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A little inspiration to get your week going
Twelve South launches wooden Macbook stand in BookArc möd
Inspired by mid-century modern classics like the Eames Lounge Chair and Cherner Armchair, the elegant BookArc möd features hardwoods and finishes chosen to complement almost any home or studio.
The BookArc möd is new version of the company’s laptop holder. The idea is the BookArc is a place to either store your MacBook vertically when not in use or to keep it there while connected to an external monitor and keyboard. It’s a pretty stylish system for those who like a place for everything.
The BookArc is kit that includes silicone inserts to fit various sized MacBooks. It fits all versions Apple’s laptops from the MacBook Pro down to MacBook Air. Pricing is $79.99 for the wooden BookArc möd and the regular aluminum model runs $49.99.
Alpine planning after market CarPlay head units
Car electronics manufacturer Alpine will begin selling a standalone aftermarket console that will support Apple's CarPlay vehicle integration feature, reports Japanese business newspaper Nikkei. Alpine's offering, which will likely be the first aftermarket device to support CarPlay, is said to hit the United States and Europe this year with a cost of around $500 to $700.
I think there’s a lot of interest in after-market car upgrades to support CarPlay simply because the only other alternative is to buy a new car. This no doubt will be a top-end product with a built-in display. The question is just how much money people will want to put into their old cars vs just adding a nice phone mount to their dash.
Linking Apple TV with IFTTT for evergreen screen saver photos
For example, for the last few months I’ve been using a combination of Flickr, IFTTT and Instagram to create an Apple TV screen saver that cycles through images that I have liked on Instagram and it is far better than seeing the same old National Geographic photos (as great as they are) over and over again.
Cool idea. Basically you can link multiple photo sources to Flickr using IFTTT, and then link that Flickr account to Apple TV as a source for screen saver photos. Right now I use iCloud Photo Stream which basically serves the same job, but my photo stream is polluted with a lot of random stuff. Everything from a product label I wanted to remember to food porn to random photos and screen shots credited to my kids playing with my phone. Using this combo you can have greater control over that screen saver. Neat.
More details at Mac Stories.
Funny Samsung sales numbers and the analysts who reported them
And not ha-ha funny. Some new internal Samsung documents came to light in the whole Apple-Samsung legal grudge match. The documents reveal sales figures that grossly overstate sales of devices and seriously call into question the ethics of so-called industry analysts.
Daniel Eran Dilger for Apple Insider pulls out the sharp sticks:
It also calls into question why IDC, Gartner and Strategy Analytics seem to carefully avoid mention of U.S. market share figures that would provide valuable insight into the domestic market for mobile apps and accessories and illuminate the threat iPads might pose to conventional PCs.
It certainly appears that these market researchers, just like every Android tablet manufacturer, doesn't want to talk about specifics because the facts have nothing good to say about the Android or Windows platforms that indirectly pay the bills of said market research groups.
Podcast: Gary Busey, iOS 8 Wishlists, thoughts on iPhone 6 (#109)
This week Mike is obsessed with Gary Busey, but also the latest rumors following the WWDC announcement. Mike and Brian will discuss their wish lists for the iOS 8 and iPhone 6.
List of sites affected by Heartbleed
Mashable has a nice running list of sites that were compromised by the Heartbleed vulnerability. It also tracks which sites have been patched. It would be a good idea to reset passwords on accounts with sensitive information, especially once patched.
iOS, OS X not affected by Heartbleed
“Apple takes security very seriously. IOS and OS X never incorporated the vulnerable software and key Web-based services were not affected,” an Apple spokesperson told Re/code.
A good guide for resolving iOS battery problems
Scotty Loveless is a former Apple store genius who offers "The Ultimate Guide to Solving iOS Battery Drain." It's a good read for diagnosing and troubleshooting the iOS battery usage.
So here's the test: write down your usage and standby time, press the sleep/wake button (or lock button, as some call it) to put the device to sleep, and set the device down for five minutes. When you come back, take note of the change in time. If your device is sleeping properly, then the Standby time should have increased by five minutes and your Usage time by <1 minute . If your Usage time rises by more than one minute, you have a drain problem. Something is keeping your device from sleeping properly, significantly shortening the time it will last.
