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How to breathe life into an old Mac

1 hour 40 min ago

Your Mac gets a bit slow and creaky as it gets older, and we can probably all identify with that. Unlike with our stupid, weak-willed bodies, though, we don’t have to accept our Macs’ slowing down and eventual obsolescence as a crashing inevitability. There is a lot you can do to breathe new life into your aging computer to extend its useful life, and though some cost money—albeit vastly less money than it would take to buy a new Mac—many are free.

This isn’t about those wacky, cutesy projects to turn your iMac G3 into a fish tank or a Cube into a tissue dispenser, and nor is it about celebrating the zen of using an old, slow Mac that’s cut off from the Internet as a distraction-free writing tool, though there’s nothing wrong with any of that. What follows is tried-and-tested pragmatic advice to keep your Mac happily and gainfully employed for many years to come.

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Survey: People really like watching TV shows on their Apple devices

Sun, 2015-09-06 15:19

In recent years, cable, satellite, and pay-TV companies have started offering apps and  online services that let their subscribers watch TV shows from just about any device. And when it comes to using these so-called “TV everywhere” services, people apparently really like watching TV Apple products. According to a new survey from Adobe, Apple devices account for nearly 62 percent of TV everywhere video streams.

According to the survey, which Adobe offers in PDF form, the Apple TV accounted for 12.8 percent of TV everywhere streams in the second quarter of 2015, up from the 11.7 percent share it put up in the first quarter of this year. 22.3 percent of users watched video from iPads (down from 22.5 percent the previous quarter), 18.2 percent streamed from iPhones, 7.4 percent from Macs, and 1.2 percent from an iPod Touch.

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The Week in iOS Apps: Watch out!

Sat, 2015-09-05 07:00
Watch out!

This week's new apps include several entries designed for the Apple Watch—and one made, yes, for Android Wear. Read on!


The latest update to Airbnb puts the app on Apple Watch, which hosts and travelers can use to communicate with each other instantaneously—the better to make reservations, discuss accommodations, and make arrangements.

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Saving Private Apple: A solution in search of a problem

Sat, 2015-09-05 05:00

Good news, everyone! Apple may not be doomed! (Offer not legally binding, void where prohibited.)

Writing for Fortune, S. Kumar tells us “How the new iPhone could save Apple”.

Could! Might not, though. Still up in the air if Apple will be “saved”. Still… there’s a chance! That’s at least something for Tim Cook and crew to hold onto. Other than all the money, of course.

Now, we all know that Apple lives under a constant cloud of doom. That much was foretold in ancient prophecy. What is unclear from this headline, however, is what Apple needs to be “saved” from. Is it eternal damnation? The unbearable loneliness of a dark, unforgiving universe? Or is it corn snakes? A dumpster full of corn snakes?

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The week in Apple news: Apple TV rumors, iPad Pro rumblings, 4K 21.5-inch iMacs, Apple Camp, and more

Sat, 2015-09-05 04:00
Apple headlines for the week ending Sept. 4, 2015

We’re just days away from Apple’s event in San Francisco, and the rumor mill is working overtime. It looks like the Apple TV is going to be the star of the event, with the mythical iPad Pro possibly becoming a reality. You can get an overview of what we think will be announced on Wednesday, but there are plenty of non-event Apple headlines to check out—you can see all the important headlines here in this slideshow. Want to get more details on a story? Click on the link.

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How to track down a lost iPhone

Fri, 2015-09-04 16:00

Losing your phone isn’t necessarily something you think much about until it happens to you. And when it does, panic sets in. Fortunately for you, Apple provides a free suite of device-location tools called Find My iPhone that can help you figure out if you left your phone on the bus—or if it’s just in the couch cushions. If you aren’t yet using Find My iPhone, we’ll help you get started.

Setting up Find My iPhone

First and foremost, you’ll need an Apple ID and an iCloud account. There’s a good chance you already have both if you own an Apple product; if you don’t, visit, click the link labelled “Create yours now,” then follow the onscreen instructions.

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Four takeaways from 'Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine'

Fri, 2015-09-04 11:46

UPDATE 9/4/2015— While Danny Boyle’s biopic Steve Jobs plays at the Telluride Film Festival this weekend, reviews are coming out for the wider release of the Alex Gibney–directed documentary Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine. The A.V. Club calls it “sensationalistic,” while the Los Angeles Times found it “engrossing” and “unsparing.”, and the New York Times says “this isn’t the iPhone of documentaries.” The movie opens today—find showtimes in your area on Fandango.

