Macworld/iWorld 2014 Session wrap-up

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Date: Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014, 08:49
Category: Apple, conference, Features, iPhone, Mac, Meetup, Software

Macworld_sessionSessions have always been a big part of any Mac Expo, but especially in recent years in response to the absence of Apple’s Steve-notes and daily product demonstrations and tutorials. While I miss the Apple presence, as a power-user I welcome the fact that the bar for session topics has been risen. Past “standard” sessions (non-IT) focused primarily on the average consumer, giving tips on using iPhoto for organizing and improving the quality of photos, using standard utilities to execute basic maintenance, or creating ringtones with GarageBand. These are all worthy topics, and the average user is an important demographic for Mac, but it was frustrating that there were few opportunities for the average power-user to learn something new or push their learning experience to the next level. While there has been some improvement, I think there could be more done for power-user education, however, that is not to say there have not been some great additions to the session agenda to improve the experience for all types of Mac users.

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Apple TV software gets updated to 6.1…but what does it do?

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Date: Monday, March 10th, 2014, 23:57
Category: Apple, Apple TV, Features, Opinion, Software

upgrade-apple-tv_?Earlier today we announced that the long anticipated iOS 7.1 update was released. Hot on its heels were a few other updates including one for Xcode (5.1) which adds support for iOS 7.1, an update to the Remote app (4.2), and an update for the Apple TV. The thing is, I can’t seem to find out what the new 6.1 update does, at least not much. Everyone and their grandmother has mentioned the new ability to hide the channel icons directly on the Apple TV menu screen, which previously required you going into the Settings to do this.

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A win/lose for Apple against Samsung

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Date: Friday, March 7th, 2014, 09:36
Category: Apple, Features, iPhone, Legal, Mobile Phone, Patents

apple-vs-samsung-fightOne has to wonder how long Apple and Samsung will be at each other’s legal throats as yet another judgement has been reached in the patent battle that started in early 2011. I was not really surprised to find that there is actually a Wikipedia article about it, which can bring you up to speed if necessary. The latest set of decisions to come down from Federal Judge Lucy Koh awarded Apple approximately $930 million in damages relating to patent infringements on the part of Samsung. There’s your win. Unfortunately for Apple, Judge Koh denied Apple’s request for a permanent injunction blocking the sales of devices that infringed on those patents in America. There’s your lose.

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Uber introduces Surge Drop to iPhone users

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Date: Tuesday, March 4th, 2014, 08:53
Category: Announcement, Apps, Features, iOS, iPhone, Mobile, Services, Software

Uber appUber is a great service and can be vital in a big city, even if the public transportation is good. I frequently use it to shave time off my travel between clients, and occasionally when I’ve been out having a good time all night and want a quick trip home so I can get to bed and try to function the next morning. Naturally, these kinds of services get really busy on holidays and during special events, and Uber takes advantage of the high demand with “surge” pricing. That means that during those busy times, Uber will raise the rate of a ride and later drop them back down again. This can end up being a real hit to the wallet, as I found out one New Years, if you aren’t aware that the surge pricing is in effect, or if you take a car because you have no idea when the surge pricing ends. With the latest update, Uber has taken care off that with a new feature they announced on their blog called “Surge Drop“.

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Review: TotalFinder still bests Mavericks improvements

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Date: Wednesday, January 29th, 2014, 06:47
Category: Apple, Apps, Desktop Mac, Features, Mac, Opinion, Review, Software, Software

totalfinderOne constant in the universe has been complaints from OS X users about how little the Finder has advanced over the years. If you compare the Finder of OS 9 to that of Mountain Lion (10.8), there really aren’t any groundbreaking changes. A few Finder “replacements” have attempted to rectify this, but they are separate programs running alongside the OS X Finder. Programs like PathFinder and Forklift attempt to pile on a bunch of features on top of normal Finder-like functionality, which are useful, but unless you are willing to perform some technical voodoo on OS X, to force the system to use another program rather than the Finder, you end up bouncing between two different “Finders” because some things will only use the normal Finder. As appealing as some of these alternates are, I get annoyed having bounce between two programs.

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What’s coming up on the PowerPage?

