According to the Wikileaks Vault 7 information dump, the CIA has been hard at work developing hacks to get into the data on our iPhones. Most of the exploits listed in the report, however, are already patched and Apple is working on taking care of the remaining few.
Hewlett-Packard’s new Z2 Mini is a next generation PC. With an option for a fast Xeon CPU, strong M620 graphics than can drive four 4K displays, 32 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD on the M.2 bus and room for an additional internal hard disk, it’s a small, beautiful, powerhouse that’s aimed at creative professionals. And it won’t make your credit card melt. John Martellaro offers his perspectives in this occasionally geeky and unconventional review.
The Amazon Echo Dot is an amazing little device, but it’s not portable. Rather, it’s not portable yet. A technology lifestyle company, Ninety7, has just announced a product that will set your Dot free. Ninety7 has designed the VAUX specifically for the Amazon Echo Dot. This isn’t just another Bluetooth speaker. It’s a battery-powered speaker that your Dot fits inside, so you can take your device anywhere you want. Just drop your Dot into the speaker and plug in the USB cable and 3.5mm audio jack. VAUX transforms your Dot into a cordless, robust sound system and home-command center. The VAUX looks right at home with the Amazon Echo Dot, and extends its capabilities. The only drawback I’ve seen so far is that the VAUX isn’t weather-resistant. You can preorder your VAUX now at Ninety7’s web site, and the speakers should begin shipping in early April 2017.
Now that we’re thinking about privacy and the security of our computers and mobile devices again, we’re worried about encrypting email. Jeff Butts is here to set your mind at ease that email encryption is alive and well, and surprisingly easy to do on the Mac.
Check out Pebby, a pet toy that is raking in the pledges at Kickstarter. The company behind Pebby isn’t using these words, but think of it as “Sphero for your pet.” I bet Sphero is thinking that, too, but that’s for them to worry about. Anyway, this ball has a camera in it for recording your pet’s adorable antics or remotely monitoring said pet. That’s all well and good, BUT IT HAS LASERS, TOO! With an automatic “play” mode, Pebby will occupy and exercise your pet all on its own. And did I mention lasers? The play mode can activate those lasers and drive your cat to adorable antics! And boom! Video those antics at the same time. It charges in a cradle, and it can return to that cradle on its own. That means less stepping on it in the dark. Oh, and it pairs with a dongle you put on your pet, which helps Pebby interact with it. Watch the video to see Pebby in action. This is a brand new Kickstarter, and it’s already raised $68,000, well past its $50,000 goal. As of this writing, there are still Super Early Bird Special pledge levels of $124 that will net you a Pebby Smart Ball, Smart collar, and Wireless Charging Dock.
A new cartoon streaming service is coming this spring. It’s called Boomerang, and it will feature thousands of classic old cartoons like The Jetsons, The Flintstones, Smurfs, Scooby Doo and Tom & Jerry. It’s part of the Boomerang TV network, but this cartoon service will be separate from the network. At launch, Boomerang will be available for iOS, Android and the web, with more devices and platforms soon to follow. You can stream cartoons ad-free for US$4.99/month, or US$39.99/year, with a seven-day free trial. Boomerang will only be available in the U.S., and there’s no word on whether it will expand to other countries. The service will be kid-friendly, and every cartoon episode will be pre-screened for age appropriate content. You can sign up for email updates on the website so you can be notified when it launches.
Bob LeVitus joins Bryan and Jeff to talk about his new book, Working Smarter for Mac Users. They talk about why Bob wrote it and the things Bryan learned from editing it. They also talk about the CIA iPhone hacks leaked to Wikileaks and the home automation hub they wish they could buy.
With the Wikileaks report out saying the CIA developed hacking tools to get into our iPhones, John Martellaro joins Jeff Gamet to look at Apple’s security measures for our mobile devices. They also look at the negative message Apple is sending customers by not giving us solid information about the Mac, and Kelly Guimont drops by for a few minutes, too.
Today’s Quick Tip is about switching a group of events from one color-coded calendar to another. This is handy if, for example, you’ve got five or ten events on your “Work” calendar that need to move to “Home.” Melissa Holt’s gonna tell us all about it!
We have a deal for you today on the Ztylus Revolver Lens Camera Kit for iPhone 7. This is a lens kit built into a revolving holder on the back of a case. It has four lenses, fisheye, wide angle, CPL, and macro. Just spin the holder to access the lens you need. It’s $84.95 through our deal.
Dr. Mac chose Squarespace to build and host the website for his new book, Working Smarter for Mac Users. He explains why he likes it and what makes it different in episode #217 of Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves.
Slack offers a Remind feature that can help keep things from slipping through the cracks. You might not have noticed it, however, so Bryan Chaffin wants to show you how to use it to remind yourself, your colleagues, or even delay action on a message.
These days, it’s easy to collect a lot of data in the course of a research project. And, often, that big data collection is hard to interpret and glean new insights from by data analysis alone. That’s where scientific visualization comes in. Here’s a site that celebrates those images which are frequently just plain beautiful as well. From the website: “The Wellcome Image Awards are Wellcome’s most eye-catching celebration of science, medicine and life. Now in their 20th year, the Awards recognise the creators of informative, striking and technically excellent images that communicate significant aspects of healthcare and biomedical science.” Check it out.
Do Not Disturb is a great feature, but it’s always bothered Jeff Butts that he couldn’t allow text or iMessage notifications through. Thanks to the new Emergency Bypass setting in iOS 10, those worries are gone. Let’s check out how it works.
On Tuesday, Wikileaks published a cache of leaked documents some argue is more damning than Edward Snowden’s NSA leak. Wikileaks called the CIA documents “Vault 7,” a trove of 7,818 pages and files disclosing cyber weapons and hacking tools. Among other revelations, the one making the biggest headlines is that the CIA worked extensively on iPhone hacks.
Check out Loopy Cases for iPhone. The short version is that they have a loop for your finger on the back. You can use the loop for more secure one-handed operation, walking around, or as a poor-man’s stand. I was turned on to Loopy Cases by a friend who’s always dropping her iPhone. She thought it was just the thing to stop dropping her device, and watching the video (below), I agree. The case has reinforced bumpers in case you drop it anyway, but it’s main purpose is to hold the loop itself. There are Loopy Cases for iPhone 6/6 Plus, iPhone 7/7 Plus, and a handful of Samsung devices if that’s your thing. They’re priced at $35, with free shipping in the U.S. for orders more than $40 ($50 for international orders).
Foxconn and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) are teaming up in a move to buy Toshiba Memory. Assuming the two companies can make the deal come together, they’ll be in a strong position to steal Apple’s memory business away from Samsung.
3D Touch has all sorts of little conveniences around iOS that can add up to big time savers. If you haven’t used it much though, David Chartier put together a list of some great places to start.
Former Apple executive Ron Johnson recently shared some insight into Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Bryan Chaffin and Dave Hamilton join Jeff Gamet to share their thoughts on how Steve Jobs worked through new ideas before accepting them, plus they look at Apple’s iPhone numbers and the new Sonos PLAYBASE.
Apple Pay officially launched in Ireland on Tuesday, and the contactless payment system is heading to Italy soon, too. Currently, Apple Pay is available for Ireland’s boon, Ulster Bank and KBC customers.