iOS 8.4 before Apple Music, Lara Croft Relic Run, Apple Watch Sport less reflective

Lara Croft: Relic Run is free, and still compatible with iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad Mini 1, iPad 2
Lara Croft: Relic Run is free, and still compatible with iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad Mini 1, iPad 2

iOS 8.4 coming Tuesday at 8AM Pacific Time Ahead of Apple Music launch — Apple will be releasing iOS 8.4 at 8AM US Pacific Time on June 30, an hour ahead of the official Apple Music launch. The update will include support for Apple’s new streaming music and Internet radio service.

Lara Croft: Relic Run is flashy, fun, and free — Lara Croft: Relic Run is a game specifically built for touch that puts the franchise heroine in a new adventure better suited for phones and tablets. Macworld explains why it’s so good; you can get it free from here.

The Apple Watch Sport is less reflective so easier to read in bright sunlight — The Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition have sapphire crystal covering their displays, but the lower-cost Apple Watch Sport uses Ion-X glass instead. The Apple Watch’s sapphire crystal reflects more ambient light than the Ion-X glass on the Apple Watch Sport, making the expensive watch’s display appear washed out in comparison.

Apple Music tomorrow, Match increase, Sonos, Google harm, MindNode 2

(Image from Apple's NZ Music page.)
(Image from Apple’s NZ Music page.)

Apple Music tomorrow — Apple Music is set to launch on Tuesday, June 30 US time (NZ Wednesday), and that means a new way to listen to music on iPhone, iPads, Macs and more. It also means there are new questions about just exactly what Apple Music gets us, so The Mac Observer rounded up some answers for you.

Apple to increase iTunes Match limit to 100,000 songs — Apple’s Eddy Cue has revealed Apple plans to raise iTunes Match’s limit to 100,000 for the release of iOS 9. That will mean good news for those who want matching in Apple Music but not iTunes Match, as it’ll save them $25 per year.

Apple Music coming to Sonos later this year — Apple has confirmed its Apple Music streaming service will be coming to Sonos players, but not in time for tomorrow’s official launch. Apple Music senior director Ian Rogers said Sonos support is “coming soon,” and now Apple has confirmed that means before the end of the year.

Google harms users by favouring its own services in search results, study finds — Two US academics have published a report slamming Google’s practice of blending links to its own services with general search results.

MindNode 2 makes Mac brainstorming a breeze — MindNode 2 brings mind mapping to the masses with an impressive roster of accessible, easy-to-use features. The human brain may be great at coming up with ideas, but it’s not always efficient at organizing such information in any meaningful way. That’s where a technique known as mind mapping comes into play, extracting information from your cranium and presenting it in a visual way that makes sense to others.


LGBT apps, iOS 9 Low Power, Apple Watch, Confederate flag


Apple highlights LGBT content with special curated App Store section — In celebration of efforts made toward gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights equality, Apple has added a special section to the iOS App Store pointing to movies, music, TV shows, apps and other online media it says reflects LGBT pride.

New iPhone app will help conduct the largest LGBT health study ever — Medical researchers are launching a new PRIDE Study to shed some light on the unique health needs of LGBT folks — and they’re using iPhones to conduct it. A new ResearchKit app developed by the University of California at San Francisco will survey a wide range of LGBT folks about health issues like HIV/AIDS, smoking, cancer, obesity, mental issues and depression.

Low Power mode in iOS 9 saves battery life by slowing performance — But at least you get to actually use your iPhone’s features, rather than enabling Airplane Mode and frantically searching for a power outlet.

Apple Watch sales to expand to The Netherlands, Sweden, Thailand on July 17 — The Apple Watch will go on sale in The Netherlands, Sweden and Thailand on July 17, the company revealed on Friday. Updates on the countries’ respective retail sites marked the announcement, though pricing information was not available at the time of this writing. [Yay. For them.]

Apple reinstates select games with Confederate flag art to iOS App Store — Apple on Friday reinstated a number of games recently stricken from the iOS App Store for bearing references to the Confederate battle flag, a polarising symbol that some equate to slavery in America.

Same sex and LBGT, iTune U Swift course, making space, biometric acquisitions, jigsaw puzzler

(Picture from Apple Insider)
(Picture from Apple Insider)

Techs throw their weight behind same-sex marriage ruling with rainbows and emojis — When the US Supreme Court issued its historic ruling on Friday legalising same-sex marriage across the US, many of the biggest technology companies embraced the decision with characteristic flair through social media, on their sites, and with tools that others could use to show their support as well.
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook praised the landmark decision by recalling his company’s famous Crazy Ones quote, co-written by his late, close friend Steve Jobs.

