Updates galore – iOS 9.2, watchOS 2.1, tvOS update, Scanbot 5, great converter, Microsoft Cortana


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iOS 9.2 should fix the iPad Pro freezing glitch — Apple says that iOS 9.2 should fix a glitch in which the iPad Pro doesn’t respond after a full recharge when you press buttons or tap on the screen, and the screen is black. For everyone else, iOS 9.2 also adds fixes to iCloud Keychain, syncing and pairing of the Apple Watch, and improves audio quality when using Bluetooth streaming to stereo systems. One of the other new features is targeted at AT&T users, with iOS 9.2 now providing support for the AT&T NumberSync Wi-Fi calling feature. This feature lets AT&T customers accept calls on any device even when they don’t have their iPhone nearby.

watchOS 2.1 adds language support, bug fixes — The latest is watchOS 2.1, a 57.1 MB update to the operating system for the Apple Watch. The update requires that your Apple Watch is connected to its charger, charged to at least 50%, and in range of your Wi-Fi connected iPhone. The update then comes via the watch app on the iPhone.

tvOS 9.1 update is here for Apple TV — Now you can use Siri to search Apple Music. And the iOS Apple Remote app works, too, although Siri doesn’t work yet for Apple TV users in Australia or New Zealand, as far as I know (I haven’t actually seen one of these yet). Here’s how to get it.

Scanbot 5 for iOS gets folders, folder sync with iCloud Drive, and more — One of the most useful utilities for iOS just got an update. Scanbot 5 (free with in-app purchases) received new features and functionality that make it an even more powerful tool for scanning and storing documents.

Convoto is the only unit converter iOS app you’ll ever need — Convoto a rarity in this day and age:  unabashedly a unit and currency conversion app, but one of the most comprehensive so far. For one low price (NZ$3.79), the universal build provides a massive list of unit conversions, including off the beaten path stuff like clothing sizes, cooking, and even radioactivity for the science nerds out there. 

Cortana for iOS launching on Wednesday, Microsoft announces — Microsoft’s voice assistant, Cortana, will be available on “select” iPhone and Android devices starting on Wednesday, with Cyanogen OS suport coming later this month, according to an official blog post.

32% of the market, OS 10.11.2, OS 10 code, Techtool Pro 8, historic Apple sites


Techtool Pro 8, the premier protecting and fixing software for Mac, finally got its El Capitan update and is also discounted until Christmas.
Techtool Pro 8, the premier analysing, protecting and fixing software for Mac, finally got its El Capitan update and is also discounted until Christmas.

Apple will close out the year with 32 percent of the ultraportable market — Apple is predicted to close out 2015 with 32% share of the ultraportable PC segment, specifically due to its MacBook Air models, according to ABI Research.

Apple releases OS X El Capitan v10.11.2: Handoff, AirDrop, Mail, iCloud Photo Sharing, more — Apple has released OS X El Capitan v10.11.2. The update offers improvements to Wi-Fi, Handoff, AirDrop, Bluetooth, Mail, iCloud Photo Sharing and Live Photos, FaceTime, Messages and more. The update also includes fixes specific to Enterprise users. Open the App Store, click Updates at top right … (it’s free). Here’s a list of its features.
Meanwhile, adoption of OS X and iOS devices continues to grow in the enterprise and education markets according to JAMF Software’s second annual global survey of IT professionals on Apple adoption.

Apple publishes open-source code for OS X El Capitan — Apple has officially released the open-source components behind OS X El Capitan, making good on the licensing requirements of the code.

Techtool Pro 8 gets El Capitan compatibility — The world’s best consumer Mac protection and fixing utility just got El Capitan compatibility (thank goodness!). If you have Techtool Pro 8 already, simply open the app and choose Check For Updates in the Techtool Pro 8 menu. If you haven’t upgraded to from a previous version of Techtool Pro, you can do so online, with both the Buy and Update prices being discounted until year’s end as a Macworld offer (buy it for US$40 instead of US$100). You can also see all the things it can do on this page.

