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Discover Your Place in the Universe With the Kurzgesagt App

1 hour 21 min ago

Kurzgesagt is a science channel on YouTube that creates education videos for people. They recently partnered with Wait But Why to create the Universe in a Nutshell app. It lets people explore size by zooming between scales of 10^-35 meters to 10^26 meters (atomic scale to universe scale). It’s also filled with science facts that you can find by tapping on the objects you see. App Store: US$2.99


Dr. Mac’s Two Cents on Apple’s Media Event

14 hours 55 min ago
Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode #401

Apple held another of its product introduction events last Tuesday. While the brief (for Apple) 1-hour broadcast focused on hardware, it also included a couple of surprising announcements about Apple’s subscription service offerings.

While I am (of course) quite interested in the new hardware—iPad, iPad Air, Apple Watch 6, and Apple Watch SE—I won’t waste your time regurgitating their new features (visit Rest assured I’ll have much to say, but not until after I’ve spent quality time putting them through their paces.

For what it’s worth, there were no major surprises in the new hardware; all new models are faster, brighter, and more capable than their predecessors with a smattering of new features.

On the other hand, the two related announcements regarding Apple’s subscription service offerings surprised the heck out of me.

Service Surprises

The first was an all-new service built for the Apple Watch called Apple Fitness +, which integrates metrics gathered by your Apple Watch with workouts viewed on your iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV.

Workouts are set to include Cycling, Treadmill, Rowing, Strength, Yoga, Dance, Core, and more, with new workouts delivered every week. And for those new to exercise, there’s an Absolute Beginner program built in that purports to coach you on the basics of movement and exercise while getting you ready for the real Fitness + workouts. Finally, many of the workouts can be done with no additional gear or with just a set of dumbbells.

Apple Fitness + is priced at $9.99 a month or $79.99 a year with a one-month free trial available to all. Or, buy any new Apple Watch, Series 3 or later and receive a free three-month trial.

I’ll tell you more once I’ve had a chance to try it.

Introducing Apple One

While I was surprised by Apple Fitness +, I was even more surprised at Apple’s second subscription service-related product, Apple One, which is a bundle with some or all of Apple’s subscription service offerings — Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple News+, Apple Fitness+, and iCloud — at a lower price.

There are three Apple One plans:

    • The Individual plan (for one person) includes Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, plus 50GB of iCloud storage for $14.99 a month.
    • The Family plan (for up to 6 family members) includes the same services as the Individual plan, plus 200GB of iCloud storage for $19.99 a month.
    • The Premier plan (for up to 6 family members) includes Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple News+, Apple Fitness+, and 2TB of iCloud storage for $29.95 a month.
The three Apple One plans.

The Premier plan is a no-brainer for me. I currently pay $14.99 a month for Apple Music, $9.99 a month for two TB of iCloud storage, and will start paying $4.99 a month for Apple TV + in October. That’s a total of $29.97/month. For 2¢ more a month, the Premier plan will give my family Apple News + and Apple Fitness +, which would otherwise cost us $9.99 a month each.

Such a deal!

Apple One will be available before the end of 2020.

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iPadOS 14: How to Fix iPad Books 2-Column Issue

15 hours 6 min ago

Apple’s Books app in iPadOS OS 13 and iPadOS 14 has an interesting interface quirk that can display your book’s text in two narrow columns like a newspaper. Maybe you like reading your books in newspaper columns, but if you’re like me you went scrambling to figure out where the heck that preference setting is—and then found there isn’t one.

Fortunately, it’s a quick fix. Just increase the font size. That’s the fast and dirty answer for you, and if that’s all you want, you don’t need to read the rest of this Quick Tip. But, if you want to understand what’s going on, please read on for the details!

In the image above, the 2-column view in Books app is shown on the left, while the same page in 1-column view is shown on the right.

Books App Shows Text in Two Columns

I personally encountered this when I updated my iPad Pro 11-inch (2020) to iPadOS 14. For whatever reason, when I opened my book after the upgrade to iPadOS 14 I found it showing the book’s text in two columns in both portrait and landscape mode. I dug and dug and couldn’t find a preference for “Make My Book As Annoying to Read as a Newspaper,” and I was getting pissy about it.

Then I Googled, and it took a surprising amount of digging to find that the Books app automatically goes into 2-column view when your text is set to the smallest font size. Simply increasing the font  size will put your book back into a single, book-sized column. For the life of me I can’t imagine why I’d want my book to be displayed like a newspaper for any reason, but whatever, it’s a quick fix.

