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From the Editor’s Desk
Apple dumps the optical rescue DVD in their latest MacBook Air and replaces it with a USB flash drive..
Apple updates MacBook Air
Update adds 11-inch model, no more hard drives. 10 Apple’s iLife ‘11 11 Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 14 Buffalo DriveStation Duo 16 MacBook Air vs PowerBook
Me360 introduces iPhone app
The app was developed to create a social graph of the real world places that people like. 19 Otterbox Defender for iPhone 4
Five awesome Automator tips
Easy ways to take advantage of Apple’s automation tool.
Apple iPod touch 4G
Latest touch is more than an iPhone without the phone. 32 BeatBox by Dr. Dre from Monster
Canon Ixus 1000HS
Birthday celebrations result on high-quality point- and-shoot. 34 Point-and-shoot vs. camera phone 38 Cisco (finally brings) brings Flip video cameras to Middle East
Mac debut for Adobe Premiere Elements 9
Consumer video editing app offers a choice for amateur editors who crave a timeline.
43 4 | www.macworldme.net | November 2010
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The death of the optical disc Apple looks to the past for the design of its music player The optical disc- CDs and DVDs- has been on life support for many years, but Apple CEO Steve Jobs dealt the final death knell on October 20 when he introduced the company’s latest iterations of the MacBook Air notebook. Just as the iMac put the floppy disk to rest when it launched in 1998, the MacBook Air makes sure the optical disc, whether it is CD or DVD, will disappear from the daily lives of most Mac users. Back when Apple introduced the iMac and it had no floppy drive, I can remember that so many people cried out in anger towards Apple, arguing that a floppy-less computer was just downright stupid. Perhaps Apple took a hit on iMac sales for a while, but in the long run, their decision was the right one. Something else Apple did with the first iMac was to ditch the Apple Desktop Bus (ADB). ADB had been the way to connect keyboards, mice and other peripherals to Macs up to that point, but Apple went with USB instead, clearly a stroke of genius. What’s new then, you ask, since all MacBook Air models going back to the introduction in 2008 have been without optical drives. As you know, for going on three years, Apple has happily sold you an overpriced external SuperDrive, but the latest models take that one step further. What’s new is that, in the latest MacBook Air models, Apple has decided to replace the previously common Mac OS X installation DVD with a USB flash drive. Now you don’t insert a DVD into a SuperDrive if you need to reinstall or repair Mac OS X. Instead, you start up from a USB flash drive. From now on, it’s safe to assume that it will be this way with all Mac models. Now that Apple has done away with the rescue DVD for MacBook Air, expect them to do the same in other Mac models
too. Whenever they introduce the next Mac, we’ll see which way they’ll go with it, although I’d be surprised if they didn’t stick to the no-DVD way. Do you care to speculate about what’s next to be dropped by Apple? The MacBook Air only has Solid State Drives (SSD) for storage; gone is the hard drive with its delicate spinning parts. As the price of SSD goes down and capacity increases, it will continue to replace hard drives. I wouldn’t hurry to say the hard drive is dead anytime soon, as it clearly still offers larger capacity at a lower price compared to SSD. Even though you should always expect the unexpected when it comes to Apple, developments like this are nothing unusual. Apple has made technologies obsolete time and time again and they will continue to do so. In fact, that’s one thing that people often resent Apple for, that they go their own way and doesn’t seem to care much what others think. Personally I think that’s one thing that makes Apple truly distinctive, that they keep pushing the envelope almost regardless of the consequences. It also makes the company unpredictable. Even with the increased amount of chatter online before Apple events there is always something revealed that wasn’t going around the rumour mills. Whether it’s “one more thing” or something else, Apple delivers. And this time it delivered the eulogy for the optical disc.
Magnus Nystedt Group Editor November 2010 | www.macworldme.net | 7
News and Analysis about Macs, OS X, and Apple
MacBook Air Update adds new 11-inch model, no more hard drives
pple has announced two new Macbook Airs—and they’re way more than speedbumps. Think of them instead as a cross between the last-generation of the company’s ultra-thin laptop and the iPad. The updated 13.3-inch Air, which superficially resembles its predecessor is accompanied by an entirely new 11.6-inch model. And none of the revamped MacBook Air models comes with a hard drive: They rely instead on flash storage built into the motherboard. “We think it’s the future of notebooks,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs told the audience at the company’s Back to the Mac press event. Both MacBook models are thinner
than what Apple offered before: 1.7 cm at their thickest, tapering to 2.2 mm. (The last generation ran from 1.93 cm to 4 mm.) They’re also lighter: The 11.6-inch model weighs 1 kg, the 13-inch 1.3 kg; the old 13-inch model weighed in at 1.36 kg even. The MacBook Air features a full-size keyboard as well as the glass trackpad found on other Apple portables. “These are areas where you don’t want to sacrifice,” Jobs said. In explaining Apple’s decision to remove a built-in hard drive in favour of flash storage, Jobs pointed out that solid-state drives perform faster and more reliably, making them ideal for portable computers. They also allow Apple to make a smaller and lighter
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notebook. “We know the benefits,” Jobs told reporters. What’s more, because the flash storage takes up less room than a hard drive, it leaves space for a bigger battery. A bigger battery means better battery life: The company claims the new 13-inch model will give you 7 hours of wireless productivity on a single charge, compared to 5 hours before. (The 11.6-inch model tests out at 5 hours, presumably because its battery isn’t as large.) The flash storage also means these new Airs are “instant-on”: You can leave the machines in standby mode for up to 30 days, Apple says, yet they’ll revive instantly and let you resume working where you left off.
“We think it’s the future of notebooks,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs told the audience at the company’s Back to the Mac press event. Among the other differences: Graphics are now handled by NVIDIA GeForce 320M processor (the same chip as in the current MacBook); the graphics processor shares its 256MB of DDR3 memory with the system RAM. Instead of one USB 2.0 port, both new models have two; both have the same single Mini DisplayPort, and the 13-inch model has an SD card slot too. Instead of a single mono speaker, the new Airs have stereo.
The primary difference between the two MacBook Air configurations comes in the size and resolution of their LED-backlit screen. The 11.6inch MacBook Air features 1,366x768 resolution, while the 13-inch model offers 1,440x900 resolution. All MacBook Airs come with a built-in camera, which Apple has rebranded as a FaceTime Camera to tie-it in with the desktop version of the video-conferencing application released Wednesday.
The new 13.3-inch model, with a 1.86GHz Core 2 Duo processor, will cost $1,299 for a model with 128GB of flash storage and $1,599 for one with 256GB. The 11.6-inch model, which has a 1.4GHz CPU standard, will cost $999 for a 64GB model and $1,199 for 128GB. Both come with 2GB of 1,066MHz DDR3 SDRAM standard, expandable to 4GB. At time of press Middle East availability and pricing was not known.
November 2010 | www.macworldme.net | 9
Apple’s New iLife ‘11 iPhoto, iMovie and Garageband updated, future uncertain for iWeb and iDVD Apple has unveiled iLife ’11 at its Back to the Mac event in Cupertino, demoing three of the suite’s updated applications—iPhoto, iMovie, and Garageband. The updated suite will come preinstalled on all new Macs as well as sold as a box in retail.
iPhoto ’11 First up was Phil Schiller— describing iPhoto ’11 as “the best version yet”—who started his presentation by showcasing the program’s newly redesigned full-screen mode. Taking a few design cues from the iPad, iPhoto’s full-screen mode features a row of tabs along the bottom of the screen for Events, Faces, Places, Albums and Projects. Faces and Places look similar to their iPad counterparts, while Albums adds the ability to pull read-only photos from both Facebook and Flickr accounts. New slideshow templates offer auto-
generated transitions, labels, and background music. Photo sharing, too, has been simplified. “Share via Email” allows users to select a group of photos, click the option, and have iPhoto automatically create a postcard within the program. Choose from several different templates; drag, drop, and resize photos within; and choose whether to attach the full-resolution photos or just the postcard. A new sharing panel links Flickr and Facebook accounts and shows the user’s sharing history. Book creation, meanwhile, has undergone a complete carouselinspired redesign. Users can pick an album, click Create, select Book, and are brought into the new fullscreen book creation view.
iMovie ’11 If you polled iMovie ’09 users and asked them to name their biggest complaint about the
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software, there’s a good chance it would involve audio editing. Apple, it seems, has listened to these complaints. When introducing the program, Steve Jobs noted that it was “the number one request we got after the last version of iMovie,” and as such, the first fix to be showcased on stage by Apple engineer Randy Ubillos. Audio waveforms— color-coded to show peaked levels—now appear under video clips in both iMovie’s Project and Event views, and can be easily adjusted by dragging the volume slider along the clip. To change a section of a clip, highlight it, then drag. Users can also adjust fade-in and fade-out on each side of a clip. Audio can be altered, too, using effects rendered in real-time—in the demonstration. In addition, though not specifically highlighted in the demonstration, iMovie ’11 features Single Row View—known to most people familiar with nonlinear editing programs as “timeline view”—which translates your project into one horisontal sidescrolling row for easier editing access. iPhoto’s Faces feature has also found its way somewhat into iMovie ’11, thanks to a feature called People Finder. It analyses clips and organises them by the number of people in a
scene, specific faces, and whether the clip is a Group, Closeup, Medium, or Wide shot. Building upon iMovie ’09’s initial effects pane, iMovie ’11 adds “one step effects”—real-time video and audio alterations to your clips. Demonstrated at the event were Instant Replay and Flash and Hold; Apple’s Website also features an effect called Jump Cut at Beats, which matches background with your audio and performs an automatic jump cut at the appropriate time.
GarageBand ’11 The final program to get an on-stage demo Wednesday was GarageBand, shown off by Xander Soren, product marketing manager. Soren focused on GarageBand’s new recording and instrument tools, including new Flex Time, Groove Matching, and “How did I play?” features, more guitar amps and effects, and new piano and guitar lessons.
iWeb and iDVD? Although not mentioned directly in Wednesday’s presentation, Jobs did note in his initial speech that iLife ‘11 would feature the same programs as its predecessor, and both iWeb and iDVD are listed on Apple’s iLife Website— though it’s not clear what, if anything, has changed for these programs since iLife ‘09.
Microsoft Office for Mac 2011
Updated interface and completely new Outlook set to wow Mac users FIRST LOOK The new Office suite for Mac promises to deliver one of the biggest upgrades in its history. There’s plenty new to love – so much so that even iWork users might be swayed. We look at what’s new and, most importantly, this first look aims to help you decide whether or not you should take the plunge.
Mac vs Windows Office for Mac has never really lived up to the standards of its Windows cousin. Microsoft has tended to treat the two suites as completely separate products, often with little in common other than the program’s names. With Office for Mac 2011, all that changes – the two suites are now far more aligned than previous iterations, and the Mac version has become a full-featured option for your entire document
and spreadsheet needs. Not only is it a huge improvement on the past, it’s also become a much stronger competitor to iWork. Microsoft has apparently finally realised that Mac and PC users do occasionally interact, and worked on making the two versions of Office more compatible. If you’re an Excel 2008 user, you might be familiar with features from Excel on Windows that just don’t work on the Mac. Probably the biggest missing feature was Visual Basic macros – which went AWOL after Office 2004 – but the new version brings them back.
What’s new The biggest introduction to the new suite is the Ribbon – essentially a tabbed series of toolbars – which brings together the bits and pieces that were spread between the toolbars, formatting
palette and Elements gallery in previous versions of Office. The ribbon was introduced in the Windows version in 2007, and in Office 2011 it breaks up almost everything you need for document editing into Home, Layout, Document Elements, Tables, Charts, SmartArt and Review (plus
decide you hate it, it’s simple to go Ribbon-less and use the regular old formatting bar that you know from Office 2008 – just click the name of the active tab, and the whole thing will minimise. Along with Publishing Layout in Word, Office 2011 is looking to compete
The Ribbon was first met with considerable criticism on Windows, but it’s become accepted with time. a few context-aware tabs when they’re needed). The Ribbon was first met with considerable criticism on Windows, especially for taking up valuable vertical space on the screen but it’s become accepted with time. It’s a really intuitive, neat way to have everything in one space, and its design fits pretty well with your Mac experience. But if you
further with iWork by adding a Media Browser – with all the photos (from iPhoto), audio (from iTunes), movies (from iMovie and elsewhere) clip art, symbols (oddly) and shapes that you could possibly want to cram into your document. With the new Office, Microsoft has also acknowledged that a lot of
November 2010 | www.macworldme.net | 11
people are collaborating on documents nowadays, and 2011 makes it easier than ever. Collaboration can now be done via Windows Live’s SkyDrive feature (all you need is a Hotmail account, and you can access 25GB of online storage) or SharePoint (which you have to pay for – and is aimed at businesses). To upload a document to the cloud, you just choose File > Share > Save to SkyDrive and enter your Hotmail account details.
Outlook 2011 Entourage has been replaced with Outlook, bringing the Office email application back into line with the Windows version. It might not replace Mail and iCal for everyone, but Outlook has certainly become a more viable option than the slow and bloated Entourage ever was. It imported all our emails and settings from Mail, and was up and running within minutes (save for re-downloading a few thousand emails). It plays nice with Time Machine now – it doesn’t have the same integration as Mail, but it won’t need to back up the entire email database every time a new message comes in.
Really, it depends how you like to organise yourself whether you’ll be a fan of Outlook. It combines email, calendar, contacts, tasks and notes, whereas OS X’s native apps split them up. If you like everything in one place, then Outlook will appeal, but it doesn’t sync with iCal if you already have that set up and working for you.
Word 2011 One interesting new feature in Word 2011 is Fullscreen view – and it’s pretty self-explanatory. Go into Fullscreen mode, and you’re faced with just your document on a black background. Move your mouse up to the top of the screen, and a partial formatting toolbar appears. Also new is an integrated equation
editor – Office 2008 featured equations via a separate Equation Editor application, that was clunky to use. Now, just go to Insert > Equation, and you’ll see a new tab in the Ribbon with everything you need to figure out string theory. Well, almost. Here Microsoft one-ups Pages, as Apple’s word processor requires you purchase MathType for any decent equation editing.
PowerPoint 2011 Rearranging objects to ensure the right one is at the foreground has always been an annoyance. With PowerPoint 2011, there’s a fancy new 3D tool to get everything where you want it. Click Arrange > Reorder, and a black screen appears with each of your layers represented in three dimensions. Just drag them around until you’re happy. Another feature billed at collaboration is the Broadcast slideshow option in PowerPoint 2011. Previously if you’ve needed to do a presentation online, the best way was
Office and Arabic Now, to the all-important question of Arabic support in the new Office for Mac. As we mentioned in our previous issue, Eric Paquin, International Project Manager for Office at Microsoft’s Mac Business Unit said in a post on the Mac Mojo web site, the Office for Mac Team Blog, that “there will not be full rightto-left support for languages such as Arabic and Hebrew.” When we’ve talked to Microsoft representatives in the region they say there is no Arabic support in the new Office.
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to use a screen-sharing tool that would broadcast your slides out to anyone who logged in. With PowerPoint 2011, that functionality is built in; you just have to connect with your Windows Live ID (go to Share > Broadcast Slideshow…) and you get a link that can be emailed to all and sundry to see your work. One of the most welcome new features is the ability to embed movies in PowerPoint 2011. Previous versions linked to the file, but if it wasn’t where PowerPoint expected it to be, the movie simply didn’t play – so if you moved a presentation between computers, you were almost guaranteed to have problems. It’s been a long time coming, and it could be reason enough to upgrade for anyone who does a lot of presenting.
Excel 2011 There are probably plenty of people reading this who are still using Office 2004 simply because they use macros in Excel – which were absent from Office 2008. Thankfully, Microsoft has brought back the muchloved macro, and Office for Mac can once again be happily used in a business context. The same is true for pivot tables, which are back in force for Mac users to enjoy. It also introduces Sparklines – tiny graphs within single cells.
They’re handy for quickly illustrating and interpreting trends in data; they don’t replace proper charts, but if you want to see at a glance what’s changed in a column or row of numbers, it’s as simple as clicking a couple of buttons.
Macworld Middle East’s buying advice If you’re running Office 2004, there’s no reason not to upgrade. You get a massively improved interface, and everything that was missing from Office 2008 is back. If you are running 2008, then there’s plenty to gain in
the new version too, but it depends on what sort of work you do. If you’re just interested in light word processing or quick-anddirty charts, then there’s no need to upgrade. Where Office 2011 is a must-have is for business users who need the features that Office 2011 now brings to the table after being somewhat neglected compared to its Windows counterpart. Speaking of Windows, anyone who regularly interacts with or collaborates with PC users on work needs 2011. The compatibility is that much better.
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Buffalo DriveStation Duo HD-WLSU2R1 BY MAGNUS NYSTEDT
REVIEW Buffalo’s DriveStation Duo is basically an external enclosure for two 3.5-inch hard drives, suitable for anyone needing the security or performance offered by RAID. It supports RAID 0 if you want the maximum amount of storage space and RAID 1 if you want to focus on reliability instead. If you get the 2TB model, in RAID 0 the drives are joined and form one 2TB disk and in RAID 1 they would appear as a 1TB drive, with the other TB automatically being a copy of the first. You can also set it up so the two drives appear as separate volumes if you like. The two drives are easily accessible through a removable door on the front of the unit. Behind the door, you can also without effort take out either drive. Buffalo deserves a lot of credit for making the drives easily accessible. This is a drive that is meant to be connected straight to a computer with either USB 2.0 or eSATA 3.0 connections. For Mac users, eSATA is not really interesting until Apple decides to support it, nor is USB 3.0.
However, I think Buffalo should have made this unit USB 3.0 compatible as that’s growing in uptake in the PC domain. Although DriveStation Duo is a solid performer with good functionality it’s just hard to get very excited about it. If you want an external hard drive that supports RAID, this is a good choice. If all you’re after is external storage, and don’t care much whether it’s RAID or not, look elsewhere. In such a case, you can get more storage for less money.
Buffalo DriveStation Duo HD-WLSU2R1 Pros: Compact size; good performance; replaceable drives; eSATA Cons: Only USB 2.0 Info: bit.ly/buffalodrivestationduo Price: $380 (2TB), $630 (4TB)
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MacBook Air vs PowerBook What a difference five years make BY MAGNUS NYSTEDT
With the latest MacBook Air, Apple has created their smallest and lightest Mac ever. Although PowerBook Duo models from the 1990s were very small and lightweight for the time, there’s no doubt Apple has set a new benchmark with the 11-inch model. Apple’s 12-inch PowerBook has long been a favourite with fans for
its small size. We wanted to take a quick look at how they compare and what difference five years makes in the design of portable Macs. The 12-inch PowerBook was sold in multiple versions, starting with the 867MHz model launched in early 2003. In this comparison, we’ve elected to include the final model sold.
