Tips, and lots of them, start today’s show. Audiobooks, Finder tweaks, securing your Mac and more! Then it’s time to talk about how your accounts can disappear and reappear, why your printer driver might want to listen to the network, how to view 35mm slides on your Mac and how your iPad keypad might change names! All this and much more on today’s Mac Geek Gab.
Apple sort of activated its long-held, but dormant Twitter account @Apple. It’s yet another symbol of CEO Tim Cook’s decision to take a more active role in shaping the Apple narrative.
The thing I enjoy the most about posting games like this is the chorus of “Gee, thanks, Bryan. I just wasted my entire afternoon because of you” messages I get. With that in mind, I offer you a cordial “You’re welcome!” reply. Today’s game is called TAP and SMASH. The premise is simple: when you tap, a triangle that represents you moves up in a straight line. Along the way, you collect stars (for points) and coins (for buying power ups, continuing your game, etc.). In your way are circles and lines traveling across your path. When you tap, you move. When you don’t, you fall. That makes avoiding the enemy shapes a matter of timing and luck. I suck at this game, but it has that just-one-more quality. It’s also free to download. For $0.99 you can turn off ads that play every five minutes or so between games. You can also buy coins, but you can have a lot of fun without doing so. I happily paid to turn off ads because I’ve been playing the game a lot. Enjoy!
The personal computing industry is changing quickly. Again. Not long ago, there was a simple migration from Mac and PC desktops to notebooks. Then, Apple finally got the simple tablet right in 2010. However, basic tablets can’t do it all, and so Apple warmed to the iPad Pro concept. But the dust isn’t clearing. Rather the market is exploding in use cases and advanced technology. John tries to make sense of it all.
YouTube user Matthew Rogers has posted a new drone flyover video of Apple Campus 2.0, the so-called Spaceship HQ. This update features some of the glass panels that will form the outer walls of the building, solar panels on the roof, the shrinking dirt mountain on site, many of the outer buildings, fuel cells, and more. I love seeing these updates. The building is amazing, even in its unfinished state, and being able to watch it grow is fun.
We have a deal on TextExpander, one of our favorite Mac and iOS utilities at TMO. TextExpander lets you create text “snippets” that you can then call with a key combination you designate. It’s great for anything you have to type frequently, especially when combined with powerful for tools for combining the snippet with something in your clipboard. Smile Software moved to a subscription pricing scheme, and our deal will let you get a 1-year subscription for $19.98, 60% off retail. It’s good for one user on an unlimited number of devices.
Apple’s slow Mac refresh cycle is HP’s opportunity. John Martellaro and Dave Hamilton join Jeff Gamet to talk about how HP is taking advantage of the ongoing lack of new Mac hardware, plus they share their thoughts on Apple’s plan to clean house at the App Store.
Apple is about to start cleaning the App Store’s house by removing outdated and abandoned apps. The change should make it easier to find the apps you’re looking for, improve discoverability, and cut down on apps that aren’t compatible with current iOS versions. Developers trying to manipulate search results with long app names are in for a surprise, too.
We’ve been impatiently waiting for Sphero’s BB-8 motion controller wristband ever since we saw it earlier this year at CES, and now it’s finally almost here. The BB-8 Force Band lets you control Poe Dameron’s little droid friend by moving your wrist, almost as if you’re using the Force. If you don’t have a BB-8, that’s OK because the Foce Band controls Spero’s other robots, too. You can pick up the Force Band on September 30th for US$79, or $199 bundled with a BB-8.
Apple published two blog posts Thursday that highlight some of the first third party apps that will have Siri support in iOS 10. The move comes ahead of the actual launch of iOS 10, and continues the company’s effort to play a broader role in shaping the Apple narrative. In Hey Siri, book me a ride, Apple highlights Uber, Lyft, mytaxi, Didi Chuxingm Vonage, Cisco Spark, and Skype. Users will be able to use Siri to get a ride or make a call without first opening these apps. In Hey Siri, show me my best selfies, Apple shows Siri integration with Pinterest, Vogue Runway, Looklive, and Pikazo.
The FBI’s fight for government mandated backdoors into our encrypted data and devices is far from over, and Director James Comey says he plans to bring that back to the forefront next year. Mr. Comey says it’s time for an “adult conversation” on the topic, and that law enforcement needs an easy way to access our private data for criminal investigations.
It’s no secret we’re obsessed with Stranger Things here at TMO. Then Adam Christianson dropped a note in Slack about Jimmy Fallon playing a game called Stranger Strings with the child actors in the show. It involves lots of Silly String, of course. Oh, and it includes Millie Bobby Brown rapping Nicki Minaj’s verse in “Monsters.” And she’s a Spanish-born Brit. Who knew? All the kids are great, though, so enjoy. And for those on #TeamBarb, there’s also a Jimmy Fallon sketch where Barb comes back to confront the kids while they’re playing “Virgins & Dragons.” It’s also entertaining.
Dr. Andrew Leavitt has posted the “Official BINGO Card for the Fall 2016 Apple Special Event.” It’s awesome. Each square has an event, quote, quip, or note you can expect. Things like, “Snarky Android burn in reference to iOS adoption rates,” or, “Doubling down on something or another.” There are also most serious squares for specific new features that are rumored. It’s quite funny and an excellent roundup of both expectations and rumors. The first person to get five in a row or column wins. Dr. Leavitt posted a PDF version of the image in case you want to print it and play for real. 😂
Music for iOS 10 gets a complete revamp, and for the better. Quite a bit has changed, disappeared, and improved. Dave Chartier offers his guide to getting acquainted with this key piece of iOS 10 software.
Apple released separate security updates for OS X Yosemite and OS X El Capitan on Thursday. Both updates patch the same two critical security flaws. One flaw potentially exposed kernel memory, and the other allowed a maliciously crafted app to take over your system.
Hewlett-Packard has just announced a desktop PC to drool over. It’s about the size of a Mac mini but has many more features. First, it’s stackable. One can add modules like Bang & Olufsen speakers, an optical drive, an external drive module, and a VESA mounting plate. It logs on with an optional fingerprint sensor. Power and I/O is via USB-C, but it also has conventional USB-A ports, a port for Ethernet and DisplayPort video. There’s an Intel Core i7 and you can put a whopping 32 GB of RAM in it. There’s a lot to like about the way HP has approached this new, beautiful product. Available later this month, starting at US$429.
We have a deal for you today on the Soundfreaq Double Spot Bluetooth Speaker. This portable Bluetooth speaker lasts up to 6 hours on one charge, and it also has a USB port for charging your mobile devices. It has on-board controls and three tone presets, flat, warm, and bright. You can get this device through our deal for $79.99.
FBI Director James Comey isn’t ready to give up the fight to punch a hole through our encryption and privacy. Dave Hamilton and John Martellaro join Jeff Gamet to discuss the FBI’s stance on mandated back doors into encryption and the Director Comey’s need to save face in this argument.
Tweetbot maker Tapbots brought its popular Pastebot clipboard manager back to life, but this time it’s for the Mac. The app keeps a history of what you copy and paste so you can quickly paste again, shows previews of copied items, includes filters for modifying clippings when they’re pasted, and supports macOS Sierra’s Universal Clipboard feature for sharing clippings between your Mac and iOS devices. Pastebot is available as a public beta, so Universal Clipboard support isn’t working yet. You can checkout Pastebot at the Tapbots website.
This Quick Tip is about how you can download songs, playlists, or albums to your iOS device if you’re using Apple Music, so you’re not out of luck if you lose network connectivity (or heck, if you just don’t want to stream your music and use up your cellular data). Music lovers, unite!