Futurology ~ Universe annihilation, Solar System map, Io’s activity, Venus life, Civil War cannonballs, new Aussie dinosaur


Universe could annihilate itself at the speed of light — The universe could spawn a lethal bubble of pure vacuum that expands in all directions at the speed of light.
This excellent and highly entertaining new video produced by YouTube channel Kurzgesagt—In a Nutshell tackles a speculative natural disaster of epic proportions: the collapse of the universe through vacuum decay.
~ Sorry about the cheery start to this column! Maybe Electrolux could send a tech over ….

Most details Solar System map — The HI4PI map was produced using data from the Max-Planck radio telescope in Germany, and the CSIRO radio telescope in Australia. The stunning image was compiled from more than a million individual observations, and approximately 10 billion individual data points.
~ It will help us – I mean, some – understand how the galaxy works. 

Io’s very active volcanoes — Jupiter’s moon Io is the most volcanically-active body in our solar system, and a recent observational campaign offers a little more insight into the a terrifying hellscape that awaits any unfortunate space probes we send there.
~ ‘Hellscape’ does rather put me off visiting. But hey, what a great name for Samsung’s next smartphone!

Venus may once have been the most habitable — Venus is often referred to as Earth’s evil twin, but conditions on the planet were not always so hellish, according to research that suggests it may have been the first place in the solar system to have become habitable. The study, due to be presented this week at the at the American Astronomical Society Meeting in Pasadena, concludes that at a time when primitive bacteria were emerging on Earth, Venus may have had a balmy climate and vast oceans up to 2,000 meters (6,562 feet) deep.
~ And there’s that ‘hell’ epithet again. 

Civil War cannonballs unearthed by hurricane — On Sunday, explosives experts were dispatched to Folly Island, South Carolina, after a resident found what appeared to be at least a dozen Civil War cannonballs uncovered by Hurricane Matthew.
~ The island was a staging area for Union troops. 

Australia discovers new dinosaur — Savannasaurus was a gigantic long-necked dinosaur that lived during the Cretaceous period some 100 million years ago. Its discovery sheds new light on sauropod evolution as well as how these impressive beasts managed to conquer the globe.
~ It’s always amazed me people think they know what the skin looked like from some bones, or even impressions of bones. They could have been polka-dotted for all we know. 


Five Tip Friday ~ macOS Sierra Picture in Picture, Siri searches and Photo Memories


1/ Picture-I-Picture in macOS Sierra supports picture-in-picture — You don’t need Method 2 if you have the on-screen controls (a little button at lower left on your video player) but if that doesn’t appear (I hardly ever see them), there’s another way to enable PiP mode. On, say YouTube, right-click in the middle of the movie to bring up a set of YouTube-supplied HTML 5-based controls. This takes doing it to get it, but once that pop-up menu is on-screen, right-click away from it (right of t, or left, or above or below) and another pop-out menu appears, as above.  Choose that, and the movie will unfold and snap to the nearest corner of your Mac desktop. You can only access this particular Sierra contextual menu if the HTML 5-supplied pop-up menu is on screen first.

2/ Use Command-drag to position Picture-in-Picture videos — If you’re watching a video in picture-in-picture mode in macOS Sierra, it snaps to the nearest corner. Even when you drag it out of that corner, it will again snap to the corner nearest to where you let it go.But hold down the Command key while you drag to put the video where you want it. Iif you Command-Drag the video, it stays where you leave it. If you don’t, it will snap to the nearest corner.

3/  Siri to search for images on the internet — macOS Sierra’s voice assistant can search the web for pictures. Click on Siri’s colourful Dock or menu bar icon, and say something like ‘Do a Web search for images of [whatever]’. The list of results that appears is interactive. For example, you can drag and drop one of those thumbnails out to your desktop to save it there, onto Mail’s icon in the Dock to attach it to an email, or into a Pages or Word document to insert it. You can also right- or Control-click a thumbnail to get a few other options, including the ability to copy the image.

