Apple Dreams iPhone 5s, Microsoft suing Samsung and more


Apple's latest Dreams ad focuses on iPhone 5s
Apple’s latest Dreams ad focuses on iPhone 5s

New Dreams ad focuses on the many uses of the iPhone 5s — Apple has released another of its classy ads that show just how powerful we humans can be when equipped with an iOS device. In Dreams, Apple focuses on the iPhone 5s and shows everything from a Vaavud anemometer being used to measure wind speed at a beach to a doctor using the device to translate a question into Spanish.

Microsoft sues Samsung over unpaid Android patent royalties — Microsoft on Friday filed a lawsuit with a New York district court claiming Samsung is in breach of an Android patent cross-licensing contract after failing to turn over an undisclosed amount in royalty payments.

Clima is a compact and useful weather app — Clima (NZ$1.29) packs a lot of information into a deceptively simple user interface. Enter a city or cities and you get temperature and sky conditions on a colorful background.

Swift and iOS 8 course — This Complete iOS 8 Course With Swift is available for  pre-order has you build 14 iOS 8 apps using Xcode 6 & Apple’s new programming language, adding up to 36 hours of training.

Broken Age — It’ll scratch that point-and-click itch: Broken Age might be the prettiest game the genre has ever seen, but while the iPad game sets a new high mark for visual style, it doesn’t do anything dramatic to shake up the usual investigate-everything approach.

Make your iPad into a professional recording studio — Andrea Pejrolo decided to try and use the iPad for each stage of production – from recording and mixing all the way to mastering and SoundCloud distribution. The recording session was split in two days and took place in the new Berklee Production suites in Boston; the assistant engineer was the talented Vince Espi.

Al-Qaeda prefers Android over Apple’s iOS — Apple’s iOS has taken majority market share in education, government and the enterprise, but Google’s Android has become the favoured mobile platform among Al-Qaeda operatives.

FileVault, Beats, Mac wifi, Illustrator 2014


How to set up and use FileVault
How to set up and use FileVault

OS X: Configuring FileVault — OS X’s FileVault is a great feature to use if you’re concerned about the security of files on your Mac. The problem is that if someone takes your machine, it’s really trivially easy to gain access to your stuff. Because FileVault encrypts your files, it means that you don’t have to worry so much about your Mac being out of your control, because without knowing your password, even the smartest criminal mind will be out of luck. This Mac Observer article tells you more, and Take Control has released a whole eBook on the subject.

Apple officially welcomes Beats — Apple subsidiary Beats has uploaded a short 30-second spot to its Twitter account featuring two of its animated Pill creatures and the Siri virtual assistant, marking the first collaborative ad effort since Apple bought the audio company in May. Meanwhile, Apple has appointed Ian Rogers, the head of Beats’ subscription-music service, to run iTunes Radio.

How to troubleshoot Mac Wi-Fi problems — Wi-Fi has become the preferred way for  most to connect their Macs to other networked devices and the Internet. However, most of us also have times when those connections slow down or fail altogether. When that happens, however, there are several things you can do to diagnose and (ideally) fix the problem.

Illustrator CC2014 review: Adobe continues to add refinements that benefit illustrators — Illustrator finally gets improved shape tools, along with usability enhancements. All in all, Illustrator is a better program than before, reckons Macworld.

Futurology 02 ~ Weird binary star, impossible engine


Roger Shawyer's 'impossible' space engineRoger Shawyer’s ‘impossible’ space engine

Bizarre binary — There are some strange things in our galaxy, but a double star system with misaligned protoplanetary disks around 450 light-years from Earth has to be one of the weirdest. It has the potential to explain why some exoplanet orbits can be wildly eccentric.
Using data from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, astronomers have managed a detailed look into the binary star system HK Tauri.
~ And they’re less than 500 million years old – almost new!

Impossible Engine could change space travel — Roger Shawyerhad been laughed at by physicists for his EmDrive, which goes against classical mechanics. But the fact is that the quantum vacuum plasma thruster works and scientists can’t explain why.
~ Well, don’t ask me, then!

Glider to the edge of space — In an ambitious attempt to break every wing-borne sustained flight height record for a manned aircraft, the Perlan ll project intends to construct and fly a glider higher than any sailplane has gone before. Riding on the colossal stratospheric air waves generated over mountains, the team plans to fly its craft to more than 27,000 metres to shatter its own existing glider altitude record of 15,400m set by Perlan l in 2008.
~ Effortless heights.

Map shows the world’s most important cities over time — A map shows how the world’s most important cities changed over time.
Art historian Maximilian Schich put together the pretty visualisation that records humanity’s cultural history over 2600 years. The blue and red dots (below) are the birthplaces and deaths for over 120,000 people who were ‘notable enough’ to have their births and deaths recorded.
~ Eurocentric but still bewitching.

Cities plotted over 2600 years
Cities plotted over 2600 years

Zoo that’s better for the animals because they don’t see the human voyeurs — Danish architects at Bjarke Ingels Group think they have designed a better zoo, in which humans are usually hidden from the prisoners I mean animals by grass shelters and mirrored pods.
~ It would work for me. 

Old amber haul gives up its secrets — In the late 1950s, an entomologist named Milton Sanderson collected over 72kgs of 20-million-year-old amber in the Dominican Republic. Now, 50 years later, that amber is finally giving up its secrets, including a fascinating insect named for David Attenborough.
They’ve already found mating flies, stingless bees, gall midges, Azteca ants, wasps, bark beetles, mites, spiders, plant parts, and a mammal hair, and even a new species of pygmy grasshopper ‘Electrotettix attenboroughi’, which has just been described in the journal ZooKeys.
~ Sounds like an insect for Asterix. 

