Siri event on the 9th, iPhone barometer, Watch fitness, Fire phone failure

Apple Watch could improve fitness more if you compare results
Apple Watch could improve fitness more if you compare results

Siri-ously, what can we expect on September 9? It’s official. Apple will hold a media event on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 10 am (Pacific), at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. The media invitation came with the teaser ‘Hey Siri, give us a hint’. So Dennis Sellers at Apple World Today stared into a crystal ball to see what we can expect. [This is  not serious at all, but while he mentions Siri understanding accents, have you switched yours to New Zealand? It makes a big difference!] Meanwhile, even Windows 10 users will be able to watch the Apple Event.

Using your iPhone’s barometer to crowdsource weather — In the current (until the 9th September anyway) iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, there’s a barometer which is primarily used to monitor elevation, such as flights of stairs or hills if you’re exercising outside. But it can also be used to monitor atmospheric data, like the high and low pressure systems that create weather patterns.

The Apple Watch should help us get fit together — Sure, hitting your move, exercise, and stand goals is great, but being able to compete and compare your stats with friends could make the experience so much better.

Amazon Fire phone failed thanks to the creepy factor — What quickly doomed the Fire Phone was the creepy factor of a feature called Firefly, according to John Martellaro, who thinks it doomed the product from the beginning. It never got off the ground. And so, as our Jeff Gamet noted, “Amazon Hangs Up on Fire Phone.”

Top Music guy leaves, Google versus privacy, Apple and Pentagon, Mac advice x2


Top music guy ditches Apple — Apple’s man in charge of Apple Music, Ian Rogers, has left the company and the music industry, too. That’s a big loss for Apple, and considering his influence on the digital music market, it’s a big loss for everyone else, too. Rogers recruited Kiwi Zane Lowe from the BBC to be the top name on Beats1 Radio, the online radio station that’s a keystone part of Apple Music. He was also instrumental in bringing other big names to Apple Music before deciding to leave the company and the industry. [One might suspect he knows the Apple Music figures, when the free subscriptions end, will suck and he doesn’t want to carry the can for it.]

Google instructs advertisers on how to bypass Apple security – but there’s more — In a note to advertisers on Wednesday, Google appeared to be instructing them how to bypass Apple’s new App Transport Security. However, the issue is complicated and won’t be resolved for some time. Here’ a 30,000 ft view. [Google and privacy, right? They trample all over it.]

Apple, 161 other organisations lend aid to Pentagon on flexible electronics — Apple has reportedly joined the FlexTech Alliance, a collection of 162 organisations working with the Pentagon on flexible sensor electronics capable of being worn by soldiers, or moulded to the outside of vehicles.

Running your Mac safe and lean — Always a good subject, and you can listen to this advice through your speakers.

Keychain is Apple’s password manager — But this advice you have to read: in case you are not familiar with Keychain on your Mac here is what you need to get up to speed.

Futurology ~ Kuiper Belt, NASA mulls Uranus, self-healing spaceships, Quantum loophole, self-repair, Earth temperatures and sea, cancer cells, electric glue, solar soldiers


New Horizons considers the Kuiper Belt — The New Horizons spacecraft will adjust its course to make a flyby of Kuiper Belt Object MU69 in January 2019. This will be the most distant world ever explored. To be fuel-efficient the team needs to pick a target and adjust New Horizons’ trajectory now.
~ The Kuiper is the fuel-efficient choice: that’s very ‘now’. 

NASA mulls Uranus —According to a story in Astronomy Magazine, NASA is contemplating sending flagship sized space probes to the so-called “ice giants” of Uranus and Neptune. Voyager 2 flew by Uranus in 1986 and then Neptune in 1989. Each of these missions would happen after the Europa Clipper, a flagship-class mission scheduled for the mid-2020s.
~ Sorry, puns on that planet are impossible to resist. 

Self-repairing material for spaceships — If a rice-sized pellet whacked into the International Space Station, it could pack the punch of a hand grenade, causing precious oxygen to seep into space. So scientists have developed a clever fix that could buy astronauts the time they need to fully repair a breach: a self healing material consisting of a reactive liquid sandwiched between two layers of a solid polymer.
~ And for astronauts? 

