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ExtraBITS for 24 February 2014

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In this week’s ExtraBITS, the in-progress “Take Control of Pages” receives a new chapter to explain styles, the iPhone has replaced almost everything from a 1991 Radio Shack ad, and Steve Jobs is getting his own postage stamp. On the show circuit, iTunes Festival is coming to SXSW, and the NSNorth 2014 conference is coming up in Ottawa for Canadian developers, designers, and business leaders. Finally, it turns out Apple spends surprisingly little on R&D, but wants its new factory to run on renewable energy.

First Update of “Take Control of Pages” Adds Style -- As promised, we have posted the first significant update of our “Take Control of Pages” pre-book at Leanpub. The update, available for free to purchasers of the initial release, offers a few small tweaks and a new chapter on managing three types of styles — paragraph, character, and object — in Pages 5 on the Mac (the iOS and iCloud versions can’t do much with styles apart from applying them to text and objects). Subsequent free updates to the pre-book will include chapters on page layouts, file exporting, templates, and using objects in Pages documents.

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What the iPhone Has Replaced from a 1991 Radio Shack Ad -- Steve Cichon of Trending Buffalo uncovered a Radio Shack newspaper ad from 1991, and realized that almost everything in the ad had been replaced by his iPhone, including a desktop computer, CB radio, tape recorder, CD player, answering machine, calculator, alarm clock, and camcorder. It would have cost $3,054.82 to buy all the gadgets that the iPhone has replaced — about $5,100 in 2012 dollars — which puts the cost of the iPhone and apps into perspective. The only two items in the ad that haven’t been yet replaced by the iPhone? A radar detector and a beefy speaker.

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Steve Jobs to Be Commemorated with Postage Stamp -- According to a document leaked to The Washington Post, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs will be commemorated with a special stamp from the United States Postal Service in 2015. The design is still a work in progress, but we’re hoping for a popular vote between a “flat Steve” and a “skeuomorphic Steve,” much like the 1992 stamp runoff between “young Elvis” and “old Elvis.”

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iTunes Festival Comes to the United States via SXSW -- The iTunes Festival is coming to the United States for the first time this year, from March 11th through 15th. The five-day extravaganza, broadcast from SXSW in Austin, Texas, will include Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, Keith Urban, and more. As always, iTunes Festival performances will be available both live and on-demand on your Apple TV, iOS device, or computer.

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Apple’s R&D Expenditures over the Years -- Yoni Heisler, writing for TUAW, has tracked Apple’s research and development expenditures from its SEC filings, and found some surprises. R&D expenditures dropped considerably after the return of Steve Jobs, who axed a number of projects. Since then, Apple’s R&D spending has grown considerably, with expenditures from 2011–2013 equaling 50 percent of Apple’s total R&D expenditures since 1995. Even so, the company still spends billions less than competitors. As Steve Jobs once said, “It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.”

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Apple’s New Factory to Run on Renewable Energy -- Apple is building a new plant in Arizona, reportedly to produce sapphire glass, and the company wants it to be powered by renewable energy from the first day. Apple has been in negotiations with the local power company, Salt River Project, which has been constructing new solar and geothermal plants to power the factory.

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NSNorth 2014 Offers Boutique Conference for Developers in Ottawa -- So many tech conferences focus on major U.S. cities that it’s refreshing to see one from the Great White North, specifically Ottawa, Canada. NSNorth 2014 is a small boutique conference, offering three days of single-track sessions covering highly specialized, creative topics for iOS and Mac developers, designers, and business leaders. It will take place May 8th through 10th, ending in time for attendees to get home for Mother’s Day on the 11th. Attendance is intentionally limited to 100 and tickets are going fast, so if you’re interested, check it out soon.

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