Apple’s iTunes U course on Swift is watershed in high school computer science education — In a groundbreaking first, Apple at this year’s WWDC conference in June published an iTunes U course that provides educators with first party tools to teach the Swift programming language to high school students. It provides course standardisation across schools.

Creating space on Mac, in iCloud— With platter/spinning drives on the way out (ie, hard drives), the days of easily getting a terabyte of storage in a laptop or even an iMac are perhaps not over, and while SSDs are super fast,they’re  expensive and smaller, in storage terms. There are several ways to create more space on your machine without having to pay an arm and a leg for more storage. And here’s how to safely disable iCloud Photo Library and reclaim space for iCloud backups. Further, a tutorial on iCloud Family Sharing.

Apple acquires dozens of biometric authentication patents from Virginia-based Privaris — Evidence that Apple is planning significant overhauls to its Touch ID fingerprint recognition system continues to mount, with the company reportedly acquiring more than two dozen biometric authentication patents from privately-held Virginia firm Privaris.

Jigsaw game — Her Story (for Mac and also iOS) is a nonlinear jigsaw puzzle set in the mid-90’s. As the player, you must find and review snippets of archival police interview footage to figure out what happened to a woman called Hannah in 1994. Those snippets are brief and jumbled together; only careful observation will allow you to uncover the whole story.

Futurology ~ Freaky space, Pluto expectations, space HoloLens, nanobot gun, three new batteries, a face from DNA, reasoning


Dormant monster Black Hole just woke up — Above is V404 Cygni, a binary system consisting of a star and a black hole, some 7800 light-years away. It has lain quiet for the last 25 years, but a week ago, NASA’s Swift satellite noticed a burst of new activity.
~ At least it’s had a beauty sleep. 

Strange exoplanet has a tale — Astronomers have spotted a Neptune-sized planet with a rather unexpected feature: a comet-like tail that trails for millions of miles. Nothing quite like it has ever been seen before. GJ 436b, is located approximately 33.1 light-years away and in orbit around the red dwarf,Gliese 436.
~ The tail goes on.

What we might expect to find on Pluto — What sorts of landscapes might Pluto and Charon  have in store for us? Dr Stern weighs in.
~ Thermal features, anyone?

NASA about to launch the HoloLens into space — Microsoft and NASA have announced a new joint effort called Sidekick that will empower astronauts in space to use the company’s future goggles. On June 28, two HoloLens devices will ride a SpaceX rocket to the International Space Station (ISS), where astronauts are eagerly awaiting the ability to work in three-dimensional, holographic environments.
~ Not for play, presumably.

Self assembling nanobot gun inside people — In a paper presented last month at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, researchers from the University of Houston and Boston Children’s Hospital demonstrated a method for turning a small group of robots into a Gauss gun inside your body, capable of firing a projectile to clear up blocked arteries or inject drugs into specific sites.
~ An inffensive weapon …

Three news kinds of battery that could change (and charge) the future — Electric car makers are looking for cheaper, lighter, more powerful and durable cells. Electronics makers are looking for more reliable cells that can charge faster and last longer. For makers of medical implants and even wearable technology, it’s a battery small enough to “disappear.” Meanwhile, renewable energy companies are looking for batteries that can charge and discharge thousands and thousands of times and remain stable.
The three main contenders are …
~ Anything that lets you easily use a day’s solar charge once the sun has gone down can change the world.

Building a face from a DNA sample — Revealing the face of a criminal based on their genes may be closer than we think. In a process known as molecular photo fitting, scientists are experimenting with using genetic markers from DNA to build up a picture of an offender’s face. Dr Peter Claes, a medical imaging specialist at the University of Leuven, has amassed a database of faces and corresponding DNA and is now able to model how a face is constructed based on just 20 genes (this number will soon be expanded to 200).
~ Criminals might have an advantage: they already know how they look. 

What’s your reasoning style? A comprehensive online quiz by will not only provide you with the answer, it’ll also tell you which of 16 reasoning styles you belong to, where your strengths lie, and how to improve your thinking skills.
~ I’m apparently the sort that takes these stupid quizzes.

Five Tip Friday ~ Moving files around on Mac, searches and top-right menus

1/ The Hover — If you want to move a file back one folder in your navigation, just pick it up and hover over the Back button in the upper-left corner of your Finder window. When you do so, the window will jump back one step, and then you can drop your file into its new location. (If you haven’t navigated to your current folder from anywhere, the Back button will be greyed out, and this won’t work.)

