Tag Archives: Mac

Tuesday Talk ~ Moan fest


(Image from Apple Insider)

I feel Tuesday Talk has become a moan-fest about what Apple could be, its failings and what the Inc could do better. It didn’t used to be this way – when I used to write about Apple for the New Zealand Herald it was to continuously trumpet Apple’s successes. Apple is still ‘successful’ in that it has a global presence and makes tons of money, of course, but for the last two years Apple seems to have been focussing its energies and resources on … gosh, I don’t know what. Not tech and innovation anyway. At least not visibly.
Apple Watch just turned two, and I was always amazed by this product, mostly because it had serious competitors out there in the market place before it was even actually a product. Rumours of the Apple Watch sparked companies to create smart watches that would be ‘better’ than ‘anything Apple could produce’ … except Apple hadn’t produced anything. That’s pretty incredible power right there.
But was Apple Watch the last really innovative thing Apple did? The Watch is beautifully built, and much more useful than you’d think at first sight. But Apple lost control of the market for a device it hadn’t even released, then had to work to regain the market it had itself created. Apple did, eventually, but this was a bizarre situation that it inadvertently orchestrated for itself.

Since the Watch introduction, Mac lines have languished; iPhone has had some regular updates that haven’t been groundbreaking but definitely very good; iPad has had some regularising updates and its lineup has been refined. But for the rest, Apple now has to do something truly incredible at the World Wide Developers Conference in June on more than one front. The tech world will be focussed on Apple like never before.
But why has Apple been acting this way? That’s what I can’t work out. John Gruber, who I interviewed a few years ago in Wellington, reckons Apple’s team focus has been too much on iPhone.
Sure, under Jobs, Apple would focus its key team members on different projects one after another: a project would get the love, then the love would get moved on to another category. This approach made perfect sense when Apple was lean, a little desperate and lacked resources and power – but now that Apple has resources and power to burn, this approach no longer makes any sense. At all.
Frankly, I’m amazed Apple is still doing this. Indeed, Bryan Chaffin reckons Apple’s Achilles heel is the leadership team’s slavish devotion to maintaining a tiny executive inner circle. This appears to have led to positional nest-feathering and structured, impenetrable ennui. We are supposed to be impressed when Cook, Schiller et al even talk in public, when I’d rather see them releasing new products. I actually don’t care who these people are, they’re not my Apple rock stars. Apple’s products should be.

Even Virtual Reality … sure, I’m excited Apple has set up an AR/VR lab in Wellington, New Zealand. Who wouldn’t be? But really? Google, Microsoft and other big players have been exploring this space for years already. Does Apple really think a white headset with an Apple logo on it at twice the price is all Apple is capable of? All we expect? I really, really hope not. Apple needs to work hard to be a relevant player in this space if it’s going to enter it at all. Apple has been publicly ignoring virtual reality while hiring and acquiring experts at an impressive rate.
Meanwhile, Apple as a gaming platform has had some remarkable successes in iDevices, yet it’s still largely ignored on Mac as it has been for decades. This shouldn’t matter to people who use Macs for anything but gaming, but it does: Macs still have second-rate video cards compared to cheaper PCs largely because it can’t be bothered to attract decent games, which challenge and raise technical specs on PCs. This is galling – yet it has always been galling.
Which doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be changed. It’s also galling because virtual reality games will explode.

So I have one message, Apple: please, please get your sh_t together!
I’d much rather be writing positive commentary.

CloudMounter master password, AR/VR, NASA car engineers


(Image from FXFactory)

Update to CloudMounter adds encryption locked by a master password — Many Mac users find that storing part or all of our data on cloud services is a great way to extend the capabilities of our computers, but sometimes it’s a bit difficult to get data in and out of services like Google Drive, Box, Amazon S3, Microsoft OneDrive and even FTP or WebDAV servers.
Eltima Software’s CloudMounter for macOS (US$29.99) takes care of adding all of these services as mountable ‘drives’ in the macOS Finder, and today the app was updated to provide data encryption as well as a way to ensure that only your instance of CloudMounter can access your data.

Apple hire of plug-in developer shows AR/VR and Pro commitment — Amidst persistent stories about Apple developing an augmented reality headset of some sort and recent moves to shore up the company’s standing with creative professionals, the company has recently hired a developer well-known for writing Final Cut Pro plug-ins. Tim Dashwood has joined Apple – he’s best known for his 360VR Toolbox plugin.

Four ex-NASA engineers on Apple’s list of autonomous car software testers — Among Apple employees involved in testing of Apple’s self-driving car software consist of an ex-NASA researcher who was once tasked to develop an autonomous vehicle to explore one of Jupiter’s moons, and three others who worked for JPL.

Earth power, Chinese censorship, private Epic Browser, iCloud cancellation bug, Music Up Next


Apple is powering 96% of its operations with renewable energy — Apple has announced that it’s now powering 96% of its operations with renewable energy in the company’s offices, retail stores, and product distribution centers. The company says it’s now 100% renewable in 24 countries, including all of its data centres. Apple’s upcoming Danish data centre will help warm area homes, and Apple uploaded four videos to its YouTube channel ahead of Earth Day (April 22) featuring Apple employees and executives explaining the company’s environmental initiatives.

Apple runs up against state censorship in China, again — Apple is once again running into issues with state censorship in China, according to Xinhua. Two different agencies will call Apple into their offices to demand tighter controls over streaming apps in the App Store.

For the most private browsing experience, think Epic Browser — In the browser war, most of the emphasis is placed on the Big Three: Safari, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox are the most well known, and each offers ways to protect your privacy and security. None of them are perfect, unfortunately, as we saw last week with the Punycode phishing attack. One lesser-known browser is better at privacy and security, though – Epic Privacy Browser, built on Chromium, the open-source project forming the basis for the Google Chrome browser.
Epic Privacy Browser is available for Mac (and Windows) and costs nothing. On top of browser choice, you should also think carefully about doing a security checkup on your Mac.

Apple apologises to users for mistakenly saying their paid iCloud subscription was cancelled — Days after an error led to false iCloud cancellation emails sent to subscribers, Apple has followed up with another note apologising for the bug, and reassuring them that their plan remains in good standing.

Apple Music launches ‘Up Next’ monthly feature with Zane Lowe to highlight new artists — Apple announced last week Thursday that new feature Up Next has been added to Apple Music, a new video documentary series that promises to feature a new artist every month.

Xeon iMacs, 100% green, Earth Day, Chinese porn concerns, Setapp search


Why Apple will be using Xeon CPUs in this fall’s ‘pro’ iMac — Recently, we learned that Apple may be seriously considering the use of a Xeon CPU in its so-called ‘server-grade’ iMac planned for later this year. There are good technical reasons why the use of the Xeon has entered the discussion in what has traditionally been considered a consumer iMac, in contrast to the Mac Pro which has had Xeons all along.

Apple promises future products to be made from 100% recycled materials — Apple is on the cusp of launching a new initiative, pledging to use 100% recycled materials in a closed supply loop for fabrication of its devices, but how Apple intends to do so isn’t clear: “We’re actually doing something we rarely do, which is announce a goal before we’ve completely figured out how to do it,” Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives Lisa Jackson, told VICE News in an interview.

Apple publishes new Earth Day videos explaining company’s environmental efforts — Apple has published a set of new videos commemorating Earth Day that explain clean energy technologies, Apple’s own environmental protection efforts, and feature Apple employees and executives narrating and explaining the concepts behind the programs. Apple has also installed special signage into Stores.

Apple meets with Chinese government over App Store oversight because of porn streamers — More information has emerged about the Chinese government demand that Apple crack down on streaming apps, with a new report circulating claiming that porn streamers are the government’s major concern.

Macpaw’s Setapp adds an inbuilt app search and discovery tool — Setapp, Macpaw’s app subscription service, has launched a user interface enhancement: an inbuilt app search and discovery tool. In response to the top requested feature by current customers, it offers quick access to the collection of all the apps in a single window by introducing an in-built App Discovery tool.

Best photo monitor, Free Expression, LaCie USB-C, new Prince song, Sonnet with Thunderbolt 3, Alien news, PhotoSweeper


LG UltraFine 5k named ‘Best Photo Monitor’ in 2017 TIPA Awards — The 27-inch LG UltraFineTM 5K display from LG Electronics has had its problems, but it’s been named this year’s Best Photo Monitor by the Technical Image Press Association (TIPA).

Tim Cook accepts Newseum 2017 Free Expression Award, says companies should have values [so taxpaying appears not to be a ‘value’] — Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage at the Newseum in Washington, DC on Tuesday to accept the institute’s 2017 Free Expression Award, for which the tech mogul was honored in the Free Speech category. AppleInsider was there live, and offers highlights from the event.