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Date: Tuesday, January 28th, 2014, 16:13
Category: Announcement, App Store, Apple, Features, Hardware, Interview, iOS, iPhone, Mac, Review, Software, Uncategorized

PP bolt logoI thought I’d take some time out to mention one of the things we have planned for the PowerPage this year. As a result, you may see things get jumbled around a bit while we figure out the best way to organize it.

We’ll soon be doing more software and hardware reviews as regular features. The hope is to bring more detailed information and feedback so that our readers can make better choices about the things they need. We are also hoping that readers will send us requests on what they want to see reviewed. How’s that for interaction! Separately, we’ll also be doing regular reviews of iPhone and iPad apps to help wade through the billions of apps piling up in the AppStore.

What? There’s more?! Now, I’m not promising anything, but we’d like to bring you some interview content, in either audio or video form, from Macworld/iWorld in March. Sounds like I’m going to be busy.

New Mac Pro has socketed Intel CPU

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Date: Monday, December 30th, 2013, 09:57
Category: Features, Intel, Mac Pro, Processors, Take Apart, Thunderbolt

mac_pro_2013_internals-250x340Now that people have started to get their hands on the new Mac Pro, naturally the first thing they do is to tear it apart to see what makes it tick. Since the announcement of the Mac Pros specs and hardware, potential buyers have been lamenting the lack of user-upgradeable components in the sleek, black cylinder. It may be one of the reasons Apple was able to make it so small, but that is little consolation to pro users who are used to having more flexibility with their hardware. So far it was believed that the only internal part that could be upgraded was the memory. Apple expects all other expansion to be done through the Mac Pro’s six, high-speed Thunderbolt 2 ports.

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Final Cut Pro X updated to 10.1

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Date: Thursday, December 19th, 2013, 09:30
Category: Announcement, App Store, Apple, Features, Mac, Pro Apps, Software

finalcutxlogoThat didn’t take long. Even with the shipping of the new Mac Pros delayed until the 30th, Apple has gone ahead and updated Final Cut Pro X with a whole list of new features and advancements, naturally including compatibility with the new Mac Pro’s hardware which should give the software a huge boost. Among it’s other notable features, the 10.1 update adds support for video monitoring at resolutions up to 4K via Thunderbolt 2 and HDMI on select Mac computers. Now you’ll have to buy new monitors too! The list of changes is huge, but here they are thanks to MacRumors who found the complete list when I couldn’t. (more…)

Apple adds 2 more channels to Apple TV

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Date: Wednesday, November 20th, 2013, 09:03
Category: Apple, Apple TV, Consumer Electronics, Features, iTunes Radio, News, Software, Television

appletv2Apple hasn’t done much with the Apple TV hardware lately, although an update is rumored to be coming soon, and a beta of the next major software update has been seeded to developers. However, Apple has been updating features pretty regularly. At the beginning of the year, we discovered that Apple could sneakily add channels to the Apple TV in the background, without a major software update. The first channels added allowed users to access Hulu Plus and HBO Go services, and later, other channels including sports, Disney content, and recently iTunes Radio. The most recent additions are channels for PBS and Yahoo Screen, which offers content from “Saturday Night Live,” Comedy Central, as well as Yahoo Originals. It also features live news, events, and music. I love that all this content is being made available, but honestly, I only have interest in maybe half of the channels. My fingers are crossed that Apple adds a way to let users hide channels we don’t use. That Apple TV front page is getting a little crowded.

Did Apple mess up with the Retina iPad mini?

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Date: Wednesday, November 20th, 2013, 08:46
Category: Benchmark, Consumer Electronics, Features, Hardware, iPad, iPad Air, iPad mini, Opinion, The Apple Core

ret-ipad-mini-fanToday I broke down and bought one of the new Retina iPad minis. That is one of the dilemmas of living in a city with multiple, easy to get to Apple Stores. I’ve been watching the local stores’ inventories fluctuate using the Apple-Tracker web site, and noticed that there were several of the model I wanted in stock, so I ordered one for Personal Pickup and had it by this afternoon, which was rather impulsive considering I hadn’t spent any time with an iPad mini. One of the key factors of getting a new iPad was to upgrade to a Retina display, since I do a lot of reading on the iPad. Comparing some my iBooks between my iPad 2 and the iPad mini, there is a noticeable difference in the text, but so far I haven’t noticed the same difference in other graphics.

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