Show Path Bar
Show Path Bar

2/ Path Bar — If you need to move something several steps back in the hierarchy of your file system, an easy way to do so is to turn on Finder’s View> Show Path Bar option. You can thendouble-click in any of the folders along the bottom of Finder windows to open that folder.

3/ Cut and paste — Select a file you want to move and press Command-C (Edit> Copy). Then go to the location you’d like to place the item and press Option-Command-V (the shortcut for Edit> Move Item Here, which is only visible if you hold down the Option key when you’re looking at the Edit menu).
That action — available from 10.7 Lion and up — is equivalent to the PC’s familiar cut and paste option. (These three tips came from Mac Observer.)

4/ Smarter Finder searches — Lost a file? In the Finder, Command-F presents a traditional Find window in which you you can search for contents, a created date, kind, and so on. But if you know you’re looking for a file by name, use Shift+Control+Command+F instead. You get an abbreviated search window that concentrates on file names.

5/ Rearrange top right menus — These configurable menus tend to be turned on in System Preferences (ie, Sound, WiFi) or added by third party utilities and apps. If you don’t care for the way icons are arranged in the menu bar, just hold down the Command key and drag the item in question to a new position. Be careful to not drag it outside the menu bar, however, as doing so can cause it to evaporate. (This trick doesn’t work with the Spotlight or Notification menus as they need to stay at extreme right.)

Celeb Beats, Healthcare, Microsoft Sway, IBM Box, Facebook Messenger, cell data use, Geofencing, Civil War flags

(Picture from 9 to 5 Mac.)
(Picture from 9 to 5 Mac.)

Beats 1 to feature celebrity shows hosted by Elton John, Drake, Pharrell, Dr Dre & more — Apple will indeed have a number of mainstream musicians host shows on Beats 1 including Drake, Disclosure, St. Vincent, Josh Homme, Pharrell Williams, and Elton John, a report said on Thursday. [They need the money. We’re supposed to be thrilled.]

Apple playing a key role in ‘consumerisation’ of healthcare with iPhone & Apple Watch — With the iPhone an everyday part of millions of consumers’ lives, and now the debut of the Apple Watch, healthcare professionals believe Apple is a pivotal part in what they see as the “consumerisation” of healthcare, driven by easy access to health-related data.

Microsoft’s Sway gains legitimacy with Windows 10 plans, iPad app — Joining the ranks of other Windows 10 universal apps this summer will be Microsoft’s lightweight content-creation tool, Sway. Before that, however, it’s making the leap to the iPad.

With IBM partnership, Box thinks beyond cloud collaboration for iOS — After announcing its landmark partnership with IBM on Tuesday, cloud-based content management firm Box elaborated on what iOS users — and developers building on Box’s platform — can expect when the first jointly developed products hit market later this year, and intra-office file sharing is just the tip of the iceberg.

Facebook Messenger apps to allow chatting without a Facebook account — Facebook on Thursday announced that new Messenger users will soon be able to sign up without Facebook accounts, potentially expanding the reach of the chat service.

Seven ways to curb your iPhone’s cellular data use — Read on for 7 ways to put a lid on your iPhone’s cellular data use.

Apple inventions hint at next-level iOS geofencing features — A pair of Apple patent applications point to ongoing research in mobile device location sharing, one being an augmentation of existing iOS geofencing technology, and another detailing an entirely new form of indoor request-and-answer location notifications reliant on node-based triangulation.

Apple pulls Civil War games from App Store in ongoing controversy over Confederate flags — Apple appears to have removed most or all content from the App Store that features a Confederate flag, even games which only feature the flag in a historical war context, it was discovered on Thursday. [That’s ridiculous.]

Apple Music deal, Mac Firewalls, Spaces with multiple monitors, iTunes U supports homework

Apple Music deals emerge
Apple Music deals emerge

Artists to get their 0.2 cents worth during Apple Music three-month trial — Apple Music debuts on June 30. Details are beginning to emerge about what exactly Apple will pay artists during the three-month free trial period. According to an article in The New York Times which cited music executives, the deal with record labels will result in Apple paying US0.2 cents per play for songs streamed during the free trial. That rate is on par with the free tier rates paid by competing services like Spotify.

Fire up your Mac’s firewall — While you can certainly spend money on firewall applications for your Mac — Norton Security will set you back a minimum of US$45 per year — your Mac, no surprise, already includes an excellent, built-in, free Application Level Firewall that, with minimal configuration, will do everything you need.