Please note that I hadn’t changed my book to show the smallest font size—this was something that happened as part of my iPad’s upgrade process.

How to Change the Font Size in Books App in iPadOS 14 (and Earlier Versions)

To change the font size in the Books app in iPadOS 14 (and before), tap on the AA button in the top right corner of any open book, as shown in the image below. If you don’t see the AA button, tap your screen anywhere—once—and it will appear.

Books app in iPadOS 14 with font control panel shown

Once you have the font control panel open, tap the A on the right side to increase your font size. If you’re in 2-column view, tapping the left A won’t do anything. Otherwise, you can tap the left A to decrease your font size.

Other controls include changing the paper and font color (the four circles), Auto-Night Theme, which will automatically reverse your page and text color in low-light environments, and Vertical Scrolling. The last allows you to scroll up and down through your book instead of flipping the page left to right. You can also control your screen brightness and choose a different font.

And that’s it! It’s a fast solution if you know what you’re looking for, but if you don’t, there are simply no indicators in the Books app or iPadOS to clue you in.

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Security Camera, Wearable Body Camera, or Car Dashcam: $64.99

Tue, 09/22/2020 - 23:28

We have a deal on TOKK CAM C2, a tiny camera that can be used as a security camera, a wearable body cam, or a dashcam for your car. With this portable, ultra-compact Wi-Fi camera, you can instantly stream and/or record crystal clear video in 1280x720P. And all of is controlled through an iOS or Android app. This device is $64.99 through our deal.

Create iOS 14 Widgets With the “Widgetsmith’ App

Tue, 09/22/2020 - 21:32

Widgetsmith lets you create iOS 14 widgets and customize them to suit your needs and Home Screen theme. The app includes a variety of widget categories like weather, calendar, timezone converter, and others. Widgets can even by scheduled to appear on your screen following rules you define. App Store: Free (Offers In-App Purchases)

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Linksys Velop Tri-Band Routers Now Support HomeKit

Tue, 09/22/2020 - 20:25

Linksys Velop Tri-Band Routers now support Apple’s HomeKit through a free update available in the Linksys app.

Through ‌HomeKit‌, Velop users can choose to firewall off ‌HomeKit‌ accessories to prevent them from communicating with other WiFi devices on a home network and untrusted internet services to prevent hacking attempts and provide better security for connected home devices.

HomeKit-compatible Velop Tri-band model numbers that work with ‌‌HomeKit‌‌ include A03, WHW0301, WHW0301B, WHW0302, WHW0302B, WHW0303, and WHW0303B.

Good news for owners of these routers.

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Apple Orders ‘High Desert’ Series Starring Patricia Arquette

Tue, 09/22/2020 - 20:15

Apple has ordered a comedy series called “High Desert” that stars Academy Award winner Patricia Arquette and directed by Ben Stiller.

High Desert

”High Desert” follows the character Peggy, a former addict who decides to make a new start after her mother’s death and becomes a private investigator. Ms. Arquette and Mr. Stiller will also serve as an executive producers. Molly Madden and Tom Lassally executive produce on behalf of 3 Arts Entertainment.

The series will also join upcoming Apple Original series produced by Apple Studios including a new untitled Team Downey and Adam Perlman drama series; “Masters of the Air,” a new limited drama series from Apple Studios and executive produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television, and Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman’s Playtone; and highly anticipated films “Emancipation,” “Killers of the Flower Moon” and “Snow Blind.”

This is Apple’s second partnership with Ms. Arquette and Mr. Stiller, who also have a series for Apple TV+ called “Severance”.


Apple Updates iWork Apps With Support for iPadOS 14 ‘Scribble’

Tue, 09/22/2020 - 19:56

Apple has updated Pages, Numbers, and Keynote with new updates, the most notable of which is support for the iPadOS 14 Scribble feature that works with Apple Pencil.

iPadOS 14 Scribble

Scribble lets you use an Apple Pencil to write in any text field, and your handwriting will automatically transform into text. You can find the setting in Settings > Apple Pencil.

Pages Release Notes
  • Use Scribble to write by hand with ‌Apple Pencil‌, and your words will automatically convert to text. Requires ‌iPadOS 14‌.
  • Select from new report templates to help you get started.
  • Enhance your documents with a variety of new, editable shapes.
  • Easily find pictures and videos using new zoom and search capabilities in the redesigned image picker. Requires ‌iOS 14‌ or ‌iPadOS 14‌.
Numbers Release Notes
  • Use Scribble to write by hand with ‌Apple Pencil‌, and your words will automatically convert to text. Requires ‌iPadOS 14‌.
  • Forms are now easier to create and customize. Add a form to any table or use the new Basic Form template.
  • Improved performance when working with large tables.
  • Easily find pictures and videos using new zoom and search capabilities in the redesigned image picker. Requires ‌iOS 14‌ or ‌iPadOS 14‌.
  • Enhance your spreadsheets with a variety of new, editable shapes.
Keynote Release Notes
  • Use Scribble to write by hand with ‌Apple Pencil‌, and your words will automatically convert to text. Requires ‌iPadOS 14‌.
  • Use the new Outline View to focus on the structure and flow of your content without other distractions.
  • Play YouTube and Vimeo videos right in your presentations.
  • Movie export now supports a wide selection of formats and frame rates.
  • Hold the option key while dragging an object to duplicate it.
  • Easily find pictures and videos using new zoom and search capabilities in the redesigned image picker. Requires ‌iOS 14‌ or ‌iPadOS 14‌.
  • Enhance your presentations with a variety of new, editable shapes.

The iWork Mac apps have also been updated.

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Series 6 Watch Teardown, Love for Ted Lasso – TMO Daily Observations 2020-09-22

Tue, 09/22/2020 - 19:45

John Martellaro and Bryan Chaffin join host Kelly Guimont to discuss a Series 6 Watch teardown, plus Bryan and Kelly’s love of Ted Lasso.

Clean up old and unneeded files, speed up your system, and defend against viruses and malware with Clean My Mac X. Get your free trial at today!

1Password Partners With Privacy for Virtual Credit Cards

Tue, 09/22/2020 - 19:42

Password generator 1Password is teaming up with to let customers generate virtual credit cards right in the browser.

Virtual Credit Cards

With, people link their banking account to generate unlimited virtual credits cards perfect for signing up to online services. And now 1Password customers can use these cards with the 1Password extension for Safari. This lets you:

  • Create new virtual cards right from your browser
  • Set spending limits
  • Save card details in 1Password

Right now the feature is only available in the United States but 1Password does hint of expansion in the future.

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YouTuber Explains the New iOS 14 Spatial Audio Feature

Tue, 09/22/2020 - 19:32

YouTuber Anil Pal dives into iOS 14 Spatial Audio to explain what it is, how it works, what devices it runs on, and where you can find content that supports it. Spatial Audio is a feature for AirPods Pro that can give you “surround sound” without needing multiple speakers. Em Lazer-Walker has a good write-up of it here but Mr. Pal’s video is also a good resource.

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Bing Data Leak Exposes Search Queries, Location Data, More

Tue, 09/22/2020 - 17:54

The Wizcase security team discovered a Microsoft Bing data leak due to an unsecured server. The server was protected with a password until the first week of September, then it was removed. The team alerted Microsoft on September 13 and the company quickly secured it on September 16.

Microsoft Bing Data Leak

Here are some of the types of data included in the leak:

  • Search terms, including the exact time the search was made
  • Location coordinates
  • Firebase notification tokens
  • Coupon data
  • A partial list of URLs people visited from search results
  • Device Model and operating system

Wizcase reports that between September 10-12 the server was the target of a Meow attack that deleted nearly the whole database. A second Meow attack occurred on September 14.

Even though a user’s email address isn’t included in the exposed data, there is enough user data for the hacker to find a person’s identity. Once they have a name, address, and place of employment, getting an email address isn’t that difficult. As a general rule, never click on a link that doesn’t come from a trusted source.

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Watch Tim Cook’s Interview at The Atlantic Festival

Tue, 09/22/2020 - 15:19

Tim Cook was remotely interviewed as part of The Atlantic Festival, talking about privacy, Apple’s ongoing antitrust investigation, his views on the Trump administration, and more. “I think that big companies deserve scrutiny. And I think that’s not only fair but important for the system that we have in America. And so I have no issue at all in Apple being put underneath the microscope and people looking and probing […] My hope is that as people continue to hear our story, that it will become as apparent to them as it is to us, that we have no monopoly, there is no monopoly here. We’re in very, very competitive markets like smartphones and smartwatches and tablets and personal computers. These things are fiercely competitive.”

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The Mac Observer Co-founder Dave Hamilton – BGM Interview

Tue, 09/22/2020 - 01:17

Dave Hamilton is the co-founder of The Mac Observer, publisher, and co-host of the legendary Mac Geek Gab (MGG) podcast, having done over 800 shows with our John Braun. He’s an Apple—and router—guru.

