Recent Articles By Bryan Chaffin [RSS]

Petition Asks Apple to Bring iTunes Song Ratings Back to iOS [Update]

· Bryan Chaffin · Editorial

iOS 10 Screen for

Duncan Lockard started a petition at Change.org asking Apple to “Put song ratings back on iOS.” I signed it, and if you like song ratings, I’d encourage you to sign it, too. [Updated with additional information on displaying Star Ratings in Songs view.]

macOS Sierra: Resetting Your System Sound Effects Output

· Bryan Chaffin · Quick Tip

Every macOS/OS X update has its own quirks, and those quirks can be amplified by whatever peculiarities existed on the Mac being upgraded. For instance, when I upgraded to Sierra, that setting got changed so that it was independent from my System Output. Fortunately, putting it back is easy.

Google Offers Ballot Information Tailored to You

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

Google is adding U.S. ballot information to search results in the run up to the presidential election in November. It starts with the ability to search for “who’s on my ballot” in the main Google search engine. Users who do so will be asked to provide the street address where they’ll be voting (i.e. it will be added to Google’s profile on you if that was somehow missing). Google Maps users will be prompted to use their Home address. You’ll then be given all the candidates on your ballot, as well as quick access to information on how to vote in your state and where to vote in your district. In my opinion Google is performing a huge service to the country with this feature. Watch the video for more information.

KlikR Universal Remote Control: $19.99

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

KlickR Universal Remote Control

Check out KlikR, a device that serves as a go-between between for your iPhone and any device with an infrared receiver. Put it onto or next to the receiver and you’ll be able to control it from the companion app on your iPhone or Android device. You can also use voice controls, designate rooms and multiple devices (if you have multiple KlikRs), and more. It’s the kind of device that helps bridge legacy electronics with the Internet of Things, and we have a deal on KlikR for $19.99.

ACLU Highlights Surveillance State Intersecting with Surveillance Capitalism

· Bryan Chaffin · The Back Page

Spy in the data

Social media as a tool of police or state surveillance is troubling, but it’s a complex issue, too. The ACLU highlighted a situation this week where the surveillance state was meeting surveillance capitalism, and Bryan Chaffin thinks it’s a topic worth discussing.

macOS Sierra: Use Command-Drag to Position Picture-in-Picture Videos

· Bryan Chaffin · How-To

Use Command-Drag to Position macOS Sierra 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. You can use command-drag to put the video where you want it. Bryan Chaffin shows you how.

macOS Sierra: Method 2 For Watching Videos Picture-in-Picture

· Bryan Chaffin · How-To

Sierra Contextual Menu on YouTube Video

macOS Sierra supports picture-in-picture (PiP). Melissa Holt showed us how to access PiP using on-screen controls, but she’s some kind of wizard and the rest of TMO’s staff don’t have those controls. Fortunately, Dave Hamilton found a second method for watching in PiP mode. It’s a touch—curious?—on how to get there, but Bryan Chaffin will walk you through it.

Braven 705 Bluetooth Speaker: $49.99

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

Braven 705 Bluetooth Speaker

Check out the Braven 705 Bluetooth Speaker. It features a shock-absorbent thermoplastic exterior and IPX5 water resistance. it also has a built-in mic and speakerphone for taking and making calls. Sound comes from two drivers, and it has a 12-hour battery life. You can get it through our deal for $49.99.

Last Day for Cloop XL Magnetic Cable Keeper 2.0 on Kickstarter

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

Cloop Magnetic Cable Organizer

After I posted the SHAPES Kickstarter on Wednesday, Father Gabriel Mosher tweeted me another cool cable organizer called Cloop XL. This is a different approach for cable management in that it’s a rubber strap with neodymium magnets that snap together and stay there. This particular Kickstarter is for a new, larger version called Cloop XL. It’s 115mm (4.6-inches) long, and can hold sturdier cables. This project has already raised $66,000, well over its $10,000 goal. Funding options that get you three or more Cloops, including a Cloop XP, start at $11 as of this writing, but you only have today to participate. There’s a ton of information there, too.

Tame Your Cables with Spheres and Pyramids on Kickstarter

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

SHAPES Cable Organizer

Check out SHAPES on Kickstarter. I’ve seen a lot of cable organizers and tamers and whatnot cross my desk. Most of them are quite clever and useful, but they tend to rely on me putting the end of a cable onto a magnetic base when I’m done with it. There’s a Kickstarter project called SHAPES that takes a different approach. Rather than being a catch-all for multiple cables, SHAPES is more of a holder for one cable, as shown in the video below. Each sphere or pyramid (I prefer the spheres, FWIW) holds one cable in place while allowing it to slide about when you’re using it. The company is trying to raise $20,000 with 28 days to go.

