Sitting squarely in the finally column, Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides received updates today enabling Split Screen view for capable iPads running iOS 9 (and later). It works exactly as you would have expected it to work in the fall when it should have originally been released. Go download them from the App Store.
Recent Articles By Dave Hamilton [RSS]
Whether you’re a cord-cutter or someone who uses a standard cable subscription, sometimes all you want to see is the Olympics highlight reel. TiVo’ing four hours of Prime Time coverage to just wade through the muck is not my idea of a good time. Enter the NBC Sports app. Launch this on your Apple TV, iPhone or iPad and you can instantly see short clips of just the highlights from the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Sure, down the road you may find you want to watch entire matches, too, but this is a great way to catch up quick while whetting your appetite for future events.
We’d like to thank Digiarty, makers of MacX MediaTrans, for their sponsorship of The Mac Observer this week. For the time being, all TMO readers are eligible for a 30-day free trial of MacX MediaTrans. Once you’ve tried it, you can get a 2 Mac license of MacX MediaTrans for only $29.95, and that comes with lifetime upgrades!
Every update to iTunes seems to refine a useful feature out of the interface, and as I created a new playlist in iTunes this morning I found yet another. All new Playlists are stuck in “Playlist” view, which has a limited selection of columns and no obvious way to customize them. No worries, you can still customize them, you just have to change your View first. We’ll show you how.
iOS Mail lets you search your messages, and most folks know that. What many of us didn’t know until Aaron’s comment in Sunday’s Mac Geek Gab 616 was that iOS responds differently to certain key words. If, for example, you type “yesterday” into Mail’s search field, it offers to “tokenize” that and make it a condition of the search, limiting to things dated, well, yesterday. Once you tokenize a term, you can add another. We’ve all experienced tokenizing someone’s name or an email subject, but the list is much bigger than that.
VAVA’s new Voom 20 is perhaps my new favorite Bluetooth speaker, and that’s saying a lot. It’s the right size – a little taller than a can of soda – and has a full, warm sound that can fill a room or your outdoor deck. With dual 8W drivers, two passive subwoofers, 10 hours of battery life and an IPX5 water rating, this speaker will go anywhere you want to bring it, be that the beach, your hotel room, or the kitchen of your AirBnB. It’s even got speakerphone capabilities as well as a USB port for charging your iPhone from the Voom 20s internal 5200mAh battery. It supports the aptX Bluetooth codec, so if you’re using this with your Mac you can get top-quality Bluetooth sound to it. One note: the volume control on the speaker is set independently of your device’s volume, so be sure to crank up both of them. With a special 25% discount available through August 8, the VAVA Voom 20 can be yours direct from VAVA for $59.99 with coupon code GOVOOM20. That’s less than half of what I’ve found comparable speakers cost.
Apple’s Touch ID is an excellent security convenience, allowing you to quickly unlock your iPhone or iPad without having to type in your Passcode. Most of us will want to train at least the index finger and thumb of both hands in order to have some unlocking flexibility. That requires adding each fingerprint manually, and the iPhone only allows five total fingerprints to be trained. What if you want to train more than five fingers? Or what if you want to make the training process more efficient? In Sunday’s Mac Geek Gab 616, listener Robin provided an answer to these questions: train multiple fingerprints simultaneously.
Rogue Amoeba, developers of many great things upon which we podcasters rely, updated Loopback to version 1.0.3 today. Loopback lets you create virtual audio devices on your Mac which send the audio from one application to another in ways that most apps don’t directly support. The update brings Rogue Amoeba’s latest Instant On component, version 8.3, which now supports macOS 10.12 Sierra (available in beta form), as well as a bug fix for monitoring devices that are removed and re-added. Loopback is available directly from Rogue Amoeba.
Deliveries, Junecloud’s excellent delivery tracking app, sees an update this week that adds a complete set of Apple Watch complications. Previous versions would only work with certain complications, and specifically had nothing for the smaller “Circular” complication that often sits in the corners of the watch face. Now any complication spot can be filled with your Deliveries data. Our tests also showed that the newest version of the app works fine on the current iOS 10 and watchOS 3 betas, but no comments were made by the developer. Your mileage may vary, of course.
Geocaching, both the name of the real-world treasure-hunt style game and its companion iOS app, sees an update to the latter today to better surface GeoTours. GeoTours are custom-built collections of geocaches to enhance (or serve as the foundation for) a trip or vacation to a specific area. There are now over 60 unique GeoTours available, and more are being added all the time. To learn about GeoTours or search for a specific one, start with the Search icon in the app and select GeoTours. You’ll be good to go from there!
Mozilla has pushed out version 5.0 of Firefox for iOS to the App Store, and along with it comes a slew of new features. Chief among those are both speed and battery life improvements as well as the ability to add custom search engines to the browser. When searching for something in Firefox, you’ve long had the option of tapping the icon of an alternative engine to perform your search there. Now you can add your own custom engines by simply going to any website, putting the cursor in the website’s own search box, and then hitting Firefox’s magnifying-glass-with-a-plus-symbol icon. That’ll add it to the top of your alternatives list and you’re good to go!