‘Ingenious’ experiment closes loopholes In Quantum Theory — A Bell experiment in the Netherlands has plugged loopholes in the theory of quantum mechanics using a technique called entanglement swapping to combine the benefits of using both light and matter. It’s Nobel-Prize winning stuff.
~ ‘Entanglement swapping’ sounds like a euphemism for human relationships. 

Earth, temperatures and sea — What is out Goldilocks planet’s average temperature, i09 wonders? Gizmodo reckons we’re locked into at least a 90cm sea level rise (according to NASA, Earth’s global mean sea level has already risen 6cm over the past 23 years), and Motherboards considers which nations will be worst hit by water shortages.
~ Australia bad, New Zealand good – hear that, entrepreneurs?

Cancer cell growth reversal — Good news in that US scientists have discovered that restoring the normal miRNA levels in cancer cells can reverse aberrant cell growth.
~ Well, we seem to be able to program virtually everything else. 

Electric glue is waterproof — Researchers from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have created a new type of glue that works in wet environments because it only hardens when a voltage is applied.
~ And to unstick it? 

Australia’s solar soldiers — Each bit of tech carried by modern soldiers is potentially using a different power source. Australian Defence Force grunts are at the point where dismounted soldiers can easily be carrying between 10 and 20kg of batteries.
The SIPS (Soldier Integrated Power System) is a smart design for a tech-reliant soldier, centred around sustainable energy use. The project is a collaboration between ANU, CSIRO and Australian company Tectonic. Part of the solution comprises flexible SLIVER solar cells integrated into the soldier’s kit.
~ I still find it disturbingly ironic that a western soldier represents hundreds of thousands of dollars worth or resources, training and equipment yet can be felled by a bullet costing a few cents or a bomb cobbled together from a disused pressure-cooker and some fertiliser. 

Five Tip Friday ~ Holding down certain keys when you click can change everything, and iTunes colours


1/ Reposition your Dock with just a click — The Dock tab in System Preferences lets you reposition your Dock on the left or right instead of the default bottom position. This is actually pretty useful with the wide format screens modern Macs have – you end up with more usable screen real estate.
But there’s a really fast way to do it too. You may realise the little divider line between the apps section and the folders section by the trash is draggable for an instant Dock resize (well, you do now) but if you hold down the Control key on your keyboard and then click (or just right-click it, if you have right click enabled in System Preferences>Mouse/Trackpad) that divider, a contextual menu appears (left) that lets you instantly relocate it. Note that if you have additional monitors to the left or right of your primary display, selecting the “left” or “right” positions will move the Dock all the way to the left- or right-most edge of your last display on that side.

2/ Bluetooth options — By default, the Bluetooth menu provides access to a list of currently connected and paired devices, the ability to disconnect a particular device and shortcuts to Bluetooth file sharing, Preferences, and the ability to disable Bluetooth on your Mac. But should you press and hold the Option key (usually labeled Alt on Windows and universal keyboard designs), and a whole bunch of new information and capabilities becomes available to you: the software and firmware versions of your Bluetooth chipset and devices, the physical address of your Mac’s Bluetooth interface in addition to the physical addresses of each paired device, signal strength information in the form of an RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indicator) value and, for Bluetooth speakers or headsets, the currently utilised multimedia codec. You can even create a diagnostic report for your tech person.

VolOpts3/ Audio inputs — There’s a little volume slider at top right of your monitor. Slide it up and down to … change the volume, naturally, which you can also do with keys, typically the F11 and F12 keys. But hold down the Option key on your keyboard and click that volume icon and you get a list of available audio inputs to change quick-time. I use this many times a day, myself.

4/ Enable ‘Save As’ in Yosemite — It used to be easy to save a document with a new name in Mac OS X, as the Save As command appeared automatically beneath the File option in appropriate apps like Pages, Numbers, Keynote, and TextEdit. But for some reason, Apple hid it starting with Mac OS X Lion. However, you can make it reappear – click on the File menu in the upper left corner of your Mac’s screen, then hold down the Option key on your keyboard and the Duplicate File option magically turns into Save As. Now you can enter a new name for the document, choose which Folder to save it to, and even add tags to it if you wish.

