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Amazon Anytime Messaging App For iOS And Android Rumored To Launch Soon

By | July 17th, 2017

It seems that any company worth its weight these days needs some kind of powerful messaging app to allow users to keep in touch with one another.

We all know that Amazon is a powerful business, and if the latest report from AFTVnews is to be believed then it looks as though the online behemoth is about to join the ranks of those other impressive corporations who have their own messaging solution with the release of a new app called Anytime.

The report itself is a little sketchy at the moment and isn’t exactly packed to the rafters with detail. However, as a basis for the prediction, it does cite customer survey information as one of the main sources of information. This survey highlights the need for extremely common features that we would expect to see in most modern messaging apps, such as end-to-end encryption for communications, support for video calling, and, of course, the ability to make seamless audio calls to individuals through the Anytime infrastructure.

The information also suggests that Amazon will afford users with a higher level of security and encryption for “important messages.” That all sounds fairly standard for any modern messaging app, but it seems that group communication is how Amazon plans to differentiate itself from the competition.

One of the interesting takeaways is that Amazon is said to be planning on using usernames for the Anytime app instead of telephone numbers. This will allow easy import of users into group conversations by simply “@-ing” their username.

Anytime by Amazon will apparently let you “reach all your friends just using their name” without needing their phone numbers. It’s unclear what that means exactly, but it could mean the app hooks into existing social networks and other messaging services.

The information also suggests that Amazon will clag on some additional functionality through music listening, location sharing, and even food ordering which would likely mean some kind of integration with Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant.

Amazon has yet to actually confirm this app, or even if it will be released to the public, but given the competition in this space it’s fair to suggest that the company would have a very difficult job getting users to actually adopt the service. We will keep you up to date as we learn more.

(Source: AFTVnews)

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PS4 Games Coming Soon To PlayStation Now

By | March 14th, 2017

PlayStation Now subscribers can look forward to getting additional value for their $ 20-per-month fee after Sony announced that it will be adding PlaySation 4 titles to the service later this year.

Right now, PS Now only offers PS3 games for online streaming for the aforementioned fee, but Sony will add the capability to stream full PS4 games as well, making the whole subscription service much more interesting indeed.

While Sony has not yet confirmed which games will be available when the additional service goes live, we do not expect recent titles to be included in the deal.

Sony will no doubt want to still ensure that games sell at retail rather than simply have users subscribe to PS Now and not buy games. That being said, no matter what tier of games are added, the new PS4 presence on PS Now is something that should be good news for all gamers, especially those looking to increase their gaming library.

Sony has also not confirmed whether the $ 20 price tag will increase once PS4 games join the lineup. The company has already said that PS4 games will be part of the existing PS Now framework rather than an additional bolt-on, but it has not yet said whether PS Now as a whole will see a price increase.

With Microsoft having recently announced Xbox Game Pass, an EA Access-like subscription that will include Xbox One titles for $ 10 per month, it is unlikely that Sony will increase the price of a service that it could be argued is already a little on the expensive side, though it does allow streaming of games without the need for the console itself.

Sony has not yet said when PS4 games will go live on PS Now, but a closed beta testing program will start soon with those included set to receive emails in due course. If you are a PS Now subscriber, we suggest keeping your eyes peeled just in case.

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Apple Pay Launches In Ireland, Coming Soon To Italy

By | March 8th, 2017

iPhone, Apple Watch and Mac users in Ireland can now take advantage of Apple Pay after the contactless payment system went live in the country. Rumors had circulated yesterday that such a thing was likely, and Apple and its partners flicked the switch this morning.

Apple Pay requires iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone SE, iPhone 7, or any Apple Watch, with all devices using their built-in NFC chips in order to make payments at stores which accept payments via contactless means.

Not all banks in the country are on board though, with one notable exception being AIB. The bank has confirmed that it is in discussions with Apple with a view to supporting Apple Pay in the future, but also said that there is “nothing to announce at this time”.

The good news for customers of Ulster Bank and KBC is that the pair are live already, meaning their users can now follow the standard Apple Pay set up process and get spending right away. This amounts to heading to the Wallet app on an iPhone, selecting the option to “Add a card” before scanning said card with the iPhone’s camera.

Following authentication via a phone call or SMS, everything should be up and running.

Complete list of supported retail outlets can be seen in the image below.

Apple fans in Italy can also rejoice today after the company updated its Italian Apple Pay web page to confirm that the country would be joining the Apple Pay train “soon.” The web page notes that Boon, UniCredit and Carrefour Banca will all be partners at launch which will be music to the ears of their customers.

Both Italy and Ireland are late to join the Apple Pay revolution, and while good things come to those who wait we are sure that will be scant consolation to those whose banks still do not support the payment method.

