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Opinion

As we all know, when Microsoft jumps off on its own on some endeavor, the results are uncertain at best. The software giant is definitely no stranger to success, but you have to admit, doomed projects like the Zune and Kin aren’t exactly rare (Microsoft fans, feel free to rant about the Netwon and G4 Power Cube).

What Microsoft is good at is using its mountains of capital to acquire companies that are successfully innovative and this week they reached a deal with Skype for their biggest acquisition yet at $8.5 billion. This is an interesting move that has everyone speculating on just what Microsoft plans to do with everyone’s favorite chat client. Following is a brief discussion on what you can expect both as a Skype user and a Mac/iPhone owner.

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Have you ever seen a plant or animal in your area and wondered what it was or wanted to share it with other interested people? It turns out your iPhone provides the perfect companion for a hike into nature.

Today we’ve got a few apps to check out the next time you decide to take a break from civilization and explore the great outdoors.

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Several reports and rumors have speculated that Apple is looking to dramatically revamp the default maps app. When the iPhone first launched, this app was perhaps the single best mode of finding where you were going on any device. It looked great, was extremely intuitive and had plenty of features. Unfortunately, though it has made a little progress in years since, it is definitely no longer the mapping pinnacle that it once was.

Today we’re going to toss around some ideas and suggestions for potential areas of weakness that Apple could benefit from updating.
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Countless entrepreneurs have set out to make their fortunes with the same idea: social media aggregation. The basic idea behind this movement is that you, the user, are overwhelmed by all of your social information. Every day you have to go through the hassle of checking your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Foursquare, Gowalla and other accounts and would like nothing better than to save yourself the trouble of app-hopping and get it all in one convenient place.

The argument seems sound doesn’t it? So why don’t we use these tools? Sure, we try them all and briefly maintain patronage, but in the end most of us end up using separate methods to access our various social networks. I believe there are several reasons for this phenomenon, the first of which is a modified version of an effect that has been present in technology for decades.

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As rumors abound that Apple is moving towards an inevitable removal of the beloved home button, a second possibility crops up in the form of a capacitive sensor that replaces the woes of a physical button.

Today we’ll discuss why the home button is a central element of the iOS experience and whether or not it can be replaced with something such as a gesture or touch-sensitive switch without a dramatic reduction in usability.
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The apps that we’ll discuss today are a hot topic. People on both sides of the argument have strong, outspoken opinions and each make good points.

Ultimately, the question boils down to whether or not it’s acceptable for people to build and distribute iPhone apps that are meant to facilitate the breaking of a law without getting caught by the police. Intrigued? Read on!

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Whether the the next iPhone arrives this summer as always or is pushed back to Fall, you can bet that there will be enough fancy new features to make us all hate our currently beloved iPhone 4’s.

However, there are at least three popular feature rumors that shouldn’t be taken seriously. Each of the supposedly possible iPhone 5 features we’ll discuss today arises from a fundamental misunderstanding of Apple as a company. We’ll go through why Jobs and the boys in Cupertino simply aren’t interested in bringing these features to the iPhone or even the iPad.

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