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Back issues of the mailed edition of TidBITS
While all the articles in each mailed edition of TidBITS are available as individual articles, we also archive each edition in three forms (substitute an issue number for number):
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Apple has released the much-anticipated iOS 7, and you can learn all about it in another giant-sized issue of TidBITS! If you want to sync your iOS 7 device to your Mac, you’ll need iTunes 11.1, which also includes Apple’s new iTunes Radio service. Tonya Engst helps you make the transition and walks you through iOS 7’s main features, after which Josh Centers shares seven additional top tips. Jeff Carlson explains iOS 7’s new Camera and Photos apps, while Glenn Fleishman details Find My iPhone’s new anti-theft features. Steven Aquino looks at visual accessibility in iOS 7, and Michael Cohen examines the future promise of iBeacons, the coolest iOS 7 feature you probably haven’t heard of. In our latest installment of FunBITS, Josh shows you how to get the most out of iTunes Radio, and in a small departure from iOS 7 news, we look at how Amazon has enabled AirPlay in its Amazon Instant Video iOS app, at last bringing the service to the Apple TV. With developers avoiding competition with Apple’s iOS 7 and iPhone news, the only notable Mac software release this week is Apple Configurator 1.4.
We’re sending our summer out in style with a giant-sized issue of TidBITS! Apple has unveiled the latest iPhones — the colorful iPhone 5c and the powerful iPhone 5s, and we have all the details. Note that Apple has lowercased the trailing letters in those iPhone names, and retroactively demoted the S in iPhone 4S as well. Adam Engst fulminates about Apple’s use and abuse of capitalization. The big news about the iPhone 5s is that it includes a fingerprint scanner, called Touch ID, and Security Editor Rich Mogull explains how the technology works. In other Apple news, purchasers of new iOS devices will receive a bevy of free apps from Apple, and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion has been updated to version 10.8.5 to fix some major security holes. Finally, bibliophile Michael Cohen helps you figure out what to read next with a look at book recommendation engines in our latest FunBITS piece. Notable software releases this week include Microsoft Office 2011 14.3.7, SpamSieve 2.9.8, Security Update 2013-004 for Lion and Snow Leopard, Safari 5.1.10 for Snow Leopard, and Nisus Writer Pro 2.0.5 and Express 3.4.4.
Amazon has announced a new Kindle Paperwhite, with a number of useful features sure to please parents and students alike. Need something to read on it? Try Jeff Carlson’s “Take Control of Your Digital Photos on a Mac,” which is now available in ebook form to help Mac users manage mushrooming photo collections. And with Apple having been dealt its final judgment in the DoJ ebook price-fixing case, it seems likely Amazon will stay on top of the ebook game. When it’s time to put down the book and get to work, we’ve found Trello to be fabulous for managing tasks and projects, and we take a look at what has been added to it recently. Finally, although our FunBITS column is meant to be light, Josh Centers looks deeply into the most ambitious game we’ve covered yet, BioShock Infinite, which has just arrived on the Mac. Could it qualify as a work of art? Notable software releases this week include VMware Fusion 6 and Fusion 6 Professional, BusyCal 2.5.1, Mailplane 3.0.2, Parallels Desktop 9, CloudPull 2.5, and Downcast 1.0.2.
Looking for quick help from Apple? The company has at last added a chat support option to its AppleCare Web site. Meanwhile, both Apple and Amazon are sending settlement letters to victims of ebook price fixing — but don’t expect to collect any time soon. A number of channels have been added to the Apple TV, and Joe Kissell takes a deep look at the personal cloud storage device Transporter, which promises a homegrown Dropbox alternative to protect your privacy. This week’s installment of FunBITS was inspired by recent revelations about NSA spying programs — Josh Centers reviews Blackbar, a word puzzle based around censorship. And if you’d like to do more to protect your privacy, we encourage you to check out Joe’s latest book, the just-released “Take Control of Your Online Privacy.” Notable software releases this week include ChronoSync 4.4.1, KeyCue 6.6, GraphicConverter 8.8, and ClamXav 2.5.
Having problems connecting to Netflix on your Apple TV? Josh Centers has a quick fix, as well as a great bargain on a camera for budding photographers — plus a few cute newborn pictures to prove it! Speaking of bargains, this week’s installment of FunBITS looks at an iPad game controller that’s interesting in large part because it’s amazingly cheap. Notable software releases this week include Keyboard Maestro 6.2, ReadKit 2.3, and PDFpen and PDFpenPro 6.0.5.
While Apple continues to fight the Department of Justice over ebooks here in America, the company has decided to settle with the European Commission over similar antitrust concerns in Europe. Syncing in Yojimbo — missing in action since the death of MobileMe — has finally returned in version 4.0, but Bare Bones has eschewed unreliable iCloud syncing in favor of a paid monthly service. Josh Centers and Steven Aquino explore how to maximize readability with the Solarized color scheme and Cousine typeface. For TidBITS members, Jeff Carlson wraps up his streamed ebook, “Take Control of Your Digital Photos,” this week, with a chapter requested by readers: how to migrate your photos from iPhoto to Aperture or Lightroom. In FunBITS, Chris Armstrong reviews Thunderspace, an iOS app that puts you in the acoustic middle of surprisingly realistic thunderstorms. Notable software releases this week include BusyCal 2.5, iTunes 11.0.5, Voila 3.5, and AirPort Base Station Firmware Update 7.6.4.
Whether you’re a current student or a lifetime learner, you can save 50 percent on all Take Control ebooks this week! Apple is offering a discount as well — on USB power adapters when customers turn in knock-off adapters that may have been responsible for two high-profile electrical shocks. Meanwhile, Apple is facing harsh proposed “remedies” from the U.S. Department of Justice for its involvement in ebook price fixing, and Adam Engst explains why the government is overreaching. The Apple Newton debuted over 20 years ago to much fanfare, but was it as big of a flop as it seems? Michael Cohen fires up his MessagePad 2000 and digs through our archives for a trip down memory lane. For those following along with Jeff Carlson’s “Take Control of Your Digital Photos,” this week’s chapter looks at backing up and archiving of your images, which can be the most important data on your hard disk. Rounding out the issue with FunBITS, Chris Armstrong takes a look at the revolutionary Audiobus app and how it can turn your iPad into a musical powerhouse. Notable software releases this week include Skype 6.7 and Downcast 1.0.1.
iMessage spam getting you down? We tell you how to report it to Apple. While Apple busies itself shutting out iMessage spam, Apple subsidiary FileMaker is shutting down its popular consumer database, Bento. Adam Engst advises you on how to save your Bento data, and he also offers a sneak peak of the upcoming MacTech Conference 2013. Josh Centers takes a look at three items this week: Google’s new Chromecast TV peripheral, the Mac version of the podcatcher Downcast, and his latest entrant for FunBITS, the Lumosity app and Web site, which promises to make you smarter. Finally, we have yet another chapter in Jeff Carlson’s “Take Control of Your Digital Photos” for you, complete with step-by-step instructions for searching and creating smart albums. Notable software releases this week include OpenOffice 4.0, Growl 2.1, Airfoil 4.8, Typinator 5.6, ReadKit 2.2.1, and Final Cut Pro X 10.0.9.
Apple’s Q3 2013 financial results are in. Growth is slowing and margins are dropping, but with impressive iPhone revenues and $146 billion in cash, the company remains healthy. Those falling margins, Josh Centers suggests, might just push Apple to develop a less-expensive plastic iPhone, particularly for price-sensitive international markets. Returning to the here-and-now, we show you a hidden feature of iOS that could help you use your device should one of its buttons break, and Josh’s latest installment of FunBITS profiles a pair of motion-controlled games that will blow you away. In the Take Control world, Joe Kissell’s new “Take Control of Your Paperless Office, Second Edition” is here to help you beat back the piles of paper in your life, and for those following along with Jeff Carlson’s streamed ebook “Take Control of Your Digital Photos,” this week’s chapter offers expert advice about assigning keywords and other metadata so you can find your photos later. Notable software releases this week include Hazel 3.1.3, along with DEVONthink and DEVONnote 2.6.1.
