Focus - Website and Application Blocker for MacOS Unlimited Plan: $29.99

· · TMO Deals

We have a deal on Focus, a website and application blocker for the Mac that’s designed to help you stay on task. Focus sits in your menu-bar and helps you block distracting websites, domains, or apps. It also features schedules and timers, password protection, productivity stats, BASH scripting support, and more. I’m linking to our deal for an Unlimited Plan for $29.99, but there are also less expensive plans called Productivity and Professional.

How Apple's 'Powder' Shot on iPhone Video Was Made

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Shot iPhone Snowboard Powder

Apple dropped a new Shot on iPhone video Monday. Titled ‘Powder’, it featured X Games snowboarders taking on fresh snow, and Cult of Mac spoke to its director, Joe Carlino.

“Lately I’ve been making content with ESPN X Games the last two years that is 100% shot on iPhone,” Carlino said. The great thing about shooting on iPhone in this context is how quick and easy it is. The small form factor devices make it easy to capture action footage that’s good enough to be used on both social media and TV broadcasts. “[Last fall], a friend of mine who works internally at Apple reached out to me about doing a full-on backcountry powder video,” he continued.

5G is Not Going to Save UK Smartphone Sales

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5G wireless and iPhone

Smartphone makers, not least Apple, have long hoped that the widespread rollout of 5G will encourage users to buy new, compatible, devices. However, Wired highlighted some recent research that indicated this might not be the case.

Research released this week by analyst firm Gartner predicts that UK smartphone sales will not just fail to surge, they will flatline with zero per cent growth expected. Despite the continuing rollout of the 5G network and additional 5G-ready phones coming on the market, the UK is literally not buying into the 5G hype. This is more bad news after a poor year for major smartphone manufacturers in 2019: in the opening quarter Apple and Samsung combined sold almost 17.5 million fewer smartphones globally compared to 2018. The reason, analysts explained at the time, was that people did not feel the urge to upgrade their devices as often as they used to, partially because smartphones are now so much more expensive.

DMCA Takedowns Remove Most of the Content From The Unofficial Apple Archive

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Unofficial Apple Archive

The other day, I highlighted the wonderful Unofficial Apple Archive. It was a fantastic resource, full of Apple history. I say ‘was’ because the archive has been almost emptied by DMCA takedown notices, 9to5Mac reported.

Site creator Sam Henri Gold told us that he only wanted to save Apple’s history from being lost after the EveryAppleAds YouTube channel was taken down in April 2017… Gold said at the time that he was aware this could happen. Sam knows his efforts could be rendered useless with one word from Apple. But he hopes the amicable and educational nature of the archive will keep it online, because the Apple community deserves no less. “I think we’ve seen what a world without a public archive would look like, a world littered with tiny archive channels, maybe one or two god-awful screen recordings of keynotes with giant […] watermarks. That’s not a world I want to live in.”

Facebook Hilariously Reminds its Users About ‘Data Privacy Day’

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In the next few weeks you might see a reminder in the Facebook to review your privacy settings. That is, what little privacy the company gives you.

The updates represent Facebook burnishing its image to some extent. It spent much of the last decade embroiled in privacy problems that ranged from the Cambridge Analytica scandal through to data exposure on a third-party system. At the same time, it’s safe to say many people want to know their data is being used properly — the prompt and expanded tools could provide a degree of reassurance.

I don’t think it’s possible for Facebook to burnish its image.

Amazon’s Ring Surveillance App is Loaded With Trackers

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Not only are Ring doorbell cameras used as surveillance, but the app itself too. Like many apps, it’s loaded with third-party trackers and analytics tools. The EFF examined the Android app.

As we’ve mentioned, this includes information about your device and carrier, unique identifiers that allow these companies to track you across apps, real-time interaction data with the app, and information about your home network. In the case of MixPanel, it even includes your name and email address.

Eclectic Light Company Founder Dr. Howard Oakley - TMO Background Mode Interview

· · Background Mode Podcast

Dr. Howard Oakley on Background Mode

Dr. Howard Oakley is currently a developer of Mac software and is the founder of The Eclectic Light Company. Howard started life keenly interested in medicine, attended Oxford, and spent most of his career with the British Royal Navy as a doctor, ascending to the rank of Surgeon Commander. Along the way, he became heavily involved with computers and programming. His first encounter with a Mac SE and MPW hooked him for life.

We chatted about his life and times as a navy physician, his parallel evolution as a Mac developer, his amazing blog, The Eclectic Light Company, his writing for Mac Format, and some of his amazing free software: Aquiline Check, Consolation and SilentKnight, tools he wanted for himself. Howard delves into security issues, like XProtect, in a way that few other developers do.

Boost Productivity with this App's Task Timelines, Project Visualization, Daily Planning, and Cross-Links: $25

· · TMO Deals

We have a deal on Pagico 9, software designed to make your life easier by managing all your tasks, files, projects, and clients in one elegant package. Pagico 9 turns to-do lists into meaningful timelines, visualizes project status, centralize tasks, cross-link everything, neatly tag projects, and more in just a few clicks. It’s $25 through our deal.