Raise a virtual glass on St. Patrick’s Day with iBeer Free

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Date: Monday, March 17th, 2014, 09:10
Category: App Store, Apple, Apps, Fun, Holiday, iOS, iPhone, Review, Software

iBeer iconFirst off, Happy St. Patrick’s Day from O’Grady’s PowerPage!

I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to tie the holiday into a post, but then I ran across iBeer Free. I’m not sure this is the type of app that gets used on a regular basis, but it can be fun to pull out as a fun way to demonstrate how the iPhone’s accelerometer works. As you can imagine, the app turns your iThing into a virtual glass of beer, or other beverages via in-app purchases. Tilting your iPhone to your mouth as you would a glass makes the simulated beer magically drain away as if you had consumed a refreshing beverage. By default, you get to choose between four simulated types of beers and some green mouthwash, which at first I thought an odd addition, but then I realized it would be perfect for St. Paddy’s Day to give the appearance of chugging some green beer. For $0.99 you can get rid of the ads (highly recommended) which also adds coffee to your list of beverages.

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Review: Flappy Wings…yes, another Flappy Bird clone, but not bad

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Date: Tuesday, March 4th, 2014, 09:02
Category: App Store, Apple, Fun, Game, iOS, iPad, iPhone, Review, Software, Software

FlappywingsIf you’ve never heard of Flappy Bird, get easily frustrated with games, or have twitchy fingers, I’d suggest you move onto the next article. For the rest of you, I’m sure you are sick to death of hearing about Flappy Bird’s crazy rise to fame, but with countless clones of the game clogging the App Store it’s kind of hard to ignore completely (a search for “Flappy” gets 500 results). Even Apple and Google got tired of all the copy-cats. I myself get frustrated with the game (I’ve only made it through 9 sets of pipes argh), but not to the extremes that many people did. In fact, the frustration has the positive effect of keeping me from playing it too long.

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Follow up on the Pebble appstore

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Date: Tuesday, February 11th, 2014, 21:24
Category: Accessory, App Store, Apple, Apps, Consumer Electronics, iOS, iPhone, Review, Software, Software, The Apple Core, Wearables

Pebble_new_appiconEarlier, I reported on my first impressions of the Pebble appstore and the new app for iOS. There have been a few changes that I wanted to post about. As it happens, Pebble posted an update to the iOS app yesterday, version 2.0.1, which lists the changes as; “More Javascript apps included!” and “Fixed a number of crashes”. Before that was released, however, I noticed something that addressed one of my previous concerns. Now, among the links at the bottom of each app description, you can now ‘Email Developer For Support’ which opens a new message in the Mail app. This was something apparently added to the server side of things after my original review since I noticed the option before the update.

 

Pebble_dev_contact

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Review: First impressions of Pebble 2.0 and the appstore

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Date: Friday, February 7th, 2014, 08:40
Category: Accessory, Apps, Consumer Electronics, Gadget, iOS, iPhone, Review, Software, Software, The Apple Core, Wearables

pebble-ios-7I’ve had a few days to work with the updated 2.0 firmware on the Pebble smartwatch and the updated iOS app which now features the new appstore. As far as app and watch face management go, the new iOS app is a huge improvement, but the appstore component still needs a bit of work. If you want to see a video about setting up a Pebble with the new iOS app plus a look at the new Pebble Steel (still saving up for mine), head over to the Apple Core where Jason O’Grady does an unboxing walk-through with Pebble’s latest product.

Hit the break for the rest of my look at the software side of the Pebble.

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My Menubar: Bartender

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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?!

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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.

Apple starts repairing iPhone 5C screens in stores

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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

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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.

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iFixit posts their Mac Pro teardown

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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.