Tag Archives: Sierra

Sierra and iTunes updates, another exec leaves, PiPifier, Geff virtual guitar rack

Geff is a $30 Mac virtual guitar effects rack with loads of effects
Geff is a $30 Mac virtual guitar effects rack with loads of effects

Apple Sierra 10.12.3 Update has Fixes for PDF, MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, security and more, plus iTunes 12.5.5 — Apple has released macOS Sierra 10.12.3 which includes some relatively minor bug fixes, an issue with Adobe Premiere Pro on MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, a PDF encryption fix and more. The update also includes fixes for eight security flaws.
You can download the update through the Updates tab on Mac App Store. On iMac 5K, the update was a 1.0.5GB download.
Apple also released iTunes 12.5.5 for macOS. According to the company, it’s a “minor update” with “performance enhancements. Just choose Software Update from About This Mac in the Apple Menu.

More talent leaves Apple — Former Nest executive Yoky Matsuoka joined Apple in May 2016, and by December she was gone. Now we know why: she’s back at Nest helping create the company’s long-term smart home technology plans.
Yoky Matsouka is now Nest’s Chief Technology Officer, according to Bloomberg, and has been tasked with finding new technologies and services for the company’s products. She’ll also identify where Nest can collaborate with other Alphabet companies. (Nest, which was set up by other former Apple employees, hasn’t released a new product since it was acquired by Google in 2014.)

PiPifier gives you picture-in-picture for all videos — macOS Sierra introduced picture-in-picture. It’s a feature in which you can watch videos while doing another task [and yet another ‘new feature’ I’ve never used after looking at it once when it arrived … it’s starting to feel like Microsoft over here]. For example, watch a YouTube video while typing up a report when you only have one monitor. The video is displayed in a small window that you can drag around the screen. This works for most videos on the web, but not all.
But now you can get an app that forces PiP for all videos: PiPifieris a  free app found in the Mac App Store and it lets you turn any HTML 5 video into a picture-in-picture. Once the app is installed, it gives you a Safari extension you turn on to enable the feature.

Geff is a new virtual guitar effects rack for macOS — Nikolas Konstantakopoulos has introduced Geff 1.0, a virtual guitar rack for macOS. It’s a standalone audio effects application to use with your guitar like you would a collection of stompboxes.
Geff requires macOS 10.6.6 or later. It costs NZ$29.99/US$19.99 (or the same figure in Euros) and it’s available worldwide through the Mac App Store in the Music category, or from Nikolas’ site where you can also try a free demo.

Apple AI research, Handbrake out of beta, Carbon Copy Cloner, Movavi video editing

(Image from Engadget)
(Image from Engadget)

Apple’s first AI research paper focuses on computer vision — Apple last week published its first scholarly research paper, an article covering methods of improving recognition in computer vision systems, marking a new direction for the traditionally secretive company.
The paper, titled Learning from Simulated and Unsupervised Images through Adversarial Training, was submitted for review in mid-November before seeing publication through the Cornell University Library on December 22.

HandBrake Video Converter App Leaves Beta After 13 Years — It only took about 13 years, but HandBrake is finally out of beta. Version 1.0 was released on December 24th, and is the go-to tool for video transcoding. In layman’s terms, HandBrake is what you use to convert DVDs into video files you can play on your Mac. Version 1.0 improves audio and video syncing for difficult sources, adds new device presets, adds new MKV and JSON presets, improves performance Skylake-based Macs, and more. HandBrake isn’t, however, completely leaving the beta world behind thanks to its new less technical documentation that’s still tagged beta. You can download HandBrake at the HandBrake website for free.

New version of Carbon Copy Cloner fully Sierra compatible, backs up your Mac like it always has — The new version of long and storied app Carbon Copy Cloner adds full macOS Sierra support, plus implements features aimed to make using it easier and faster for everybody to use – AppleInsider delves into the latest version.

