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ExtraBITS for 18 May 2015

In ExtraBITS podcasts this week, publisher Adam Engst joined MacBreak Weekly to discuss Apple Watch fitness, and Adam and Tonya appeared together on MacVoices to look forward from the 25th anniversary of TidBITS. Also, veteran tech writer Ted Landau announces his retirement, the Nielsen/Norman Group analyzes the Apple Watch’s usability, Jason Snell argues for the return of “Mac OS,” and Verizon is buying AOL.

Adam Engst Discusses Apple Watch Fitness on MacBreak Weekly -- Joining host Leo Laporte and guests Andy Ihnatko and Susie Ochs, Adam shares his impressions of the Apple Watch from the perspective of a runner. Other topics covered on the wide-ranging show include the 12-inch MacBook, Apple Pay, and looking forward to the Beats revamp at WWDC. Big fun, as always.

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After 25 Years, Adam & Tonya Look Forward on MacVoices -- There’s no escaping the Apple Watch these days, and this installment of MacVoices features plenty of discussion of how the Apple Watch works for fitness purposes. But to mark 25 years of publishing TidBITS, Adam and Tonya also talked with host Chuck Joiner about some of the technologies that they’re the most interested in watching going forward, including self-driving cars.

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Ted Landau Retires from Apple Writing -- Our friend and colleague Ted Landau has announced that he no longer plans to write professionally, noting that the end of Macworld’s print version, and the closure of TUAW and his own MacFixIt (run by CNET), marks a torch-passing moment to younger journalists. Ted’s writing career dates back to the introduction of the Mac in the mid-1980s, and he’s been a fixture ever since, penning both articles for numerous Mac outlets and a variety of books (including the classic “Sad Macs, Bombs & Other Disasters” and one of the first titles about the iPhone, our “Take Control of Your iPhone”). We’d say that we’ll miss him, but we’re sure that Ted will still be popping up on Twitter when he’s not enjoying his time offline with his wife Naomi.

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Nielsen/Norman Group Evaluates Apple Watch Usability -- The user-experience experts at the Nielsen/Norman Group have turned their eyes to the Apple Watch. Raluca Budiu criticizes the Apple Watch’s reliance on tiny touch targets, and notes that a left-right scrolling “deck of cards” interface works better than a list view that requires users to “pogo-stick” in and out of a detail view. Budiu also comments that Handoff would work better if your iPhone was automatically unlocked when the watch was in close proximity, as is true of the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch. Recommendations for developers include focusing on the essential, avoiding buttons and complex navigation, and creating bits of text that stand on their own, along with realizing that the watch is not merely a smaller phone.

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Taking OS X to Eleven -- Over at Macworld, Jason Snell proposes dropping the “X” from OS X, and rebranding the Mac operating system as just “Mac OS.” Snell argues that unless Apple plans to run OS X on non-Mac devices, there’s no reason to not have “Mac” in the name. And dropping the “X” would give Mac OS the opportunity to push past the 10 version number before iOS 10 arrives.

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Verizon to Buy AOL -- Verizon Communications Inc. is purchasing AOL Inc. for approximately $4.4 billion. In addition to AOL’s surprisingly robust dial-up Internet business (2.3. million active subscribers), AOL also owns a number of high-profile blogs, such as The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, and Engadget.

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