Mickey and Minnie speak in watchOS 3, Maps changes in iOS 10, Microsoft Office app for burger flippers

Mickey and the new Minnie Mouse faces can speak the time in watchOS 3
Mickey and the new Minnie Mouse faces can speak the time in watchOS 3

Mickey and Minnie Mouse can now speak the time in watchOS 3 — One of the coolest Apple Watch faces has been Mickey Mouse, tapping his foot in time with the seconds. watchOS 3 adds Minnie to the fun, plus they can each speak the time out loud with a tap. I’ll show you how. (watchOS 3 doesn’t automatically install the Minnie face so you’ll need go to this Apple forum discussion to find out how.) And this is how to get them to talk.

iOS 10 Maps ‘Overview’ buttons moved to a swipe-Up drawer — The Maps app got a major overhaul in iOS 10. It has a new look and feel and a new layout. One of the basic changes is that the Overview button moved from the main interface to the drawer at the bottom of the screen. Here’s how to find it. And here’s how to use Maps Extensions.

Microsoft app helps staffing rosters — A new Microsoft app for Office 365, StaffHub, seeks to make rostering easier and replace the break room calendar. StaffHub has a couple of key differences to Calendar-style apps: workers can swap shifts themselves or ask others to cover for them. StaffHub’s also a messaging app, so, for instance, one cook can send another cook a message about an ingredient shipment that’s scheduled to arrive. (Microsoft didn’t say, but those employee-to-employee messages would presumably be monitored by an employer.) The other difference from your typical shared calendar, unfortunately, is the price: A company must be signed up with at least an Office 365 kiosk license to use it, which costs $4 per user, per month.

Top satisfaction, fiscals, cheap bundle, Universal Clipboard, using Tapback, Typeeto, Drake’s short, Music algorithm

Drake has released a short film as an Apple Music exclusive
Drake has released a short film as an Apple Music exclusive

Apple continues to lead in personal computer satisfaction — Customer satisfaction with personal computers halts a three-year slide, according to new data from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). The ACSI Household Appliance and Electronics Report 2016 includes desktops, laptops, and tablet computers, as well as household appliances, televisions and computer software. With its Mac, Apple remains the overall leader in the personal computer industry, unchanged at 84.

Apple to reveal fiscal Q4 2016 earnings on October 27th — Apple has announced it will report quarterly earnings for the fourth fiscal quarter of 2016 on October 27, to be followed by a live-streamed conference call on Apple’s investor website.

Pay what you want for an award-winning Mac bundle — The Mac Observer’s Award-Winning Mac Bundle is 13 Mac apps: Drive Genius 4, The Hit List, DeltaWalker 2 Pro, Nisus Writer Pro, Aurora HDR, WinZip 5 Mac, VPN Forever: 3-Yr Subscription, Project Planning Pro, Letter Opener for macOS Mail, Duplicate Photos Fixer Pro, Screen Grabber Pro, eXtra Voice Recorder, and PhotoStitcher. That’s a quality list of apps (and services). Pay anything, even a penny, and you get three of them. Beat the average price — US$11.12 and rising as of this writing — and get all 13. Beat the leader’s price, and you’ll earn an entry in an iPhone 7 giveaway. You can read all the details on the deal listing. [To even get Nisus and Aurora for cheap is very worthwhile – they’re top quality products.]

How to set up Universal Clipboard for your Mac and iDevices — iOS 10 and macOS Sierra support a new feature called Universal Clipboard that lets you copy text or graphics on one device and paste them into documents on another. It really is as simple as copy-and-paste — assuming everything is configured correctly. Read on to learn how to make sure you’re set up to use Universal Clipboard.

Using Tapback in macOS Sierra: Messages — If you’ve been having fun playing around with the so-called Tapback feature in iOS 10, with which you can long press on a message to give it a heart, say, or a thumbs up, you can do some of the same things in Messages. Here’s how.

Nvidia may be working with Apple on graphics for ‘revolutionary’ new Mac products — Though Apple’s current Mac lineup relies on AMD graphics, a switch to Nvidia could be in the works for the MacBook Pro and beyond, if new job listings from the GPU maker is any indication. [Fingers crossed this is true, then.]

