REVIEW ~ URBAN ARMOR GEAR IPHONE 6/6S CASE

Back

This is a tough iPhone case – it’s military drop-tested to the 810G-516.6 standard. Once your iPhone is pressed into it, it’s light, doesn’t interfere with the iPhone camera’s flash, has buttons that connect to the iPhone buttons and a raised lip to stop the screen contacting the surface should you place the iPhone face-down on – you will do this sooner or later, even if you don’t mean to. Anti-skid bumpers add to the package so it doesn’t slide across your desk, and there are cushioning disks inside as well. Since the iPhone 6 and 6s are slippery, this is something I appreciate.

The slight matte black cowl around the flash and lens is designed to cut down glare when the flash fires.

But despite the lightness of the case, this UAG case adds a fair bit of bulk to the iPhone and you’ll find it a bit of an effort to get out of some pockets. For those with big hands and big pockets, this can add a satisfying grip-ability and heft to the iPhone, but others may find this all a little clumsy.

Aesthetically, I’m not a big fan of the visible hex pattern in the transparent material on the back (main picture, above), but there are other patterns and colours available – check out the site. There are also different sorts of cases, plus cases for iPads and smart devices by other makers.

Front

Urban Armor Gear iPhone 6/6s composite case US$34.95 (about NZ$47.77, free shipping worldwide, one year warranty).

More info — Urban Armor Gear.

Five Tip Friday ~ Mac odds and ends

1/ Remove a connected Bluetooth device on your Mac — Click the Bluetooth menu at top right of your screen and choose Bluetooth Preferences or, if you can’t see that menu, open System Preferences and click the Bluetooth tab and tick ‘Show Bluetooth in menu bar. Either way, now you see your paired devices
within that pane. Right- or Control-click (hold down the Control or CTRL key on your keyboard and then click) on the connected Bluetooth device in question and pick Rename from the contextual menu. You’ll be asked for the new name you want. Type it in, click Rename and you will be able to identify your devices more easily.

2/ iCloud is online and you can access it this way — All your iCloud connected activity is available to you online., free, thanks to your iCloud account. This is a web page dedicated securely to you. In a web browser (on any device) go to http://www.icloud.com, sign in with the email address associated with your Apple ID and your Apple ID password (that for iTunes, app Store etc, not your Mac or device password or passcode) and you can see all your information, including Contacts, email if you have a free iCloud email address, and even documents you have shared from Pages, Notes, Reminders, Numbers etc. Just make sure you sign out before closing the browser if you’re doing this on someone else device.
Signing in online also lets you find your devices on a map, as below …

3/ Make sure Find My Mac is enabled — Nothing worse than losing your Mac, but have you really turned on this feature? Open System Preferences, click iCloud and scroll down to turn this on. But if it has an exclamation mark in a  yellow triangle, you have not enabled Location Services. You may have turned this off for greater security, but you can turn it on and only have the Find my Mac feature using it. In System Preferences, click Security & Privacy and under the Privacy tab, click Enable Location Services. You can then tick what apps on your Mac use it (or not).
Now you can visit http://www.iCloud.com to see if your Mac is showing up on the map of your devices. If you need more help with how to do that, here’s an Apple support article – just follow the instructions under the ‘Find your missing Mac’ section.

