Tag - Utilities
Behind every product Apple ever releases at WWDC, there are shortcuts. Little steps you can take to speed up how you work with them: methods to do things faster, to skip steps you don't need. They never get mentioned, except for now: our favorite tips are now in the new MacNN Pointers: Work Smarter with Shortcuts e-book, now available on Kindle and iBooks.
Back before we were all so hip and called everything an app, there were software applications, and there were utilities. An application was serious stuff that did serious work, and a utility was something that did just the one little-but-useful function. You could guess what happened next: the applications took on these functions, and utilities added the ability to do more serious work. This is where we are with GraphicConverter 10, which is the little utility that could -- and did.
You will never read a Hands On review that does not include the price. Of course you won't, but usually price is the least significant part: whether something is expensive or not, good software and hardware is worth anything because it is so very, very useful and you use it so very, very much. TextExpander 6 is very, very good. Yet this might as well be a Hands On review of the price, and the software's shift to subscription.
The library of Pointers e-books just keeps on growing: now there's a guide to those little extras that transform your Mac, iPhone and iPad. They're the little utilities Apple include, and they're the small applications that have earned a place in the hearts of so many of us. In every case, they are lesser-known, little written about, and yet also genuinely change everything. Now Pointers: Work Better with Utilities shows you what you've missed out on.
Nobody can teach you how to write and nobody can tell you the best way to do it, but that doesn't stop everybody trying. Including us. Blame editor Charles Martin, though, as he set out last week to show how you can use Apple hardware and a lot of software to create your own writing best practices but then specifically asked me to disagree.
Nobody writes the way you do. Just looking at the end result, at the words you choose to use and the sequence you write them in, plus the very topics that you decide to cover or explore, that is inevitably and distinctively you and nobody else. Then, the ways you get to that end result is probably unique: you'd think there are only so many ways of getting words down on Macs or iOS, but you'd be surprisingly wrong there.
This is a rubbish smackdown. Where's the drama? Where's the bit where one of these backup utilities gets voted off the island? Here's the thing, though: over the last month or so, we've reviewed three very powerful applications that broadly do the same thing. They all back up your data to external hard disks, and they all create ways that you can startup your Mac again even if your internal drive dies on you. Carbon Copy Cloner, SuperDuper, and ChronoSync are surely the leading applications in this, and they are certainly needed. We just wouldn't be doing our job if we didn't pitch them against each other to help you pick one.
Senators, Internet companies and citizens aren't the only groups issuing letters to the Federal Communications Commission over proposed changes to net neutrality. CEOs of major telecommunication companies have stepped in, issuing a letter to Chairman Tom Wheeler and the FCC commissioners, asking that changes in policy stay away from the concept of possible reclassification of broadband as public utilities.
Controls+, an app for OS X, is available at an introductory sale price since its launch at the beginning of the month. Priced at 80 percent off until Friday, Controls+ offers the features of iOS 7's Control Center, which includes quick access to commonly used utilities via a menubar icon. Controls+ presently includes brightness controls, a flashlight mode (white screen), screen saver locking, iTunes controls, and a timer. Its user interface emulates the visual aesthetic of iOS 7, with a compact drop-down menu for accessing all features. Currently available for download for $1, Controls+ can be purchased on iTunes.
Stellar Data Recovery, makers of Stellar Phoenix and other utility tools for Mac, has updated its Stellar Drive Toolbox to version 2.0, offering 12 "vastly improved utilities that have been made 30 percent more efficient, as well as a new bonus tool, says the company. The various tools in the kit include utilities to handle disk defragmenting, drive cloning, a raw data editor and others, now including a bonus "Data Encryptor" that lets users secure selected files.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE