TechFan #242 – Apple Software Quality

On February 12, 2016, in TechFan, by Tim Robertson

tf242
Dan Lizette from The Podcast Digest and Owen Rubin join Tim Robertson to discuss 5G networks, copyrighting the law, gravitational waves, and our main topic, the perception that Apple software is on the decline in quality.

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Links:
The Podcast Digest
LA Times story: Column Apple takes its eye off the ball: Why Apple fans are really coming to hate Apple software
Online legal publishers squabble over the right to copyright the law
AT&T to start testing 5G networks this year:

 

iHome Split Portable Bluetooth Speaker System
Model: iBT11BC
Manufacturer: iHome
Retail: $100.00 (Internet $80.00)

iHome’s Split Bluetooth Speaker has a dual personality. The two halves can be placed apart for good stereo separation or click them together to sit neatly on the included base. The base also charges the built-in batteries.

Screen Shot 2016-02-06 at 10.19.25 AM

Bluetooth technology has come a long way from the early days when pairing was awkward and the sound was sketchy. The new Split wirelessly keeps the left and right channels separate even when the speakers are placed apart. iHome’s True-Wireless circuitry separates the left and right channels and sends the signals to the appropriate speaker. This is a great way to watch streaming TV or movies from the sofa with your iPad propped on the coffee table. Place the two Split speakers on either side and enjoy good wireless stereo sound.

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Cooper DSLR 13 Messenger-style Camera Bag
Company
Tenba
$250 U.S.

tenbacooper-1

When I first opened the box with the Tenba Cooper 13 DSLR inside, I knew I was in for something special. The bag itself came wrapped inside another bag! Very classy. Once I removed the Cooper and felt its fabric between my fingers, my first thought was this is going to be a great case to carry around. It’s a handsome slate grey on the outside, lined with a nylon interior. I’d consider the Cooper a messenger-style bag, and it also looks like a typical day-to-day bag.

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k5-jkt. by kiger — Premium Hooded Sweatshirt Jacket — Nemo Memo

$125 preview pricing

kiger jacket hood on

k5-jkt. by kiger is the best hooded sweatshirt I have ever worn and used. It’s warm, comfortable, versatile, attractive, and unique in several ways. The sweatshirt fabric is thick and cozy. Construction is robust. Pockets are well-placed for both techie and traditional hoodie purposes, including extra-deep hand warmer pockets and a secret iPad mini pocket on the interior, in addition to iPhone and iPod pockets.

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Newertech NuPower Mac Laptop Batteries
Company: Newertech
Prices vary by model from approximately $90 – $130

the battery

I chose to review the white non unibody 13” MacBook battery, because I had a suitable MacBook, now used by my daughter, in need of a replacement battery. I am confident that what applies to the battery I reviewed will apply across the board to all of their other batteries. I admit that I have, in the past, purchased a cheap, no brand, pattern part, battery for a similar MacBook on the basis of price. That turned out to not be a great investment. I will make occasional comparisons along the way between my experience with this NuPower battery and the cheap copy where I think it seems appropriate.

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Kindle Fire HD 8 – Review

On February 10, 2016, in Kindle, Review, by Tim Robertson

Kindle Fire HD 8
Company: Amazon
Price: $149.99 (8GB)
firehd8

This is actually my second attempt at writing this review. I usually don’t have a problem writing any review, especially for a product like the Kindle Fire that I think is a good product at a good price. The problem with this review, however, extends beyond the product itself. But first, let’s talk about the product up for review.

The all-new Kindle Fire HD 8 is the latest from Amazon, designed to be an inexpensive tablet tied to the Amazon eco-system. As such, being an Amazon Prime member, while not required, really makes the Kindle Fire family of tablets shine. With the Kindle Fire, you are able to watch as many hours of free Prime videos as you can handle, millions of movies and television shows. It’s enough to satisfy most heavy video cravings, but if you desire more, the popular Netflix app is a quick download away on the Kindle.

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DiskMaker X 5 – Review

On February 9, 2016, in Apple, Apps, Mac, Mac OS X, Macintosh, Macs at Work, Review, by Bob Wood

DiskMaker X 5
Publisher: DiskMaker
MSRP: Donationware

I find myself lamenting the passing of the Mac OS install disk. It provided me with peace of mind knowing that I could boot from that disk if something went horribly wrong on my internal drive. I researched how to make a bootable USB thumb drive to replace the optical disks of yesteryear. Finding the instructions was easy enough, but upon reading through the procedure, I found that the amount of dealing the the built in UNIX terminal exceeded my comfort level. A little more digging turned up DiskMaker X.
DiskMakerLogo

DiskMaker X puts a graphical interface over the terminal commands needed to produce the bootable drive. Armed with this donationware and a few new high quality 8 GB Secure Digital cards I was able to create bootable drives for Mac OS X Mavericks, Yosemite, and El Capitan. I am now ready to upgrade or repair the OS on my Macs or those of my friends and family.

DiskMaker01

The road to this Mac OS X nirvana did have a few bumps in it. I first installed DiskMaker X version 5.0.2. I was unable to get this version to make the installers that I desired. Rather than repeated hitting my head against the wall, I set it aside for another day. A few days later I searched again for a graphical solution to my desire to make bootable OS disks. I learned that DiskMaker just published a update to version 5.0.3. A download of this newer version proved to be just what I was seeking. In short order my drives were complete and ready for use. I encourage donations to this developer upon completion of your install disks.

MyMac.com Review Rating: 9 out of 10

 

MyMac Podcast 592: I’m Bored

On February 8, 2016, in Podcast, by The MyMac Podcast

mymac592
Guy is off to the wilds of Ohio to watch the Super Bowl with friends, so Gaz coerces James Turner of wooded.co.uk fame to do the podcast with. The usual stuff is talked about along with a discussion of what they would like to see Apple release or will they wait for something completely new?

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Links:
Guy’s App Pick: He’s not here to give us one.
Gaz’s App Pick: Well I am a rugby fan so I have to mention this.
Jame’s Pick: Sky Force by Infinite Dreams

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Skype +1 Area code  703-436-9501

 

TechFan #241 – The Printing Conundrum

On February 6, 2016, in TechFan, by Tim Robertson

tf241
Do you still need to print documents or pictures? If so, this is the episode for you. Plus, usable older iPhones, the eye of Sauron, email from Owen, Error 53, suing Apple, and much more.

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Links:
Samsung Wireless Monochrome Printer
There’s a new “-gate” brewing on the Internet – Error 53
Aberystwyth man wins Apple Watch warranty court battle  

 

Loopback by Rogue Amoeba – Review

On February 4, 2016, in Apps, Audio, Review, by Guy Serle

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Loopback
Company: Rogue Amoeba
US $75 introductory price; $99 regular price

People who deal with audio on a regular basis are a persnickety bunch. They want everything to work in just a certain way and sometimes try to cram functionality with hardware and software to do things neither was meant to do. Or perhaps I’m projecting my own idiosyncrasies on everyone. No matter, if you have to deal with audio from various sources, you probably are already aware of Rogue Amoeba and some of their applications like Audio Hijack and NiceCast to name just a few. Well a little while ago, they also took control of a free program that a lot of podcasters have a love/hate relationship and that’s Soundflower. This program allows you to create virtual feeds to move audio around in your computer. It also is persnickety and boy I wish someone would make something easier to use. Well Rogue Amoeba did and it’s called Loopback.

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MyMac Podcast 591: Is Apple TV on AppleTV?

On February 1, 2016, in Podcast, by The MyMac Podcast

mymac591
We know Apple wants to bundle a selection of television channels, but what if they not only served the content, but owned it too? Guy and Gaz talk about this, as well as recent Apple financials (boring!), megasnowpocolypse (YAWN!), a Skype call (woo!), multiple languages (wha???), a some kind of malady affecting Guy (eww).

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Links:
Guy’s App Pick: Quake 4. $19.99 on the Mac App Store. Quake has come a long way from it’s origins of essentially being a Doom Clone which is ironic since ID Software is the maker of both games and they both used the same graphics engine for a time. Still a great shoot-em-up even 10 years later.
Gaz’s App Pick: Not an App pick But an iPhone 6 6/s add-on!!!!

 

TechFan 240 – You Don’t Know Jack

On January 31, 2016, in TechFan, by Tim Robertson

tf240
David has car problems while Tim races a snow storm. Did you know the LEAF does not have a spare tire? Tim revisits the Fire HD 8 vs the Hire HD 7, and both of the guys are fed up with Apple’s online services. Finally, more on the Apple Watch and DC’s TV and movies.

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FlexiShield Gel Case for iPad Pro – Review

On January 29, 2016, in Cases, Review, by Curt Blanchard

FlexiShield Gel Case for iPad Pro
Manufacturer: Olixar
Price: $15.49 plus $2.99 shipping
More info here


LogoEtc

The new iPad Pro is big, thin, and slippery. I’ve owned mine for a month so far and have had several heart-stopping Oops! moments while nearly dropping it. Since discovering the FlexiShield iPad Pro Gel Case by Olixar, I’m breathing easier.

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Learn Japanese with Tako for iOS – Review

On January 28, 2016, in iOS, iPad, iPhone, Review, by Scott Willsey

Learn Japanese with Tako for iOS
Company: Grogshot Games
Price: $2.99 USD

TakosJapanese

A couple of years ago, I recommended some great iOS apps for learning Japanese on my website. I still like and use most of those apps regularly, especially Midori and Japanese.

Recently I found another Japanese study app for iOS that I’ve been using on a daily basis to learn and remember more kanji. It’s called Learn Japanese with Tako, and it’s a fun and novel app for learning hiragana, katakana, and kanji, as well as basic pronunciation.

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mymac590
FINALLY got the show to under an hour but Skype problems and Virgin Media UK makes life hell for thee GMen. Hey why should it only be the listeners that have to suffer? The GMen also talk about the UK, New York, and now California initiatives to force mobile device makers to add a back door into our devices so they can see what stuff we’re doing. Sure, because how could THAT go horribly wrong?

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Links:
Guy’s App Pick: Full Deck Solitaire by GRL Games Free with in-app purchases
Gaz’s App Pick: Zeitraffer an alternative to Time-Lapse the App I used to use that now seems to have become well useless!
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/zeitraffer/id572526628?mt=12
People’s Pick: Karl Madden Advent Mechanically Textured Edition. An iPhone case for a mere $1000. That’s right, for just $1000 this bumper could be yours. If you are in the market for such an item I also know of a bridge across the Thames that is for sale at a very reasonable price.

Contact / Follow Us:
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Skype +1 Area code  703-436-9501

 

TechFan 239 - Show Graphic
David Cohen is joined this week by friend of the show Owen Rubin, who has a serious tech-related injury to share. After discussing the joys of returning to direct IT Support, they geek out in a discussion about electric car vehicles pros and cons.

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Links:
Bicep Tendon Rupture
UK Health Service-supplied disability car
Toyota Prius-C

 

Audio Hijack – User Report Review

On January 25, 2016, in How-To, Mac, Review, by Mark Chappell

Audio Hijack 3
Rogueamoeba.com
Price: $25 (upgrade) $49 (full version)

Audio Hijack Hero Image 2

 

Audio Hijack in its most basic sense is a way to capture audio from your Mac. If you want to record audio from a microphone, a website or an application, you can do that and a whole lot more. It looks so simple to use yet can also do many complex and rewarding audio tasks.

Audio Hijack’s new interface is a lot like playing with Lego. You start with one block, join them together, add more blocks and hopefully you end up with something at the end. For this article I will mix the review and my usage experiences together and share the results.

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Foscam Wireless IP Camera – Review

On January 22, 2016, in Review, Security, Wireless, by Curt Blanchard

Foscam Wireless IP Camera
Model: R2
Manufacturer: Shenzhen Foscam Intelligent Technology, Ltd.
Price: $149.99

FoscamLogo

Surveillance cameras are often considered creepy, but there are many uses that are not sinister at all. Keeping an eye on a sleeping infant, monitoring an elderly parent, or checking your home while traveling can all put your mind at ease. Foscam makes a number of monitoring cameras. Their new R2 Wireless IP camera is packed with useful features.

ThreeViews

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Case Logic Huxton Laptop Sleeve – Review

On January 22, 2016, in Laptop Case, Review, by Vicki Stokes

HuxtonLaptop Sleeve_MidnightNavy2_HR
Huxton 15.6” Laptop Sleeve

Company: Case Logic
Price: $30

The Case Logic Huxton Laptop Sleeve is a case made of heathered fabric designed for protecting your 15.6” laptop  when traveling to the office, school, or local cafe.

The Huxton Laptop Sleeve is designed to protect a laptop with a 15-16 inch screen. The sleeve dimensions, 15.9 x 1.2 x 11.8 inches, can fit devices sized 15.2 x 1.2 x 10.5 inches. There is a zippered pocket to store smaller electronics such as an iPad or Kindle. Though well padded, the polyester material weighs less than a pound. Color options are black or midnight navy.

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MyMac Podcast 589: Ch-Ch-Changes

On January 18, 2016, in Podcast, by Tim Robertson

mymac589
Well we lost some good people last week namely David Bowie and Alan Rickman but we don’t give in to being Under Pressure and turn to page 394. Sorry do podcast 589 anyway. Guy talks a bit about the Remix Mini he got last week and Gaz talks about trying to return his broken one. A few short topics in the middle section and we call it a show.

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