The M1 Pro Vs. M1 Max Chip

· Dave Hamilton & John F. Braun · Video Tip

Apple recently unleashed TWO new chips with their new MacBook Pros. Watch this mini-segment from Mac Geek Gab 896 to learn more about the M1 Pro and M1 Max Chip.

Coinstar Adds Bitcoin ATMs to Walmart Retail Stores

· Andrew Orr · Link

walmart

Following a collaboration with Coinstar, Walmart customers can now make use of 200 Bitcoin ATMs in the retail giant’s pilot program.

The process of buying Bitcoin through these machines is straightforward but relatively costly. Shoppers will insert banknotes into the ATM, which will then issue a voucher carrying a redemption code. The voucher can only be redeemed after the completion of the Know-Your-Customer process. According to the Coinstar FAQ page, “Each purchase carries a transaction fee of 4% and a cash exchange fee of 7%.”

Translation: If you really want to buy Bitcoin with cash, this method may be a good option for you. Otherwise you can buy cryptocurrencies through exchanges. Privacy downside: Many of these exchanges are required to use a Know Your Customer (KYC) process. Upload your photo, driver’s license, and fill out other personal information.

Teardown Reveals Why Apple Watch Series 7 Faced Delays

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Apple Watch Series 7 teardown

We all enjoy the iFixit teardowns of new products. This time, they’ve enlisted the help of some former Apple engineers to look at the insides of the Apple Watch Series 7. It gives a hint as to why the device might have been delayed.

Apple Music Becoming Available on Windows 11 as an Android App

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Windows 11

Windows 11 users will soon be able to access Apple Music as an Android appMacRumors reported on the functionality, currently available only to beta testers.

Microsoft released Windows 11 earlier this month, but its promised support for side-loading Android apps was delayed. That just got one step closer, however, with the first preview of the support now available to testers in the Beta Channel version of Windows 11, which means interested users need to opt into the Windows Insider program to gain access. As it’s a preview release, Microsoft has limited the number of Android apps that can be run on Windows 11, and has partnered with Amazon to make around 50 apps on the Amazon Appstore available to download and install. ‌Apple Music‌ isn’t available on Amazon’s Appstore, but it is possible to run the app using the app’s APK and the Windows Subsystem for Android.

Is Safari Becoming the New Internet Explorer Holding Back Progress?

· Andrew Orr · Link

Safari icon in mac dock

Scott Gilbertson writes about Safari for The Register on Friday, pondering its features (or lack thereof) with other major browsers.

If Apple were less opaque and faster in its development process it could participate more in the debate over new APIs. If the company truly has concerns about the privacy implications of APIs, then it should voice them. Push back against Google, and provide a real alternative to Chrome. It wouldn’t be easy, but it might be the only hope we have.

'REvil' Ransomware Group Taken Down Through Multi-Country Effort

· Andrew Orr · Link

FBI

The FBI, working with Cyber Command, the Secret Service, and other countries, took down REvil.

According to three people familiar with the matter, law enforcement and intelligence cyber specialists were able to hack REvil’s computer network infrastructure, obtaining control of at least some of their servers. After websites that the hacker group used to conduct business went offline in July, the main spokesman for the group, who calls himself “Unknown,” vanished from the internet.

Google Follows Apple And Slashes Play Store Fees

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Google is reducing the fees it takes from developers in the Play Store, CNBC reported. It is dropping the cut it takes from subscriptions from 30 percent to 15 from day one. The move from Google follows similar ones made by Apple.

Google also said on Thursday that it was introducing a program to allow e-books, music streaming services, and other apps that pay for content to access fees as low as 10%. Apple doesn’t make exceptions for those kind of apps and doesn’t offer a 10% fee to developers in its app store. Apple, which has received more regulator attention over its app store than Google, over the past two years cut its take from 30% to 15% in many cases, including for apps making less than $1 million per year, news apps, and certain premium video streamers that participate in an Apple program. But Apple still charges 30% for the first year of a subscription, meaning that Google’s app store may be more competitive for subscription-based apps.

 

The Associated Press Brings Datasets to Blockchain Through Chainlink

· Andrew Orr · Link

chainlink

The Associated Press announced a partnership with Chainlink to bring datasets onto leading blockchains.

AP U.S. race calls, economic data, sports game outcomes and business financials will be available. The data can be used to automate key processes that happen on-chain, including informing markets of election race calls, triggering an on-chain trade when a company’s quarterly financials are released, or augmenting the appearance of non-fungible tokens based on real-world events.

iOS 15 Wallet Tip: Expired Passes

· Dave Hamilton & John F. Braun · Video Tip

Find your expired concert tickets, plane tickets, and more in the Expired Passes section of your iOS 15 Wallet. Learn more in this mini-segment from Mac Geek Gab 894.

Is Apple Product Design Better Without Sir Jony Ive?

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive

It’s a heretical thought for some but…has Apple product design actually got better since Sir Jony Ive left? Writing for Bloomberg Businessweek, Alex Webb argues that devices now focus on function rather than form, to the benefit of the user.

