Hey, guess what? Your passwords probably suck. Most of our passwords suck, as shown in an analysis of 10 million passwords released in security breaches from 2016. Bryan Chaffin has some basic tips for improving your password security, and stern words for those who slack on this!
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Samson announced Monday the QH4 4-Channel Headphone Amplifier. It’s built to support four headphones at the same time, each with its own volume control. Desktop musicians and bands recording in a practice space or a garage should check it out because it offers a compact way for four musicians to monitor themselves. It also has a master volume and can flip between stereo and mono. It’s powered by an included power supply, and has two 1/4” balanced and one stereo 1/8” unbalanced input. The QH4 is priced at $69.99 and is available now.
You may have heard of the Mother of All Demos, especially if you’ve studied, or even read up on, computing history. But have you seen it? There is a video of this legendary event (via Reviewed.com), and I personally find it fascinating. Here’s why this is a thing. The demo was given by Doug Engelbart in 1968, when punch cards were how you interfaced with a computer. But in this demo, the world was shown (list via Wikipedia) windows, hypertext, graphics, efficient navigation and command input, video conferencing word processing, dynamic file linking, revision control, a collaborative real-time editor, and the computer mouse. The freaking computer mouse! None of these things existed outside the circle of people involved in the demo. It was huge. No, it was enormous. And many of the people in the demo went on to be involved in the Xerox PARC, which played a major role inspiring Jef Raskin and Steve Jobs for the Mac. The Mother of All Demos resonated through tech culture for decades, and it took decades to make most of that list above mainstream. If you like tech history, you should book some time to watch this. And if you do, think about the context of the times and be amazed. One last note, the typed story at the beginning explains how the movie itself was made.
Apple has new spots out with the tagline “practically magic.” The spots focus on a young dancer taking a Stroll through a city scape using AirPods to enjoy “Down” by Marian Hill. There are four spots in the series, the longer one below and three short ones. Two of the short ones focus on Siri and Pairing, while the third one is called Notes, and uses AirPods to represent notes on a staff. Stroll takes a whimsical look at the power of music by showing the dancer defy gravity. I think the imagery is compelling and the message simple and straightforward. Check it out.
We have a deal today on Next Flipbook Maker Pro for Mac. This software helps you make PDFs and images into HTML5 flipbooks. It does Flash, too, but seriously, HTML5. You can embed YouTube, local video, music, images, buttons, charts, and hyperlinks, and it has batch conversion abilities, too. It’s priced at $39.99, which is 86% off retail. Check out the details on the deal listing.
Feral Interactive announced Friday that ROME: Total War – Barbarian Invasion would be coming to iPad in March! This was originally an expansion for ROME: Total War on Mac and PC—Feral ported that game to iPad late last year. I’ve played ROME: Total War on iPad, and it’s an amazing conversion to a touch interface. Feral and its developers did a remarkable job. Barbarian Invasion was a terrific expansion of the original game, too, and I can’t wait for the iPad launch to suck ever more hours out of my life. 😂 Barbarian Invasion is set three centuries after the campaigns of the original game, and players can play either a barbarian commander out to bring Rome down, or a Roman general defending the empire. The game will be exclusively in the App Store in March at £3.99/US$4.99/€4.99.
Chris Lattner, Apple’s outgoing head of developer tools, has refuted claims published by BusinessInsider that he left the company because of Apple’s focus on secrecy and closed systems. Mr. Lattner left Apple, where he was credited with heading development of Swift, for Tesla, where he will be working on self-driving cars.
Can you kick it old school enough to remember DONKEY.BAS? It was one of the first racing games on DOS, and it was coded by a young tech exec named Bill Gates. Maybe you’ve heard of him. In any event, XVision has recreated this game on iPhone and Apple Watch, and they call it DONKEY.APP. It’s a, “super simple but frustratingly hard retro arcade game, inspired by Bill Gates’ one-and-only DOS game.” The player is a old-fashioned race car, only there are beasts of burden standing on the road. The player taps to change lanes to avoid the beasts, making it a game all about precise timing. It’s not particularly easy, either. Retro gaming is all the rage, and you can revisit this slice of tech history for US$0.99. I’d love to know your thoughts.
We have a deal today on Screens 3 for Mac, a virtual network client (VNC) that lets you control all of your computers from your Mac. You can connect to a Mac, Windows or Linux PC from anywhere in the world. Run apps on any of your computers’ displays, send and receive content, and get work done while traveling light. You can get this software through us for $12.99, more than half off retail.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court ruling, allowing a class action suit against Apple to proceed. The nonsense suit claims Apple holds an illegal monopoly over app sales for iOS. A lower court had ruled the class had no standing to sue, but the 9th Circuit’s ruling reverses the decision, allowing the case to proceed.
