Smart Converter (free) provides a way to drag, drop and convert a wide range of media from one format to another. You drop a file, choose an output format and click to convert to popular device formats from iOS and Apple TV to Sony, Samsung, Android and more.
The price is, of course, right for anyone who doesn’t want to mess with adjusting presets or export settings as you would with QuickTime and Handbrake. The simple workflow is quite appealing and the app got the job done for all the formats I tested it with (flv, m4v, avi, mkv).
I did not experience any crashes or have any problems similar to some of the cranky reviews left at iTunes. I tested on a recent-generation Mac mini with tons of memory and the latest OS update, which may have had something to do with it. Importantly, the quality of the output matched the quality of input and I was satisfied by all the processed files.
The app is pretty bare bones, with an uncustomizable interface and a few assumptions (like the one that decided on my behalf that I’d want to add the converted file to iTunes) that didn’t exactly win my heart. Nor did the integrated ads that showed up with each conversion really appeal to me. And yet, Smart Converter provided a pretty good little workhorse for doing a job without much fuss and bother — one you should consider downloading.
In the end, Smart Converter proved to be a handy tool. Yes, it has room to grow and I’d have rather paid a little for the app with a few better preferences and nicer design, but even exactly as is, it was a nice find.
It’s been expected, but now anAppleTV update has arrived. The new 6.0 firmware adds support foriTunes Radio and purchases from the iTunes Music Store. In addition, updating adds podcast syncing, viewing of shared photo streams and AirPlay from iCloud. This update gets the AppleTV feature parity with iOS 7.
The new firmware also upgrades the AirPlay wireless streaming feature, so you can now play iTunes store purchased content on other AppleTVs.
The download and install was very slow for me today, likely because Apple servers are slammed with all the other updates people are doing with new iPhones and in upgrading devices to iOS 7.
Apple has been enhancing the AppleTV software recently, and has added new apps for Vevo, The Weather Channel, the Disney Channel and other content sources.
To get the update on your AppleTV, go to Settings > General and select ‘Update Software’. This update works on the second and third generation Apple TVs.
ZDNet’s Jason O’Grady attended the Philadelphia Eagles home opener at Lincoln Financial Field last weekend and was delighted to find a free WiFi network that can fulfill the bandwidth requirements of 45,000 simultaneous users (the stadium holds 69,000 fans). A dozen NFL stadiums are currently outfitted with WiFi, although NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wants all stadiums to be equipped so that fans can use their smartphones and tablets for fantasy football and social networking.
According to a press release sent out by the Eagles last week, here’s what fans can do with their iPads and the free Eagles iPad app:
Fans will have the ability to stream the popular NFL Red Zone Channel live through the app, allowing them to watch action from around the league.
Live camera view of the player tunnel prior to the game, which will give fans a unique glimpse of the players pumping each other up right before they run onto the field.
Live stream of the video board, allowing the user to get a better view of the replays that are displayed on the big screen.
A dynamic stats channel that provides fans with updates from the Eagles game, as well as information and statistics from around the NFL.
Social media hub, which will make it easy to log on to various popular social platforms including Facebook, Twitter and others without having to leave the Eagles app.
Many of the original features remain, including news, game previews, video clips, photo galleries, fantasy stats, rosters, depth charts, bios, stadium information and much more.
Some Major League Baseball parks have also made free WiFi available for fans, including four of the five teams in the NL West — San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Arizona. My favorite ballpark, Denver’s Coors Field, doesn’t provide WiFi — between that and the Rockies’ season record, it’s been a lousy year for baseball.
White told the WSJ that Instagram should be ready to start selling ads next year. Meanwhile, the company with the mission of capturing and sharing the world’s moments needs to determine a way to make those ads visible to its 150 million-plus users without risking a mass exodus. Last December, a change in Instagram’s terms of service carried the implication that user content — your photos and short videos — could be transformed into ads, and many users pushed back by dropping the service. However, a gain of 128 million monthly active users since Facebook bought the company has more than outweighed the few who left in a huff.
The challenge to Instagram is to make the service valuable to advertisers without making users — who are used to an ad-free Instagram — irate. Whether or not that challenge is met by the company remains to be seen.
Apple’s getting into the “Back to School” vibe with a new look and feel — and content — for the Apple and Education website pages.
A “Real Stories” page provides video interviews with a number of educators from various grade levels on how they’re using Macs and iPads to reinvent learning. There are also new pages that show how the many built-in accessibility features of both iOS and OS X are being used in special education.
The Mac in Education pages also pay homage to the fact that the Mac has been used in classrooms since those first heady days back in 1984.
The email that arrives (see image above) looks strikingly similar to those that are sent by Apple, using the Apple logo and similar type styles. As usual with phishing campaigns, this deal sounds too good to be true — all you need to do is click a download link or open an attached file, and voila! A $200 gift card is yours! Well, not really — instead, performing either task installs Java-based malware that can pull personal data from your computer. That data could be enough to make you the victim of identity theft if you fall for this deadly hook.
Apple never just randomly sends out gift cards. In cases where the company has provided gift cards to customers, they’re in much smaller amounts and done for some specific reason — like a rebate on a previous purchase. Apple also never displays a link to an external site or requires the download of an attachment. Another tell — Apple never refers to customers as “clients.”
So, if you get an email in the next couple of months telling you about a $200 Apple Store gift card that you’ve magically received, dump it immediately. Do not click the link, and most assuredly do not look at the attachment. Be sure to pass this warning along to your less tech-savvy friends who might not read TUAW.
Isis Mobile Wallet users need an NFC-enabled smartphone and a SIM-based secure element to be considered “Isis Ready.” Many Samsung Android devices are equipped for NFC, both for local file sharing and payments. At this point, NFC technology isn’t built into iPhones, nor has there been any word from Apple on whether the technology will be in future devices. Nevertheless, the joint venture notes that support for iPhone, Windows Phone and BlackBerry 10 will be introduced this year.
Isis trials were held in Austin, Texas and Salt Lake City, Utah, and the Isis group found that the users were quite happy with paying from their smartphones. The trial showed that active users used their devices for payment more than 10 times per month, acceptance of contactless payment quadrupled to almost 4,000 locations in the two cities, and that 80 percent of the transactions took place at places like fast-food restaurants, coffee shops, gas stations, and convenience and grocery stores.
If Apple doesn’t embrace NFC with the next generation of iPhones, it’s likely that an NFC-enabled case will be required in order to use Isis.