After releasing iOS 9.3.2 several weeks ago (see “Apple Releases OS X 10.11.5, iOS 9.3.2, tvOS 9.2.1, and watchOS 2.2.1,” 16 May 2016), Apple quickly pulled the update for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro because it left some units unusable (see “Apple Pulls iOS 9.3.2 for 9.7-inch iPad Pro,” 20 May 2016).
Apple has now reissued iOS 9.3.2 for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, so it should be safe to update now. Devices already running iOS 9.3.2, including 9.7-inch iPad Pro models that updated successfully, don’t need to update again. But if you were appropriately cautious and held off updating, you can now do so in Settings > General > Software Update or via iTunes on your Mac. The update also reportedly fixes iPads bricked by the last update.
As we reported previously, the iOS 9.3.2 update is relatively minor, including only a handful of bug fixes and security improvements.
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Every social network stands out in some way, and Twitter’s defining feature has been its strict 140-character limit, a byproduct of the service’s SMS-based origins. That enforced brevity helps keep conversations concise and your timeline hopping. On the downside, it’s challenging to compose thoughtful messages in so little space, leading to confusion, misunderstanding, excessive use of abbreviations, and worse.
It’s thus big news that Twitter will soon loosen the 140-character restriction, if only slightly.
Over the next few months, Twitter will stop counting various standard bits of text in the character limit. Links to media attachments, such as photos, polls, and videos, as well as @names in replies, will no longer count against the character limit. That should relieve a little of the pressure when composing posts.
Twitter users will also experience another important change when using @names. As it stands now, if you begin a tweet with an @name, that tweet enters the timelines of only those people who follow both you and the person you’re mentioning. The idea was that you were either addressing that person directly or replying to them, so the tweet shouldn’t be public. Many people, at least those who understood it, disliked the effect and circumvented the policy by prefixing tweets that should both be public and mention someone with a period, like so:
.@glennf is working on a book about Slack!
When this change goes into place, new tweets starting with an @name will be seen by all of your followers. However, the change won’t apply to replies, so if you reply to a tweet and maintain a conversation, it will still be visible only to your followers and their followers. This nuance also means that if you follow an account that replies regularly, like @AppleSupport, your timeline won’t be flooded with unwanted messages.
Finally, Twitter plans to let you retweet and quote your own tweets, so you can repost tweets overlooked by followers who weren’t hanging on your every word. You’ll also be able to retweet your replies that begin with @name if you want all of your followers to see them.
These changes are long overdue and should make it easier to have discussions on Twitter. Unfortunately, the changes may not help Twitter’s financial outlook much: after Twitter revealed the new tweaks, Twitter analyst Michael Nathanson downgraded Twitter’s stock rating to “sell,” saying, “Hope is not a strategy.” Ouch.
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In this age of digital communication, old-fashioned terrestrial radio is still relevant for music, news, sports, and talk. Algorithmic radio alternatives like Pandora are no help when you want local weather warnings, and podcasts aren’t useful when you want live election results or sports scores.
Radio has a lot of advantages: it’s free, local, live, and simple. But it also has a lot of drawbacks. AM/FM radios aren’t as commonplace as they once were, and for many of us can be found only in our cars. Even if you have a radio in your living room or at your desk, it can be hard to get a strong signal from your desired station. And the local aspect is a double-edged sword, as not all programs are available in all markets — try finding a Chicago Cubs game to listen to in the Nashville broadcast area!
The Internet service TuneIn solves these problems by bringing live radio to your Web browser or iOS device via the free TuneIn Radio app (it’s also available in various smart TVs and media-streaming boxes from companies like Roku, and it’s even built into over 55 vehicles). TuneIn isn’t the first company to do this, but a few things set it apart from the alternatives: the interface is straightforward and clean, there’s no pressure to sign up for an account or hand over personal information, and it integrates sources outside of traditional radio, like computer-generated music stations and podcasts. TuneIn is used by a reported 60 million people worldwide, and it boasts access to 100,000 live radio stations and 4 million on-demand programs.
A search box is the most prominent feature on TuneIn’s home page. If you know exactly what you’re looking for, the search field makes it easy to enter a station’s call sign (“WBUZ”), a genre (“bluegrass”), or a show name (“Acoustic Cafe”). You can also search more broadly, so a search on “Seattle” returns the city name as a genre that encompasses a variety of Seattle-area terrestrial stations, broadcasts related to the Seattle Mariners baseball team and the Seattle Seahawks football team, Internet radio stations with the word “Seattle” in their titles, and even individual show episodes that include “Seattle.”
