Milky Way, Alien Megastructure, Primordial space oxygen, Kazakhstan Geoglyphs, Herpes drug, Ancient Greek treasures

Maybe the 'Alien Megastructure' is just a weird star.
Maybe the ‘Alien Megastructure’ is just a weird star.

Chilean astronomers discover previously hidden Milky Way feature — Using the VISTA telescope, astronomers in Chile have discovered a previously undetected band of young stars hidden away behind thick clouds of dust in the central bulge of the Milky Way. The astronomers found 655 candidate variable stars of a type called Cepheids. These stars are unique in that they expand and contract at regular intervals. Their brightness can change dramatically in just a few days or months.
~ This implies there’s a previously unconfirmed, continuous supply of newly formed stars in the central region of the Milky Way. 

Alien Megastructure might be ‘just’ a distorted star — The Kepler Space Telescope recently picked up unprecedented flickering behavior from a distant star, leading to speculation that—among other things—it might be an alien megastructure. Now, some astronomers are saying it might just be caused by a rapidly spinning and irregularly shaped star. Star KIC 8462852 — recently dubbed Tabby’s Star — is emitting a transit signature that defies explanation.
~ So, is Charlie Sheen an Alien Megastructure? 

Primordial oxygen leaking from Rosetta’s comet — Comet 67P is full of surprises, from complex organic molecules to miniature space weather systems. Now, in an astronomical first, scientists have discovered molecular oxygen in the space rock’s tenuous atmosphere. And it may be a relic from the birth of the Solar System – Rosetta’s comet may be bleeding oxygen that’s as old as the Sun. An actual time capsule, spewing astro-paleontological history right onto our instruments.
~Well, that’s as old as the sun.

Newly-discovered Geoglyphs are so big, NASA is helping study them from space — Turgai, Kazakhstan might not look like much besides wide, sweeping plains. But over the past few years, archaeologists have revealed more than 200 massive earthworks so large that you’d never notice them from the ground. And no one knows their purpose yet.
~ Can’t see them on the ground, can only see them from high up…

Herpes drug fights cancer — US regulators have approved a first-of-a-kind drug that uses the herpes virus to infiltrate and destroy melanoma.
~ Can you pass it on through kissing, though?

Some ghosts may just be sub-bass sound waves — Some ghost sightings might actually be the result of sound waves that vibrate just below our range of hearing, dubbed the ‘fear frequency.’
~ Some of these ghosts drive down my street sometimes. 

Eye-popping treasures from a recently discovered Greek tomb — An American husband-and-wife team working in Greece uncovered the 3500-year-old remains of a prominent ancient warrior who was buried alongside an assortment of riches. It’s being called the most important discovery made in continental Greece in over 65 years. News of the discovery was kept under wraps until yesterday when the announcement was made by the Greek authorities.
~ He was strong, robust and well-fed – and then the debt collectors arrived. 

Five Tip Friday ~ switching apps in iOS 9 and Siri photo search


If you’re on my MagBytes’ subscriber list, you would have been alerted that the latest PDF issue of of the MagBytes newsletter is now available. But even if you’re not on the subscriber list (click MagBytes newsletter at the top of this page – it’s free to join, guarded, private, used only for MagBytes alerts once a month) you can grab the document any time from the MagBytes link over there on the right –> several back issues are available and it looks great on iPad screens too; you can add the PDFs to iBooks on any Apple device that supports that app.

1/ Open App Switcher — App Switcher for iOS 9 has had a makeover, with the more ‘distant’ apps on the left blurring out as if there’s a depth of field (top picture). This ability is similar to the Command-Tab trick in Mac OS. To open the App Switcher, double-click the Home button (no, this isn’t new to iOS 9). If you have Multitasking Gestures enabled (in Settings>General, but this ability only appears on iPads as iPhone screens are too small) you can slide the tips of four fingers toward the top of the screen.


2/ Quickly choose the app you want — With the App Switcher open, ‘flick’ left or right to find the app you wish to launch (in other words, scroll side-to-side). Tap the one you wish to open. Icons for any available Contextual Apps appear in a bar at the bottom of the screen. Tap one to open it.

3/ Quit apps — If you’re shocked at how many apps you are running – and this is contentious, but I’m firmly in the camp that  believes running apps are using up your battery and data – flick them to the top of the screen to Quit them. You’ll see them disappear.
In other words, this is the equivalent of Command Q/choosing Quit from the File menu/click-hlding on icons in the Dock and choosing Quit on the Mac.

4/ Search for photos by voice — Another really cool new iOS 9 thing Siri can do, is search through your images using simple language. So if you’re wanting to show someone pictures from your trip to Te Kuiti, say something along the lines of “Show me my pictures from Te Kuiti”.

5/ Search for photos by date — You can also ask to see pictures from a certain month or year, or from a specific place and a certain date.

Extra tip — Want to see what else Siri can do? Invoke Siri by holding in your Home button for a few seconds. Say ‘Help’.


Smart Connector, Apple TV has arrived, News format, Mujjo touchscreen gloves, 1.7B Watch sales

It's all down to 'preloading magnetism'...
It’s all down to ‘preloading magnetism’…

The possible rise of Smart Connector — Apple’s implementation of the Smart Keyboard/Smart Connector port for the iPad Pro may just be the tip of the iceberg for what the company has planned for such technology. Apple has applied for a patent (number 20150308470) with the US Patent & Trademark Office for “magnetic preloading of joints”.

Apple TV (2) is here — Apps are now how you watch your favourite movies, shows, live sports and more. The new Apple TV makes that easier than ever, with the Apple TV Remote with Touch surface, a new interface and the App Store, where you’ll find games and apps that completely change what you expect from your big screen. “It all adds up to an amazing experience that is the future of television” (says Apple). You can buy that online (NZ$299 and $399) or from your local reseller. Reviewers say this is a big deal, by the way.

Apple News Format docs appear in iOS Developer Library — During yesterday’s Apple earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook noted that close to 45 million iOS users are now reading articles in the iOS News app and that about 70 publishers are creating content in the Apple News Format. That format is getting a boost with the publication of the Apple News Format Reference on the iOS Developer Library. [We don’t get this service yet, which is a shame as it’s terrific. Change your iDevice location to Australia and you’ll see what I mean, as the app will appear.]

More hope for cold hands — Dutch company Mujjo has improved its knitted touchscreen gloves, raising the bar again with the introduction of the Single Layered and Double Layered Touchscreen Gloves. Yes, these keep your hands lovely and warm while letting you still work your iPhone and iPad touchscreens thanks to fine silver threads. The updated design includes a leather wrist strap, leather cuff boards, upgraded material for increased durability and maximized grip and a magnetic snap closure ensuring strong holding power while reducing tension on the strap during opening / closing. [If you’re heading into the northern hemisphere for Christmas, these are terrific – I used them in Amsterdam and New York last December .. luxury!]

Apple Watch sales topped $1.7 billion in five months — Though Apple won’t share specific sales figures for its new Apple Watch, disclosures made by the company this week reveal the wearable device reached more than $1.69 billion in sales by the end of September.

Doom 3 bargain, Expo DAM, AmpliTube 4 for Mac, SonosPlay 5


Save 50% on Doom 3 — The gates of Hell are almost open! (You know, Halloween and all that.) Luckily, instead of hiding at the slightest movement, you’ll be well equipped to take on the legions of demons, undead, and other monstrosities that stand in your path with Doom 3 on sale. Can you stop the ultimate evil at the end of this hellacious adventure? You can find out now for only NZ$6.49.

Expo for Mac OS X is a fine DAM tool — Insider Software’s Expo is an digital asset manager (DAM) designed to help web, creative and marketing professionals create great sites, presentations, documents and designs faster. However, it comes in handy for a other Mac users, as well.

AmpliTube 4 for Mac offers lots more — IK Multimedia has announced AmpliTube 4 for Mac. Offering exciting new features (video) and gear, it marks a major upgrade to the world’s most popular and powerful guitar & bass tone studio: It includes an advanced speaker cabinet section, new speaker modelling, 5 new British amplifiers, a new acoustic simulator pedal, a built-in 8-track DAW and more. It’s on sale for €99.99; the price will rise to €149.99 after the introductory period.

SonosPlay 5 gets great reviews — The latest in the wireless-speakers game: “Sonos knocks one out of the park with the all-new Play:5. This is a spectacular speaker either on its own or as part of a whole-home audio system.”

6s success, comic 6s ad, native Watch apps hit 1300

Comedian stars in new iPhone 6s ad
Comedian stars in new iPhone 6s ad

iPhone 6s and 6s Plus set new Apple smartphone launch records — Apple sold 48 million iPhones in the fiscal 2015 fourth quarter that ended Sept. 26; that’s up 36% year-over-year. The company established a new launch record regarding sales of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.

New ‘Prince Oseph’ ad with Bill Hader highlights Hey Siri … with humour — Need a laugh? Comedian Bill Hader is featured in the latest ad for the iPhone 6s, this time showing just how useful Hey Siri can be when you have your hands full…

Native Apple Watch apps hit 1300 — Thanks to watchOS 2, developers can write native Apple Watch apps, and already 1300 are available. watchOS 2 was released in September, and one of the features users and developers had been waiting for ever since Apple Watch started shipping earlier this year was support for third-party apps capable of running natively on the watch instead of tethering to your iPhone.

Wall street happy, enterprise, IBM Mac savings, Photos extensions, info

You can add to Photos' editing capabilities with Extensions
You can add to Photos’ editing capabilities with Extensions

Wall Street happy with Apple’s results, guidance — For some strange reason, Wall Street usually responds to Apple’s positive results by selling shares, resulting in a drop in share price after earnings calls. Yesterday was somewhat different, as Apple’s guidance for the next quarter was somewhat cautious based on foreign exchange rate pressure. Apparently many Wall Street analysts were in agreement, because AAPL has been performing well, hitting as high as $118 per share, up almost 3%. Here are all the financial results, and Apple has taken up $14 billion of its own shares in massive Q4 buyback surge.
And Apple Pay, Apple Music and Apple News are all thriving.

Apple quietly builds $25 billion Enterprise Business — During Apple’s Q4 2015 Earnings report, CEO Tim Cook off-handedly mentioned that Apple has built a US$25 billion enterprise business. Apple has done that in a variety of ways, but especially with the enterprise focus of each new iOS release.

IBM saving $270 per Mac in support costs, says Apple’s Tim Cook — IBM is benefiting hugely from its internal Mac adoption program, saving about $270 per Mac versus Windows PCs, Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a Tuesday fiscal results call.

Make Apple Photos for OS X more powerful with an editing extension — Enhance Apple Photos’ capabilities with an extension that will let you tweak you pictures so they look their best. And here is how to find them. To really take control of Photos, Take Control of Photos will only set you back US$10 (about NZ$14.87) and boy, will it tell you a lot! (While you’re there, take a look at the brand new Take Control of iCloud: 4th Edition.)

iOS 9.2, Siri Music rebuff, Grocery manager


Apple releases first beta of iOS 9.2 to developers — Apple has issued its first pre-release beta of iOS 9.2 to developers for testing, alongside a new beta of Xcode 7.2, as the launch of the forthcoming iPad Pro approaches.
The iOS 9.2 beta is identified as build 13C5055d. Apple has warned developers that devices updated to the beta software cannot be restored to earlier versions of iOS.

Siri rebuffs music questions if you don’t subscribe to Apple Music — Apple Music’s integration with Siri is one of the streaming service’s best features, but it has a downside for iPhone owners who don’t subscribe to Apple’s Spotify rival. Pandora cofounder and angel investor Tom Conrad noticed that the iPhone’s digital assistant rebuffs music-related questions if you’re not signed up for Apple Music, but also gives strange answers even if you are. [But I don’t subscribe and I got an instant response (see main picture), so perhaps this is a glitch by location.]