Making Weather, a Levitating Speaker that Looks like a Cloud

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

Making Weather Levitating Cloud Speaker

Check out this remarkable project Richard Clarkson is working on. It’s called Making Weather, and builds on Smart Cloud, a combination lamp and Bluetooth speaker designed to look like a cloud. As noted by The Verge, Mr. Clarkson is working with Crealev to turn this idea into an actual levitating cloud. Crealev has the levitation technology, which uses magnets to achieve the levitation effect. This isn’t a shipping product (yet), but the original Smart Cloud is ($3,360). But the demo video for Making Weather is intensely cool, and I wanted to share it. You can find more images and information on at Crealev’s site.

ACM 380: USB Kill 2.0 and Samsung Schadenfreude

· Bryan Chaffin · Apple Context Machine Podcast

Apple Context Machine Logo

Bryan and Jeff talk about USB Kill 2.0, a device that looks like a hard drive, but can damage—if not destroy—a Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, or any other device with a USB port. They also take a few moments to enjoy some schadenfreude at Samsung’s defense.

Swift Programming from Scratch Interactive Learning Platform: $10

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

Swift Programming from Scratch: Interactive Learning Platform

We have a deal for you today on Swift Programming from Scratch, a tutorial designed to teach you Apple’s Swift programming language. It features 100-plus exercises and custom made Playgrounds to practice with. It’s $10 through our deal.

Yo Samsung: Give It Up, Bro

· Bryan Chaffin · Editorial

Samsung ArtPC Pulse

Samsung…Samsung. Yo, dudes. We gotta talk, like, for reals. Listen and Ima give it to you straight. You have a problem, Samsung. And it’s time for some change.

PDF Expert 2.0 for Mac for $24.99 One Day Only

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

PDF Expert 2 for the Mac

Readdle’s PDF Expert 2 is a great PDF reader and editor that goes far beyond OS X’s Preview app at a price that doesn’t put the squeeze on your pocketbook. The app lets you edit text, images and links in PDF files, annotate documents, merge files into a single PDF, complete PDF forms, add document passwords, and more. PDF Expert is regularly US$59.99, but Stack Commerce put together a one-day sale for just $24.99.

Samsung Discontinues Galaxy Note 7 Manufacturing and Sales

· Bryan Chaffin · Editorial

Burned Galaxy Note 7 on Tombstone

This just in: Samsung has officially discontinued manufacturing and sales of the Galaxy Note 7. With repeated incidents of the devices—and replacement devices—catching fire, the company announced on Tuesday it would cease making and selling them.

USB Kill: The $55 Gadget That Will Fry Most Devices

· Bryan Chaffin · Editorial

USB Kill 2.0 Insides

There’s a device out there called USB Kill 2.0 that can fry an electronic device with a USB port. While it looks like an every day USB flash drive, rather than memory, these devices have capacitors that can store up juice being transmitted over the USB bus and then discharge at once. The result is a high-voltage attack on your PC, Mac, smartphone, or other device that can fry the electronics.

GeeFi Mobile Hotspot on Kickstarter Provides Unlimited 4G Data in 100 Countries

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

GeeFi on a table

Check out the GeeFi on Kickstarter. It’s a mobile hotspot its makers say provides unlimited 4G data in 100-plus countries. It will support up to 10 devices at a time, and it does this without you having to change out SIM cards are worry about local contracts. When the device is turned on, it displays a local wireless network with a password. Plug that into your laptop, smartphone, or tablet, and you’re good to go. They also say it provides 150 megabits down and 50 megabits up—for $10 per day. The data plan is separate from the cost of the device. Funding options that get a GeeFi currently start at $120. They’ve already raised $141,000 dollars out of a $20,000 goal, with two weeks to go.

SunVolt Water-Resistant Dual-USB Solar Charger: $19.99

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

SunVolt Water-Resistant Dual-USB Solar Charger

It’s a portable charger that’s water resistant, charges via solar cells, and it has a built-in 5000mAh of reserve battery power.  You can charge two devices at once. And we have it for $19.99. Get it.

Samsung Tweet Suggests Note 7 Stalling Tactics, Suspends Note 7 Sales

· Bryan Chaffin · Editorial

Galaxy Note 7 Allegedly Caught Fire

Over the weekend, Samsung accidentally tweeted a callous message to a Note 7 victim, a message that reveals just how hated and cynical the IP-stealing, politican-bribing company can be. That was followed by reports Samsung was finally suspending sales of the Note 7.