Futurology ~ Brighter galaxy, Mars moons, lightweight satellites, more Hadron energy, 3D Van Gogh, 2-faced phone, propane cannon, ancient tools

You can tour the cafe and explore the dizzyingly vivid world that Van Gogh lived in
You can tour the cafe and explore the dizzyingly vivid world that Van Gogh lived in

Brightest galaxy by far — Using NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), astronomers have catalogued 20 previously undetected galaxies that are so bright they belong to an entirely new class of objects, including one that releases 10,000 times more energy than the Milky Way — even though it’s smaller.
These hyperluminous infrared galaxies shine as bright as 10 trillion Suns. But as a new paper published in the May 22 issue of The Astrophysical Journal now shows, there are galaxies even brighter than HyLIRGs.
~ Rayban gears up for new Spacefarer model …

Mars’ moons formed like ours did — Astronomers have long believed Mars snatched its two moons Phobos and Deimos from the asteroid belt. That would explain why the objects look like asteroids: dark, crater-pocked, and potato-shaped. But computer simulations by two independent teams of astronomers indicate that Mars’s moons formed much like ours did: after a giant space rock smashed into the planet and sprayed debris into orbit.
~ Lunacy.

NASA’s lightweight satellite solution — Right now, the cost of studying the atmosphere of a distant planet or moon is a multi-million dollar mission. But NASA is working to make space exploration way more affordable by using cheap, lightweight CubeSats.
~ The GoPro Drones of space. 

Thanks to eInk, you can read for five days on a charge
Thanks to eInk, you can read for five days on a charge

Wacky Russian smartphone with a dual LED/E-Ink screens — The general consensus about YotaPhone, the wacky Russian smartphone with a dual LED and E-Ink screen, was simple: I’m not sure how useful it is, but I want to try that. Now the company is funding a North American run for the phone on IndieGoGo, and damn, people sure are excited about it. The company was offering a $US75 discount to anyone who backed in the first 48 hours to be sold in the US and Canada.

Large Hadron made history again — on 14th May, CERN scientists made history by using the most powerful particle accelerator in the world to hurl beams of protons together at the record-breaking energy of 13 TeV (tera-electronvolts) — a full 5 TeV higher than the previous standard.
~ Smashing.

Entering a Van Gogh — Animator Mackenzie Cauley turned Vincent van Gogh’s work into a 3D so you can tour the cafe and explore the dizzyingly vivid world that Van Gogh lived in. It’s awesome. Discover more about Cauley’s work here.
~ Cant make up my mind about this one.

Homemade propane canon — A bloke connected a self-igniting propane torch to some tubes and then coloured the flame so it pops off green when it blasts. It looks like an alien’s weapon!
~ That’s one way of getting stray dogs out of your garden. 

Oldest stone tools predate humans … Archeologists working in Kenya have discovered the world’s oldest stone tools. At 3.3 million years, they’re 700,000 years older than what were previously the most ancient stone tools ever discovered.
In fact, they’re even older than humans.
~ Which all changes the accepted narrative of our brain evolution. 

Five Tip Friday ~ Shortcuts for Notifications on Mac

Notification Cetre aware apps
Notification Center-aware apps

1/ Quickly open Notification Centre — If moving the mouse cursor to the top right of the screen and clicking the Notification Center icon is just too much work, you can make it so that simply touching the very top right corner of the screen with your cursor opens Notification Center.
To do so, open System Preferences > Mission Control, then click the Hot Corners button. Choose the dropdown at the top right in the dialogue box that appears, and select Notification Center.

2/ Instant Do Not Disturb — Hold down Option (it may be called Alt on some keyboards) and click the Notification icon at the top right of the screen. The icon will go grey to indicate its in Do Not Disturb mode. Alternatively, open Notification Center, ensure Today is selected, and with the cursor in the Notifications area, swipe down with two fingers on your trackpad or scroll down with your mouse’s scroll wheel (using the down arrow key will not work). A Do Not Disturb switch will appear at the top, which you can click.

3/ Find compatible apps — Lots of built-in apps feature Notification Center widgets and there are a handful of other widgets built-into OS X too, but several third-party apps come with their own add-ons.
To see a list, open Notification Center, ensure Today is selected, and click the Edit button at the bottom (you may need to scroll down to see it). Then click the App Store button. This opens the App Store (main picture) to show a specially-curated list of available apps.

4/ Change individual app settings — Although global notification settings can be configured in System Preferences, several apps have their own specific settings. You can access these setting in each apps preferences. (An easy way to open an apps preferences is to tap Command+, while in the app.)
For example, in Mail you can configure which inboxes trigger notifications.

5/ Key-jumps — By tapping the number keys when the Notification Center is opened to the Notifications view you can instantly switch to notifications of a certain age.
For example, tapping the 2 key will switch to you the first notification in the list from two days ago. Tapping the 3 key will do the same for the first notification from three days ago, and so on.
Note that sometimes you have to press the number keys a few times for this to work, and sometimes it doesn’t work at all.

iOS 9 with transit, Apple Watch enslavement and security, Photoshop Touch

Maps might get transit directions in iOS 9
Maps might get transit directions in iOS 9

iOS 9 might get a Maps with transit direction — Apple has been working to fix Maps in iOS since botching the launch in 2012 with iOS 6. Almost three years and two major iOS upgrades later, Maps might finally get the overhaul it needs.
Apple has been busy collecting mapping and transit start-ups over the last couple years, including the recent purchase of GPS company Coherent Navigation, but we haven’t seen those acquisitions at work yet. A new report indicates that the Maps reboot on deck for Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June will finally add transit directions, including trip-planning.

Does the Apple Watch free or enslave us? The Apple Watch keeps us better connected, and that can be a good or bad thing depending on what one thinks is a good thing to be connected to. And who gets to decide? Me? Outside forces? Why is John Martellaro suddenly so attached to this device?

Apple Watch security — Apple has posted the security details of its Watch OS 1.0.1 update. If you thought this update was minor, thanks to Apple’s typical low-key description, take a look at the details.

Adobe discontinues Photoshop Touch, offers video glimpse of future replacement tech — Adobe has announced plans to discontinue Photoshop Touch, its advanced photo editor for iPad and Android tablets, while offering brief hints about where a successor or successors might go. The app will continue to work as long as it’s downloaded and installed after 28th May, but no more updates will be produced, and it will no longer be for sale,

iCloud restored, Paintcode 2

iCloud issues have been resolved.
iCloud issues have been resolved.

Apple restores iCloud after global disruption hinders services — Apple says it has resolved a widespread iCloud issue that caused service disruptions for 40% of its users – a percentage that comes out to at least 128 million people, based on a company customer count. [I didn’t notice a thing.]

PaintCode 2.0 review: Helps developers and designers create great user interfaces — PixelCut’ PaintCode is a Mac app designed to help developers more easily integrate vector graphics into their software. Paintcode 2 is reviewed on Macworld.

Apple Watch ecosystem, Watch in cancer treatment, iPad apps teach coding

Apple is placing emphasis on software integration across its major platforms, highlighting inter-device operability between flagship iPhone, iPad, MacBook and Apple Watch products.
Apple is placing emphasis on software integration across its major platforms, highlighting inter-device operability between flagship iPhone, iPad, MacBook and Apple Watch products.

Apple starts advertising Watch as part of connected iOS, Mac ecosystem — Apple updated its online storefront on Tuesday with fresh imagery and text touting so-called Continuity features that interconnect iOS, Mac and now Apple Watch devices.

MD Anderson Cancer Center turns to Apple Watch for breast cancer treatment — The MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper is using the Apple Watch to improve the treatment regimens of breast cancer patients, citing the advantages of wearables in getting people to change their behaviour.

Teach your kids (and yourself!) how to code with these iPad apps — Move over, Space Camp: Coding is quickly growing as a popular activity for kids, and not just for those who dream of being programmers when they grow up. The logical thinking required to code can help kids succeed in school and other day-to-day activities.


