Futurology ~ Comet 67P, Ceres, Cosmic Fart Cloud, sci-fi predicts, CERN pain, mind reading, home batteries, brain time, Babylonian astronomy


dmexkapfcsq9ktedsdys

Comet 67P oddness — The Rosetta spacecraft has the best view of comet 67P, but astronomers here on Earth are following the famous space rock’s trek across the solar system too. In the image above, they have spotted something very strange: the comet has two tails. The two streaks are technically different parts of one long tail of ice and dust grains, swept away from comet 67P’s surface as it’s battered with radiation.
~ OK, we get it, space is strange. 

Oddness on Ceres — With the latest fly-over look at the surface of dwarf planet Ceres from NASA, things are getting even stranger. NASA put together this animated version of a fly-over of Ceres using their new low-altitude images from the planet, just 900 miles overhead. There is an unusually good look at those bright spots and how they are laid out across the geography — plus, you see all the different types of craters that house them.
~ There’s activity …

Cosmic fart cloud heading for us — A “giant galactic fart“, expelled from the Milky Way 70 million years ago, was first discovered in the 1960s. Smith Cloud is a starless ball of dust that’s approximately 11,000 light years long and 2500 light years across. It’s speeding toward us at a rip-roaring 1,126,540 kilometres per hour, meaning it’ll crash into the disk of the Milky Way in about … 30 million years.
~ You have to admit, ‘Smith Cloud’ sounds nicer than “giant galactic fart”.

How predictions from sci-fi work — The smartest person hundreds of years ago could not imagine the things we have now because what is science to us was essentially magic to them back then — the understanding just wasn’t there yet. That’s where science fiction steps in. The wild imagination of futuristic storytelling turns walls into windows, puts thought outside the box and breaks the constraints that science can set on us.
~ Still want the flying car …

CERN pain — CERN, home to the Large Hadron Collider, has grand plans to update the world’s largest particle accelerator complex in the next few years. But engineers have identified a barrier to the upgrade: there’s no space for new cables in the injectors that accelerate particles before they enter the LHC. A heap of obsolete cables are blocking the way to install new ones needed for the accelerator’s next big upgrade. To make space, CERN engineers have to identify and remove all the old, unused cables.
All 9000 of them.
~ There goes all the glamour of the job, right there. 

Brains read at the speed of, well, brains — An experiment by University of Washington researchers is setting the stage for advances in mind reading technology. Using brain implants and sophisticated software, researchers can now predict what their subjects are seeing with startling speed and accuracy.
~ I’ve been reading mine a lot. 

Tesla’s home batteries already working in Australia — Australia is the first country in the world to have Powerwall batteries installed and delivered, and companies like Natural Solar and Origin Energy are receiving and installing their first shipments into homes and businesses around Australia. New South Wales is first, but other states and territories have their first installations scheduled from the start of next week onwards.
~ It’s all very well to get solar on your roof – the trick is to store that power for your own later use. 

Our brains and measuring time — Our brains have an extraordinary ability to monitor time, but exactly how the brain tracks time is still a mystery. Researchers have defined the brain areas involved in movement, memory, colour vision and other functions, but not the ones that monitor time.
Over the last few years, a handful of researchers have compiled growing evidence that the same cells that monitor an individual’s location in space also mark the passage of time. This suggests that two brain regions — the hippocampus and the entorhinal cortex, both famous for their role in memory and navigation — can also act as a sort of timer.
~ And the hippocampus is more dangerous than it looks, right? That’s why I don’t swim in those rivers. 


fbertp2yq9ebgfz9adspBabylonian astronomy sext changes history —
 More than a thousand years before the first telescopes, Babylonian astronomers tracked the motion of planets across the night sky using simple arithmetic. But a newly translated text reveals that these ancient stargazers also used a far more advanced method, one that foreshadows the development of calculus over a thousand years later.
~ And you can probably grate nutmeg with it, too. 

Five Tip Friday ~ Mac tips for Safari, typing and Notes


tabs

1/ Tabbed Browsing in Safari — You haven’t lived if you’re not using Tabbed Browsing in Safari, which lets you boot links from search pages into tabs along the top that you can then inspect at your leisure – way more efficient than going backwards and forwards trying to find the correct link from a search.
Assuming you are using tabs, here are some navigation tips. The pre-El Capitan option to use Command-1 through Command-9 for favorited bookmarks remains; after El Cap it has shifted to Command-Option plus a number to go beyond the first 9 tabs; the Command key by itself plus a number moves among the first nine tabs open.