I’m someone who runs at a pretty fast clip. When the Apple Watch first came out and everyone was touting its health benefits, I didn’t think that a device on my wrist was going to help remind me to walk, stand or exercise more. Apple’s new Breathe app, however, has changed all of that.
Plex today announced the public availability of Plex Music on Sonos. It still officially bears the “beta” label, but it works just fine in our quick tests. Now you can access your Plex Music Library from any Sonos device, and that includes remote access. If you have Sonos at your lake house and your Plex library is on your Mac at home, good news: it’ll stream across the Internet. It also works to stream friends’ libraries, too, as long as you’re both linked together via the Plex back end (and as long as your friend has their Music sharing enabled in Plex). Additionally, because Plex is built to transcode music, you can play any file, including those that Sonos doesn’t natively support. To add Plex, launch your Sonos controller app on your Mac or iPhone (or Android), select “Add Music Service,” choose Plex, sign in and you’re all set!
Previously only available by private invitation, Twitter now allows users to apply for account verification. Note that you still need to be noteworthy or otherwise provide a compelling reason for Twitter to approve your verification, but at least now you can ask instead of having to sniff around at cocktail parties and coffee shops for someone who knows someone. To get verified your account must first be in proper shape. Read along and we’ll help get you there.
Pixelmator, the powerful-and-inexpensive image editor for both Mac and iOS, gets a free update on iOS to version 2.3 today that brings its Quick Selection Tool and Magnetic Selection Tool over from the Mac. The Quick Selection Tool makes very short work of doing previously-difficult selections and allowed me to do the selection in the first pane below in about ten seconds on an iPhone SE.
Pixelnator’s new Quick Selection Tool is somehow intuitive in a way that other “magic” selectors are not. Having this available literally at ones fingertips on iOS opens up all sorts of options for work and… play. Enjoy. (A hat tip to Scott Canali for the inspiration behind today’s screenshots!).
This fall will mark the 7th annual MacTech Conference, happening in Los Angeles November 15-18. For the first time, MacTech Conference 2016 includes a Home Automation Showcase featuring demonstrations of products and services that work with Apple’s HomeKit and other platforms. That’s not all, of course, as MacTech Conference continues its stellar conference track with sessions built especially for IT Pros, enterprise administrators and consultants of all levels. Super early-bird pricing ended back in May, but as a TMO reader you can take advantage of that pricing until Tuesday, July 5th by using our special link. That means you can register for MacTech Conference 2016 for just $999. Don’t let the weekend get in your way, register now and I’ll see you at MacTech in November!
Last week Tapbots added Timeline Filters to their Tweetbot Twitter client for iOS, allowing you to control what you see — and what you don’t see — in your Twitter timeline. Today they enhanced those filters even more with the ability to use “OR” and quotes. This means you can Filter out “holy war” OR emacs to be sure not to unintentionally boil your blood while otherwise enjoying Twitter (I’m assuming we’re all vim users here, right?!?). You can download Tweetbot from the App Store.
Version 5.0 of Amazon’s Kindle App for iPad and iPhone adds Page Flip, a new and natural way to navigate through books without losing your place. If you’ve ever been frustrated having to flip to see a map or something on another page, Page Flip solves that problem. Just tap in the middle of your screen to activate Page Flip and skim around until you find what you want. When you’re finished looking, tap again and Page Flip will offer to return you to your original spot. Even better, Page Flip remembers the locations you have flipped to, allowing for easy bouncing around. The updated Kindle App is available for free in the App Store.
What started in 2008 as a small media server project today has matured into version 1.0. The first public release of Plex Media Server happened two years later in 2010, and it has been growing ever since, now used by milliions of people. The changes rolled into the 1.0 release aren’t all that major – certainly nothing more than any other Plex Media Server release we’ve seen recently – it’s the version number change itself that is significant.
Version 1.0 shows Plex’s commitment to ship software that no longer has the assumption of being beta, communicating reliability and predictability for customers. I’m a long-time Plex user and now with both iOS and Apple TV client apps it really is a best-in-class product. Many of its features are available for free, though a paid PlexPass is well worth your money if you want to view your content offline or on your mobile devices. Congrats, Plex! Thanks for doing what you do!
Today’s announcement that Sonos added lockscreen controls to iOS led us (ok, it led my son) to realize that this likely meant it would also be controllable from an Apple Watch paired to the same iPhone. Sure enough, it is, and that’s because whatever music is controllable from your iPhone’s lock screen is also controllable from the “Now Playing” glance on Apple Watch. Note that the Now Playing section of the Apple Watch Music app is less likely to show this data, but sometimes it will appear there, too. The “Now Playing” glance, however, has proven 100% reliable in all of our tests.