Software Update Rundown for April 21st, 2014

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 21st, 2014, 09:54
Category: App Store, Apps, iOS, iPhone, Mac, OS X, Software

software-updateWe’ll be posting info on updates of some of our favorite software along with some high profile apps that are pretty essential to anyone on a Mac or iThing, just in case you missed them. This information is brought to you by updates I get from developers and my own software use, but mostly by MacUpdate, although not officially, because that is what I use to keep all my apps up to date. I also like to add some value by throwing in some extra notes from my experiences. So let’s get to it!

 

Mac

calibre 1.33.0

This app is great if you want to access PDF documents, ePub books, or other readable, in different formats. Excellent for managing books on a Kindle from your Mac.

New Features

  • Edit book: Add a tool to check spellings, access it via Tools->Check spelling…. The calibre book editor now has builtin spellcheck. You can install new dictionaries via Preferences->Editor->Manage spelling dictionaries. It comes with builtin dictionaries for English and Spanish. You can add OpenOffice dictionaries (in .oxt format). The tool checks spellings in all HTML/OPF/NCX files in the book, taking into account any language declarations in the book, so that it will work correctly on multi-lingual books as well. The code is very new, so there may well be bugs. As you type spell checking is not yet implemented.
  • Kobo driver: Support firmware version 3.3
  • Device driver for Tolino Vision on windows

Bug Fixes

  • Amazon metadata download: Fix Editorial Reviews not downloading into the comments section for some books
  • DOCX Input: Fix some text highlighting colors in the DOCX file not being correctly translated during conversion.
  • Wireless device driver: Fix incorrect syncing behavior when book matching is run for a second time while connected. This happens when the user changes the library or selects ‘Update cached metadata on device’.
  • Searching: Fix searching by date not using the system locale to interpret dd/mm vs mm/dd dates on windows

New news sources

  • Various new and updated Spanish news sources by Marc Busque

Improved news sources

  • Barrons
  • Creative Blog

 

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Amazon grabs a new demographic…comic book readers

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 11th, 2014, 09:44
Category: Amazon, Announcement, Business, iPad

comics-by-comixologyIf you love comic books and love reading on your iPad, you’ve probably heard of comiXology. The company (and app) are responsible for bringing comic books into the digital age of online purchasing and reading content on a mobile device. So it was only a matter of time before it attracted the eye of the largest online source for purchasing reading material. ComiXology’s CEO, David Steinberger, posted the news on their web site Thursday afternoon that they had been purchased by Amazon.

 

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WWDC confirmed for June 2nd-6th

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 4th, 2014, 09:59
Category: Announcement, Apple, conference, Developer, iOS, iPhone, Mac, OS X, Software, WWDC

wwdc14 crop

It was announced Thursday that Apple’s yearly developers’ conference will be held June 2nd through the 6th at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. However, this year Apple has decided to “think different” (I had to) with its handling of ticket sales. According to Engadget, Apple has already opened ticket sales on its website, but will now select attendees randomly instead of a first-come-first-served basis. The WWDC web site states;

“The opportunity to buy tickets to WWDC 2014 will be offered by random selection. Register by Monday, April 7 at 10:00 a.m. PDT for your chance to attend. We will let you know your status by email on Monday, April 7 at 5:00 p.m. PDT.”

Once selected and notified, you will then be able to purchase your ticket. Tickets are selling for $1599 and in order to be selected, you need to be a current member of the iOS Developer Program, iOS Developer Enterprise Program, or Mac Developer Program as of the announcement of WWDC (April 3, 2014 at 5:30 a.m. PDT).

Rumors have it that Apple plans to unveil iOS 8 at WWDC, but that seems a little soon to me. What do you think?

 

 

Macworld/iWorld 2014 Session wrap-up

Posted by:
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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Macworld/iWorld 2014 Expo Hall wrap-up

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 1st, 2014, 09:01
Category: Apple, conference, Developer, iPhone, Mac, Software

2014-expo-floorLast week was a bit of a whirlwind as Macworld/iWorld took over a large portion of my week. Now that I’ve had some time to put together some of the things I saw, I thought I’d provide a brief recap. This year, the convention was held in Moscone Center’s North Hall. The first day, Thursday, was my traditional walk around the show floor which I always do on the first day so I can make some mental notes about what I want to go back and see later. This makes it easier to go straight to the important stuff when you only have about 45 minutes between talks and demos. There wasn’t much that was unique about the Expo Hall this year, except for possibly the two live stages (I only recall one in the past).

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MacWorld/iWorld starts this Thursday

Posted by:
Date: Monday, March 24th, 2014, 08:15
Category: Apple, conference, Consumer Electronics, Fun, iOS, OS X

macworldIt’s that time of year again, when the fans of Apple and its various iThings pile into Moscone Center in San Francisco to ogle products, learn a few things, or just hang out and talk about Apple tech. I’m talking about the MacWorld/iWorld event (I wish they’d do something about that weird slash-enabled name) which starts this Thursday, March 27th, and runs until Saturday the 29th. If you are one of those last minute shoppers, you can still get tickets on the event’s web site, BUT I’ve tracked down a couple of promo code links that will get you some discounted tickets. For example, currently the Expo Hall pass is $25 at the site, but using the promo links you can get it for $10! The Conference Pass is cut from $299 to $149. Don’t wait too long though, I don’t know how long the codes are good for and it’ll be $30 at the door.

 

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iPhone Tips: Fight off the battery blues, Part 2

Posted by:
Date: Friday, March 21st, 2014, 10:50
Category: Apple, Hardware, iOS, iPhone, Software, Tips

iPhoneBattery-part2-note cropWelcome to the second part of my iPhone battery conservation tips. Check out yesterday’s post for Part 1. With the recent iOS 7.1 update came many complaints that battery life had gotten worse instead of better. Some of the following tips are useful on their own, but may be of particular interest to anyone experiencing faster power loss since the 7.1 update. Shall we begin…

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Apple finally ditches 2nd Gen iPad

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Date: Wednesday, March 19th, 2014, 08:00
Category: Apple, Hardware, iPad, News

elipad2Tuesday, Apple finally retired the iPad 2, replacing it with the 16 GB 4th Generation iPad. “But wasn’t the 4th Gen iPad retired?”, you ask. Yes, the 4th Generation iPad was officially discontinued in October of last year, but it appears Apple felt it needed a new lease on life when compared to the aging iPad 2. Like the original iPad mini (still available) the 4G iPad is ONLY available in a 16 GB version, now acting as Apple’s entry-level “large” tablet device. This now means that the original iPad mini has the only non-retina display among the iPad and iPhone lineups. The iPad 2 was also the last device in the iPad line to sport the old 30-pin dock connector, leaving the iPhone 4S as the sole device in Apple’s current product line to still have one.

Screenshot 2014-03-18 18.31.10

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

Posted by:
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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Maps app gets serious in iOS 8

Posted by:
Date: Monday, March 17th, 2014, 08:46
Category: Apple, Apps, iOS, iPhone, Rumor, Software

Maps_iOS7Isn’t that typical? We just get a nice, new 7.1 update for iOS and people have already moved on to talk about what’s new in iOS 8. iOS 8?! Yes, apparently details about the next OS for iDevices has been leaking out of Cupertino, and one item of particular interest seems to be Maps. Most should be familiar with the story of Apple Maps by now. Apple dumped Google Maps as the default mapping solution for iOS 6, to be replaced by Apple’s own mapping solution. While pretty to look at, the new solution gets deployed without public transit info and then proceeds to prove that it really wasn’t ready by giving some horribly incorrect directions. Sadly, it still appears to be doing that. With the combined acquisitions of companies like BroadMap, Embark and HopStop, Apple will hopefully be able to shake the bugs out of their mapping data as well as finally provide transit information within the Maps app. Rumors are that the transit info will even include schedules for shuttles and “enhanced” airport directions. A new “augmented reality” view will also overlay local information about the area that you’re mapping.

Personally, I’ve had pretty good results with Maps within the Bay Area, but I wouldn’t mind the security of not wondering if I should double-check everything in Google Maps.