Recent Articles By Dave Hamilton [RSS]

JBL Pulse 3: Lava Lamp Effects and Full Portable Sound

· Dave Hamilton · Cool Stuff Found

I’ve been a fan of JBL’s portable Pulse bluetooth speakers since the first one was released three years ago. The reason? Cool lighting effects, full sound and, of course, Bluetooth wireless portability. With the Pulse 3, though, the game steps up to a whole new level. Whereas its predecessors were covered by a mesh with a low-resolution display of lights, the Pulse 3 sports a clear, plastic enclosure and hi-res LEDs that really (finally?) give it that true Lava Lamp-of-the-future look. You can customize the light effects with your iOS or Android device, giving you full control over both your audio and visual experience. Additionally, the Pulse 3 is now IPX7 waterproof, has a 12-hour battery, and supports JBL’s new Connect+ allowing you to sync your audio with up to 100 devices simultaneously. Wanna truly light up your pool party or just enjoy the visuals while listening to your favorite tunes? The JBL Pulse 3 will be released this spring, MSRP of $199.95

TMO CES 2017 Coverage Sponsor: iMazing

· Dave Hamilton · Weekly Sponsorship

Our thanks to DigiDNA, makers of iMazing, for being a sponsor of TMO’s CES 2017 coverage this year. Bringing the team to Las Vegas to dig in and cull through all the noise to bring you targeted coverage is no small task. It takes a lot of planning, effort and, yes, money. DigiDNA sees the value in this and joined as a sponsor this year to help make sure we had the team in place to bring you the very best CES coverage for you, our Apple-focused audience. But there’s more, iMazing is one of those tools that should just come with every iPhone or iPad to be installed on your Mac or Windows machine. It takes over where iTunes leaves you hanging and truly lets you manage your iOS device with the simplicity and granularity that you need. Read more, including how to restore individual app data from your iOS backups!

TMO CES 2017 Coverage Sponsor: Merlin Project

· Dave Hamilton · Weekly Sponsorship

Our sincere thanks to ProjectWizards, makers of Merlin Project, for joining us as a sponsor for TMO’s CES 2017 coverage. It takes a lot to get the TMO team to Las Vegas and effectively cull through the noise and cover a show like CES for you, and we sincerely appreciate ProjectWizards and Merlin Project for joining us this year. I’d also like to point out that ProjectWizards was always the very first sponsor on board for our legendary Cirque du Mac parties, too. The folks there really understand the importance of our Apple community and are always right there to support everything we all do. Read more here about just what Merlin Project can do for you, and even get a free trial to check it out!

Video: A Look Around Inside CES Unveiled 2017

· Dave Hamilton · Cool Stuff Found

As a reader of TMO and a listener of our podcasts, especially Mac Geek Gab, you see and hear us write and talk a lot about the various press events we attend. Many of these – Pepcom, ShowStoppers, and CES Unveiled – are very similar in nature. They’re like a trade show, with a few key differences. First, every vendor has basically the same-sized table at which to present their offerings. There are no big booths and no overly-flashy signs or anything of the sort. Everyone’s logos are well-presented, but mostly its about the products. The reason for this is the second key differentiator: all of the attendees are members of the media. There are no distributors there, no general consumers looking around, no aimless tire-kickers. Everyone is there to report about what they see. And, as you know, that’s what we do. With one exceptIon: we’ve never reported about what we see in general. We always show you specific things, but have never intentionally given you a glimpse of the event itself. Here, today, we change that with a look around inside CES Unveiled 2017, just about 15 minutes after the doors opened. Oh, and yes, there’s food. Yummy, tasty food. Enjoy!

Belkin Announces Linksys Velop Mesh Wi-Fi System

· Dave Hamilton · Cool Stuff Found

Linksys, a brand known for some of the earliest wireless routers, today joins the the market of mesh Wi-Fi providers with their own mesh offering called Velop. Shown here at the CES 2017 Unveiled event, Belkin’s Linksys Velop is a welcome entrant to the home mesh wireless market with a unique tri-band solution that allows for completely dynamic assignment of each unit’s three 2×2 radios. Velop can work in point-to-point, mesh, star, line or tree configurations, choosing whichever is best or most-appropriate for the current wireless environment. Each radio in the system is automatically mapped to the best configuration, and Ethernet backhaul is automatically detected and supported, as well. In a market that’s becoming quite crowded, I find the Velop an interesting contender, combining some of the better aspects of both the eero and NETGEAR Orbi platforms, priced exactly the same as the eero. Units are available for pre-order today in three ($499), two ($349) and one-unit ($199) packages and will start shipping on January 15th. We’ll be getting units to test and will report back with our findings, adding them to our existing mesh Wi-Fi coverage.