LaCie announces 2big Thunderbolt 3 RAID dock, compatible with Apple’s MacBook Pro with Touch Bar — Available this summer in capacities of 12, 16 or 20 terabytes, LaCie’s forthcoming 2big professional 2-bay RAID storage solution features high-speed Thunderbolt 3 connectivity is set to take advantage of Apple’s latest MacBook Pros. Thanks to Thunderbolt 3, the external storage will boast transfer rates of 440MB/s, allowing users to transfer one hour of 4K footage in just one minute. Apple’s late 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models feature USB-C connectors compatible with Thunderbolt 3 accessories.

New Prince song ‘Deliverance’ arrives on Apple Music & iTunes, full album release in jeopardy — Apple Music may be about to see the release of a posthumous album from Prince, with the first track now available to Apple Music subscribers – but a lawsuit filed by the estate against the sound engineer responsible for the album challenges control of the tracks.

Sonnet’s Echo Express III-D, Echo Express III-R are now available with Thunderbolt 3 — Sonnet Technologies has announced its US$899 Echo Express III-D (desktop) and $999 Echo Express III-R (rackmount) Thunderbolt-to-PCI Express (PCIe) three-slot expansion chassis are now shipping with full support for Thunderbolt 3.

Alien News is a new Reddit news reader for macOS — Mach Software Design has introduced Alien News 1.0 for macOS, a news reader app. Built from the ground up for tab and Touch Bar support, Alien News provides unlimited windows and Reddit accounts.
Users can search with a single click, leave comments, view their private messages, view saved articles, even view recent user activity and more. If you have a MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, top news stories will automatically scroll across the Touch Bar, mimicking the scrolling headlines on television news programs. Alien News requires macOS 10.12 or higher and a Reddit account. It’s free and available worldwide at the Mac App Store.

PhotoSweeper is a fine companion to the Mac’s Photos app — PhotoSweeper, an NZ$14.99/US$9.99 photo finder for macOS 10.10 and higher. It works with Photos and Adobe Lightroom and helps you find and eliminate duplicate or similar images. Photos are compared regardless of their sizes or formats and are grouped by similarity. PhotoSweeper works quickly and efficiently, and is a great tool for taming your photo library and retrieving always-valuable disk space.

iMac rumours, Mac camera security, Trash IT!


(Images from Apple’s iMac page)

Rumour reckons new iMacs will include a server-grade version, due in the second half of 2017 — Apple is expected [it’s a rumour, so that’s too strong a word, and what’s the point of a great screen on a server?] to begin production of two new iMacs in May for an official launch in the second half of the year, according to DigiTimes, quoting unnamed “sources from Taiwan-based supply chain makers,” who add that a server-grade iMac for the high-end sector is also in the works.

How to turn your Mac’s built-in webcam off — This is a bit complicated and requires Terminal, or you could just stick a plaster over it like Mark Zuckerberg does, or use OverSight which alerts you if someone is trying to take over your camera, or even buy a utility like ProtectStar, but before splashing out US$30, are you convinced anything can take over your built-in camera? And if so, that they want to watch you?

Trash IT! is a handy utility for forcing the macOS Trash to empty — Trash It! is a little app for macOS 10.7 or later that force-empties your Trash. It supports drag and drop. It’s useful if you have files or folders in the Trash with permissions set incorrectly, locked Trash items, want to delete a stuck item, or to trash items from other partitions. If you drop files or folders onto the Trash It! icon, it will delete them. If you double-click on it, it cleans out your Trash.

1080t drivers, PhotoStory, MacOS 7.0.1 emulator, Gore and Jackson on climate


System 7 (codenamed “Big Bang” and sometimes retrospectively called Mac OS 7) is a single-user graphical user interface-based operating system for Macintosh computers and was part of the classic Mac OS line of operating systems.Now you can run it as an emulator in Safari.

Nvidia 1080ti with new drivers in external enclosure quadruples MacBook Pro native performance — Enthusiasts have wasted no time in testing the new Nvidia Pascal video card drivers, and have found external GPU performance nearly four times that of the Radeon Pro 450 in the 15-inch MacBook Pro. The cards are hamstrung slightly by the Thunderbolt 3 interface not being as fast as a 16x PCI-E slot, the results are nonetheless impressive.

