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#1401: More gadgets from CES, CARROT Weather, HomeKit, Data entry via dictation

If you’re struggling with manual entry of numeric data, Adam Engst has a hot tip that can make it as easy as speaking. Josh Centers takes a look at the snarky yet powerful CARROT Weather app for iOS, and he looks ahead to HomeKit hardware in 2018. To wrap up this issue, Jeff Porten brings us more gadgets and gizmos from this year’s CES show in Las Vegas. Notable software releases this week include GraphicConverter 10.5.4, Microsoft Office 2016 16.9, DEVONthink/DEVONnote 2.9.17, Mailplane 3.7.2, Fantastical 2.4.5, Ulysses 12.3, SoundSource 3.0.3, Piezo 1.5.6, 1Password 6.8.6, and Typinator 7.4.

Adam Engst 8 comments

Dictation Eases Data Entry

If you need to enter numbers, dates, or times into your Mac by hand, there’s an easier way than typing them in with your keyboard. Instead, try dictating them into your iPhone or iPad!

Josh Centers 3 comments

HomeKit Hardware to Expect in 2018

Apple’s HomeKit home-automation ecosystem has been growing slowly but steadily, and numerous companies took advantage of CES 2018 to announce new HomeKit-compatible devices. Explore the most compelling new devices with HomeKit expert Josh Centers.

Watchlist

1Password 6.8.6 No comments

1Password 6.8.6

Brings back iCloud sync using Apple’s native iCloud framework. ($64.99 new, free update, 48.6 MB)

EagleFiler 1.8.2 No comments

EagleFiler 1.8.2

Allows tag names to contain spaces for improved interoperability with Finder tags. ($40 new, free update, 20.0 MB)

No comments

LaunchBar 6.9.4

Fixes scripts that deal with phone numbers not working on macOS 10.13.2 High Sierra. ($29 new, free update, 14.6 MB)

Piezo 1.5.6 No comments

Piezo 1.5.6

Updates the Instant On component to fix compatibility issues for Skype 8. ($19 new, free update, 8.3 MB)

No comments

Quicken 4.6.8

Adds a new message warning when a sync hasn’t completed when trying to quit Quicken. ($74.99 new, free update from Quicken 2017)

Typinator 7.4 No comments

Typinator 7.4

Improves the Quick Search feature to display all matches in a scrollable list. (€24.99 new, free update, 7.7 MB)

ExtraBITS

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Messages App Plagued by Another Crashing Link Bug

Twitter user Abraham Masri has discovered a Web link that, when opened in the Messages app on iOS or macOS, causes freezing, crashing, battery issues, and other nasty behavior. This isn’t the first time that a rogue link or piece of text has broken one of Apple’s apps. Apple will likely release a fix soon.

1 comment

Mickey Mouse’s Debut Film Could Become Public Domain in 2024

Before the 1970s, U.S. copyright terms lasted for only 56 years, but over time Congress has extended that to 95 years — the last extension being in 1998. Those extensions have been pushed primarily by Hollywood, with the joke being that Disney will do whatever it takes to keep “Steamboat Willie” — the first film featuring its signature Mickey Mouse character — from falling into the public domain. According to an article in Ars Technica, it appears that Hollywood is now giving up on further extensions due to greater public awareness of copyright issues. So on 1 January 2019, every work of art published in 1923 will fall into the public domain, something that has been delayed for over 40 years. And unless something changes, “Steamboat Willie” will move into the public domain in 2024, though Disney would still own the trademark to Mickey Mouse.

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Will iOS 12 Be the iPhone’s Snow Leopard?

For years, Apple has stuck to a strict schedule of annual iOS releases that sport a sometimes dizzying array of new capabilities. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, whose sources have proven generally reliable, is reporting that Apple will be holding back some of the more ambitious features in iOS 12 to focus instead on polish and reliability. Under the new scheme, major features will be planned over a two-year period, with engineers having more leeway to delay features that need more work. That doesn’t mean iOS 12 will be devoid of new features. One of the most interesting, Gurman says, will enable developers to create apps that work on both macOS and iOS. That will likely have significant implications for Apple users.

2 comments

Chase Freedom Offers 5% Cash Back for Apple Pay Usage

Those with a Chase Freedom credit card can earn 5% cash back on up to $1500 in combined purchases during the first three months of 2018 when you use your card with Apple Pay (along with competing mobile wallets Chase Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay). You’ll have to activate the cash-back bonus on Chase’s Web site.

1 comment

Your Smart Home Could Be Spying On You

Gizmodo’s Kashmir Hill and Surya Mattu teamed up to learn the extent to which home automation devices report back to their manufacturers and leak personal information. Hill filled her house with smart devices, including an Amazon Echo, lights, coffee maker, TV, and even a bed. Then she had Surya monitor how much data was sent out by the devices. The results may shock you. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the worst offender was the Amazon Echo, which contacted Amazon’s servers every few minutes, even when the “Alexa” wake word and the microphone were turned off.