MacBook Air 11.6-inch
Intel Core 2 Duo 1.4GHz
PowerPC G4 1.5GHz
2xUSB 2.0, Mini DisplayPort, Ethernet (with optional adapter), Sound-out
2xUSB 2.0, Firewire 400, Ethernet, Sound-out, Microphone, Mini-DVI, Modem,
Battery life (as rated by Apple)
Mac OS X 10.6.4
Mac OS X 10.3.7
NVIDIA GeForce 320M (shared VRAM)
NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200 with 64MB of VRAM
0.3cm-1.7cm x 29.95cm x 19.2cm
3.0cm x 27.7cm x 21.9cm
Sale price when launched
16 | www.macworldme.net | November 2010
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The Latest on the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and App Store
Me360 introduces iPhone app: it’s all about you The app was developed to create a social graph of the real world places that people like. BY MAGNUS NYSTEDT With the rising adoption of smartphones for communications, the right app can make the difference between a good and bad user experience. Among all the new apps out there me360 seeks to stand out by offering a window to places around the user- be it a restaurant, café, shop or something as ubiquitous as a service station- allowing them to share personal likes and dislikes with their friends and peers. The basic idea behind the me360 iPhone app is that based on your location, me360 makes it easy to find great places near you, see what your friends say about these places, get directions to go there, and use Facebook ‘Likes’ to share your interests. Some of these may even come with great deals from these places offered to me360 app users. These are shared with friends through Facebook and Twitter. In the next release users will be able to use a “Meet Me”
feature to create locationbased plans and share them with friends through Facebook events. Matt Beckner along with three partners, Bart Janssen, Sherif Abaza, and Sean Beckner, developed the app to create a social graph of the real world places people like. Beckner said, “There are just too many pure search apps. We are focusing on creating the ‘social graph of places’. In other words, we are THE source for
18 | www.macworldme.net | November 2010
sharing the places you like and seeing what your friends like.” Me360 wants to establish behaviour among smartphone and social media users that when they are out in a bar, restaurant, coffee shop, store or whatever it may be, they immediately think “this was great, I should like it on me360” or “this wasn’t very good, I should leave a comment on me360.” Beckner would like early adopters to become as
used to liking something on me360 as they are used to checking in on Foursquare. He added, “Our app is the ideal, in reality it is the only app that makes this easy for users. And regardless of whether there are any deals or even any of their friends on the app, me360 is a useful platform for broadcasting and storing the places they like.” As me360 gains more users the behaviour will start expanding to search, Beckner said, as they can check and see the places their friends like. Over time me360 hopes to transition from not only an app to share the places you like but an app to search for interesting places to go. According to Beckner, as they become more of a search app their deals will only reinforce the behaviour. As this issue goes to press, the app is still under review with Apple. Check Apple’s App Store for the free app and keep an eye on www.me360.ae.
Otterbox Defender for iPhone 4 BY MAGNUS NYSTEDT
The expression “built like a tank” always comes to my mind when I try a Defender case from Otterbox. Going back quite some years, I’ve previously tried the Defender case for iPhone 3G/3GS as well as Blackberry Bold. They’ve always struck me as the ultimate in protection, and that is still true with the case for iPhone 4. Defender is built on the principle of multiple layers. The basic layer is a thick and hard plastic case, which wraps tightly around the iPhone 4. On top of the plastic layer, there’s a soft silicone layer. In both layers there are openings and flaps for the microphones, speakers, connections and buttons you want access to. You can even show off the Apple logo through a hole on the back. The only problem I see with the design is that over time dust and dirt collect between the iPhone and the hard plastic shell.
Defender protects against bumps, shocks, dust and drops.
There’s a clear membrane that covers the display. It doesn’t offer much impact protection, but it should stop scratches. One problem with the Defender is that the membrane doesn’t stick to the display tightly enough all over. You’ll end up with areas with air in between so it looks like a poorly attached screen protector. It doesn’t interfere with the touch operation though, but some users will no doubt think it doesn’t offer the right feel. The third layer is the sturdy plastic clip-in holster. An iPhone 4 in a Defender case slides easily into place, and with a “click” it locks in and doesn’t go anywhere. You can place the iPhone with the display facing in or out, giving you added flexibility. The clip can rotate so if you attach it to your belt, for example, the iPhone can be vertically or horizontally oriented. No doubt the Defender protects well against bumps, shocks, dust and drops. It also protects against a few drops of water, but don’t expect to go swimming with your iPhone. For the ultimate in protection, the Defender delivers. You do pay a substantial purchase price for that protection and you also pay by the added weight and size to your Apple device.
If you like the idea of the Defender but would want something a bit slimmer, you could look at the Commuter. It doesn’t offer the same all-around protection but it’s cheaper ($34.95). Otterbox is establishing distribution in the Middle East but their products are not yet available in retail outlets in the region. For now you have to order online from its web site.
Otterbox Defender for iPhone 4 Pros: Offer the best possible protection for your iPhone 4; included holster. Cons: Adds considerable size and weight to the iPhone; touch membrane doesn’t connect with all of the display’s surface; over time dust and dirt gets in between the iPhone and the case. Info: bit.ly/otterbox-defender Price: $49.95 (order online at otterbox.com)
November 2010 | www.macworldme.net | 19
Appstravaganza From A to Z, we have iPhone and iPad apps for every interest When the voice-over announcer for Apple’s TV ads tells you, “There’s an app for that,” it’s more than just an advertising slogan. Think of all the things you can do on the Mac—edit and share photos, prepare reports, flex your multimedia muscles, and blow off steam with a few games— and there’s an app (or several) that can do the exact same thing on your mobile device. Maybe these collections will help you find the apps you’re looking for—or discover things to do with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch that you didn’t even consider.
Movies and music Your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad is a natural place for all your media, like movies and music. It may be that you store it on the device so you can consume it, or use the device to find out what to go see or listen to. Whichever is the case, here are two apps that will help will extend your movie and music experience with your Apple mobile device.
20 | www.macworldme.net | November 2010
At the Movies At the risk of insulting a
small portion of our readers, if you have an iPhone and like movies and don’t have the Naviflix app, you’re doing something wrong. No, you won’t be able to actually watch movies with the app, but you’ll be able to discover where and when movies are showing and what others thing of them. Naviflix, free
Streaming Sensation Generally when we think of streaming music, we think of pulling it from the Web.
But you can also stream tunes from your Mac to your iOS device. One way is with Rogue Amoeba’s $25 Airfoil in league with the free Airfoil Speakers Touch app. The Mac-based Airfoil takes care of broadcasting any sound your Mac can make. Launch it, launch Airfoil Speakers Touch, and tell Airfoil to broadcast to your iOS device to tune into the Mac’s broadcast. It’s like having your own private radio station. Airfoil, free
Location, location, location In the social networking world, it’s not always just who you know—it’s where you are as well. These apps take advantage of the iOS’s geolocation features to find your friends, meet new people, and share great experiences.
The Mayor of the App Store
Extend your desktop We love our Macs, but we feel even more pure joy when using iPad and iPhone. Thanks to a variety of clever iOS apps, however, we can now keep playing with my iPad and iPhone in tandem with our MacBookPro, when circumstances dictate we use the Mac itself.
Air Apparent Air Display turns your iPhone or iPad into a wireless second monitor for your Mac. After downloading the app, you install a free custom preference pane on your Mac to turn your iPhone or iPad into an extension of your desktop. You can position your iOS device in either orientation, and you can even use your finger as a makeshift mouse on the touchscreen. If you need a second monitor in a pinch or on the go, Air Display works quite well.
If you’re a Facebook or Twitter user, chances are good you’ve seen friends post about checking into their favorite restaurant or coffee shop via Foursquare. So what’s all the fuss about? Just launch the free app on your GPS-enabled iPhone, and it will tell you the venue that’s closet to you. You earn points are earned by checking into spots; the more you check in, the better your chances of becoming “Mayor” of a given spot. Foursquare makes it easy to see where your friends are gathering, and to add a little friendly competition your daily routine.
they’re doing; however this free social networking app takes a slightly different approach. Loopt users can quickly glance at their map to see all nearby friends, events, and suggested spots. For a steady stream of updates, keep the app running in the background on iOS 4 (if you’re not afraid of taking the hit on battery life). Less about competition, Loopt puts its focus on quick access to your fellow “Loopster” friends. Loopt; free
Air Display, $10
Mirror, Mirror While Air Display extends your Mac’s screen, Mocha VNC mirrors it. If you decide to step out into your yard while you wait for a large download to finish, you can use the app to check in on your Mac’s screen to see how things are going. Even better, you can use your finger as a virtual mouse, or take advantage of the touchscreen keyboard if you need to type. Depending on your network setup, you can even use Mocha VNC to check in on (and control) your Mac remotely. Mocha VNC, $6
Word on the Street
Stay In the Loopt Like Foursquare, Loopt offers a way to know where your friends are and what
Waze puts a social spin on the time you spend in the car. Users help each other by reporting common delays like construction or accidents. When you come within a certain range of these reports, Waze alerts you. Treat Waze as a more casual GPS system than other dedicated turn-byturn direction apps. Waze; free
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Playing nice with Dropbox It’s hard to identify the one thing that makes the Dropbox Web service (dropbox.com) so incredible. Is it the way it can sync files and folders magically, wirelessly, across any number of Macs, PCs, and other Internet-connected devices? Is it the fact that it’s free? Or is it the fact that there are so many apps that integrate beautifully with the service?
“Send to Dropbox” button. Fortunately, a couple other apps help out… DropBox; free
The hybrid Dropbox app lets you browse all the files and folders you’ve stored on the service from your mobile device device. The app can view PDFs, Word and Pages documents, and images; it can also send files of any type to other compatible apps on your device. I don’t use iTunes file sharing to get documents onto my iPad or iPhone; I just put them in Dropbox and grab them from there. The only thing that could make Dropbox even better is mostly out of the developer’s hands: I wish every documentcreation app featured a
iAnnotate PDF integrates beautifully with Dropbox. iAnnotate PDF; $10
For the shutterbug set
Dropbox on the Rise
with your PDFs, letting you mark up your PDFs in a host of ways. You can add text notes, highlights, underlines, free-form drawings, and bookmarks. It also happens to be a great way to sign PDFs—with your finger instead of a pen—without ever needing to print anything. And of course,
The superb Office2 HD productivity suite gives iPad users the ability to create and view word processing documents and spreadsheets. But the app also features great integration with Dropbox. You can open, edit, save, rename, and delete files stored through Dropbox. (On top of that, Office2 HD offers support for Google Docs, MobileMe/iDisk, and a few other cloud-storage services.) The $8 app is a fine editor, sporting an impressive feature set even without the Dropbox integration. But it’s that impressive integration that propels Office2 to a place of prominence on my iPad. Office2 HD; $8
Take Note While Office2 HD and the Dropbox app itself can both view PDFs, they can’t do anything with them. That’s where iAnnotate PDF comes in. The iPad app truly lets you have your way
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From setting up a shot to editing the resulting image and sharing it with others, all an enterprising photographer needs is an iPhone and its built-in camera loaded up with these apps.
Fun with Filters If you’re looking for a simple app that can quickly give a new look to your photos, CameraBag may fit the bill. The app works by applying a basic filter to your selected image. You can choose from 14 filters, ranging from basic black-and-white, to fisheye, not to mention a number of toy camera styles. With a wide variety of filters to choose from, CameraBag can quickly improve the look of many iPhone photos. CameraBag; $2
Gorilla’s Eye View There are some apps you may not use frequently, but when you need them, you’re glad to have them. For an iPhone photographer, Gorillacam fits that bill. The app doesn’t have any special editing features, but instead provides tools such as a level, self-timer, and timelapse mode that may be just what is needed to get the shot you have in mind. Other tools like 3-Shot Burst mode, and an option to press anywhere on the iPhone screen to take a photo, round out this helpful app. Gorillacam; free
Back to the drawing pad The iPad’s expansive screen size seems like it was designed with designers in mind. If you look at your iPad and see a blank canvas waiting for your inspiration, these apps can help your creative muse take flight.
A Multilayered Approach
Eat, drink, and be merry
In an App Store teeming with painting apps, what places Layers—Pro Edition for iPad among the top iPad offerings? An online gallery, for starters, where you can browse through thousands of paintings, watching stroke-by-stroke replays of the ones you like to learn how they were made. But the app has some formidable tools in its own right. Support for multiple layers—up to five at a time—adds another dimension to this painting app.
When it’s time to prepare a meal, or figure out what to grill make sure these apps are close at hand.
Layers Pro; $6
Mobile Mise En Place
If only every dinner I prepared could be as orderly and well assembled as 20 Minute Meals, the Jamie Oliver-backed recipe app from Zolmo. The app offers dozens of recipes—from pastas to salads to stir frys—but it’s the organizational details that prove to be the true delight here. Tabs allow you to toggle between the ingredients you’ll need, the equipment you’ll use and the steps you’ll take to prepare a dish. You can scroll easily from step-to-step in portrait mode, or flip your iPhone sideways to also view pictures of each step and get the occasional audio tip from Jamie Oliver himself. Helpful how-to videos and advice on keeping your pantry stock round out this aspiring chef’s delight.
Scores of backyard cooks claim to have perfected the art of grilling. Load up Weber’s On the Grill on your iPad, and you’ll be secure in the knowledge that you’ve mastered fire. The iPad app—and its similarly named and priced iPhone version—offers tips and tricks for both charcoal and gas grills as well as a list of essential tools every good griller needs. And that’s before you even dive into the array of recipes the app offers for beef, pork, poultry, and fish—not to mention vegetables, marinades, and even desserts.
Along with Layers and the wellregarded Brushes, SketchBook Pro completes an impressive triumvirate of iPad sketching and painting apps. In addition support for up to six layers with opacity controls and a few blend modes, SketchBook offers a unique symmetry tool. The app also boasts what might be the most powerful brush engine of any iPad app—60 different brushes that you can customize at will in the relentless pursuit of your next masterpiece.
On the Grill; $5
Sketching Things Out
SketchBook Pro; $8
Color Coordinator The iPhone version of Color Splash provides a great way for making photos stand out by stripping an image of nearly all its colour— save for a few select details. A cleverly designed interface keeps the focus where it should be— on your image—instead of forcing you to fiddle with settings. In no time at all, you can produce an image that’s every bit as striking as the device you used to edit it. Color Splash; $2
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Strategic thinking Gamers don’t live by brute force alone. Sometimes, it takes a little brain power to end up on top, and these mobile games will certainly put your strategics abilities to the test.
The bibliophile’s iPad While the iPad doesn’t yet sport the iPhone 4’s Retina display, and lacks the eye-friendly e-Ink screen made popular by Amazon’s Kindle, it turns out that the screen still offers a fairly crisp reading experience. Here is a host of apps can help you turn the virtual page.
Kindling Interest Apple’s free iBooks app is great, but Amazon’s free Kindle e-reading app is even better. The app connects with Amazon’s Kindle bookstore and its tremendously broad selection of e-books. If you use the app on both your iPhone and your iPad (and perhaps a hardware Kindle device, too), your current page is always wireless synced, so you’ll never lose your place. Amazon Kindle; free
Easy Reeder Monster Mash The castle defense game Monster Mayhem pits you against wave after wave of snarling, cartoonish monsters. Thankfully, you’ve got an impressive arsenal of weapons at your disposal from knifes to flame throwers and bombs. The long campaign mode, alternate game modes, and three levels of difficulty add up to many hours of challenging gameplay. Monster Mayhem; $2
Take the A Train It’s clear that The Voxel Agents takes great pride in Train Conductor 2: USA, the sequel to Train Conductor. All of the artwork is colorful and well-drawn, while each level is fleshed out really well by a catchy ingame soundtrack. The gameplay consists of using your touch-screen to direct trains on parallel tracks to
their properly numbered (or color-coded) stations. Train Conductor 2 is an intuitive, fun, and addictive title that will only get better with promised updates. Train Conductor 2; $1
Reeder isn’t just the best RSS newsreader on the iPad—it’s the best newsreader on any platform that I’ve ever used. The app elegantly organizes all of the feeds you subscribe to, letting you delicately swipe through articles. The app syncs your subscriptions via Google Reader, and integrates with a slew of other services.
In Diner Dash: Grilling Green for the iPad, you fill the well-worn shoes of Flo, the harried, hard-working waitress. Your job is to get customers seated, fed, and out the restaurant again as efficiently as possible; the happier you keep your customers, the more money you make, and the more you can upgrade your diner. While the previous editions of the Diner Dash series relied on lots of mouse clicks, you only need a series of finger taps to control Flo on Apple’s tablet—a much better fit for the game.
Diner Dash: Grilling Green; $5
Instapaper’s Gonna Get You It’s easy to dismiss Instapaper, a Web service with a corresponding $5 universal app. Why, you may wonder, do you need a third-party service to organize what you come across on the Web? The answer is convenience—in more than one way. Instapaper; $5
Flipping Out Though its initial launch was marred by now-fixed server issues, FlipBoard really shines. The app scans through your Twitter timeline and your Facebook newsfeed finding links, and assembles those links into a deliciously touchable interface.
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Action heroes Whether it’s far-off battlefields, murderous aliens, or treacherous fruit, iPhone games pack in enough action for even the most demanding user.
joystick and pop-up buttons to duck bullets, grenades, and metal fragments in fully immersive 3-D battlegrounds. To fight the enemy, the game takes advantage of the iPhone’s touch capabilities, allowing you to simply aim at an enemy with your finger.
level. With a virtual joystick and two simple control buttons, you can perform gruesome finishing moves on your human foes. As you progress you can fulfill your never-ending desires for carnage. Predators; $3
Brothers in Arms 2: Global Front; $5
Hunt or Be Hunted The Thrill of Battle With Brothers in Arms 2: Global Front, Gameloft adds to its impressive list of graphically superb iPhone games. In this WWII simulator, you use a virtual
Based on the Robert Rodriguez film of the same name, Chillingo’s Predators mixes over-the-top violence with well-rounded gameplay. You take control of a predator creature working to kill as many humans as possible in each
Fruit Ninja; $1
Get Your Fill of Fruit Halfbrick Studios’ Fruit Ninja is a simple, slice-anddice game enjoyable for all ages. You are a ninja. Your mission: use your finger
Stay social E-mail and instant messaging have become passé. These days, the cool kids stay in contact via a slew of other social services. If you’re part of the social networking world and you have an iPhone in your pocket, you’re plugged in 24/7. This trio of iPhone apps can help you navigate the social waters. subtle gestures that feel like they should be built into the iOS. Beyond its clever gestures, Twitter ports a powerful feature set. You can save posts as drafts, shorten links, tweet photos and videos, browse rising trends, and search. Twitter; free
How Tweet It Is Twitter’s free, official iPhone client is my favorite way to access the site. The app provides an attractive and intuitive means of browsing your Twitter timeline, with cleverly-implemented
Stay Alert As great as Twitter is, it doesn’t tell you the moment you score new mentions or direct messages on the service. That’s a job for Boxcar, which integrates with oodles of Twitter iPhone apps and
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as a samurai sword to slice any piece of well-rendered 3D fruit that comes across your iPhone screen. Be quick about it though, as the fruit will fall off the screen if you waste too much time before chopping it. The more fruit you chop, the more points you get. Though it may seem repetitive, the game’s simple gameplay will have you coming back for more.
sends you push notifications anytime someone tries to reach out to you on the site. Alerts generally arrive in less than a minute. With Boxcar installed, your online social experience gets a lot more immediate. Boxcar; free
Time for Tumblr Anything you can do from the Tumblr Website, you can do just as easily from within the free Tumblr app, which makes it easy to
post to your blog whenever inspiration strikes. Impressively, the app supports posting in all of Tumblr’s supported formats—text, photos, videos, audio, quotes, links, chat transcripts—and the custom interfaces for creating each kind of post look and work great. The iPhone app also provides access to your full Dashboard, where you can scroll through all of your friends’ activity. Tumblr; free
Mobile edutainment Your iPhone or iPad can be a great tool to keep your children entertained and occupied during interminable car rides and lengthy waits in line. But if they’re not careful, it might also teach them a thing or two as well.