Other Macs upgrade, Yosemite Extensions, police and our data, adware, using paper books

Apple has upgraded some other iMacs too (image: Apple Inc)
Apple has upgraded some other iMacs too (image: Apple Inc)

Apple upgrades some 27″ non-Retina iMac orders to 5K model following price cut — Some consumers who ordered Apple’s top-end, non-Retina 27-inch iMac in advance of Tuesday’s iMac lineup shuffle have seen their orders automatically upgraded to the new, less costly Retina 5K base model.

Meet OS X Yosemite Extensions — As with many things, it’s been long enough that Extensions have come back around. Like Star Wars and Mad Max films, it seems that since enough time has passed, we get a new version of something we remember from when we were young. Actions are for content viewing and editing, Finder extensions are used to enhance the Finder. Share Menu extensions offer a variety of ways to share content right from the app you’re using, etcetera.

Apple, other Techs, security experts, civil groups ask White House not to give police our data — Apple, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Facebook, Twitter, the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF), and a host of security experts have penned an open letter to US President Barack Obama urging him not to give law enforcement back door access to our data. The letter is a response by complaints from the US Department of Justice, the FBI, and others criticising Apple, Google, and others for incorporating encryption that even they can’t bypass.

When adware attacks: how to defeat it — when your favourite web browser suddenly seems to have a mind of its own; taking you places you have no interest in going and warning you of evils on your Mac that don’t actually exist. Macworld tells you how to deal to it.

Apple to hire up to 500 more workers for Mesa, Ariz. ‘global command centre’ — Months after Apple announced plans to build a “global command center” on the site of its failed sapphire production facility in Mesa, Arizona, a report on Tuesday says the company is looking to hire up to 500 extra workers to complete and maintain the project.

Bamboozled by eBooks? When books originally appeared, people had similar problems — Check It Out: The Help Desk Explains Paper Books.

Lightning Dock, iPad mojo, Watch review and OS update, no TV set

Apple just introduced a Lightning iPhone Dock
Apple just introduced a Lightning iPhone Dock

Apple’s back in the pricey iPhone dock business — Apple has just released a new iPhone dock, and like any other Apple product, you’ll pay a premium for its extreme simplicity. The iPhone Lightning Dock costs NZ$59 (US$39) and works with any Lighting-equipped iPhone (including the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus) or iPod Touch. It’s a simple slab of white plastic, with a wide enough base to work with reasonably-sized iPhone cases. It also has an audio line-out port, so you can hook up external speakers via any 3.5 mm cable (sold separately, of course.)

How the iPad can get its groove back — There’s been a downward trend of late: iPhone is hotter than ever, but iPad sales have significantly sputtered, falling nearly 25% when compared to last year. But that doesn’t mean the iPad can’t have a revival.

Apple Watch In-Depth Review — The dust is starting to settle (overseas) and Mac Observer has been able to spend some serious time putting Apple Watch through its paces following its release, so we’re ready to let you know what we think of Apple’s entrance into the smartwatch world. Is it worth the cost, and will you really get any benefits out of slapping one on your wrist? (Meanwhile, Watch OS 1.0.1 arrives to improve your Apple Watch’s performance.)

Court finds Samsung copied Apple. Again — The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled Monday that Samsung did indeed copy Apple. In a 34-page ruling, the court upheld most Apple’s landmark victory over Samsung in 2012, but threw out damages relating to trade dress.

Apple not to make a television set — Apple “quietly” shelved plans [thank goodness] to make a television set over a year ago, according to The Wall Street Journal. Citing sources “familiar” with the matter, the newspaper said Apple decided it could not bring enough to bear on the television set industry to warrant entry. Apple is instead focused on launching a content delivery service.

New 5K iMac, Force Touch MacBook Pro 15-inch, Tom-Tom Maps deal, next Thunderbolt, better Photos Adjust

Apple launches a rejigged 5K iMac (image from Apple Inc)
Apple launches a rejigged 5K iMac (image from Apple Inc)

Apple Updates iMac 5K, lowers starting price — Apple updated the iMac with Retina 5K – the iMac 5K for short —late yesterday, rejigging the line with lower prices. The company added a new entry-level model that starts at US$1,999 (here it’s NZ$3049) and Apple also dropped the price of the high-end model from US$2,499 to US$2,299 (here it’s now NZ$3499).
[I also notice you can buy via the Apple Store online at 0 interest for 18 months.]

Apple has just announced Force Touch 15-inch MacBook Pro — The updated MacBook Pro with Retina Display includes the company’s new Force Touch trackpad. The device has faster Flash storage for video professionals and an additional hour of battery life, as well as faster graphics. NZ prices $3099 and $3899.

Apple re-ups digital maps pact with TomTom — Apple will continue to work with TomTom on mapping data, the Dutch firm revealed on Tuesday, extending one of the oldest and most important partnerships in Apple’s expanding navigation and mapping efforts. [That’s where your Maps traffic info comes from, even in Auckland.]

Intel to reveal ‘next-generation’ Thunderbolt connector at Computex — Apple’s decision not to include Thunderbolt in its super-slim 12-inch MacBook hasn’t discouraged Intel from continuing the development of the high-speed connector technology. But Intel will reveal the “next generation of Thunderbolt” at a press event to be held next month at the Computex trade show in Taipei, according to a press invite sent by the chip maker on Monday.

How to use the Adjust tools in Photos for OS X — The new Photos for OS X app includes substantially more refined, more granular, and easier-to-use tools than iPhoto. They’re also quite speedy to preview and apply in comparison.

Obama’s iPhone tweet, Coherent Navigation, Glass Planner, Puzzle & Dragons, Motivational exercise apps

Coherent Navigation does high-value research and development
Coherent Navigation does high-value research and development

President Obama uses iPhone to make first post on personal Twitter account — US President Barack Obama made his first post from a personal Twitter account on Monday, doing so from an iPhone despite previous worries about the device’s security.

How Coherent Navigation can help Apple with location technology and talent — Apple’s recent acquisition of Coherent Navigation, a California firm that worked on high-precision satellite navigation projects for entities like the US Navy, might at first seem a bit outside of the iPhone maker’s wheelhouse. But a closer look reveals what could, in fact, be an excellent match.

iPhone app Glass Planner has the basic tools for keeping your schedule — Glass Planner sets itself apart from the rest of the pack by compiling all of your calendar entries and tasks into one list, with one view.

Freemium Field Test: Puzzle & Dragons is a slight, yet compelling match-three battler — Puzzle & Dragons certainly takes inspiration from Puzzle Quest, the first game to successfully mash-up match-three puzzle gameplay with role-playing aspects. You’ll link up three or more like-coloured orbs on the board to make your monsters attack, and here you’ll do so while battling other creatures in straightforward dungeons.

Motivational exercise apps — The entire idea behind becoming more fit is to essentially do two things: eat less and exercise moreContinue reading Obama’s iPhone tweet, Coherent Navigation, Glass Planner, Puzzle & Dragons, Motivational exercise apps

Apple on top, Cook’s early days, Mac refreshes rumoured, Jobs biopic, Civ expansion, Path

Michael Fassbender plays Jobs in the Sorkin Jobs biopic.
Michael Fassbender plays Jobs in the Sorkin Jobs biopic.

Apple tops tech rivals in sales, profits & assets for first time in Forbes Global 2000 — For the first time, Apple is now the world’s biggest technology corporation not just in terms of market capitalisation, but also in sales, profits and assets, according to new rankings published on Monday.

Cook discusses early days at Apple in commencement speech — Tim Cook recently addressed graduates at George Washington University, and spoke about this early days at Apple. “I met someone who made me question everything [when I started at Apple], who upended all of my assumptions in the very best way.” Of course, that someone was Steve Jobs …

Rumour claims MacBook Pro, iMac updates coming this week — Apple is reportedly planning on updating the 15-inch MacBook Pro and 27-inch iMac on Wednesday. The new computers are said to include Intel’s new Broadwell processors, and the MacBook Pro will ship with the Force Touch trackpad recently introduced on the new MacBook and 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro.

