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ExtraBITS for 12 January 2015

In this week’s heaping helping of ExtraBITS: bank holding company Capital One has bought the Level One budgeting app, we take a look at how gadgets are having to adapt to the existence of smartphones, and manufacturers show off the (sorry) state of Apple’s HomeKit home automation framework. Plus, Philip Michaels pokes fun at CES at Six Colors, blogger David Sparks explains why he’s quitting Family Sharing, and Peter Cohen of iMore explains how to try out Windows 10 for free.

Level Money Purchased by Capital One -- Bank holding company Capital One has acquired the Level Money budgeting app (see “Level Money Simplifies Budgeting,” 18 October 2013). The existing team will remain with Level Money, which will still be a standalone app. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Level Money stated that it has 700,000 users and has helped manage over $12 billion in transactions.

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Gadgets in the Age of Smartphones -- Smartphones have obsoleted an entire galaxy of gadgets, including cameras, music players, and handheld game consoles. What are gadget makers to do? As Farhad Manjoo explains in the New York Times, the answer lies in software. Specifically, gadgets that rely on software to create flexible platforms that can grow with their users and integrate with smartphones. But it’s worth keeping in mind that this approach doesn’t guarantee open connected systems; proprietary walled gardens are all the rage among today’s tech giants.

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The State of HomeKit -- One of iOS 8’s touted features is HomeKit, which promises to unify home automation devices and allow them to be controlled by Siri. However, it wasn’t until this year’s Consumer Electronics Show that we got a glimpse of what manufacturers are working on, and so far it’s not pretty. The Verge reports that a number of devices they saw at CES were unstable, and that representatives said that Apple still has a lot of work to do. One fascinating tidbit: the Apple TV will serve as a bridge for HomeKit, enabling you to control your home with Siri while on the road.

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All You Need to Know about CES 2015 -- Philip Michaels, writing for Six Colors, has penned a hilarious guide to CES 2015, summarizing everything you need to look out for. According to Michaels, we can expect Sony to publicly apologize to North Korea, Tim Cook to hold an incognito press conference outside a strip club, and actor Michael Chiklis (the Thing in recent Fantastic Four movies) to make awkward Internet of Things jokes. Of course, there will also be the usual assortment of lust-inducing products that will never see the light of day.

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Why David Sparks Is Quitting Family Sharing -- Attorney, author, and podcaster David Sparks has given up on Apple’s new Family Sharing feature. Sparks outlines several reasons for the decision, including the fact that in-app purchases and iTunes Match are not included in Family Sharing, some apps refused to update, and his family experienced disappearing playlists while Family Sharing was enabled.

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How to Test Windows 10 on Your Mac for Free -- If you’re curious about Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 10, Peter Cohen of iMore details how to install the Windows 10 Technical Preview on your Mac for free using the VirtualBox virtualization software. Cohen doesn’t recommend installing Windows 10 under Boot Camp yet, since it’s not officially supported.

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