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Christmas shoppers, are you starting to panic yet? There's officially less than two weeks before the big day, and time is running out to buy your favorite gifts online and have them delivered to the comfort of your home in time for Santa Claus to take all the credit for your good taste. Don't worry, it will all work out -- take a breath, catch up on what you missed on Wednesday, and then you can start panicking!
As widely rumored, Spotify held a press conference on Wednesday to reveal a new mobile music streaming initiative that's absolutely free to end users and doesn't even require an app update. Of course, with many things that are free, there is one somewhat large catch, in that freebie users will have to tolerate their music being shuffled on iOS and Android devices -- it's not quite as simple as tapping around to listen to the music you want to hear. But for those of us too cheap to pay $9.99 per month for unlimited Premium service, it's better than nothing -- and certainly better than the previous radio-only option for mobile.
Following a brief stop at Adobe Labs as a public beta last month, Lightroom 5.3 is now available as a final release on Adobe.com as well as through the software updater in Lightroom 5. Coupled with the release of Adobe Camera Raw 8.3, the update adds additional camera and lens support while squashing a long list of bugs ranging from updating catalogs from previous versions to Auto White Balance settings not being saved to Snapshots and a black border appearing around exported slideshows. But you're probably already downloading it as we write this...
Americans may be criticizing the way Obama's health care website works (or rather, doesn't), but The New York Times dug up a fascinating nugget recently that shows exactly why such problems exist. Employees for U.S. government-owned The Federal Register still receive executive orders, proclamations and other notices on 3.5-inch floppy disks -- the very same plastic widgets that Apple CEO Steve Jobs effectively marked for death with the release of the original iMac way back in 1998. The report claims The Federal Register continues using the obsolete technology "because the wheels of government grind ever slowly," noting that Federal agencies are allowed to submit documents on either CD-ROM or floppy disk, but not flash drives or SD cards.
Amidst rumors that it may soon turn direct messaging into a standalone service, Twitter updated its mobile apps to version 6.0 this week, adding the ability for users to send photos in direct messages -- just like popular messaging apps such as iMessage, BlackBerry Messenger and others can do. That's as far as Twitter has taken things right now, but the update also includes the ability to swipe from the Home timeline to the Discover timeline in order to find trends, popular tweets and just see what's happening with those you follow. Twitter 6.0 is now available from the App Store.
Bloomberg is reporting that Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher's AllThingsD empire will be landing at NBCUniversal when their deal with News Corp. ends later this month. Although the move will include the current staff as well as the duo's popular tech conference, one thing that won't make the transition is the AllThingsD brand, which sources claim the pair was unable to wrestle away from its current owners under terms that were satisfactory to them. The new venture is expected to be formally announced on January 2.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter