My Menubar: Bartender

Posted by:
Date: Monday, February 3rd, 2014, 08:07
Category: Apple, Apps, Mac, Mavericks, Review, Software, Software

Have you ever caught a glimpse of another user’s Mac and wondered what that one (or more), unrecognized icon in their menubar was for? I’d like to introduce a new segment where we explore just that, interesting tools or application extensions that live in your menubar. It’s part review and part demystification, where we introduce some new programs as well as buried OS X system menu items you may not have seen before. If you want to know why I think this might be an interesting software niche to explore, check out my current menubar;

menubar_sample

 

How many of those can you recognize? I’m sure there are a few, like the Wi-Fi icon and Spotlight, and hopefully we’ll clue you in on the rest eventually. There’s even a few that I don’t have running at the moment. As you can imagine, before I upgraded to a 27″ iMac, I had a few problems managing this many menubar items without running into some issues. Most frequent was when an app had enough menus to collide with the growing number of little icons encroaching from the right side of the screen. This would either result in the app’s menus being obscured, or the menubar items on the left end disappearing making them inaccessible. What’s a menubar item hoarder to do?!

(more…)

Review: TotalFinder still bests Mavericks improvements

Posted by:
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.

(more…)

What’s coming up on the PowerPage?

Posted by:
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.

Apple starts repairing iPhone 5C screens in stores

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, January 23rd, 2014, 09:28
Category: Apple, AppleCare, Hardware, iPhone, News, retail, Retail Store

AppleGeniusBarBack in November we mentioned Apple’s plans to start offering in-store screen replacements for the iPhone 5S and 5C. This week, Apple started its roll-out of iPhone 5C repairs, so if you’ve got an iPhone 5C with a cracked or broken screen, the Geniuses at the local Apple Store can replace it while you wait, rather than sending it out. This makes two models that can be repaired in-store, the iPhone 5 and now the 5C. The 5S, for now, still needs to be sent into Apple for repairs, possibly due to the added complications of working around the Touch-ID sensor/home button. No news yet on when the 5S plan will get rolled out. As we reported before, the in-store replacement cost should be $150, with the price being $80 if your iPhone is covered by the original warranty or an AppleCare plan. The policy should be rolled out to all stores by the end of this week, but could take a little longer if the store is not in or near a large city.

Blackberry suing Typo Products over keyboard design

Posted by:
Date: Monday, January 6th, 2014, 10:53
Category: Accessory, Cases, Hardware, iPhone, Legal, Mobile Phone, Patents, User Interface

TypoKeyboard-vs-Q10

In the litigious world of  tech companies who scramble daily to protect their patents and intellectual property, you can expect anything claiming to be new and innovative to be hit by a roomful of lawyers saying it isn’t true. Such is the case with the Typo Keyboard case which was getting ready to launch at this week’s CES event in Las Vegas. Typo Products, which was founded by Ryan Seacrest and his business partner Laurence Hallier, was hit with a lawsuit from Blackberry claiming copyright infringement of Blackberry’s own keyboard design.

(more…)

iFixit posts their Mac Pro teardown

Posted by:
Date: Friday, January 3rd, 2014, 09:54
Category: Apple, Hardware, Mac Pro, Take Apart, Thunderbolt

RtFlKRIVD1AnbWMo.mediumGadget teardown specialists, iFixit, have completed their full disassembly of the new Mac Pro and have given it an 8 out of 10 on the repairability scale. So what else did they find out? Best to head on over there for the full details (24 steps for the full take-apart), but here are a few of the juicy details (cherry-picked from the iFixit run-down);

  • it has taken some design pointers from the AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule bodies: a thin, vertical design with individual boards on separate sides.
  • simply sliding the lock switch allows us to remove the outer casing of the Mac Pro. No stubborn pentalobe screws here!
  • The RAM in the Mac Pro Late 2013 is easily accessible and replaceable.
  • it is vented by a single fan, which pulls air from under the case, through the core, and out the top of the case.
  • it utilizes a giant triangular heat sink (“Thermal Core”), shared by the dual graphics cards and CPU.
  • the new graphics cards may be the key to Apple finally undercutting homebrew systems on a pure power basis.
  •  a CPU upgrade appears entirely possible.
  • The power supply has no dedicated cooling, and relies on the main system fan to keep cool—allowing the Mac Pro to idle at a whisper-quiet 12 dBA.
  • Non-proprietary Torx screws are used throughout, and several components can be replaced independently.

