TMO Daily Observations 2016-08-11: Reality Checking Apple's Product Focus

· Jeff Gamet · The Mac Observer's Daily Observations Podcast

TMO Daily Observations Podcast Logo

Apple seems to be making everything except new Macs, and that has some people wondering if the company has lost its focus. Bryan Chaffin and The Maccast’s Adam Christianson join Jeff Gamet to share their thoughts on Apple’s new product and product upgrade strategies and weigh in on whether or not the company is still focused.

Netflix Fast Internet Speed Test Comes to iPhone

· Jeff Gamet · Cool Stuff Found

Netflix launched its own internet speed test website a few months ago, and now the streaming entertainment company has turned the Fast site into an iPhone and iPad app. Just like the website, the Fast app is a one trick pony: launch it, and you’ll see how fast your internet connection is. Fast shows just your download speed, which is what most people care about anyhow, and there’s a button to check your connection speed again. Netflix Fast is a free download at Apple’s App Store.

Netflix Fast Internet Speed Test Comes to iPhone

OS X: Installing the Older Version of Microsoft Office

· Melissa Holt · Quick Tip

On September 22, Microsoft is going stop allowing its Office 365 customers to download Office 2011. So if you need to take advantage of the time remaining to grab the older version of the popular Office suite, there’s no better time to do so! We’ll show you how.

Hula Wrap on Kickstarter, a Cable Organizer for MacBook Chargers

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

Check out Hula Wrap on Kickstarter. It’s a leather wrap for your MacBook charger that lets you wrap both cables, even the long power cord. It looks good, all rugged and leathery, but more importantly, it looks like it works. I hate taking my charger with me on my 2011 MacBook Air because the cables are such a pain, even though the battery has degraded over the years. That’s why this project immediately resonated with me. The company behind Hula Wrap is half way through its modest funding goal of $9,800, with 21 days to go. Funding options that will net you a Hula Wrap are currently available at $25. You can get two of them for $40. The video below is short, to the point, and well-produced, and it shows Hula Wrap in action.

The Totally Accurate Battle Simulator

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

Check out the Totally Accurate Battle Simulator, or TABS. This game is just starting alpha development, but it’s super exciting. At least to a nerd like me. You set up units (the red and blue rag dolls in the video), arm them with weapons, and let TABS show you what would happen. Is it a game? Maybe? I don’t know, I just see the opportunity to test out combat scenarios. Being developed by Landfall, the game has been greenlit by Steam, according to The Next Web. Landfall is accepting signups for the alpha for Mac, Windows, Linux, Xbox, and PS4, though the company is specific about not promising which platforms will be supported on release. If it does hit Steam, there’s a good chance it will have Mac support. In the meanwhile, I signed up for the alpha and I’m hoping to be picked, because it looks awesome.

ACM 372: Samsung Pay’s Security Failure, the Story Behind Apple’s Public Betas

· Bryan Chaffin · Apple Context Machine Podcast

The Apple Context Machine

Bryan and Jeff dig into Samsung shenanigans, including reports of a way to hack magnetic stripe reader transactions, and the mysterious case of Apple Watch drawings in a Samsung patent. They also discuss the interesting story of how the flawed Apple Maps rollout led to public beta programs for OS X and iOS.

Autonomous Vehicles Might Develop Superior Moral Judgment

· John Martellaro · Analysis

Autonomous car concept

Much has been written now about the moral guidance for autonomous cars and trucks. It’s a difficult problem that involves quantifying then instantiating into software the logic of life and death decisions.  It would be nice for society to have more time to ponder, but the pace of technology leaves us precious little time for that. Machines are going to make moral decisions very soon. Shall we let them?

Don't Install Point Zero Releases

· Bob LeVitus · Columns & Opinions

Man with a gavel

Dr. Mac always advises his friends and family not to install the first release of ANY new operating system, contending that it’s safer to wait for the inevitable “point-one” release (or even the point-two release), before pulling the trigger.

Zus Smart Car Charger and Locator: $29.99

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

Zus Smart Car Charger and Locator

Check out this handy gadget, the Zus Smart Car Charger and Locator. Plug it into your car’s A/C outlet and it will charge your devices through USB ports. It’s a smart charger, too, in that it sends the current each device needs. But, it also serves as a locator by communicating with an app on your iPhone so you can find your car. You can get this device through our deal for $29.99

TMO Daily Observations 2016-08-10: Apple in the Health Market, Listener Comments

· Jeff Gamet · The Mac Observer's Daily Observations Podcast

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Apple has the opportunity to be a big player in the health and fitness market. Kelly Guimont and John Martellaro join Jeff Gamet to look at Apple’s place in the health industry, and respond to listener comments. They also follow up on yesterday’s report of an odd Apple vehicle-related patent.

Patent Filing Error Means no Military Apple Tanks are Coming

· Jeff Gamet · News

Apple tank patent

Yesterday the internet was busy speculating about why Apple patented an articulated joint system that’s perfect for military vehicles. The patent seemed out of place for an electric car, and it turns out that’s the case because the law firm handling patents for Apple says it was accidentally assigned to the wrong company thanks to a clerical error.

1010! for iOS is Fun, Addictive, and Just Enough Like Tetris to Love

· Bryan Chaffin · Quick Look Review

1010! Screenshot

Tetris lovers, I have a game for you called 1010! (The bang is part of the name.) 1010! is clearly rooted in the tradition of Tetris, but it changes some things around. It’s fun, challenging, and has that just-one-more call.

TMO Daily Observations 2016-08-09: Apple's Big Future and New Car Patent

· Jeff Gamet · The Mac Observer's Daily Observations Podcast

TMO Daily Observations Podcast Logo

We may not know what Apple has in store for the future, but Tim Cook is saying it’ll be big. Bryan Chaffin and Dave Hamilton join Jeff Gamet to talk about Apple’s push to be more than the company selling us iPhones and Macs, plus they look at a just published Apple patent for an articulated vehicle.

Pokémon GO Update Replaces Nearby Feature with Sightings

· Jeff Gamet · Cool Stuff Found

Niantic’s Pokémon GO 1.3.0 update gets us a step closer to being able to hunt for Pokémon again by replacing the horribly broken Nearby feature with Sightings. The new feature doesn’t do much to help you track down Pokémon, but at least it lets you know there something close by. The update also adds the ability to change your trainer name once, fixes the battery saver mode bug, fixes bonus award bugs, and more. Niantic is A/B testing versions of the Nearby feature, so you may get some variations in what you see. Pokémon GO is a free download for the iPhone.

Pokémon GO Update Replaces Nearby Feature with Sightings

OS X Mail: Dealing with Attachments

· Melissa Holt · Quick Tip

This Quick Tip is about manipulating attachments in Mail on your Mac. We’ll talk about the different menus, your right-click options, and even dragging things around to make ’em do your bidding!

Tim Cook's Apple Ambitions Include Health Care and 'Everything Part of Your Life'

· Bryan Chaffin · The Back Page

Tim Cook and the World

Apple CEO Tim Cook’s ambitions are big, probably bigger than any of us realize. In a much talked-about interview with Rick Tetzeli (Becoming Steve Jobs) for Fast Company, Mr. Cook hinted that Apple wants to make a big play in health care. He also said, “Our strategy is to help you in every part of your life that we can.”

iOS 10 Messages: How to Draw in Chats

· Jeff Gamet · Cool Stuff Found

Messages in iOS 10 is loaded with new features, like the ability to draw directly in your conversations. You’ll need a finger or stylus, plus a little inspiration. You also need to know how to find the drawing mode in Messages. Watch TMO’s Quick Tip video to learn how.