Movavi Multimedia Editing Bundle for Mac forUS$43.95 — We have a deal for you on a video editing suite called the Movavi Multimedia Editing Bundle for Mac. It’s comprised of three apps, Movavi Video Editor for Mac, Movavi Video Converter for Mac, and Movavi Screen Capture for Mac. You get all three for US$43.95 through Mac Observer.

Great Macs, Cook Trump, Raspberry PI, Dongle discounts, Siri, AirPort firmware


Tim Cook says ‘Great Desktops’ are coming — The iMac hasn’t been updated in over a year and the Mac Pro is more than three years old without any changes, leaving many wondering if Apple is stepping back from the desktop computer market. Apple CEO Tim Cook says that’s not so, and that there are “great desktops in our roadmap.” [Some people still think Santa is coming.]

Tim Cook explains why Apple was present at Trump tech summit — In a response to employee questions posted to Apple’s internal message board, Apple CEO Tim Cook on Monday explained why he felt it necessary to attend President-elect Donald Trump’s tech summit earlier this month. [Because it doesn’t pay to snub powerful megalomaniacs.]

Raspberry Pi Brings PIXEL desktop environment to the Ma — The team behind the super affordable Raspberry Pi computer platform has been working on their own desktop environment called PIXEL, and now it’s available for Mac. PIXEL is built on Debian, so it’s a fully bootable system, and includes everything you need to be productive, the Chromium web browser, and more. They designed it so you can pop it on a USB flash drive or DVD and run it from there. PIXEL is still in an experimental stage, so don’t rely on it as your primary OS. It’s a free download at the Raspberry Pi website.

Apple Extends USB-C dongle discounts to March 31 2017 — Apple’s discount on USB-C adapters was set to end on December 31st, but the company extended that out to March 31st, 2017. The extension means new MacBook Pro owners have more time to but the dongles they need at a substantially lower price.

Sierra ‘best listener yet’ — Try asking Sierra questions like …

Apple Updates AirPort Firmware to Fix Disappearing Base Station Issue — AirPort Extreme base stationApple released AirPort Base Station Firmware Update 7.7.8 on Tuesday. The update fixes an issue that caused some AirPort Base Stations to disappear from AirPort Utility when Find My Mac is on. It’s specifically for AirPort Extreme and AirPort Time Capsule base stations with 802.11ac.

I’m back! Futurology on the weekend, Apple news as usual, a MagBytes holiday edition next week.

Trump and Apple, Cook reacts, iCloud Music to Mac, Pushbullet, Luminar or Aurora, USBee tester


How Donald Trump’s election as US President could affect Apple — Anticipating the full impact of the election of Donald Trump is difficult because his campaign offered little in terms of real policy proposals, instead favouring high energy crowd rallies and the drawing of media attention through the use of incredible and often shocking comments. But there are some clues as to what he might make priorities in his administration however. [And lots of it is predictably scary.]

Apple CEO Tim Cook urges employees to ‘move forward together’ in memo on 2016 presidential election — Following one of the most bitterly contested – both by candidates and their respective constituencies – presidential elections in modern American history, Apple CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday sent out a company-wide memo addressing employee concerns about what comes next.
Cook encouraged staff to reach out to colleagues “if they are feeling anxious” about the recent election. [I can be a little clearer than Cook – I refuse to picture that arsehole on my site.]

How to download your music to your Mac from iCloud — Dennis Sellers doesn’t trust all his digital data to reside solely in “the cloud” (iCloud, in this case). That’s why he uses iTunes Match and iCloud, yet also has his music library on an external hard drive connected to his iMac.

Pushbullet makes cross-platform link and file sharing easier — One of the regular problems of a multi-platform universe is that sometimes, you’ll stumble across a link or file that’s better simply viewed on another device. Pushbullet’s self-titled app can be a good solution, especially if you live at least partly outside of the Apple ecosystem.

Why Luminar when you already have Aurora? MacPhun has posted a blog explaining why.


