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#1547: NOVID early warning system for COVID-19 infections, iPhone 12 versus pacemakers, Hue Lightstrips, more CES 2021 tech

Do you know anyone with a pacemaker or defibrillator? An alarming study has demonstrated that iPhone 12’s MagSafe magnets can interfere with implanted medical devices. Adam Engst explains why the iPhone 12 isn’t the only threat and how to stay safe. Speaking of staying healthy, Adam also examines the free NOVID app, which could give you early warning of COVID-19 infections in your extended network of connections—get your friends to install it! For those who have been frustrated by poorly lit rooms, Josh Centers reviews the HomeKit-savvy Hue Lightstrips and shows how they can brighten up dark areas in your house quickly and easily. Finally, Jeff Porten wraps up the issue with news from CES, including flying cars, creepy robots, AI-based lie detection, and other tech from the future. Notable Mac app releases this week include PDFpen and PDFpenPro 12.2.2, SoundSource 5.2.1, Agenda 12, Bookends 13.5.1, and SpamSieve 2.9.42.

Adam Engst 28 comments

NOVID Provides COVID-19 Early Warning System

We’re drowning in data about COVID-19—infection rates, hospitalizations, and fatalities. But none of that data can answer the question of what your personal risk of infection is. With the NOVID app—and sufficient uptake in your community—you can know just how close infections are to you.

Watchlist

SoundSource 5.2.1 1 comment

SoundSource 5.2.1

Updates the Audio Capture Engine to work around a macOS issue on M1-based Macs. ($39 new, free update, 23 MB, macOS 10.13+)

Agenda 12 No comments

Agenda 12

Date-focused note-taking app adds support for inserting tables into your notes. (Free with $24.99 premium purchase option, 64.6 MB, macOS 10.12+)

Bookends 13.5.1 No comments

Bookends 13.5.1

Reference management tool adds support for running on M1-based Macs. ($59.99 new, free update, 94.8 MB, macOS 10.13+)

ExtraBITS

8 comments

Why Are Webcams So Lousy?

Why does the image quality from computer webcams compare so poorly to even the front-facing cameras on old iPhones? Jeff Carlson explores the economics of webcams and points out all the ways they’re bad.