4/ Using Photos Memories — The new Memories feature within Sierra’s version of Photos is a pretty cool way to look back on the pictures you’ve taken. Depending on how big your Photos library is, the program will generate up to three new Memories per day to remind you of events or places in your life. You can look at these Memories by choosing that option either under the big buttons near the top of Photos’ window…
Selecting Memories in either place will show you both the automatically-created ones and ones you’ve made.

5/ Make a Memory — This is easy, if not very obvious: click on the header for any moment, collection, or year within the main Photos view, and you’ll see an Add to Memories option at the bottom of the following screen.
favorite-memoriesOnce you’re looking at all of your Memories, then, you can double-click one to check out the images within it or use the Play button to view it as a slideshow. If you see a Memory you really like and would like to keep, you can ‘favorite’ it. Choose Image>Add to Favorite Memories… or right-click on the Memory and select that same option.
To remove a favorited Memory, select it and choose the Remove from Favorite Memories option from the Image menu, or right-click on it again and pick that from the contextual menu.

Every iPhone tested, Monster Messages, counterfeit cables, IBM ed, Watch SOS


Performance tests of every iPhone ever made — iPhone 7 is said to be 120 times faster than the original 2G, which came out nine years ago that’s a lot of progress in less than a decade. Here’s a terrific suite of tests on every iPhone Apple has shipped: boot time, speed benchmarks, camera quality (and low light performance), Touch ID response, camera launch times, operating temperature, sound output, and more. What a nifty video – and nicely narrated. Nine years of iPhone development before our eyes.

Monster Message Pack — 
Halloween is only a little over a week away. Many people enjoy decorating this time of year whether it be jazzing up homes and yards or one’s iPhone. Customisation has long been limited on the iPhone but with iOS 10, Apple greatly revamped iMessages to allow various effects and stickers (as apps that can be downloaded from within the Messages app itself). Monster Maker (NZ$1.49/US99c) developed by independent developer William Robinson, and like other sticker packs, there are numerous graphics and GIFs that you can include in your Messages to others on iOS 10.

Apple is fed up with counterfeit cables and chargers on Amazon —
A lawsuit filed against Mobile Star claims up to 90 percent of Apple-branded cables and chargers offered on Amazon are phony.

IBM launches first MobileFirst education app for the iPad — IBM has announced the first IBM MobileFirst for iOS education app: IBM Watson Element for Educators, which enables a new level of engagement for teachers by providing a holistic view of each student at their fingertips, including data on interests, accomplishments, academic performance, attendance, behaviors and learning activities.

How to Use Emergency SOS in  watchOS 3 — Under watchOS 3, you can automatically summon emergency services by just holding down the side button.

Hello Again, E-Ink keyboards, Magic Toolbar, Lego Macs, Final Cut Pro meeting


Apple ‘hello again’ Media Invites Suggest Reintroduction of Mac Product Line — Apple has now sent out the invitations to the well-expected October 27th media event. The tagline for the invite is “hello again,” and the event is expected to centre around new Mac models. The idea that the Mac is being re-introduced is exciting. It’s been so long since we’ve seen new Macs, many of us have feared Apple was losing interest in its computer product line.

E Ink keyboard MacBook Pros aren’t a sure thing — A report last week suggested Apple will ditch the MacBook Pro’s traditional keyboard for an E Ink version with keys that dynamically change based on the app being used. Now the Wall Street Journal is chiming is saying it has sources confirming Apple’s plan. That makes it more likely an E Ink keyboard is coming, but it still isn’t a sure thing.

MacBook Pro’s function touch strip called Magic Toolbar — We already have the Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad, and soon we’ll have the Magic Toolbar, too. A just uncovered trademark filing seems to confirm the MacBook Pro really is getting a touch sensitive bar to replace the keyboard’s row of function keys.

LEGO rolls out Macs in the workplace to meet growing employee demand — LEGO, founded in 1932, has modernised its IT infrastructure by integrating Mac and iOS devices into its corporate environment using Jamf’s Apple device management solution.

