SmartThings iPhone-controlled Home

SmartThings Founder Sees a Limitless Internet of Things

Patrick Thibodeau:

SmartThings builds a hub that connects to a home router and to sensors that can detect states like motion, moisture, temperature, or presence, such as the comings and goings of pets. But more important, it’s building an open development platform for independent developers and device makers developing tools for the Internet of Things.

For instance, in SmartThings offices, a Sonos wireless speaker suddenly blares with the sound of a barking dog. It sounds very real. A developer created a connection between a door bell and a virtual guard dog that will bark if no one is home.

Why stop at a barking dog?

The wireless speaker can be linked to network enabled smoke detector, which can be used to help spread the alarm and even relay pre-recorded instructions to a child in an emergency.

The possibilities expand creatively.

You wake up, walk into kitchen, where a motion detector senses your presence and knows, because you gave an audible ‘good morning’ signal to your smart phone, that it’s time for you start getting ready for work. A weather app announces the forecast over the speaker and then shifts to the type of music you like at that hour. All are integrated into the SmartThing’s app platform.

You wake up, walk into kitchen, where a motion detector senses your presence and knows, because you gave an audible ‘good morning’ signal to your smart phone, that it’s time for you start getting ready for work. A weather app announces the forecast over the speaker and then shifts to the type of music you like at that hour. All are integrated into the SmartThing’s app platform.

SmartThings, Wemo, Sonos, Philips HUE – They are all embracing the new age of wireless, mobile device managed automation. I am all onboard and will post thoughts and reviews soon.

Microsoft Brings Word, PowerPoint And Excel To iPad

Microsoft Brings Word, PowerPoint And Excel To iPad

Cult of Mac:

Each Office app features a slimmed down version of the dreaded ribbon interface, but it seems like Microsoft has prioritized editing tools to make the workflow easier on the iPad. “I want to do my best work on Windows and I want to do my best work on iPad and I want all of that to accrue to Office,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to Re/code. “It’s really about being able to go where the opportunity is. If we can serve customers who expect our Office 365 everywhere … we will do well.”

It seems new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is admitting that he needs to embrace the iPad and stop fighting against it for Microsoft’s benefit. The Surface – Microsoft’s tablet-come-laptop is never going to outsell the iPad so concentrate on Microsoft’s strengths and get your software on Apple’s devices Nadella- everybody wins.

Philips Expanding ‘Hue’ LED Lighting Line with White Bulbs, Tap-Powered Switch

Philips Expanding ‘Hue’ LED Lighting Line with White Bulbs, Tap-Powered Switch [iOS Blog]

MacRumors:

The second product Philips is announcing today is “hue tap” a round mountable switch to make it easy to control hue lights without needing to access the hue iPhone app. The hue tap includes four buttons to store lighting recipes that are accessible with a simple tap. The hue tap requires no wiring or batteries and is powered simply by the kinetic energy from users tapping on the switch. The hue tap will be available in the second half of this year and will be priced at $60.

No need for re-wiring of your main electrical light switch – this sounds perfect and technologically brilliant. I will be very interested to purchase one of these later this year.

I am just getting into home automation and will write about my findings including Philips Hue lights soon.

Multiple Attachments App Lets You Attach Multiple Files To Email Messages On iOS

Multiple Attachments App Lets You Attach Multiple Files To Email Messages On iOS

MacStories:

Multiple Attachments is clever in that it works with the Open In menu itself and Apple’s Mail app. Every time you need to send a message with multiple files in it, you can send one file at a time to Multiple Attachments using “Open In”; as you keep sending files to the app, it’ll show you their icons and names on its main screen. When you are ready to send a message with those files, hit the Share button and Multiple Attachments will bring up a Mail panel, composing a new message with the files you’ve sent to the app. Then, you only need to confirm the email account you want to send from, and you’re done.

Essentially, Multiple Attachments works as a container of temporary files based on two of Apple’s inter-app communication features – Open In and Mail sharing. The app stores files until you send them (or delete them with the Trash button), and it’s clever in how it combines temporary storage with the ability to send emails outside the main Mail app. Attachments can be previewed individually, and, in my tests, the app performed as advertised, collecting files sent via Open In and sending them as a message with multiple attachments using accounts configured in Mail. It’s a rudimentary solution, but it works.

Someday, it’s likely that Apple will revamp how iOS apps communicate with each other and offer a way to collect multiple files in an email message at once. Until that day, Multiple Attachments provides a simple way to send an email message with multiple files on an iPhone and iPad – it’s a small victory, especially if you work on iOS a lot every day.

Nice app for us iOS power users and as Federico says, Apple are likely to build this functionality into iOS in the future, so for now this is a nice work-around.

You can download it for free here.

iTunes Content May Actually Cost Less After U.K. Tax Change

iTunes Content May Actually Cost Less After U.K. Tax Change

Instead, Apple is serving its digital content to U.K. customers from Ireland, where the VAT rate is 23%.

The Cupertino company confirms this in the “Payment & VAT” help section on its website, which reads: “The VAT rate for Apple customers who purchase Electronic Software Downloads or other Apple products which are classified as services under EU VAT law will be 23% Irish VAT.”

“This is because the place of supply of these products under EU VAT law is Ireland as the country from where Apple Distribution International makes these supplies.”

With that being the case, customers in the U.K. will actually pay less VAT under the new rules, meaning iTunes and App Store prices should fall a little.

In reality, Apple is likely to leave them as they are and pocket the difference — but at least prices won’t be going up like you may have been led to believe.

Potentially good news! Nothing can happen until 2015 anyway but it does sound like the early reports may have jumped the gun.

New tax law could see UK iTunes customers paying up to 20% more next year

New tax law could see UK iTunes customers paying up to 20% more next year

Members of the UK government are seeking to close a tax loophole that currently allows online music, app, and book downloads to avoid the country’s 20% “value added tax” in favor of much lower international tax rates, reports The Guardian. If the push is successful, iTunes customers in the UK will instead be taxed at the appropriate rate for their own country.

However, the new law won’t go into effect until January 1, 2015, so there’s still time for things to change. Supporters of the change say that it will lead to more fair competition among foreign and domestic companies, since UK-based companies are currently at a major disadvantage due to the higher tax rate.

Let’s hope for UK customers sake, that the loophole is not closed.