Google is making Web and data searching easier on our iPhones thanks to its new Gboard custom keyboard. Once installed, you can perform Google searches, find specific emoji, look up addresses, and more from any app that includes a keyboard. The idea is that you don't have to hop from, say, Messages to Maps to look up a location, and then jump back to paste the address in a chat. Gboard also includes Glide Typing so you can swipe from letter to letter to spell words, which is pretty cool. You can pick it up for free on the App Store.
Whatsapp, the end-to-end encrypted messaging app for the iPhone and Android devices, is now available for Mac OS X 10.9 and higher, and Windows 8 and higher. Apple's Messages offers end-to-end encryption, too, but only with other iOS device and Mac users. Whatsapp encrypts your conversations regardless of which platforms everyone in the chat uses. Think of it kind of like a babble fish for encrypted chats. Whatsapp is free and the desktop version is available for download at the Whatsapp website.
Check out this video Adam Christianson at MacCast found for us. It shows how to remove the yellowing that occurs on vintage computer cases (like a Mac Plus from 1989). If you have a vintage Mac, you know that yellow. The cases turn a specific shade of yellow-brown, and after a while you forget it was gray, or even platinum, when it shipped. YouTube user 65scribe restores them using a solution of peroxide, xanthan gum, glycerine, an oxygen-based stain remover, and the power of sunlight. I'm not sure all those chemicals are easily available in the States (there's some discussion about that in the comments of this three year old video), but you'll be amazed at the results.
Apple posted a new commercial to YouTube called Thank You Speech. It features the awesome Neil Patrick Harris primping in front of the mirror and asking Siri to read his Notes.app note called "Thank You Speech." He mouths along with her, confident that he will, of course, receive whatever award he's expecting. It's cute, charming, and funny. More importantly, though, it shows Apple is getting more serious about promoting Siri's ability to get (some) data from the apps on your iOS device. And well Apple should be serious about that as competing technologies take the lead in perceived abilities. Let's hope Apple is even more serious about advancing Siri even further. In the meanwhile, I love this spot.
Sometimes I feel like the thing that will set humans apart from our future Robot Overlords will be Rube Goldberg Machines (RBM). Sure, machines could maybe design a better one than we mortals, but why would they want to? They'll have better things to do, like deciding our fate. In any event, check out this remarkable RBM made with marbles, magnets, blocks of wood, bearings, and what are either tooth picks or tiny dowel rods [Via Digg]. What I love about it is the clever use of friction and magnets to not only control when and where the marbles and magnets roll, but to serve as gates, hammers, springs, and even a tube delivery vehicle. It's magnificent.
Check out the collection of Apple kit owned by 15-year old Alex Jason. The video below is from 2014, but his collection has expanded to some 200 machines, including an Apple I, a Lisa, all of the Newtons, an Apple mouse prototype called the Cursor III, and more iMacs than you can shake a stick at. The New York Times did a story on the collection, which will form the foundation of the Maine Technology Museum. It's an incredible collection.
Moxiware's Apple Pencil Magnet is a claver add-on for your Apple Pencil because it turns your iPad Pro into a giant stylus holder, and it keeps your hundred dollar drawing tool from rolling off the desk. It's a sleeve that slides onto your Apple Pencil, so it adds a little more grip-ability to your stylus, too. It's available in several colors and it's available at a discount: US$16.95 instead of $21.95. I've been trying one out, and it's pretty cool. It even sticks to my iPad Pro in my bag, so my Apple Pencil doesn't get lost.
AirDrop is an easy way to share photos and other files between your iOS devices and Macs once you enable the feature. Bonus: You don't need a WiFi network to use it. Watch The Mac Observer's video tip to learn how.
Good news, students! Apple Music's monthly subscription is now half off for you if you're signing up for the first time or already paying for the streaming music service. That means instead of spending US$9.99 a month, you'll be dropping $4.99 to stream all the tunes your ears can handle. Sorry high school kids, you still have to pay full price because you need to be enrolled in an eligible university or college to take advantage of the deal. New users just need to sign up. Current subscribers need to change their status in Apple Music's account settings.
Check out this wonderful video of a "drone ballet show" performed in Japan with Mt. Fuji as a backdrop. The drone ballet is made visible by some 16,500 LED lights configured in cages surrounding the drones made by SkyMagic. They're amazing and cool and all, but I like the music even more. Written and performed with drums and a group of tsugaru shamisen players, I watched it multiple times just to hear the song they play. The whole thing is beautiful. What do you think?
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