A permission-grabbing privacy disaster

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Meitu is one of Google Play’s “Sand Hill” apps, part of the company’s accelerator for apps with “viral potential” — take a pic of yourself and Meitu will make you over to look like an anime character, and all they ask in return is every salient fact about you that can be gleaned from your mobile device.

Meitu rolls in a bunch of off-the-self analytics tools that ask for a really wide variety of permissions that are not needed to provide the app’s services: GPS location, cell carrier, wifi connection, SIM card ID, jailbreak status, and personal identifiers for cross-web tracking… More at boing boing.

Ooeer!

Don’t Leave it!

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Stop leaving your personal items behind! Don’t Leave It! is the patent pending app that reminds you not to leave your location without bringing your personal items with you. No extra hardware required. The first app of its kind… More here.

This sounds like such a first world problem to solve, but how many times have you forgotten something you need to take to work or seen others do it? It happens all of the time.

HealthView for iOS: pretty

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HealthView app allows you to see your HealthKit (Apple Health App) data in broad clean way, by allowing you to drill down to more details in an easy and quick way!

Apple Watch complications will show your activity levels from your pedometer data – this feature is very convenient if you want to glance over your activity data quickly… More details here.

Sometimes all you need is to be able to see your data in a logical and easy to understand fashion, and HealthView provides that perfectly.

The end of the App Store?

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WeChat has evolved from China’s answer to WhatsApp into a smartphone Swiss army knife. Originally a chat app, it’s become far more than a social networking platform for its more than 800 million active monthly users. Owned by internet giant Tencent, it also lets users order food, book hotels, and shop online through its Wallet feature, which links to the web apps of third-party providers.

But Tencent isn’t satisfied. With the latest feature, officially released on Jan. 9, the company wants WeChat to eventually become the one and only app users need on their home screen. Called Mini Program (link in Chinese), the feature essentially offers miniature, low-memory “apps” within the WeChat app itself. The idea is to keep users within WeChat as much as possible… More at Quartz.

Now that is interesting if we can see a time where you can use apps without doing anything at all such as installing them. Interesting and possibly dangerous?

An App Store clickfarmer

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This year-old photo of a woman seated at a wall of Iphones went viral on Chinese social media, where it was identified as a clickfarmer whose job is to repeatedly install apps on multiple phones in order to inflate their App Store ranks.

The service — which puts your app into the top 10 free apps — reportedly costs about $11,000 in upfront costs, and $65,000/week for maintenance. Dozens of vendors advertise comparably priced services on China’s Taobao marketplace… More at boingboing.

I hate this, but it’s easy to hate things like this when you live in a place where you don’t have to do it to eat.

 

Your 2016 home screen

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So, first and foremost, as you can see, not a ton has changed. This isn’t too surprising to me as we’re now almost a decade into the iPhone (and almost 9 years into third-party apps) and the ways I do things on my phone are increasingly set in stone. And, as such, with third-party apps, it’s increasingly hard to break onto the homescreen.

The apps making an appearance this time around (as opposed to last year) are Audible, Bear, Economist, Instagram, NYTimes, Podcasts, and Ulysses… More at 500ish Words.

M.G. Siegler offers a detailed analysis of his home screen in the above article and also explains how things have changed slightly.

So, what has happened with your home screen over the past year? Feel free to send yours to shaun@mailstm.co.uk for inclusion on LIM, or post it to the WhatsApp group.

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Mine is above and has changed slightly over the past year. Monzo has proved to be an app that needs at least a daily touch and WordPress has also made an appearance at the expense of Squarespace. Besides those, everything else has remained the same. I am stuck with what works for me it would seem.

Space Marshals 2

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Just as I was saying that I don’t pick up many new apps and games anymore, I discovered Space Marshals for just 79p at the moment (80% reduction) and it is absolutely brilliant!

Well worth a punt at this price.

The sci-fi wild west adventure in outer space continues with Space Marshals 2. This tactical top-down shooter puts you in the shoes of specialist Burton in his struggle against the criminal elements of the galaxy.

This isn’t your ordinary dual-stick shooter. The emphasis is on tactical combat and stealth, rather than just spraying bullets, and there’s a story!

Mini Metro

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Mini Metro is a minimalist subway simulation game about designing efficient subway networks. The player must constantly redesign their line layout to meet the needs of a rapidly-growing city… More here.

This game looks like great fun for the current discounted price.

Try Alexa for 79p

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Astra is a smart personal assistant powered by Alexa Voice Services. Astra listens as you speak, and then replies through the speaker or headphones connected to your iPhone or iPod touch.

Try out Alexa Voice Services before you purchase an Echo. Use Astra as a remote for your Smart Devices when away from home. Test your Skills as you develop them.

Set up your city location, sports team preferences, news feed preferences, smart devices, home and work locations, and enable Skills through the Alexa app for more personalized information… More here.

It’s a bit hit and miss, but already feels like a grown up Siri.

Rayman Classic goes free(ish)

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Rayman Classic has recently dropped to free and this price will stay forever. It is ad-supported, but if you want to lose them $0.99 is a fair price for a true classic.

• EMBODY Rayman, your favorite hero born in 1995
• REDISCOVER the fantasy cartoon worlds of the original game: The Dream Forest, The Band Lands, The Blue Mountains, The Candy Castle…
• RUN, dodge, jump, punch your way through the various levels of this classic platform game.
• UNLEASH Rayman’s special powers from the telescopic fist to the helicopter and defeat hostile creatures.
• SEEK OUT & FREE the Electoons to complete each level and restore the cosmic balance.
• HELP iconic and funny side characters in each world: The fairy Betilla, Tarayzan, Joe the extraterrestrial.
• DEFEAT each and every boss (Moskito, Mister Sax, Mr Dark…) in epic showdowns to free your friends.
• BEAT the Hardcore mode with one single life or choose the Casual mode for infinite tries.