Google Street View glances at seven locations from early Apple history — Here’s a look at what some of these places look like today, courtesy of Google Street View.

Surprising new Apple products for iDevices, Apple Maps popular, Apple Pay


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Apple has released two new products for iDevices — One is a faster USB 3.0 Lightning to SD card reader for iPad Pro, since the Pro has a faster USB 3.0 port hidden within in. This is its first official accessory: a new Lightning to SD card reader that takes advantage of the next-generation port exclusive to Apple’s jumbo-sized iPad.
The second is an Apple iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case. The US$99 iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case in charcoal or white costs NZ$189 in New Zealand. With it you can reportedly charge your iPhone and battery case simultaneously for increased talk time up to 25 hours, Internet use up to 18 hours on LTE, and even longer audio and video playback.

Apple Maps gets more than five billion map-related requests each week — Apple tells the Associated Press that its Maps app is now used more than three times as often as its next leading competitor (that would be Google Maps) on iPhones and iPads, with more than five billion map-related requests each week. comScore says Maps has a “modest lead” over Google on iPhones in the US, though the research group measures how many people use a service in a given month rather than how often. [I haven’t used Google Maps in years.]

Not many people use Apple Pay, but those who do really like it — Approximately 1% of all retail transactions in the US are conducted using Apple Pay, and those of transactions are likely performed by the same small group of iPhone owners, according to research firm Aite Group.

Which Mac? Sacramento, free drive-cleaning utility, Mac OS 10.11.2


Which Mac should you buy? (Image from Apple NZ's Mac page)
Which Mac should you buy? (Image from Apple NZ’s Mac page)

Which Mac should you buy? PC sales are going down, Mac sales are still going up – so when it comes to purchasing a Mac, Macworld has the lowdown on each model to help you make a buying decision.

MacPaw releases CleanMyDrive 2, a free utility for taking control of external drives — MacPaw has just released CleanMyDrive 2, a free (with in-app purchases) utility for reclaiming free space and clean junk off of external drives and flash drives. The new app runs on OS X Yosemite and El Capitan only, and requires just a smidge of space for itself at 12MB.

Apple to invest $13M in Sacramento campus expansion, generate thousands of jobs — Apple is making preparations to transform a large warehouse at its Elk Grove campus in Sacramento, California, into a logistics centre, a move that city officials estimate could generate several thousand new jobs.

Apple releases OS X 10.11.2 update with fixes to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Mail & more — Apple has released a completed OS X 10.11.2 update for El Capitan, dealing with a slue of bugs in the operating system. The download is available through the Mac App Store’s Updates tab, and addresses the “stability, compatibility, and security” of Macs, according to Apple.

Final Fantasy, Apple TV needs, hands-free Fords, tips for tech travels


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Final Fantasy VII for iOS is a quirky classic of a role-playing game —
One of the best-loved RPGs of all time is now on the App Store, and it’s plenty weird — but still pretty wonderful. Now that Final Fantasy VII is available on iPhone and iPad, the game is as charmingly curious as it ever was, and costs NZ$19.99.

What the Apple TV needs to improve: it’s personal — Apple Music and Apple News attempt to get to know you. Not so much with the new Apple TV. Dan Moren writes that while Tim Cook has called the Apple Watch “the most personal device we’ve ever created,” but the Apple TV may very well be the least personal.

Ford Unveils Siri Eyes-Free Support in Ford Sync and MyTouch — Ford has announced Siri Eyes-Free support for Ford owners with Sync. The update will allow Ford drivers to activate Siri through a long-press of the, “voice recognition button on the steering wheel, similar to how to activate Siri on an iPhone.”

Tips for Traveling with your Tech Toys — Bob Levites writes that traveling with today’s technology isn’t always easy… so here are some tips that may help make your holiday travels a bit more pleasant.

 

Beatles film, happy Apple, Music and Match increase limits, Dropbox shut-downs


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The Beatles’ 1+ long form video (supposedly) available on iTunes — After The Beatles stopped touring, and because traveling around the globe to promote new releases was impossible, the band increasingly made what could be described as “mini movies.” Available now on The iTunes Store for US$26.99 The Beatles 1+ longform video presents the sight and sound of the Fab Four with restored promo films and videos. It’s supposed to be a worldwide release but was not supported in New Zealand when I tried it this morning at this link.

Apple has happy employees (but not the happiest) — CareerBliss has announced the sixth annual ‘CareerBliss 50 Happiest Companies in America’ for 2016. Apparently, Apple employees are happy – but not the happiest.

iTunes Match, iCloud Music Library track limits finally increase to 100,000 — For years, those who have large libraries of ripped CD tracks have found that they can only add 25,000 of those tracks to their iTunes Match and iCloud Music Library libraries. Kirk McElhearn reported on his Kirkville blog that Apple has increased the number to 100,000 tracks.

IBM’s Swift Sandbox — IBM has rolled out a super cool tool called IBM Swift Sandbox, a development environment for Apple’s newly opensourced Swift programming language that runs right in your browser.

Dropbox to shut down Mailbox and Carousel in early 2016 — With a new focus on collaboration, cloud storage provider Dropbox has announced it will be shutting down two apps in the very near future – photo cloud app Carousel and email app Mailbox. Mailbox will be shutting down effective February 26, 2016, while Carousel dies an untimely death on March 31, 2016.

iPad Pro OS, Favreau and Siri, Samsung coughs up


Another Apple add with John Favreau
Another Apple add with John Favreau

padOS X for the iPad Pro? Why not simply go with Mac OS X? In a Techpions article, Jan Dawson, founder and chief analyst at Jackdaw, a technology research and consulting firm, says the iPad Pro is hampered by its reliance on the traditional iOS and suggests a special, modified version of the operating system for the super-sized iPad.

Flying squirrels and Siri — Remember Jon Favreau’s cameo in an iPhone 6s ad earlier this week? He’s back in a 15-second short ad touting Siri.

Samsung agrees to pay Apple $548 million in patent battle — Samsung has agreed to pay Apple $548 million for the five-years-and-counting-legal brouhaha over patent infringement, reports FOSS Patents.

Swift, next WiFi, Apple Twitter, deleting MacKeeper, reinstalling older OS X, gifts, Beats Music, movies


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Apple makes Swift open source, so its influence will reach beyond the walled garden — Apple just open-sourced the Swift programming language that developers use to build apps for Macs and iOS devices. This might not mean much for regular folks who use those apps, but for developers, it’s a huge step forward.
Apple is known for creating ‘walled gardens’ of devices and software that all run within the same ecosystem, and that includes the code used to create apps for its ecosystem. Before last year’s rollout of Swift, the company used Objective-C, which was completely closed off – developers couldn’t modify the language at all. Now, as Apple senior Software VP Craig Federighi suggested in an interview, it’s a “front to back” development option. And IBM Swift Sandbox lets you test Apple’s newly open-source programming language in your browser. And here’s a handy introduction to using it (on YouTube).

Expect WiGig support in future Macs — Future Macs will almost certainly add support for 802.11ad, also known as WiGig. Its name makes it sound like the follow-up to 802.11ac, but that’s not the case.

How to uninstall MacKeeper from your Mac —Some people regret installing MacKeeper but can’t figure out how to remove it. Macworld tells you how.

How to restore your Mac to an older version of OS X — Don’t want to install El Capitan on a Mac you’re restoring? Here’s how you can install an older OS.

Another holiday gift guide — This one’s a video.