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The Week in iPad Cases: Moshi’s compact messenger bag will streamline your life

Fri, 2015-09-04 09:00
Bag, backpack, or shoulder bag?

This week’s roundup of new iPad cases includes unique cases from Booq, Speck, and STM, plus classic looks from Targus, Griffin, and CaseCrown.


Manufactured with a water-repellent fabric, the Cobra Squeeze backpack (all iPad models; $195) has plenty of storage compartments for all of your gear.

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21.5-inch iMac could get its Retina 4K upgrade in November

Fri, 2015-09-04 08:44

One year after dialing up the screen resolution of its 27-inch iMac, Apple will reportedly do the same with its 21.5-inch all-in-one.

Citing unnamed sources, 9to5Mac claims that Apple will announce the 21.5-inch iMac with 4K Retina display by the end of October, alongside the launch of OS X El Capitan. The new high-res iMac would then ship in November.

The exact screen resolution will be 4096-by-2304, 9to5Mac claims. This resolution has previously appeared in the code from Apple’s El Capitan Developer Preview. Currently, the 21.5-inch iMac has a resolution of 1920-by-1080.

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Spotify cleans up privacy mess with plain language policy update

Fri, 2015-09-04 08:00

“What do you mean?” has been a big theme around Spotify in recent weeks. Justin Bieber’s tune of the same name just had the biggest first week for a single on Spotify to date. The phrase also sums up perfectly the public reaction to Spotify’s recently revised privacy policy.

Spotify is now hoping to clear up the confusion that sparked panic, an apology, and at least one heated conversation on Twitter. Ek took to the company blog on Thursday to announce some revisions to the privacy policy that the company hopes will clear up any confusion.

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Runtastic Moment combines fitness tracking and an analog watch

Fri, 2015-09-04 06:32

After being acquired by Adidas for $240 million, Runtastic isn’t stopping to catch its breath. On Friday the company announced the Runtastic Moment, a line of analog watches that also track your fitness. Instead of wearing a watch and a rubber fitness bracelet, one device can count your steps and active minutes, and a quick glance at its face will show you not only the time, but also your progress toward the day’s goals.


Runtastic Moment Fun

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Meet your new (old) favorite endless runner for iOS, Race the Sun

Fri, 2015-09-04 06:00

These days, keeping up with games can be a full-time job. So how do you separate the signal from the noise, the wheat from the chaff, the Temple Runs from the Temple Jumps? Allow us to help by regularly selecting a game You Should Play. 

Let me introduce you to your new favorite endless runner, Race the Sun. It’s got everything you’ve been looking for: Stunning visuals, silky-smooth gameplay, and, of course, an element of strategy you don’t often find in endless runners.

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Google offers advice to bypass app security in iOS 9 for ad networks

Fri, 2015-09-04 05:39

Among many improvements in iOS 9 that will quietly make our digital lives better or offer more security, App Transport Security (ATP) is one you likely will hear little about, even as it enforces a strict approach to moving data about that lowers an app’s vulnerability to interception, which in turn makes your data more secure in transit.

Apple’s demand is that apps use a secure connection when sending data to and from an iOS device; this is separate from securing data on a developer’s servers or on the device. It seems like a smart thing and very much in keeping with privacy and security concerns in 2015.

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The next episode: What Apple will announce on Sept 9

Fri, 2015-09-04 05:31

Apple can’t revolutionize everything every single year, and with next week’s big event covering such maintenance releases as the iPhone 6s, iOS 9, and OS X 10.11 El Capitan, you might conclude there won’t be much to blow you away. Well, maybe so—and maybe not.

It’s pretty much a lock that we’ll see new iPhones in the same 4.7- and 5.5-inch sizes as the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The rumors about it have been coming fast, including a fourth color (rose gold, to match the Apple Watch Edition), a Force Touch feature, and a much-improved 12-megapixel camera.


The Apple TV should see a major overhaul too. The specs have leaked, but we don’t have a great idea of what the interface will be like—hopefully it’ll be a significant overhaul that makes it easier to find the movies and TV shows you’re looking for across multiple channels and services. Like the Fire TV, the remote control will likely have a microphone, so you can give it commands via Siri. With beefier hardware, we might get a beefier retail price—rumors have been as high as $149 or even $199. Apple may even be following HBO and Netflix into the original content business.

