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Hard to believe that our U.S. readers will be face down in a plate of turkey, stuffing and all the fixin’s only a week from now, but November is flying by like a freight truck out of control, so what can you do? Meanwhile, the technology world is keeping busy with new advances such as Facebook-to-Facebook calling via the Skype app for Mac, Google Music is official, DebtMinder goes supersized, Apple pulls its one and only iOS game and RIM looks to be ready to fire sale its BlackBerry PlayBook -- at least in Canada. Here’s all the news for Thursday, November 17, 2011.
Ready for a little more Skype-Facebook integration in your life? We sure hope so, because Skype’s The Big Blog announced today that a new beta version 5.4 for Mac has just hit the website, offering the ability to conduct a Facebook-to-Facebook call from within Skype -- no browser required. The move continues the Skype/Facebook love-fest that began when Facebook video calling powered by Skype was first launched in July. Simply install the Skype 5.4 for Mac beta (you’ll have to scroll down the page a bit, which first tries to offer you an old version 5.3), connect your Skype and Facebook accounts, select a Facebook friend and hit the video call button. For some of us, that will be just another reason to avoid Facebook (and now, maybe Skype in general), but for you social butterflies, you’ll be floating like you’re in heaven.
Now here’s an odd one for you: Apparently, Apple is getting out of the iOS game business. Didn’t know they were in it to begin with? That’s probably because you never bought Texas Hold ‘Em, the company’s only title for the platform, which began life in late 2006 on the iPod and then moved into the App Store when it debuted in 2008. According to MacRumors, the $4.99 app hasn’t been updated since September, 2008, and attempts to find the title in the App Store throw up the familiar “The item you’ve requested is not currently available in the US store” error. RIP, Texas Hold ‘Em…
Remember Music Beta by Google? (Insert sound of crickets here.) Well, it’s finally out of beta and officially know as simply Google Music, the search giant announced at a press conference on Wednesday night. The good news is the service remains free and now the doors are opened to anyone willing to install the desktop client and then push upwards of 20,000 songs onto Google’s servers. Although the mobile client is Android only (at least for now), the service has a rather nice HTML5 mobile web version which works quite well on your iOS devices. New to Google Music is the ability to buy music via the Android Market and share with friends on Google+, and the company is encouraging new artists to sign up for the fun as well for a mere $25 one-time payment, then a 70/30 split split on the sales.
return7 is back with another update for their DebtMinder app, and this time it’s gone supersized! DebtMinder version 1.1.0 is now a universal build, which means it works great on your iPad as well as the iPhone or iPod touch. The new version also resolves some iOS 5 display issues, adds a per-account amortization chart to the Payment Plan and squashed a few other little bugs here and there. The $1.99 app works in tandem with BillMinder to take charge of your debt quickly while keeping your bills paid on time -- and let’s face it, we could all use that in our lives, especially with the holidays fast approaching. DebtMinder 1.1.0 is a free update for existing users and ready for your downloading pleasure in the App Store.
Canadians, start your (fire sale) engines! According to AppleInsider, Research in Motion’s beleaguered BlackBerry PlayBook is gearing up for a holiday fire sale up north, with the 16GB as low as $199, 32GB for $299 and the 64GB model for $399 -- all cheaper than what the tablet debuted at just a few short months ago. It goes without saying that sales of the device have been disappointing, both here in the U.S. and in every other country the PlayBook has landed where Apple’s iPad came before it. The sale corresponds with Black Friday next week, so we’re thinking Americans may also have a crack at the crazy new low price, which runs until December 1 but is rumored to become permanent come December 18.
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