In spite of the lack of internal, user-upgradeable disk space, the new Mac Pro is a far cry from the iMac which has gotten more and more difficult to do at-home repairs or upgrades upon. Here’s hoping that Apple plans to offer some internal component upgrade paths.

Prototype iPhone nabs $1500 on eBay

Posted by:
Date: Friday, January 3rd, 2014, 08:30
Category: Apple, Hardware, iOS, iPhone, News, Sighting

iphone-originalAnybody remember the original iPhone? I do, I had one and I think it’s still my favorite design of all of them so far. The body was aluminum, except for a section at the bottom which was plastic so as not to interfere with reception, all rounded edges, and a nice chrome bezel around the glass face. The original iOS (then iPhone OS) seems dated now with no folders, no select/copy/paste, and at the beginning NO APPS except the Apple ones, if you can imagine that. Well  it seems some intrepid person got their hands of one of the prototypes for the first iPhone and sold it pretty quickly on eBay for a measly $1500. That’s only the price of three subsidized iPhones now, and two unlocked ones. Not long ago, an original Apple I (one of the ones built in Steve Job’s garage) sold for $671,400, and an original Apple II for $6,100. Apparently the device didn’t have an actual OS on it, at least not like the public would eventually see, just a bunch of apps designed to run the iPhone through a battery of tests. For some images of the pre-iPhone iPhone (grabbed from the now expired eBay auction), head over to Redmond Pie to see what the fuss is about.

 

iPhone users exhale, MyGlass for iOS back in the AppStore

Posted by:
Date: Friday, December 20th, 2013, 09:49
Category: Android, Apps, Developer, Gadget, Google, iOS, iPhone, News, Review, Software, Software, The Apple Core, Wearables

MyGlass_for_iosYou might have caught some stories about the long awaited MyGlass app appearing on the AppStore, and then quickly disappearing leaving iPhone users crying, “nooooooooooooo!”. Well, they can relax, Google re-released the app and it’s available for download. About a week ago, I had the opportunity to play with a Google Glass without having to shell out $1500. As it happens, someone I knew had one and was willing to ship it out to me to play with (that “someone” being Jason O’Grady from The Apple Core). My full review will be available soon, so I’ll skip over a lot of Glass details to focus on the app and what it adds to the Glass-iOS experience.

 

(more…)

Holiday gift round-up: Part Deux

Posted by:
Date: Friday, December 20th, 2013, 08:16
Category: Accessory, battery, Consumer Electronics, Gadget, Hardware, Holiday, retail, Review, Software, The Apple Core

Christmas-GiftHere’s part 2 of my Gift Guide, which may turn into that “what I get when I return my Christmas gifts for credit” list, seeing as how it’s only 6 days until Christmas. The second half includes a number of gift ideas that I’ve stolen borrowed from some other gift guides because they are really good suggestions for things I’d like to get for myself. I’ll throw in a couple more of my own at the end.

(more…)

New Mac Pro available to order now

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 19th, 2013, 08:48
Category: Announcement, Apple, Desktop Mac, Hardware, Mac Pro, WWDC

macpro_background2The new Mac Pro is finally available online in the Apple Store! Back in June, Apple gave everyone a sneak peek of the upcoming update to the Mac Pro at WWDC. You could probably hear the sound of geek jaws dropping around the world as Apple unveiled a sleek, black, tube-like device, as far as you can get from the heavy, aluminum behemoth of the Power Mac G5 introduced in 2003. I’ll let that sink in. Yes, the design of the Mac Pro has not changed in 10 years. This from the company that changed the look of their computers about every other year since the iMac was introduced.

(more…)