Beats Music subscribers have until Jan. 19 to make the switch to Apple Music — Apple is making the process easy. Now that Apple Music has arrived on Android as a public beta, Apple is finally shuttering its predecessor, Beats Music. But don’t worry: you’ll have a month to save all of your playlists.

Getting movies onto Apple devices — It’s not always easy, but it is possible.

Futurology ~ Apollo mystery, Quantum mystery, Nye on Climate change, helium hard drive, ageing cure, ice voyage logs


19th Century ice-voyage logbooks have taken on a new importance
19th Century ice-voyage logbooks have taken on a new importance

Apollo 16 S-IVB third stage finally found — After decades of mystery, the lunar impact site for the Apollo 16 S-IVB third stage has finally been found. These boosters were directed to impact on the Moon beginning with Apollo 13 in order to allow scientists to learn more about the Moon’s inner structure by measuring the effects of the collisions with lunar seismographs. Five boosters were directed into the Moon during the lunar missions, and the other four impact sites were identified shortly after the missions themselves.
~ It was on the moon. 

Bouncing droplets could help resolve a 90-year mystery of Quantum Mechanics — Drops of silicon oil bobbing in a mesmerising video do more than create aesthetically satisfying ripples across a slick surface. They could be indirect evidence of an alternate solution to a nagging question in quantum mechanics — one that dates back almost a century.
~ I’m sure some will find solace in the video. 

Bill Nye explains climate change — A new video from Bill Nye breaks climate change down for us in simple language and with illustrative graphics. He didn’t use any emoji this time, but the veteran science communicator does offer some tangible ways each of us can help mitigate climate change. Share as needed when dealing with sceptical relatives over the holidays.
~ No de-Nye-al here. 

Helium hard drive — Western Digital has announced a new, helium-filled enterprise HDD that allows for 10TB capacities without using the SMR method, sticking to industry standard PMR.  Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) drives cannot typically be used natively by the OS or disk controllers; they require extra software and/or firmware updates. This makes their broad adoption limited, since the drives are not drop-in replacements for the far more ubiquitous Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR). WD’s latest enterprise drive, sold as the HGST Ultrastar He10, uses the PMR storage method, and as such is a full drop-in replacement for any standard hard drive. (Helium is that it’s less dense than air, so puts less strain on the motor.)
~ Check for leaks (did you imagine that in a funny voice?). 

New form of carbon is harder than diamond — A team of material scientists from North Carolina State University has developed a new form of solid carbon that’s different to the familiar graphite and diamond structures. The researchers suggest it’s unlikely to occur in the natural world — “the only place it may be found in the natural world would be possibly in the core of some planets”, they explained in a press release.
~ Core!

Cure for aging could emerge in 5 years — Reporting from the CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) gene-editing summit in DC, the Washington Post quotes Harvard genetics professor George Church as expressing “confidence that in just five or six years he will be able to reverse the aging process in human beings.” He says: “A scenario is, everyone takes gene therapy — not just curing rare diseases like cystic fibrosis, but diseases that everyone has, like ageing,”
~ And only those super rich people who are ruining everything will be able to afford it, no doubt. 

Why climate scientists are so intrigued by the brutal sea voyages of the 19th Century — If you’ve ever read In the Kingdom of Ice, which chronicles the race to the North Pole, or Endurance, a record of Shackleton’s Antarctic voyage, you’ve heard what life in these unexplored regions was like: without the communications technology or technical gear of today, ships depended on what they carried. And, the logbooks, where captains and clerks kept track of information like weather and location, were absolutely critical. And they still are.
~ Heaters were probably quite important too, and wooly undergarments. 

Five Tip Friday ~ searching smarter on iPhone/iPad


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NewTabs1/ Boot Safari search links into new tabs — Just as you can in Safari on Mac, you can launch search terms into new tabs so you can check pages that load at your leisure rather than going backwards and forwards from your search page until you find the page you want. Open Safari, type in a search term and wait for the page of possible leads load. Now instead of tapping a ling, hold your finger on it to get a list of options: Open, Open in New Tab, Add to Reading List and Copy (so you can paste the link into a message or email to send to someone or add, for example, the the Notes app).

2/ Search within a webpage — The Spotlight search tool in iOS does a solid job of searching the web for any search term you can dream up, quickly displaying top hits as well as a shortcut to Safari. In some cases, though, you may find yourself hunting for a specific name or term within a page, and here’s where Safari’s search box comes in handy. Just tap the arrows at the bottom of the screen to highlight each instance of a search term on a webpage.
Let’s say you want to find mentions within a page – when long pages load, who wants to spend ages scanning the text for what you seek? Just visit the page in Safari, then tap the address/search box at the top of the screen, tap the little “x” button to clear out the URL, then type in the word or name you’re looking for.

FindOn

At the bottom of the search results, you’ll see ‘On This Page’ (above). Tap “Find ‘(word you entered)’ to highlight every mention of the word on the page, then tap the arrows at the bottom of the screen to cycle through each mention.

3/ Search Mail for names, subject lines, senders and recipients —
Just as it can with web searches, Spotlight can quickly sift through all your Mail messages for pretty much anything, offering up a pile of hits that contain a given search term.
If you want to narrow search results, though – say you only want to search subject lines rather than then entire body of all your messages – you should skip Spotlight search and head directly to Mail’s search box. The search tool within iOS’s Mail app will let you narrow a contact search to the “To” and “From” fields. Enter a search term (“safari,” for example), tap “Search for ‘Safari’” under the search box, then tap the “safari” search term again. When you do, a pair of tabs appear just below the search box: “Message” and “Subject.” Tap the Message tab to see a list of each and every message with the word “safari” in either the subject line or the message body, or tap Subject to restrict your search to subject lines only.
You can also enter the name of a contact in the search box. Again, tap “Search for ‘[contact name]’” and tap the name again in the search form, and this time you’ll get three tabs: “From,” “To,” and “Message.” Tap “From” to narrow your search to messages with the contact in the “From” field, “To” for messages with the sender in the “To” line,” or Message to search the entire message, including the body.

4/ Search your photos for places and times — Navigating the dozens (hundreds? more?) of so-called “Moments” in the iOS Photos app can be a total pain. Luckily, the Photos search tool can make it much easier to find the snapshot you’re looking for, even if you haven’t bothered to create and name custom photo albums.
The trick is to search for specific places, years, and/or months. For example, if you want to see all the photos you took during your trip to Te Kuiti last Christmas, just search for ‘Te Kuiti December.’
You can also tap the search box to reveal a series of quick searches, such as ‘Nearby’ (to see photos you’ve taken near your current location), ‘One Year Ago’ and ‘Home’ (assuming you’ve flagged an address in Contacts as your home).

Setts5/ Search for a setting — The iOS Settings screen has become seriously cluttered, with more than 30 main headings plus separate settings for most of your installed apps – and of course, each heading then has anywhere from a handful of options to dozens. Luckily there’s a Settings search box. Just go to the main Settings screen and swipe downwards to reveal the search box, then type in a search term.

6s’ ridiculous power, stealing Android users, Hey Siri, Ford Sync, book backing for Apple


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iPhone 6s ‘Ridiculously Powerful’ — Apple has a new message to promote iPhone 6s: the company is calling it Ridiculously Powerful. Part of Apple’s “Not much has changed” campaign, the spot focuses on how fast the processor is in the new iPhone 6s, how good the graphics are, how great the camera is (and the processing that can be done on the device), and more. Note the cameo by Jon Favreau.

Apple is stealing Android users in record numbers — A new report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners — as noted by RCR Wireless News — says Apple is stealing users from Android in record numbers. The study is based on a survey of 300 US Apple users October 27 through November 12.

