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Updated: 1 hour 25 min ago

TripMode review: Tethered Mac? Your wallet will love this data monitoring app

1 hour 42 min ago

Ever since it was possible to tether a computer to a cell modem, it's also been possible to blow through one's monthly or service-plan limit and either run out of mobile data, be throttled to a trickle, or face expensive overage fees. TripMode is the first easy-to-use OS X utility to help with that problem. It could do more, but for $8 (or $5 in its current sale), it does plenty.

TripMode lists any app or service that tries to access the network, and lets you enable them; they're all disabled, or blacklisted, by default. This is a list of typical apps.

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How to take a screenshot on Apple Watch

2 hours 12 min ago

Screenshots from Apple Watch are only 272 pixels wide.

Taking a screenshot on Apple Watch is easy. Finding the screenshot is the hard bit. Here’s how to take and find your Apple Watch screenshot.

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Thunderbolt 2 docks roundup: The easy way to connect to your Mac laptop

2 hours 42 min ago

The major change since I last did a roundup of Thunderbolt docks is that the latest docks use Thunderbolt 2, which makes them aligned with Apple’s Thunderbolt 2 implementation in its MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.

The market has also grown a little, with a few more offerings to consider. But essentially, the basic functionality of the docks is the same as before: You plug in your display, hard drives, printer, ethernet, headphones, USB devices, and whatever else into the dock, then you connect the dock to your laptop via a single Thunderbolt 2 connection. When you want to take your laptop, you only need to unplug a single cable. When you return to your desk, all you have to do is connect one cable.

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The Week in iPhone Cases: Puppy, koala, or fox? Check out Case-Mate’s cute animal-shaped cases

Sat, 2015-05-23 06:00
Puppy, koala, or fox? Check out Case-Mate’s cute animal-shaped cases

This week’s roundup of new iPhone cases brings you wallet-style cases from Truffol and SwitchEasy, retro game-inspired alternatives from PureGear, and classic options from Krown Case and Patchworks.

Case-Mate

Squeee! The Creature (iPhone 6; $30) is no ordinary case, sporting adorable animal designs with a matching charm.

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Of babies and bath water: Apple Car DOA

Sat, 2015-05-23 05:00

Don't get your imaginary hopes up for an imaginary Apple car, because its success is virtually unimaginable because of the imagined failure of another imaginary Apple device. Yes, it's just another walk in the park of Apple rumors, featuring a trip over the tied shoelaces of imagination and a fall into the koi pond of absurdity.

Writing for the Boy Genius Report, Yoni Heisler is here to tell us "What Apple’s failed HDTV plans tell us about an Apple Car." (Tip o' the antlers to @JonyIveParody.)

Oh, sure, that whaaaaaat?

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5 ways OneNote is better than Apple's Notes app

Fri, 2015-05-22 14:37

The iPad is a convenient note-taking tool for the classroom and boardroom alike. And while Apple’s own Notes app is more than equipped to handle any text you can throw at it, it lacks any breakthrough features to keep you coming back.

The last company I ever expected to boast about having a better iOS app than Apple is Microsoft, but that’s exactly what I’m about to do. Microsoft’s OneNote app is vastly better than the Notes app that comes installed on your iPhone and iPad. There, I said it.

How is it better? Glad you asked.

All it takes is a finger (or stylus)

There’s something intimate about seeing your own handwriting on a piece of paper, or in this case, a screen.

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Uber's first autonomous car goes out for a test drive

Fri, 2015-05-22 12:46

If everything goes according to Uber’s master plan, pretty soon you won’t have to sit through having to make small talk with a human when you take one of their rides.

The ride-sharing giant has set up a research and development outpost in Pittsburgh, and its first project has already driven itself off the lot for a test drive. Uber now has an autonomous car.

The modified Ford vehicle spotted in the wild had an Uber logo on the side and a large Back to the Future-looking device on top when it was first spotted driving around Pittsbugh on May 13. Uber quickly confirmed that the car was the work of the company’s Advanced Technologies Center to experiment with the use of robotics in transportation.