PhotoStory is a new image-to-video transformation app for macOS — Einstein’s Legacy has introduced PhotoStory 1.0.1, an image-to-video transformation app for Mac. It turns a collection of images into a digital movie for use in promotion, storytelling or for creating time-lapsed applications.
PhotoStory features modern codecs, variable speed playback and a WYSIWYG [what you see is what you get] user interface. You can share the output movie using Vimeo, Facebook and other Internet services. The app requires macOS 10.11 or higher. It’s available for US$9.99 at the Mac App Store (NZ$14.99).

MacOS 7.0.1 emulator available at the Internet Archive — Feeling nostalgic? A pair of compilation hard drives contains a full copy of MacOS 7.0.1, along with a range of games, applications, utilities and toys to demonstrate the experience of using an early Mac has appeared on the Internet Archive. The entire bundle can be run inside Safari.

Al Gore & Apple’s Lisa Jackson to talk ‘climate optimism’ at San Francisco Store — On Wednesday, former US Vice President Al Gore will sit down with Apple’s VP of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives Lisa Jackson for a special event, hosted at the company’s Union Square store in downtown San Francisco.

Final Cut 10.3.3, Photolemur 2, car rumours again, Alexa leaks, Strombo concerts, Windows ‘bomb’


Photolemur 2 learns on the job to improve your images (picture from Apple World Today)

Apple updates iMovie and Final Cut Pro X for macOS — Final Cut Pro X (US$299.99) has been revved to version 10.3.3. It adds the ability to expand the width of the Inspector to view and adjust effect parameters; faster redraw of audio waveforms when using clips that are being imported while recorded to disk; a Diamond icon in the Timeline Index to show when the user has modified display of roles in the timeline; more color options in the Role Editor; and several bug fixes and performance tweaks.
The iMovie upgrade (version 10.1.5) is mainly a maintenance upgrade that fixes an issue which could add a red tint to video imported from some camcorders. It also addresses an issue which prevented some videos shot on iPhone from appearing in the import window and improves performance and stability. iMovie is Apple’s US$14.99 (free on all new Macs) videography tool for consumers.

Photolemur 2, 18th April — Photolemur is powered by a self-learning AI image processing technology and instantly enhances photos based on its previous ‘experience’. Photolemur does almost everything by itself, the users only needs to load the photos and save the best images afterwards. Now, the app has been optimised and runs faster than before, the image enhancements are better, and even the user interface has been streamlined. Apple World Today takes a look at what’s new in Photolemur 2.

Apple Car rumours revive as Apple applies to test self-driving cars in California — Apple Car rumours rise again. Apple has received a permit to test autonomous cars in California, “the first official confirmation that the maker of the iPhone sees the century-old automobile as a product that’s ripe for reinvention and a reflection of its need to tap new markets to sustain its growth,” according to Business Insider.

Amazon allowing Alexa software, far-field microphone technology use by other companies — Amazon’s core hardware and software technologies that it uses in its Alexa voice recognition products are available for use for free by hardware manufacturers – but not to everyone: Apple is unlikely to be invited to use the technology, given that the offer appears intended to combat Google’s similar approach to the home assistant market.

‘House of Strombo’ concerts coming to Apple Music as 10-part video series — Canadian TV host George Stroumboulopoulos has forged a deal which will see his House of Strombo concerts come to Apple Music, broadcast in a 10-part series.

Hackers dump cache of NSA tools putting millions of Windows users in danger — Hacker group Shadow Brokers dumped a new cache of NSA tools on Friday, and some are calling it, “the worst thing since Snowden.” Shadow Brokers has released other NSA tools, including a cache of old Linux hacking tools last Sunday. But Motherboard reported that the Windows tools released in the newest cache are the hacking equivalent of a bomb.

Five Tip Friday ~ Pages, Keynote, Numbers collaboration and more on macOS and iOS


Yes it’s Good Friday already in New Zealand, and yes I’m up, and yes I am going to work, as the museum I work at only closes on Christmas Day. Luckily I have time to add some tips for you.
By default, people that you invite can edit your document, but the initial sharer can change share options and limit who can access it (from Apple World Today).