Job well done Remember the crack when the iPad was introduced about it being nothing more than an oversized iPhone? Clearly, whoever made that joke never realised how a bigger screen could revolutionise what apps would enable us to do. These apps will go a long way toward turning your tablet into a productivity booster.
Pages Turner Apple ported its entire iWorks suite to the iPad, and each component— Numbers, Keynote, and Pages—can be a capable stand-in for its desktop counterpart. While Pages for the iPad has a long way to go before it’s a full-featured replacement for the Mac versions of Word or Pages, it’s good enough to get real work done.
Brain Games Kids like to feel empowered, and Brain Quest: Blast Off does an excellent job of doing just that. Available for kids grades 2 through 7, Brain Quest asks questions based on the grade level in a variety of subjects, including math, social studies, science, and language arts. Brain Quest has a lot of questions to keep your kids coming back for more.
Keynote, Numbers and Pages; $10 each
The iPad offers a multitude of drawing apps, but when it comes to kids, Doodle Buddy for iPad offers an approachable interface as well as a few advanced tools for when your budding Picasso is ready to use them. Kids can paint with four fingers at a time, use different stamps, draw on an included template, draw on a photo in your library, and more.
This file importing and viewing app works great on both the iPhone and iPad. The app now enables you to import and view documents from Webbased file-sharing/backup sites such as DropBox, box. net, iDisk, and others. You can also import and view Google Docs files and Mail attachments, import files via Wi-Fi, transfer files from your Mac via USB, and download files from the Web.
Doodle Buddy; free
Brain Quest: Blast Off; $3
Toying with Physics Try to explain physics to a kid, and you’ll probably be met with glossy eyes. Toy Physics helps kids understand through a game that involves falling toys that you have to put into a toy crate by drawing platforms with your finger. The toy shape and weight affect how they fall, and there are also obstacles that get in the way.Three difficulty settings keep the game’s 40 level fresh and challenging.
Good Things On its most basic level, Things functions as a to-do list. But it is also a terrific tool for users who are juggling lots of multi-step projects. Users of the Mac version of Things should be pleased with its flawless Wi-Fi syncing between the Mac and the iPad version, which is a terrific app with a stunning interface. Things; $20
Password Protector If you’ve got information that’s sensitive but hard to remember, 1Password is your solution. Like its Mac counterpart, you can store just about anything in 1Password’s password-protected vault—login names and passwords, credit card and account information, software registration codes, and free form notes. 1Password; $10
Toy Physics; $1
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Tips, Tricks, and Tools to Make You and Your Mac More Productive
Five awesome Automator tips Easy ways to take advantage of Apple’s automation tool BY CHRISTOPHER BREEN Apple’s built-in automation tool, Automator (in / Applications), is capable of performing wondrous feats, yet far too many people ignore it—believing their work wouldn’t benefit from automation or that Automator is too difficult to use. Neither is the case, as evidenced by these tips for the Snow Leopard version.
Get to Your Media More Easily
If you spend much time with Apple’s iLife and iWork suite applications,
you’re probably accustomed to having your media close at hand via the Media Browser. Yet when you want to access these files with a different application, you often have to open your Movies folder, iPhoto, or iTunes to do so because the pane is absent. It needn’t be, as a collection of Automator services makes the Media Browser available anywhere. Travel to the Mac OS X Automation Website and download the Media Picker Services collection (bit.ly/mediapicker).
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When you install it, you’ll discover that the Services menu—found in all your Snow Leopard applications under Application Name -> Services—includes three new entries: Browse iTunes Library, Browse Movie Library, and Browse Photo Library. Choose the most appropriate one based on your needs and a Media Browser window appears, containing your media. Just select the file you want and drag it into a document.
Listen to Your Documents
Snow Leopard includes another helpful Automator service that lets you take your documents with you in audio form. To invoke it, launch System Preferences, select Keyboard, click the Keyboard Shortcuts tab, and select Services in the window’s first column.
Scroll down to the Text heading and enable the Add To iTunes As A Spoken Track service. (If you like, select the service, press the Return key, and assign a keyboard shortcut to it.) Now open a text document that you’d like to save as an audio file. Select all the text, choose Services from the application’s menu (for example, BBEdit -> Services), and then invoke the Add To iTunes As A Spoken Track command. An Automator workflow kicks in that uses OS X’s built-in text-tospeech feature to convert the text to audio and then saves the file to iTunes. You’ll find it under the new Spoken Text playlist with the name Text To Speech.
Trigger Workflows through iCal
When you launch Snow
Leopard’s Automator, the workflow sheet that appears contains a list of templates. One worth paying attention to is the iCal Alarm template. Using it, you can create helpful workflows that are triggered at a particular time and date. For example, to automatically back up a Current Projects folder on your Desktop to another folder (one on another drive, for example), select the iCal Alarm template and then create a list of actions that includes Get Specific Finder Items, Get Folder Contents, and Copy Finder Items. Drag your Current Projects folder to the Get Specified Finder Items action so Automator understands that it’s the source folder. Leave Get Folder Contents as it is. And drag your destination folder, which we’ll call Backup, to the Copy Finder Items action. If you click the Run button you’ll see that any items you’ve placed in the Current Projects folder are copied to the Backup folder. When you save the workflow you’ll be prompted to name it. Do so, click Save, and iCal will open, with the Backup event’s Edit window showing. Within this window you can create a repeating alarm—one that goes off once a day at 6 PM, for example—and copies the contents of the Current Projects folder to the Backup folder without you lifting a finger.
Opt for an Automatic Slideshow Automator also includes an Image Capture plugin that lets you do cool things. For example, in iPhoto create an album (File -> New Album) called Today’s Pictures. Open Automator, create a new workflow, and in the template chooser select Image Capture Plugin. Click on the Photos item in the Library column and create a workflow that contains these steps: Review Photos, Import Files into iPhoto, Get Selected iPhoto Items, Play iPhoto Slideshow. In the Import Files into iPhoto action, choose your Today’s Pictures album as the destination for your pictures. And in the Get Selected iPhoto Items, choose Albums from the Get Selected pop-up menu (this causes the action to be named Get Selected iPhoto Albums). Save your workflow (File -> Save) with the name Review and Slideshow. Now connect a camera to your Mac (this can be your iPhone). Open Image Capture (in /Applications) and from the Import To popup menu at the bottom of the screen choose your Review and Slideshow workflow. Select some images and click the Import button. An Image Review window will appear that displays the first image along with—among other things—Reject and Approve buttons. Click the appropriate button and
continue to review your images. When you finish reviewing the images, iPhoto opens, adds the approved images to your Today’s Pictures album, and then displays a slideshow of the images you approved.
Pull Text from PDFs
If you’ve ever sought an easy way to extract text from PDF files, Automator provides a way. Create a new Automator workflow and in the templates sheet, choose Application. Create a workflow that contains these actions: Get Selected Finder Items (under Files & Folders in the Library column) and Extract PDF Text (under PDFs in the Library column). In the Extract PDF Text action, choose Rich Text as the output option, as the text will look better this way. Also, select an output destination—a folder you’ve called PDF Text, for example—from the Save Output To pop-up menu. Now save the Automator application to your Desktop. When you’re ready to convert a PDF file, just drag it on top of the Automator application you created. In a short time, Automator will extract all the text from that document and place it in a new text document within the target folder. You’ll likely have to clean up the text as you’ll see odd characters and formatting.
Easier Image Review: Use Automator’s Image Capture template to create a workflow that collects images from your camera and presents them in a slideshow for your review.
More Media Browser Access: Fond of the iLife and iWork Media Browser? Download a free Automator workflow and you can access it from anywhere.
Automatic Workflows: Use Automator’s iCal Alarm template to create helpful workflows that are triggered at a particular time and date. Here I’ve created a backup workflow that I’ll set to run every day.