2/ Jump a tab — You can use Control-Tab or Command-Shift-] to move from left to right among open tabs, one at a time, and Control-Shift-Tab or Command-Shift-[ to move from right to left. This includes pinned tabs (which sit at extreme left) which is a new feature introduced in El Capitan.

3/ Show All Tabs — Press Command-Shift-\ to review all open tabs  (or click the button that’s by default in the upper right corner of the Safari window), which are grouped by sites for adjacent tabs that have the same domain (like docs.google.com). Press the keystroke, click the button, or press Escape to exit the Show All Tabs view. Show All Tabs can be slightly more useful, too, if you enable Safari in the iCloud system preference pane and Settings>iCloud on two or more of your devices logged into the same iCloud account. Then, Show All Tabs will reveal all tabs open not just on your Mac, but also on other devices down at the bottom of the scrolling window. This isn’t part of Handoff, but a separate feature, and useful in a different fashion. (These tab tips came from Macworld.)

4/ Fixing double initial letters — DO you do THis? I do. To automatically make the second letter into a lowercase letter, Microsoft Office has a setting, but OS X offers this ability  system-wide as part of automatic spelling correction. This works in all of Apple’s programs and is available in other apps that take advantage of it. This autocorrect will drop in what OS X thinks is the ‘correct’ replacement as you type — it may sometimes be the wrong one if you’re using a specialised term or a special spelling, but generally, it’s the right choice.
In System Preferences, you can enable autocorrection in the Keyboard pane under Text. Check the Correct Spelling Automatically box. In individual apps, like TextEdit, Pages, or Mail, use the Edit > Spelling & Grammar sub-menu to make sure both Check Spelling While Typing and Correct Spelling Automatically have checkmarks. Many third-party apps have the same settings, picked up from the system.

Beta

OS X 10.11.4 Beta lets you protecting your Notes with a Password — One of the features in the beta of 10.11.4 is the ability to password-protect items in Apple’s Notes program– in other words, this will come to the public release of OS 10.11.4 once it’s available. In the Notes app for the Beta, there’s now an option to do so under the File menu. Select a note and click on that, and you’ll be asked to set a password and (optionally) add a hint.

psswrd

There are a couple of important caveats here. The first is that any password-protected notes won’t show up on devices that don’t meet the requirements. So don’t add a password to a note you desperately need to sync to your iOS 9.2 iPhone as it will vanish from that device. Also, the password you’re setting isn’t just for the one item you had selected, but applies to all of the notes you password-protect from then on. The next time you try to apply a password to a particular note, you may be asked to enter the master one you set. And of course, you’ll need to put in that password whenever you want to actually read those notes in the future. So don’t forget it! A couple more tricks: if you need to take off the protection for a particular note, that option’s under the File menu; it’ll be labeled “Remove Password.” Also, under the Notes menu, you’ll find some useful choices like Set Shared Password.
There you can change the password you set, or you can reset it (which means that notes going forward will have a new password without changing the one you applied to previous notes).
You could also use the “Notes” menu to lock the already protected items.

Lower App prices, Smartphone saturation, iPad Pro, Forecast Bar adds weather forecasts


The cheapest apps in the NZ App Store can now be 99¢
The cheapest apps in the NZ App Store can now be 99¢

Apple enables lower App Store price tiers in New Zealand — Apple has announced two new App Store price tiers for iOS developers selling wares in New Zealand (and Canada), enabling lower digital content costs for consumers and flexibility for app makers. Developers can get more information on App Store pricing in the Pricing and Availability section of My Apps on iTunes Connect.

A smartphone was shipped for 1 of every 5 people alive in 2015 — Manufacturers shipped nearly 1.5 billion smartphones to the world’s 7.4 billion inhabitants in 2015 as consumers opted to replace older devices with newer LTE-equipped models or those with larger displays.

iPad Pro gains a Mac-like capability in iOS 9.3 beta 2: updating accessory firmware — Although the staff at Apple World Today has varying opinions about the ability of the iPad Pro to serve as a “MacBook replacement” (and here’s the Mac Observer’s take on this), “we agree on one thing – the device can perform a lot of the same functions of a Mac.” Now 9to5Mac is reporting that German developer Stefan Wolfrum discovered a new Mac-like capability for the iPad Pro – being able to update the firmware of devices attached to the Smart Connector.