Pascal Leggert has posted amazing concept art for a next generation Mac Pro you’ll wish was real. It builds on the stunning industrial art in Apple’s
three and a half year-old absurdly ancient “Trash Can” Mac Pro, but makes it useful. It would offer 22 teraflops of computing power, more ports than you can shake a stick at, user-replaceable storage (four of them!) and user-replaceable GPUs, and a handle, for goodness’s sake. I’ve included a couple of his pics, but click through to see several more. This is the kind of drool-worthy hardware we’re craving from Apple right now.
Our deal on the HyperDrive USB Type-C 5-in-1 Hub is almost sold out. In fact, there are only Gold models left. This device is a hub you can plug directly into your MacBook or MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. It features an SDXC slot, a microSDXC slot, two USB 3.0 ports, and a USB-C port, too. It’s priced at $39.95 through us, 20% off retail. Works with Chromebook Pixel, too.
Nvidia is adding Amazon Prime TV to its Shield TV settop box, leaving Apple TV as one of the only devices that doesn’t support the #2 streaming service. Bryan and Jeff think Apple needs to fix this. They also look at some sketchy iPad rumors and talk about key departures from Apple’s executive ranks.
We have a deal for you today on Scapple for Mac, mind-mapping software from Literature & Latte, the makers of my favorite writing tool, Scrivener. It’s designed to help you put all your ideas in one place, then draw logical conclusions about them. You can get it through our deal for $10.
Consumer Reports said in a blog post Tuesday that Apple has a fix for a bug uncovered in CR testing. According to statements from both CR and Apple, there was a bug in Safari that caused battery life issues on Apple’s new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, and Apple has released a fix for that bug to its beta program, and said it will release it to the public in the coming weeks.
There’s a project on Kickstarter that I thought was pretty neat called Moonlite. It uses your iPhone flashlight to project stories onto the wall or ceiling. The projections come in the form of a ViewMaster-like reel of images. The words from the story appear on your screen, and each time you click the reel, the app turns the page with new words. It’s a clever marriage of the physical to an app, and I definitely applaud anything that helps parents tell bedtime stories to kids. A lot of folks seem to agree as the project has already raised $294,842, more than 14 times the original goal of $20,000. There’re 53 hours to go in the campaign as of this writing. The video below tells more about the project, and you can read more on the Kickstarter page, too. Funding options that get you a Moonlite start at $35.
We have a deal for you today on a 3-pack of 6.5-foot MFi-certified Lightning cables. You can get them through us for $21.99.
Robert Scoble said Monday that Apple is working with lens powerhouse Carl Zeiss AG on “mixed reality optics.” That’s one of the many terms used for augmented reality, for those keeping score at home. His evidence is circumstantial, at best, but I approve of his reasoning. While at the the Zeiss booth at CES, he learned the company was, “NOT showing off its mixed reality optics.” He then added, “I said ‘Tim Cook didn’t let you,’ and the employees around me smiled nervously.” Again, that’s circumstantial, but Mr. Scoble’s instincts have a good track record. To add further circumstantial speculation, Zeiss is the sort of company Apple might work with on any kind of lens-related product or technology. And we already knew that Apple has at least a thousand people working on augmented reality. So…I buy it.
LAS VEGAS – One of the more unusual devices I saw at CES was Reliefband Technologies‘ self-titled product. This device uses current to modulate the median nerve on the underside of the wrist to control nausea and motion sickness. This is the same spot you can rub for nausea, and it’s the spot targeted by acupuncturists. At this year’s show, the company introduced a new—and infinitely better looking—version called Reliefband Neurowave. While the original Reliefband was functional, it looked like it was designed by engineers in 1989 (you can see it on the company’s site). The new version shown below looks like a modern smartwatch. It adds a display and separates the electronic plates from that display, which means you wear it as a watch. The old version had to be worn so that the ugly interface was underneath your wrist like engineers and pilots sometimes wear watches. I don’t suffer from nausea or motion sickness, but Jeff Gamet is going to test it out for us. The new version is priced at $150 and will ship in the second quarter of 2017. The firm hasn’t yet added the new product to its website.
LAS VEGAS – Lattis unveiled the Ellipse Smart Bike Lock at CES last week. In addition to being app-controlled and having a programmable combination lock, this bike lock is solar powered. That makes batteries a non-issue as long as the device sees at least one hour of sunlight per week of usage. It has a built-in accelerometer which the app harnesses for crash alerts with HPS coordinates it can send out to a designated contact. The accelerometer is also used for theft detection alerts. Another nifty feature is the ability to give a friend access through a one-time code you can send out from the app. The shackle is made from chromoly steel, and the lock is substantial. I liked the fit and finish, and the “smart” functions seem to be smart, rather than an attempt to merely bolt an app onto a lock. The device is priced at US$199, and it’s available now.