Unsure what to search for? You can browse TuneIn’s content in the toolbar at the top of the page, split into categories like Local, Music, Sports, News, and Talk. You can also browse stations by location, if you want to scan for interesting stations from Australia, for instance.
TuneIn isn’t limited to radio, as it also hosts Pandora-like artist stations, podcasts, and, if you sign up for TuneIn Premium, audiobooks. More on that shortly.
To play anything in the search results, hover over the album art icon, which causes it to morph into a play button. Clicking the name of the entry reveals additional details, such as broadcast schedules for particular programs. Some talk radio shows list not only live broadcasts but also past episodes.
Whenever you’re playing an audio stream, a toolbar with playback controls appears at the bottom of the page. You can even keep browsing without stopping playback. One nice touch is that you can pause a live broadcast and later pick up where you left off. I’m not sure how long you can pause live radio, but I have paused a program overnight and returned to it the next day with no issues. As with all methods of playing Internet radio stations, the quality can vary; I doubt TuneIn has any control over the streaming software or upstream bandwidth used by the radio stations to which it provides access.
The free TuneIn Radio app works similarly to TuneIn’s Web site but is focused more on browsing than on search. The first tab, Home, displays a number of stations split into categories. Nonetheless, the Search tab lets you search for whatever you want. For those in Apple’s platform ecosystem, the TuneIn Radio app offers an Apple Watch app and CarPlay integration, though no Apple TV app. A separate $9.99 TuneIn Radio Pro app eliminates banner ads and gives you the option to record what you’re listening to and listen to it later offline, although only within the app itself. TuneIn also makes a version of its app for Android.
Basic use of TuneIn is free, supported by audio ads that play whenever you first start playing and banner ads in the free mobile apps. Note that commercial stations broadcasting over TuneIn play their own ads, in addition to those TuneIn adds. TuneIn’s additional audio ads aren’t terribly intrusive, perhaps because we’re all used to hearing them on the radio, and they don’t play that often.
However, paying $7.99 per month gets you TuneIn Premium, which removes banner ads from the mobile apps and adds over 600 commercial-free radio stations, a collection of 40,000 audiobooks, and live games from sports stations from Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, and Barclays Premier League (soccer). TuneIn Premium also offers some language-learning stations.
If you’re a sports fan, TuneIn Premium may be tempting, but you may not have to pay to listen to sports. ESPN Radio is a free station, and many stations may have live broadcasts of their local sporting events.
TuneIn’s audiobook collection is a bit more exciting, especially since TuneIn Premium is just over half the cost of a standard $14.95 per month Audible subscription. The selection seems to be good. At a glance, I spotted all of George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, Suzanne Collins’s “The Hunger Games” series, much of Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower,” Aziz Ansari’s “Modern Romance,” Lois Lowry’s “The Giver,” Max Brooks’s “World War Z,” Ernest Cline’s “Ready Player One,” and Amy Poehler’s “Yes Please.”
The potentially significant downside to using TuneIn for audiobooks is that it works only in a streaming mode. That may be acceptable if you listen while on Wi-Fi or if you have an unlimited data plan and solid cellular connectivity, but for most people, the combination of spotty cellular connectivity and data overage fees will weigh against TuneIn audiobook accompaniment on long road trips.
In sum, TuneIn is perfect for those who don’t want to lose touch with a hometown or college radio station, and for people who want to explore music via Internet radio rather than through a free Spotify subscription. It might be a good solution for staying up with a favorite sports team in another location, but your level of success will vary with the sport and the team. For high-profile American sports and English soccer, a TuneIn Premium subscription could be worthwhile if you can’t find a free alternative, but the service’s lack of offline capabilities render the audiobook subscription less appealing.
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I’ve complained before about the paucity of desirable apps on the Apple TV, but a surprise player has jumped in to help fill the gap: BitTorrent Inc., the company behind the peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol that’s a favorite of copyright infringers. In recent years, BitTorrent has tried to find uses for its technology beyond file sharing, such as the BitTorrent Bleep chat client and the BitTorrent Sync file syncing tool (think Dropbox, without centralized servers). Now, BitTorrent Inc. is jumping into legitimate video streaming with BitTorrent Live, currently exclusive to the fourth-generation Apple TV but with clients for the Mac and iOS on the horizon.
Traditional video streaming works by downloading content from a remote server or, more typically, a “cloud” of remote servers. To avoid overloading the source servers, large streaming media providers like Netflix spread the load by relying on content delivery networks (CDNs), which take over the heavy lifting of delivering the content to end users.
CDNs work well, but they can be expensive. BitTorrent Inc. hopes to eliminate the need for them by making every viewer into a broadcaster as well, shifting resource usage from a fixed group of servers to the entire network.
The Apple TV app itself works as a “fully functioning peer in the swarm.” In plain English, this means that as you stream a channel from the BitTorrent network, the app on your TV also streams that channel to other viewers. BitTorrent, Inc. says that leads to about an extra 20–30 percent of bandwidth usage versus regular HTTP video streaming, but that doesn’t count bandwidth saved by BitTorrent’s inherent efficiency over HTTP. However, you needn’t worry about your ISP confusing BitTorrent Live with a server, since it should appear to be a typical peer-to-peer app. Comcast has had a history of slowing down Internet connections that use BitTorrent, but I haven’t seen any such problems with BitTorrent Live.
It’s an interesting experiment, but the practical takeaway is that we now have a new Apple TV app with free, live content. That’s the good news. The less good news is that BitTorrent Live’s interface and channel lineup are both weird.
I found setup to be a pain. You have to create a free BitTorrent account and link it to the app, and that requires clicking a link in a confirmation email message. But I never got the confirmation message, even after multiple attempts to resend it! (Perhaps some spam filters are dubious of messages that mention BitTorrent.) Eventually, I tried signing up with a Gmail account, and that worked.
BitTorrent Live’s interface is straightforward, if a touch odd. Press the Siri Remote touchpad to view the current show and swipe down to see the channel lineup. You’re supposed to be able to view upcoming shows on the current channel, but the show lists display only the channel name, so it’s not yet helpful. When you’re done browsing, press Menu to return to the video. BitTorrent Live is purely live, so there’s no pausing or scrubbing.
One nice touch is that when you switch to another channel, the loading screen is a drawing of a geodesic pattern. Ideally, no loading screen would be necessary, but at least it’s interesting.
The starting lineup for BitTorrent Live is… eclectic, to put it mildly. You probably haven’t heard of most of these mysterious channels:
AWE: Think “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous: The Channel.” Oddly, this channel also seems to feature a number of shows about nature and survival.
Clubbing TV: BitTorrent Live describes this channel as being all about club music. All I know is that when I tuned in, there was a dancing clown.
FAST&FUN: Channeling Red Bull TV, FAST&FUN focuses on extreme sports, like racing, skiing, and boating.
Fightbox: If you like combat sports, Fightbox is great, because it’s nothing but fights: boxing, wrestling, and mixed martial arts. Don’t expect big-name events from the likes of the Ultimate Fighting Championship here, as Fightbox shows only small regional events. But there are a lot of them!
Film Box ArtHouse: This channel appears to be all about foreign art films, with English subtitles. Its Web site doesn’t answer many questions and isn’t entirely in English, making it a bit inscrutable.
Heroes TV: Yet another extreme sports channel.
NewsMax: Ostensibly a conservative news channel, NewsMax has only shown documentaries and footage of old political events while I’ve been watching. It offers some value for history buffs.
NUsicTV: Based in London, NUsicTV is like MTV, except it actually shows music videos, with a focus on independent, undiscovered acts.
One America News Network: An upstart news network, OANN broadcasts only conservative talk shows at night, but during the day it’s all straight news coverage, with no punditry or random chatter. OANN is one of the jewels of BitTorrent Live, since the standalone OANN Apple TV app costs $5 per month.
One World Sports: Sort of like ESPN with an international focus, One World Sports broadcasts a lot of hockey, soccer, and tennis.
OTT News: If you want your election coverage truly unbiased, OTT News is your channel, because it’s nothing but raw feeds of campaign events. This channel is exclusive to BitTorrent Live.
TWiT.tv: Here’s one you probably have heard of! Leo Laporte’s TWiT network has long been the gold standard in broadcast technology content, and members of the TidBITS crew are occasionally featured as guests on MacBreak Weekly.