Typeeto is a free Mac utility for sharing your keyboard with other devices — With many keyboards, you have to un-pair from the Mac, then pair with the new device. Want to type on your Mac again? Un-pair from the device, then pair with the Mac again. Eltima Software has a great solution in the form of a free utility for Mac called Typeeto that makes it simple to use a Mac keyboard with an iPad, iPhone, Apple TV, Android device, you name it, and switch between devices in seconds.

Drake debuts new short film as Apple Music exclusive — Mainstream rapper Drake on Monday released a 23-minute film, Please Forgive Me is an Apple Music exclusive, further cementing his close business ties with Apple.

Apple reveals algorithm behind Apple Music mixes, execs discuss past and future of service — Mixed in with the usual PR speak and promises to make Apple Music the most accessible, consumer-friendly streaming service available, Apple executives in a wide-roving interview published Monday hinted at the development of exceedingly advanced personalised playlist algorithms.

Tuesday Talk ~ Apple’s ‘Walled Garden’ took a couple of turns with iOS 10 and iPhone 7

(Image from Lydiard Park, UK)
(Image from Lydiard Park, UK)

Apple has long been accused of being a ‘walled garden’. This has several meanings. For an Apple user, it means the more Apple devices you have, the better, as they all communicate with each other to make your life easier. They’re all ‘in the garden’, if you will. This metaphor does not suit, say, someone who wants an Android phone but uses a Mac. The other criticism comes from developers: Apple ‘walls off’ its apps and the OS so you have to work within this environment. You can’t modify the environment itself, only the stuff in the flowerbeds. Developers like messing with the system – this represents a type of digital freedom, sure, but it also leads to multiple versions of the system, which is what you have in the Android world. Your app may work on your phone with your OS, but it won’t necessarily continue to work once you change phons or systems. This frustration is much, much rarer in the Apple world.
But, as I sometimes tell groups a little fatuously, a walled garden is more secure (true enough: Apple’s security record remains stellar) and besides, ‘gardens are nice’.

These criticisms have resurfaced lately with iPhone 7, since the only port into the device now is an Apple-designed port, that being the Lightning connector. That means everything interpreted though this port has to be mandated and controlled by Apple, or at least fit its Lightning guidelines. As Engadget points out, to create devices for the Lightning port, accessory makers have to sign up for Apple’s MFi (Made for iPhone/iPod/iPad) program.

However, the same can’t be said of iOS 10. iOS is now much more open than it was three years ago. IOS 7 was a huge visual overhaul, but it was nearly as locked down as the previous versions. The following year, Apple started opening things up. Now, claims Engadget (again) iOS is nearly as open as Android, at least as far as users are concerned. Look at the new Messages, for example: you can add stickers, draw on photos, send your heartbeat and even use other apps from inside iMessage.

I haven’t seen an iPhone 7 yet (anyone got one and willing to comment?). Going by the specs and reviews, it’s a brilliant iPhone in every way. But now we’re already wondering what next year will bring, with even Fortune posting a speculative piece on what Apple might offer for an iPhone. Why? Next year is the tenth anniversary of the introduction of the first iPhone, which appeared and changed everything in 2007.

Obscura gives you RAW shooting on later iPhones

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Obscura lets you shoot RAW images with your iOS 10 iPhone — Since compression has an effect on the quality of digital photos, professionals save in RAW, uncompressed format. iOS 10 now has the ability to work with RAW files, but the standard Camera app still resorts to JPEG. That’s why apps like Obscura (NZ$7.49/US$4.99) from developer Ben Rice McCarthy are gaining popularity.
Obscura works on the later iPhones: iPhone SE, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus, and the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, and provides the type of manual control that usually has professional photographers reaching for their DSLRs. with the app you can also apply one of 28 filters to the image in real-time, to see how they look before you take the photo. It has white balance controls, a built-in spirit level, and grid lines are available for composition.

Aurora HDR deal, tabbed windows, Memory Cleaner, Paragon NTFS for Windows/Mac drives

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Aurora deal running out — The new Aurora HDR 2017 will be launched very soon. MacPhun claims it looks better, runs faster and makes fantastic HDR photos. Current owners of Aurora HDR can pre-order the new version and save 80%, plus get bonuses from Macphun partners.