Dropbox releases Mac email and photo management apps
Dropbox Wednesday announced two new applications that link with the cloud service. First is Carousel for iOS and Android. The app pulls together and organizes photos stored on your Dropbox account.
We’d like you to meet Carousel: a gallery for all the photos and videos from your life. It combines the photos in your Dropbox with the photos on your phone, and automatically backs up new ones as you take them. Carousel sorts all these memories by event so you can easily travel back in time to any photo from any date. And unlike other mobile galleries, the size of your Carousel isn’t constrained by the space on your phone, which means you can finally have your entire life’s memories in one place.
I was a fan of Everpix that was a good effort at wrangling the torrents of photos that funnel through my devices. Apple’s Photo Stream/iCloud does some nice stuff for getting all your photos to all your devices and makes it nice to share, especially with other iOS users. It lacks data management, however. Of course, storing a lot of photos on your dropbox account will likely mean you’ll have to pay for more storage. One nice thing is those memories will be backed/stored and synced on the cloud. Plus using services like IFTTT can automate the process of getting your photos in the right spot.
Dropbox also announced a preview version of its Mailbox app for OS X. Mailbox is currently available for iOS and it attempts to better wrangle the inbox.
Best selling Android app was a scam
Neowin on the successful Android app Virus Shield:
This app costs $3.99, has been on the Play Store for just under two weeks and has already had 10,000 downloads with a 4.5 star review from 1,700 people. 2,607 people hit the Google "recommend" button. This means that the app must be doing something right... right?
Unfortunately for the buyers, Android Police has discovered that all the app does is change a red "X" graphic to a red "check" graphic.
Kanex introduces Thunderbolt to eSATA/USB and Ethernet/USB adapters
Kanex is teasing a couple new Thunderbolt adapters. Both adapters add on a USB 3.0 port in addition to Ethernet and eSATA. Similar to Apple’s Gigabit Ethernet adapter, the Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet + USB 3.0 adapter allows Ethernet connectivity via Thunderbolt. The second is the Thunderbolt to eSATA + USB 3.0, which lets you add on an external SATA device via Thunderbolt.
The later seems particularly useful, although you can get USB 3.0 to eSATA. The big advantage here seems to be the added throughput speeds of Thunderbolt, plus adding on that extra USB 3.0 port for additional gear. These would seem particularly handy for MacBook Air which only ship with USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt ports.
Both devices are expected to ship later this summer. No pricing is currently available.
Nest halts sales, disables wave feature
At Nest, we conduct regular, rigorous tests to ensure that our products are the highest quality. During recent laboratory testing of the Nest Protect smoke alarm, we observed a unique combination of circumstances that caused us to question whether the Nest Wave (a feature that enables you to turn off your alarm with a wave of the hand) could be unintentionally activated. This could delay an alarm going off if there was a real fire.
So, apparently people may wave their arms in a real fire. The company is suspending sales until they come up with a fix and will disable the feature on existing devices.
This is one of the cooler features of the Nest to silent alarms out of reach on the ceiling. Seems a little weird, frankly. If you waving your arms in a fire induced panic, would you just go back to bed if the alarm goes off?
WWDC set for June 2nd
Developers can apply for tickets via the WWDC website now through Monday, April 7 at 10:00 a.m. PDT, and tickets will be issued to attendees through random selection. Developers will know their status by Monday, April 7 at 5:00 p.m. PDT. There will also be 200 Student Scholarships available, giving students around the world the chance to earn a free ticket . This year the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and its alliance partners will help promote scholarships to female engineers and coders.
This year they're going to do a lottery for tickets. Past few years it was first come basis which meant last year it was sold out in two minutes.
Apple gives iWork for OS X, iOS, iCloud a big update
Apple Tuesday pushed out a significant update to its productivity suite on both OS X and iOS. Keynote, Pages, and Numbers all got some needed attention. The suite also gained some additional iCloud features. The individual features are too numerous to outline, so best to check your app updates and see for yourself.