Sorkin’s ‘Steve Jobs’ biopic trailer already more interesting than the Kutcher movie — The much-hyped Steve Jobs biopic written by Aaron Sorkin, directed by Danny Boyle, and starring Michael Fassbender is giving us a first glimpse into the movie with a just release teaser trailer. The minute-long teaser already looks more interesting than the “Jobs,” the earlier biopic starring Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs and so far all we have to go on is a very short clip and some voice overs. [Well, at least this one has an actor in the Jobs role.]

Civilization: Beyond Earth’s Rising Tide expansion focuses on alien seas, diplomacy — The Civilization: Beyond Earth expansion train has begun.

Apple gear keeps far flung family together — “For the Caolo family – which began in 1970‘s Scranton, Pennsylvania and today is spread across Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania and Florida – Apple’s computers and software are literally, part of the family. The part that keeps us together.” [He mostly talks about software called Path, which is like a private Facebook.]

Apple WWDC TV, presidential Watch, HomeKit June, Maps, Foxconn, Bentley ad, Sunrise Calendar, 2 beautiful games

WWDC (8th June) has a logo that appears to depict an Apple TV
WWDC (8th June) has a logo that appears to depict an Apple TV


The final frontier: how Apple TV could connect all the dots — Ever since Steve Jobs gave us a sneak peak at Apple’s internal iTV project at 2006’s “Showtime” event, we’ve been waiting for Apple’s pioneering set-top box to mature. And now the WWDC logo appears to depict one

Apple Watch enters presidential politics — Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (Republican) pointed to the Apple Watch as the solution to Obamacare, the bugaboo of Right Wing partisans in the US. Speaking of his desire to repeal and replace Obamacare, the governor said Apple Watch and other devices will put health care into the hands of the people, thus eliminating the need for government involvement in that industry. [Someone should call time on this twit.]

Apple says HomeKit accessories coming in June — Apple said on Thursday to expect the first HomeKit automation accessories in June. Responding to a Fortune report that HomeKit was delayed as Apple worked on stabilising the platform, Apple said in a statement that the first HomeKit products will be released “next month.”

Apple overhauling data services ‘front-to-back’ for future version of Maps, job listing reveals — Apple is planning major changes to Maps that will involve radically overhauling the data services behind the platform, according to a job listing posted on Thursday discovered by AppleInsider. Apple has also acquired high-accuracy GPS technology firm Coherent Navigation.

Foxconn posts record first-quarter profits on strong sales of Apple’s iPhone 6 — Asian manufacturer Hon Hai, better known as Foxconn, on Friday reported its highest first-quarter profit growth in a decade with a 56 percent jump year-over-year, driven at least in part by strong sales of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Bentley again chooses iPhone to shoot new ‘Intelligent Details’ short film — Almost one year to the day after Bentley aired its first promotional ‘documentary’ shot and edited on iOS devices, the luxury car brand repeated the effort to commemorate the Savile Row Bespoke exhibition in Washington, DC.

Sunrise Calendar builds Meet into iOS 8 keyboard, HBO Go adopts modernized UI — Microsoft has updated Sunrise Calendar for iOS with a new scheduling tool called Meet, while HBO brought the iOS edition of HBO Go up to par with a redesigned interface.

Two games: Does Not Commute and  Implosion — There’s an undercurrent of weirdness in Does Not Commute (universal, free with in-app purchase) that Fox Mulder would love. The beautiful and challenging strategy game from Mediocre Games has you driving various vehicles, from sedans to speed boats to ice cream trucks, through several neighbourhoods, being careful to beat the clock and avoid the other drivers.
Implosion’s hack-n-slash mechanics and stellar graphics make one outstanding game too, writes Sarah Jacobsson Purewal. It’s a rather pricey top-down hack-n-slash customisable build game in which you fight mutant aliens. “But even if you’re not into slicing up mutants, Implosion is still worth a look for its super pretty graphics and unparalleled gameplay mechanics.”


15-inch MacBook Pro discontinued, Final Cut, network problems, Cook’s weibo

Cook's Weibo travelogue underscores the important role China plays in Apple's current and future success
Cook’s Weibo travelogue underscores the important role China plays in Apple’s current and future success

Apple discontinues 15″ MacBook Pro BTO models ahead of Force Touch refresh — Apple on Friday began discontinuing many models of its professional 15-inch notebook ahead the company’s annual developers conference, which is widely expected to give way to updated models with Force Touch trackpads and Intel’s latest mobile processors.

Final Cut Pro 10.2.1 solves bugs causing crashes, Timeline problems — Apple has issued a minor update to Final Cut Pro X, its professional video editing suite, fixing a trio of bugs including a critical crash-on-start issue seen by some users.

Basic checklist for identifying network problems —  Let’s start at the beginning: there a wire (cable or DSL or fibre or what have you) coming from the street to your house, and that wire connects to a modem.

Apple CEO Tim Cook chronicles recent China trip on new Weibo account — Apple CEO Tim Cook chronicled a recent four-day trip to China on microblogging website Weibo, posting pictures and brief messages regarding Apple Store meet-ups, school visits and general goings on while in the country.

Futurology ~ Kepler, Neptune, Europa, Ceres, 3D pills, DPP8, Napa time capsule

The telescope’s powerful light sensor is used to find the locations of Earth-sized planets that might dwell in the habitable zone.
The telescope’s powerful light sensor is used to find the locations of Earth-sized planets that might dwell in the habitable zone.

NASA’s Kepler Mission discovered 1000 planets in its quest to find life — Six years ago this month NASA shot the Kepler telescope into the heavens on a galactic planet-finding mission. Now, the space agency has released a graphic (above) showing some figures from its quest.
~ Coffee breaks: 0

New time-lapse shows the Neptune system as never before — Dwarf planets, comets, and asteroids are all the rage these days, but we shouldn’t neglect our Solar System’s outer gas planets and their moons. In this new NASA video, 70 days of Neptunian activity was compressed down to 34 seconds — and the effect is pretty cool.
~ Neptuned in the bud. 

Europa’s surface like cracked glass — A false-colour image of Europa, Jupiter’s fourth-largest moon, shows the water-covered giant has the smoothest surface in the Solar System. The criss-cross chunks of ice are may be caused by asteroid impacts, which moves the ice around – then it refreezes in the haphazard pattern you can see here.
~ Or it might be caused by … almost anything. 

Bright spots — NASA’s Dawn mission, since moving on from Vesta, has begun to map Ceres, constructing the highest resolution global map ever, with better data to come. The greatest mystery so far is the two bright white spots at the bottom of a deep crater, brighter and more reflective than anything else on the planet’s surface.
~ Someone left the car lights on. 

3D printing pills in odd shapes aids absorption — Medicine is one of the more exciting fields that 3D printing promises to radically innovate. Researchers in the pharmaceutical field have instead been dabbling with custom-shaped pills optimised for every patient’s treatment needs.
~ Pyramid-shaped pills are absorbed by the body the fastest; cylinder-shaped pills take much longer. How Pharaonic!

A weird new supercooled material crystallises and glows when touched — Diketopyrrolopyrrole (DPP) derivatives, which has similar but also odder properties than even super-cooled water. One particular derivative called DPP8 can be supercooled to 200F below its freezing point. When lightly touched, DPP8 suddenly crystallises, not unlike water turning into ice. The yellow crystals glow under ultraviolet light.
~ Perhaps it’s all the PP.

Napa earthquake unearthed a time capsule — Curious onlookers gathered at the Napa County Courthouse in California to glimpse the contents of a time capsule from 1979. They learned the time-capsulers of the 1970s included a bottle of the region’s favourite adult beverage.
~ Aged vinegar, anyone?