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Adobe killing off Photoshop Touch, teases more powerful capabilities with Project Rigel

Fri, 2015-05-22 12:38

Adobe is discontinuing Photoshop Touch mobile apps for iOS and Android. The company announced the move Friday as part of a strategy to focus on more desktop-style editing capabilities with other mobile apps.

The phone-friendly versions are still available for $5, while the tablet-optmized editions are $10 in the App Store and Google Play. Adobe says you’ll be able to buy them until May 28. 

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The Power Macintosh 7300 proves good design is about function as much as form

Fri, 2015-05-22 12:19

These days, Apple’s computers—whether they’re designed to sit on a desk, rest on your lap, slip into your pocket or be strapped to your wrist—are for the most part sealed boxes. Even if you can crack the cases to get to the chips and circuit boards inside, increasingly you can’t then do anything (except perhaps regret whatever course of action led you to tear apart some hitherto functioning hardware), since Apple has started soldering components to the motherboard.

This is in stark contrast to earlier incarnations of the company. Apple, after all, was born out of the culture of the Homebrew Computer Club, where tinkering wasn’t so much encouraged as necessary, and for a long time that culture fundamentally underpinned and informed even the supposedly “home” computer market of non-geeks.

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The Week in iOS Apps: WinIt lets you fight your parking tickets

Fri, 2015-05-22 11:00
Just say no to parking tickets

This week’s apps includes an offering that lets you fight parking tickets; there are also transit and photography apps, and much more.

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Pebble Time smartwatch to start shipping May 27

Fri, 2015-05-22 09:38

Pebble will start shipping its latest smartwatch next Wednesday and finish manufacturing all orders for the device by the end of May.

People will receive an email by the end of this month asking them to finalize their Pebble Time selection choices, according to the project’s Kickstarter page.

Even though “production is now in full swing,” Pebble reiterated that not everyone who contributed to the watch’s crowdfunding campaign will receive the device immediately. Pebble made a similar point earlier this month when it provided information on the Time’s software features and shipping details.

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Apple's streaming TV service might not be imminent after all

Fri, 2015-05-22 09:36

Apple’s long-rumored streaming video service could be slipping away once again, as the company reportedly struggles to get TV programmers on board.

Apple wanted to launch the service in the fall with roughly 25 channels, priced around $30 to $40 per month, unnamed industry sources said in March. A new report from Re/code says Apple has hit a couple of roadblocks.

The biggest hurdle involves local broadcasts from networks such as ABC, CBS, and Fox. Apple is reportedly intent on carrying these networks, but the negotiations for streaming can get complicated because the networks don’t own all their local stations. Some markets rely on affiliates or a franchise system, which leads to rights issues and the need for new infrastructure in certain cases. For these reasons, even the networks themselves can’t easily offer live TV streaming in every market.

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Facebook brings context to messaging with 'caller ID' for Messenger

Fri, 2015-05-22 08:41

If your Facebook feed is anything like mine, it’s filled with acquaintances, close friends, old friends, and a few people who got in due to an errant click. To help you keep everyone straight, Facebook recently announced a new addition it’s dubbing “caller ID for messaging.”

When you get a new message from someone it will include context information such as how you’re connected to them or where they’re from. Facebook says it will also include a larger photo. The new context can help jog your memory if an old high school friend is coming into town or an acquaintance from your community wants to say hello.

Facebook’s messaging update is rolling out to both Android and iOS users in the U.S. It’s not clear if the new feature will also show up in Facebook’s messaging window on desktop PCs.

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You Should Play: Does Not Commute turns a time-shifted traffic jam into fun

Fri, 2015-05-22 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.

It’s tempting to lump every car game in with the racing genre, but Does Not Commute really is a different kind of experience: It’s more of a driving game than a racer. And really, it’s a defensive driving game, because there are a lot of crazies out on the roads. You should know—you’re controlling every one of them, after all.