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Everything You Need to Know about iPods, iTunes, and Mac-based Entertainment
Apple iPod touch 4G It’s the best touch yet but no FaceTime on official units in Middle East BY MACWORLD MIDDLE EAST STAFF
hin as the iPhone 4 is, the 4G iPod touch is thinner still— two sandwiched 4G iPod touches come remarkably close to the thickness of the iPhone 4. It’s also a little less wide and lighter than the third-generation iPod touch that preceded it. Its edges are also more angled. The 4G iPod touch has a dedicated speaker port, which produces sound much brighter than previous models. Like the iPhone 4, the 4G iPod touch has a 960x640 retina display. The display has a slightly yellower cast than the previous iPod touch. (That cast is entirely unnoticeable unless you put the two devices side by side.) Just as with the iPhone 4, you see no pixels when looking at text on the 4G iPod touch’s screen; images are very, very clean, and
you can make the display exceptionally bright. Inside, the 4G iPod touch has Apple’s A4 processor—the same kind of chip found in the iPhone 4 and iPad. We compared the performance of a new 32GB iPod touch with that of a 32GB third-generation model and, quite honestly, we noticed very little performance difference.
each device, differences are apparent. The iPod touch’s videos appear to be zoomed out slightly as compared to videos taken with the iPhone 4 and the iPod’s rear-facing camera is more likely to produce washed-out results in bright conditions than the iPhone 4’s camera. The opposite is true with still images. With these
Inside, the 4G iPod touch has Apple’s A4 processor, same as in the iPhone 4 and iPad. The iPod touch’s cameras are not identical to those found in the iPhone 4. Although the rear-facing camera shoots video at the same 720p (1,280x720) resolution, when you compare the results of the same scene shot with
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images, the iPod’s camera is more zoomed in, hinting at a smaller sensor. Also, iPhone 4’s camera captures stills at 1,936x2,592 pixels, while the iPod touch’s rear-facing camera shoots at 720x960 pixels. That’s 5 megapixels on the
iPhone 4 versus less than 1 megapixel on the iPod touch. Given the lower resolution and lack of a flash, it shouldn’t be surprising that the 4G iPod touch’s still pictures don’t measure up to the iPhone 4’s. The images it produces are far less detailed and the camera’s more susceptible to being blown out when capturing bright images. And the debacle that is FaceTime in the Middle East continues. It appears that the official units sold in the region have FaceTime disabled, just as with iPhone 4. However, if you get an iPod touch from another region and try to use it in the Middle East, FaceTime works just fine. In terms of using FaceTime, we’ll refer you to our iPhone 4 review in the October 2010
Like the iPhone 4, the 4G iPod touch has a 960 x 640 retina display.
issue. The only difference between the two is that with the iPod touch you don’t need a phone number to place or receive a FaceTime call. Instead, FaceTime requires only an e-mail address. The iPod touch is wildly popular for good reason. It’s an extremely versatile device—media player; pocket gaming machine; productivity tool; Internet communication device; and, with this latest update, pocket camcorder, still camera, and handheld
recorder. While its cameras fail to produce results as good as the iPhone 4, they make FaceTime possible, if you’re lucky enough to have a unit that supports it, which allows us to more easily forgive their less-thanpristine images and movies. If you’re without iPhone or iPod touch and have been holding out for a device “thi-i-i-is close” to the iPhone’s functionality, that realisation has never been nearer. It’s hard to imagine what more Apple could do to tempt you.
Apple iPod touch 4G Pros: Retina display provides sharp images and text; FaceTime (but not on official units); built-in mic and speaker make VoIP easier; improved Bluetooth support; includes majority of non-phone iPhone features Cons: Rear-facing camera produces mediocre results; no camera flash Info: www.apple.com/ipodtouch Price: Dhs 1,299 (32GB model)
EmiratesMac.com EmiratesMac Apple Users Group Discounts - Support - Debate - News How to join: Contact: Paul Castle, Community Evangelist, firstname.lastname@example.org, @daddybird, +971-55-580 1829
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BeatBox by Dr. Dre from Monster BY MAGNUS NYSTEDT It was only a couple of years ago that Dr. Dre partnered with Monster Cables to introduce the now-iconic Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, and the world of music has not been the same since. The glossy, black headphones with the red “b” can be seen wherever there are celebrities from sports, music and movies. Since the introduction, Dr. Dre has been joined by P. Diddy and Lady Gaga in the line of audio products from Monster, and now the doctor has put his name on iPod speakers called BeatBox. BeatBox matches the styling of the other Dr. Dre products, but it’s more delicate and not quite as glitzy. It’s all black, of course, and the red “b” features prominently on the front. I
think it’s a very clever style since the BeatBox would look at home in a corporate office as well as in a nightclub. On the top of the speaker, there’s only a dock connector for an iPhone or iPod, an on/off button and a volume knob. I wish there was some support behind the docked device as it’s vulnerable to be accidentally knocked over, potentially damaging the dock connector and the device. On the back, you’ll find a plug for the power cord, 3.5mm line-in, and a connector for something wireless that will come in the future. Supposedly you’ll be able to connect BeatBoxes together wirelessly. Overall, the BeatBox’s design is pretty muted compared to many other iPod docks but where it counts, in terms of sound, the BeatBox unquestionably delivers. When you turn up the music coming from the BeatBox you realize why it says “Dr. Dre” on it. The sound is rich and clear throughout the range, and with plenty of bass. The bass is particularly impressive- no surprise there- but it did take me aback how well the BeatBox separates stereo. My complaints are actually about details. The lack of support behind a docked device is one. Something else is the remote, which in functionality
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doesn’t match the impressive sound from the BeatBox. Finally, I would have liked some playback controls on the actual speakers to supplement the remote. Dr. Dre and Monster have done an excellent job in making sure the BeatBox produces some of the best sound I’ve ever heard coming out of speakers for iPod. There’s no distortion that I can hear and the supremely intense bass response sends thrills down my spine. It has a few drawbacks and it’s expensive but in terms of audio quality it’s the speaker to beat right now, and I can’t do anything else than give the BeatBox top marks.
BeatBox by Dr. Dre from Monster Pros: Amazing sound (clarity, spread, separation, bass); cool design Cons: Expensive; no controls on actual speakers; very basic remote control; no support for docked device Price: Dhs 1,815 Info: bit.ly/monster-beatbox
Google is headed for your TV Google partners with Sony and Intel to create Google TV. Sony says future TVs and Blu-ray players will run Google TV software BY JARED NEWMAN
Google has partnered with Intel and Sony to create Google TV, an ambitious attempt to bake its Android software into TVs, Blu-ray players, and a Google set-top box called Buddy Box. Google TV is clearly a challenge to Apple TV and to some extent cable itself. The goal is to fuse the Web with televisions in a way that other Internet-connected TVs don’t. That is, Google TV is an open platform free of restrictions and powered by hardware that can handle Flash. Web and Subscription TV Merge: Google wants to avoid a sharp distinction between Web content and traditional television from cable or satellite. When you search for a show in Google TV you see options for television and Web, the latter option taking you to a screen that lists all online episodes and sources. You can always jump back into live TV with the press of a button.
Flash Support: The obvious application for Flash is Web video, but Google promises that Flash support will allow Google
TV to play games such as Farmville, streaming music sites and more.
One Remote: Demonstrators used big keyboards to navigate Google TV, and stressed that only one input device will be necessary. It’s not clear what the actual remotes will look like, but I’ll bet Logitech and Sony will have their own designs. Talks to Android Phones: Google TV has a couple features specifically for Android phone owners: Instead of typing in television search queries, you can dictate them into the phone, and the request is sent to the television by Wi-Fi. Also, if you’re watching a video on the phone, you can send it to the television. Android App Support: In addition to tapping the Web for content, Google TV will work with any Android app that doesn’t use phone features. Google only showed Pandora, which doesn’t work outside the US, as a demonstration, but hopefully games and other media will run smoothly on the big screen.
Televisions equipped with Google TV technology will have Ethernet and Wi-Fi capabilities. One-click DVR recording will be available on boxes from various Google partners. There’s no word on pricing or specific products. Sony says it plans to offer Google TV on some of its Bravia TV sets as well as Blu-ray players. Google says those who want to add Google TV to existing television sets will be able to buy a Google set-top box called a Buddy Box that will bring the service to any TV.
A Sony employee demonstrates the company’s Internet TV with built-in Google TV function to reporters in Tokyo.
EmiratesMac.com EmiratesMac Apple Users Group Discounts - Support - Debate - News How to join: Contact: Paul Castle, Community Evangelist, email@example.com, @daddybird, +971-55-580 1829
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Techniques and Gear for Shooting, Editing, and Managing Great Photos
Point-and-shoot vs. camera phone Practical tips for taking better photos with your smartphone It’s getting harder to make the case that a stand-alone camera is a must-have device for casual photographers. Smartphones like Apple iPhone 4 and Nokia N8 offer cameras that are in many ways as good as dedicated digital cameras. There are several ways in which the puny-lensed, small-sensored camera on your smartphone offers a better overall photography experience than a dedicated snapshot camera. Here are four ways that smartphone cameras are beating pointand-shoot cameras at their own game.
App stores It’s high time for incamera features to go à la carte. Though the App Store model counts as only one way that smartphone cameras are outdoing dedicated cameras, it actually represents infinity-plusone ways, because that’s the number of features it could add to your camera. When you buy a camera, you’re effectively locked into the modes and features included in the preinstalled firmware.
Camera-specific app stores would take care of many of the shortcomings that point-and-shoots have in comparison to smartphones. You could introduce raw-shooting capabilities to lower-end cameras. You could add full-featured in-camera editing suites such as Apple’s iMovie and Adobe’s Photoshop. com Mobile. You could download in-depth incamera tutorials and field guides for the types of photography you’re most interested in.
Wireless sharing features Today’s phones beat any camera’s Wi-Fi-based sharing options (such as Eye-Fi cards) by offering the upload-anywhere convenience of a 3G or an EDGE connection. They let you switch to Wi-Fi when you need it, and they support full Web browsers and more-refined interfaces for uploading photos and videos to sharing and social-networking sites. After all, phones are designed to be big-screen mobile communications devices, while Wi-Fi-
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enabled cameras still seem to treat Web access as an afterthought.