Highlights include better Retina display support, new templates, and improvements specific to each application. Some functionality appears to be coming back after Apple released a retooled suite of apps. The new apps lost some functionality presumably to get OS X, iOS, and web-based iCloud working together.
Apple updates Safari for Mavericks and Mountain Lion
Apple posted a security and bug fix update for Safari. Version 7.0.3 is now available for OS X Mavericks and 6.1.3 for Mountain Lion.
- Fixes an issue that could cause the search and address field to load a webpage or send a search term before the return key is pressed
- Improves credit card autofill with websites
- Fixes an issue that could block receipt of push notifications from websites
- Adds a preference to turn off push notification prompts from websites
- Adds support for webpages with generic top-level domains
- Strengthens Safari sandboxing
- Fixes security issues, including several identified in recent security competitions
OWC offers CPU upgrade solution for new Mac Pros
Other World Computing announced a turnkey solution for those looking to upgrade CPUs in the new Apple Mac Pro. Similar to upgrades to iMacs, the retailer is offering an upgrade service for more complex computer surgery. The system basically entails includes two-way paid shipping. These Xeon CPUs are by far the most expansive component in the Mac Pros, so these will be pricy upgrades, but the pricing below includes trading in the old CPU. If customers wish to retain their CPU, that’s also an option.
While upgrading your system, users also have the option to upgrade memory and external Thunderbolt storage.
Intel Xeon E5-2650 v2 8-Core 2.6GHz* with 20MB Cache, 25% faster**, $1498
Intel Xeon E5-2667 v2 8-Core 3.3GHz with 25MB Cache, 41% faster**, $2448
Intel Xeon E5-2690 v2 10-Core 3.0GHz* with 25MB Cache, 45% faster**, $2396
Intel Xeon E5-2697 v2 12-Core 2.7GHz with 30MB Cache, 46% faster**, $2978
LaCie expanded networked FUEL drive to 2TB
LaCie this week announced a new version of their FUEL wireless hard drive. FUEL is intended to bring networked storage to OS X and iOS devices either attached to your network or with no network at all. The device is essentially a WiFi hotspot with attached storage that can either serve local content or extend a connected WiFi network. The nifty part is the device has a 10 hour battery so you could use it outdoors or long drives with the family, for example.
The device can serve up to five devices at once and it supports Dropbox so syncing files would seem to be easily managed. It’s also compatible with AirPlay so content can be streamed to compatible devices like speakers or Apple TV.
FUEL is available now in 1 TB for $200 and the 2TB model is available for $250 on pre-order.
Apple adjusting app pricing in some countries
Apple has notified developers by email that it will be adjusting pricing of apps in some countries. Austria, Indonesia, Turkey, South Africa users can expect to see higher prices. Pricing in Israel, some “tiers” in New Zealand can expect prices to degrease. Apple says this is due to currency exchange rates and taxes.
Price adjustments on the App Store are made periodically due to changes in foreign exchange rates. Within 24 hours, you will see the new Pricing Matrix in the Rights and Pricing section of Manage Your Apps on iTunes Connect.
Updates to iOS Paid Applications and Mac OS X Paid Applications contracts will be available on the iTunes Connect website. To view all current and outstanding contracts, see Contracts, Tax, and Banking on iTunes Connect.
WD My Passport Pro RAID offers portable Thunderbolt storage w/o power
Western Digital announced the Passport Pro, which is a Thunderbolt RAID drive. What’s particularly interesting is this is a two-drive RAID that is powered entirely off of the Thunderbolt port. Similar to 2.5-inch USB drives, this drive doesn’t require external power so it can be run entirely off of a laptop battery, for example. Added in RAID performance and Thunderbolt data bandwidth, it makes for an interesting solution.
The drives can be configured for either RAID 0 or RAID 1. This allows users to choose between higher performance or data safety with redundancy. RAID 0 stripes the drives together so they read/write simultaneously across both drives. RAID 1 is mirroring where the same data is written to both drives. In the event one drive fails, your data remains in tact and the RAID can be rebuilt by swapping the failed drive.