Students may not be thinking about school over summer break, but we are. Recent graduate David Rabinowitz looks back on the technology he used throughout his years of education and talks with a pair of innovators who are building the iPad into the everyday educational experience in their schools. The major cellular carriers want to revolutionize how often you upgrade smartphones, but are these programs worth the asking price? Josh Centers investigates, and also reviews a new iOS image annotation app from Marco Arment called Bugshot. You’ll read about how Apple’s Developer Center was compromised by a Turkish security researcher in ExtraBITS, but Adam Engst looks at a vulnerability in the Tumblr iOS app that likely affects more people. Jeff Carlson’s streamed “Take Control of Your Digital Photos” continues, offering advice this week on how (and why!) to judge, rate, flag, label, and cull photos. Finally, Josh wraps up with a look on how to take your Mac on a challenging romp across the galaxy in FTL: Faster Than Light. Notable software releases this week include MacBook Air (Mid 2013) Software Update 1.0, TextWrangler 4.5.3, BBEdit 10.5.5, and Logic Pro X 10.0.
The Apple ebook price fixing verdict is in, and it’s bad news for Apple. Judge Denise Cote has found Apple guilty of violating antitrust laws, and TidBITS publisher Adam Engst has a comprehensive explanation of the whole saga. As John Gruber of Daring Fireball said, “If you read only one take on yesterday’s ebook price-fixing lawsuit judgment, make it Adam Engst’s.” In more cheerful news, Dropbox is celebrating a new data-syncing API for developers, but can it compete with iCloud? We asked a couple of leading developers in the Apple ecosystem. Are you a fan of LaunchBar, but don’t think you’re making the most of it? Well, good news. Kirk McElhearn’s “Take Control of LaunchBar” is here, with tasty tidbits that even most seasoned users aren’t aware of. Apple blogger and LaunchBar fan Shawn Blanc said, “If you use LaunchBar, you’re going to want this book. I’ve been reading through it over the past few days and have learned several new things that I’m putting to good use already.” In additional Take Control news, we’ve published Chapter 4 of Jeff Carlson’s in-progress “Take Control of Your Digital Photos” for TidBITS members — check it out for a set of best practices for importing photos to reduce organizational work later on. We wrap up the issue with the latest installment of FunBITS about Desert Bus, which gives you the thrill of a summer road trip from the comfort of your couch, all for a great cause. Notable software releases this week include ReadKit 2.2, Instacast 1.0.2, AirPort Utility 6.3.1 for Mac, Cloud Mate 1.5.6, DEVONthink and DEVONnote 2.6, and PDFpen and PDFpenPro 6.0.4.
Will you be wearing technology in a year or two? We don’t know, but it seems increasingly likely, so we have a pair of articles about the possibilities. Jeff Porten leads off by investigating Google’s restrictions on its Glass eyewear — and the possible ramifications. Closer to home, some of Apple’s recent actions have squeezed the iWatch rumor bellows, and Josh Centers puts the pieces together to analyze what Tim Cook might be thinking. In a sad turn of events, computer pioneer Douglas Engelbart has passed away, but be sure to watch his Mother of All Demos to see the genesis of modern computing unfold before your eyes. Returning to the present, Adam Engst reviews RocketDocs, which encapsulates Google Docs in a native Mac app, and Josh Centers examines ReadKit, the only Mac-native RSS syncing client remaining after the death of Google Reader. In our latest edition of FunBITS, we take a look at the classic iOS app Star Walk — a great option for summer night fun. Finally, we’ve published Chapter 3 of Jeff Carlson’s in-progress “Take Control of Your Digital Photos” for TidBITS members — take a look to learn how to pick the best photo-management app for your needs. Notable software releases this week include Twitter 2.3, Keyboard Maestro 6.1, LaunchBar 5.5.2, Mailplane 3.0.1, CloudPull 2.4.2, and Security Update 2013-003 for Mountain Lion, Lion, and Snow Leopard.
As you read this issue of TidBITS, Google Reader is approaching the bit bucket. The popular RSS reading and syncing service is set to be shuttered after 1 July 2013, but the good news for RSS fans is that Josh Centers has a roundup of the best alternatives. If keeping up with Internet headlines isn’t your idea of fun, perhaps you’d prefer to try your hand at the Battle of Britain, in Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders, which brings World War II dogfighting action to your Mac, iPhone, and iPad. For those favoring more thoughtful pastimes, Michael Cohen delves into the role of footnotes in ebooks, Steve Aquino examines how the Markdown language has enabled him to become a freelance writer despite being legally blind, and we look at how iOS 7 promises to open up access to Apple’s educational online services to children under the age of 13. Finally, we’re publishing Jeff Carlson’s next book, “Take Control of Your Digital Photos,” as a series of articles for TidBITS members — check it out! Notable software releases this week include Transmit 4.4 and PopChar X 6.3.
Details surrounding recent allegations that the NSA can spy on users of online services continue to emerge, but in the meantime, TidBITS security editor Rich Mogull analyzes how much of your Apple data is actually vulnerable to government spying. Big Brother may be watching you, but will we be watching Big Brother? Jeff Porten looks at the social implications of wearable computers, ranging from smartwatches to Google Glass. Meanwhile, back in the present, Michael Cohen takes another look at the now-improved Marvin ebook reader, and Josh Centers runs down the recent channel additions to Apple TV — HBO and ESPN, notably — and clarifies the old-world catch that will prevent cord cutters from watching. Lastly, Josh wraps up the issue with the latest installment of FunBITS, featuring the Apple Design Award winner Badland for iPhone and iPad. Notable software releases this week include Mellel 3.2.1, Java for OS X 2013-004 and Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 16, TweetDeck 3.0.2, and Hazel 3.1.1.
With the smoke having cleared from Apple’s WWDC keynote, Glenn Fleishman looks deeply at Apple’s claims about the 802.11ac technology featured in the new AirPort base stations and MacBook Air models. Is it as fast as Apple says? One thing has gotten faster for Apple developers: app sales and transfers, which are finally possible in the App Store. Could you control your electronics by dancing through your house? It may soon be possible, as researchers have invented a way to use existing Wi-Fi signals for gesture control. That is, unless there’s a patent involved. The patent system has gotten so out of hand that even lawyers from firms that work for Apple have been implicated in patent lawsuits against the company. While there’s little you can do to fix the patent system, you can relocate folders inside your Dropbox folder to another disk — Camera Uploads is the poster child here — and Jeff Carlson shows you how. To fill up that Camera Uploads folder, check out Analog Camera; Josh Centers reviews the clever, gesture-based photography app for the iPhone. Also new for the iPhone is Duolingo, an app and Web service that turns language learning into a game, and Chris Armstrong has all the details in our latest installment of FunBITS. Notable software releases this week include LaunchBar 5.5.1, Keyboard Maestro 6.0.1, Mellel 3.2, and AirPort Utility 6.3 for Mac.
Apple made some big waves on the first day of WWDC, announcing a new Mac Pro, new MacBook Air models, new AirPort base stations, iWork for iCloud, and — most notably — the surfing-inspired OS X 10.9 Mavericks and the redesigned iOS 7. The TidBITS team has been pushing hard the entire day to bring you all the juicy details, so read on! While you’re waiting for the fall release of Mavericks, note that Apple has updated Mountain Lion to version 10.8.4, finally fixing an annoying bug in Messages, along with a variety of other minor issues. Looking past Apple, the technical drawing and illustration app Canvas is returning to the Mac after a long hiatus; the developers of the popular Instacast podcast app for iOS have brought it to the Mac, with some interesting syncing features; and Jean MacDonald of Smile has launched the nonprofit App Camp for Girls to teach girls how to code. Finally, we wrap the issue with another edition of FunBITS, featuring Nimble Quest for iOS and Mac, which turns the classic game Snake into a fantasy adventure. Notable software releases this week include LaunchBar 5.5, Aperture 3.4.5, iTunes 11.0.4, BBEdit 10.5.4, TextWrangler 4.5.2, and Security Update 2013-002 for Snow Leopard and Lion.
