iHome SmartPlug – Review

On August 28, 2015, in iPhone, Review, Wi-Fi, by Curt Blanchard

iHome SmartPlug
Manufacturer: iHome
Retail: $39.99
SmartPlug

SmertPlug

Home automation and the Internet of Things aren’t just pie-in-the-sky concepts any more. They’re beginning to happen. iHome’s new iSP5 SmartPlug lets you control an electrical outlet in your home wherever you are with your iPhone. It’s also compatible with Apple’s HomeKit so Siri will respond to your voice commands.

Smart appliances such as thermostats, exterior door locks, and garage door openers can already be controlled by smartphones but these devices are expensive and often require professional installation. By comparison, the SmartPlug is a simple, inexpensive plug-and-play device. It connects wirelessly to your home Wi-Fi and is controlled with the iHome Control app (iOS and Android). Open the app and a single tap turns the power on or off.

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Publisher Plus – Review

On August 27, 2015, in Review, by Simon Parnell

Publisher Plus Desktop Publishing Application
Pearl Mountain Software
Direct from developer’s website $39.90 US / £33.54 UK
Mac App Store $19.99 US / £14.99 UK

Application Icon

Publisher Plus is a Desktop Publishing (DTP) package similar to Pages, Swift Publisher, PageMeUp or iStudio Publisher. It is designed for producing posters, flyers, newsletters, menus, and anything else you might want to print.  It is priced at $39.90 on the developer’s site but only $19.99 on the Mac App Store (the developer tells me this is a “time limited App Store offer” but it isn’t made clear anywhere.) There is also a Publisher Lite that is free. I recommend you try out the app before you make a decision to purchase.

In order to review desktop publishing software I like to build a simple little document to get a feel for how the package operates. For this review I built this simple newsletter front page.

My Mac Publisher Plus

Newsletter front page with boxes, shadows, rotations, blends and text wrapping.

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MyMac Podcast 571: Don’t you just HATE rumor shows?

On August 25, 2015, in Podcast, by The MyMac Podcast

mymac571
Gaz and Guy are back together and end up with a really long show filled with rumor nonsense. Which turns out to be a regular show with them talking about rumors. Also, Pennsylvania hijinks, pressure washers, typical mostly already known UK sayings, and links to videos of stupid people being arrested for being stupid in cars! Thankfully Guy and Gaz are rarely in a car together so they’ll probably be back next week.

Download the show here
RSS Feed for your podcast app
Subscribe in iTunes

Links:
No significant ones this week
Other stuff:
Guy’s App Pick: Not an app pick but a funny video of people feeling entitled and getting arrested for it.
Gaz’s App Pick: Pocket. Put articles, videos or pretty much anything into Pocket. Save directly from your browser or from apps like Twitter, Flipboard, Pulse and Zite. If it’s in Pocket, it’s on your phone, tablet or computer. You don’t even need an Internet connection.
People’s Pick: Joshua Martinez
Skinomi TechSkin for  Watch

Hay MyMac Podcast peeps! I wanted to share with a product that I am enjoying after getting my  Watch face repaired, Skinomi TechSkin. So far I have had one on my 42mm Sport for about a month now and it keeps scratches off the face of the watch. Amazon has a some pretty good deals on them for a six pack.

Guy@mymac.com, MacParrot on Twitter/ Gaz@mymac.com, GazMaz on Twitter/ GuyandGaz on Twitter/ Feedback@mymac.com/
Skype +1 Area code :) 703-436-9501

 

TechFan #221 – Den of Thieves

On August 21, 2015, in TechFan, by Tim Robertson

tf221
Ashley Madison hack and the privacy and relationship repercussions are on the top of the show. Also,  
Pac-Man is back in a big, bad way with  Pac-Man 256 from developer Hipster Whale. Apple Music is once again a big topic thanks to feedback, as well as privacy.

Download and listen here
RSS Feed for your podcast app
Subscribe in iTunes

Links:
Pac-Man 256
Read full email from Brendan Rowland after the break!

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Macphun Creative Kit – Review

On August 19, 2015, in Apps, Macintosh, Photography, Review, by Sam Negri

Macphun Creative Kit
Macphun Software
Price: $149.95 U.S.

creative kit logo

How many times have you tried to learn Adobe Photoshop or Aperture and given up in frustration? Or maybe you decided, as I did, since you’re not a graphic designer, you really had no need to invest in what’s required to unlock the power that Photoshop and Aperture boast. I don’t have the time or patience for that.

I’m a photography amateur, or hobbyist. I have other things I’d rather do than spend all day sitting in front of a computer trying to make my images look better.

The developers at Macphun Software understand this. They created five photo editing applications and bundled them as their Creative Kit. It’s a great product because you can start using it without reading a manual or learning a lot of arcane terminology. By “using it” I don’t mean you’ll get the full benefit of what these applications have to offer. What you’ll get if you don’t read any tips or watch some video tutorials is the surprise and satisfaction in seeing an anemic photo dramatically improved. There is no actual manual.

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MyMac Podcast 570: Security, what is it good for?

On August 18, 2015, in Podcast, by The MyMac Podcast

mymac570
Gaz is here and Guy is not. They really need to get their schedules straight. Fortunately Gaz connived…I mean convinced Bart Busschots from the Let’s Talk Apple and Let’s talk Photography podcasts also part of the Stoplight Network (see what I did there?) to come on and talk about something near and dear to Bart’s heart even if it sometimes makes him cranky. Which is Security…c’mon it’s in the show title for gosh sake!

Download the show here
RSS Feed for your podcast app
Subscribe in iTunes

Links:
Let’s talk Apple
Let’s Talk Photography

Other stuff:
Guy’s App Pick: WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR ABSOLUTELY NOTHING
Gaz’s App Pick: SNAPHEAL currently (but be quick) on offer photo image correction software from MacPhun. There is a summer deal to get a load of Macphun software but not sure it will still be live when your hear this so sad face f it isn’t.
Bart’s Thingy:
People’s Pick: Status Board Peoples Pick from Michael Cassell
Panic’s Status Board has gone “free” with the new version. The basic config is probably all that most users need but you can upgrade to full functionality via in-app purchase if desired.
Allister Jenks said
I had version 1 so got all the panel types for free. It’s a nice upgrade.

 

Macspiration Basics: Email a Link From Safari

On August 18, 2015, in How-To, Macspiration, by Donny Yankellow

macspirationbasics

 

Have you ever visited a website in Safari on your Mac and wanted to share that link via email to someone you know? If you go to the File menu and choose Share you can choose to “Email this page,” but that will send the entire page in an email. What if you just want to send a link? Personally, I prefer sending a link. What if the recipient has a slow connection? A link is a lot easier and faster to download in an email.  You could always copy and paste the URL into an email, but this is a faster way.

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 4.25.58 PM

Visit the same Share menu mentioned above. This time hold the Shift key down. You will notice that “Email this page” is now “Email link to this page.” Clicking that will compose an email with the link to the page and not the entire page.

It’s that simple, or basic.

 

TechFan #220 – Private Eyes

On August 14, 2015, in TechFan, by Tim Robertson

tf220
Privacy is back as a big topic for Tim and David this week, as well as Apple Camp for kids, Tim losing music thanks to iTunes, Lenovo installing crapware, and David’s woes with WayTools.

Download and listen here
RSS Feed for your podcast app
Subscribe in iTunes

Links:
Windows 10 and Privacy
Lenovo used Windows anti-theft feature to install persistent crapware
Apple Camp for Kids
WayTools.com

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Stilo Fine-tip Stylus – Review

On August 13, 2015, in iPad, iPad mini, Review, by Curt Blanchard

Stilo fine-tip stylus
Manufacturer: Stilo
MSRP: $69.99
Stilopen

Stilo_logo

I usually feel like I’m all thumbs when drawing on my iPad with a stylus. The tips are either soft and mushy or made of odd materials such as wire, hinged plastic, rubber, or even bristles. None are accurate enough for me. The new Stilo fine-tip stylus addresses these shortcomings.

black-stilo-woman

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Beep Dial Wi-Fi Streaming Music Player – User Report Review
$100 
Amazon U.S. link (limited availability as of publication)

Beep plus speaker

Beep Dial is shown lower center

Beep is a small Wi-Fi music player that connects to any speaker system and lets you cast music from your phone. That is the official description, humble and understated. In actual use, Beep Dial, a new company’s initial product, is the most innovative wireless audio iOS streaming invention in 2015, with the best dancing demo video. Beep Dials are assembled in San Francisco.

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MyMac Podcast 569: Fixing iTunes, well sorta

On August 11, 2015, in Podcast, by The MyMac Podcast

mymac569
Gaz is back and while this COULD mean all is right with the world, it’s the GMen who are rarely right…with the world. They talk about Gaz’s walks with the missus, Guy’s weird Gettysburg weekend and so much more! Plus they talk to a lot of different people most of which don’t actually exist. This is another long show but so worth it.

Download the show here
RSS Feed for your podcast app
Subscribe in iTunes

Links:
Guy’s App Pick: Audio Converter Pro $6.99 on the Mac App Store. AWESOME audio converter from one format to another. Many options and the program will put them where you tell it to including your iTunes Music Library.
Gaz’s App Pick: Giving a RAW image manipulator
People’s Pick: Allister Jenks People’s tip.

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Seagate Wireless 500GB External Wi-Fi Drive – User Report Review
$100 U.S.

Five colors are available. Free company shipping is offered in the 48 contiguous United States

This versatile external drive should be offered along with every iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The Seagate Wireless is an attractive, affordable, full-service external storage device that adds enormous capacity to the limited storage on portable iOS gear.

Seagate Wirelss

 

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Macspiration Basics: Control Spotlight Search Results

On August 11, 2015, in How-To, Macspiration, by Donny Yankellow

macspirationbasics

Are you getting too many search results when you use Spotlight? Did you know that you can reduce the search results, and possibly make it easier to find what you are looking for?

To do this start in the Apple Menu and choose System Preferences. Once there click the Spotlight icon.

spotlight

On the next window you will see two tabs.

spotlight2

One tab, “Search Results,” will let you check and uncheck options for Spotlight to search. The second tab, “Privacy,” will allow you to pick specific folders you definitely do not want searched. To pick a folder click the “+” sign and navigate to that folder. Once there double click and it will appear in the list.

Close the window and the next time you perform a search your results should be a lot smaller.

Basic.

TechFan #219 – Punching Producers

On August 7, 2015, in TechFan, by Tim Robertson

tf219
Owen Rubin is back to chat with Tim and David. Topics include Sony selling 25 Million PS4’s, the Top Gear crew finding a new home on Amazon, Windows 10, Android’s massive security issues, original online content, ROKU, Ouya, Razer, and the terribleness that is the Pixels movie.

Download and listen here
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Subscribe in iTunes

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Partly out of necessity and partly out of curiosity, I seem to be addicted to YesterTech. That’s what I call previous versions of everything, including the AirPort Express router I just spent a week monkeying with.

Negri AirPort express

My guess is that most people who buy an AirPort Express router know more about it than I did. A lot of what I learned by poking around on the Internet probably is obvious to someone more attuned to the technology. I wanted to accomplish just one thing I had seen work at a friend’s house. I wanted to stream music from my computer or iPhone to my non-AirPlay living room speakers, using an Apple product called AirPort Express. I didn’t realize I was climbing into a big dark hole.

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macspirationbasics

 

Apple’s new iPhoto replacement, the Photos app, can be a little scary for some people. No more events. It looks different. Plus, what happened to the list on the left side of the screen with all of my Albums and my Library? Well, thankfully that is still there and it is easy to bring that back and a little familiarity to Photos.

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 9.03.33 PM

To bring back the sidebar go the “View” menu and click “Show Sidebar.” Instantly your list of albums, “Last Import,” etc. will appear on the left of the screen. You’ll also find projects like Books or Calendars here. If you imported an iPhoto library all of your events from iPhoto are now in a folder called “iPhoto Events.” The events have been converted to Albums, but they will all be there.

It may not be the same as iPhoto, but it will help make the transition to Photos a little easier and basic.

 

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Photos For Mac: A Take Control Crash Course
Author: Jason Snell

Publisher: TidBITS
Version 1.1
Price: $10.00 ebook
61 pages

PhotosforMac-ATCCrashCourse-1.0-cover_284_376_s_c1

Have you left iPhoto or Aperture yet and moved to Photos? Still have some unanswered question about the process? Or maybe you’ve already jumped over but something just doesn’t look right. Let former Macworld editor Jason Snell lend a helping hand in his new book Photos For Mac: A Take Control Crash Course.

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MyMac Podcast 568: What are Old Macs good for?

On August 3, 2015, in Podcast, by The MyMac Podcast

mymac568
Still no Gaz and Guy is getting weird. OK, he was already weird so no points for that, but Dave Hamilton from the Mac Geek Gab agrees to be on the podcast maybe without realizing just what that means. They have a long discussion about lots of things with tangents flying everywhere but eventually get back on track to talk about what to do with those Macs you might have lying around the house.

Download the show here
RSS Feed for your podcast app
Subscribe in iTunes

Links
:
https://mypodcastreviews.com
Other stuff:
Guy’s App Pick: Acorn a cool image editor
Gaz’s App Pick: Gaz is walking so stop asking for a app pick!
Dave’s App Pick: MOS Organizer $20 for white or black plastic/$40 for the aluminum model

 

Pixave – Review

On August 3, 2015, in Photography, Picture Gallery, Review, by Donny Yankellow

 

Pixave
Company: 
Little HJ
App Store Link
Price: $9.99

Are you an artist who wants an iPhoto/Photos like way of organizing your art images, but you don’t want to mix your personal photos with your artwork? Maybe you are a writer and want to catalog screenshots and images for articles? Or perhaps you have a ton of miscellaneous images on your computer that you want to organize? If so Pixave, an app that costs just $9.99 in the Mac App Store, might be what you are looking for.

Pixave is an image organizer for the Mac that allows you to group your images into collections (or albums). These collection can also be further organized into folders containing various collections and/or smart collections. What is a smart collection? It is a collection that grabs imported images based on attributes you set. These attributes can be title, date, file type, or even color.

pixavescreen

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Kensington SafeGrip Case for iPad Air 2 – Review

On August 3, 2015, in iPad, Review, by Rich Lefko

Kensington SafeGrip Case for iPad Air 2
Company: Kensington
Price: $69.95 USD

Carry 2

When iPads first came out the thought of our kids grabbing our iPads and dropping them, such an expensive piece of electronics, left us in fear. However, as the iPad has evolved, their use in schools and at home has become generally accepted. Still, we are talking about an expensive piece of hardware, and no matter how well intentioned, or careful our kids try to be, accidents do happen.

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