The MacValley blog


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Tom Briant

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Magic Keyboard Trick organizes files into neat folders with one push!

You’ve come across this situation, I’m sure. You come across a folder on your Mac’s hard drive(s) that’s a junk folder for random files and folders. I’ve named folders “Junk Folder” for that reason. How do you get them into organized shape? I’ll show you.

I found the magic keystrokes placing files not next to each other together in a common folder. No more making the folder, then dragging files into it one by one. I make it easy for me. Now make it easy for you.

The first magic keystroke is holding down your Command key as you select files by clicking on them. If you worked with Windows, you’ll recognize this keystroke. Windows uses the Control key, but the idea is the same

The second magic keystroke places these files into a common folder that you give a recognizable name.

That keystroke is Control+Command+N. With the files selected in Step One, press Control+Command+N

You’ll see a dialog box asking you to enter the folder’s name. Enter the name and click on OK.

The files go into the folder. You’ve eliminated a bit of mess on your Mac.

Now for one more keyboard+mouse combination. If these files and folders reside on another partition or drive, you don’t need to drag them from one side to the other. Instead, hold down the Command key as you drag the files or folder over to their new home. You’ve moved it, eliminating another step.

That’s it for now. Shaving away the inconveniences makes you a Mac master!

Tom Briant
Editor, MacValley Blog

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for 3-13-2018

I love iPhone apps that actually put effort into explaining their software updates — here are the best and worst offenders



Apple’s Tips on Avoiding iTunes and App Store Phishing Email Scams

Scammers are crafting more sophisticated and realistic looking emails to trick you into handing over your credit card number and other personal information, so Apple has a new support article with tips on how to spot them.



How to Discover Free iOS Apps on the App Store With IFTTT



Apple HomePod, Amazon Echo, Google Home and more: We put 7 speakers to the test



10 best smart speakers compared

And the verdict is ... 

Smart speakers have different purposes. If all you want is a gizmo that will answer questions, tell you a joke and turn up the heating, the Amazon Echo Dot is enough. The Echo Spot is a tremendous alarm clock because of its highly visible clockface and compact size. But the best device, by far, for audio quality is Apple HomePod. Its smarts aren’t so advanced, but it’s easier to upgrade the software than the hardware so this is a device which will keep improving. Still, the Sonos One is a lot cheaper and sounds pretty spiffy – two together as a stereo pair are the HomePod’s main audio challenger.



How To Reset Your HomePod To Factory Settings

This article explains two different ways to do this.



HomePod vs. Sonos One: Which should you buy?

Overall, I’d easily choose HomePod over the Sonos. And that’s not just because I’m an Apple fanboy. The speaker sounds better, so much so that even Sonos’ CEO admits it. I find it easier to use.



Three Things I Learned After One Month With Apple's HomePod

1.  Siri is a pretty good DJ

2.  Siri is still way more useful on your phone

3.  It’s all about the sound

The HomePod is a music machine first and foremost, and that becomes immediately evident when listening to it alongside other smart speakers. Music sounded generally richer and more open on the HomePod compared to cheaper alternatives like the second-generation Amazon Echo or even the Echo Show, both of which sounded shallow alongside Apple’s speaker. The difference is harder to discern when comparing the HomePod against other premium speakers, like the Google Home Max and Sonos One, both of which also sound fantastic.

Ultimately, the decision to purchase Apple’s HomePod should come down to whether you’re willing to spend considerably more money for great sound but inferior voice controls compared to an Amazon Echo or Google Home device. (There’s also a chance Siri could be improved with software updates down the road.) Plus, you’ll have to commit to Apple Music to get the most out of the HomePod, since other services like Spotify are only compatible via AirPlay.



Apple HomePod: 6 things it can't do



The Apple Home Pod costs $248.40 to build, according to

Which is more than double the cost of competing products.



2 Out of 3 Apple Devices Ever Sold Are Still in Use



Apple iOS 11.2.6 Is Causing New Problems

A deep dive from PiunikaWeb has found iOS 11.2.6 has problems with math. As such you shouldn’t trust your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to do important calculations.

Credit for spotting the issue first goes to former Apple employee Ryan Jones.



Apple-approved Mac Store app mined crypto-coins

Annoyed users have forced an application to stop mining crypto-coins on Apple's Mac computers.

Last week the app was updated to include code that generated coins for the Monero crypto-currency.


The updated version of Calendar 2 started to generate complaints by people who said the option to opt out did not work and that the mining code sucked up so much of their computer's processing power that other applications slowed down.



Apple today announced it signed an agreement to acquire Texture, the digital magazine subscription service by Next Issue Media LLC, which gives users unlimited access to their favorite titles for one monthly subscription fee.

Texture brings over 200 of the world’s best magazines to life.

“We’re excited Texture will join Apple, along with an impressive catalog of magazines from many of the world’s leading publishers,” said Eddy Cue.



Working Smarter with macOS Preferences

Actually a few good hints.



I'm selling my iPad Pro because my iPhone X does everything I need

I bought Apple's 10.5-inch iPad Pro last year when it launched because I thought I'd use it for work, taking notes and watching movies.

Now I'm selling it, because I bought an iPhone X and found out it does everything I need from an iPad, and more.

The 5.8-inch screen on the iPhone X is big enough for everything I thought I needed a larger screen for.

What once fit wonderfully into my lifestyle is no longer needed. Funny it was cannibalized by an iPhone.



The 25 Best Productivity Apps For 2018



The Apple Pencil is perhaps a perfect stylus for drawing and writing on the iPad Pro, but some people (like me) may find its slim, slippery shape uncomfortable to hold for any length of time.  Adding the Pencil Case from Ztylus gives the Apple Pencil a thicker profile ... protects the Apple Pencil, and the thick barrel makes it easier to grip.



How to track back-to-back workouts with Apple Watch



How to use Face ID on iPhone and what to do when Face ID doesn't work



How to maximize the reliability of Face ID on the iPhone X: four tips



How to use iCloud for Windows

Keep photos, contacts, notes, and other data on your iPhone or iPad in sync with Windows by using iCloud for Windows.



Apple confirms it now uses Google Cloud for iCloud services

Apple has confirmed that it uses Google’s public cloud to store data for its iCloud services in its latest version of the iOS Security Guide.

Apple had previously used remote data storage systems provided by Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.



Apple's strong principles bend to China's police state

Chinese iCloud Users Warned The Government Could Access Their Data

Following an order from the Chinese government, Apple is about to open a Chinese data center where, from 1 March 2018, the keys for Chinese iCloud accounts will be stored.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ... now fear that the Chinese authorities will start trawling through the iCould data of journalists, dissidents and others at will, and imprisoning many of them.



What price privacy when Apple gets into bed with China?

Apple’s website contains the following bold declaration: “At Apple we believe privacy is a fundamental human right.” What ancient English adage does this bring to mind? Answer: “Fine words butter no parsnips.” In other words, what matters is not what you say, but what you do.

Apple is moving the personal data and content of its mainland Chinese users to a place inside the country’s borders to comply with China’s sweeping new cybersecurity law which requires foreign companies to store all of the data they generate from China inside China’s borders.

Henceforth, cloud services in China have to be operated by Chinese companies.

... everything that Chinese Apple users store in the cloud will be accessible to the Chinese state.

So what’s new? In one sense, nothing: we’ve known for ages that there are no bargains that western tech companies will not make with an authoritarian state in order to gain access to the fastest-growing market in the world. But until now, Apple has laid claim to the moral high ground in this area.

Corporations can blather on all they like about corporate responsibility and human rights, but, in the end, maximising shareholder value is all that counts. And Apple is determined to get to that trillion-dollar valuation no matter what.



How to Merge and Remove Duplicate Contacts in macOS and iCloud

Detailed step-by-step instructions.



Stolen Apple iCloud Account IDs Reportedly Being Sold For $15 Each

Compromised iCloud accounts are among the most valuable of those traded on the dark web, so Apple users must make sure they protect themselves against fraud and phishing attacks.

One of the biggest reasons Apple users need to beware of phishing attacks is that compromised iCloud accounts are among the most valuable of those traded on the dark web at $15 per account.

Think about the value of your Apple ID data: Not only is your account the golden portal into all your personal data, but it unlocks all manner of other valuable items: credit card details, online purchasing, passwords for your websites and more.

That’s why every Apple ID user really should think about the value of the data they are trying to protect and create tough alphanumeric passcodes, even if they do need to spend significant time memorizing those codes.