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Private I: The network vulnerability is coming from inside the house!

Fri, 2015-05-22 05:25

There’s no doubt that networked resources like printers, scanners, and storage devices have a huge degree of utility. But cheaper and older peripherals don’t always have the gumption to connect via Wi-Fi or ethernet. USB is the only option, or at the least, it’s far cheaper. Networking USB devices is thus a clever workaround. Apple has supported external access to printers via AirPort Express since 2004, and to storage via its AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule base stations since 2007.

A licensed technology called NetUSB made by a Taiwanese firm has extended the same sort of capability to many millions of routers and other network hubs, including those made by Netgear and Zyxel. Using client software available for OS X and Windows, USB devices can be plugged in and then accessed almost like a shunt—as if the device were plugged locally to the computer—rather than a network-shared item as with Apple.

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Ask the iTunes Guy: Fixing iTunes Match's quirks

Fri, 2015-05-22 05:21

I don’t know how many people use iTunes Match, but I get a fair number of questions about this subscription service. This week, I answer three questions about iTunes Match. I also explain how to add detailed artist information to tags in iTunes, and discuss that Purchased playlist that shows up every time you buy something from the iTunes Store.

Can’t match, won’t match

Q: My music library is a combination of purchased music and CD rips. I recently subscribed to iTunes Match. After the matching process was complete I noticed that quite a few of the songs I had ripped showed their iCloud status as “Uploaded” instead of “Matched.” In many cases, I had songs within the same album that were matched while others were uploaded. One example is the Beatles’ White Album: of the 30 songs, six were uploaded while the remaining songs were matched. Do you know of any workaround where I can achieve match status without re-ripping or purchasing albums on iTunes?

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Product reviews will never be perfect, but they're still better than ever

Fri, 2015-05-22 04:34

Brian X. Chen spent some of his first years in the journalism business testing and reviewing products for Macworld. These days he writes about tech for the New York Times, and earlier this month he wrote an interesting story about the failings of product reviews.

As someone who has himself written dozens (please tell me it’s not hundreds…) of product reviews over the years, I was fascinated to read Brian’s piece. It’s an accurate discussion of the limitations of product reviews, though I’m not sure the problems can ever truly be fixed.

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Smart uses for smart albums in Photos for OS X

Fri, 2015-05-22 04:30

While it may be satisfying for the OCD within you to manually organize your digital mementos into albums in Photos, you can automate the process using smart albums. These albums self-populate based on criteria you set, so when Photos detects an image that matches your criteria, it’s automatically added to the smart album (just like iTunes’ smart playlists).

Smart albums are insanely handy. For example, you can create one that collects all the pictures you take that include a certain keyword, say, comicon, that fall within a certain date range and that are tagged as favorites. Or how about an album that gathers all the pictures of your kids that also includes the keyword vacation? In this column, you’ll learn how to make smart albums and discover a few ideas on how to use them.

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13-inch MacBook Air review: Apple's affordable laptop nicely blends performance and portability

Fri, 2015-05-22 04:00

Now that there’s a new ultra portable laptop in town in the form of the 12-inch MacBook, what’s the deal with the MacBook Air? It’s still an active part of Apple’s lineup, and in case you missed it, was updated on the day the 12-inch MacBook was announced.

The 13-inch MacBook Air changes are relatively minor, but its standing in Apple’s lineup is what changed the most. While the MacBook Air is still an ultra portable laptop, there’s a newfound emphasis on its value—the four recently refreshed models make up the affordable end of Apple’s laptop lineup.

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The Week in iPad Cases: Travel light with Case Logic’s new carrying case

Thu, 2015-05-21 17:00
...plus rugged cases, cases for kids, and more

This week’s roundup of new iPad case features a number of folio options from OtterBox, Pelican, Targus, and Kensington, a kid-friendly alternative from Khomo, and much more.

Case Logic

The Arca (all iPad models; $25) sports a clamshell design with a sturdy zipper for safe transport while you’re on the go.

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