TMO CES 2017 Coverage Sponsor: The Omni Group

· Dave Hamilton · Weekly Sponsorship

I’m very happy to welcome The Omni Group as the first of our CES 2017 sponsors this year. It takes a lot of effort and, yes, money to mount effective coverage of a show like CES, and we’re very fortunate to have a company like The Omni Group on board with us this year to help make it happen.The Omni Group is an independent Mac and iOS development shop located in Seattle, Washington. They understand the importance of focus, and they work on four apps: OmniFocus, OmniGraffle, OmniPlan, and OmniOutliner. Read more about all of these and support these great folks.

Sponsor: Rip DVD to Mac, iPhone, iPad, & Android in MP4 For Free with MacX DVD Ripper Pro

· Dave Hamilton · Weekly Sponsorship

We’d like to thank Digiarty, makers of MacX DVD Ripper Pro, for sponsoring The Mac Observer this week. Long-time readers of TMO will know Digiarty as the folks who make apps for managing your media in ways that Apple’s tools won’t, and this time is no exception. Right now Digiarty is offering a “Christmas Giveaway” of MacX DVD Ripper Pro, their app for easily ripping, clipping and extracting audio from DVDs. The promo starts now and runs through January 5, 2017. There are a limited number of copies available per day so go get yours now!

For Geeks Only: Hey Alexa, Tell Sonos to Play Stevie Wonder in the Kitchen

· Dave Hamilton · How-To

pile of sonos speakers with Amazon Alexa Dot front and center

Sonos and Amazon jointly announced their Alexa integration earlier this year and the world rejoiced. Voice control of your Sonos system is one of those holy grails. The integration is expected to be available at some point in 2017. But I’m an impatient geek so, while I’m waiting for official support to be available, I spent an hour yesterday getting this working using freely-available open-source tools. You can do this, too, and I’ll walk you through what you’re doing and how to get started.

Fake News and Snatched iPhones – TMO Daily Observations 2016-12-05

· Dave Hamilton & John Martellaro · The Mac Observer's Daily Observations Podcast

TMO Daily Observations Podcast Logo

The UK police got unlocked access to a suspect’s iPhone but, unlike the FBI earlier this year, they didn’t have to ask Apple to hack it. Interestingly, though, the FBI did something very similar to the UK police a few years ago. Listen to hear more. Then it’s on to how Apple might just be our last hope to save the integrity of the internet. John Martellaro explains!

Uber Sees You When You're Sleeping…Around – TMO Daily Observations 2016-12-02

· Dave Hamilton & Bryan Chaffin · The Mac Observer's Daily Observations Podcast

TMO Daily Observations Podcast Logo

“I’ll be watching you” is a line that might make Sting look a lot more prescient after you hear this episode. Uber and Waze want to know where you are even more than they used to, and Apple wants to put drones in the air over your roads and in front of your homes, at least for a little bit. It’s a brave new world. Our advice: don’t go outside without pants on.

Apple's Tribes and Cloud Services – TMO Daily Observations 2016-12-01

· Dave Hamilton & Adam Christianson · The Mac Observer's Daily Observations Podcast

TMO Daily Observations Podcast Logo

There is a long history of tribes discussing, analyzing and, yes, chastising Apple. That’s more true today than it ever has been… or is it? How much of the past reflects in the future? Those very same tribes often talk about Apple’s need to increase the amount of free iCloud storage provided to each user. Are they right? Join TDO today as John Martellaro, Adam Christianson and Dave Hamilton discuss!

TMO Daily Observations 2016-11-30: Offline Netflix and AirPods Alternatives

· Dave Hamilton & Kelly Guimont · The Mac Observer's Daily Observations Podcast

TMO Daily Observations Podcast Logo

Netflix is now beginning to allow offline viewing for some content and Tim Cook suggests that he anticipates AirPods will ship in the next few weeks. John Martellaro and Kelly Guimont join Dave Hamilton today to chat through all this… and more, including a few recommendations for AirPods alternatives that you can buy today.