Dave and I opened the show with an extensive discussion of Apple succession planning. Who would replace CEO Tim Cook on an emergency basis? Who might succeed him when he retires? Who on the executive team is qualified? In segment II, Dave explained Wi-Fi 6 and its presence (and lack thereof) on various Apple products. That got us into new routers that support Wi-Fi 6. Finally, we looked at the ever-changing UI of Apple OSes, discoverability of features and the continuing need to remain practiced with each OS. As with his MGG, Dave is both informative and entertaining.

My Background Mode interview with Dave Hamilton _______________________

Apple Watch Series 6 Teardown Finds Bigger Batteries, More Taptic Engine

Mon, 09/21/2020 - 23:53

Apple Watch Series 6 has larger batteries than the Apple Watch Series 5, according to iFixit’s teardown on Apple’s new devices. The company also found that the Taptic Engine is slightly larger than its predecessor, and that the case is ever-so-slightly thinner.

Apple Watch Series 6 Battery

The battery in the 44mm Apple Watch Series 6 is 3.5% bigger than last years’s model, while the battery in the 40mm Apple Watch Series 6 is 8.5% bigger. How or whether that translates into more battery life remains to be seen, as the new model has new sensors and a new system-on-a-chip, the Apple S6 System in Package, or SiP.

iFixit also noted, “The smaller 40 mm Series 6 retains the radical metal-pouch design introduced on the Series 5, now with a 1.024 Wh capacity.” The 44mm model still doesn’t use that design for the battery.

More Taptic Engine in Apple Watch Series 6

Interestingly, iFixit also said that the Taptic Engine in the Apple Watch Series 6 is larger. We don’t know why, yet, and I’m testing the one that arrived on my doorstep earlier today. But a larger Taptic Engine hopefully means more noticeable tactile notification vibrations.

As iFixit put it, “More battery and more Taptic Engine—Apple mentioned neither of these in their announcement, but it seems they’ve quietly pulled out all the stops this year.”

Less Is More, as Apple Makes the Apple Watch Series 6 Thinner

I’m all for thick watches, at least on mechanical time pieces, but Apple has been surprisingly resistant to its usual penchant for thinness-at-all-costs in the Apple Watch. Series 6, however, is thinner, if “imperceptibly” so: AWS6 is 10.4 mm, which is from the 10.74 Apple Watch Series 5.

Apple did this despite adding new sensors, the larger battery, and that larger Taptic Engine. At the same time, however, Apple eliminated the Force Touch gasket prior models utilized for pressure-sensitive-touches in past model. That absence, plus whatever space savings Apple might have gotten out of the S6 SiP are likely what made that quarter of a millimeter thinness possible.

Other Tidbits for iFixit’s Apple Watch Series 6 Teardown
  • iFixit found a “thicker rubber-like adhesive on the display and back plate” that may add more protection for “unwanted ingress,” as in intrusions into your Watch. The company noted that made it harder to get into even when you’re trying, too.
  • Screen replacements are possible, according to iFixit.
  • Apple Watch Series 6 opens from the side like a book, as shown in the hero image above.

Hero image courtesy of iFixit

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Apple TV+: Ted Lasso Soothes our 2020 Soul

Mon, 09/21/2020 - 22:05

Ted Lasso is cute. It’s wonderful. It’s charming and disarming. It’s funny, poignant, endearing, and refreshing. Ted Lasso is great. No, it’s a godsend. It’s the salve we’ve been yearning for as 2020 unwound into a hellfire landscape of epic proportion. Grandiose statements? Surely, but all of them true just the same. Ted Lasso is also great TV, a terrific member of Apple TV+, and a feather in Apple’s content cap.

Ted Lasso: Great Casting and Great Writing

I tuned into Ted Lasso on Apple TV+ because I’m a fan of Jason Sudeikis, who plays the title role. To be sure, that was really the sole reason I watched the first three episodes, but by the time episode 3 was wrapping up, this show had me charmed and delighted. And it just got better from there. With 8 episodes released and the episode 9 season finale* due September 25th, this show is a tour de force demonstration of great casting and great writing.

The show serves up perfect pacing, memorable characters, funny situations, and the kind of character reveals few shows manage with such grace and humor. Standout actors include Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso), Hannah Waddingham (Rebecca), Brendan Hunt (Coach Beard), Jeremy Swift (Higgins), Phil Dunster (Jamie Tartt), Brett Goldstein (Team Captain Roy), Juno Temple (Keeley), and the brilliant Nick Mohammed (Nate the Great).