Five Tip Friday ~ Tips for Mac OS X and the Sidebar in Finder windows


Your sidebar explained – and it's customisable
Your sidebar explained – and it’s customisable

Folders on the Mac:  those you see in the Finder and via Open and Save dialogue boxes have sidebars which I often describe as functioning ‘like a Dock for windows’ (the Dock being that strip of launch icons normally along the bottom of your screen, or maybe on the left or right depending on your Preferences).
If you can’t see this left-side Sidebar, click View from the Finder menu and select ‘Show Sidebar’. If you want to get rid of it, while it’s visible the same menu item becomes Hide Sidebar.

1/ Add a folder to the favourites section — If you have a personal folder you’d like to appear in the sidebar, just select it with your mouse and drag it to the Favorites (sic) section of the sidebar — and when you do, make sure to place it between a pair of existing Favorites folders rather than inside of of them.

2/ Remove a folder from your favourites — Right-click (or hold down the Control key on your keyboard and mouse/trackpad-click)  the folder you want to un-favourite, and select Remove from Sidebar.

3/ Customise the Sidebar items — Since Sidebar items are actually just shortcuts leading to real items (ie, like the Dock), in addition to key directories like your Applications and Movies folders, the sidebar can also display hard drives, DVDs, connected Internet servers and file ‘tags’ (which first appeared on OS X Mavericks), and other items.
To add or remove any of these items, click your desktop to make the Finder menu appear at the top of the screen, click the main Finder menu, select Preferences, click the Sidebar tab, then check or uncheck the various sidebar item options as you see fit.

4/ Rearrange your favourites — Just click, hold, and drag up or down to rearrange items in the ‘Favorites’ list of your sidebar. Make it work for you – that’s what your Mac is all about.

5/ Make the sidebar bigger, or smaller — Grab the sidebar’s right edge with your mouse and drag it one way to expand it, or the other to shrink it.

Office for iPad gets PDF export ~ Indiegogo, Wikipedia, Waze, apps ~ false alarm ~ Wanderlust 3 ~ Percentage Calculator


Office for iPad gets PDF export
Office for iPad gets PDF export

Office for iPad updated with PDF exporting, flick gestures — Microsoft updated its three Office for iPad apps — Word, PowerPoint, and Excel — with new features including PDF exporting, presentation views, and even a new flick gesture.

Indiegogo and Wikipedia release new iOS apps, Waze adds updated voice guidance — Crowdfunding site Indiegogo on Thursday unveiled an iOS app that allows users to back projects on the go, while internet encyclopaedia Wikipedia launched a ground-up rewrite of its own native app and crowdsourced traffic information app Waze issued an update featuring improvements to its voice guidance system– it’s all on Apple Insider.

Emergency app triggers panic after false alarm warns of impending quake — Just after noon on Monday, thousands of Mexico City residents evacuated their office buildings and filled the streets thanks to a warning from the SkyAlert emergency app. Now the company behind the app is doing its best to apologise for the false alarm.

Wunderlist 3 makes many nice improvements — Dave Caolo at TUAW finds that Wunderlist, the cloud-based, task- and project-management solution from Germany’s 6Wunderkinder, available for iOS, OS X, Kindle Fire, Chromebook and the web, finds good new features and trouble for some.

Percentage Calculator does the math so you don’t have to — Percentage Calculator is one of those utility apps that you don’t realise you need until you need it. The app is not your typical calculator with a numeric keypad and operators. Instead, it’s a formula tool that lets you calculate interest, percentages, loan payments and more. Percentage Calculator supports 13 languages and a variety of currencies. It’s free and works with both the iPhone and iPad.  [I got it.]

MacBook Air EFI update reissued, InDesign 2014, Ember & Shazam for Mac


Shazam is now available for Mac, free
Shazam is now available for Mac, free

Apple reissues MacBook Air EFI update after resolving install, crashing bug — Apple just rereleased a recent MacBook Air EFI update targeting sleep-from-wake problems after a flawed initial rollout caused some machines to crash unexpectedly. Noting the change from the original build it replaces, Apple’s EFI firmware update is labeled version 2.9.1 and looks to fix sleep-from-wake issues seen by owners of mid-2011 MacBook Air models.
Apple’s MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update 2.9.1 is available now as a 4.3MB download.

InDesign CC 2014 — InDesign’s new ePub tools opens the digital book market to a giant new group of authors, and improvements to often-used features in InDesign will ease the workflow of a large number of design…  See Macworld’s review.

Ember for Mac gains ‘hugely-requested’ screen recording feature — Popular web clipper and digital scrapbooking app Ember was updated today with a killer new feature – the ability to make a video recording of your screen. No longer limited by only static images, Ember now allows you to capture your screen as you demo webpages, click through a presentation or showcase an app.

Apple activates in-house content delivery network, begins migrating content downloads — Following months of rumours, Apple appears to be in the early stages of launching its own in-house content delivery network, the latest in a series of steps taken by the company in recent years to reduce its reliance on third-party infrastructure vendors to deliver content to customers.

Shazam lands on the Mac with new menu bar utility — Shazam is now available on the Mac, landing in the Mac App Store (free) as menu bar app. Announced today, the new utility identifies music and TV playing in your surrounding environment, notifying you when it has made a match.