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The perfect Siri 2.0 needs to be ready for Apple TV and third-party apps

Fri, 2015-09-04 05:07

If Apple’s typically cryptic invitation to its upcoming media event is any indication, come September 9 we’re going to be talking about some improvements to Siri, the intelligent assistant that’s been a marquis feature of the iPhone since the introduction of the iPhone 4s back in October 2011. 

While Siri has, for better or worse, become part of the zeitgeist, its improvements over the last several years have been largely subtle, focused mainly on refining its existing capabilities. While each year has brought a few additional things to ask Siri about, we’ve yet to see a real push for what you might think of as a “Siri 2.0.” So, what might Apple have in store for the intelligent agent? 

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Ask the iTunes Guy: Will Apple Music disappear, audiobook dates, spending limits, and more

Fri, 2015-09-04 05:00

In this week’s column, I look at a grab bag of questions. Readers have asked how to check or uncheck all the songs in their iTunes library. Will Apple Music music ever disappear? Why can’t they enter a year for their audiobooks in iTunes? And how can they keep their daughter from spending too much money on the iTunes Store?

Check, uncheck

Q: I check and uncheck tracks in iTunes to sync them to my iPhone. Is there an easy way I can uncheck all the songs in my iTunes library, so I can start with a fresh selection of music?

This reader uses the Sync only checked songs and videos option in the sync settings for their iPhone. This is a good way to choose what to put on your device, without messing with playlists, or individual albums or artists. Just uncheck the tracks you don’t want to sync, and iTunes handles everything.

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On the road again: Five free iOS apps to make your next trip less bumpy

Fri, 2015-09-04 04:30

If you’re planning on hitting the road this Labor Day Weekend, don’t plan on being alone. AAA estimates you’ll be sharing the asphalt with more than 35.5 million other drivers looking for summer’s last hurrah. 

But luckily, you’re an iPhone user, which means you have an advantage over those other road warriors—so long as you (er, let’s make that your passengers) make use of some of our favorite iPhone apps for cruising down the highway. 

And did we mention they’re free? 


Whoever said getting there is half the fun never spent a hot summer day in bumper-to-bumper traffic 12 miles behind a fender bender. Sure, there are other apps that provide turn-by-turn directions—including the one that came with your phone. But for up-to-the-minute, crowd-sourced, reliable information on what lies ahead (and how to get around it), Waze is the app we rely on. Waze is now owned by Google, and powers Google Maps traffic alerts. But it’s even better as a standalone app. 

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Mozilla releases first public Firefox for iOS preview

Thu, 2015-09-03 19:03

Mozilla hopes to have its version of Firefox for iOS devices out by year’s end as part of its push to grow its share of mobile traffic.

Mozilla already offers Firefox on Android, but the OS makes up just a sliver of total Web traffic on mobile, easily surpassed by Google’s Chrome browser and Apple’s Safari, according to data from StatCounter.

Overall usage of Firefox across desktop and mobile has fallen in recent years, according to Web analytics company W3Counter.

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How to remove objects in your photos with Photoshop’s content-aware tools

Thu, 2015-09-03 16:49

When it comes to removing objects in your pictures, nothing (yet) beats the power of Adobe Photoshop CC. If you’ve got plenty of background pixels surrounding the thing you want to zap, you can quickly send it packin’ with the Fill command’s Content-Aware option. But what if you need to use another area of your photo for the fix instead of surrounding pixels? That’s where the Patch tool shines. In this column, you’ll learn how to use both options safely, without destroying your original image. (As of this writing, Photoshop Elements’ Fill command has a content-aware option, but it lacks a Patch tool.)

Removing objects with Content-Aware Fill

Open an image with a medium-to-large sized object to delete, like this light post. To ensure you’ve got plenty of background pixels for Photoshop to work with, do the pixel-zapping before cropping. If you’re working with a single-layered document, duplicate the layer by pressing Command-J. If you have multiple layers, activate the topmost layer and create a stamped copy of all visible layers by pressing Shift-Option-Command-E.

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Some Uber trip info is publicly accessible through Google

Thu, 2015-09-03 15:01

When an Uber rider reaches his or her destination, the ride may be over, but information about it could live on through Google.

On Thursday, a site-specific search on Google for produced dozens of links to Uber rides that have been completed and cancelled, in countries around the world including the U.S., England, Russia, France and Mexico.

Each link leads to a Web site with a map showing the ride’s route, with the pickup and destination tagged with markers. A card on the page also shows the first name of the rider and driver, along the driver’s photo, make and model of the car, and license plate number.

The map appears just as it might during the actual ride for the driver and rider on their smartphones.

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