“There are only two kinds of Mac users: Those who have lost data, and those who will.” Dr. Mac said it in his first book, Dr. Macintosh, in 1989 and has been saying it ever since… It’s sad that so many users still don’t start backing up until after they’ve lost irreplaceable files. What’s even sadder is that in 2016 (as in all previous years), one of the most common issues reported by friends and readers was a crashed hard or solid-state drive. This week, Dr. Mac explains how to prevent heartbreak when (not “if”) your drive dies…
There are multiple ways to share files between Apple devices. You can use AirDrop, iMessage or even email. But an oft-overlooked feature is iTunes File Transfer. Andrew Orr explains how to use this feature to transfer files between your iPhone and Mac.
The Star Wars universe got a little smaller on Tuesday when Carrie Fisher, who portrayed Princess Leia in four Star Wars films, passed away following a heart attack late last week.
Apple is adding a 5-inch model to its iPhone lineup in 2017, or so the latest supply chain report claims. Assuming the sources are right, that would give Apple four different smartphone screen sizes starting at 4-inches for the iPhone SE, and topping out at 5.5-inches for the iPhone 7 Plus.
Sylvania announced Tuesday it was launching an LED smartbulb in its LEDVANCE product line with support for Apple’s HomeKit (yay!). Better yet, the Smart Multicolor A19 doesn’t require a hub—just plug it in, find it with Apple’s Home app, and you’re good to go. Sylvania said the device will be sold through Amazon and ship in “early 2017.” This will be a great addition to the HomeKit ecosystem. To that end, I’ve been seeing more HomeKit stuff in my inbox during the last few weeks for CES 2017. It’s almost as if Apple’s smarthome platform is finally coming alive. Let’s hope, at any rate. I’ve left messages with Sylvania reps asking about pricing, which wasn’t announced. Sylvania also didn’t release images of the new bulb—the image below is of current products in the company’s smartbulb line. [Update: Sylvania’s PR folks got back to me—pricing is definitely unannounced. I also added a rendered image of the A19. We’ll be visiting with the company next week at CES. – Bryan]
Apple’s artificial intelligence efforts are starting to come to light thanks to a just published white paper. The document describes a way to use artificial images to train computers to recognize real world objects, and is also a bit of a good faith gesture towards the open research philosophy in the AI community.
BusinessInsider did a roundup of Apple’s first ten employees: Gary Martin, Sherry Livingston, Chris Espinosa, Michael “Scotty” Scott, Randy Wigginton, Rod Holt, Bill Fernandez, Mike Markkula, Steve Jobs, and Steve Wozniak. That’s in reverse order of their employee number, with a bonus segment on cofounder Ron Wayne. The publication billed it as a “where are they now” piece, but there’s very little about where most of them are now. Really it’s more of a roundup with information about what they did while they were at Apple. I love history and lore, especially about Apple. And as much as I know about the company, there were a couple of tidbits that were new to me. Michael Scott, Apple’s first CEO, helped fill in some of the details for article, and there are photographs of everyone, as well as a bonus photo of some early Apple files (because [Apple]!).
Apple is reviving its AirTunes trademark, which has some thinking there’s a new product in the works. Bryan Chaffin and Dave Hamilton join Jeff Gamet to share what they think is in store for the AirTunes name, plus they look at Apple’s first artificial intelligence white paper.
Gene Quinn is a patent attorney and founder of IPWatchdog.com. Today he lectures, writes and helps aspiring patent attorneys and patent agents prepare themselves to pass the patent bar exam. In college, however, Gene’s interest was engineering. An important meeting with a Rutgers professor changed his life, and he graduated with a E.E. degree. Later, with new interests and confidence, he moved into the law. Gene goes into considerable detail about his career progression, having plans, and keeping options open. His first job after his law degree was in litigation, but soon his engineering experience led him into patent law. This is a powerful story about turning your skills and passion into a career when confronted with challenges. Plus, we talk about PCs in law, his current love for Macs and his experiment with the notorious Zune.
It only took about 13 years, but HandBrake is finally out of beta. Version 1.0 was released on December 24th, and is the go-to tool for video transcoding. In layman’s terms, HandBrake is what you use to convert DVDs into video files you can play on your Mac. Version 1.0 improves audio and video syncing for difficult sources, adds new device presets, adds new MKV and JSON presets, improves performance Skylake-based Macs, and more. HandBrake isn’t, however, completely leaving the beta world behind thanks to its new less technical documentation that’s tagged beta. You can download HandBrake at the HandBrake website for free.
We have a deal for you on a video editing suite called the Movavi Multimedia Editing Bundle for Mac. It’s comprised of three apps, Movavi Video Editor for Mac, Movavi Video Converter for Mac, and Movavi Screen Capture for Mac. You get all three for $43.95 through us. Check out the deal listing for details.
Everyone got AirPods except you? No worries, Dave and John have you covered with some AirPods alternatives. Otherwise it’s listener questions dominate the show, as usual, with topics ranging from where to store your iTunes Media, network topology, replacements for Dropbox’s missing Public folder and much more. Download today and enjoy!
Christmas, Hanukkah, Festivus, Solstice…It doesn’t matter what you celebrate this time of year—or if you celebrate at all. The Mac Observer hopes this weekend is a wonderful time for you, and that you get to take a day or two off to relax. We’re taking Monday off, but we’ll be back on Tuesday, December 27th, with our iPhone, iPad, and Mac coverage, along with a fresh TMO Daily Observations episode, too.
The Congressional Encryption Working Group (EWG) released a year-end report this week stating specifically that, “strong encryption is essential to both individual privacy and national security.” This leaves Bryan Chaffin with hope, even though the report contained a few mixed messages.
The history of space flight is amazing, especially when you take into account the vast distances between planets and the complex flight paths spacecraft take to get to their otherworldly destinations. Pop Chart Lab does a great job of showing what humans have accomplished in their beautiful Chart of Cosmic Exploration. The 39-inch by 27-inch color print details the routes for about 100 different craft that have gone to the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. The print costs US$38 and you can pick it up at the Pop Chart Lab website.
At its World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) this year, Apple announced that all apps on its platform must support App Transport Security (ATS). The company told developers on Friday, however, that it is extending that deadline.
Apple has a new support document encouraging customers to verify encrypted emails, especially security emails from Apple. The document includes Apple’s own public PGP key for those verifications. Apple noted that its current PGP key will be valid until May of 2018. PGP, or “pretty good privacy” is one of the most popular encryption schemes in general use today, through both the PGP Corporation and the open source GnuPGP. Apple posted links to both. You can subscribe to Apple’s Security-announce emails at Apple’s website.
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!
Uber is in the spotlight again over privacy concerns. Bryan Chaffin and the Maccast’s Adam Christianson join Jeff Gamet to look at how Uber is collecting location data and how we can block that, plus Adam shares his AirPods experience.
It’s been a while since a quality QuarkXPress book came out, so my long time friend and graphic design expert Jay Nelson stepped up to the plate with a QuarkXPress for Dummies. Jay explains print and digital publishing workflows, color management, image resolution, fonts, output formats, and more. He also explains the evolution of QuarkXPress, which is great for understanding how it went from being the premier desktop publishing tool to the more specialized product it is today. QuarkXPress for Dummies is available now on Amazon for US$34.99.