How does Photos manage media on an iOS device? If you’re using iCloud Photo Library, you can set synchronization such that Photos in iOS and OS X only caches thumbnail previews of images. (In iOS: Settings > Photos & Camera and set Optimize iPhone/iPad Storage. In Photos for OS X: Preferences > iCloud, and set Optimize Mac Storage.)

Forecast Bar review: iOS version of Mac weather app is a breath of fresh air — Forecast Bar may be the most inevitable app ever created for the iPhone. When it launched last year for the Mac, it brought the flavour of iOS to OS X, putting a sleek weather forecast in your menu bar (hence the name). Real Casual Games has now released a version of Forecast Bar in the App Store for iOS (NZ$2.99).

AC adapter recall, 20 million Macs, Snow Leopard update, property deal, Flash demise, printer drivers, Mac How-Tos, Chapters, latest Numbers reviewed


AC

Apple has announced the AC Wall Plug Adapter Exchange Program — The company says it’s determined that, “in very rare cases,” the two prong Apple AC wall plug adapters designed for use in Continental Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Argentina and Brazil may break and create a risk of electrical shock if touched.
These wall plug adapters shipped from 2003 to 2015 with Mac and certain iOS devices, and were also included in the Apple World Travel Adapter Kit. Apple says it has voluntarily decided to exchange affected wall plug adapters with a new, redesigned adapter, free of charge. The company encourages customers to exchange any affected parts. Other wall plug adapters, including those designed for Canada, China, Hong Kong, Japan, United Kingdom, and United States and Apple USB power adapters are not affected by this program. [What a rare occurrence for Apple! And I have one of those that needs exchanging …]
Compare your adapter to the images in this article (if you click on the image above, it will expand for closer inspection): an affected wall plug adapter has 4 or 5 characters or no characters on the inside slot where it attaches to an Apple power adapter. Redesigned adapters have a 3-letter regional code in the slot (EUR, KOR, AUS, ARG or BRA – NZ would be ‘AUS’, I assume).

Apple could sell another 20 million Macs this year — Apple’s Mac shipments are expected to remain at a level similar to that of 2015 at around 20 million units in 2016, while new MacBook and iMacs are expected to boost the company’s overall product ASPs [average selling prices], reports DigiTimes, quoting unnamed “sources from the supply chain.” Twenty million would be the most Macs ever sold in a year; the previous record was 18.91 million in 2014.

Have you installed your Snow Leopard update today? If you’re one of the relatively small group of Mac owners still running OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard [still widely regarded by developers the most solid OS ever], you may have been surprised yesterday when an update appeared in the Mac App Store and on Apple’s support website. Those of you who are new to the world of Macs might not know about Snow Leopard, which originally shipped in 2009 and introduced the Mac App Store in version 10.6.6.

San José’s Apple Campus deal — On January 26, 2016, San Jose, California city council members approved a development plan that will provide Apple with a campus in the city that will be close to 86 acres (34.8 hectares) in size. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo saw the move as potentially reducing traffic congestion, saying “We’re thrilled to have thousands of your employees in San Jose, hopefully shortening the commute for many.”

Flash’s days are coming to an end — The Global Media Format Report 2016 from Encoding.com predicts that the Flash video codec – which the late Steve Jobs despised – will pretty much vanish within 24 months [yay!]. While Flash is still being used for specific uses and edge cases such as banner ads and legacy browsers, its days look numbered, according to the cloud media processing service. Apple R&D and property investments reached a high last year.

Apple Releases Slew of Printer Drivers for Xerox, NRG, Gestetner, Lanier, Savin (Ricoh) — Apple released a slew of printer drivers for OS X on Wednesday. The company added support for new printers from Xerox, NRG, Gestetner, Lanier, and Savin. The last four printer brands are all owned by parent company Ricoh.
OS X Yosemite, OS X Mavericks, OS X Mountain Lion, and OS X Lion. You can download the drivers through the Mac App Store if you have one of these printers, or you can download directly from Apple’s support site (via links at that link above).