How to use tabbed windows in macOS Sierra — macOS Sierra brings tabs to apps that allow for multiple windows. Tabs are available in such Apple apps as Mail, Maps, TextEdit, Pages, Keynote, and Numbers, and the feature works with third-party document-based apps and the Finder.

Memory Cleaner makes it easy to clean out the junk files on your Mac — Every time you open a file on your hard drive, your Mac uses some memory. That makes things operate quickly, but, over time, residual files lounge around in the RAM, making your Mac a bit sluggish.
Memory Cleaner for macOS 10.7 and higher from ZipZap Mac is designed to rectify this. It frees wasted memory (RAM) with a simple, no-frills approach. [Restarting your Mac does the same thing; this means you don’t need a restart for your Mac to gets its head-space back.]

Paragon NTFS for Mac is now fully optimised to support macOS Sierra — The software eliminates boundaries between Mac and Windows incompatible operating systems, delivering full read and write support for NTFS-formatted drives on macOS Sierra systems.
Paragon NTFS for Mac achieves the speed of native drivers and is the industry’s fastest solution for sharing data between Mac and Windows systems, so that users don’t even notice on which platform their files are. You can also format any partition, check partition integrity, fix errors, view reports and take advantage of other useful check and control options. Paragon NTFS costs US$19.95.

iOS 10.0.2, Samsung dented, iOS 10 features, HomeKit fix, Apple Watch series 2

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iOS 10.0.2 fixes headphone audio controls, more — Apple released iOS 10.0.2 over the weekend. The headline feature is a fix for an issue that kept some headphone audio controls from working. A Photos bug was also fixed, as well as a problem with app extensions. It’s available in settings>General>Software Update.

Branding Brand: Galaxy Note7 recall dents consumer confidence in Samsung — The Galaxy Note7 recall put a dent in Samsung consumer confidence, with 34% of current customers saying they won’t buy another smartphone from the brand, according to Branding Brand, a mobile e-commerce platform. Of these customers, 81% have always owned a Samsung or Android smartphone.

More iOS 10 features, tricks and tips — Here’s how to disable some of the Haptic Feedback, a quick guide to where the lock screen music controls went, how to save bandwidth in iMessage images, how to optimise storage in Music downloads, the latest apps that have gained 3D Touch, Apple Maps is more powerful yet clearer, and how Apple’s Data Detectors offer quick details on music, movies, actors.

If you can’t remotely control your HomeKit devices, enable iCloud Two-Factor Authentication — If you upgraded to iOS 10 on your iPhone or iPad, and tvOS 10 on your fourth generation Apple TV and now can’t remotely access your HomeKit devices, there’s probably an easy fix. Odds are you haven’t enabled iCloud Two-Factor authentication, which HomeKit in iOS 10 and tvOS 10 requires. Read on to learn how to get set up.

Review: Apple Watch Series 2 is a great improvement, but watchOS 3 steals the show — Equipped with a noticeably faster dual-core S2 processor, its own standalone GPS radio, and now with a waterproof design, the Apple Watch Series 2 is a worthwhile and fantastic upgrade from the first-generation model. It’s also a great jumping on point for new buyers. But the biggest changes come with a software overhaul in watchOS 3, meaning early adopters will probably be happy with their existing Apple Watch for another year. And here’s how to put the Digital Crown to good use.

Advertising blocker, Triplejump, Fujitsu problem

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You can block advertising and trackers with Cheerio on macOS Sierra — Accesources has introduced Cheerio for macOS Sierra, which blocks the loading of advertisements on web pages.
The tool removes advertising, trackers and other unwanted elements from web pages when using Safari on your Mac. It makes pages load faster, uses less data on your cellular/Wifi connection, and improves your Mac battery life, according to the folks at Accessories. You can block ads, rollover ads, video ads, banners, overlay or expanding ads and other marketing content. It’s only NZ$1.49/US99¢ in the Mac App Store. [I bought it.]

Apple’s Tuplejump purchase hints at a smarter Siri and Echo competitor — Apple indirectly confirmed it purchased the machine learning company Tuplejump, adding to its collection of artificial intelligence talent. Tuplejump’s technology is designed to process large amounts of data to make it easier to work with, which sounds like a great fit for Siri.