5/ Use colours in iTunes playlists — iTunes 12 allows you to turn on a coloured background for open albums, movies and playlists. Unfortunately, the colour chosen isn’t up to you, but you can turn this on under iTunes’ Preferences under the general tab: tick ‘Use custom colors [sic] for open albums, movies etc’.
iTunes chooses the background colour based on some key colour of the item’s art. Sometimes it can look really nice, sometimes not so much.
This colour generally carries over to synced playlists on an iOS device, but may be altered, based on colour choices in Settings.

Apple Event 9th September, InsOmnia threat, photo data, cheap smartphones, Apple Watch number 2


It’s official: Apple Event September 9th — Apple will hold a press event on September 9 at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco (as has been strongly rumoured), starting at 10am Pacific. What’s going to happen? The invitation simply reads ‘Hey Siri, give us a hint.’ For New Zealanders, we won’t know anything till our Thursday September 10th. Most likely there will be a new iPad, iPhone and Apple TV, but you never really know.

Latest iOS update patches against InsOmnia — Ins0mnia is a serious security flaw in iOS 8 that could let hackers run what appear to be legit apps in the background to steal user’s data, and it’s a perfect example of why updating to iOS 8.4.1 is so important. The vulnerability was patched in the update, but instead of letting iPhone and iPad owners know about the critical fixes, Apple focused only on making sure everyone knew about Apple Music improvements. [So update your iPhone/iPad if you haven’t, having seen that little ‘1’ next to the Settings icon in the last few days!]

View a wealth of image data with PixelMet for iPhone — Like so many apps, PixelMet (free with in-app purchase) was built to fill a specific need. PixelMet, which its developer Danny Wong calls “a companion to Apple’s Photos app on iOS,” is akin to the “get info” function on Macs. Here’s a look at PixlMet for iPhone.

Stylish, cheap smartphones — Ex-Apple CEO Sculley’s new firm has launched a set of low-cost yet stylish smartphones aimed for emerging wireless markets in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The phones use a customised interface, called Obi Lifespeed, which runs on the Android operating system, version Lollipop. [Smart.]

Google launches Twitch clone YouTube Gaming with companion iOS, Android apps — Google has officially launched YouTube Gaming on Wednesday, entering into direct competition with Amazon’s Twitch for live and pre-recorded videogame content.

Amazon to forego future phone development following Fire Phone failure — E-commerce behemoth Amazon has reportedly begun to draw down engineering resources in its mobile phone team, shedding jobs and re-focusing efforts on tablets and other home electronics in the wake of the Fire Phone’s dismal showing.

Apple Watch is now number two in the global wearables market — In its first appearance in the wearables market, Apple finds itself within striking distance of the established market leader, Fitbit. According to the International Data Corporation, Apple shipped a total of 3.6 million units in the second quarter of 2015 (2Q15), just 0.8 million units behind Fitbit’s 4.4 million units. Total shipment volume for the quarter came to 18.1 million units, up 223.2% from the 5.6 million units shipped in 2Q14.

El Capitan’s Disk Utility, science projects, where Photos’ photos are


OS X: El Capitan’s deletion of ‘Repair Disk Permissions’ could impact you — Apple’s next version of OS X El Capitan uses something called “System Integrity Protection” to prevent the alteration of critical system files. As a result, scripted installers and even privileged admin users can no longer change those UNIX file permissions and then modify them. This should make El Capitan more stable and secure. So, while “Repair Disk Permissions” is gone, that also creates an important issue for users: software upgrades.

Dozens of projects that let you do real science on your Mac — Computers can be powerful tools when their collective computing capacity is aggregated on a network. If you’re interested in exploring how you can contribute to important causes with that Mac sitting on your desk, here are dozens of science projects that could benefit from the gigaflops of computational power you’re currently using for kitten videos.

How to find Photos’ image files in the Finder— While Photos stores original images just as iPhoto did, as well as modified versions and thumbnails, it’s more cautious about letting you get to them. If you import images into Photos (Preferences>General, and Copy Items to the Photos Library is checked next to the Importing label), then you can’t easily get to the original file in the Finder, but it is still possible.

iOS rumours, MagBytes 67 out tonight

MagBytes #67 is out tonight – as you can see by the unfinished Contents strip, I'm still woking on it.
MagBytes #67 is out tonight – as you can see by the unfinished Contents strip, I’m still currently working on it.

