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Google Bloks Will Offer Kids Hands-On, Collaborative Programming Concepts

9:10 PM EDT, Jun. 27th, 2016 · Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

Google announced a new "research project" called Bloks, a wonderful concept that brings programming to very young kids with real-world block-like components. It's an ongoing project that Google is opening up to the world, but the company is starting with electronic boards and programmable pucks. Brain Boards are built from Raspberry Pi Zero boards and can be used to power anything you could power from that device, like robots or switches for real-world devices. The pucks are essentially instructions, including on-off switches, directions, or volume controls. When used in sequence, they can send instructions to the Brain Boards. And it's all hands-on for young kids. They can collaborate in ways they never could with any programming thing based on a screen and/or keyboard. I love it. It's an entirely different approach from Apple's Swift Playground, and I think they're very complementary.

PRE-SALE: The Complete iOS 10 Developer Course at $29

8:44 PM EDT, Jun. 27th, 2016 · Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

The Complete iOS Developer Course

Our friends at Stack Commerce have been putting their collective noggins to work with this deal. It's a pre-sale on The Complete iOS 10 Developer Course with 80 hours of content on coding for Apple's next generation iOS. It's discounted to $29, and you'll be notified when the course is ready to access—but in the meanwhile you also get The Complete iOS 9 Hacker Training immediately, included for the same price. Check out the details on the deal listing.

Game Foul: Ford Dealership Steals Firewatch Art

5:15 PM EDT, Jun. 27th, 2016 · Jeff Gamet · News

Firewatch's art and Quirk Ford's ad (inset)

No matter how hard our kindergarten teachers tried, some people never really wrapped their heads around the idea that stealing is bad. Take, for instance, the Quirk Ford dealership in Massachusetts and the Firewatch artwork it stole for a promotional event.

TMO Background Mode: Interview With Symply Co-founder and President Alex Grossman

5:04 PM EDT, Jun. 27th, 2016 · John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Background Mode Podcast

Alex Grossman is the co-founder and president of Symply, Inc. His new company makes high-performance storage devices for content creators. I asked Alex about his start in storage technology, and it goes back to his EE degree in college and his first job with the Digital Equipment Corp (DEC). Early on, he developed a passion to build great hardware and understand how data got stored. Years later, Alex ended up at Apple focusing on the small and medium business needs for easy to manage mass storage. He tells a great story about Apple giving him the go ahead to change the world with Xserve RAID. Today, Alex carries his years of experience with elegant, easy to manage storage into his new company, Symply, Inc. Alex told me one amazing story after another.

iPhone 7 Sans Headphone Jack: The Debate Continues

3:20 PM EDT, Jun. 27th, 2016 · John Martellaro · Link

The iPhone 7 headphone jack debate

Reliable sources are suggesting that Apple really will remove the 3.5 mm audio headphone jack from the iPhone 7 this fall. The community seems evenly split about the prospect, with some shrugging and one notable author declaring that this is a hostile and stupid idea. The notion that this isn't really a worthwhile technical advance seems balanced with the prospect of better and enabling digital technology moving forward. Plus: a more waterproof iPhone. Particle Debris page 2 asks the question: has Apple gone too far?

Apple gets its Rainbow on for SF Pride Parade

9:33 AM EDT, Jun. 27th, 2016 · Jeff Gamet · News

Apple marches in SF Pride parade. Look at all the color!

Apple helped celebrate the LGBTQ community over the weekend by marching in San Fransisco's annual Pride parade. Company CEO Tim Cook's photo on Twitter shows what looks like hundreds of Apple employees marching and waving rainbow flags—and wearing the special limited edition Apple Watch rainbow watch bands the company gave to participants.

6 Great Display Choices for Your MacBook Pro and Mac Pro

6:54 PM EDT, Jun. 24th, 2016 · Jeff Gamet · News

Apple killed the Thunderbolt Display, but there are plenty of other options

Apple is getting out of the stand-alone display market—at least for now—and says there are plenty of third-party alternatives to its now defunct Thunderbolt Display. Sorting out which display to buy can be a little intimidating, so The Mac Observer put together a list with some great 4K, 5K, and HD options to help make your shopping a little easier.

Apple Drops 2.81% in Broad Brexit Selloff

6:25 PM EDT, Jun. 24th, 2016 · Bryan Chaffin · Apple Stock Watch

Upside Down $AAPL

Shares of Apple Inc. shed 2.81% Friday in a broad market downturn sparked by Brits voting to leave the European Union, or Brexit for short. The selloff was part of a general panic among investors concerned about what Brexit will do to the global economy.

G Cloud Unlimited Backup for iPhone and Android: 5-Year Subscription for $29.99

5:01 PM EDT, Jun. 24th, 2016 · Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

G Cloud on iPhone and Android

We have a deal for you today on G Cloud, a 5-year unlimited backup plan for iPhone and Android devices for $29.99. G Cloud allows you to backup and restore your device from within their dedicated app, and you're able to view that content online, as well. It's being stored on AWS, Amazon's cloud service, using military-grade 256-AES encryption. You can get this 5-year subscription through us for $29.99.

Plex Media Server Turns 1.0!

11:48 AM EDT, Jun. 24th, 2016 · Dave Hamilton · Cool Stuff Found

What started in 2008 as a small media server project today has matured into version 1.0. The first public release of Plex Media Server happened two years later in 2010, and it has been growing ever since, now used by milliions of people. The changes rolled into the 1.0 release aren't all that major – certainly nothing more than any other Plex Media Server release we've seen recently – it's the version number change itself that is significant.

Version 1.0 shows Plex's commitment to ship software that no longer has the assumption of being beta, communicating reliability and predictability for customers. I'm a long-time Plex user and now with both iOS and Apple TV client apps it really is a best-in-class product. Many of its features are available for free, though a paid PlexPass is well worth your money if you want to view your content offline or on your mobile devices. Congrats, Plex! Thanks for doing what you do! 

OS X: Using Policy Banner for Custom Login Screens

9:05 AM EDT, Jun. 24th, 2016 · Melissa Holt · TMO Quick Tip

If you're an administrator (or just someone who'd like to have a little fun), you can set up what's called a policy banner, which'll make users accept an agreement before they can log in. This works well in environments with multiple Macs, such as computer labs, but hey, if you want to configure a policy banner on your spouse's computer as a practical joke, this Quick Tip will be good for that, too. We're not responsible for any mayhem this causes.