Apple Shows Off ‘Hey Siri’ in new spot — Apple is promoting the Hey Siri feature that allows you to activate Siri hands-free using that spoken command. In typical Apple fashion, it’s not an explainy piece, however. Instead, Apple shows different people using the feature in several situations. Entitled ‘iPhone 6s – Hey Siri’, the spot is part of Apple’s ‘Not much has changed’ series of commercials.

Ford Sync update brings Siri Eyes Free support to more than 5M vehicles — Detroit automaker Ford enabled Siri Eyes Free integration for more than five million car owners with the release of a Sync infotainment system software update on Thursday, an upgrade compatible with cars dating back to the 2011 model year.

Authors Guild, Barnes & Noble, others file brief supporting Apple in Supreme Court appeal of e-book antitrust case — The Authors Guild, Authors United, Barnes & Noble, and the American Booksellers Association  have filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court backing Apple in its attempt to appeal a 2013 antitrust case over ebook deals.

Perfect LBGT score, TextExpander, Swift now Open Source, App Store, Patina launches free


Simple Mac drawing app launches free for a limited time
Simple Mac drawing app launches free for a limited time

For 14th year in a row, Apple achieves perfect score in Human Rights Campaign’s LGBT rankings — Apple and 20 other tech companies achieved perfect scores on this year’s Corporate Equality Index, a Human Rights Campaign project ranking US companies on their treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered workers.

TextExpander 5 for Mac discounted — The harsh reality is you waste time typing the same thing over and over, whether you notice it or not— and that’s where TextExpander comes in. This highly popular app allows you to create custom shortcuts that populate any set of text or image you want to save you the time and effort of typing. Whether it’s HTML formatting, a salutation, or even a lengthy email, you’ll find minutes and hours freed up. It‘s currently on special for US$22 instead of US$45.

Apple programming language Swift goes open source — Apple’s software team has officially made Swift, its proprietary iOS and OS X development software, open source and available for modification by all developers, via the new website Swift.org. By open-sourcing Swift, developers can begin to use the language for their own purposes and go beyond development for OS X, iOS and watchOS apps.

Sketch and BBEdit leave the Mac App Store (a blip or the tip of an iceberg of developer discontent?) — Bohemian Coding is no longer selling Sketch on the Mac App Store because of what the company describes as poor customer experiences. (Sketch is a tool for designing interfaces, websites, and icons.) At least one other company is also taking this route.

New simple Mac drawing app launches free for a limited time — Atek has released a new drawing app this week called Patina that the developer believes fills an important need among Mac users who are not professional designers yet desire to have a good app for making simple drawings and sketches. The app is initially free, so you can download it from the Mac App Store and try it out (tutorial video here).

Monument Valley free, Hey Siri ads, mini 4 sells well, dreaded Mail problem solved


MonumentValley

Monument Valley is a mind-bending 3D puzzle game — You help princess Ida find her way through complex optical illusions. The developers, ustwo, have just set the price of Monument Valley to ‘free’, so if you haven’t yet enjoyed the game, download it today.
Monument Valley was both a winner of an Apple Design Award and the Apple Game of the Year in 2014. There are expansion packs available (Forgotten Shores and Ida’s Dream), and it’s sure to keep you busy for days. It’s been updated recently to run on the iPad Pro, so if you own one of the big tablets, you really should get Monument Valley while it’s free.

New Apple ads tout iPhone 6s and Hey Siri — Apple’s string of fun ads continues with two new one-minute videos. The first, called “Ridiculously powerful”, looks at the features of the iPhone 6s. Actor/director Jon Favreau has a short cameo.

iPad mini 4 dominated the Black Friday weekend — The iPad mini 4 showed the most growth of mobile devices over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, according to Localytics, an analytics and marketing platform. It saw an 89 percent increase in new device impressions across the company’s network.

How to fix the dreaded Unable to Move Message error in iOS Mail— When an  error message says ‘Unable to Move Message – The message could not be moved to the mailbox Archive’, the fix is actually quite simple.