Tag Archives: Intel

Tuesday Talk ~ Touchy subject


Well, the first MacBook Pros have started arriving to those who pre-ordered them online. The critics love to say ‘It’s barely faster, it’s just thinner, and the Touch Bar is a gimmick’. Well, you know, the critics have to say something, and you can’t beat the obvious, although I agree the CPU could have been more advanced. As for the Touch Bar being a gimmick, you’ve all seen long-terms and/or pro users whipping their Macs through series of operations because they’re using key commands instead of hunting through menus and sliding around on screen to click buttons.
I meet many Mac users who still do that – I tell them ‘Learn three to ten commands and your Mac using life will change dramatically’.

Well, the Touch Bar addresses that. Suddenly, obvious buttons are right there, easy to see and easy to initiate. The key commands still work, but you have instant access to commands and operations in a clear and visual way. what’s not to like? As for the criticism that it’s not a patch on Microsoft’s Surface approach, well guess what? Go buy a Surface. Then you can struggle with that pig of a confusing operating system and spend your time wiping your smeary fingerprints off your screen.
Because there’s no way I want to continually smear and wipe the visual feast that is a Retina Display on a Mac, thank you very much, and I defy any designer or video editor to disagree.

The Late 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar may not be a dramatic leap as far as CPU goes, but the Intel quad core Core i7 Skylake CPU is still pretty damn good. apple has concentrated on speeding up all the architecture around this for a fast-feeling package and the new MacBook Pro’s dynamic input Touch Bar (the buttons change depending on what app you are using) will speed you up too, if you’re still a Hunter-Pecker style user, but even if you’re a Keyboard Wizard, you’ll appreciate the direct-touch speedups in apps like Final Cut Pro X.
The late 2016 MacBook Pro couples the CPU to very fast 2133 MHz PC3-17000 LPDDR3 SDRAM and an AMD Radeon Pro 450/455/460 dedicated GPU backed by 2 or 4GB of GDDR5 memory with automatic switching to a more power efficient Intel HD Graphics 530 GPU when running on battery.
It uses ultra fast PCIe-based SSD storage of up to 2TB. The USB-C expansion ports are the future – everything else will change to this, and despite what you might hear, PC manufacturers are already going there too. These  support up to two 5k, or four 4k(!) external DisplayPort monitors, USB 3.1 Gen 2 devices (up to 10Gbps) and can handle daisy-chained Thunderbolt 3 peripherals up to 40 Gbps.
That aforementioned display is brighter and sports higher contrast and the expanded DPI P3 colour gamut. Hear that, designers and videographers?  The larger Force Touch trackpad and enhanced Retina MacBook style butterfly keyboard will be very nice touches too, I’m sure. Oh, and you can get it in the very serious Space Grey or the familiar silver. I predict not many will spring for silver (I won’t). And you can wake it up with a touch and hey, it’s a quarter of a kilogram lighter! Apple Insider in the US managed to get one, and has a  full review.
Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller has further elaborated on Apple’s reasoning behind the Touch Bar. If you’re not yet convinced. I believe that if Apple adds the Touch Bar to it’s wireless and plug-in keyboards, pro desktop Mac users will jump there fast.

I haven’t seen one yet, but on the above info, I’m very very keen to. Aren’t you?

Headphone jack threatened, FBI on hack

(Image from Engadget)
(Image from Engadget)

Intel pushes USB-C as headphone jack’s successor — The technology world has a seething hatred of the traditional 3.5-millimeter headphone jack – or so it seems, given that chip giant Intel is the latest company to propose replacing the aging plug with a digital alternative. From a user’s perspective, the move to digital headphones offers improved audio quality and the ability to communicate directly with – and draw power from – a mobile device means that headphones could become smarter and in some cases lighter, since some models would no longer require built-in batteries.

FBI still deciding whether to allow review of San Bernardino iPhone exploit — The FBI has yet to decide whether an exploit used to crack the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook will even be reviewed for possible disclosure, agency director James Comey said on Tuesday.

Intel reveals Broadwell, Pages and Numbers mail-merge, Corel Painter Essentials

Intel has finally unveiled 14 different Broadwell-series chips (picture from Engadget)
Intel has finally unveiled 14 different Broadwell-series chips (picture from Engadget)

Intel officially unveils full Broadwell-based Intel Core CPU lineup — Chip giant Intel on Monday took the covers off if its oft-delayed fifth-generation Intel Core processor family, a revamp that includes significant efficiency improvements and is expected to sit at the heart of Apple’s rumoured all-new MacBook Air.
Based on the 14-nanometer Broadwell microarchitecture, Intel says that the new chips are “purpose-built for the next generation of compute devices.” Manufacturers will have 10 new low-power, 15-watt models and 4 new 28-watt variants to choose from.

Pages and Numbers mail-merge — It’s not a feature directly built into either app but it’spossible through the power of AppleScript. On the Mac OS X Automation site is an AppleScript and Pages page that provides instructions for using the free Pages Data Merge utility (the page also includes a link to that utility). As its name suggests it lets you incorporate data found in a Numbers spreadsheet into a Pages documents. Christopher Breen has more.

Review: Painter Essentials 5 offers fun photo painting with 31 new brushes — Corel Painter Essentials has hit the streets. Targeted toward hobbyists, art enthusiasts and emerging photo painters, Painter Essentials 5 was redesigned to be smoking fast and far easier to use. It includes a whopping 31 new and useful brushes, including some of Painter 2015’s hot new Particle Brushes, plus two new tools for creating mirror and kaleidoscope paintings, a vastly improved photo painting engine, a powerful brush-tracking utility, real-time effect previews, and more.

Mac diagnostics, Full system reports, Shell scripts, Intel to make way for ARM?

iStat Menus now supports Yosemite, adds many features
iStat Menus now supports Yosemite, adds many features

iStat Menus 5 Offers More System Data, OS X Yosemite Support — Bjango’s new iStat Menus 5 is out with features OS X Mavericks users have been hoping for like per-app power usage, compressed memory support, per-app disk read and write stats, and more. OS X Yosemite users get to share in on the new features, too, plus version 5 supports menubar dark mode, too.
iStat Menus 5 is priced at US$16, or $9.99 as an upgrade from version 3 or version 4. It’s available for download at the Bjango website.

Full system reports — Diagnosing a computer problem can be a daunting task even when you’re standing right in front of a Mac. When you’re doing it remotely—perhaps to help someone of less-than-stellar technical skill—gathering all the information required to figure out what’s not working can be a downright miserable experience for everyone involved.
EtreCheck attempts to alleviate this problem by automatically collecting a full set of statistics about the Mac on which it runs, from its hardware components, to installed apps and kernel extensions—going as far as quickly sampling your system to determine which programs are taking up the most RAM and CPU time.
It’s ugly, but it’s effective, powerful and free.

Shell tricks: the OS X open command — You may already be familiar with the open command in Darwin (OS X’s flavour of Unix). It allows you to open files and URLs in their default app or one that you specify. Brett Terspstra shows you some handy scripts you may be tempted to try.

Exploring the idea that Apple might abandon Intel CPUs for ARM — Yoni Heisler at TUAW discusses the fact that former Apple executive Jean-Louis Gasseé published an interesting piece earlier this week exploring the idea that Apple, some time down the road, might abandon Intel and instead rely upon ARM chips for its entire Mac lineup. As it stands now, Apple already uses ARM chips across its lineup of iOS products.