As a point of reference, I tried to figure out how to order that list, and the reality is I couldn’t. All of these actors are terrific and their characters are all…perfect. And, they have the sort of immediate chemistry right out of the gate that most shows struggle to find.

Give Ted Lasso Three Episodes

As mentioned above, I started watching Ted Lasso because I like Jason Sudeikis. This was emphasized for me this weekend when I started the series over with a friend who hadn’t yet seen it. The first two episodes are fine, and they do a great job of laying the groundwork and building up the world Ted occupies. But I didn’t find myself feeling good—and I mean literally feeling good—after watching an episode until the end of episode 3. That’s when it hit me how much I love this show.

Ted Lasso Is Not about Football

Ted Lasso is set in England around a Premier League fictional team, AFC Richmond. That’s soccer here in the States, and football for the rest of the world. The title character is an American who has never coached soccer in his life, and cue the comedy. But—and this is important—Ted Lasso is not a football show, just as Buffy the Vampire Slayer was not a vampire show. Both are shows about people, and the settings and worlds are merely the vehicle for telling stories about those people. I can think of no higher praise than to compare these two shows on this front, and I don’t make it lightly.

To be sure, I can’t verify how accurate the football/English/English press aspects of this show are, but I can say as an American who doesn’t watch much soccer, I haven’t needed to know anything about Premier League teams to follow along and enjoy these characters and their stories.

Ted Lasso Is Hopeful

The greatest gift this show brings is a feeling of hopefulness. In an age when despair, anguish, and rage are seemingly part of our daily diet, Ted Lasso, the character and the show, are hopeful. Ted Lasso the character sees the best and in everyone, and the show allows us to share in his joie de vivre, to participate in his overwhelming positivity. Sure, there are ugly moments in the show as some characters’ flaws rear their heads to bring us drama and comedy, both, but a feeling of triumph is always front and center in this amazing TV show.

I love Ted Lasso.

* Apple lists 9 episodes, while IMDB lists 10 episodes.

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Mark Zuckeberg Fights European Regulators

Mon, 09/21/2020 - 21:17

In a court filing in Dublin, Ireland, Facebook says if a decision by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission is upheld, the company would have no choice but to abandon Europe because of its bad business practices.

If the decision is upheld, “it is not clear to [Facebook] how, in those circumstances, it could continue to provide the Facebook and Instagram services in the EU,” Yvonne Cunnane, who is Facebook Ireland’s head of data protection and associate general counsel, wrote in a sworn affidavit.

The decision Facebook’s referring to is a preliminary order handed down last month to stop the transfer of data about European customers to servers in the U. S., over concerns about U. S. government surveillance of the data.

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AirBeamTV Screen Mirroring from Mac to Smart TV: $18.99

Mon, 09/21/2020 - 20:54

We have a deal on AirBeamTV, a screen mirroring platform for streaming from your Mac to smart TVs. This Mac app package includes 14 different Smart TV screen mirror apps so you can cast your screen to different TV brands. With AirBeamTV’s screen mirroring apps, you can cast your MacBook, Mac, or iMac to the smart TV of your choice. All you need is one of the apps and to have your computer connected to the same local network as your TV and you’re ready to start mirroring. A lifetime subscription is $18.99 through our deal.

Speck Launches Cases for iPad 8 and iPad Air 4

Mon, 09/21/2020 - 20:26

Accessory maker Speck has introduced new cases for iPad 8th gen and iPad AIr 4th gen.

iPad Air 4 Cases
  • Balance Folio: 4-foot drop protection, protects against dents and scratches, is compatible with Apple Pencil (2nd Generation), magnetic camera shield that covers your lens and easily retracts when you need to snap a photo, converts into a convenient typing and viewing stand. US$39.95

  • Balance Folio Print: The same protective features as Balance Folio with fade-resistant print designs. US$39.95

iPad 8 Cases
  • Balance Folio: 4-foot drop protection, multiple viewing and typing angles, and a magnetic shield to cover your camera. US$39.95

  • Balance Folio Clear: 4-foot drop protection, multiple viewing and typing angles, and a magnetic shield to cover your camera, a soft edge-to-edge liner that guards your iPad against scratches. US$44.95

  • Case-E: 6-foot drop protection, playful detachable arms transform it into a convenient stand for viewing. US$39.95

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Complicated iPad Purchasing, Bryan’s New Watch – TMO Daily Observations 2020-09-21

Mon, 09/21/2020 - 20:20

Bryan Chaffin and John Martellaro join host Kelly Guimont to discuss how Apple made choosing an iPad more difficult, and Bryan’s new Watch!