August 19, 2015 Last Updated 2:45 pm

Updates: WordPress gets updated with stronger password function, turning off comments on new pages by default

Morning Brief: The Guardian and NYT update apps, while Zomato finds life after Urbanspoon acquisition not what it might have hoped as US users complain

Those website owners who use WordPress will see an update this morning, bring WordPress up to version 4.3 (the lack of an extra decimal signifying a fairly major update). As usual, it will load and install quickly.

WordPress-iconThe changes are interesting, though they won’t immediately apparent. One change listed is that pages created now will have comments turned off by default. This may seem like a minor thing, and maybe the developers don’t see it as a big change, but with more and more sites choosing to turn off, or more heavily moderated, it is feels right that comments would be off by default, rather than on. There are many sites where I see comments on the “About” page, or the “Media Kit” – usually there by mistake.

There are plenty of changes here – including stronger passwords, a new customizer – but you if you are interested you can see the list of changes on the Version 4.3 WordPress Codex page.

Guardian-iPad-225The Guardian issued a rare update to its iPad app called The Guardian and Observer daily edition. The update is mostly a bug fix update, though one of the improvements involves downloads – the reader will now not lose their download progress if their iPad switches off or they lose their Internet connection. Very helpful.

The tablet edition has been for me a disappointment. For most readers, especially those in the US, the Guardian’s website, still without a paywall, works just fine. Its boxy look, which the paper touted at launch, never appealed to me, and as the years have gone by feels more and more antiquated.

US readers have been a bit tough on the app of late, but not nearly as much as UK readers who complain of issues that do not download (this is probably something that the update fixes) and the new advertising seen in the app.

“I don’t think reading a newspaper has ever been so slow and difficult,” wrote on UK reader.

The New York Times has updated its NYT Cooking app, adding the ability to add notes to recipes. The app has been well received by readers, with the vast majority of 1-star review written back in September when the app was suffering from crash issues following the release of iOS 8. Unfortunately, it took the paper three weeks to issue an update, so a number of negative reviews were written at that time.

Things have gone considerably better since then and the paper has chosen to keep this app alive while scrapping its plans for NYT Now, changing the app to a free app after failing to attract as many paid subscribers as it would have liked.

There are only so many ways to cut up the pie, and while the NYT continues to try and find a way around this rule, they found that by creating new brands (such as NYT Cooking) they may attract new customers. Newspapers hate the idea of creating new brands, though. This is why they have lost so much talent to new media ventures. There is no reason why FiveThirtyEight couldn’t have been spun-out as its own brand – this would have allowed the paper to continue posting some columns while keeping a writer who had been driving web traffic during the last election onboard.

But as I say, newspapers hate creating new brands.

Zomato updated its iOS app Zomato – Food & Restaurant Finder to fix some bugs. Unfortunately, the company cannot fix the biggest problem with its app – its not Urbanspoon.

zomato-iPhoneZomato is a New Delhi based company that wanted to expand into the United States. So they did what any start-up would do, find a popular property to buy. So in January is announced that it had bought Seattle-based Urbanspoon for around $60 million – and along with it, its very popular app.

The company then shutdown the Urbanspoon app and transferred much of the user information over, translating it for their own system. For instance, Urbanspoon used a like/dislike rating system while Zomato used a five-point scale. (There is still an Urbanspoon iPhone app inside the Apple App Store, but it is simply the Zomato app branded with the Urbanspoon name.)

US users were not happy, not happy at all. Maybe it wouldn’t have mattered if Urbanspoon had been a new completely new brand, but users had become familiar with it over eight years. Zomato? Who had heard of it?

Then, earlier this month word leaked out that Zomato had laid off Urbanspoon’s engineering team. In the end, the investors in Urbanspoon, and those executives and employees in the company with an ownership stake, probably did just fine. But one doubts Zomato will see this investment have a happy ending. Buying a brand in order to enter a market makes all the sense in the world, but functions of the app while changing its name to something totally unfamiliar, does not.

In case you missed it, Apple issued a rather minor iOS update last week. The update fixes some music issues that uses have complained about since the release of iOS 8.4.

Here are the update details:

iOS 8.4.1

This release includes improvements and fixes to Apple Music.

  • Resolves issues that could prevent turning on iCloud Music Library
  • Resolves an issue that hides added music because Apple Music was set to show offline music only
  • Provides a way to add songs to a new playlist if there aren’t any playlists to choose from
  • Resolves an issue that may show different artwork for an album on other devices
  • Resolves several issues for artists while posting to Connect
  • Fixes an issue where tapping Love doesn’t work as expected while listening to Beats 1

For information on the security content of this update, please visit this website:

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