Original Apple co-founder Ronald Wayne auctioning off early Apple documents — The story of Ronald Wayne almost sounds like the plot of a screwball comedy. One of the three original co-founders of Apple, Wayne sold his 10 percent stake in the company for $800 early in the company’s life, and then forfeited any future claims towards profits for $1500 later on. Despite these missteps, Wayne is incredibly important in Apple’s early history, writing the manual for the Apple I and drawing the company’s first logo.
MagBytes came out last light — It has tips and tricks for Mac and iOS, three pages of new products for Apple users and all the latest news and updates in the latest MagBytes PDF newsletter. Sign up to be notified of availability (free, private list, no obligation, opt out any time) by clicking ‘MagByes Newsletter’ in the toolbar above.
Coming … 5 new tips.
Name your own price Mac app bundles — That’s happening right now (for Black Friday) at Mac Observer Deals.
Games sale — Valve’s lovely game distribution service is serving up some fantastic seasonal deals starting today, with new sale prices coming each day and lasting either 24 or 48 hours.
Steampunk USB Flash Drives with motorised gears — Derrick Culligan has a shop on Etsy called steamworkshop where he sells amazing steampunk-style USB flash drives (for about NZ$380 but they’re really awesome), modified Zippos and more. Each piece is unique, so items get added to his shop as he makes them and pulled off once they sell.
Life might evolve on waterless planets —Astrobiologists Nediljko Budisa and Dirk Schulze-Makuch believe supercritical CO2 might be capable of acting as a life-sustaining solvent in a planetary, environment, which means life could evolve without the presence of water. ~ I’ll drink to that.
Incredibly detailed map of Asteroid Vespa — A beautiful geologic map of big asteroid/minor-planet Vesta has been created (main picture) by a team led by planetary scientist David Williams, from data collected by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft during its 15-month orbit of the oblong object between 2011 and 2012. ~ I believe you can get lotion for bad asteroids.
Supermoon lamp — An LED lamp designed by Nosigner is based on the March 19th, 2011 Supermoon, where the moon appeared 14% bigger and 30% brighter. It’s also completely accurate to the actual moon. Nosigner used data from the Japanese lunar orbiter Kaguya. ~ Have your own full moon every night.
Microsoft testing robo-security guards — Microsoft is testing five robot security guards. They contain a sophisticated sensor suite that includes 360-degree HD video, thermal imaging, night vision, LIDAR, and audio recorders. They can also detect various chemicals and radiation signatures, and do some rudimentary behavioral analysis on people they see. They weigh about 300 lbs each, can last roughly a day on a battery charge, and know to head to the charging station when they’re low on power. ~ Stop or I’ll shoot! Please wait while Critical Security Update is in progress …
Cern discovers two knew subatomic particles — Particle physicists working at the Large Hadron Collider have detected two new subatomic particles that were predicted to exist but never seen. The discovery of the two new baryon particles stands to deepen our understanding of the universe. ~ I predict there might be another one.
Intel panning thumb-sized PCs — Intel is shrinking PCs to (big) thumb-sized ‘compute sticks’ for next year. The stick will plug into the back of a smart TV or monitor “and bring intelligence to that,” said Kirk Skaugen, senior vice president and general manager of the PC Client Group at Intel, during the Intel investor conference in Santa Clara, California. ~ Catchy name? Not so much.
Ancient Chinese pigment eliminates a dimension — Han purple is an ancient pigment that wasn’t reconstructed by modern chemists until 1992. The physicists found the pigment eliminates an entire dimension. It makes waves go two-dimensional! ~ Ancient Chinese cleverness strikes again.
Bike bottle gathers it own water — The weight of water limits how much can be brought on a long bike ride. There isn’t always an option to stop and fill up from a clean stream or drinking fountain, but Austrian industrial design student Kristof Retezár has created the prototype of a water bottle system that condenses humid air into clean, drinkable water. ~ Fill, damn you!
1300 year old Egyptian spells deciphered — Arcane invocations in the Handbook of Ritual Power, an 8th-century, 20-page codex, has been translated and published by two Australian scholars of religion and ancient history. The researchers, Malcolm Choat at Macquarie University and Iain Gardner at the University of Sydney, believe the 27 spells in the codex were originally scattered among other documents, and later combined with other invocations to form a “single instrument of ritual power.” ~ I have one of those – iPhone 6.
Can these seven words really define all life in the Universe? We might not know the meaning of life, but a group of scientists working for NASA came up with a definition for it that’s just seven words long: Self-sustaining chemical system capable of Darwinian evolution. But does this truly encompass all life, including the types we have yet to discover? ~ I doubt it.
A 30-year history of getting closer to comets — How close have we come to comets before? i09 has a roundup. (Main picture: Halley’s comet from just 600 metres away.)
Photographs from the comet —Boulders seem to defy gravity in the view below, apparently clinging to the steep sides of the larger lobe of the comet — although, of course, it is all a matter of the orientation of the image and the local gravity vector. ~ If you ask me, the comet seems to defy gravity too. And what would you eat there? I reckon ‘Philae gumbo.’
Dark Magma — The magma fueling the volcanoes of Hawaii and Yellowstone National Park pipes from deep inside the planet. Scientists have struggled to understand why there are hot spots there, so distant from the grinding tectonic plate boundaries at which volcanoes normally appear. New research chalks the mystery up to ‘dark magma’: deep underground pockets of red-hot molten rock that siphon energy from Earth’s core.
The way heat flows from the core to the mantle could potentially affect the way Earth’s magnetic field evolves over time. ~ My advice it so leave it alone.
Mushroom drones decompose when the crash land — It may not look much different to a regular drone, but that’s a good thing — because this little UAV is made from biological materials that allow it to biodegrade and simply melt into its surroundings. ~ Hopefully it’s not for military use – imagine the ignominy of being assassinated by a mushroom.
Wikipedia disease forecasting — Scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory have used Wikipedia logs as a data source for forecasting disease spread. The team was able to successfully monitor influenza in the United States, Poland, Japan, and Thailand, dengue fever in Brazil and Thailand, and tuberculosis in China and Thailand. The team was also able to forecast all but one of these (tuberculosis in China) at least 28 days in advance. ~ Do tell, then. What’s next and where?
The rise of a vaccine-resistant strain of Polio — Globally, Polio has been eradicated in countless countries. It should only be a matter of time before it goes the way of Smallpox, but there are a few hold-outs where the virus is stubbornly hanging on. This story is about a virus’s last ditch effort to survive. ~ Ah, yeah, Congo again.
All from nothing after all — One of the great theories of modern cosmology is that the universe began in a ‘Big Bang’, but the mathematical mechanism by which this occurred has been lacking. Cosmologists at the Wuhan Institute have published a proof that the Big Bang could indeed have occurred spontaneously because of quantum fluctuations. ~ I’ve often wondered when the Wheeler-DeWitt equation would provide the equation. No I haven’t.
Largest Kepler object is Triton — Out beyond Neptune, the last of our Solar System’s gas giants, the icy graveyard of failed planetesimals lurks: the Kuiper Belt. Among these mixes of ice, snow, dust and rock are a number of worlds — possibly a few hundred — massive enough to pull themselves into hydrostatic equilibrium. The most famous among them are Pluto, the first one ever discovered, and Eris, of comparable size but undoubtedly more massive. But there’s an even larger, more massive object from the Kuiper Belt than either of these, yet you never hear about it: it’s Triton, the largest moon of Neptune – a true Kuiper Belt object. ~ Better buckle up, then.
Geoengineering could be used to prevent catastrophic climate effects caused by giant eruptions —New research suggests it may be possible to counteract the effects through deliberate emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, dampening the abrupt impact of a massive eruption. Such measures could stave off the perpetual winters that follow these eruptions. ~ I don’t even enjoy the non perpetual winters, personally.
How many parallel processes run in human brains —fMRI data has revealed just how parallel gray matter is. The analysis is complex, but the outcome is simple to state. Georgiou says independent component analysis reveals that about 50 independent processes are at work in human brains performing the complex visuo-motor tasks of indicating the presence of green and red boxes. However, the brain uses fewer processes when carrying out simple tasks, like visual recognition. ~ Or voting.
Telepathy over the Internet is getting real — Researchers at the University of Washington have successfully demonstrated a brain-to-brain interface in a six-person study. This is the second such study, but with more people, more confidence, and enough success to presume that telepathy might just leap out of the realm of sci-fi. ~ I can often tell what’s on a website just by looking at it.
Robot makes people feel like a ghost is nearby— In 2006, cognitive neuroscientist Olaf Blanke of the University of Geneva in Switzerland was testing a patient’s brain functions before her epilepsy surgery when he noticed something strange. Every time he electrically stimulated the region of her brain responsible for integrating different sensory signals from the body, the patient would look behind her back as if a person was there, even when she knew full well that no one was.
Now, with the help of robots, Blanke and colleagues have not only found a neurological explanation for this illusion, but also tricked healthy people into sensing ‘ghosts‘. ~ Next the ghost of HG Wells will make you feel robots are imminent… Meanwhile ‘mediums’ will carry on tricking themselves and others they can really see ghosts.
Life on Mars —Motherboard just released its latest documentary, and it asks a very simple question: When will humans live on Mars? The answer is sort of “It’s complicated“, but for now we need better technology to make life on Mars feasible for extended periods of time. Regardless, the peek into the burgeoning space tourism industry is fascinating and getting into the nitty gritty of what it would actually take to colonise Mars is definitely worth 25 minutes of your time. ~ The better question might be ‘Why would humans want to?’
Universal Basic Income will save us from the Robot Uprising — Robots are poised to eliminate millions of jobs over the coming decades. We have to address the coming epidemic of “technological unemployment” if we’re to avoid crippling levels of poverty and societal collapse. Here’s how a guaranteed basic income will help — and why it’s absolutely inevitable. ~ Apart from being 100% morally defensible, of course.
Sydney saves big time with LEDs — The 4100 LED lights installed since March of 2012 have lowered Sydney’s energy costs by more than a third; public lighting itself accounts for more than a third of the entire energy bill – the dollar saving: $370,000. ~ They generate less heat, too.
Tech brain reading — A group of neuroscientists has figured out how to decode a limited set of words ‘spoken’ by our inner voices from looking at brain activity alone. ~ Now I’m really in trouble. We;ll have to learn inner sign language.
Brick facade is actually snap-on insulation — Dutch company Energiesprond has come up with a way to make houses carbon neutral with easy, snap-on insulation and solar panels. It doesn’t hurt that houses come out looking quite handsome too. ~ The result is also quieter inside.
Solar energy as cheap as fossil by 2016 — A new study on solar energy from Deutsche Bank bears very good news. Thanks to technology and innovation, solar energy will be jusold warmingt as cheap as energy from fossil fuels by 2016. That’s basically tomorrow, and it’s awesome. ~ Meanwhile we’re paying the Sun what, exactly?
Three historic pulses of global warming — A new study shows that the increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide that contributed to the end of the last ice age more than 10,000 years ago did not occur gradually but rather was characterized by three abrupt pulses. ~ Conspiracy theorists, time to get busy.
More accurate seafloor maps thanks to satellites — Using data from satellites that measure variations in Earth’s gravitational field, researchers have found a new and more accurate way to map the sea floor. The improved resolution has already allowed them to identify previously hidden features including thousands of extinct volcanoes more than 1000 meters tall, as well as piece together some lingering uncertainties in Earth’s ancient history. ~ It’s triumph of multiple pings.
So much ice gone, Earth’s gravity has been affected — The European Space Agency has been measuring gravity for four years, mapping variations and recording the changes those variations have undergone. Its data indicates “a significant decrease [in gravity] in the region of Antarctica where land ice is melting fastest. ~ They thought that only happened in oil barons’ Pina Coladas.
A particle that’s also its own antiparticle — In 1937, an Italian physicist predicted the existence of a single, stable particle that could be both matter and antimatter. Nearly 80 years later, a Princeton University research team has actually found it. ~ They should call it the Mussolini Particle — both the agent of change and its now destruction.
Ultrasmall organic laser — Researchers have made the tiniest organic laser reported so far: an 8-micrometer-long, 440-nanometer-wide device which looks like a suspended bridge riddled with holes. It’s carved into a silicon chip coated with an organic dye. Integrated into microprocessors, such tiny lasers could one day speed up computers by shuttling data using light rather than electrons. ~ The light at the end of the chipset.
Mesh solar cell is also a battery —Researchers at Ohio State have announced a breakthrough in solar energy technology that stands to revolutionise the industry. It’s a mesh solar cell that also stores electricity. The new hybrid device runs on light and oxygen, storing electricity with the help of a simple chemical reaction. The best part is that it brings down the cost of a standard solar cell by 25%. ~ Cheaper is better, so we’re less subject to the power monopolies.
Tiny emergency torch glows for 72 hours after you add water — Batteries have a limited shelf life, so any torch you’ve been saving for an emergency might not actually work when you need it. But these tiny emergency lights from Eton simply need you to add water to keep them lit for three full days. They cost US$10 each (main picture). ~ Water torch – yeah!
Ebola vaccine delay may be due to an Intellectual Property dispute — For the past six weeks, about 800 to 1000 doses of an experimental ebola vaccine have been sitting in a Canadian laboratory instead of being dispensed to West Africa. The delay, it would now appear, may be on account of an intellectual property spat. ~ I am SO disgusted by this!
1/ Make cellphone calls from iPads (if you also have an iPhone) — If you have both a modern iPhone and iPad (or iPod touch 5G) running iOS 8, you can make voice phone calls from your iPad using the iPhone’s cellular connection without even touching the iPhone. This works with iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad (4th generation), iPad Air, iPad mini, iPad mini with Retina display and iPod touch (5th generation).
There are a few Setting to adjust, but once you set it up, you won’t need to fiddle any further.
Both devices must be on the same Wi-Fi network and you must be signed into FaceTime on both devices: Settings>FaceTime
You need to turn on iPhone Cellular Calls on both devices: Settings>FaceTime>iPhone Mobile Calls.
You must also be signed into iCloud on both devices with the same Apple ID: Settings > iCloud
Settings > FaceTime.
Now, on the iPad, tap a phone number in Contacts, Calendar or Safari. The annotation under the person’s name confirms that the iPhone is being invoked.
(If your carrier has enabled Wi-Fi calling, and you’re using it, you must turn that Setting off. Settings>Phone>Wi-Fi Calling.) You can also answer incoming calls on your iPad with this configuration and you can also use the same process to send and receive SMS and MMS messages on your iPad (you must be signed into iMessages).
2/ News in Notification Centre — If you have the free Herald app, (I don’t currently have Stuff, but BBC News and the Independent don’t list and allow this) you can enable these to send news notifications. Open Settings, Notifications and pick the relevant apps. You can set the level of notification here too – I turn audible alerts off off for most things.
3/ iOS 8 tells you what app is draining your iPhone’s battery — If you’re curious about what’s draining your iPhone or iPad battery, with iOS 8 you can now see exactly where that precious charge is going thanks to a new battery usage feature found in iOS 8.
Open the Settings app and choose General>Usage>Battery Usage. The list will take a second to populate, then display a list of apps and how much energy they are consuming (and have consumed – there are two views: Last 24 Hours and Last 6 Days, selectable at the top).
Percentages displayed show the proportion of battery used by each application when the iPhone was not charging.
Apple has included the iOS home and lock screens and backup and restore services to identify battery drain that may be coming from other places.
4/ Controlling the new predictive text feature — You can customise, hide or remove QuickType suggestions with the new iOS 8 keyboard. iOS 8 added a new QuickType predictive suggestion bar above the keypad – tap to select.
QuickType is Apple’s own take on predictive text entry. The keyboard analyses the text you’ve typed so far, and suggests words it believes you might type next and even takes tone into account: more relaxed words and phrases, like “I totally love this,” will be used in instant messages while emails will get more formal language like “as you requested.”
Many love predictive text, others couldn’t care less and find the addition distracting. Of course, this is Apple, so almost everything is customisable. You can removing the predictive suggestion bar from view temporarily by tapping anywhere in the bar. Then drag downward and it will collapse into a thinner gray line with a white grab handle. Grab this handle and drag upward to redeploy it.
You can also permanently disable QuickType suggestions: simply long-press on the keyboard selector icon and slide the Predictive toggle to off.
5/ Have your VIPs get precedence — You can promote your inner circle to VIP status on your iPhone or iPad and your iDevice can then pop up alerts whenever someone on your VIP list sends you an email.
Open the Mail app on your iPhone or iPad, tap the back button in the top corner of the display until you get to the main Mailboxes screen, find your VIP mailbox, then tap the little ‘i’ button to view your VIP list.
Tap Add VIP to add some names from the Contacts app to the list. Now click the Home button to get back to the home screen, tap Settings>Notifications>Mail, then tap VIP. From there, you can determine the type of notification you’ll get whenever someone on your VIP list sends you an email. You could, for instance, get a banner on your iPhone’s or iPad’s lock screen, or a pop-up alert that you must manually dismiss.
Press the Home key and wait for those very important emails to arrive.
Apple, Inc. Diversity video narrated by new VP of Human Resources Denise Young-Smith — A new Diversity film Apple published as part of its report on employee demographics is narrated by Denise Young-Smith, who the company internally promoted to lead human resources in February.
Smith previously served as Apple’s VP of Global Retail Stores and was promoted to replace Joel Podolny, who left his position as the head of HR to run Apple University full time. And the diversity at Apple? 70% of employees are male and 55% are white. (Image above from this TUA link.)
Calls to fix 2011 MacBook Pro failures as problem grows — Owners of early-2011 MacBook Pro continue to report GPU-related system failures, but Apple has yet to acknowledge the problem as widespread and, according to informed sources, is not planning a replacement program to remedy the issue. [Good lord, that’s the MacBook Pro I have! No problems so far … and remember, here in NZ we’re covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act even if your Mac fails a couple of years after the warranty runs out.]
Oculus VR adds Mac OS X support to new Oculus Rift virtual reality SDK — Facebook-owned virtual reality startup Oculus VR on Tuesday announced the availability of version 0.4.1 of its software development kit, bringing developer support for the popular headgear to Apple’s desktop operating system.
Draft Control review: Keep track of the changes made in text documents — There are plenty of ways to keep track of changes made to a text document. You can use the track-changes tools built into your word processor (assuming it has them). If your needs are more sophisticated, particularly if you’re collaborating with others, you can use a sophisticated version-control system such as Github, Subversion, CVS. Or you can use a dedicated utility such as Kaleidoscope (which can compare documents, images, and even folders).
Apple’s new ‘Your Verse’ iPad ads focus on music, community engagement — Apple on Monday unveiled two new additions to its well-received Your Verse advertising campaign for the iPad, this time focusing attention on Chinese electropop group Yaoband (above) and Detroit community activist Jason Hall.
How to optimise broadband while on vacation — Broadband speeds tend to be better for home and condo rentals than some motels and hotels because they’re plumbed with connections typical of the surrounding neighbourhood rather than offering a shared, bulk connection. Hotels often use such a shared connection for dozens-to-hundreds of rooms with the result being slow going. Christopher Breen tells you how to get the most out of connections while travelling.
Monument Valley recovered development investment in one week — Monument Valley is one of the best games on iOS device, (it won an Apple Design Award this year) but it didn’t conform to the free-to-play trend and that meant it wasn’t a guaranteed success. It’s absurd, but the game’s NZ$4.99 price tag is considered ‘premium pricing’ these days. Thanks to the game’s huge word of mouth appeal, it managed to make back its development investment after just one week on the market.
Speaking at GDC Europe, Lead Designer Ken Wong explained that the game has found a way to appeal to non-gamers despite being a paid download. “For many of them, this is the first game they’ve ever finished,” he said.
Apple issues 2014 Environmental Responsibility Report
Apple has updated its Environmental Initiatives website and has issued its 2014 Environmental Responsibility Report. The update fulfills a promise from Earth Day in which Apple said that it would more frequently update consumers on its environmental progress and the report highlights significant advances in clean energy usage
Apple has pushed its attention to new levels with the hire of former Environmental Protection Agency head Lisa Jackson last year. 9to5Mac has more information.
Diversity at Apple
At this week’s Sun Valley conference in Idaho, Apple CEO Tim Cook told Bloomberg reporters that Apple will release diversity data on its workforce. Cook did not specify when this data release would come, but it’s the first confirmation from Apple that the company is planning to release such data. A CNN report from March detailed Apple as one of the several technology giants that have objected to releasing the information.
Diversity reports, such as one Facebook released on its workforce a couple of weeks ago, typically detail demographics in terms of ethnicity and gender. Apple has been criticised for having both a mostly male executive team and board of directors, but Cook has added Angela Ahrendts to the executive team and has been seeking new board members in recent months (and there’s Lisa Jackson , as above). Recently Apple appointed Denise Young Smith as the new head of Human Resources.
[Um-hm … what do you see in the picture, above?]
Cue and Cook at Sun Valley
As expected (due their appearances on the guest list) Apple CEO Tim Cook and Senior VP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue were in attendance at this week’s Sun Valley media conference in Idaho. The WSJ’s Doug MacMillan shared the above photo of Cook walking around the Sun Valley resort. The Information’s Jessica Lessin spotted Cue, and the executive provided a witty response to Lessin’s question about TV deals.
iTunes U 2.0 has iPad-based course creation, student discussions
Apple has issued a significant update to its iTunes U application for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The application focuses on enhancements for both teachers and students, and the application was first announced by Apple last week alongside the new Back to School retail initiatives.