Evans Hankey, who now heads the industrial design team, has overseen plenty of other tweaks that seem to indicate a change of philosophy. Take the iPhone. The latest iterations have ditched the curved edges that made the display liable to crack if dropped on its side. Or the Apple TV remote, whose symmetry made it visually appealing, but meant that users often inadvertently pressed the wrong buttons by holding it upside down. The design was revamped in May. “Since Jony Ive left, there’s not that gravitational force driving aesthetic before function,” Paul Found, a lecturer in industrial design at the University for the Creative Arts in Canterbury, England. “Those who have taken over are now listening to what customers are saying.”

It Costs Another US$20 to Get Fast Charging For The New 14-Inch MacBook Pro

· Charlotte Henry · Link

2021 MacBook Pro

Apple has mentioned faster charging when launching a variety of devices recently, including the new 14-inch MacBook Pro, However, as iMore pointed out, getting the feature will cost a little bit extra on top of the standard configuration.

Thankfully, the 96W power adapter is available as a $20 upgrade when you are configuring your 14-inch MacBook Pro, but it still seems odd that Apple would bother with the 67W power adapter at all since it doesn’t provide the full experience that its new laptop is capable of. The new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros feature the new M1 Pro and M1 Max processors, Apple’s latest pro-level chips that take the M1 to new heights. The new laptops feature a mini-LED display, MagSafe charging, a new keyboard with function keys, and the return of many ports.

Airborne Drone Deliveries to Start in Dallas-Fort Worth

· Jeff Butts · Link

Walgreens Airlift Drone Deliveries

Anybody want their prescriptions airlifted to them? Walgreens customers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area will have that option soon. Alphabet-owned drone deployment system Wing has partnered with the drug store chain to make drone deliveries a reality. The drone flights have been in testing out of Fort Worth-based Hillwoods Alliance Texas Flight Test Center. In the coming weeks, the drones will launch from Walgreens parking lots. The’ll initially deliver to a portion of the Dallas-Fort Worth region including Frisco and Little Elm. If successful, the companies plan to roll the drone deliveries out even further after a few months. Alphabet says businesses can also deploy the drones from rooftops or next to buildings. UPS began testing drone delivery in 2018. The company has recently used drones to deliver COVID-19 vaccines, but this is yet another commercial application of the technology.

Until now, this type of service in the United States has been limited to smaller towns, where land usage is less crowded and complex. Wing’s reliable aircraft and advanced flight planning and routing capabilities make it uniquely capable of operating a highly automated drone delivery service in more crowded, complex operating environments.

 

North Vancouver Plans to Use Electricity From Bitcoin Mining for Heat

· Andrew Orr · Link

Salvadorans Protest Bitcoin Law

The city of North Vancouver in Canada is planning to use electricity created by Bitcoin mining to heat houses.

The technique will involve using MintGreen’s Digital Boilers, which recover more than 96 per cent of the electricity used for bitcoin mining to heat commercial and residential buildings.

Operating at full capacity 365 days a year, the bitcoin miner will be able to heat 100 residential and commercial buildings in the city, situated in the hills north of Vancouver.

Facebook is Going to Change Its Name Next Week

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Facebook logo 3D

Facebook is going to change its name next week, The Verge reported. It’s not going to be re-adding a ‘The’ but rebrand in order to reflect Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of a ‘metaverse’.

A rebrand could also serve to further separate the futuristic work Zuckerberg is focused on from the intense scrutiny Facebook is currently under for the way its social platform operates today. A former employee turned whistleblower, Frances Haugen, recently leaked a trove of damning internal documents to The Wall Street Journal and testified about them before Congress. Antitrust regulators in the US and elsewhere are trying to break the company up, and public trust in how Facebook does business is falling.

The MacBook Pro May Not Get a Cellular Model Until 2024

· Andrew Orr · Link

2021 MacBook Pro ports

For now, photographers and other people in the field will have to tether their MacBook Pro to their iPhone to actually upload their content.

Apple’s 5G laptop strategy right now is to tell you to buy an iPhone. The math is pretty simple: Qualcomm’s modems, which Apple has a deal to use at least through 2022, are a big cost on Apple’s ledger both financially and politically. Sure, Apple could price Qualcomm-packing laptops so it makes a profit, but the company doesn’t want to be even more dependent on its longtime frenemy as a supplier.

VSCO Officially Launches New Film Effects to Members

· Andrew Orr · Link

VSCO FX scratches tool

I spotted the new FX toolset a few days ago, and on Tuesday VSCO is officially rolling it out to members of its VSCO X subscription service. These remind of of Mextures, an editing app I used for a a couple years. I don’t use that app anymore but I do look forward to the grain textures in VSCO FX. I had complained about its regular grain tool for a while because it’s too uniform. But these new grain textures look more realistic and film-like, if that’s your style.

Built from actual film stock, these new Texture presets create a Dust, Grain and Scratch overlay for your photos and videos. These subtle effects allow you to add another dimension to your creativity. There are 19 photo and 9 video Textures available.