Our own Dr. Mac created a public service announcement he calls, “Why not having an offsite backup is not an option…” It’s 90 seconds long and makes an excellent point, so ignore it at your own peril…
The first three episodes of a Minecraft interactive television series are now available on Netflix. Yes, that’s right, the game’s maker clearly decided that it is not quite addictive enough and we needed a TV version too. Telltale Games even retained a team to finish the series when many staff were laid off. The Minecraft program follows in the tradition of ‘choose your own adventure’ books. Viewers can decide whether to have a female or male star (called Jesse) and are given choices over how to develop the story. The final two episodes will be on Netflix from 5 December.
If the standard iPhone 10 is just not enough for you, luxury gadgets manufacturer Caviar has released a modified version, complete with a solar panel to charge the battery. It is not so sunny on the bank balance though – the phone starts at $4,400. The solar panel on the Tesla iPhone X charges the battery in around 30 hours. And yes, it was named as a tribute to Elon Musk’s electric car company. However, the phone apparently got rather hot when it was charged the normal way. It may be out of budget for most of us, but the Tesla iPhone X certainly catches the eye. MacRumours got their hands on one.
LONDON – Currys PC World is selling the white Apple HomePod for £279 ($358) for Cyber Monday. The HomePod is normally £319 ($410). It also has the HomePod available in black for £299. Furthermore, the company is offering 9 months of the Deezer Premium music streaming service for free as part of the deal. This deal is available online only, although the item can be picked up in a shop shortly after purchase. In a shop, the HomePod currently costs £299 ($384).
Ocmo is an award winning ninja rope platformer that challenges even hardcore gamers. Fluid movement, physics based gameplay and tight controls create unique sense of freedom and flow. Survive the 80 dangerous levels including secrets and boss fights. Set new records and share speedrunning videos. Swing with tentacles through the levels using momentum to your advantage. Eat rabbits and discover the world. You are the monster of the forest. Features: Lots of dying, ragdoll rabbits, physics-based eating, unique and precise controls, hard to master, well crafted and diverse level design, loads of depth, designed for speedrunning, online leaderboards, beautiful world with a small but dark story to discover, and more. App Store: Ocmo – Free (usually US$4.99)
Apple has released a short film for the holiday season. Called ‘Share Your Gifts’, it depicts the frustrations of Sofia – a creative young woman who hides her work away until…well, let’s just say her dog intervenes. The film is accompanied by the track “Come out and play” by Billie Eilish. Apple has also released a ‘Making Of’ video, detailing how Sofia came to life. It shows how ‘Share your Gifts’ was made using a combination of CG characters and real-world sets.
KeepSolid has launched a free VPN app for iOS. Despite it being free, the company claims there will be no ads, no logs, and no limits. But there are in-app purchases for Turbo Mode. Enable Turbo mode to get access to 400+ VPN servers in over 70 locations around the world, an even more secure AES-256 encryption, and a top-notch KeepSolid Wise access-granting VPN protocol. Turbo Mode is free to try for seven days, and after that you’ll need a monthly or yearly subscription. To protect user personal information, KeepSolid VPN Lite applies AES-128 encryption for the free version. This protocol was deemed by the US Government to be secure enough to guard its classified information. App Store: KeepSolid – Free (Offers In-App Purchases)
Global music streaming service, Deezer, has today released an improved version of its Apple Watch app, which now includes brand new features such as direct access to recently played tracks, favorites and Deezer’s core USP ‘Flow’. The app is available worldwide to all users and the new features include: Recently Played: immediate access from “My Music” to all tracks recently listened to on any signed in device, Favorite Tracks: listen to saved songs found within the ‘heart’ icon directly from the home page, and Deezer Flow: the never-ending personal soundtrack that uses smart data and algorithm to play a unique mix of personal favourites and new discoveries. Flow will help you mix your music with new discoveries based on your tastes. One click, and you start streaming your all-time favourite songs from the vinyl records, cassette tapes, compact discs or MP3 files of your childhood, alongside all the best new chart-topping hits you could want. App Store: Deezer – Free (Offers In-App Purchases)
LONDON – Everyone in the UK knows that the holiday season officially starts when the John Lewis department store launches its Christmas advert. This year’s offering stars Sir Elton John, no less. However, for one man, the advert’s arrival is not so joyous. Meet @JohnLewis – a computer science educator from Blacksburg, Virginia. As his Twitter bio points out, Mr. Lewis is “not a retail store.” Despite this, every year Mr. Lewis is inundated with Tweets telling him how great his holiday advert is. To his credit, he gamely replies to all of them. This time around, Twitter UK gave him his own one.
Today, Gentlemen Coders released RAW Power 2.0 for iOS and macOS. RAW Power unlocks the power of Apple’s RAW engine with simple, easy-to-use controls. More than just an image editor, it is a full photo application that lets you organize and manage your iOS Photo Library. If you use iCloud Photo Library, all changes are also synced to iCloud, where every image you take and every change you make is instantly available to every app on your iPhone or iPad. You can use it for more than RAWs — it’s great with JPEGs too, with White Balance, Curves, Sharpen, and other tools missing from the built-in Photos app. The app also includes an innovative new Depth Effect for photos shot on iPhones with a dual camera system. The Mac app is on sale for a limited time. App Store: RAW Power – US$2.99 | Mac App Store: RAW Power – US$26.99
Play the world’s number one card game in a whole new way in UNO. The classic card game comes to your mobile device with all-new rules, tournaments, modes of play and much more. Whether you’re at home, on the go, an UNO veteran or completely new, UNO is the ultimate competitive family-friendly game! Ready. Set. UNO. Play classic UNO™ or select from a variety of new rules to play in real-time matches, compete in tournaments and events to win rewards and top the leaderboards, partner up, play in 2v2 mode and collaborate to win, and connect anytime, anywhere with friends from around the world. In Room Mode, invite friends and set up your own house rules. Play new cards like “Discard All” to remove one color completely from your hand or rules like “Stack” and watch your friends pile cards into their hands. This is the ultimate family-friendly mobile party experience that makes it easy for anyone to join. App Store: UNO – Free with in-app purchases
The new Polaroid RGB LED light offers photographers and videographers a professional, portable LED light system with powerful output. With a wide array of settings to create different moods, atmospheres, color backgrounds and special lighting effects, the easy-to-use light allows photographers to control and fine-tune the light source focus to capture the perfect shot every time. The free companion app allows users to fully control all aspects of the light, including color, brightness and saturation, for a fast and efficient workflow. Equipped with 320 professional-grade LED lamps, the Polaroid RGB LED camera and camcorder light provides 99 levels of cool white, warm white and RGB light to create the right ambience for your photo or video shoot. For further customization, you can adjust hue and saturation, brightness level and the exact color temperature you want to achieve in the 3200K-5600K range. Amazon: Polaroid RGB LEG Light – US$99
This is the latest 12-inch MacBook model on sale at Amazon for US$1298. And new, not refurbished. Here are the specs. “Apple MNYL2LL/A 12″ MacBook, Retina, 1.3 GHz Intel Core i5 Dual Core Processor, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, MacOS, Gold.” Only 9 left in stock, but more are said to be coming. MSRP is $1549.
Apple Maps is collecting pedestrian level data in California. On Friday, a man wearing a Lidar rig, GPS and multiple cameras as well as an Apple Maps backpack, was spotted in San Francisco, according to MacRumors. On its website, Apple said [via AppleInsider] that Pedestrian teams will be in a number of California counties. While cars conducting mapping are not such a rare site spotted in Los Angeles earlier in the week, but as MacRumors noted: “This is the first time we’ve seen someone collecting mapping data on foot.”
YouTuber JerryRigEverything has taken a rather brutal approach to Apple’s new iPad Pro. In a new video, he tested the 11-inch version’s durability and found that it “doesn’t have any of that structural integrity stuff.” He concluded: “A tablet the size of a piece paper folds like a piece of paper.” It is quite painful to watch the beautiful device just give way, but worth knowing where the weak the points are. (Spoiler alert: they’re right in the middle, by the microphone and Apple Pencil charging dock.)
LONDON – BT has revealed its Black Friday 2018 offers, including the iPhone SE with 6GB of data for £16 ($20) a month for the first six months. The cost then rises to £27 ($34.60) a month. The deal involves a 24-month contract and includes BT Sport’s mobile service. Elsewhere in the BT Black Friday sale, customers can buy an iPhone SE with 12GB of data a month for £18.50 ($23.70) for the first six months. It becomes £32 ($41) a month for the remainder of the 24-month contract and also includes access to BT Sport for mobile. Both deals also come with unlimited calling minutes and unlimited texts and no upfront cost.
Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition just dropped from US$9.99 to US$1.99. Since its original release in 1998, Baldur’s Gate has set the standard for Dungeons & Dragons computer roleplaying games. Customize your hero, recruit a party of brave allies, and explore the Sword Coast in your search for adventure, profit… and the truth. Forced to leave your home under mysterious circumstances, you find yourself drawn into a conflict that has the Sword Coast on the brink of war. Soon you discover there are other forces at work, far more sinister than you could ever imagine…This game is optimized for tablets and not recommended for phones with screen sizes under 7 inches. App Store: Baldur’s Gate – US$1.99
Startpage is a private search engine that doesn’t track you or store data about you. The company recently redesigned the website and added a couple of new features. One of them is called Anonymous View.
Clicking search results means leaving the protection of Startpage.com. This could lead to a barrage of cookies being installed on your device. That’s why we developed the “Anonymous View” feature. With “Anonymous View” you can visit search results in full privacy, and keep on browsing: They’ll never know you were there. You’ll find the feature next to every search result.
If you’re looking for an alternative search engine, especially a private one, check out Startpage.
Thus Spoke the Plant by Monica Gagliano is what she calls a “phytobiography.” She tells a story of her journey into the frontiers of plant science, and how it changed her life. The book is a little too New Agey for my taste though, and I had thought there would be more science. Instead it reads like an example of neopagan literature, with plant spirits, shamans, and drug-induced vision quests. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with that, it just surprised me to read it from a scientist. Nevertheless, Ms. Gagliano has certainly made strides in her field and is changing how we think of plants.
I’ve always been a keen observer of weights and measures, so this interested me. Digital Trends writes: “On Friday, November 16, a 129-year-old tradition will likely come to an end. Nearly all the world’s weighted measurements have relied on a single standard since 1889 — the International Prototype Kilogram (IPK), a block of metal made of platinum and iridium locked in a subterranean vault in Paris.
“Rather than defined by a block of metal, weights will be expressed in terms of the Planck constant (h). The stated goal is to shift the standard toward a more reliable form, one that won’t be damaged or corrupted by environmental factors that cause it to slightly and inexplicably lose weight.”