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!
Adobe Lightroom is already available on the Mac, iPad and iPhone, and now it’s on Apple TV, too. The Apple TV version won’t let you edit images, but it does display Lightroom galleries on your big screen TV. You can view photos synchronized with the iPad version, or uploaded through Lightroom on the Web, view photos in slide shows, and zoom in on image details, too. Installing Lightroom (free) on your iPhone or iPad first makes it show up in purchased apps on your Apple TV. You’ll need a fourth generation Apple TV and a Creative Cloud account, too.
Oh my goodness, but do I love this video? Yes! Yes, I love this video! It’s from some show called The Computer Chronicles in 1995, and it features our own Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus (starting at 8:17) introducing the first Mac clone from Power Computing. He was working for Power Computing in those days as head of PR. Check out that ponytail and jacket he’s sporting (Squeeeeeeeee!). This video also has a segment with Jack Colt from DayStar demoing a multi-processing Mac clone that was a massive powerhouse in its day, as well as a segment on Oracle, and then an interview with Tim Bajarin. Oh, and they’re showing off some new fangled thing called Java. What blast from the past! Jim Tanous of TekRevue sent me the link because he loves me.
Pokémon GO launched in the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand only a couple weeks ago and it’s already the most download title on Apple’s App Store ever. More countries have been getting in on the game since then, and with Japan launching Pokémon GO today it’s a safe bet downloads are going to just keep climbing. That popularity is no doubt translating into big bucks for Nintendo and Apple thanks to in-app purchases, and also potentially slimer waist lines for players who’re getting off their couches and roaming the streets looking for Bulbasaur and Pikachu to catch. If Pokémon GO’s downloads are any indication, we really do have to catch ’em all.
iStumbler is a great WiFi network monitoring and troubleshooting utility for the Mac. You can use it to see what networks are nearby, track which channels and frequencies each network uses, view encryption status, and even get the coordinates for nearby base stations. As if that’s not enough, it also tracks Bonjour and Bluetooth devices. iStumbler is a handy tool that usually costs US$25, but right now it’s on sale for $10—more than half off. You can pick up a copy at the iStumbler website.
Want to try out Polymail on the Mac or your iPhone? That’s no problem now that it doesn’t require an invitation to download. Polymail is an alternative email app for iOS and OS X that lets you track email messages and receive notifications when they’ve been read, schedule when a message is sent, “snooze” messages for later reference, and even unsend messages. You can download the Mac version at the Polymail website, and the iOS version at Apple’s App Store.
We have a solid deal for those who like their tunes bass-heavy, Beats Pro Lil Wayne On-Ear Headphones from Apple’s Beats by Dre. Made of steel and aluminum, these headphones feature thick padded cups for your ears. Our deal offers a significant discount at $239.99, which is 39% off retail.
The Withings Thermo is a really cool digital thermometer we first saw at CES earlier this year, and now it’s available because it finally passed the FDA approval process. It senses your temperature without touching your skin, displays its readings instantly, and shows high temperature alerts. Thermo is more accurate than other digital thermometers thanks to its 16 infrared sensors that capture 4,000 measurements as it sweeps across your forehead. It syncs with your iPhone, offers advice based on readings, and can alert you when it’s time to take your temperature again. The Thermo costs US$99.95 and is available at the Apple Store and Withings website.
Vaja is offering a 20% sitewide discount on its leather cases for iPhones, iPads, and even a few Android devices. I don’t often mention things like sales, but I am a huge fan of Vaja cases. My first Vaja case was for the last Motorola RAZR I owned before I got the first-gen iPhone. I then got a Vaja case for that iPhone and for the iPhone 3GS I replaced it with. They’re very well made, high quality, and gorgeous, but you pay for what you get. That’s code for “they ain’t cheap,” making a 20% discount a possible buying opportunity for me. To get the discount, use coupon code “20off” at checkout. The item pictured with this article is the iPad Pro 9.7″ Detachable Libretto Leather Case, which normally starts at $199.
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!
Apple posted two new spots in its “Shot on iPhone” series on YouTube. The one below, is titled Shot on iPhone by Marc Z. It should have been called something like Laughing Girl, or Joie de Vie. It’s just happy. And fun. And it’s yet another great spot in this wonderful series that shows off iPhone’s abilities. Apple also released Shot on iPhone by Robert S., a video of a gondola ride off a mountain.