How to use separate Spaces with multiple monitors — OS X Yosemite (and Mavericks), by default in a clean install, provide for each monitor, in a multiple monitor system, to have its own display Spaces. The immediate symptom is a rather confusing presentation of a full menu bar on each display, with the one that’s inactive dimmed. Here’s what’s going on.

iTunes U update allows homework submissions, outside app integration — Apple’s iTunes U is set to be updated to allow students to submit homework through the app, and for course materials to integrate external apps, greatly expanding the abilities of its education-focused platform.

Pharrel Williams, AirPlay speaker bulbs, make your own apps, iCloud backups, iOS 9, privacy, Liquidmetal exclusive

Take your own light and speaker with you with Twist
Take your own light and speaker with you with Twist

Pharrell Williams’ Freedom will be an Apple Music exclusive — Apple Music is Apple’s streaming music, internet radio and artist promotion service unveiled at this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference earlier this month. Are we happy?

Twist is an AirPlay light-bulb speaker designed for apartment dwellers — The connected home sounds like a pie-in-the-sky concept to apartment renters who can’t exactly invest in expensive hardware and rewire a place just to pack up and move after a year or two.But Twist is portable – it’s a new LED light bulb that turns your lamp into a Jambox-style speaker using just AirPlay.

Make your own app with these DIY services — Going mobile isn’t nearly as difficult or as expensive as you might think. In fact, you don’t even need to hire an outside developer to create an app for your business. There are plenty of do-it-yourself app building services on the market, which offer intuitive app creation tools and app hosting for a low monthly fee.

How to backup your iPhone to Apple’s iCloud — When iPhone first launched, backing up data was a cumbersome process that required users to transfer their files to a Mac or PC via iTunes. Apple has since moved to the cloud with iCloud, providing an incredibly simple way to back up iPhones, iPads and iPods without a host computer.

iOS 9 can automatically delete, reinstall apps to make room for OS updates — The second beta of Apple’s next-generation mobile operating system revealed a new feature that went undiscovered until now — the ability to automatically delete apps to clear space for the update, then reinstall them once the upgrade is complete. [You can always re-download any apps you owned for free by clicking the little cloud logo next to it in the App store – this also goes for iTunes songs and Mac apps.]

Apple expanding user privacy, will prevent iOS apps from seeing other installed apps — As part of a continued focus on protecting user privacy, Apple is reportedly planning to change a policy on third-party applications and prevent them from finding out what other apps are installed on an iPhone or iPad.

Apple renews Liquidmetal exclusivity license into 2016 — Apple has renewed its license for exclusive use of Liquidmetal’s bulk amorphous alloy technology in consumer products for another year. [So far the only Apple item made from the high-tech material is the pin thing that you press into iPhones to get the Sim tray to pop out.]

El Capitan, campaign award, Lightroom iPad slideshows, Flash needs update, Maps moves, Apple’s enviro maestro

Why we should be excited about El Capitan
Why we should be excited about El Capitan

Six reasons to get excited about OS X El Capitan — Jason Snell is not feeling a lot of love for OS X El Capitan out there. That might not be surprising, given that it’s firmly in the tradition of Mountain Lion and Snow Leopard–new-feature-light, speed-and-stability-focused OS X updates. But bug-fix and streamlining versions of Mac OS X are always the best

Apple’s ‘World Gallery’ billboard ad campaign wins Cannes Lions Grand Prix — Apple’s World Gallery, part of the “Shot on iPhone 6” media blitz, was honoured at this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival for Creativity with five Gold Lions and a Grand Prix award in the outdoor category.

How to create a Lightroom slideshow and sync it to your iPhone or iPad — Adobe Photoshop Lightroom can create some of the slickest slideshows in the west. They’re easy to make and incredibly handy for showing off cream-of-the-crop shots at home, at the local photography club, or for using as a digital portfolio.

Adobe addresses new ‘actively exploited’ critical vulnerability in Flash, users urged to update — Yet another severe flaw in Adobe’s much-maligned Flash Player has been discovered and is being “actively exploited,” the company said on Tuesday, and users with Flash installed are being urged to upgrade to the latest version as soon as possible. Instructions for enabling automatic updates or manually updating Flash can be found here.  [All this is why Steve Jobs hated Flash.]