No iOS news today, but MagBytes — All there is out there is a load of speculation about what the next iPhone and iPad might be, and I’d rather wait to see what’s actually released, myself. Hope you don’t mind.

Meanwhile, MagBytes This free PDF-format newsletter will be out later this afternoon for my nearly 2000 subscribers. This is a free monthly PDF containing highlights of the month’s Apple news, lists the latest updates, combines all the Five Tip Fridays for the month into one handy file plus offers demystifying How Tos, contains help info, interesting new products and more.
Just click MagBytes Newsletter over there —> on the right to learn more and to sign up free, which means you join the private, guarded, only-used-by-me list to be told when MagBytes is available each month. But also note, you don’t even need to do this, as the last 13 issues are all available from that link on the right, too, as downloadable PDFs you can read on Mac or iDevice, or even print out. If you check back there after the last Thursday of every month, you’ll see the latest issue join the list. Easy! Helpful! Free!

How long for your Mac? Windows 10 adoption, Google Map Maker, myTuner

Macworld has a store room full of redundant Macs
One of Macworld’s redundant Macs

How long for your Mac? Mac Observer tells you how long should you wait before replacing your Mac. Basically, they can go 7 or 8 years but can last ten – but I usually have to replace mine after 4-5 to have them keep up with the software I use.

Windows 10 adoption up to 75M devices nearly one month after launch, Microsoft says — Adoption of Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system has already hit 75 million devices nearing the end of its first month, a marketing executive announced on Wednesday. OS X Yosemite, a free update for owners of Mavericks, managed to reach about 12.8 percent of Mac users within its first week. Roughly three and a half months later, that figure rose to 49%.

Google reopens Map Maker with new safeguards to block controversial edits — Google has reopened Map Maker access in 45 more countries, including the US, with a new moderation system designed to prevent a repeat of the offensive Google Maps edits that forced it to disable the system in May.

myTuner Radio for Mac OS X is a cool companion for Apple Music — If Apple Music doesn’t satisfy all your music listening needs, AppGeneration’s myTuner Radio app for Mac OS X is a nice complement to the music service. There’s a version for Mac (NZ$12.99) and another for iOS.

Hydrogen-powered iPhone 6, how to block callers

How to block annoying callers to your iPhone
How to block annoying callers to your iPhone

British firm builds experimental iPhone 6 with hydrogen fuel cell — A British company called Intelligent Energy has reportedly built a working version of an iPhone 6 that integrates both a rechargeable battery and a hydrogen fuel cell without altering the dimensions of the device.

How to block phone numbers on your iPhone — You may have a number you’d like to block, as well. If so, here’s how. But here’s the info anyway:
Go to Settings>Phone>Blocked>Add New.
The All Contacts window will appear.
Scroll until you find the name/number you wish to block and tap it.
You’ll find yourself back at the Blocked window with the offending name/number added to the list of blocked contacts.
(From Settings, contacts can also be blocked selecting either Messages or Facetime, and then following the instructions above).If you want to a block a number that isn’t stored in your Contacts list:
Open the Phone app and select Recents.
Find the name/number you want to block.
Tap the blue “i” with a circle around it to the right of the number.
Scroll down to the bottom of the contact card that appears and select “Block This Caller.”
The message “You will not receive phone calls, messages, or FaceTime from people on the block list” will pop up with two options: Block Contact or Cancel.
Hit Block Contact to add the number to the blocked list.
You can Block from Messages by selecting the message thread with the contact and tapping Contact in the upper right corner. Select the information icon, and proceed with the same instructions as in the Recents tab in Phone.

Stock reaction, VMWare Windows 10, Logic gets Alchemy, 10 good things about iTunes, Xcode 7 beta

A Logic update just added Alchemy support
A Logic update just added Alchemy support

Wells Fargo upgrades Apple; company’s shares up 5.7% — Wells Fargo analyst Maynard Um has upgraded his Apple share outlook to “outperform” with a target range of US$125 to $135. “While we note that our fundamental stance on Apple’s challenges are unchanged, we believe shares have over-corrected,” Um wrote in a note to clients.

