AWT News Update: May 7, 2015

This week's AWT News Updates are in part sponsored by Rage Software, makers of the great EverWeb website development tool for Mac. Get a 20% off special offer by clicking here. Today's news:

  • The TestFlight beta-testing platform has been down since Wednesday, causing problems for developers who use the system
  • Flickr for iOS has been updated, making the service easier to use and adding some new automated features
  • A Las Vegas hotel will soon start accepting Apple Pay
  • And a look at closed captions for Apple TV

The full text version of the podcast script is available below.

Text Version

Steve Sande here from Apple World Today, and you’re listening to the AWT News Update for May 7, 2015. Many thanks to our sponsor this week, Rage Software, developers of EverWeb — a powerful website development tool for Mac. Take advantage of a 20% off special offer for Apple World Today readers by clicking the Everweb banner on the website.

Many iOS developers rely on the TestFlight beta-testing platform to seed testers with new versions of apps under development and to collect feedback on how those apps are working. Unfortunately, TestFlight has been down for about a day, leaving  those developers in the lurch and not knowing when the service will be back up and running. Another key piece of the development and App Store world, iTunes Connect, was down for a while yesterday, preventing developers from sending apps in for approval and distribution to customers. It’s unknown what has caused the outages on these two systems, which are generally quite stable.

Flickr is famous for providing a free terabyte of photo storage, but that still hasn’t caught the attention of many iOS users. The company is now making some changes to its website, mobile apps and uploading tools to hopefully attract those who aren’t currently using the service. The website has three different categories now, down from six. There’s You, which lets you view your Flickr camera roll, albums, favorites, and more, Explore for viewing public photos, and Create for using photos to create books and other products. The mobile apps now allow users to swipe across a group of photos to select all of them, and there’s a new “Magic View” that sorts photos into categories like animals, screenshots, and landscapes automatically. The search function is also more helpful now, providing a way to search images by color, size or orientation. If you haven’t looked at Flickr recently, it may be time to give it a try and use that free terabyte of storage.

Apple Pay is going to Vegas, baby! Sometime this June, the payment service will be turned on at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, although you can only use it to pay for your hotel bill, restaurant checks and bar tabs — not for gambling. The chief marketing officer for The Cosmopolitan, Lisa Marchese, said that “the arrival of Apple Pay on the Las Vegas Strip is a natural fit, offering increasingly mobile-centric, luxury travelers a streamlined and convenient experience. As always, we are thrilled to lead the market with a new component to a Las Vegas experience that makes everything a bit faster and a great deal easier.” 

And now, we are pleased to introduce Think Different Thursday. This new feature on the AWT podcast will air occasionally on Thursdays and provide suggestions on how you can use accessibility features of Apple devices to improve your productivity.

This week we will look at Closed Captions on the Apple TV. If you need to setup streaming video on the Apple TV, but are in a setting where you can’t turn up the audio volume, such as in a retail store or while your child is sleeping, closed captions can provide a way to visually interpret the audio track of a video. The technology, developed for the deaf and hard of hearing, presents all dialog and most sounds important to understanding the video, as textual representations onscreen.

To enable this feature, visit the “Settings” screen on your Apple TV. Select “General”, then “Accessibility” and press the select button on the “Closed Captions + SDH” option. Videos will now play with Closed Captions enabled. Be aware that not all media includes support for Closed Captions.

To find out more, including how to customize the styles used by Closed Captions, visit Ricky Buchanan’s post on the subject, over at ATMac. 

We’ll be back tomorrow with another AWT News Update.