4/ Downloading iCloud Photo Library pictures — If you’re using iCloud Photo Library, Apple’s service for syncing all your pictures across your devices, you can choose to keep your images stored locally on your Mac, which is definitely the safe way to go. But how do you tell how your service is set up? Open Photos on your Mac and choose Preferences from the Photos menu, and chick the iCloud tab.
The topmost choice is iCloud Photo Library – this will be on if you’re syncing your library across your devices. If yours is currently turned off and you’re thinking about turning it on, be sure you’ve got a backup first! And it’d be good to read Apple’s support article on it too.
The two other options are Download Originals to this Mac and Optimize Mac Storage. The first keeps a copy of everything on your Mac; the second manages your library automatically, only storing as many pictures as you have space for.
If you have the space on your Mac (MacBooks and MacBook Airs have very small internal storage, so this may not be an option for you), most recommend the Download Originals to this Mac option. That way, you can do things like offline editing, and you can also back up your library through Time Machine (or what have you) so it’s protected in case a problem with iCloud that causes data loss crops up (rare, almost unheard of, but by no means impossible, and t’s also subject to good internet connectivity, of course). Never think of syncing services as a backup, and especially not as your ONLY backup.
If you’ve got Optimize Mac Storage on and you didn’t intend it to be, that may mean that some of your pictures are only living up in iCloud and aren’t on your Mac any more. If you’ve got the storage to accommodate all of your stuff, you can just toggle that particular setting to Download Originals to this Mac instead, and then that re-downloading will begin. Depending on the number of affected items you have, the process could take a while.

5/ Keep just a subset of your photos on your Mac — If you  just want to download a subset to your Mac, one way to do it is by configuring an album or smart album with the pictures you want to pull down. Start setting this up underneath the File menu inside Photos.
New Album and New Empty Album are both choices you can use. If you pick either of those, add items to them according to your preferences.
The New Smart Album option is pretty handy if the images you want to download meet criteria that you could configure using rules – for example, if all images you want were shot  between specific dates.
Once you’ve got your album or smart album set up, an easy way to download its contents is to first turn on Photos’ sidebar by choosing View>Show Sidebar or by pressing Option-Command-S; then you’ll right- or Control-click on your new album in the sidebar to pick the appropriate option from the contextual menu.
After the download is complete, you should have local copies of your pictures, and then you can back them up or do whatever you need to. And if you start having trouble, here’s another Apple support article on troubleshooting your iCloud Photo Library.

[These iCloud photo tips came from Mac Observer.]

Jailbreak blocked, iPad holding sales, iOS 9.3.5, Japanese maps, freeing up space

Jamaps

Apple ceases code signing for iOS 9.3.2 and iOS 9.3.3, blocks Pangu jailbreak — Apple on Wednesday stopped signing code for iOS 9.3.2 and iOS 9.3.3, meaning device users who upgraded to the most recent iOS 9.3.4 version, or who have not yet upgraded from iOS 9.3.1, are no longer able to access the release. The change prevents users from installing a version of iOS susceptible to security breaches. The move also effectively blocks the Pangu jailbreaks for iOS 9.3.2 and iOS 9.3.3.

Supply chain sees tablet market expansion, with Apple’s iPad holding fast — Apple is expected see consistent sales of its high-end offerings in the third calendar quarter of 2016, while other companies like Samsung and Amazon will be greatly impacted by the flood of ‘white box’ generic tablets from Chinese manufacturers.

iOS 9.3.5 is important’ — Available via the Software Update tool on iDevices, iOS 9.3.5 can also be installed through iTunes on a connected Mac or PC. Apple says little about it apart the fact it’s ‘important’ for your security[so I’d do it.]

Apple Maps team enhances Japanese station data, setting stage for transit directions in iOS 10 — Apple is reportedly improving the detail of its train/subway station mapping for Tokyo and other Japanese cities, preparing for the long-awaited arrival of public transit directions.

Three ways to free up space in iDevices — When you visit Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage > Manage Storage, you see data consumed by an application that’s unnamed. This is generally data that was being stored for an application that you deleted. In a perfect world that data should be deleted along with the application, but sometimes it’s not. Here’s how to remove it.

 

10Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2, music fest for Music subscribers, assets generator, tax and Ireland, iTunes video

iTunes

macOS Sierra beta points to future Macs equipped with 10Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2 — Upcoming Macs may support USB 3.1 Gen 2, enabling peripheral speeds up to a maximum 10 gigabits per second, code discovered in macOS Sierra suggests. The technologies could simplify connecting devices like 4K monitors, and speed up backups and file transfers on some external drives.