VMware Fusion 8 and Fusion 8 Pro now available with Windows 10, El Capitan support — Today VMware has released VMware Fusion 8, its newest iteration in the VMware Fusion line. VMware Fusion 8 is designed to let Mac users run Windows on a Mac without rebooting – the new version provides support for Microsoft Windows 10 and for Mac OS X El Capitan.

Apple Logic Pro X and MainStage get Alchemy support — Apple has updated Logic Pro X — its software for writing, recording, editing and mixing your own music — to version 10.2. It now integrates Alchemy, a sample-manipulation synthesiser.
With it you can find and shape sounds from the Alchemy library or create your own with a choice of synthesis engines and advanced morphing tools. You can also produce sounds with analog-modeled filters, multiple modulation sources, an integrated arpeggiator, and a range of effects.

10 things that iTunes does right — iTunes gets a lot of criticism, including a lot that I dish out, and much of this criticism is justified. iTunes has lots of problems syncing iOS devices, iTunes Match and iCloud Music Library are confusing, and the interface, particularly in iTunes 12, is confusing. But there are very good things about it too.  (And you can fine-tune it with BeaTunes.)

Apple issues sixth Xcode 7 beta to developers with minor bug fixes — Apple has released another beta version of its upcoming Xcode 7 coding tool to developers. It has support for watchOS 2.0 beta, OS X 10.11 beta, and iOS 9 beta 5 SDKs.

OneNote tips, mouthy Swatch, iTunes U, selfie emojis

Make emojis from your own portrait
Make emojis from your own portrait

OneNote for iPad tips to make you more productive — More people than ever are bringing their iPads to work, and the quickest way to make the tablet ready for business it to outfit with Microsoft’s powerful productivity tool, OneNote. The time is never better, as a recent feature update brings OneNote for iPad up to par with its cross-platform cousins. Here are a few cool ways the app can make you more efficient around the office.

Swatch CEO needs to stop talking and start shipping —
Nick Hayek’s provocations of Apple are looking increasingly sad as Swatch fails to ship or even demonstrate the product it’s been talking about for months. [I bought a Swatch two years ago. The strap broke after 6 weeks. It took 5 weeks to get a replacement. That broke in one week so – I threw the Swatch away…]

Slideshow on iTunes U — The college student’s guide to getting started with iTunes U, which is the university-generated and free podcast service for Mac and iDevice.

Customised emojis based on your own actual face — That’s right, and it’s a free app too.

Stock drop, ConnectedEd, Mac gaming, EverWeb, iTunes controller


Ouch! Market woes drive AAPL below $100 at today’s opening bell — A precipitous drop in the Chinese Shanghai Index resulted in markets around the world opening well below Friday’s closing prices. Shares in Apple opened below $100 at $94.87 before bounding back into safer territory. About one hour after the opening of the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ this morning, AAPL was hovering around the $104 mark.

CEO Tim Cook discusses Apple’s participation the US ConnectED program — There was talk that Apple would announce a new education initiative this week. However, the company is instead emphasizing its participation in the US ConnectED program. Apple CEO Tim Cook appeared in a pre-recorded segment on Good Morning America today and discussed this with co-anchor Robin Roberts.

It’s time to take Mac gaming to the next level — In an opinion piece for TechRadar, Matthew Bolton says “Macs don’t represent a great deal for someone who wants high-end gaming, but they shouldn’t be dismissed because of that. The range of games is already strong, and is only going to grow further – and you can run Windows for the rest.” Big games are coming to Mac more quickly, new indie games tend to hit Mac at the same time, and Mac hardware is looking better and better for gaming. He’s right, of course, but I’d love to see Apple make moves to improve gaming on our favorite computing platform.

EverWeb is a web-design app that plays nice — Every element of EverWeb’s simple interface is easily in reach when you need it, and out of your way when you don’t. The central layout window’s surrounded by your site structure on the left, a toolbar along the bottom of the screen, and a multi-tabbed Inspector pane for adjusting individual elements on the right.

Not vital, but Cockatoo offers a handy tool for controlling/accessing iTunes — If the iTunes Mini-Player option in iTunes doesn’t quite serve your iTunes management, Cockatoo from Intuitive Code might be for you. It lets you easily control the iTunes music player.