Big screens and touchscreens Cameras and their LCD screens are getting smaller and smaller, while smartphone screens are getting larger so that they can do a better job of showcasing multimedia content. And their razorsharp resolutions, such as the iPhone 4’s 326-pixelper-inch “retina display,” remain crisp and clear when viewed in bright sunlight. Most digital camera LCD screens lose visibility under the same conditions. A smartphone’s huge screen does a better job of complementing the extended-arm shooting style that has become the norm for today’s pointand-shoot cameras, as well as providing a more enjoyable way for the user to view photos before uploading them. If cameras continue to shrink and
phone screens continue to increase in size and improve in quality, this is another area where standalone cameras won’t easily catch up to camera phones.
Innovative design ideas Cameras are built to take pictures, and their pedestrian software serves primarily as a way to manage the hardware and in-camera settings. What’s missing from these interfaces is the smartphone’s spirit of rethinking from the ground up how to use the device. The smartphone OS wars have spawned a constantly evolving population of handheld devices that offer innovative, intuitive, and fun-to-use combinations of hardware and software. The best user interfaces make complex combinations of features easy to manage, or even prompt the user to think about combining them in new ways.
Canon Ixus 1000 HS Ixus-line celebrates 10-year anniversary with high-quality point and shoot camera BY MAGNUS NYSTEDT REVIEW
Canon released their first digital Ixus camera 10 years ago. It was in May 1991 that the Ixus S100 saw light of day and it sold for about Dhs 3,000. Obviously very expensive compared to today’s camera prices but nonetheless it was a start of a line of digital cameras that has been very successful and of which the 1000 HS is the latest example. Immediately when picking up the 1000 HS “quality” comes to mind. It’s mostly metal on the outside, which contributes to this impression but it’s also because it feels a bit on the heavy side to hold and operate. Many compacts today are plastic, which may make them lighter but doesn’t inspire the same feeling of quality. The camera itself is pretty small, in line with most digital compacts, but Canon has managed to fit in an impressive 10x optical zoom lens, 36-360mm in 35mm equivalent. No doubt I’d like a wider-angle lens, something like a 28mm would capture much more in a shot compared to the 36mm. In terms of quality of photos the 1000 HS delivers. You can rest assured that you can blow photos up to really big size if you want to and still retain detail or do drastic crops and show parts of a photo. A combination of the lens, the 10-megapixel sensor and Canon’s DIGIC4 processor are probably behind the high quality of exposures. Compact digital cameras
are typically weak in low light due to the small size of the sensor but Canon has worked on this and the 1000 HS does relatively well with little light thanks to special HS (High Sensitivity) functionality with ISO range up to 3,200. At the top of the ISO range the photos aren’t that great looking but if may mean a sharp photo when you would otherwise end up with a blurry shot or no shot at all. HD video is of course there on the 1000 HS- we wouldn’t expect less of a digital camera today. That it is full HD (1,920x1,080) at 24fps is a bit of a pleasant surprise though. You can even enjoy your videos on a HD TV to which you connect using the HDMI-out port. Canon has packed this camera full of functionality. Dynamic Image Stabilizer gives you less blurry photos in low light; in Smart Auto mode the camera makes all the decisions from 28 variables; in Super Slow Motion mode it takes 240fps thereby freezing fast action; Burst Mode captures 3.7fps at full 10-megapixels (you can get up to 8.8fps but at a reduced 2.5-megapizel resolution); and much more. Basically there’s enough functionality in the 1000 HS to shoot fully automatic and get excellent results as well as have a little fun with some different effects. One thing that confuses me about this camera is why Canon didn’t include a touchscreen. The 3-inch LCD display on the back of the 1000 HS is good but touch would have been a natural choice especially given the highend profile of the camera. It would also have been a good idea since navigating
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the menu system is less than ideal with some buttons and a click wheel in a not so straightforward way. That detracts from a camera that is otherwise excellent to use. Something else worthy of note is the short battery life. Be prepared to buy another battery or stay close to a charger when you buy the 1000 HS. Canon rates the battery at 150 shots, which is about right, but more an improvement here would be welcome. Also, be prepared for that number to fall drastically if you shoot a lot of video. However, the bottom line is that Canon Ixus 1000 HS one of the classiest cameras in its class. Itâ€™s not the cheapest but image and video quality is first rate, functionality is well-suited for most photographers, and it has a few modes, like Super Slow Motion, which will entice you to experiment a bit, and thatâ€™s a good thing.
Canon Ixus 1000 HS Pros: Build quality; photo and video quality; creative as well as manual modes; amazing 10x optical zoom range Cons: Short battery life; no touchscreen; lens could be a bit more wide angle Info: bit.ly/ixus1000hs Price: Dhs 1,499
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Cisco (finally) brings Flip video cameras to the Middle East Will customers around the region take to the tiny cameras with flip-out USB connection? BY MAGNUS NYSTEDT
bout four years after the first Flip compact video camera was introduced in the US, Cisco has brought the line-up to the Middle East. Rolling out three models, the company best known for creating networking equipment for large corporations, hopes that customers around the region will appreciate the ease of use and quick operations of the tiny video cameras.
Started as Pure Digital Acquired by Cisco in 2009, Pure Digital Technologies, the company that pioneered the Flip cameras, started making a one-time-use camcorder in the US. Stewart Muller, VP International Sales & Marketing, Cisco Consumer Products, worked at Pure Digital before the acquisition. Muller said that the reason for the Flip not arriving in the Middle East sooner is very simple. “Pure Digital was about 80 or 90 people, and we simply didn’t have the resources to localise the products in the way they needed to be localised,” he said. “It’s not just hardware, it’s also software and back-end infrastructure, so it’s not a device, which you can put into any market by virtue of distribution alone.” He added that the success of the Flip in the US was tied to successful marketing and PR, which takes time to put into place. “When we launch
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we want to launch in a big way,” Muller said. Now he’s confident that Cisco has the team, the PR and the marketing in place for a successful launch in the Middle East.
Ease of use, quality and sharing The main selling proposition of the Flip video camera is ease of use. When you press the power button you’re ready within a few seconds to shoot. Press the red button in the middle and recording starts, press again and it stops. There are only a handful of other buttons, making operations very simple. The other proposition of Flip, one that shows why a networking company like Cisco would be interested in acquiring this technology, is the growth of video on the Internet. “Within three years, 80% of Internet bandwidth will be consumed by video and Flip video is all about video over the Internet,” Muller said. Obviously Flip wants to grab as large a slice as possible of that cake and Cisco can also sell the back-end infrastructure and equipment necessary to make that expansion in Internet video possible. A question that many potential customers will ask themselves is “I already have a smartphone that records HD video, why should I buy and carry
another device?” Muller has an answer for this question, as you would expect, and it revolves around the quality of video from Flip video cameras, the ease of use and the FlipShare software. “75% of the people who own a Flip also own a digital camera, also own a traditional video camera and also own a smartphone so the proof is in the pudding that they are buying all these different devices,” he said. But, Muller argued, it’s not just about the hardware; it’s also very much an issue of the included FlipShare software. According to Muller, Flip pumps out four new versions per year, automatically upgrading the software. With FlipShare, which launches on Mac OS X and Windows when a user plugs in a Flip camera to their computer, users can quickly and easily go through videos, do some basic editing to them and share them via email, Web and more.
Future plans Finally, Muller commented on what customers can expect from Flip in the future. He said that their continued development rests on “three pillars,” meaning they will keep working on making elegant devices, improving the FlipShare software as well as the file-sharing infrastructure. He said that Flip users in the Gulf region should, in early 2011, expect the introduction of Flip Channels. It’s a “personal YouTube,” Muller said, a
Within three years, 80% of Internet bandwidth will be consumed by video and Flip video is all about video over the Internet.
way for Flip videographers to push out their creations to friends, family and others who will receive automatic notifications when new content is available. Flip Channels is closely related to Flip Mobile, the company’s app for iOS, Blackberry and Android. Users can already download the app from the respective app store. If someone has published a new video to a channel they follow, they can watch that video on their smartphone.
The Flip cameras The Flip video cameras now entering the Middle East include two models of Flip Mino HD as well as one Flip Ultra. All models feature a 2-inch screen, a fixed-focus lens with digital zoom, Mini HDMI output, built-in flip-out USB port, and FlipShare software for
Mac OS X and Windows. Flip cameras record 30fps to MP4 files with H.264 video compression and AAC audio compression. Mino HD comes in two models: one that can record up to 1hr of HD video retailing for Dhs 699 and one model that can record up to 2hrs of HD video retailing for Dhs 899. Both models have an internal Lithium-Ion battery rechargeable through the USB port. The Flip Ultra can record up to 2hrs of HD video and retails for Dhs 799. It has an AAA rechargeable battery pack, which is also recharged through the USB port. The Flip HD and Ultra will be available in retail outlets around the Middle East from November 2010. You can find more information about the Flip cameras at www.theflip.com.
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Using the Web for Video, Graphics, Web Publishing, and oTher Creative Pursuits
Mac debut for Adobe Premiere Elements 9 Consumer video editing app offers a choice for amateur editors who crave a timeline BY JEFF CARLSON
With the new Premiere Elements 9, Adobe offers an alternative to its own and Apple’s current video editing offerings. Although Premiere Elements has been refined under Windows, this release marks its debut on the Mac. Yet, despite its expanded editing power, the program can quickly become complex. And its easy editing mode is hampered by annoyances that magnify with use.
