medium is.

Sometimes, however, it doesn’t pay to view the world through a macro lens. The forest can be missed for the kerning on the font that spells out t-r-e-e-s. This is what I believe is happening here with those who look at Medium and go “Huh?”

Ev Williams lays the case for Medium out succinctly. He calls it “a new publishing platform.” That’s pretty succinct right there. Williams elaborates on the point this way:

One of our goals was to make it dead simple to write and present a beautiful story without having to be a designer or programmer. We also sought to help great ideas quickly find the right audience — no matter who they came from.

Medium is beautiful. If you haven’t seen it, go take a look now. It is so gorgeous that I feel compelled to write and post on Medium. It is immensely satisfying to simply to see my writing appear on Medium.

Facebook’s News Feed update hurting social media marketers

Business Insider reports that Facebook’s News Feed algorithm update is hurting social media marketers.

When the change went down, lots of people assumed it would be terrible news for publishers that write a lot about “memes” and publish other “viral” content – publishers like Buzzfeed and Upworthy. Then AllThingsD’s Mike Isaac reported that the Facebook executive in charge of News Feed, Chris Cox, has a personal distaste for those two sites. It seemed like their doom was imminent.

However, that was not the case.

A week or so after Facebook made its changes, one social media marketing agency, Ignite, analyzed 689 posts from 21 brand pages. Ignite found that in just one week, the number of people who saw posts from those brands declined by 44% on average, “with some pages seeing declines as high as 88%.”

Seems like Facebook doesn’t want companies to look for social media marketers to promote their brands on Facebook. Instead, they want businesses to use Facebook ads and pay to promote their posts.

Social media marketers will not be going out of business. They just need to include the cost of Facebook ads and post promotion in their services.

Appsfire kills its app discovery service

TechCrunch reports that Appsfire will cease to be an app discovery service within a week. It will focus on mobile ad technologies instead.

Says CEO Ouriel Ohayon, it’s “something we should have done a while ago.”

But the company’s data base of App Store data, called “App Genome,” is not going to waste. It will power AppsFire’s ad engine instead. This means AppsFire will not serve ads for those apps already installed on a user’s device. “So what we did with the app was totally useful to what we’ll do now,” Ohayon tells us. “It’s more than useful. It is what we believe will make us unique.”

Technically, it will still be helping users discover apps through ads.

72% of prospective tablet buyers want an iPad

Apple Insider reports on a November study by Changewave showing 72% of respondents want an iPad within the next three months.

Apple’s 72 percent share represents a 17-point jump since the agency’s August survey, conducted before the introduction of Apple’s new iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display.

All other tablet brands garnered only single-digit shares.