Only Apple Music subscribers will get to watch Apple’s live music fest this year — Maybe it’s a good time for Elton John and Britney Spears fans to activate that three-month free trial.

New Assets Generator Plus for OS X lets you create icon asset catalogues — Accesources Pty has introduced Assets Generator Plus 1.0, an icon generation tool developed exclusively for the Mac. It allows developers to create icon asset catalogues for iOS, OS X or Android apps.

What you need to know about the US Defending Apple’s European taxes — Apple has an interesting, and powerful, ally in an ongoing feud with the European Commission (EC). The US Treasury Department published a white paper Wednesday that condemed EC investigations into Apple and other US companies’ tax practices.

Apple’s iTunes ranks fourth in JD Power satisfaction survey for paid streaming video — JD Power on Thursday published a new customer satisfaction survey for paid video streaming services, ranking Apple’s iTunes below three major competitors.

Machine learning and Siri, Facebook political affiliations, Twitter’s night mode

Yes, exactly.
Yes, exactly.

Siri’s voice to benefit from machine learning improvements in Apple’s iOS 10 — When iOS 10 arrives this fall — most likely in September — Siri’s voice should sound a little more natural thanks to machine learning technology Apple is implementing.
[Will I start to use Siri then? I really doubt it. For one thing, my defaults to find information are powerful and long-used and involve typing, Safari and Maps, and for a second, there are many times where I simply don’t want to start asking my phone things – when I’m in public, for example. I mean apart from the fact I, like many New Zealanders, don’t want to draw attention to myself, I also don’t necessarily want others hearing my query and the answer. As for Siri’s voice, it makes no difference to me what it sounds like: the barriers are as above, not about the quality of Siri’s voice or answers.]

How to use your iPhone to see what political affiliation Facebook thinks you have — Facebook stores a significant amount of data on every user, including details about devices and operating systems you’ve used to access the service, and what political affiliation you may be. Here’s how to find out what the world’s largest social network knows about you.

Twitter’s new Night Mode — Twitter has added a night mode feature to its iOS app. When night mode is activated, the Twitter interface changes to darker hues so that Tweets are easier to read in low light, when you don’t want to be squinting at a bright white screen. The feature was originally introduced in Twitter’s Android app back in July.

Obduction succeeds Myst, 5 years for Cook as CEO

The spiritual successor to Myst has arrive
The spiritual successor to Myst is now available.

Obduction, Myst’s spiritual successor, is now available — Years in the making, today Cyan released Obduction which, as they term it, is the ‘spiritual successor’ to their once immensely popular game Myst. Like its predecessor, Oduction is built to take you on an immersive and non-linear story through worlds of wonder and mystery. You can get it from here, for US$29.99 (also via Steam).

Tim Cook’s crucial role at Apple extends well beyond his 5 years as CEO — Though Wednesday marked the five-year anniversary of Tim Cook officially taking reins at Apple, he actually oversaw the company’s day-to-day operations well before he was named CEO, and during some of its most difficult days.

iPhone 6 problem, Apple Watch second best, cheap 4K video

FuzzBar
iFixit has identified a spreading problem of unresponsive touchscreen ion iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, with this fuzzy bar showing up at the top of the screen.

iFixIt reckons a ‘whole bunch’ of iPhone 6 and 6 Pluses are losing touch functionality — According to the folks at iFixIt, repair experts from all over the world are reporting a widespread problem killing iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices: an unresponsive touchscreen and a gray, flickering bar at the top of the display. [Yikes! I have a 6.]

‘Paste’ names Apple Watch as runner-up for ‘Overall Best Smartwatch’ — The Apple Watch was the runner-up in the Overall Best Smartwatch category by Paste Magazine. Paste named the Pebble Time as the Best Budget Smartwatch, the Fitbit Blaze as the Best Smartwatch for Fitness, the Vector Watch as the smartwatch with the best battery life, the Huawei Watch as the one with the best display; and the Moto 360 as the Overall Best Smartwatch.