ScanSnap warns of Sierra and Fujitsu drives — Fujitsu updated ScanSnap users Friday on Sierra compatibility, warning of data loss in “specific circumstances.” This is an escalation from an earlier advisory that ScanSnap users should not update to macOS 10.12 Sierra. [This is really not a common drive brand in New Zealand, where almost everything seems to be WD (Western Digital) or Seagate, but if you’re worried, look at your external drives to see what logos they carry.]

Futurology ~ Rosetta’s eruptions, Pluto’s deep oceans, Earth’s oxygen leak, bad food detector, Quantum Teleportation, smoking damages DNA, Marshalls going under

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What caused the weird eruptions on Rosetta’s comet — Last summer, something strange happened on Rosetta’s comet. After a period of calm, the comet began throwing huge jets of comet dust into space before abruptly stopping. Now, we finally know what happened. It was the sun heating up the comet’s volatile terrain after long, cold nights.
~ I was happy with the explanation ‘weird eruptions’.

Pluto’s oceans might be really deep — In recent months, there’s been growing evidence that Pluto is hiding a liquid water ocean beneath its frozen surface. New models by researchers at Brown University support this hypothesis, and take it one mind-boggling step further: Pluto’s ocean may be over 100 kilometers (62 miles) deep.
~ It’s salty, too. 

Our atmosphere is leaking oxygen — Atmospheric oxygen levels have dropped by 0.7% over the past 800,000 years, and while scientists aren’t sure why, they’re rather excited about it.
~ I suspect someone just isn’t breathing out properly. 

Gadgets detects off food — A new paper in ACS Infectious Diseases details a new technique that combines two existing food contamination detection methods (magnetic resonance and fluorescence testing) into a single fast diagnostic test. It can check for both high and low levels of E. coli bacteria simultaneously, without the time and lab-work of traditional culturing. The results, lead author of the paper Tuhina Banerjee told Gizmodo, start to become clear within one minute. After 15 minutes, the technique can give a confirmed test result for the presence of E. coli.
~ We have a cat. If it won’t eat it, nor will I (although I concede this only works for fish and meat, and not for vegetables).

Quantum teleportation just moved out of the lab and into the real world — Two independent teams of scientists have been successfully sending quantum information across several kilometres of optical fibre networks in Calgary, Canada, and Hefei, China. Quantum teleportation relies on a strange phenomenon called quantum entanglement: that two particles are inextricably linked, so measuring the state of one immediately affects the state of the other, no matter how far apart the two are.
~ I’m only going to be taking this seriously when it can send pizza. 

Smoking permanently damages your DNA — Smoking scars DNA in clear patterns, researchers reported Tuesday. Most of the damage fades over time, they found –but not all. Their study of 16,000 people found that while most of the disease-causing genetic footprints left by smoking fade after five years if people quit, some appear to stay there forever.
~ Just when you thought all the bad news about smoking was already found. 

The Marshalls are already experiencing sea level rise, so people have been leaving — On low-lying fragments of land like the Marshall Islands, the tides are threatening to take away what they previously helped support: life. Here, no one is spared the rising seas. Most departing Marshallese are heading for the USA. More than 20,000 people from this remote sprawl of islands, located between Hawaii and Australia, are now in the US, and they gather mostly around Springdale, an unremarkable corner of Arkansas.
~ Unremarkable, I’ll wager, except for its distance from and height above the sea?

Five Tip Friday ~ Have you upgraded to iOS 10? This means new options for you

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1/ Use Markup on photos — Launch Photos, open a picture, and click the three-slider icon that opens up the editing options. From there, click the three-dot icon in a circle and choose ‘Markup’. 

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2/ Now you can use your iPhone as a magnifying glass — To enable the magnifying lens feature in iOS 10, go to
Settings>General>Accessibility>Magnifier on your iPhone. Once it’s enabled, you triple-click your Home button to turn the rear-facing camera into a magnifying lens. In magnify mode you can zoom in and apply filters to make the little things you need to see easier to pick out. When you’re done, tape the Home button again. This isn’t the same as using the Zoom feature in Apple’s camera app; it’s more like a macro shot. It’s handy for reading small type (like that tiny grey type on Apple’s power units, chargers etc) or for seeing fine details, and it saves you from having to carry a magnifying lens around.