Seven new Maps flyovers added — Apple has expanded its Flyover support to include seven new cities worldwide as the company strives to improve its mapping service. These new Flyover locations will be available to both iOS and OS X users and include Almería, Spain; Braga, Portugal; Jerez de la Frontera, Spain; Karlsruhe, Germany; Kiel, Germany; Kingston upon Hull, England and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Apple is now labelling map data collection vehicles in the US and the UK, and has updated its fleet of sensor-loaded minivans with branding that makes them more clearly identifiable. And if you use Maps and want to update incorrect info, here’s how. [This works – I managed to change ‘Viridian Wings’, a West Lynn café of 20 years ago that somehow appeared on Maps, to the correct Malt Bar.]

Apple’s Lisa Jackson now Vice President of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives — Apple yesterday updated its executive leadership webpage to reflect Lisa Jackson’s new role as Vice President of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives, following a leaked memo published by the Washington Post that detailed these changes.

Swift ‘solidified’ Apple’s stance, iPhone life, Mac OS 7 on Apple Watch, Google Play’s play

A short film follows the life and rebirth of an iPhone.
A short film follows the life and rebirth of an iPhone.

Taylor Swift merely ‘solidified’ Apple’s changing stance, Cue reckons — Apple Senior Vice President of Internet Services and Software Eddy Cue told Billboard magazine that Taylor Swift’s open letter “solidified” the need to change Apple Music’s artist compensation plan. He said Apple had been discussing the issue for the last week, but that her letter helped push them to make the decision. [Right on, Cue.]

Creative film showcases the life and death of an iPhone — Filmmaker Paul Trillo has chronicled the life of the iPhone in a clever 7-minute video that was also shot and edited on an iPhone. The video is filmed from the iPhone’s point of view, starting with its birth on the factory floor in China. The adventure ends when the poor device is dropped, shattering its screen.
Fortunately, that’s not the end of the iPhone – it is reincarnated on the black market following a trip to the repair shop.

A developer ported Mac OS 7.5.5 to the Apple Watch — Using the Mini vMac emulator, developer Nick Lee was able to run Mac OS 7.5.5 on his Apple Watch with watchOS 2. An accompanying video showcases the surprisingly snappy performance of the legacy desktop OS on the watch wearable. [Shows the the computing power of this tiny Apple device.]

Google Play Music adds free, ad-supported radio in effort to lure subscribers — Google hopes to steal some thunder from the launch of Apple Music. On Tuesday the company announced a free, ad-supported tier to Google Play Music streaming that will match the same type of offering from Spotify and Apple

Cook on racism, new Betas, Instagram discovery, Flash patched, Bluetooth influence, QuarkExpress2015

RacismTim Cook Urges America to remove symbols of racism — Apple CEO Tim Cook used his personal platform this weekend to urge America to “remove the symbols and word” that feed racism. On Sunday, Mr. Cook tweeted his thoughts to the families of the victims killed in a racist attack in South Carolina at an historic all-black church called Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal. [He was born in the South himself.]

Apple releases new developer betas of OS X El Capitan,  iOS 9 and watchOS 2 — Public betas of OS X and iOS 9 are coming next month, but developers just got new versions of those, plus watchOS 2. Developers got their talented hands on the betas of OS X El Capitan, iOS 9, and watchOS 2 a couple weeks back at WWDC. On Tuesday, Apple released second versions of all three of those developer betas. To get developer betas, you need to be part of Apple’s Developer Program, which is now just one program — formerly, developers had to register separately for OS X and iOS.

Instagram makes it easier to discover trending events — On average, 70 million photos and videos get posted on Instagram every day. In this sea of filtered selfies, Instagram is now trying a new way to surface the most captivating photos with an upgraded discovery feature.

Adobe patches zero-day Flash Player flaw used in targeted attacks — The vulnerability has been exploited by a cyberespionage group based in China for several weeks, security firm FireEye says.

Apple gains more influence over Bluetooth standard with Promoter Member status — The Bluetooth Special Interest Group on Tuesday announced Apple’s advancement to Promoter Member status, giving the company even more say over the future of the Bluetooth wireless standard.

QuarkXPress 2015 review: chock full of new features requested by you — Quark continues to add features requested by QuarkXpress users, making this a must-have upgrade. The past several versions of QuarkXPress added features that were most requested in Quark’s user surveys, and QuarkXPress 2015 continues this strategy. For example, they changed its version numbering scheme to indicate the year of release (otherwise this would be QuarkXPress 11), and the product is still offered with a traditional perpetual license rather than requiring an ongoing rental fee. [Wow, I’d forgotten this even existed.]