We’re back from our Memorial Day hiatus with a giant-sized issue of TidBITS! Since your last email issue, Apple was grilled by the U.S. Senate about its tax practices, but is the company doing anything wrong, or even unusual? Josh Centers digs into the issues, which are far more subtle than the headlines would have you believe. The Keyboard Maestro 6 macro utility debuted in a major new revision, and Adam Engst takes you on a tour of its new features. Adobe responds to complaints about its switch to the subscription-based Creative Cloud, and Smile has updated TextExpander touch for iOS with powerful new capabilities that bring the text-expansion utility closer to the Mac version — Michael Cohen runs down the details. In security news, Glenn Fleishman explains how Twitter has added two-factor authentication and how Apple’s two-factor authentication has come under fire for not being sufficiently comprehensive. Glenn also looks at how Google is taking a page from Apple’s iMessage playbook by switching away from the open XMPP chat standard for Google Talk and the new Hangouts. Lastly, Josh rounds out the issue with an installment of FunBITS that reviews the Marvel Unlimited comic subscription service. Notable software releases this week include Napkin 1.1, Evernote 5.1, and KeyCue 6.5.
Perturbed by Adobe’s move to Creative Cloud? You’re not alone, and this week we have a rundown of the most significant concerns, along with suggestions for how Adobe could resolve them. Plus, Michael Cohen examines the question of whether or not it's realistic to replace Photoshop with Pixelmator. Also this week, Agen Schmitz reveals the MiniPlayer-related changes in iTunes 11.0.3, Matt Neuburg takes a look at the TouchFire keyboard overlay for the iPad, Josh Centers returns with another installment of FunBITS featuring the addictive iPhone game Dots, and Adam Engst adds some much-needed context to several of the big number announcements from last week. Finally, if you’re a PDFpen user, check out Michael Cohen’s latest ebook, “Take Control of PDFpen 6.” Notable software releases this week include MacBook Air Flash Storage Firmware Update 1.0, Skype 18.104.22.1683, PDFpen and PDFpenPro 6.0.3, iMovie ’11 9.0.9, Sandvox 2.8, and BusyCal 2.0.5.
Adobe stunned the creative world this week by dropping boxed versions of Adobe Creative Suite 6 in favor of the subscription-based Creative Cloud. Josh Centers digs into the details to see if Creative Cloud is good or bad for users. In other news, Glenn Fleishman profiles the new App.net Passport iOS app, which is a directory of App.net apps and users, and as a bonus, we’re giving away free App.net accounts! On a practical note, Michael Cohen tells you what to do when your Web browser won’t display PDFs, and he examines Marvin, a new ebook reader for iOS with some amazing features but an Achilles heel. Matt Neuburg wraps up the issue with a review of Cloud Mate for iOS, which brings even more of the power of Dropbox to iCloud. Notable software releases this week include Thunderbolt Firmware Update v1.2, Alfred 2.0.3, Microsoft Office 2011 14.3.4, and Fission 2.1.3.
Big things are happening at TidBITS this week, as we welcome Josh Centers as our new managing editor! Meanwhile, not so big things are happening with iOS, which saw a minuscule update aimed exclusively at the iPhone 5. In other news, the MacTips.info Web site is up for sale for anyone with an entrepreneurial itch, a bug in our commenting system could lead to an identity crisis for some users, we discuss why Apple is concerned about stock price on a staff roundtable, and David Rabinowitz digs into some of Apple’s recent financial twists. Lastly, Joe Kissell strikes again with another must-read edition of FlippedBITS, in which he explains all about Java and why Apple is deprecating it so. Notable software releases this week include Cyberduck 4.3.1, Postbox 3.0.8, Little Snitch 3.1, Transmit 4.3.4, SpamSieve 2.9.7, and GraphicConverter 8.6.