Video: How to backup, erase, and factory reset your iPad



Video Interview:
The rationale for buying an iMac Pro

Apple expert Michael deAgonia told Computerworld Executive Editor Ken Mingis he's getting a new iMac Pro this month, and went on to explain why.
In a word: video.

Thus ensued a debate between DeAgonia and IDG Enterprise video producer Chris Hebert – in his Mingis on Tech debut – on the merits of spending high-roller money on a computer.

Chris Hebert figures the entry-level iMac Pro offers the best bang for the buck.



Apple will keep repairing your vintage iMacs in a new pilot program

The new offering will allow Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers to keep repairing both 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMac models released in mid-2011. Because of the rate at which Apple devices age out, these seven-year-old machines will soon be considered “vintage” starting in March, but happily, that no longer means that they’re ineligible for service.

Generally speaking, you can have Apple repair or replace parts in your Mac up to five years after manufacturing ceases for a particular model. That means that computers made in mid-2011 are approaching this date.



Apple may extend 2011 iMac repair window in surprisingly pro-consumer move

In a move that many will see as surprisingly pro-consumer, Apple has reportedly extended the period during which it will repair 2011 iMac models through the end of August this year.



Apple Launching Pilot Program Allowing Repairs of Soon-to-Be Vintage Mid 2011 iMac in United States

Apple today internally announced it is launching a new pilot program that will permit Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers to continue offering repair service for 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMac models released in mid 2011, despite the fact they will be classified as vintage starting next month.

The pilot program will be available in the United States only between March 1, 2018 and August 31, 2018, subject to parts availability from Apple, according to the company's internal memo obtained by MacRumors. After the pilot ends, repairs will only be available in California and Turkey, as required by law.



Apple iMac Pro review: The return of the king

The most powerful Mac ever; Stunning design; Gorgeous screen


The iMac Pro is Apple's attempt to take back the workplace, and it's come out swinging. Not only is it the most powerful Mac ever made, it's managed to fit in all that power without sacrificing any of Apple's world-class design aesthetic. If you can afford it, you won't regret it.



It's time to update your iPhone — Apple just fixed a big text message bug

Apple released iOS 11.2.6 to fix a bug in which a Telegu Indian language character could crash iMessage and other apps.


Anyone who owns an iPhone should update now to avoid being prone to the attack.



How to clear your private data from your iPad before you sell it

1. Make sure you have a backup
2. Turn off Find My iPad
3. Reset your iPad

Read the article for detailed instructions for each step.



5 reasons why iPad Pro won’t make you ask ‘What’s a computer?’

“What’s a computer,” a young girl asks in Apple’s latest change-the-world TV spot for the iPad. It’s a vision that fits well with the lazy Sunday afternoon Apple presents as the girl totes the device around parks and diners.

But for work?

I’ve used the tablet as my primary work device since 2015, and while it’s seen some impressive improvements over the years, it’s still not ready to fully usurp the MacBook. Here’s why.



The used phone market is cannibalizing new iPhone sales: that's why Apple is heading into a 'third straight year of flat-to-declining units’

On Apple's last earnings call, CEO Tim Cook announced some good news: "Apple's active installed base reached 1.3 billion devices in January and is at an all-time high for all of our major products. 

"1.3 billion devices represents an astonishing 30% growth in just two years." 

But Cook also announced that new iPhone sales declined 1%.

Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi believes he has figured out why it is that the "installed base" can grow at 30% while new unit sales are sagging. The base is being fuelled by used, second-hand and resold devices. New iPhone replacement sales are essentially flat, and all the growth is in the second-hand market, Sacconaghi says.

If Sacconaghi is right, it means new iPhone sales are being cannibalized by older phones that still work well.



How Capture One Completely Changed My Photography Workflow and Streamlined My Creativity

In this article, the author describes how new software improved his professional photography work flow.



5 tips to make macOS more efficient on the go



Siri co-founder believes Apple’s strategy with Siri is misguided (recall that Apple acquired Siri in 2010)

Siri co-founder Norman Winarsky recently opined that Apple’s goals for Siri are simply too broad. In other words, Winarsky believes that Apple — to its own detriment — wants Siri to be good at many things instead of focusing on just a few areas.



Apple macOS malware soared 270% over the past year - with four major threats found in 2018

Mac malware increased by 270% in 2017, compared to 2016, a report by MalwareBytes has revealed, with four new major Mac vulnerabilities uncovered in the first two months of 2018.



Meet Coldroot, a nasty Mac trojan that went undetected for years

A Mac malware that can silently, remotely control a vulnerable computer and steal passwords from a user's keychain has gone largely unnoticed by antivirus makers for two years -- even though the code is readily available to download.

Patrick Wardle, chief research officer at Digita Security, revealed  in a blog post Tuesday details of Coldroot, a remote access trojan.

The malware masquerades as a document, which when opened, presents a prompt for the user's password. In the hope that a user will naively enter their credentials, the malware will silently install and contact its command and control server to await instructions from an attacker.



Apple’s Swift Programming Language is now Top Tier

Apple's programming language Swift is less than four years old, but a new report finds that it's already as popular as its predecessor, Apple's more established Objective-C language.



GitHub Survived the Biggest DDoS Attack Ever Recorded

1.35 terabits per second of traffic hit the developer platform GitHub all at once. It was the most powerful distributed denial of service attack recorded to date—and it used an increasingly popular DDoS method, no botnet required.

GitHub briefly struggled with intermittent outages as a digital system assessed the situation. Within 10 minutes it had automatically called for help from its DDoS mitigation service, Akamai Prolexic. Prolexic took over as an intermediary, routing all the traffic coming into and out of GitHub, and sent the data through its scrubbing centers to weed out and block malicious packets. After eight minutes, attackers relented and the assault dropped off.

About 100,000 memcached servers, mostly owned by businesses and other institutions, currently sit exposed online with no authentication protection, meaning an attacker can access them and send them a special command packet that the server will respond to with a much larger reply.

The infrastructure community has also started attempting to address the underlying problem, by asking the owners of exposed memcached servers to take them off the internet, keeping them safely behind firewalls on internal networks.

Until memcached servers get off the public internet, though, it seems likely that attackers will give a DDoS of this scale another shot.



Sophisticated malware attacks through routers

It's likely the creation of a government surveillance agency.

Security researchers at Kaspersky Lab have discovered what's likely to be another state-sponsored malware strain, and this one is more advanced than most.

It has been nicknamed Slingshot.  Read the article for technical details.

While text clues hint that English speakers might be responsible, the culprit isn't clear. 

It rivals the Regin malware GCHQ used to spy on Belgian carrier Belgacom.



'Highly advanced' Slingshot malware remained hidden for six years

Researchers have discovered a "highly sophisticated and complicated" malware threat that has managed to remain hidden for at least six years.



Google Has Killed Tons of Firms by Demonitization



Facebook's algorithm has wiped out a once flourishing digital publisher

The digital publisher LittleThings is shutting down.

Facebook's recent algorithm tweak throttled its traffic severely, causing its profit to plummet.



Identity Theft Soars in 2017



Interesting video introduction to Bitcoin.

Play the video.  Ignore the written article on the web page.

The video has some info about investing in companies that sell computers to Bitcoin mining companies.

Right now, the video says that the best way to speculate in Bitcoin is to buy Bitcoins, not company stocks.

Not Bitcoin futures, not Bitcoin ETFs.  Just Bitcoins.



Artificial Intelligence (AI) vs Lawyers: The Ultimate Showdown

A new study has shown that AI can already work faster than lawyers on certain non-core legal tasks such as reviewing legal contracts.

Unfortunately for us humans, the AI predicted the outcomes with 94 percent accuracy, compared to 85 percent for the lawyers, on average. Additionally, the AI had a 100 percent accuracy rate for one document where the best result from a human was just 96 percent.

What’s more, the challenge took the LawGeex AI only 26 seconds to complete, while the human lawyers took more than an hour and a half on average.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Ten Ways To Save Your Eyes when using Your Mac

I am a Mac computer user with bad eyes. I found ten ways to enable me to read the screen in comfort.

#1. Magnify the screen.

Go to the Accessibility System Preference.

1 System Preferences and where is Accessibility

Select Zoom from the left-hand column.

2 Find the Zoom Accessibility

Set your parameters for the keyboard and your pointing device. I chose to use the Control key and my mouse’s scroll wheel. You can choose another key to initiate and use your Trackpad. Slide two fingers up and down the trackpad.

You can choose to magnify the entire screen or just a portion of it with “picture in picture” You only have a rectangular window option.

Click on the “Options…” button to see this:


3 The Options Panel for Zoom

5 Display option of Accessibility Preference Pane

You can set the minimum and maximum zoom. You can trigger a temporary magnification by holding down the Alt/Option and Command keys. 


#2 Zoom-It

For $2.99 on the Mac App Store, you can buy and install the Zoom It application.

4 Zoom It app
Zoom It offers more options, such as a sticky window if you use Option+Z or just a temporary window by holding down the Control + Z keys.

You also get a choice of windows, either a rectangular window or a round loupe.

You can set the magnification factor in Zoom It’s preferences.
It’s worth the $3.

#3 The HiDPI Terminal Command

If you use a monitor of 1920 x 1080 resolution or higher, I can recommend this Terminal command.

sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/ DisplayResolutionEnabled -bool true

Copying and pasting it into your Terminal installs a scaled resolution option in your Displays System Preference, including a ¼ scale HiDPI.

If you use 1920 x 1080, your resolution goes down to 960 x 540 with larger pixels. This is the equivalent of the Retina screen. A 2560 x1440 screen reduces to 1280 x 720. It’s salvation for my old eye balls.

You can run one monitor at regular high resolution and add a second monitor just for HiDPI situation.

I’d recommend you read this Tek Revue post for more details, including utility apps for switching resolutions without using the Terminal.

#4 Changing your screen colors to grey-scale
Under the Accessibility Preference Pane is an option to change your display to grey-scale. For some users, this provides relief.

For this and #5, you’ll want to go to Display on the left-hand column of the Accessibility Preference Pane


5 Display option of Accessibility Preference Pane

#5 Changing your screen colors to inverse

6 The Inverted Screen

From the Display option of the Accessibility Preference Pane, you can choose to invert your screen 

Now if you like this inverted colors effect,  you can set up a keyboard shortcut for it.

Go to the Keyboard Preference Pane

From the top row of buttons, select “Shortcuts"

From the left-hand column, select “Accessibility"

On the right-hand side, you want to check the box for Invert Colors


7 the keyboard shortcut for inverted colors



Holding down Control+Option+Command+8 inverts the display’s colors. Most of us will find this garish, but certain people will benefit from this. It’s an option.

#6 Change each app’s default font size.

Windows has an overall font size option. macOS doesn’t. You have to adjust each app’s default font size individually

You’ll have to change one on a case by case basis.

#7: Add an external monitor with higher resolution:

My 11” MacBook Air has a native resolution of 1366 x 768. I can plug a big 23” monitor with 1920 x 1080 resolution into it to help with tiny text. Look at the Fry’s Home Electronics Ads for sales on external monitors. They also have the adaptor cables to help you use your Mac with the new monitor.

#8 The Paid Options: New Glasses

Depending on the weakness of your vision, you have several choices.

Off the shelf reading glasses from the drug store may solve your problem.

You may want to consult your optometrist about specialized computer glasses.

It may be time to see the optometrist for a new prescription. Now is the time to bring up your computer issues.

#9 Have Your Mac read

Another option to consider is the Mac’s ability to read text on screen back to you. Go to the Accessibility System Preference to set this up.

Go to the left column and select Speech

In the right-hand column, you can select which voice to use, how fast it speaks, and which keys to press to have selected text read aloud to you.

8 Use Speech to overcome poor vision

#10-Get a New Mac with a Really Big Screen

My final option is the most expensive. Buy a New Mac. Go for the iMac with 5K 27” worth of display if you can. You can also check out the 21.5” 4K monitor.

The latest 13” MacBook Air will support 4K 3840 x 2160 resolution at a 60Hz refresh rate on an external monitor.

The 2014 Mac Mini will support on external monitors 4K resolutions, albeit at low refresh rates: 3840 x2160 at 30 Hz and 4096 x2160 at 24 Hz.


Thomas Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

Saturday, March 3, 2018

If you want to play your music (And That’s it!), then you need VOX.

I recently spent half an hour futzing with my iTunes installation. I’m still not sure it’s set up the right way.

I wanted to just play music, not movies, not TV shows. Just some classical music to put me in the right mood.

So I turned to VOX from

VOX plays music. That’s all it does.

It plays more file formats than iTunes does. Apple doesn’t want to get into the legal equivalent of weekly food fights for using FLAC and OGG. VOX has less money, so they present less of a target to greedy patent trolls.

VOX presented me with a lot fewer problems than iTunes. If I want to play an album I already downloaded into the iTunes Music Library…just drag it across from the Finder window to the bottom area of VOX. You get a temporary playlist good for that session.

If you want to save the playlist for later, just click on the rightward facing arrow and enter a name. It’s done. If you want to export the playlist in one of several formats, just hit Command + S. A file dialog box comes up to save the playlist.

Coppertino has a great app here. They want to monetize it. So they offer you additions, such as Internet Radio and a monthly subscription based cloud service to store your music. Want to play it on your iPhone? They have an iPhone version of VOX.

If you just want to play back your music in non-DRM file formats, then check out VOX. It works fast, it works easy, and you don’t have to upgrade to a paid setup at the end of 30 days. Enjoy!

Tom Briant
Editor, MacValley Blog

Saturday, February 24, 2018

How to Kill Windows Scam Messages

A friend of mine called me for help with her Windows notebook. It had started talking to her about all the possible problems! It wanted her to call a toll-free number for assistance.

I told her to hang up on callers and close down the browser tab. The problem persisted.

So I looked up an answer and found at Bleeping Whether Mac, Windows, or Linux; that is a great name for a help site. 

Anyway, the first thing I did to shut up the message was to execute a classic Windows three-finger salute. In Windows 10, you get a choice of options, including the Task Manager. I checked for running apps. Only her Chrome browser was running, yakking away.

I shut down her Chrome  browser and that quieted the computer. 

I next went to Bleeping Computer’s topic for deleting and squashing scam messages. Click on this link to get to that tutorial.

They recommend two apps, which they keep on-site. 

The first is RKill to take care of any malware processes still running after you shut up your browser.

The second is MalwareBytes 3, which did a terrific job of cleaning out my friend’s Windows laptop.

Now how’s Bionic Burton doing?

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog










Monday, February 19, 2018

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Saturday 2-17-2018

Tim Cook explains why you're never going to visit the inside of Apple's new $5 billion headquarters
It's because there's a lot of confidential information inside the building, Apple CEO Tim Cook said.
Apple did, however, build a place for tourists on its new campus. It's across the street. 
The Apple Park visitors center is a combination of an Apple Store, a cafe, and a shrine to all things Apple.
Medical Records May Finally Be Coming To Your Apple Smartphone
Google offered a similar service before and it failed. The search giant shut it down in 2012.

Can Apple succeed where Google didn’t?  Dr. Jonathan Slotkin says yes.
How to prevent the Apple HomePod from staining your furniture
Apple's HomePod speaker is leaving ring-shaped stains on some wood surfaces. Here's how to prevent it.
Choose wisely where you place your Apple HomePod. Here are three different ways to keep it from staining your furniture:
Choose a non-wood surface.
Place something beneath the HomePod.
Try mounting it to the ceiling.  There aren’t many mounting options yet.  But there will be.
There are 2 major reasons you should buy Apple's HomePod over an Amazon Echo
1. HomePod is the best way to listen to Apple Music, bar none.
2. HomePod sounds incredible.
If we were grading the HomePod on its sound performance alone it would be a slam dunk. Apple has produced a small speaker that produces a sound way above its stature, in a way that is enjoyable to listen to whatever you music you're in to.

But we aren't grading it on just its sound quality and neither will anyone else - and that's where it all starts to disappoint.  Siri is not refined enough.
We know that this will change and we know that Apple is great at creating and refining user experiences, but this doesn't feel like the £319 breakthrough speaker you might expect it to be.

For now, it's just a speaker that sounds great, that isn't very smart.
Siri lags behind rivals in accuracy on the HomePod
Apple's voice assistant Siri significantly lags behind competitors in terms of answering questions accurately on its smart speaker.
Apple's first smart speaker feels exclusively designed for its most ardent fans.