Apple Pay officially launched in France Tuesday. The initial rollout covers MasterCard and Visa users with Banque Populaire, Carrefour Banque, Ticket Restaurant, and Caisse d’Epargne. Orange and Boon banks are coming soon. Apple announced the French Apple Pay rollout during June’s World Wide Developer Conference—ironically, our own Dave Hamilton tried to use it in France without success just last week during his European vacation. Le moment, as they (don’t actually) say, est tout.
MacStock 2016 took place over the weekend, and TMO friend Chuck Joiner has already edited a 57 minute video of interviews with many of the podcasters and writers in attendance. That includes Ken Ray, Victor Cajiao, Bryan Chaffin (meeeeeeee!), Tim Robertson, Julie Kuehl, Wally Cherwinski, Don McAllister, Adam Christianson, Barry Fulk, Mike T. Rose, and several more folks. If you pay attention, you’ll even see our own Jeff Gamet molest Mr. Joiner. As one does.
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!).
Germany is considering an interesting approach in the march towards regulating self-driving, or autonomous, vehicles. Reuters reported Europe’s largest economy is working on legislation that would require self-driving cars to include “black box” tech. That system would record when the system was active and when the driver was in control. It would also record when the system requested the driver take over. Black box comes from the airline industry, where effectively-indestructible devices record flight data in the event of a crash. Those devices cost about $100,000 and have to survive substantially greater trauma than a car would ever endure. With that in mind, devices designed for cars would share little more than a name with their flying cousins. This is one regulatory approach that could be copied far and wide.
Remember the Vrse app? We covered it when it launched with a very cool VR performance from U2 and other musicians around the world. The app has been renamed to Within (at with.in), and the company announced a live simulcast premier of the “Mr. Robot VR Experience” on July 21st. It’s been known for a while that showrunner Sam Esmail was shooting a VR scene for Mr. Robot, and this experience will build off that. There’s not a lot of info about it out there, with a brief mention in Within’s patch notes the only place I could find it. Season 2 kicked off on July 13th—I love this show and am super interested in seeing what it does with virtual reality.
Nintendo fans will want to be on the lookout for the company’s new console this holiday season. No, not that one. Nintendo has unveiled the Mini NES Classic Edition console, a palm-sized replica of the groundbreaking entertainment device that includes 30 built-in NES games, support for two controllers, and HDMI output. Some of the built-in games include the Super Mario Bros. trilogy, The Legend of Zelda, Castlevania, StarTropics, and Tecmo Bowl. The Mini NES includes one new “classic controller” and will hit store shelves on November 11th for $59.99. Additional controllers can be picked up for $10 each, and are compatible with Virtual Console games on the Wii and Wii U.
The computers NASA used in the Apollo missions to the moon were very slow and primitive by today’s standards. It was necessary to write all the flight code and lunar module landing code in assembly language. Even then, code modules (flight phases) were paged in and out of memory. The software was written by IBM and worked, as we know, beautifully. What’s almost as amazing is the complete printout of the assembly code on paper which stands, in this article, about as tall as Director of Apollo Flight Computer Programming Margaret Hamilton. You can now see it all on GitHub.
ZOMGZOMGZOMG!!! I am all a tither! Literature & Latte announced Wednesday that Scrivener is coming to iOS on July 20th! Scrivener is the best writing environment I’ve found, but heretofore it’s worked only on Mac and Windows. I’m not personally interested in writing on my iPad, but I am mega-interested in editing on my iPad. In fact, I do my serious read-throughs when editing fiction in iBooks. That’s great, but being able to get into that reading mode with Scrivener directly in hand is going to be a big deal for me. There’s no link yet, but L&L said it will be released July 20th at $19.99.
Apple’s original TV series Planet of the Apps is on the hunt for developers willing to share their app design process on the small screen. There’s an open casting call on the show’s website and they’re looking for coders in Austin, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York to participate. Only 100 slots are available, and you’ll need a beta of your app ready by October 21, so get coding. You can apply for the show at the Planet of the Apps website.