Friday tech news roundup for December 13

12 days of giftsApple’s 12 Days of Gifts giveaway starts December 26
Apple fans in other countries have gotten free downloads at the holidays, but up until this year Americans have been left out of the fun. The 12 Days of Gifts app (previously known as “12 Days of Christmas’) is now available in the App Store for everyone. The app will notify you when new freebies are available, although there’s no word yet what those giveaways might be. In previous years Apple has given away songs, apps, and videos. The giveaway starts on December 26th and runs through January 6th so get your iDevices ready!

Stop taking selfies–you’ll improve your memory
And not just selifies, but photos, period. New research published this week suggests that taking too many photos might keep you from remembering things. The researchers took participants on museum tours and asked them to look at some objects, and take pictures of others. When participants took pictures of the whole object they later remembered fewer objects and fewer details about them vs. when they just looked. The exception was only if people zoomed in for a closer picture—when participants did that they remembered just as much as looking alone. So put down your smart phone…or do a lot of zooming when you’re taking your next shots.

Target creates Pinterest-powered “Awesome Shop” storefront
Target is trying out a new storefront called the “Target Awesome Shop.” The shop is updated daily and features images from Target.com and Pinterest. There are images from “top pins,” highly reviewed pins, plus more. You’ve heard me wax eloquent about Pinterest before, and I’m a “Tarjay Boutique” fan as well. That said, right now I’m not convinced this shop is entirely awesome, you?

Target awesome shop

Gmail won’t ask you for permission to show images anymore
Yesterday Google updated their Gmail functionality so you will no longer have to approve images to load. Why did you even have to give permission in the first place? To help protect you from malware that could have been embedded inside an image. Now this won’t be an issue because Google is checking images for viruses or malware ahead of time (but of course, always make sure your anti-virus is up to date!). If you still want to approve images, you can select the “Ask before displaying external images” under the general tab in settings.

The Room Two, the sequel
One of the most gorgeous iPad games ever how has a sequel. If you haven’t played The Room, I really recommend it. It’s a puzzle game where you must figure out how to open a box sitting in the middle of the room. The boxes get harder and harder to open as you advance. The animation is stunning, the challenges are fun, and it was named Apple’s iPad game of the year. Well, the game’s designers are back with a new app called The Room Two and it’s bigger, more complicated, and the visuals even better. Check out the trailer:

I will be downloading this ASAP. The Verge has a nice piece with a little background on the development of the original and the sequel if you’re interested.

Disney Infinity purchasing tips
My nephew has recently dived into the world of Disney Infinity—Disney’s answer to Skylanders, where you purchase physical characters in order to play them in a video game. Of course, to get ALL the Disney figures (at about $13 each), plus the special Power Disks ($3 each) that give the characters extra abilities could set you back some big bucks. Wired has a story on how to complete your set in the cheapest way possible. The word “cheapest” should probably be in quotes here, but still some good tips if you’re into Infinity.

Geeky product alert!
I got an email from Think Geek this week about their latest car decals. You know, those ones you can put on the back window with figures for each parent and kid (and even pets). They have previously carried Star Wars-themed sets, and even zombie sets, but they just introduced a Star Trek set–squee!

f48d_star_trek_family_car_decals

About Missy Kellor

Missy works on the Corporate Communications team and reports stories to TDS employees and customers. This is right up her alley because she’s an extrovert and also a big fan of research (really, she’ll look up just about anything that strikes her interest). Missy is a native of Madison, Wis. with an undergraduate in Anthropology and a master’s degree in Life Sciences Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her interest in the Internet as a mass media shaped her work towards a PhD in Journalism and Mass Communications. She’s also worked as an editorial assistant, copywriter, and production artist. In her off hours, Missy is a crafter, Pinterest addict, reader, wife, and mom of two kids. You can find Missy on G+ and on Twitter.
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