With Apple Pay rolled out in Ireland, it will mean that Apple now has support for the contactless payment system in a total of 15 countries, after performing similar rollouts in the United States, United Kingdom, Japan via FeliCa, New Zealand, China, Canada, Switzerland, France, Hong Kong, Russia, AustraliaSingapore, and Spain. Meanwhile Apple Pay has also gotten regulatory approval in Taiwan.

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Google Chrome To Soon Add Touch Bar Support For 2016 MacBook Pro

By | February 24th, 2017

Owners of Apple’s 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar who regularly opt to use Google Chrome over the pre-installed Safari option will likely be getting a nice little surprise soon.

Google has silently released the first canary build of Chrome 58 into the wild, and much to the surprise of those aforementioned MacBook Pro owners who have taken the opportunity to use it, the new build contains the Touch Bar support that many users have been asking for a while now.

A number of third-party developers in charge of developing and publishing macOS apps, both on the Mac App Store and through their own sites, have been rushing and falling over themselves to try and differentiate their software from the competition with Touch Bar support. Whenever Apple introduces new functionality from a hardware perspective, those who put their heads above the firing line and actually support that feature are likely to increase in popularity.

Many developers have already taken that initiative with app updates, but Chrome will be one of the most popular and widely used pieces of software – aside from Apple’s own offerings – to offer support for Touch Bar.

With this canary release of Chrome, which will ultimately be released as Chrome 58, Google hasn’t gone wild with some extravagant additions that will confuse and dumbfound prospective users. Users with a 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar will be able to launch new Chrome tabs and search directly from the new Touch Bar experience, as well as navigate forward and backwards through webpages thanks to the navigational entries on the far-left side of the Touch Bar.

There’s also an added refresh button, as well as a text entry box for Search or type URL which automatically puts the user into the address bar of Chrome when tapped. All of those actions are finished off with a favorites button that will instantly add a particular web page to the favorites list.

For one reason or another, Google has ensured that this initial Touch Bar support for Chrome is a static experience, which means no matter what you are actually doing, or what state the browser is in, those buttons will remain consistent on Touch Bar. Some will appreciate that, whereas others would crave a more dynamic experience which reacts to the user behavior like it has been on Safari.

If you don’t want to wait for Google to roll out the final build of Chrome 58, you can get in on the action by downloading and running the latest canary build of Chrome 58.

(Via: 9to5Mac)

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Tau-Suan

Soon Heng Hot and Cold Desserts: Hawkers we grow up with

Tau Suan

Our hawkers are really a big part of our lives here in Singapore, don’t you think?  Most of us would have grown up eating from the same hawker stall for years and and these hawkers would have become much more than just a person who sells food.

Aunty

I am sure that this particular lady hawker at Soon Heng Hot and Cold Desserts would have many regulars who have grown up (or grown old) eating at her stall.  I have met many hawkers but she was the first one I met whose smile was sweeter than her desserts!

I get a lot of different reactions whenever I pull out my DSLR camera.  Some hawkers ask why I am taking photos.  Others continue to work as if I wasn’t there.  But when Mrs Yang saw my camera, she quickly struck up her kawaii pose!

Lotus seeds
Lotus Seed Sweet Soup (Lian Zi Suan)

What first drew me to the stall was the availability of lian zi suan. (Lotus seed soupThis traditional Teochew sweet soup is not easy to find nowadays because of the rising cost of lotus seeds.  (A 200g pack of lotus seeds at the supermarket costs around $ 6!)  The only other stall that I have come across that sells this is “House of Dessert” at Tampines Round Market.  They actually stopped selling it for a period of time because of the increase in price of raw lotus seeds.  Thankfully, they started selling it again last year.

This soup is not difficult to cook but it is easy to get it wrong unless you get a tip from grandma (or from the internet nowadays).    Most of us would intuitively soak the seeds first before cooking, but this is the last thing you want to do as the seeds will ever turn into the nice, mealy, powdery texture no matter how long you boil them.  Instead, the seeds must go straight into hot boiling water for a while then followed by either a slow simmer or steam.  Once they are soft, simply add them to syrup which has been thickened with tapioca starch.

For all that trouble, I think most people wouldn’t mind forking out the $ 2 for a bowl of lian zi suan at this stall.  I think this is probably also the cheapest place where you can buy this in Singapore.  In fact, all her other desserts are also just $ 1!  Talk about old school prices.  When I asked Mrs Yang how she managed to keep prices so low, she just smiled and said that its her way of keeping her customers happy!

Aside from the lotus seed soup, her tau suan is also very good.  4.25/5What was impressive was how her you tiao remained so fresh!  I managed to try some of her other desserts like cheng tng and honey sea coconut.  They were average but at $ 1 a bowl, I don’t think anyone is complaining!

Stall

Conclusion

Old school sweet soups served with an even sweeter smile which will make you smile even more when all you need is some spare change to enjoy it!

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