Recent Articles By Andrew Orr [RSS]

How Lego Bricks are Made

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Core77 discovered a YouTube video that shows how Lego bricks are made. It’s a fascinating behind-the-scenes look into the Lego production line. The design has remained consistent for over fifty years. This means backwards compatibility; you can connect a 2018 Lego brick with a 1990 brick just fine. Core77 took screenshots of the video and added their own humorous captions.

We’ve used our industrial expertise to caption some of the images, just so you laypeople can understand what you’re seeing: Technicians who attempt to eat the plastic paste are fired, under a stringent “three strikes” system. “These all look plenty sharp. It would be a pity if a parent stepped on one, but ultimately their fault for being barefoot.”

Apple's iTunes Remote App Just Got a Big Update

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Apple updated its iTunes Remote app yesterday, and it’s the first update since February 23, 2017. It’s been updated to add support for iPhone X. This update also includes an all new look and feel on iPad and iPhone, in addition to stability and performance improvements. iTunes 12.7.5 is recommended for use with Remote 4.4. With this app you can access your iTunes library remotely, listen with AirPlay, and explore shared iTunes libraries. It works with both Macs and PCs. Requirements: iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 9 or later; Wi-Fi connection to iTunes; iTunes 12.75. App Store: iTunes Remote

Apple’s iTunes Remote App Just Got a Big Update

Scout FM Introduces New Features, Like Compatibility with CarPlay

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Scout FM is a podcast radio service that streams a curated selection of podcasts and radio shows. Today the service is getting new features, including compatibility with Apple’s CarPlay. A cool new feature is called Commute Mode, which automatically finds shows for you that fit your commute time. Scout FM is a bit different than other podcast apps. You don’t subscribe and download podcasts. Instead it’s more similar to a traditional radio station. There are stations focused around categories like Daily News, Brain Food, and True Stories. You just pick a station and immediately start listening. App Store: Scout FM – Free

Scout FM Introduces New Features, Like Compatibility with CarPlay

How Can We Build Healthy Technology?

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Wired has a good op-ed about how to build healthy technology. It examines our relationship with technology, as well as our technological addiction and dependence.

There is no defined category for technology addiction, but psychiatrists have been debating whether internet addiction is a real malady. It was not added to the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the diagnostic bible of mental health professionals around the world.

Each of us relates to technology in a unique, highly personal way. We lose or cede control, stability, and fulfillment in a million different ways. As Leo Tolstoy wrote in the novel Anna Karenina, “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

Meru Health Wants to Make Mental Health Care More Accessible

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TechCrunch writes about a service called Meru Health, a company that wants to make mental health care more accessible to employees.

Meru Health offers an eight-week treatment program for depression, burnout and anxiety. The program, currently led by five licensed therapists, utilizes both cognitive behavioral therapy, behavioral activation and mindfulness-based intervention. Provided as an employee benefit, Meru Health only charges companies if the patients report feeling any better.

Down the road, Meru Health may make its service available to everyday consumers, but right now, Ranta said the focus is on selling to larger employers and doing clinical research. Meru Health is also looking to bring on board a doctor to help with medication management and, possibly, even providing prescriptions.

This World Creator App is a 2048 Building Simulator Game

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A cool app called World Creator combines gameplay from the popular app 2048 with a SimCity-like building simulator game. Choose various historical personages as your hero, build your city in 2048 style, meanwhile cast unique skills to attack or disturb opponents, crash their cities and become the champion. Witness opponents’ construction progress in realtime, collect vairous skins of the heroes, fight with other players in different styles, and upgrade your heroes, enhance skill power, overwhelm your opponents in the battlefield. Spring to winter, sunrise to sunset, day to night, enjoy the view of your civilization in construction from every angle. App Store: World Creator! – Free

This World Creator App is a 2048 Building Simulator Game

SongShift Lets You Transfer Apple Music Playlists to Other Services

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There’s an app called SongShift that lets you transfer Apple Music playlists to other services. Supported services include Apple Music, Deezer, Discogs, HypeMachine, LastFM, Napster, Pandora, Spotify, Tidal, and YouTube. You can “shift” complete playlists from one streaming service to another, and automatically keep all of your playlists synced with each other. I’ve heard some Apple customers say that when they unsubscribe from Apple Music, then re-subscribe later on, none of their playlists and content is saved. I’ve never unsubscribed yet so I haven’t run into this issue, but it sounds like SongShift can help in these cases. App Store: SongShift – Free

SongShift Lets You Transfer Apple Music Playlists to Other Services

Free App Trials From Apple's Perspective

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Drew McCormack took to Medium to write a post on trying to understand Apple’s perspective when it comes to free app trials. Developers aren’t happy about the move, because some argue that the changes to In-App Purchase guidelines aren’t true free trials.

So why does Apple…not offer a more formal version of free trials? Most developers seem to assume they are deliberately ignoring their protests, for no good reason, or that they simply are not willing to dedicate the resources to solve the problem. I doubt both of these assumptions. I think Apple have probably thought long and hard about it, and concluded that the options they have introduced are actually better than the free trials developer’s are requesting.

Awesome ARKit is a Big List of ARKit Projects and Resources

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Over on GitHub there is a curated list of ARKit projects and resources called Awesome ARKit. ARKit is Apple’s technology to enable augmented reality experiences for Apple devices. In this list you’ll find apps, tutorials, projects, and resources. Some of the tutorials include using ARKit with Metal, importing 3D models for ARKit, building an ARKit application with Unity, and a bunch more. Cool projects include ARSolarPlay, Boxify, ARPaint, cARd, pARtfolio, Measure, Ruler, and more. It’s a great list and I recommend you check it out, especially the list of ARKit apps.

Awesome ARKit is a Big List of ARKit Projects and Resources

The MacBook Touch Bar Helps Customers who need Accessibility

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Redditor u/cozygodal shared a story of using the MacBook Touch Bar. A lot of Apple customers (including the press) don’t like the Touch Bar and think it’s a gimmick. But u/cozygodal found it helpful for their dyslexia.

I would love to spotlight a specific use-case for the Touch Bar that maybe not a lot of people notice. I have dyslexia and a really hard time to spell words correctly. Taking notes in class is hard because I write so slow and it is a a lot harder to discuss my notes with classmates because nobody can read a dame word.

And a that point the MacBook Pro came in. You can see the words while typing and that is a godsend. I’m so much faster it is unbelievable like a switch in my brain is turned on. If you are telling me a word I cannot spell it in my head I had to memorized every single word I know like a foreign language and I can recall my memory so much faster with the pictorial representation of words in the touch bar.

Thank you Apple for making my life a lot easier 🙂

A Fighting Robot Called Super Anthony is on Kickstarter

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There’s a fighting robot on the Kickstarter scene called Super Anthony. It’s 15 inches tall and weighs 4.6 pounds, but it can punch with the power of a human at 99 pounds. It’s programmed with fighting moves out of the box, and you can program your own moves on your computer. Tristan Greene at TheNextWeb wrote a review of Super Anthony. He says that although the robot has a powerful punch, “I’m pretty sure a modified Roomba would take this thing down, so it’s not a street fighter.” You can preorder it on Kickstarter, starting at US$1,299 for the Super Early Bird reward.

A Fighting Robot Called Super Anthony is on Kickstarter