Saturday, June 23, 2018

Microsoft adds external image blocking to Outlook for Android.

Microsoft added a "Block External Images" feature in Outlook for Android. This feature, once activated, will prevent images in emails sent by people, not in your contacts from downloading automatically. Microsoft says "Block external images setting will not block images that are embedded in the email as attachments, including most emails sent from friends and family."

While not a security threat, blocking images in emails protects users privacy as these emails can sometimes include references to images hosted on the internet and can be used to track whether someone has read an email. All in all, this blocking feature is a welcome addition if you value your privacy. 

By default, the image blocking setting is disabled. In order to activate, tap the hamburger menu - the three horizontal bars at the top left - then tap the settings icon at the bottom left. Tap your email account or any other email if you have several accounts and toggle the blocking setting. It turns blue when activated.

This update is already available to download in Google Play Store.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Apple Music for Android now lets you skip back your favorite song when listening to a radio station.

Apple Music for Android received a few improvements today that the company calls minor. the first improvement will let users skip back to play a song again when listening to a radio station. A nice addition if you want to listen to a song you liked again. This update also lets users "adjust how your music sounds with the included Equalizer."

This update is already live in Google Play Store to download.

Yahoo Mail brings World Cup game schedules and scores at the top of your Inbox.

Yahoo Mail has a treat for football fans around the world in the latest update for Android devices. Users of Yahoo Mail will now be able to follow games scores live in their Inbox. Yahoo added a band at the top of the Inbox that shows the teams, games schedule of the day and scores. The band can easily be minimized. The word 'Live' appears in red for ongoing games. 

If users need more info, a tap on each of the games - live or not - takes them to Yahoo Sports page for more details. There, users will get info such as game statistics, game stream and join the conversation with other football fans. A little envelope icon at the top right of the page takes the user back to Yahoo Mail.

I'm watching the game between Egypt and Uruguay as I write this and I'm just curious whether Yahoo Mail will notify me if the score evolves. I'll update this post if it does.

The update also includes the following:
  • Now you can see your messages separated by date.
  • You can also select all messages from a particular date range and delete, archive, or organize at once.
  • Find messages faster with suggestions as you search.
  • Bug fixes and performance enhancements.

Yahoo Mail users can update the app in Google Play Store.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

World Cup 2018: Forget Paul the Octopus & Achilles the cat. Enter Babushka, SofaScore's human predictor.

We're hours from the official launch of the 2018 FIFA World Cup with the host country, Russia, playing against Saudi Arabia and if you are of the betting type and needs some precog before shelling out money, I strongly recommend you must check with Babushka first. Confused? Let me explain.

Remember Paul the Octopus back at World Cup 2010 who accurately chose the winners of each game and Paul became a star - maybe not for bookies. This year's official soothsayer for the World Cup is Achilles, a deaf,  Russian white cat. He will be presented with bowls marked with playing teams' flag and Achilles first prediction for tonight's inaugural game is naturally Russia. Now, back to Babushka.

Since Paul the octopus, each sports event have had their own animals trying to predict games results, but none have matched Paul's record. Well aware of that fact, SofaScore - my favorite Android sport's app - is bringing in a human predictor called Babushka. According to the SofaScore, "She has lived through almost all of the championships (missed only the first 2), and this will be her 22nd World Cup. So if there's anyone who knows how it's gonna go down - then that's Babushka!" Unlike the 'official' World Cup's animals, Babushka will not only make predictions but also give daily tips and some witty analysis on her YouTube Channel. 

Her first video has been published and, like Achilles the cat, Babushka predicts a Russia win against Saudi Arabia. Whether she gets this right or not, Babushka is just adorable and her pre-games analysis are well thought out. Something animals can't do.

Check out Babushka Tips on SofaScore official YouTube channel and enjoy World Cup 2018.

Friday, June 8, 2018

English Premier League app for Android introduces the newly promoted teams for season 2018/19 season and more.