The frustrating thing is that the channel lineup isn’t consistent. The order of channels shifts around, and some even come and go. For instance, channels dedicated to progressive talk show hosts Stephanie Miller and Thom Hartmann have appeared and disappeared. I eventually deduced that these shows are part of OpenNews TV, a progressive talk channel advertised by BitTorrent. As we were editing this article, other channels came and went, much to our confusion.
As bizarre as BitTorrent Live’s channel lineup may seem, it’s sort of charming. It reminds me of the good old days of C-Band satellite dishes, which carried random feeds from around the world. BitTorrent Live has an air of mystery to it that today’s mainstream TV lacks. And on paper, it’s a pretty well-rounded lineup, with news, sports, movies, and music. You could probably watch nothing but BitTorrent Live for a week and not get bored, though I can’t be responsible for your mental state after such a stunt.
As for the peer-to-peer technology that powers BitTorrent Live, it generally works well. Load times between channel changes are short. You may see some stutter and occasional drop-outs, but they’re infrequent and resolve quickly. Video quality is acceptable but often a bit fuzzy; I’m not sure if the fault lies with the content providers or with BitTorrent’s technology.
It will be interesting to see where BitTorrent Live goes, if anywhere. In the meantime, it’s more free live TV for Apple TV owners, making Apple’s living room box more attractive, particularly to cord cutters who have chosen to drop cable TV.
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Alfred 3.0.1 -- Running with Crayons has issued Alfred 3.0, a major new release for the keyboard-driven launcher with new features and under-the-hood improvements, plus an overhauled theme editor and improved file navigation. You can download and run Alfred for free with basic functionality, but purchasing the Alfred Powerpack is necessary for access to several of the additions and improvements in version 3, including improved workflow flexibility and object layout; enhanced Clipboard History with the capability to copy images, file lists, and hex colors; and the addition of snippet auto-expansion (see this announcement blog post for details). Alfred now requires OS X 10.9 Mavericks to take advantage of newer OS X technologies.
Shortly after 3.0’s release, version 3.0.1 appeared, with the maintenance update improving the reliability of automatic snippet expansion (including allowing spaces in snippet keywords), fixing a bug with AppleScript files running twice, improving the reliability of initial migration, and fixing iTunes indexing progress display with some track names. If you purchased a Powerpack license in 2016, you will receive a free upgrade to Alfred 3. For licenses purchased before 2016, you can turn your single user license into a Mega Supporter license (which provides free lifetime upgrades) for £15 (the difference between the £17 single user license and the £32 Mega Supporter license). (Free, £17 for Powerpack, 2.8 MB, release notes, 10.9+)
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Slack for Mac 2.0.3 -- Slack has released version 2.0.3 of its Mac desktop client with a resolution to the app forgetting some of your teams after a crash and fixes for problems that have affected the sign-in process for some users of the group messaging system and productivity tool. The energetically written release notes (see more about how the Slack team approaches writing release notes) also include this nugget:
There was an understandable backlash to the backslash that attached itself to the front of single or double quotes when replying to notifications, so we took that slapdash backslash and burned it like the bug it was.
Learn more about Slack from Glenn Fleishman’s recently released “Take Control of Slack Basics” and “Take Control of Slack Admin.” If you’re just coming to Slack, be sure to read Glenn’s “Take Control of Slack Basics: Chapter 2, Get Started with Slack” (9 March 2016), which we published as a pre-release chapter (with subsequent chapters available to TidBITS members). (Free from Slack and the Mac App Store, 22.2 MB, 10.9+)
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Evernote 6.7 -- Evernote has released version 6.7 of its eponymous information management app with changes to the switcher (Command-J) that enable you to switch between tags (in addition to notes and notebooks); the switcher’s matching algorithm can also now recognize possible misspelled searches. The update resolves several crashing bugs, improves sync performance, fixes a bug that prevented high-DPI images from being cropped accurately, corrects an issue that rendered links as plain text, improves business card scan accuracy for ScanSnap Evernote Edition scanners, and fixes a bug that prevents some PDFs from displaying correctly after being annotated. Note that the Mac App Store remains stuck at version 6.6.1 as of this writing. (Free from Evernote or the Mac App Store, 53.6 MB, release notes, 10.9+)
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Pixelmator 3.5 -- The Pixelmator Team has released Pixelmator 3.5 (aka “Canyon”) with two new tools, plus a new Pixelmator Retouch Extension for Apple’s Photos app. The Quick Selection Tool uses a sophisticated algorithm to select areas precisely with a few simple brushstrokes, and the Magnetic Selection Tool finds the object edges you’re trying to trace and automatically snaps a selection around them. The Pixelmator Retouch Extension brings a full set of Pixelmator retouching tools to your Photos app, including the magical Pixelmator Repair Tool.
The image editing app also brings a redesigned Stroke effect for OS X 10.11 El Capitan users that’s smoother and up to 15 times faster, improves the Pixelmator Distort Extension so the brush size auto-adjusts as you zoom in and out, ensures the Column Marquee Tool makes exact selections, fixes a crash related to editing tiny images with the Red Eye Tool, returns the Add to iPhoto option to 10.9 Mavericks, and improves stability when opening PSD files with specific Photoshop text features. ($29.99 new from the Mac App Store, free update, 54.4 MB, release notes, 10.9.5+)
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Cyberduck 5.0 -- The Cyberduck team has released version 5.0 of the open-source file transfer app, bringing back support for Google Drive so you can access files without syncing to your desktop. In addition to an updated user interface with new streamlined monochrome toolbar icons, Cyberduck 5 adds an option to use AWS KMS-Managed Keys (SSE-KMS) for server side encryption on Amazon S3, allows repeat failed transfers for single segments of multipart large file transfer (S3, OpenStack Swift, Backblaze B2), and adds support for the Spectra BlackPearl Deep Storage Gateway. Cyberduck is free, though you can support it via a donation or a $23.99 purchase made through the Mac App Store. (Free, 89.6 MB, release notes)
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Tinderbox 6.6 and Storyspace 3.1.2 -- Eastgate Systems has released Tinderbox 6.6, improving the personal content assistant’s infrastructure to take better advantage of your Mac’s computing power to manage agents, rules, actions, and more. The update also improves the speed of Tinderbox Maps, adds support for importing data from Taskpaper, Microsoft Word, and Apple’s Pages, improves RTF export, and adds a date picker to augment the app’s flexible date interpreter.
Eastgate Systems has also released version 3.1.2 of its Storyspace app, which works seamlessly with Tinderbox. The graphically rich hypertext writing app incorporates the infrastructure improvements added to Tinderbox, while also improving guard field handling and ensuring that links with guard fields now indicate whether the guard field is satisfied in the map view. ($249 new for Tinderbox, free update, 55.4 MB, release notes, 10.10+; $149 new for Storyspace, free update, 49.6 MB)
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CrashPlan 4.7 -- Code42 Software has released CrashPlan 4.7, a maintenance update with a number of fixes for the Internet backup software. The update now prevents Time Machine from backing up the CrashPlan app bundle, which was causing high CPU usage for some users. It also fixes a bug that prevented some dialogs from being closed when CrashPlan was in full screen mode in OS X 10.11 El Capitan, translates the menu bar app to non-English localizations, and ensures that files with leading or trailing spaces in the filename backed up from an OS X or Linux computer can be restored to a Windows PC. Note that CrashPlan 4.7 is the final supported version for 10.7.5 Lion and 10.8 Mountain Lion (as well as Windows XP and Windows Vista). (Free with a 30-day trial of CrashPlan’s online backup service, 73.8 MB, release notes, 10.7.5+)
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GraphicConverter 10 -- Lemkesoft’s GraphicConverter — the “Swiss Army knife” of graphics programs that can import over 200 different graphic file formats and export almost 80 formats — has been updated to version 10. This major new release adds face recognition capabilities, a Collage feature, a Picture Package feature that simplifies printing multiple copies of an image on one sheet of paper, the capability to use grayscale pictures as custom brushes, simplified access to metadata like EXIF and IPTC, and support for converting Apple’s Live Photos format into an animated GIF. Amongst the vast number of additions and improvements, GraphicConverter 10 also improves LZW compression of TIFF images, adds a button to open custom fill patterns in the Pattern palette, enhances smart cropping in live previews, enhances the Shadow command, and adds a menu item for scaling images to Facebook sizes.