1/ Apple’s Pages, Numbers and Keynote apps for macOS and iOS allow you to collaborate — You can invite others to your documents and work on them together in real time. Here’s how to use iWork collaboration on a Mac with macOS Sierra and Pages 6.0, Numbers 4.0, or Keynote 7.0 or later;
An iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 10 and Pages 3.0, Numbers 3.0, or Keynote 3.0 or later;
A Mac with Safari 6.0.3 or later, or Google Chrome 27.0.1 or later;
and even on a Windows PC with Internet Explorer 11 or later, or Google Chrome 27.0.1 or later.
To invite others to collaborate you must be signed in to iCloud on your device and have iCloud Drive turned on. If you’re using a web browser, sign in to iCloud.com and open the iWork app you want to use.
If you have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with earlier versions of iOS or iWork apps, or if you have an Android device, you can view documents but can’t edit them.
When you invite people to collaborate on a document, spreadsheet, or presentation, the app creates an iCloud.com link for you to send to them. If you limit access so that only people you invite can collaborate on your document, they must sign in to iCloud or iCloud.com with their Apple ID. The name of the document is included in the URL. If the title or content of the document is confidential, make sure to ask participants not to forward the link to anyone else.
Here’s how to invite other people from your Mac. From Pages, Numbers, or Keynote, open the document you want to share. In the toolbar, click the share icon — a head with a checkmark by it.
Tap Add People to add people. Tap your preferred method for sending the link. If you choose to email your invitation, type an email address or phone number for each person you want to invite. Add any other information, then send or post the message.
The share icon — a head with a checkmark by it —  indicates that a document is shared. The checkmark changes to show how many people have the document open (not including you).

 

2/ Collaborating in iOS — Here’s how to invite other folks from your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch: if your document is already open in Pages, Numbers, or Keynote, tap the three dot icon, then tap Collaborate With Others. If you’re in the Document Manager, tap the share icon,  then tap Collaborate With Others. Tap the document you want to share. If the document you select hasn’t downloaded to your device, it downloads now.

3/ Protect with a password — If you set Who Can Access to ‘Anyone with the link, and you want to add a password, tap Add Password. Type your password and hint. You and other participants need this password to open the document.

4/ Invite other people from iCloud.com — If your document is already open in Pages, Numbers, or Keynote for iCloud, click the share icon in the toolbar. If you’re in the Document Manager, select a document, then click the icon that looks like a gear. Now choose Collaborate With Others.

5/ Password protect iWork documents anyway — Here’s how to password-protect Pages, Numbers, Keynote docs in macOS Sierra: From Pages, Keynote or Numbers, open the document that you want to secure with a password.
Go to the File menu and choose Select Set Password.
Enter a password and a hint.
That’s it! As you set a password, a small lock icon will appear on that particular document indicating that it’s secured with a password. The next time you need to access the doc on any Apple device or via iCloud, you’ll be asked for a password.

Going greener, pinging Pros, modular Pro concept, best RPGs, Podcasts rebrand, Outlook preview


Here’s a nice concept video of a Mac Pro possibility

Apple pushes supply chain to adopt renewable energy, gets 3 more suppliers to go all-green — In its ongoing renewable energy initiative, Apple is pushing its supply chain go green, announcing on Thursday that three more component makers are using solely renewable energy to build parts for its products.

Some MacBook Pro with Touch Bar owners report pinging, popping case noise during heavy use — A small proportion of users with the 2016 MacBook Pro are reporting hearing a pinging, or popping noise, described as similar to that of crushing a plastic bottle, seemingly related to thermal conditions in the laptop.\

A very nice concept video for Apple’s next Mac Pro — There will be many challenges for Apple as it designs the next generation Mac Pro. It will have to present with Apple’s unique design language, but the form will also have to follow the function as a modular device. For the practical minded user. The low end will have to be affordable, but it will also have to support the very best CPU/GPU/ and bus architecture.
Here’s a concept video [not by Apple!] that pays homage to the (2008-2012) Mac Pro, has a modest desktop footprint, and still looks like it would be big enough to contain kind of power we drool for. [Love it!]

Best Mac RPGs — Of all game genres, Mac RPG games arguably provide the greatest embarrassment of riches, so much so that picking a top 10 is sure to leave some great games out in the cold. That said, MacGamer HQ has given it a shot (with a little cheating).

Apple rebrands iTunes Podcasts as ‘Apple Podcasts’ ahead of planned changes — Apple on Thursday rechristened iTunes Podcasts under a new label, ‘Apple Podcasts,’ likely setting the stage for planned evolutions of the company’s podcasting support.

Microsoft offers free Outlook for Mac Preview to test Google Calendar & Contacts features — Microsoft on Wednesday released a standalone Outlook for Mac Preview version for free, as part of an attempt to gain more feedback on Google account upgrades including Calendar and Contacts integration.