Mac How-Tos — Several appeared today. How to get a Mac laptop’s headphone jack to work reliably; How to restore your Mac to an older version of OS X; How to uninstall MacKeeper from your Mac; How to delete items instantly or selectively from Trash; and how to troubleshoot an ethernet drop.

Chapters review: Mac app adds segment marks to MP3 podcasts and audio files — Chapters lets you add division markings (chapters) to MP3 files, useful for podcasters who want to provide a quick way for listeners to jump to a segment or past one. It’s also handy for making a single long MP3 file of a music performance, album, or lecture, and marking points along the way rather than dividing into individual audio file tracks, which have to be managed.

Numbers 3.6.1 for Mac review: the best version of Apple’s spreadsheet app so far — Numbers has gained 0.6.1 version numbers, as well as some new features and changes to its interface. It’s also a much stronger collaboration tool now, and you can work on spreadsheets on OS X, iOS, and the web.

9.3 Night Shift button, Microsoft News Pro, Chrome update, Olloclip lenses for iPhones


15685-12112-160125-Night_Shift-l

iOS 9.3 beta 2 now available to Apple’s public testers — Members of Apple’s public beta tester program can now download and sample the second beta release of iOS 9.3, with a new Control Center switch for Night Shift.

Microsoft launches business-oriented News Pro aggregator for iPhone, Web — Microsoft has introduced News Pro, a news aggregator for iPhones and the Web that takes a different tack thanks to its dependence on Bing News, and a focus on business-related topics instead of general interests.

Chrome for iOS gets an update with better speed and stability — While most iPhone and iPad users stick with good old Safari for their browsing, Google Chrome is an attractive alternate web browser. Today, Google made Chrome for iOS even more attractive with an update that improves both speed and stability.

Olloclip Studio adds protection and photo/video accessories to newer iPhones — Olloclip started a photographic revolution when it came out with interchangeable lenses that clipped onto an iPhone. The company is still at the forefront of clip-on lens kits for iPhones and its latest product,  Olloclip Studio (US$89.99). It’s designed to take iPhone photography one step further by providing photographers with a way to use tripods and other accessories alongside their Olloclip lenses. Olloclip Studio is available for pre-order for iPhone 6/6s/6 Plus/6s Plus, shipping in February.

One billion users, financials, Wall Street’s bandaid, VideoBuffet


1453849768176

Apple now has an ‘active installed base’ of one billion users — In more info about its latest financial results, Apple says its installed base drove over $31 billion in related purchases in fiscal year 2015. That’s up 23% year-over-year. The company says it has a “active installed base” of one billion users.

Apple announces record first quarter financial results — Maybe Apple’s not doomed, after all. The company has announced financial results for its fiscal 2016 first quarter that ended Dec. 26, 2015. Apple posted record quarterly revenue of $75.9 billion and record quarterly net income of $18.4 billion, or $3.28 per diluted share. Apple Insider has posted some ‘notes of interest‘ from the earnings call.

Wall Street adjusts Apple expectations after Tim Cook ‘rips the Band-Aid off’ — Though Apple had a respectable December quarter, the company’s outlook for the following three months calls for iPhone sales to decline for the first time ever. Analysts on Wall Street responded by trimming their price targets, though most still believe investors should buy in.
Dr Aleksi Aaltonen, Assistant Professor of Information Systems at Warwick Business School and Apple researcher, says that some investors are starting to punish Apple for not being able to do the impossible. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve has taken note of Apple’s fortunesMac sales in China grew 27% year-over-year (and Asia-Pacific 4%). The Gartner research group puts Apple’s US market share at 12.8%, and its global PC market share at 7.5%.

VideoBuffet makes it easy to browse your videos on Mac OS X — With iMovie and QuickTime on all our Macs, plus lots of video download sites and options, most of us have a plethora of videos on our Macs. A cornucopia. A veritable buffet, if you will – and that’s where VideoBuffet comes in.