Annual Final Cut Pro gathering being held as Apple is expected to unveil new MacBook Pros — In what may be turning out to be a busy week for Apple, the company is inviting attendees at the annual Final Cut Pro X user’s conference to visit the its corporate headquarters next door, just as it is expected to unveil a new MacBook Pro design with dynamic OLED touch bar.

Apple in San Diego hospital, Microsoft Surface rejected, 74 million iPhones, end of iOS 9.3.5


Apple TV, iPad utilised in conjunction for patient care at new San Diego hospital — Apple device management tool developer JAMF and UC San Diego Health are collaborating to roll out a patient care and information system utilising the Apple TV, an iPad, and a large flat-screen television in all 245 rooms of the future Jacobs Medical Center.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick says Microsoft’s Surface is undependable — You have to feel sorry for Microsoft’s Surface tablets. After Microsoft won a contract to supply the devices to the NFL sidelines, they were first misidentified as iPads. Then they were abused. Now New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick has outright rejected them.

Researchers expect 74 million iPhone sales in Q4 2016 on strength of new releases — New analyst research suggests the iPhone 7 family of phones is selling better than that of the iPhone 6s, but numbers and financial impact for the third quarter are being kept low by early stock limitations on the sought-after iPhone 7 Plus.

Apple stops signing iOS 9.3.5, halting any downgrades from iOS 10 — As of Wednesday Apple is no longer signing iOS 9.3.5, effectively preventing anyone already on iOS 10 from downgrading to iOS 9.

Focusrite allows users to control their audio interfaces from iOS App — Focusrite released iOS Control Wednesday – note that it’s being listed on the App Store as simply Focusrite Control. This free app allows users of Focusrite’s desktop app Control to extend control of their audio interfaces to iPhone and iPad. Control works with Focusrite’s larger audio interfaces, from the Scarlett 6i6 (2nd Gen) and up, as well as the company’s Clarett and Red lines. With iOS Control, users can control hardware inputs, software playback, panning, solo, mute, and preamp settings on your interface—all from your iOS device. It’s a free download, but is useless without the above-mentioned hardware and use of the Control desktop app.

MacBook Pro with USB-C, IBM’s many Macs, Shawnee Heights School went Apple

USB-C in a MacBook. This post tells you more about the multi-use port
USB-C in a MacBook. This post tells you more about the multi-use port

New MacBook Pros reportedly going all in with USB-C;
Bye, MagSafe — A new report indicates one huge, and potentially polarising, change is on the way for the new MacBook Pro. Pros are going full USB-C.
Citing a Chinese supplier, rumour source Macotakara says Apple will announce and ship a 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro without USB ports, a MagSafe connector, or Thunderbolt 2 port, just like the 12-inch MacBook. Apple is all in with USB-C and Thunderbolt 3, reports indicate. and this could be announced October 27th.

IBM deploying 1300 Macs per week, Apple users need much less support than PC counterparts — New light was shed on IBM’s deployment of Apple hardware at the annual JAMF Nation User Conference on Wednesday, revealing the 100,000 Mac user milestone expected to be crossed at Big Blue right around the start of the new year. According to data provided by IBM, and collated by JAMF, IBM has deployed over 90,000 Macs since June 1, 2015. In the same time frame, it also has distributed over 48,000 iPads, and more than 81,000 iPhones to employees. IBM says they’re three times less expensive to support than Windows boxes.

Shawnee Heights School District goes from 100% Microsoft to mostly Apple in five years — Kansas’ Shawnee Heights School District, working with Jamf IT management solutions, has gone from 100% Microsoft to mostly Apple products in the past five years. The district buys all its products instead of leasing them despite dealing with budget constraints (as most school systems do).

Apple executives awarded stock bonus worth up to $25M — Apple last week meted out restricted stock unit awards to its executive team, with the likes of SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue, SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller and others receiving up to 149,667 RSUs scheduled to vest through 2021. [That should alleviate some suffering.]