The whole thing is small, at 5.6×5.6×6.8 inches.  It weighs 5.5lbs.
HomePod’s sound is clean and mostly balanced, with a satisfying but not overwhelming sense of fullness.
To be clear, for its size, and even for its price, the HomePod is above average.
If you think about Siri’s place in the HomePod on Apple’s terms, it’s not a disaster. If anything, it’s pleasant.

A big piece of that is that the HomePod’s mic array is far and away the most impressive I’ve used on a smart speaker to date. With the Sonos One, Echo, and Google Home, I often find myself shouting, pausing, and speaking deliberately to ensure my requests are heard. The HomePod, meanwhile, lets me speak something at least close to natural.
When it comes to those simple things, Siri is fine.  Beyond its abilities with Apple Music, Siri is mostly adequate with the basics.
Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant do considerably more than just the basics.  Siri is limited compared to Alexa and Google Assistant
Those who want a smart speaker and are NOT Apple diehards should buy a pair of Sonos Ones instead.
How to play music on HomePod without subscribing to Apple Music
Follow the steps in this article to stream music from your iPhone or iPad straight to the HomePod via AirPlay.
The HomePod is built like a tank. Durability should not be an issue.
Even though it looks like there ought to be a nondestructive way inside, we failed to decode it. Without a repair manual, your odds of success are slim.
How to limit HomePod access so family and friends can't send texts, create reminders, or hijack your music
There are two different ways to lock your HomePod from outside access.
AppleInsider shows you how to access and control both of these.
8 reasons you should buy a Google Home Max instead of an Apple HomePod
9 reasons you should buy an Amazon Echo instead of an Apple HomePod
How to Listen to Music on Your Apple Watch
You can tune into songs from your own collection, Apple Music, Apple Radio, and other music services right from your wrist.
Apple Now Selling Refurbished Apple Watch Series 3 Models
As of the writing of this article, there are two refurbished Apple Watch Series 3 GPS-only models available at a $50 discount, which equates to 13 to 15 percent off of the regular price. No LTE models or models with stainless steel or ceramic cases are available at this time.
Apple's Excellence in Design Leads to Employees Smacking Into Glass Walls
The glass is so flawless and unobtrusive that employees keep walking into it.
24 hidden settings that can maximize your Mac
iMac Pro review: Hard to upgrade, but holy Jony Ive it’s fast
I can confirm the iMac Pro is an impressive machine. It’s another step in the right direction for some of those same professionals, even though it doesn’t address every need the Mac Pro used to. For the most part, it’s a faster iMac. But it’s also a bit more than that in some areas that count.
If you have an iPhone, better be careful about any text your apps display. A new iOS bug discovered earlier this week by engineers at Aloha Browser will crash your Apple device, whether an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple Watch, if the wrong character comes up on the screen.
There are two non-English symbols that "can crash any Apple device that uses Apple's default San Francisco font." All that need happen is for an app to display one of the characters.