Browser crashing ‘prank’, Periscope adds GoPro, watch renaissance, tvOS 9.1.1 adds Podcast app


ppdpro

An annoying link crashes Safari on iOS and OS X devices — Pranksters (which is probably too kind a word) have been sending a link to users of Apple’s Safari browser that will crash their iPhones, iPads, or Macs, reports The Guardian.
The link (crashsafari .com) overloads the default browser with a self-generating text string which populates the address bar, the article says. After about 20 seconds it forces an iPhone, to reboot, while heating up as the smartphone tries to handle the code of the site.

Periscope app adds GoPro integration — Periscope is the free livestreaming app from Twitter that AWT uses almost every weekday to send out a video version of the AWT News Update podcast. Up until this point, Periscope users have had to make do with the cameras built into their iPhones to do their broadcasting, but an update to the app today has added support for the GoPro Hero 4 action cam.

NetBase: thanks to the Apple Watch, watches are having a renaissance as luxury items — By examining more than 700 million social conversations across 80 countries, NetBase, which conducts enterprise-scale social media analytics, found that luxury brands (as defined by consumers on social media) is taking on a new look with the inclusion of the first smart watch as a “luxury brand.” According to the “NetBase Brand Passion Report: Luxury Brands,” watches are having a new renaissance with the emergence of the Apple Watch.

tvOS 9.1.1 adds a Podcast app — Apple has released tvOS 9.1.1, an update to the operating system of the fourth get Apple TV. It adds a new Podcasts app, as well as includes the usual bug fixes and performance tweaks.

Gold Macs, big quarter, new MacBooks? Australian taxes, data gatherer, speed up Dock


Idiot

Want a 24k gold Mac? You can have one for $11,000-plus — Want a gold iMac or MacBook? London’s gold craftsmen Goldgenie will embellish your Apple all-in-one in or laptop in pure 24k Gold with pricing starting at “only” cNZ$17,600 (£8,000 or about US$11,430).
[Who would do this to a machine you can’t upgrade? Two years later, all that the gold encases is out of date.]

Wall Street expects $76.5B in revenue from Apple in record — Apple is shortly expected to reveal that it just concluded its biggest quarter in the company’s history, with Wall Street watchers projecting an average of $76.5 billion in revenue from the holiday period.

New MacBooks by June? Apple will release new MacBook models by June at the latest, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Considering Apple last updated the MacBook Pro in May 2015 with minor performance enhancements, this could be a sign Apple is holding out for Intel’s Skylake processors before rolling out new models.

Apple paid $85 million in Australian taxes last year … on $8 billion in local revenue — The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Apple paid $85 million in Australian income tax last year, despite making almost $8 billion in local revenue according to accounts filed with the corporate regulator.

Yojimbo is one of the best info gathering apps for the Mac — Yojimbo often translates to ‘bodyguard’ and that’s a good name for a program that keeps and protects the little bits of information that come across our virtual desks on a daily basis.
Yojimbo for Mac OS X is a database of any information you can throw at it. Of all the information-gathering apps, it’s the clear leader in Mac integration and featuring a Mac interface.

How to use the Command Line to make the Dock appear faster on your Mac — The Dock in OS X can be set to always be visible, or it can be set to appear only when you mouse over its location on the edge of your screen. There’s a delay, however, between when you mouse over the edge and when the Dock actually appears, and some folks don’t care for that, but you can change this behaviour.

Rumoured 4-inch iPhone, Foxconn fire, Patriots fans and Microsoft failure


4inch

Apple’s rumoured 4-inch iPhone update purportedly leaked again in new photo — A picture of a device said to be Apple’s latest rendition of an iPhone with a 4-inch display hit the internet on the weekend, this time placed next to an iPhone 5 for comparison. The device in the photo bears an identical design to the iPhone 6 series, just in a shrunken form factor that barely eclipses the iPhone 5 in size. The shot was shared by a user at Dutch tech site OneMoreThing.nl.

Fire at Foxconn’s main iPhone factory, no injuries or production setbacks reported — A fire erupted Sunday evening at Foxconn’s main iPhone manufacturing facility in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou, though no one was hurt and it didn’t affect production, the company claimed.

Patriots fans can blame Microsoft — Fans of the New England Patriots who are searching for a reason for the loss to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship might want to take part of their anger out on Microsoft. During the second quarter, the Microsoft Surface Pro tablets that all NFL teams are forced to use as part of a Microsoft marketing deal stopped working for the Patriots so coaches couldn’t show players some pictures.