Siri on Halloween, iOS 10.3, NZ dev changes, new Bass, park, medical EKG

I know where I'll be ...
I know where I’ll be

Not sure what to be for Halloween? Ask Siri! Siri may not be the brightest AI in the world, but it certainly has a sense of humour. Longtime AWT reader and Team AWT member Hal Sherman passed along some results from a friend – Julie B – who was asking Siri the question “What should I be (or wear) for Halloween?” The responses are typically nerdy and funny.

iOS 10.0.3 now available — iOS 10.0.3 was released today for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Some users had been experiencing a loss of cellular connectivity on the two newest iPhones, and this update includes a bug fix for that issue.

Currency exchange rate and tax law changes result in App Store compensation changes for New Zealand — Developers who sell apps on Apple’s App Store are dependent on the cut that they get from Apple for their income. Apple sent emails to developers in  New Zealand (and South Africa) to let them know that what they earn each time an app is sold will be changing in the next few days.
Kiwi developers won’t see prices changing as the result of a new goods and services tax that began being levied on October 1; instead they will get less from Apple for each app sold.

IK Multimedia presents the first physically modeled electric bass — MODO BASS® is the first physically modelled bass virtual instrument that gives you an unprecedented realistic performance for your bass tracks. You can listen to it here.

Find your car — Apple Maps supposedly remembers where your car is and shows you, but I’ve never actually seen this feature. But launch the Tuture app and forget about it: when you need to know where you parked, just relaunch Tuture to see the location of your car automatically and with no accessories. It’s free.

AliveCor Kardia Mobile is medical-grade EKGs from your iPhone — Here’s one for the young doctors, maybe: AliveCor has created the Kardia Mobile, a US$99 FDA-approved device for taking instant medical-grade EKGs in 30 seconds using a small sensor pad plus a smartphone or tablet.

Cook on Hilary’s ticket, MacBook Pro refreshed rumour


Apple CEO Tim Cook Could’ve Been Hillary Clinton’s Vice President — US Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s Vice President running mate could have been Apple CEO Tim Cook. Cook is on a list of potential running mates John Podesta, Clinton’s presidential campaign chairman, presented before Tim Kaine was selected.

MacBook Pro refresh may still happen in October — The 19th already, and no hints of any Apple Event yet … but if you’re counting on an major refresh for the MacBook Pro in October, don’t give up hope yet. A new report says updated models are still on the way and they’ll launch before the end of the month (maybe October 27th? Apple rescheduled its quarterly earnings report from the 27th to the 25th citing a scheduling conflict). The latest report comes from Macotakara citing a “reliable Chinese supplier.”
This one also says the new models will sport USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 support, dropping the MagSafe 2 charging port. The updated MacBook Pro is also expected to have the standard row of keyboard function keys with a touch-sensitive OLED stip that dynamically changes based on which app is active.
But they may have Intel Skylake instead of the more advance, but hard to get, Kaby Lake CPUs…

The Apple and Intel Affair — History will probably record that the delay in Apple’s 2016 MacBook Pro/Air involved the development of some new Apple technologies getting out of sync with Intel’s CPU/GPU roadmap. First, we know that Apple elected to skip a CPU generation, waiting for Skylake with Thunderbolt 3 support. Recently, a leaked Intel roadmap and some analysis of the integrated GPU cycle explains why Apple may have to wait again until 2018 for it’s next major refresh. Particle Debris page 2 explores Apple’s Intel headache.

Tuesday Talk ~ The Cult of Mac is getting anxious

(Image from Pinterest)
(Image from Pinterest)

Here we are, all hanging on for new Macs. I know at least ten people in the same boat as me. We’ve been clinging on to our Macs, keeping them running, afraid to upgrade because we know, or at least think we know (while definitely fervently hoping) that a new model is imminent. This goes specifically for the MacBook Pro, which hasn’t had a full update (just some some minor refreshes) since 2012.