We hope you weren’t planning to attend Apple’s upcoming Worldwide Developer Conference, since it sold out all 5,000 spots in 2 minutes! In other Apple news, the company reported second-quarter revenues that were higher than a year ago, but profits were down. Michael Cohen and Adam Engst run down the details, and Glenn Fleishman takes a hard look at the overall technology industry to see which companies will remain household names in the future. Further afield, Glenn also shares news of the popular Instapaper read-it-later service being taken over by venture-capital firm Betaworks, and Agen Schmitz passes on details of Apple’s latest move to protect Mac users from Java exploits in Safari. Back at home, we’re pleased to announce our latest ebook — Joe Kissell’s “Take Control of Dropbox” — and Adam tells the story of how we built it using a new publishing service called Leanpub. Notable software releases this week include PDFpen and PDFpenPro 6.0.2, CloudPull 2.4.1, DEVONagent Lite, Express, and Pro 3.5, and Typinator 5.5.
You saw this week’s news coming, didn’t you? We’re talking about the 23rd anniversary of TidBITS! Adam Engst shares a few milestones related to the anniversary along with some thoughts about the role a 23-year-old publication can play in today’s modern Internet. Also this week, David Rabinowitz reviews the Divvy window management utility for Mac OS X, Agen Schmitz covers the initial open-source release of LiveCode 6.0 after its successful Kickstarter campaign, and Matt Neuburg waxes poetic about the iPod shuffle after searching through Apple’s iPod lineup for a suitable replacement for his second-generation iPod nano. Notable software releases this week include Mailplane 3.0, Things 2.2, CloudPull 2.4, Aperture 3.4.4, and iPhoto 9.4.3.
While it has been hard to concentrate during the tragic events at the finish of the Boston Marathon (for which we point to online resources for tracking affected runners), we still have a solid issue of TidBITS for you this week. Adam Engst shares details about WWDCBlast, a service that promises to alert developers hoping not to get shut out of this year’s WWDC, and reviews the Type2Phone app that turns a Mac into a Bluetooth keyboard for iOS devices. Matt Neuburg explains how to create personalized tracks on Google Maps with a GPS tracker, and Joe Kissell’s latest FlippedBITS column delves into common misconceptions surrounding IMAP. Notable software releases this week include Audio Hijack Pro 2.10.7, LaunchBar 5.4.3, and DEVONthink and DEVONnote 2.5.2.
If you’ve been planning to attend Macworld/iWorld in early February next year, think again, since it’s moving to late March. And if real-world conferences are too much trouble these days, check out what’s possible with the free Google+ Hangouts On Air, which we’ve used for TidBITS Presents and Take Control Live — Adam Engst explains how to use it for both giving and attending presentations. Adam also looks at how to take advantage of the new gestures in version 2.1 of the Gmail iPhone app; Matt Neuburg reviews Cloud Mate, which makes iCloud’s Documents in the Cloud work more like Dropbox; and David Rabinowitz shares his real-world experiences with electronic textbooks in today’s college environment. Notable software releases this week include Snapz Pro X 2.5.2, TextWrangler 4.5.1, and BBEdit 10.5.3.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, Josh Centers explains how Apple has updated Find My Friends to provide customizable geofences, Marshall Clow reviews the Sydnee device charging station, and Adam Engst passes along suggestions for both preventing Word document corruption and fixing it if it happens. Glenn Fleishman anchors the issue with a look back at his history with cameras, starting with a Canon AE-1, moving on to the first Kodak DCS 100, and ending up with the Sony NEX-6 mirrorless camera. Notable software releases this week include Final Cut Pro X 10.0.8, PDFpen 6.0.1, and ChronoSync 4.3.7.