Priced at $39.95 from the Lemkesoft Web site, GraphicConverter 10 is available for $25.95 from the Mac App Store through 30 June 2016. If you have a license for any previous version of GraphicConverter, you can upgrade to a version 10 single user license for $25.95 through the Lemkesoft Web site. ($39.95 new from Lemkesoft or the Mac App Store, $25.95 upgrade, 113 MB, release notes, 10.9+)
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RapidWeaver 7.0.1 -- Realmac has released RapidWeaver 7, a major update to the Web design and publishing software that boasts over 50 new features and enhancements. RapidWeaver gains an overhauled FTP engine for improved speed (and adds an FTP path browser for visually selecting a publishing location), adds a built-in Web server for previewing your entire site within the app, adds the SEO Health Check to help improve your search engine optimization, enables you to store resources inside a Portable Document (so you can move the project between multiple Macs), adds four new responsive design themes, adds a Project Backup feature, and reduces the app’s user interface “chrome” to provide more work space. The update also removes Quick Look support to reduce file sizes significantly, improves how the Theme Browser handles duplicates, and adds a Web Server Logs window to help diagnose page errors.
Shortly after the release of version 7.0, Realmac issued version 7.0.1 to fix an issue where themes would not be installed in the correct location, resolve a bug that prevented add-on migration from version 6.x, and prompt the user to restart after installing new plug-ins. RapidWeaver is priced at $99, and you can upgrade to version 7 for $59.99 if you have an existing license. ($99 new, $59 upgrade, 87.8 MB, release notes, 10.11+)
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Mailplane 3.6.3 -- Uncomplex has released Mailplane 3.6.3, reducing the click area of the close tab button to help prevent accidental tab closures. The Gmail-specific email client also adds a Save to Todoist option that sets the email message as a comment instead of putting everything into the content, enables you to set a compression factor if resizing or converting to a JPEG image, plays a sound when a new chat message arrives, updates WebKit to the same version found in Safari 9.1.1, and fixes Mail > Discard and the trash toolbar button for Google Inbox. ($24.95 new, free update, 23.4 MB, release notes, 10.10+)
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Capto 1.0.1 -- Global Delight has issued Capto 1.0.1, the first maintenance update to the screen capture utility formerly known as Voila. The release now enables you to preview captured images inside the organizer, improves the speed of video exports, lets you shrink the Capto window, adds an option to migrate Voila data into Capto at any time, and fixes a bug that prevented videos from exporting in their original resolution when dragged and dropped outside the app. If you have a Voila or Boom 2 license, you are eligible for a 50 percent discount on Capto through Global Delight’s storefront. Capto is free for those who purchased a license to Voila on or after 1 October 2015. ($29.99 new from Global Delight with a 25 percent discount for TidBITS members or from the Mac App Store, 20.7 MB, 10.10.5+)
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PopChar X 7.5 -- Ergonis Software has pushed out PopChar X 7.5, adding support for combined emojis in the Apple Color Emoji font (characters created from “zero width joiner” character sequences, such as couple and family icons). The character discovery utility adds font format information (OpenType, TrueType, PostScript) to the Font Info view, allows use of the Enter key in the keyboard shortcut for opening the PopChar window, enables you to start a search for characters without having to select the search field first, and fixes a bug that resulted in a large empty space when looking for a character in a collapsed group. (€29.99 new with a 25 percent discount for TidBITS members, free update, 4.6 MB, release notes, 10.6+)
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TextExpander 6.0.5 -- Smile has released TextExpander 6.0.5 with an improved Snippet Editor that offers better image import and a fix for an issue where the fill-in editor could dismiss slowly. The update to the text-expansion utility also restores Print Group and Print All Groups, retains uncommitted content changes when creating a new snippet, disables Add Group from File when signed out, and adds support for the URL bar in Google Chrome version 50.
TextExpander 6 has shifted to a subscription model (see “Smile Brings Back Standalone TextExpander, Reduces Subscription Price ,” 13 April 2016) that costs $40 for an annual subscription to the single-user Life Hacker plan. If you have a license for any previous version of TextExpander, you’ll receive a 50 percent lifetime discount, resulting in a subscription price of $20 per year for as long as you renew the subscription. Smile continues to offer TextExpander 5 as a standalone app for $44.95 (TidBITS members receive a 20 percent discount only on the purchase of version 5). ($40 annual subscription, $20 upgrade subscription, free update from version 6, 7.3 MB, release notes, 10.10+)
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1Password 6.3.1 -- AgileBits has released 1Password 6.3 for Mac (dubbed “The Passion Project”) with added support for three Web browsers — Vivaldi, Brave, and Opera Developer. The password manager also adds the capability to drag and anchor the Large Type window, improves VoiceOver support (particularly when moving between the sidebar, item list, and item details), and fixes a bug that caused a system slowdown when creating the attachments directory when Time Machine is enabled. The update also changes the behavior of the Command-O keyboard shortcut in 1Password mini so that details are anchored without having to display item details first, and Lock on Sleep now considers both display sleep and Mac sleep. Hot on the heels of 1Password 6.3, version 6.3.1 adds even more VoiceOver improvements and fixes more bugs. ($49.99 new from AgileBits and the Mac App Store with a 25 percent discount for TidBITS members when purchased from AgileBits, free update, 47.5 MB, release notes, 10.10+)
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AirPort Base Station Firmware Update 7.6.7 and 7.7.7 -- Apple has released firmware updates for AirPort Extreme and AirPort Time Capsule base stations with 802.11ac Wi-Fi (the tower-like models receive Firmware Update 7.7.7), as well as older AirPort Express, AirPort Extreme, and AirPort Time Capsule models with 802.11n Wi-Fi (Firmware Update 7.6.7). Both updates fix a bug that could prevent communication between clients on the same network, improve performance with an extended guest network, and sort out potential naming conflicts with Bonjour Sleep Proxy. You must update your AirPort base station using AirPort Utility on your Mac or an iOS device with the free AirPort Utility app installed (the download isn’t available via the Apple Support Web page or Software Update). A few people are reporting problems with these updates, although it’s hard to know how widespread they are. There’s probably no harm in passing on these updates if you’re not experiencing any problems with your network now. If you do decide to update, make sure it’s when some downtime wouldn’t be catastrophic.
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Airfoil 5.1 -- Rogue Amoeba has released Airfoil 5.1 with an improved Effects window, which tweaks the layout and labels while also ensuring that the window correctly remembers its state between launches. The wireless audio broadcasting app also updates the Instant On component to version 8.2.6, enables you to right-click on a speaker in the main window to hide it from view, fixes a bug that prevented a local audio play-through preference from being respected, and changes the behavior of pressing the back button when transmitting iTunes so that it rewinds to the beginning of the track rather than moving to the previous track. The companion Airfoil Satellite iOS app also now receives Retina-quality album artwork (if accessing a Mac with a Retina display). ($29 new with a 20 percent discount for TidBITS members, $15 upgrade, 13.8 MB, release notes, 10.9+)
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In ExtraBITS this week, Apple has updated its WWDC apps for iOS and Apple TV, Amazon isn’t coming to Apple TV anytime soon, and Spotify gets more competitive with Apple Music family plans.
WWDC App Adds Apple TV Version -- With the Worldwide Developer Conference coming up on 13 June 2016, Apple has updated its iOS WWDC app with a version for the fourth-generation Apple TV. That’s less compelling for WWDC attendees, who will be most interested in the app’s maps of the venues and a schedule of events. For Apple developers not attending WWDC, though, the app will provide live streams of sessions and the Apple TV support will make watching easier to do in the living room. Considering the number of developers who don’t win the WWDC ticket lottery, we’re glad to see Apple improving the experience of not being there for those who can’t make it.
Amazon Playing Hardball on Apple TV App -- Even though Amazon has previously hinted at making a Prime Video app for the Apple TV, don’t hold your breath for it to appear anytime soon. When asked at this year’s Code Conference why Amazon doesn’t sell streaming media boxes from Apple and Google, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said, “When we sell [streaming] devices, we want our player — our Prime Video player — to be on the device, and we want it to be on the device with acceptable business terms.” As many have suspected, there appears to be some concession Amazon wants from Apple before releasing an Apple TV app. What that could be is unknown; Apple does require a 30 percent cut of sales made through apps, but Amazon could easily circumvent that by requiring users to sign up for Amazon Prime outside the app.
Spotify Updates Family Plan to Match Apple Music -- Streaming music service Spotify is now cheaper for families, matching Apple Music in both price and number of family members. The Spotify family plan now covers up to six people for one monthly $14.99 fee. Previously, $14.99 included only two members, though you could pay $5 extra for each additional person up to a maximum of five. Spotify’s new plan is thus no different for two-person families, but could be more than half off for a household of six. As a bonus, Spotify families aren’t locked together in a Family Sharing group, as is the case with Apple Music.