When one of the two symbols is displayed in an app, the software crashes immediately. In many cases, the app cannot be reopened and must be reinstalled. TechCrunch was able to recreate this behavior on two iPhones running an older version of iOS, one iPhone running iOS 11.2.5 and a MacBook Pro running High Sierra.
A new bug has been discovered in iOS 11 that lets people send a specific character that will crash an iPhone and block access to the Messages app in iOS and popular apps
The bug itself involves sending an Indian language (Telugu) character to devices, and Apple’s iOS Springboard will crash once the message has been received.
How to recover lost data from iPhone, iPad, or iPod with iMyFone D-Back for Mac
If you need to recover data from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod, there are a few options including Apple’s own recovery tools. But an app like iMyFone D-Back for Mac makes it easy to see all of your available options and recover specific data from backups via iTunes, iCloud and the device itself even if you don’t know exactly where to look.
12 texting tips you didn’t know the iPhone could do
How a Low-Level Apple Employee Leaked Some of the iPhone's Most Sensitive Code
This is how a small group of friends lost control of the leaked iBoot source code. The story behind one of Apple's most embarrassing leaks.
According to two people who were in that original group, they hadn’t planned on the code ever leaving that circle of friends.
Eventually, however, the code was shared more widely and the original group of people lost control of its dissemination.
Cryptocurrency Wallet Guide: A Step-By-Step Tutorial
A lot of good info here.
One thing about this web page that’s a bit annoying:
After you’ve been reading for 10-15 seconds, it presents a request for your e-mail address that hides the web page.
There is an X that you can click to dismiss it, but that X is not where you would normally expect.
Instead of being at the upper right of the small e-mail address request, it’s at the upper-right of your web browser’s window.
Due to the distance between the e-mail request and the X, it took me a while to notice it.
Although online wallets have proven more vulnerable and prone to hacking attacks than wallets on your personal computer, diligent security precautions need to be implemented and followed when using any wallet. Remember that no matter which wallet you use, losing your private keys will lead you to lose your money. Similarly, if your wallet gets hacked, or you send money to a scammer, there is no way to reclaim lost currency or reverse the transaction. You must take precautions and be very careful!
Equifax Data Breach Was Bigger Than Previously Reported
But consumers may not be at greater risk than before, security expert says
More than 145 million Americans were affected by the Equifax hack last summer. The personal information accessed--which included Social Security numbers, driver's licence numbers, and credit card numbers--would allow criminals to steal a consumer's identity and open fraudulent accounts.
This article also lists steps to take (if you haven’t taken them already).
News Corp CEO Admits He Wants Internet Censored So News Corp Can Make More Money
If those pesky alternative media outlets like Infowars were censored and shadow banned by Google and social media giants, News Corp would make a lot more money.
The Wall Street Journal has led a crusade against independent content creators for the last year, most notoriously smearing YouTuber PewDiePieas a “nazi” as part of a campaign to drown out non-mainstream voices.
This is why people are upset about this Facebook-owned network privacy app
• Facebook is now directing users to download a VPN called Onavo for "protection."
• The VPN is owned by Facebook, and sends information about your app usage habits to the company.
Under the pretense of protecting your account, Facebook is telling users download to a Facebook-owned app that tracks what you do on your phone — and sends that information back to Facebook.
Facebook bought Onavo, an Israeli company, in 2013. Since then, Facebook has been using the data collected from the service to keep tabs on how people use the apps on their phones, even when they're not using Facebook.
When users download Onavo, they give Facebook permission to collect their mobile data traffic. Because Facebook owns Onavo, Facebook gets access to that data. This means that while your ISP won't see what apps you're using, Facebook will.
Facebook already has issues with eroding public trust, amid its public struggles with fake news, propaganda, and misinformation spreading through the social network. The perception that the company is pushing what's seen as a way to spy on users may not be the best look.
Facebook is feeling lonely these days.

The social media behemoth has seen a decline in traffic in recent weeks along with millions of users leaving its platform, and it appears to be taking rather drastic measures to win them back. Specifically, spamming the hell out of them in a most unfortunate place:  Their cell phones.
One Facebook user lamented "I signed up for 2 factor auth on Facebook and they used it as an opportunity to spam me notifications.”
As far as he is concerned, Facebook attempts to woo him back have more or less backfired. "I feel like they are constantly pushing me to come back to the service but this is not the way to do it."

After all, no one likes a desperate ex.
Father Of Artificial Intelligence: ‘Singularity Is Less Than 30 Years Away’
Singularity is the point in time when humans can create an artificial intelligence machine that is smarter than humans. Ray Kurzweil, Google’s chief of engineering, says that the singularity will happen in 2045.  Louis Rosenberg claims that we are actually closer than that and that the day will be arriving sometime in 2030. MIT’s Patrick Winston would have you believe that it will likely be a little closer to Kurzweil’s prediction, though he puts the date at 2040.
Ray Kurzweil said robots “will reach human intelligence by 2029 and life as we know it will end in 2045.”
Why Linux sucks and will never compete with Windows or Apple OS-X
Linux is both the world’s best and worst operating system. If you’re running a server it’s the best. Linux gives you control, sort of. On the desktop however it totally sucks, and over time it’s getting worse.

Linux also, like the Mac is more of a religion where Linux followers praise new features that actually make the user experience worse. The community behaves more like a cult and seems completely disconnected from the reality of making something productive.

Linux is free and is actually not even worth what you pay for it.
Linux as a desktop continues to become less popular and is getting worse even in an environment where Windows is getting worse too. I used to have the illusion that software was supposed to get better over time. That’s not what is happening.
And DON’T bother to complain about Linux.  The attitude is (and there is a lot of attitude in the Linux community), here’s the source code – customize it yourself.



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