TechTool Pro USB tester — USBee is the handy new device by Micromat that can be used to find out if a USB port is providing sufficient power or if a connected device is taking too much. It can also be used to test the efficiency of a charging port. The convenient pocket-sized device will display the amount of voltage at the USB port, and the amperage being delivered to the connected device, such as a hard drive, phone, or lifestyle device. It costs US$29.99, so about NZ$42.

Five Tip Friday ~ macOS Sierra Picture in Picture, Siri searches and Photo Memories


1/ Picture-I-Picture in macOS Sierra supports picture-in-picture — You don’t need Method 2 if you have the on-screen controls (a little button at lower left on your video player) but if that doesn’t appear (I hardly ever see them), there’s another way to enable PiP mode. On, say YouTube, right-click in the middle of the movie to bring up a set of YouTube-supplied HTML 5-based controls. This takes doing it to get it, but once that pop-up menu is on-screen, right-click away from it (right of t, or left, or above or below) and another pop-out menu appears, as above.  Choose that, and the movie will unfold and snap to the nearest corner of your Mac desktop. You can only access this particular Sierra contextual menu if the HTML 5-supplied pop-up menu is on screen first.

2/ Use Command-drag to position Picture-in-Picture videos — If you’re watching a video in picture-in-picture mode in macOS Sierra, it snaps to the nearest corner. Even when you drag it out of that corner, it will again snap to the corner nearest to where you let it go.But hold down the Command key while you drag to put the video where you want it. Iif you Command-Drag the video, it stays where you leave it. If you don’t, it will snap to the nearest corner.

3/  Siri to search for images on the internet — macOS Sierra’s voice assistant can search the web for pictures. Click on Siri’s colourful Dock or menu bar icon, and say something like ‘Do a Web search for images of [whatever]’. The list of results that appears is interactive. For example, you can drag and drop one of those thumbnails out to your desktop to save it there, onto Mail’s icon in the Dock to attach it to an email, or into a Pages or Word document to insert it. You can also right- or Control-click a thumbnail to get a few other options, including the ability to copy the image.

4/ Using Photos Memories — The new Memories feature within Sierra’s version of Photos is a pretty cool way to look back on the pictures you’ve taken. Depending on how big your Photos library is, the program will generate up to three new Memories per day to remind you of events or places in your life. You can look at these Memories by choosing that option either under the big buttons near the top of Photos’ window…
Selecting Memories in either place will show you both the automatically-created ones and ones you’ve made.

5/ Make a Memory — This is easy, if not very obvious: click on the header for any moment, collection, or year within the main Photos view, and you’ll see an Add to Memories option at the bottom of the following screen.
favorite-memoriesOnce you’re looking at all of your Memories, then, you can double-click one to check out the images within it or use the Play button to view it as a slideshow. If you see a Memory you really like and would like to keep, you can ‘favorite’ it. Choose Image>Add to Favorite Memories… or right-click on the Memory and select that same option.
To remove a favorited Memory, select it and choose the Remove from Favorite Memories option from the Image menu, or right-click on it again and pick that from the contextual menu.

Five Tip Friday ~ macOS Sierra adds over 60 security features but also cool things


1/ Fast sound changes from the Menu Bar — The Sierra Sound menu bar makes switching audio input and output sources even simpler.
If you don’t see the Sound menu bar item – it looks like a little speaker and sits at top right of your monitor – go to Apple menu>System Preferences>Sound and check ‘Show volume on menu bar’. Now you can click the speaker icon in the menu bar to adjust your Mac’s volume.

2/ More sound control — Clicking the Sound item in macOS Sierra’s menu bar lets you set the volume and output. Prior to macOS Sierra, you had to hold down the Option key and then click the Sound menu bar item to show output options, to change between your internal speakers and headphones, for example. But in Sierra, your output options are always visible, while Option-clicking adds input options to the bottom so you can quickly switch between your internal microphone and your fancy podcasting mic.
Switching speakers without needing to Option-click may not seem like a big deal, but it’s one of many little improvements that all add up to a more efficient interface.