3/ Change Haptic Feedback — iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, and 7 and 7 Plus, have ‘haptic feedback’ Home buttons that give your finger vibration feedback. There are three levels of haptic feedback you can set to your preference, and they’re labelled 1, 2, and 3: 1 is light feedback and level 3 is the maximum. To change your level of feedback, go to Settings>General and look for Home Button, and you are presented with the same interface you get during the setup process, as shown below. You can bounce through all three settings and try them by pressing the Home Button itself. Once you’re satisfied, tap Done.

4/ Find my iPhone — OK, this one’s for everyone, whether you have upgraded to iOS 10 yet or not. Find My iPhone is a default app included with iOS and it can be used for much more than simply finding a lost iPhone (although that, of course, is a terrific feature so make sure you turn in on in Settings>iCloud).
You can log onto Find My iPhone from another iOS device signed into your Apple ID or with any web browser by going to www.icloud.com. After launching the app or clicking on Find My iPhone on the iCloud website, you’ll be asked to log in with your Apple ID email address and password (this is the same combo as for iTunes and the App Stores). If you have two-step authentication enabled for your Apple ID you will be asked to enter the secondary passcode.
After logging into Find My iPhone, a map with all the devices used with that Apple ID is displayed. Devices owned by other people on a family plan will be displayed on the map as well. If a device has been located, it’s indicated by a green circle that can be clicked for details. There’s also a dropdown menu for seeing all of the devices associated with the Apple ID account.
Click or tap on the device you want to find and Find My iPhone zooms in on its location on a map. You then have a choice to play a sound, go into Lost Mode, or totally erase the device. With such powerful options, it’s important that you guard access to Find My iPhone quite well. Two-step authentication really helps with this.
Play Sound does exactly what it says: if you have misplaced your iPhone, Play Sound will make the iPhone emit a loud sonar-type sound for five minutes. The device makes this sound even if the side mute switch is on.

5/ Lost Mode and Erase — This setting, which you can turn on in your browser as above, locks your device with a passcode, displays a custom message on the home screen including a phone number to call, and begins tracking the location of the device even if location services were originally disabled.
If the phone is off when you go into Find My iPhone, there is a checkbox to provide you with a notification when it is turned on and located. The passcode you entered remotely and the “call me” message go into effect when the device is turned on.
Erase Phone does exactly what it says. When you select Erase Phone, you have to enter the Apple ID of the device. You will receive an email confirmation if the device is on. If the device is off, the erase begins as soon as it is powered back on. Therefore, any thieves are denied access to any websites you have been to (ie, bank sites) or banking apps and other personal info like your contacts and email accounts, Facebook Messenger etc.
If the device is running iOS 7 or later, the message and phone number remain on the screen even after the phone is erased. That should increase the chances of someone returning your phone to you.
[These Find my iPhone tips came from Apple World Today – this link has more info than I posted above.]

iPhone 7 reviews, Plus models popular, Smart Photos

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Reviews of iPhone 7 — John Martellero writes “What Apple did instead [of putting in an OLED display] was to combine some really great incremental improvements, such as the camera(s) with terrific performance improvement of the A10 Fusion processor and wrap it in a seductive pair of new colors”. Over on Apple Insider, Daniel Eran Dilgerhas a mega-review of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus: “Apple’s latest iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are faster, sport significantly better cameras, expand system-wide haptics in iOS 10 with a new solid state Home button and Taptic Engine, introduce Wide Color and other major Retina HD technology improvements without changing their display resolutions, add new water resistance and include updates to system components ranging from RAM to storage to wireless capabilities.”

Shoppers looking at Apple’s iPhone leaning towards Plus models, mid-tier memory, survey finds — A larger proportion of people are now choosing Plus-sized iPhone models, while about half of buyers are picking mid-tier storage, according to an RBC Capital Markets survey shared with AppleInsider. [Seems like the dual cameras sway them – I propose Apple could add this feature to the normal-sized iPhone 7 with the ‘s’ model in a few months.]

Inside iOS 10: Examining the new smart Photos features — With the new iOS 10 and macOS Sierra updates Apple introduced a set of automated Photos tools, like new machine learning algorithms that automatically identify faces and places, that combine to make image search and organization easier than ever.

Apple Mac, iPhone & iPad news for New Zealanders