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Whew! That was quite a Tuesday. While most of us got pretty much what we expected out of Apple’s special event in San Francisco yesterday, few of us probably anticipated that OS X Mavericks would actually be released the same day, yet alone all of the new iLife and iWork apps. But there was plenty of other news happening while you were taxing your broadband connection to download all those updates, so here’s a small sampling…
Although T-Mobile US didn’t get any lip service during Apple’s special event on Tuesday, the scrappy underdog carrier is finally part of the iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular lineup along with AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Sprint. According to TmoNews, the carrier is throwing in 200MB of free data each month, which makes rival AT&T look pretty bad by comparison for charging $14.99 per month for a mere 250MB. T-Mo’s paid 2.5GB per month for $30 is a little better than Verizon but not quite as attractive as AT&T, while the larger 4.5GB per month for $40 pretty much beats all rivals. Just make sure to buy the iPad Air or iPad mini with Retina Display with the T-Mobile data option.
Now here’s a good reason to become an Amazon Prime member if ever there were one: According to DealNews, Amazon quietly increased the minimum order size for its free Super Saver Shipping, bumping it from a $25 threshold to $35, likely due to the ever-increasing costs of fuel, packaging and fulfillment. To their credit, Amazon notes “this is the first time in more than a decade” that the e-tailer has altered the minimum order to qualify for free shipping within the U.S., but that isn’t likely to take the sting out of paying an extra $10 just to avoid shipping costs.
The Google Drive Blog announced Tuesday that both Gmail and Google Docs how offer handwriting input for those times when drawing words is preferable to typing them. Users will need to first enable the input tools, then they’ll have access to more than 20 languages for Google Docs and over 50 languages for Gmail, including more complicated options such as Chinese, Japanese, Hindi and Russian. The move follows Google’s inclusion of handwriting support for its mobile search, Google Translate and Chrome browser in recent weeks.
The folks at Plex announced Tuesday that they’ve pushed out a “massive” update to the browser-based bookmarklet that allows users to queue up videos from all across the web. In addition to “a cleaner, more modern look,” users can now recommend videos to others rather than add it to your own queue. Last but not least, the update allows users to “fling” videos to any open Plex app on the network for immediate viewing — perfect for those times when you’d rather watch a video on the big screen using a Roku rather than on a laptop or mobile device. And for what it’s worth, it seems to be working better on websites that previously wouldn’t work.
Nearly as quickly as it left over the weekend, it’s back again. ZDNET reported Tuesday that Microsoft has re-enabled the Windows RT 8.1 update for Surface RT tablets, and users can now download and install without fear of bricking their device. First released on Oct. 17, the update was yanked two days later following reports that “one out of every 1,000” Surface RT 8.1 installations failed, leaving the tablet in a state where it couldn’t boot up. Microsoft quickly delivered a recovery image for afflicted users, and now all appears to be right with the world again now that the actual update is back.
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