3/ Rearrange your Menu Bar — Before Sierra, you could move some of the system icons, but not the third-party ones. Now, nothing’s off limits except Notification Center (the three-lined icon), which stays pinned to the right. Just hold down the Command key on your keyboard, then click and drag any icon to rearrange things at top right.

4/ Export multiple albums in macOS Sierra — Click the grey Albums header in the left sidebar. It looks more like a label than a button, since it’s just the word ‘Albums’, but click it. On the Albums view this takes you to, you may see individual photos from the last album you were in. If so, click the left-facing arrow at top left to get back to the root Albums view. Here you should see all of your albums as thumbnails. From here, you can choose to export entire albums just by clicking on them. But if you shift-click for a continuous between-click selection, or Command-click for several individual albums, you can select multiple albums together and export them all at once. Now choose Export from the File menu …

5/ One for the aficionados: detailed CPU info via the Command Line — It’s easy to get general hardware information about your Mac from ‘About This Mac in the Apple menu, but the command line data, thanks to UNIX being pre-loaded on every Mac, can provide extra tidbits that the GUI leaves out. Here’s how to reveal additional detail of your CPU from the Terminal app.
Open Terminal (it’s an app on every Mac, and it’s in your Utilities folder in the Applications folder) and either type in carefully, or (much easier) paste:
sysctl -n machdep.cpu.brand_string
Then press the Return key. Here’s mine:


Five Tip Friday ~ Some for macOS Sierra (and even one for El Capitan)


1/ Siri on Mac does conversions — Now that Siri is on your Mac, presuming you have installed the latest macOS (10.12, which is free in the Mac App Store – just search with ‘sierra’ if you don’t see it on the opening screen) you don’t need to delve into Google or the Calculator app in your Applications folder, as you can now get a quicker answer. Try this: launch Siri whether with the keyboard combo (Command-Spacebar is the default) or click the Siri button at top-right of your monitor, and say  ‘what’s 16 centimetres in inches?’ or ‘what’s 45 pounds in kilograms?’. Siri also does currency: ‘What is 500 New Zealand dollars in Euros?’ or even “What’s NZ500 in Euros?’

2/ Siri can even do date calculations — Try ‘How many days until Christmas?’ or ‘How many days until April 3 2017?’

3/ Siri does difficult maths — Try asking it some maths questions, too. If Siri can’t perform a calculation locally, it passes it along to WolframAlpha, So be sure to try Siri out as a verbal calculator: ‘Is 39 a Prime Number?’ or ‘What’s 367,289 divided by 93,999?’.

4/ Smart auto-empty trash — You won’t need to worry about your full trash filling up your Mac’s storage any more.  While in the Finder, choose the Finder menu, select Preferences, click Advanced and then tick Remove itens for the Trash after 30 days. macOS Sierra is smart enough to keep track of which items have been sitting in your Mac’s Trash for 30 days so only the oldest items get deleted. Whatever you tossed in yesterday, for example, will still be there after last month’s files get deleted.

emoj5/ Nifty instant Emoi — OK, finally, here’s a nifty key combo to show you what Emoji you can use in general typing. And this is in El Capitan, the previous macOS, too. Hold down the Command, key (there’s one either side of your Spacebar) and while it’s held down, hold down the Control key, and with them both held down together, press the Spacebar. You’ll see either the Emoji and Symbol Viewer window. To switch between the window and smaller palette, click the little icon with the Command key symbol in the upper-right corner of both the window and palette. Double-click any of the little images to insert them in any text – like this: 😝😉🇳🇿. You can switch between categories of symbols with the icons along the bottom.

macOS Sierra Clean Install, Picture-in-Picture, Machine Learning

iTunes in macOS Sierra can run Picture-in-Picture while playing video
iTunes in macOS Sierra can run Picture-in-Picture while playing video

How to do a clean install of macOS Sierra — Sometimes it’s nice to do some thorough housecleaning on your Mac. This could mean doing a ‘clean install.’ A clean install is a software installation in which any previous version — and all its files — are completely eradicated [meaning that any sludge built up in the last system is gotten rid of]. 

macOS Sierra Picture-in-Picture — With macOS Sierra, we can do the same P-in-P thing we can now do on iPads on our Macs with iTunes media and within supported websites, and it’s fun.