Pyle launches low-end attack on GoPro with iPhone- & Apple Watch-connected US$80 4K camera — The newest affordable action camera from electronics maker Pyle Audio captures 4K video at 120 frames per second, along with offering iOS connectivity and an array of mounting accessories.

 

Music playlists, NSA and exploits, PDF Expert 2, new macOS Betas

Apple Music is accessed under the For You tab in Music in iTunes. (Image from Apple's music site which tells you more about the service.)
Apple Music is accessed under the For You tab in Music in iTunes. (Image from Apple’s music site which tells you more about the service.)

Nine out of 10 Apple Music users have listened to or created a music-streaming-service playlist — A new study released by MusicWatch, a company providing consumer research for the music industry, profiled the usage patterns, playlist preferences, discovery habits and creation habits of music streamers. The study found that 90% of music streamers have listened to or created a playlist. Paid or “premium” subscribers were the most active, with eight in 10 listening to their service every day and half listening to a playlist every time that they use the service to stream music.

Not even NSA can keep Software Exploits secret — Twice in two weeks we’ve had solid reminders that exploits and legitimate software keys can be mishandled, even by experts. These events serve as practical certification that Apple was right in its theoretical stance to fight the FBI’s demand to create GovtOS.

Readdle releases PDF Expert 2 — When it comes to working with Portable Document Format (PDF) files, there’s been no better Mac app than Readdle’s PDF Expert. Today, the Ukraine-based developer released PDF Expert 2 to add even more capabilities (free trial, US$59.99 license).

Apple releases new developer and public betas of macOS Sierra — Apple has released the seventh beta of macOS Sierra for developers and the six beta for public beta testers. The final version is due this fall.

Tuesday Talk ~ iThis or Apple That?

WTHell

Do you get the impression Apple is busily renaming things rather than issuing new products? Granted, we know new products are coming, and this may contribute to us having less patience, but there are a lot of Apple products out there already, compared to ten years ago, so things are confusing enough already: we have the Mac mini, iMac, Mac Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and then the iDevices: Apple Watch, iPhone SE, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPad Air 2 and the two iPad Pro iPads. Shortly we might get iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, and who knows what the new MacBook Pro will be called? I constantly have people earnestly describing to me their Mac Air, their iTouch and their iWatch as it is.

So far, Apple hasn’t even been able to get the message across as to what its products are named. I had one woman call me on the advice of a colleague as she was having a struggle with her computer. She was so confused (she’d been issued a Mac at work and had been a PC user; switching isn’t always as easy as we’d like to pretend) but when I asked what Mac she was using, she didn’t know. In the end, I had to have her hunt for an Apple logo to make sure it was actually a Mac at all. I know ‘understated’ is Apple’s design ethos, but has that morphed into ‘under-known’?

As John Kheit says over at the Mac Observer, “Apple has slowly been testing the waters of changing its product lines to use the symbol/word ‘[Product].’ It started with tv. Then Watch. The ‘i’ in things like iPhoto, i.e., now simply Photos, has slowly been deprecated.” Kheit thinks part of the move may stem from all the trademark problems Apple’s had around the world. I mean, crikey, your company is named after a common fruit after all. Thank goodness Apple didn’t try and change that for locales, otherwise we’d have the Pomme de Terre and Mela Macintosh in France and Italy … but Apple has changed the long-standing Mac OS X too. I mean that’s a pretty descriptive title for an operating system, isn’t it? But now we have to get used to ‘macOS’, which seems arbitrary to the extreme.

Meanwhile, Apple is changing ‘Apple Store’ to ‘Apple‘ and changing the job title names of those who work there. With all the gradual declines across product sales, the doom-predictors are gleefully evoking deckchairs and Titanic, although in reality this is more of a slightly choppier sea/ Apple is still very, very far away from icebergs.

Hey, Apple, we could all buy label makers and put the correct labels on ourselves, right? Is that what you want? And is there an app for that?

Apple Mac, iPhone & iPad news for New Zealanders

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