Apple Store App for iOS Updated With Apple Watch Support [iOS Blog]

Apple today updated its Apple Store app for the iPhone with support for the Apple Watch, making it possible for Apple Watch owners to get real-time order status updates, check on Genius Bar reservations, and find nearby in-store events and workshops, all on their Apple Watches.

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When opening the Apple Store app on the Apple Watch, the first option lists stores that are located nearby. Swiping upwards on the first screen offers up a map with an address for finding the closest store. The second screen in the Apple Watch app displays a scrollable list of all nearby workshops (signing up for a workshop is done on the iPhone), and the third screen offers up a list of all product orders. Scrolling to the bottom of that list gives an option to view a complete list of orders on the iPhone.

At an Apple Store, additional features mentioned in the app’s description are unlocked, letting users check in for a Genius Bar appointment or get started on a pick up order.

The convenience of the Apple Store App on your Apple Watch. Get real-time order status updates, quickly get your pick up order started, check in for Genius Bar reservations and discover nearby in-store events and workshops.

Unlike with the Apple Store for iPhone app, the Apple Watch app is rather limited in scope, offering up just a few quick-glance functions that accurately represent how Apple hopes Apple Watch apps will be used.

The Apple Store app can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]



Why the Planet Is Happy That Bernie Sanders Is Running for President

After lunch, right about the time that Bernie Sanders was actually announcing his run for president, I went for a walk in the woods, and polled three chickadees, two wild turkeys, one vernal pool of chirping wood frogs and a random sample of several tree species. You have to bear in mind that this is in Vermont, so there may be a favorite-son effect, but all of them were overjoyed that Sanders was in the race.

And I think I might speak for at least a few other environmentalists who feel the same way. Here’s why.

First, he’s a stand-up guy. When we told him about the Keystone Pipeline in the summer of 2011, he immediately set to work helping us block it. He strategized, he used his bully pulpit in the Senate to spread the word, and he devoted staff time to pressuring the State Department. Contrast that with, say, Barack Obama who was mostly silent about climate change his whole first term, and managed to make it all the way through the 2012 campaign without discussing it. Or Hillary Clinton, who after initially saying she was “inclined” to approve Keystone has gone entirely mum on the most iconic environmental issue of our time. Who showed up in New York for the People’s Climate March? Bernie Sanders. Who said, straightforwardly in today’s official announcement, “the peril of global climate change, with catastrophic consequences, is the central challenge of our times and our planet.” That would be Bernie Sanders.

But what makes that really remarkable is, it’s not his defining issue. Everyone in Vermont knows Bernie pretty well (it’s that kind of state) and so I can say he fits no one’s stereotype of an enviro. He doesn’t put on a spandex suit and go cross-country skiing; he doesn’t, I’m guessing, meditate to reduce his stress levels. He doesn’t go on and on about the woods and the rivers — he goes on and on about working class Vermonters who can’t afford health care and heating oil. His issue is inequality and unfairness, and it has been from the start.

And for those of us who do work mostly on the environment, that’s just the kind of ally we need. Because it’s a constant reminder that this battle is for people, who need renewable energy so they can break the constant cycle of struggling to pay the fuel bill, and because it will be the source of good jobs. And because it will be one of the chief ways we break with the plutocrats, many of them in the fossil fuel industry, who are ruining both our atmosphere and our democracy.

Make no mistake — Bernie Sanders isn’t really running against Hillary Clinton. He’s running against the Koch Brothers, and all that they represent: taken together they’re the richest man on earth. They’ve made their money in oil and gas (they’re the largest leaseholders in the Alberta tar sands, on the far end of the Keystone Pipeline). They spend their money to break unions, to shut out solar power, to further concentrate America’s wealth. They’ll spend at least $900 million on the next election, and my guess is that if Bernie Sanders catches fire they’ll spend far more than that — because he knows he’s got their number. They know, in their heart of hearts, that there’s two of them and hundreds of millions of us, and that’s got to be a little scary.

According to my small survey, America’s wildlife loathe the Koch Brothers. And like vulnerable people across the country, they’re awfully happy to have a loud Brooklyn-accented voice demanding real, fundamental change. Run Bernie run!

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Salty groundwater supports life in Antarctica’s extreme Dry Valleys

It’s easy to forget that Antarctica is a desert, given that very nearly the entire continent is covered by a thick sheet of ice. But snowfall is very slow to add to that white mantle, as the cold air and ocean around Antarctica aren’t exactly going to provide prodigious production of atmospheric moisture.

As its name implies, one of the driest and weirdest locales in a very weird continent is the McMurdo Dry Valleys. This area near the coast is the biggest chunk of Antarctica not covered by ice. Bare rock is found there, and not a whole lot else.

There is, however, an unusual feature known as Blood Falls. At the end of Taylor Glacier, which spills into one of the Dry Valleys (Taylor Valley, actually), a mysterious red trickle of salty, iron-rich water periodically stains the ice as it spills out like blood from a wound. It’s a good thing that it isn’t a paranormal message from ghosts warning researchers to leave the valley, because it has had the opposite effect—it draws them in. In 2012, for example, biologists looking for signs of life eking out an existence in the Dry Valleys discovered that Blood Falls contained an impressive community of microbial life.