Apple scoops up another machine learning company — Apple has acquired its fourth machine learning company since 2015, purchasing India-based company Tuplejump, reports TechCrunch. It’s a a data mining and analysis platform specializes in bigdata, data engineering, apache cassandra and apache spark.

macOS Sierra is here, Safari 10.0, iWork updated, clean energy

macOS 10.12 'Sierra' is here.
macOS 10.12 ‘Sierra’ is here.

Apple releases macOS 10.12 Sierra with Siri, Apple Pay for web, Apple Watch login, more — Apple on has just released macOS 10.12 Sierra, bringing Siri to the desktop, many cross-platform integrations between iOS and macOS, Apple Pay for the web, and hundreds of other enhancements and bug fixes. It’s in the Mac App store now These are the Macs that can support macOS 10.12, this is how to prepare for it, here’s a What you need to know, a troubleshooter for networking, SnapScan and Bluetooth.

Safari 10.0 now in the Mac App Store — Just before the expected release of macOS Sierra, Apple updated Safari to version 10.0. Here are the release notes.

Apple updates iWork for Mac, adding real-time collaboration beta to Pages, Numbers & Keynote — Alongside Tuesday’s release of macOS 10.12 Sierra, Apple also issued an update for its iWork trio of apps (Pages, Numbers, Keynote) for Mac, adding real-time collaboration with users on iPhone, iPad, and iCloud.com.

Apple joins RE 100 renewable energy initiative, outlines new clean energy pledges — As part of continued eco-friendly efforts, Apple on Monday said it is now part of the RE100, a global initiative of leading companies committed to boosting demand and delivery of 100 percent renewable energy.

X words: sexism and tax, 2nd Gold Master, Avadon 3


Apple investigated, took action against alleged sexism at Cupertino headquarters — In the shadow of this week’s iPhone launch, surprise allegations of corporate sexism surfaced at Apple’s Cupertino, California, headquarters, though company executives say the situation was investigated and “actions have been taken.” Meanwhile Apple’s iTunes unit in Japan was ordered to pay some 12 billion yen (about NZ$162/US$118 million) in tax by local authorities after underreporting income, reports Reuters. It’s been paid. [There there, was that so hard?]

Second gold master of macOS Sierra released to developers — Apple has released a second gold master of macOS Sierra to developers, even though the finished version of the operating system is due next week. It’s unusual to release a second.

Avadon 3: The Warborn released for the Mac — Spiderweb Software has released the Mac version of Avadon 3: The Warborn, the final chapter in the Avadon Trilogy. It’s a retro fantasy role-playing game full of battles, lands to conquer, and more. [I don’t like the idea of playing a pixellated game like this on my retina display, does anyone?]

macOS Sierra, self driving car rumours self-drive themselves around

(Image from Apple NZ's Sierra page.)
(Image from Apple NZ’s Sierra page.)

macOS Sierra FAQ: what you need to know about the new Mac operating system  — Got questions about Apple’s upcoming Mac operating system? Macworld has the answers.

Apple may be rethinking its self-driving car project — Apple could be ‘rethinking’ what it plans to do about self-driving cars, reports The New York Times. The company has shuttered parts of its ‘Apple Car’ project and laid off dozens of employees, the article adds quoting three unnamed “people briefed on the move who were not allowed to speak about it publicly.” Keep in mind that Apple has never actually confirmed any automotive plans beyond its CarPlay initiative. Meanwhile AppleInsider reckons Bob Mansfield has been firing people.  [Since no once knows what Apple was thinking in the first place, why speculate on what Apple might be RE-thinking?]