Capitan is an iPhone grocery list manager — Capitan, a free iPhone and Apple Watch app, turns a chore into a pleasure. Capitan not only looks like a modern iOS app but it appears that the developers actually thought about what people do when they’re putting together a grocery list. With the app, one can create any number of shopping lists for different stores or occasions. Once in a list, you simply tap a + button to add a new item. Enter in the first few characters, and Capitan guesses at what you’re entering.

Pages, Cook interview, Carrier Billing, Wisconsin payment, Photo Sweeper, Maps improves, Decompressor, Magic Keyboard,


Pages update more than a little incremental — A host of typographic refinement has returned, providing support for the wealth of OpenType features that allow more sophisticated “typesetting” in Pages that takes a user closer to what InDesign and other layout software can provide. This is a return, as most features were available in the previous Pages release, and were missed by some – apparently enough to resurrect them.

Video clip of WSJD Live’s Tim Cook interview posted with transcript — A week after Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage at this year’s WSJD Live event to discuss car rumours, Apple Music and more in a closely followed interview, the Wall Street Journal on Monday posted a snippet covering Apple Watch to its website.

Apple adding carrier billing support for iTunes — Apple is adding a way for folks to pay for iTunes purchases on iTunes beyond credit or debit cards — a move that “points to the company sharpening its focus on marketing the iPhone to a wider set of users,” reports Techcrunch. Apple is working first with O2/Telefonica in Germany to let you pay for items using carrier billing, the article adds – in other words, the code you enter to purchase is your cell phone number.

Judge: Apple must pay WARF $234 million for patent infringement — A Wisconsin federal court judge has Apple must pay US$234.3 million in damages for infringing on a computer processor patent by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF).

Cleaning up your photos library is easy with PhotoSweeper — A lot of images in Photos could be duplicates, or very similar, and should be trashed. PhotoSweeper is a photo finder for Mac OS X 10.9 and higher. It’s available at the Mac App Store for NZ$12.99 and works with Photos, iPhoto, Aperture, and Adobe Lightroom. The app helps you find and eliminate duplicate or similar images.

Apple activates ‘Nearby’ Maps search results in four countries, expands Flyover support — Apple has again improved its in-house Maps app by activating Nearby search functionality in Australia, Canada, France and Germany, while at the same time adding Flyover locations across Europe, Asia and North America.

Decompressor free for a limited time — It’s an app that decompresses Zip, but also RAR, Tar, Gzip and more compression types. Soon it will have a price; currently it’s 100% free.

Review: Apple’s Magic Keyboard was made to hit the road — With a compact, sleek design and Lightning-rechargeable internal battery, Apple’s Magic Keyboard is a prime candidate to replace your current portable keyboard, though its utility for Mac owners is less clear.

Apple TV selling now, game controller, Photos compared to Google


Apple is now taking online orders for the new Apple TV — Apple is taking online orders for the fourth generation Apple TV. It costs US$149.99 for the 32GB model or $199 for the 64GB version. Order today and it should deliver fromNovember 2-4 with free shipping. It costs NZ$299 for the 32GB and NZ$399 for the 64GB.

Apple TV gets Game Controllers — If you plan on getting into multiplayer games with the new Apple TV you just ordered, or aren’t into using the included remote as a game controller, there is an accessory for you: the SteelSeries Nimbus Wireless Gaming Controller. It’s available as an add-on option when you buy your Apple TV, and it’s a lot cheaper than buying a second Apple Siri Remote.

Apple Photos and Google Photos: Two photo apps compared
Which app should you use to organize your photo collection? With rapidly expanding image and video collections, three things are hot on everyone’s wish list: constant and automatic backups to an offsite location, having your entire image and video library available on all your devices, and having the edits you make to an image on one device show up on your other devices. Lesa Snyder put Apple Photos against Google Photos and discover just how similar (or different) they are when it comes to storage, importing, organizing, editing, sharing and creating projects.