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Porter Airlines Inc. CEO accuses Air Canada of flip-flopping on Toronto jets issue

The CEO of Porter Airlines Inc. came out swinging against Air Canada on Thursday, expressing bafflement about the airline’s opposition to jets at Toronto’s downtown airport and accusing it of trying to defeat Porter’s expansion plans. In a luncheon speech to the Economic Club of Canada, Robert Deluce criticized Air Canada for flip-flopping on the issue of whether jets should be allowed to fly out of Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport, something Porter hopes to see happen by 2017.

“The only consistent theme seems to be one of doing what is best for Air Canada, not Toronto and certainly not passengers,” Deluce told the Toronto audience.

In early April, Air Canada issued a statement saying it opposed jets at Billy Bishop and instead wanted to see the airport’s existing turboprop operations expanded.

“Air Canada’s position on this matter is crystal clear,” Derek Vanstone, Air Canada’s vice-president for corporate strategy, government and industry affairs, said in an April 2 statement.

“We do not support jets at Billy Bishop — we prefer to see a growing downtown airport focused on short-haul passengers using modern turboprop aircraft.

Deluce pointed out that his counterpart at Air Canada, Calin Rovinescu, had, however, previously expressed the exact opposite intention.

“We would absolutely, categorically expect to fly our jets there,” Rovinescu said in a 2013 interview with the Toronto Star.

Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said the airline has been “consistent in its position that we do not view jets as appropriate for the Toronto Island airport.”

“However, were jets to be allowed, then we would expect to operate them there as well.”

The airline also reiterated in the April 2 statement that it is considering pulling out of Billy Bishop altogether because of the cost of operating there. Fitzpatrick added that Air Canada’s primary concern is the fact that Porter has 85 per cent of the landing slots at the airport and “has steadfastly resisted giving Air Canada or any other airline greater access.”

“It’s always been a bit hard for me to tell what Air Canada actually does want at Billy Bishop Airport,” Deluce said.

“For about 16 years [from 1990 to 2006], Air Canada had an effective monopoly at the airport. During that time, they chose to consolidate flights at Pearson.”

Stringent noise restrictions limit the types of planes that can fly out of Billy Bishop, which is located on Toronto Islands adjacent to the city’s densely populated waterfront. Porter, which currently uses Bombardier Inc.’s Q400 turboprops, hopes to prove that the new CSeries jetliner is quiet enough to meet those restrictions.

If Porter’s plan is approved by city council, the longer-range aircraft would allow Porter to start offering flights to new destinations, like Vancouver, Calgary, Florida and the Caribbean. Deluce said he believes Air Canada is only opposed to the idea of jets at Billy Bishop because it doesn’t want the added competition on longer-haul routes

We do not support jets at Billy Bishop — we prefer to see a growing downtown airport focused on short-haul passengers using modern turboprop aircraft

“I would suggest to you that they do not want additional competition on the routes we propose because past performance shows that any market Porter enters results in fares being lowered by up to 60 per cent,” Deluce said.

He pointed to Toronto-Timmins, Ont. as an example, saying the typical fare was $316 before Porter arrived and $109 after. (On Thursday, the Porter fare for a flight from Toronto to Timmins on May 28 was $144 while the cheapest Air Canada Tango fare was $150.)

“In terms of the oscillating position that we’ve witnessed with [Air Canada], it is sometimes amusing,” Deluce told reporters after his speech. “It does say to us that they definitely don’t want us to be in their marketplace.”

Bid to end mass collection of phone data advances in Congress

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A bill to end spy agencies’ bulk collection of Americans’ telephone data advanced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday, setting up a potential showdown over the program, which expires on June 1.



Bid to end mass collection of phone data advances in Congress

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A bill to end spy agencies’ bulk collection of Americans’ telephone data advanced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday, setting up a potential showdown over the program, which expires on June 1.

Airbnb Removes Texas Property Listing After Owner Reportedly Rejects Gay Couple

Airbnb has removed a Texas bed and breakfast from its listings after its host reportedly kicked out a gay couple.

Jonathan Wang told KTRK-TV that he and his partner, Brent, booked two nights at the home in Galveston for a friend’s wedding. The home’s owner, identified in media reports simply as Heather, confronted Wang when he returned after the reception.

“Heather asked me where my wife was,” he said. The situation became awkward when Heather asked who Brent was.

“She said, ‘I thought you were bringing a wife,'” Wang recalled. “I said, ‘I didn’t say that specifically … is that going to be OK? She said, ‘It’s not.'”

Things apparently took a turn for the worse the couple began packing their things, Wang told ABC-13: “She also commented while we were going upstairs that was their bedroom upstairs so they were even more uncomfortable with it.”

The couple, who were forced to find a hotel for the night at the last minute, said they later discovered that Heather had described her property as “straight friendly” at the bottom of the listing. The city of Galveston has been frequently described as a gay-friendly destination.

Saying she was completely “of my legal realms and morals,” Heather didn’t confirm or deny Wang’s claims, according to ABC-13. When asked if she rents her home out to same-sex couples, she responded, “That’s none of your business. That’s my private home.”

Airbnb has since refunded Wang’s money, and paid for a night at the hotel he and Brent ultimately stayed in. The company issued a statement condemning the incident. “We have a zero tolerance policy for discrimination on AirBNB,” the company said. “The host in question has been removed from the site. AirBNB has clear guidelines that a host or a guest may not promote hate or bigotry.”

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Jeff Bezos’ rocket company test-flies suborbital spaceship

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) – Blue Origin, a startup space company owned by Amazon.com chief Jeff Bezos, launched an experimental suborbital spaceship from Texas, the first in a series of test flights to develop commercial unmanned and passenger spaceflight services, the company said on Thursday.