Podcasters: How to Log Chapter Timestamps with Keyboard Maestro

· Dave Hamilton · How-To

Many podcasters – and especially podcast listeners – have come to appreciate having chapters in podcast episodes. Putting chapters into a show can be a real chore for podcasters, though, especially for a show that’s recorded live. For all the podcasts I host, I employ a few Keyboard Maestro macros that, used together, allow me to have an internal clock running that simply pastes the existing timestamp wherever my cursor is. Here’s how I do it… and a download link to the macros I’ve already created for you!

Mesh Deals for Black Friday through Cyber Monday: Sonos and eero

· Dave Hamilton · TMO Deals

Picture of Eero and Sonos PLAY:1 for Black Friday 2016

Seems that I’m a sucker for a well-made mesh network, likely because “well-made mesh” means “it’s simple and it works without you having to mess with it.” Or, said another way, “mesh not mess.”  Ok, enough of that, on to the deals, shall we? These are from two companies that traditionally do not offer discounts, and they’re only good through Monday, so snap them up while you can.

Wi-Fi Mesh Systems Compared: eero, Orbi, AmpliFi

· Dave Hamilton · Deep Dive

The future of home Wi-Fi is mesh networking, a new approach to consumer wireless networks that includes smart management and multiple radios designed to handle the load of today’s gadgets. If you’ve been fighting with range extenders and other solutions to broaden your Wi-Fi coverage and keep your streams alive, you can now stop all that silliness and blanket your home with Wi-Fi. The future is here, and that future is mesh networking.

Sponsor: MacX Video Converter Pro Giveaway

· Dave Hamilton · Weekly Sponsorship

It’s my pleasure to welcome Digiarty back as this week’s sponsor here at TMO. The focus for this week’s sponsorship is Digiarty’s MacX Video Converter Pro v6.0.0, and you can get it for free. Yep, this giveaway is for everyone! Head to their site to download your free copy of MacX Video Converter Pro. MacX Video Converter Pro is an all-in-one solution to convert your existing videos, download online videos, make slideshows, record your Mac’s screen, edit video and more. Check it out!

TMO Daily Observations 2016-11-16: Why is $feature Missing from Apple TV?

· Dave Hamilton & John Martellaro · The Mac Observer's Daily Observations Podcast

The Mac Observer Daily Observations Podcast

Today it’s time to look at Apple TV and ask one tough question: why don’t we get $feature on Apple TV? Good thing we’re geeks and we understand variables, too, because for this episode $feature = array(“4K Output”,”Amazon Prime Video”,”Netflix Inside of TV App”); Listen and hear what John and Dave have to say about all this… then send us your feedback and let us know!

Touché: See and Use Touch Bar on Any Mac

· Dave Hamilton · Cool Stuff Found

On Monday, Daniel Jalkut at Red Sweater Software released Touché, an app that shows a fully-functional Touch Bar on the screen of any Mac. Well, it’s fully-functional in that you can click on it, but obviously touching it won’t matter. While this won’t give you the full experience of having a Touch Bar, it certainly will let you see what you might be missing. Helpful, also, if there’s some functionality that might only be included in the Touch Bar going forward. Touché is available for free and runs on any Mac running macOS Sierra 10.12.1 (build 16B2657) and later.

Touché: See and Use Touch Bar on Any Mac

Apple’s HomeKit Security vs. ioT Botnets – There’s Only So Much Apple Can Do

· Dave Hamilton · Analysis

Botnets vs. Privacy and HomeKit

The recent botnet attacks have called into question the security of all our various internet of Things (ioT) devices, and rightfully so. One of the regular chimes I hear in our Apple-centric universe is, “HomeKit is secure, it must be the answer.” Unfortunately, HomeKit is only built to secure HomeKit, not everything. More must be done.

The Benefits of a 32GB Mac For Average Users

· Dave Hamilton · Editorial

I didn’t think the difference between 16GB and 32GB would matter for my every day use. Sure, I’m a geek, but I’m not involved in graphic design or video editing. In the course of a normal day I don’t really run any pro apps. When I upgraded my 2014 27″ Retina iMac from 16GB to 32GB a few months ago, however, I experienced a dramatic shift in my computing life. No longer was my Mac paging out to swap all the time, no longer were apps slow to launch, and no longer was I regularly pushing against the limits of my Mac’s RAM.