It’s worse for Mac Pro users …if there are any left. When that first round Pro tower came out in 2013, it was expensive but hey, it was the fastest and best. However, that didn’t last long and even a year later you could get a higher-specced PC for considerably less. This has been very difficult for Pro users to swallow, and some have even jumped ship to powerful Unix boxes while others must be thinking enviously along the same lines.
It’s not as if other manufacturers failed to notice Pro-user unhappiness, making more easily expandable, higher-specced and cheaper PCs available. The Pro hasn’t been updated in three years. Meanwhile, the excellent, but overpriced (going by the competition’s prices) Apple Thunderbolt display has been cancelled entirely, with no replacement. Luckily there are excellent high-quality displays you can plug in, in their stead, but the Thunderbolt offered some handy extra ports. But there are no rumours that Apple is even looking at a Pro update. Pro users who wanted to stay with Apple have been buying very well-specced 27-inch iMacs instead.
Apple has almost limitless resources, yet seems to have chosen to all but abandon its strongest, and most powerful, supporters.

Leaving Mac lines to languish is starting to affect sales. According to both Gartner and IDC, during the third quarter (3Q) of 2016, Apple shipped five million Macs – down from 5.4 million in the year-ago quarter, according to Gartner or from 5.8, according to IDC: a 13.4% decline. You can’t blame this on sales lost to iPad, since tablet sales aren’t picking up the slack. And there is no way on Earth that a powerful iPad even begins to be able to do what a good MacBook Pro can do, even if the latest iPad Pro outperforms the overpriced, virtually port-free MacBook. The problem, everyone agrees, is the stale Mac line-up.

Of course, the MacBook Pro is strongly rumoured to be undergoing work and everyone has been hoping it will arrive by the end of this October, although that date is getting uncomfortably close. For a professional user, an Air or worse, MacBook just can’t even begin to cut it. With a good MacBook Pro, you really can produce an entire movie, soundtrack and plenty more. It’s a really strong machine. And it has a good array of ports – if Apple cuts these, there will be a lot of disappointment.
The tragedy of all this is that if Apple doesn’t produce something spectacular, the professional crisis will depend and maybe even become a tipping point.

No-wires Beats, Dark Knight, Watch emergency services


Apple’s Beats debuts celebrity-laden ad promoting new wireless headphones — Apple-owned Beats has premiered a new video ad on Twitter, promoting the brand’s latest wireless headphones: the BeatsX, Solo3 Wireless, and Powerbeats3 Wireless. Set to the Pinocchio song I’ve Got No Strings by Disney —a major Apple business partner — the ad otherwise features a montage of celebrities wearing the products, including musicians DJ Khaled, Pharrell Williams, and Nicki Minaj, and actors Rebel Wilson and Steve Buscemi.

Decide the Dark Knight’s fate in the compelling Batman: The Telltale Series — Telltale’s choose-your-own-adventure game approach has become a formula, but it’s a reliably strong one that seems to work with nearly any kind of story. It really soared with The Walking Dead, which has spanned two core seasons (with a third starting next month) and a spinoff mini-series, but has since been applied to everything from Game of Thrones to Minecraft: Story Mode. Now The Dark Knight is the star of his own Telltale series: a five-part affair that lets you play as both Batman and Bruce Wayne as you navigate an original storyline that deviates sharply from the classic comic narratives.

Fox ’toon characters in game — The Quest for Cards uses some truly surprising source material: the characters and jokes from five different Fox cartoon series. [Isn’t Trump a Fox cartoon character?]

How to get help in an emergency with your Apple Watch — Apple Watch has SOS feature in watchOS 3. Unfortunately, this only works if your iPhone is nearby. If it is, you can call emergency services this way: press and hold the side button on your watch until the Emergency SOS slider appears.
Continue to hold down the side button. Wait for a countdown to begin and an alert to sound. You can also drag the Emergency SOS slider.
When the countdown ends, your watch automatically calls emergency services. [Does anyone know if this works in New Zealand? I don’t have an Apple Watch.]

Apple Mac, iPhone & iPad news for New Zealanders