The drive comes in two flavors of 2 TB and 4 TB. MSRP is $299.99 and $429.99, respectively. Both products are available now.
Office comes to iPad, unlocks features for iPhone
Starting Thursday, Office 365 subscribers can simply add an iPad as one of their chosen devices included in their subscription benefits, and can create and edit documents with Word for iPad, PowerPoint for iPad and Excel for iPad. These apps are available as free downloads from the App Store, enabling people to read and present documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Office for iPad brings full file fidelity across Office on PC, Mac, tablet and phone, and along with cloud storage from OneDrive or OneDrive for Business your files are up to date, wherever you need them on whatever device you want to use. Office for iPad apps have a familiar look and feel that are unmistakably Office but are built from the ground up for iPad, factoring in the unique nature of touch and functionality native to iPad along with what people most commonly want to do on a tablet. More detail on today’s announcements can be found in the Office blog.
I think this is a big deal. Popular curmudgeonry is this is too late for Microsoft, but it’s a big deal for large workplaces. Personally I’m very content to work in rich text editors like Evernote and I can always open/edit Word documents using Pages or Docs 2 Go. I’ve long preferred Keynote to PowerPoint, although that gap has narrowed over the years. So, I’m probably not the target user, but too often people assume everyone is like them. Collaboration in the workplace needs standardization across all platforms and Office remains king. This release brings the iPad to peer status in that workflow, which is great for Apple, Microsoft and users.
I’m surprised they’re opening up the app to non 365 users. That’s a smart and aggressive move, which is refreshing for Microsoft. By being able to at least read and present on all devices will help keep Office entrenched and certainly will encourage 365 subscriptions.
Twitter introduces photo tagging, multiple photo support
We’re rolling out two new mobile features that make photos on Twitter more social. One is photo tagging, which lets you tag the people in your photo; the other is the ability to include up to four photos in a Tweet.
I’m not too sure about the photo tagging thing since that seems to be more of a pain than anything with Facebook. I guess I’m old though. Multiple photos in a tweet is a great new feature.
Sonnet Tech introduces xMac Pro Server Thunderbolt PCI Rack
The xMac Pro Server securely mounts the Mac Pro horizontally inside a specially designed modular enclosure that connects three PCIe 2.0 slots to the computer via Thunderbolt 2 technology, and provides space to install additional equipment in two 5.25-inch mobile rack bays.
To me one big short coming for the Mac Pro is lack of PCI expansion. Apple’s answer to that is to add on via Thunderbolt. This new box from Sonnet is rack mountable which seems ideal for server rooms and studios. In a rack, you can avoid desktop and floor clutter with additional gear. You may be a bit tethered to the location of your rack, however, when using conventional Thunderbolt cables, but newer (and more expensive) optical cables can reach over 300 feet.
The product is expected to ship in early June for $1499.
OWC boosts Mac Pro memory to 128 GB
Other World Computing announced a new memory kit for Apple’s 2013 Mac Pro. This kit is compatible with 6-core, 8-core, and 12-core configurations and includes four 32-GB modules. As you’d expect, this is a pricy upgrade of $2130, but it's also not available from Apple.
For those doing an upgrade, OWC offers a rebate to exchange existing memory. So, you can order from Apple and get some money back on unused sticks of RAM. Or just sell it off.
Other World Computing also offers Mac Pro kits of 32 GB, 64 GB, and 96 GB. The company says their upgrades offer savings up up to 48% from Apple’s pricing.
Macfixit is no more
Sometime last week, apparently without any formal announcement (aside from a tweet), CNET dropped the MacFixIt name from its site. As of now, if you go to www.macfixit.com, it takes you instead to CNET>Computers.
Landau launched Macfixit the heyday of Mac blogs back in 1996. He sold the site to Tech Tracker, which itself had a great software update site called Version Tracker. Tech Tracker then sold to CNET where it had since been maintained. Over the years the Macfixit brand faded as CNET integrated content and changed directions. Now it’s finally gone.
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