The English Premier League has updated their Android app for the next season already. The app now shows the three newly promoted teams for the upcoming 2018/19 season: Wolverhampton Wanderers, Cardiff City, and Fulham. The updated app also brings the highlights of the 2017/18 season. 

Additionally, "you can also explore all-time Premier League club, player and manager record-holders through the new 'Records' section in the Stats area."

That being said, download the update free in Google Play Store to prepare for the new season.

Instagram now lets you share stories you're mentioned in.

"Starting today, when someone mentions you in their story, you'll be able to share that photo or video into your own story." Instagram is bringing this new feature to its app today on Android and iOS. They announced this in a blog post yesterday. Users that get mentioned will receive a notification in their Direct messages thread and will see an option to add that content to their own story. In addition, the user will be able to "rotate and position it and add creative tools like text or stickers on to it as well." Followers who see the story will also see the original poster's username and get the possibility to follow them. Instagram says this feature only works for public accounts.

This seems to be a server-side update. However, make sure you grab the latest version of the app in Google Play Store.

Skype for Android finally lets you access your phone contacts from the dialpad.

The days when Skype was the de-facto messaging and video app are long gone with the advent of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, but that's not stopping Microsoft from bringing new features to catch up with the fierce competition. In an update published today, the software giant is finally letting users access their phone contacts within Skype through the app's dialpad. Start typing a phone number and Skype will retrieve a matching number and name from your device's contacts.

This update also includes the usual stability and performance improvements.

If you still Skype, grab the update in Google Play Store on your Android device.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Swipe up to record longer voice messages in WhatsApp Messenger for Android.

WhatsApp for Android just made it easier for users to record voice messages on their devices. Before today's update, users were required to press and hold on the microphone to record a message. This has never been a comfortable experience for me, as I found it hard to keep my finger in place.

With today's update, WhatsApp is making that a tad easier. Users will still need to tap and hold on the microphone icon to record short messages. However, they will now have the ability to swipe up to "lock recording" and record both short or long messages. Personally, that's a great addition.

Head over to Google Play Store to grab this update to enjoy this new voice recording feature.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Instagram for Android now lets users share Feed Posts to Stories.

Today Instagram is making sharing feed posts to story publicly available to Android users. This feature differs from Regram in that users can quickly share a post of interest to their story for their friends and followers to see.

Instagram says that "to share a feed to your story, just tap the paper airplane button below the post, just as you would to send it via Direct. At the top, you'll now see the option to create a story. Tap it to see the feed post as a sticker with a customized background ready to share to your story. You can rotate, scale and move the sticker - and tap it to explore other styles."

Shared posts will appear with the original poster's username, which is clickable so you can check the original post and even see more post. Obviously, it is only possible to share posts from public accounts and should you not want your posts to be shared, Instagram lets you opt out in the app settings.

Get Instagram for Android in Google Play Store.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Pocket for Android gets split-screen mode support.

Formerly known as 'Read it Later', Pocket is an essential app for me to save articles and videos for reading and viewing later. My daily intake of articles on the web is pretty big and commuting time is not enough to read them all, making Pocket a must-have app on my supported devices. 

Besides saving content for later, Pocket also strips the articles of ads and presents them in a read-friendly format similar to reading view in Edge, the Microsoft browser for Android. As such, the article looks nicer. Pocket is also very easy to use. You come across an article and want to save it for later, simply tap the share icon and tap the Pocket icon in the Share menu. 

The app was released in 2012 and has since been updated several times. Among one of its features, is the ability to highlight things you find interesting in the articles you read. Here again, this is a simple enough feature, but very useful. Pocket improved it by grouping the highlights in the order they appear in the articles; which makes sense.

In version, Pocket is getting support for multi-window on Android 7.0 or higher. Pocket developer says, "with split-screen mode, you can multi-task like a pro and use Pocket along with other apps on the same screen, at the same time."  I very rarely use split screen on my devices. At least, I know it's there in case I need it.

Download the update in Google Play Store.