Editing at All Levels For casual users who want to start editing video without fully committing to a traditional multitrack timeline, Premiere Elements offers the Sceneline. Each clip added to the Sceneline is represented by a single thumbnail, with transition icons separating them. Simply drag clips from the Organize panel to populate the movie. This and other features reflect Premiere Elements’ focus on doing much of the work for people who don’t want to delve into the intricacies of video editing. However, even novices can’t escape complexity. When you start a new project, Elements automatically selects camera settings for you (or selects the settings you previously used). There’s an option to specify video settings, but the list of supported formats is missing some popular camera models, including the iPhone.
I needed to drill down into the list and examine resolution specs to determine the proper setting, a chore casual users would find challenging. The good news is that it shouldn’t actually matter which format you choose. If the format of the first clip you add doesn’t match the project’s editing mode, the program offers to change the setting. Once you’ve set up a project, you can add clips of varying formats and resolutions—the software scales the clips to match. (That could reduce quality, though.) One of Adobe’s key additions in Premiere Elements is native support for clips recorded in AVCHD format, a heavily compressed format that many camcorders use to save high-definition footage. Unlike iMovie and Final Cut Express, Premiere Elements can import and edit AVCHD footage without transcoding it. Performance was fine while I trimmed AVCHD files, but frames dropped when I added titles and effects, and overlapped clips on other tracks. Applying the Stabilizer effect to correct jittery footage brought playback nearly to a halt.
The Organizer A major component of Premiere Elements is the Adobe Elements 9 Organizer, a separate program for storing and managing media files. It
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lets you rate clips, assign keywords, and group source footage into albums. It automatically analyzes clips for blurry frames, high-contrast lighting, and the presence of people, and then applies smart tags. The Auto-Analyzer feature performs a good initial review of your footage, marking things you’d likely toss or keep. Tagging is key to many helpful features in Premiere Elements, such as Smart Trim. The feature marks problem areas on the timeline, adding pop-up notes describing why they were flagged. Remove a section, and it is automatically replaced by a crossdissolve transition. The Auto-Analyzer and Smart Trim features do have minor annoyances. If you apply the aforementioned edit—cutting a section of the footage—in the Sceneline and then switch to the Timeline panel, you’ll see that the clip was not split and no transition object exists to let you change the type or duration of
the break. Also, the Auto-Analyzer feature detects what it thinks are scenes, splits them into separate clips, and lumps them into a scene group. But this feature also chopped up a few continuous shots that were recorded with cameras that save to memory cards, where each clip is recorded as a discrete file. And there’s no easy way to make Elements recognize the fragments as a single clip once they’ve been split.
DVD and Sharing One thing that sets Premiere Elements apart from its Apple cousins is its built-in capability to create DVD projects. Premiere Elements also supports media uploading to Facebook—sort of. To upload video to Facebook, you must export it to your hard disk, add it to the Organizer, and upload it from there. The Sceneline: Premiere Elements’ Sceneline feature presents a less intimidating version of a project than the traditional Timeline panel.
Irritations Add Up In most video editing applications, the spacebar is a universal play/ pause button. In Premiere Elements, it is too, depending on which panel you’re in. In the Sceneline, the timeline in the monitor performs an irritating four-second animation any time you put the playhead in another clip. And when I attempted to import media from an iPhone 4 or 3GS, I was unable to use the Organizer’s media-capture module. Of the program’s two import options, the one under Video worked, but the one under Photos crashed Adobe’s media-importing utility.
Macworld Middle East’s Buying Advice
The Organizer: The Adobe Elements 9 Organizer stores your video files (as well as still images and audio files) and applies smart tags to the contents, which you can use with many Premiere Elements features.
Adobe Premiere Elements 9’s strengths lie in its multitrack editing capabilities, friendly features such as Smart Trim, and DVD-creation and -burning abilities. The program is competitively priced and provides a simplified environment for casual editors looking for an iMovie HD 6 replacement without jumping to Final Cut Express.
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Answering Your Questions and Sharing Your Tips about Getting the Most From Your Mac
Mac 911 Solutions to your most vexing Mac problems BY CHRISTOPHER BREEN
Batch-Convert Photos with Automator
Every month I work on a project where I have to convert dozens of images in my iPhoto library to black and white, and then save them in the TIFF format. As this is tedious, would it be easier to do it with Automator?
Here’s how to do it in Snow Leopard. In iPhoto gather all the images you want to convert into an album. Call it something like ‘To Convert.’ Now move to the Finder and create a folder called, say, ‘Converted Photos’ and place it in a convenient location—on the desktop, for example. Launch Automator and, in the template chooser that appears, select Application and click the Choose button. Create a workflow that contains these actions: Get Specified iPhoto Items, Copy Finder Items, Apply ColorSync Profile To Images, and Change Type Of Images. In the Get Specified iPhoto Items action, click the Add button. In the media browser that appears, navigate to your To Convert album and click Add. In the Copy Finder Items action, choose the Converted Photos folder that you created. In the Apply ColorSync Profile To Images action, click on the Profile pop-up menu, select Output, and then choose Black & White. Finally, in the Change Type Of Images action, choose TIFF from the To Type pop-up menu.
If you now run the workflow from within Automator, the album’s images will be copied to the Converted Photos album, converted to black and white, and then changed to TIFF images. Now save the workflow. It will become an Automator application. The next time you need to convert some photos, just load the desired images into your To Convert album and double-click on this application. There’s more you could do, of course. For example, you could also change the size of your images. The action you use for this is Scale Images. Drag it into your workflow, and you’ll
see that you can configure the popup menu to allow you to scale the image to a specific pixel width— 640, for example—or choose a particular percentage, such as 75%. Automator also includes a Pad Images action. By default this changes the canvas’s dimensions. You can also have the action scale the image before padding it. And a Crop Images action enables you to crop images to particular dimensions or percentages. Choose the Pad Images action and you can elect to scale the image before you crop it.
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Remotely Controlled MacBook
I waited a long time to get a laptop and finally decided on a MacBook, only to find out after purchasing it that the new MacBook does not support the use of the Apple Remote with Keynote. Do you have any recommendations for a remote that will work well with the MacBook and Keynote?
Google’s Preferences Don’t Stick
When I search for something on Google’s Website, it shows me only ten results per page. I’ve changed Google’s search preference settings many times, but I continue to see just the ten results. Why is this? I’d say that the Google Instant option is enabled within your preferences. To find out, click the Search Settings link at the top right of your browser window and, in the Preferences page that appears, look in the Google Instant area near the bottom of the page. If Use Google Instant is enabled, then enable the Do Not Use Google Instant option instead and then click the Save Preferences button at the bottom of the page. Click the Search Settings link again and this time choose a higher number from the Number Of Results pop-up menu. Again, click Save Preferences. Now when you search Google you should see the number of results you’ve asked for rather than the measly 10 that appear when you’ve enabled Google Instant.
If the Google Instant setting isn’t the source of your problem, there are a couple of other things that could be causing it. Your browser may be unable to save your settings because you’ve chosen to accept no cookies. Your Google preference settings are stored in a cookie, and if you’ve configured your browser to reject cookies, the settings won’t stick. Another possibility is that you have some corrupt browser files gumming up the works. The first step for dealing with them is clearing your browser’s cache. You do this in Safari by choosing Empty Cache from the Safari menu. In Firefox, click the Network tab in the Advanced preference and click the Clear Now button in the Offline Storage area. If that doesn’t do the trick, you may have a corrupt browser cookie. Both Safari and Firefox provide ways to clear all cookies. You do this within Safari’s Security preference and Firefox’s Privacy preference. Each also allows you to delete specific cookies. Deleting just those cookies associated with Google may be the better way to go so you don’t lose all your saved settings for other Websites.
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Regrettably you waited a little too long, as MacBooks released from late 2009 and onward (the polycarbonate model, not the MacBook Pro) don’t carry an IR port and therefore don’t work with Apple’s remote. But you’re not completely out of luck. If you have a Wi-Fi connection and an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, you can use one of a handful of remotecontrol apps to control your Mac. I’ve used Air Mouse Pro, HippoRemote, Rowmote Pro, and Snatch, and they’re all capable of controlling a Keynote presentation over Wi-Fi. Apple also sells the $1 Keynote Remote app, but I’ve found that with iOS 4.1 it doesn’t always reliably link my iPhone or iPod touch to my Mac. Those are all fine solutions if you’re able to join a Wi-Fi network, but if you can’t, you have to turn to other wireless avenues. One of those avenues is a dedicated hardware remote that works in league with a USB receiver that you plug into your Mac. Kensington, Logitech, and Targus make such devices—they cost around $40. Bluetooth is another way to go. The venerable Salling Clicker ($24; www.salling.com/Clicker/mac) allows you to remotely control your Mac with a variety of Bluetooth-capable mobile phones (regrettably, the iPhone isn’t one of them). And, of course, if you don’t plan to roam around during your presentation, you could control the MacBook with a small Bluetooth keyboard such as Apple’s Wireless Keyboard.
MAC 911 HELP DESK
The Mystery of the Accidental Accents
Whenever I type a single or double quotation mark, it turns yellow. Whatever I type next, an alternate form of that character appears. For example, if I type a double-quote and then the letter A, I get á. What’s going on?
The Mac believes your singleand double-quote keys are operating like the Option key. Normally, when you hold down Option and type the letter E, an underline appears with an accent over it. Then type a vowel, and it will sport that accent—á, é, í, ó, and ú, for example. Hold down ShiftOption and type the letter C, and you get Ç. So something has changed the key assignments on your keyboard. I suspect that you’ve inadvertently changed the keyboard layout used in the Input Sources tab within the Language & Text system preference. Open the Input Sources tab and scan down the list of keyboard layouts, and you’ll likely see more than one item checked. The specific layout that causes this behaviour is US International – PC. Disable it and select the appropriate input setting for you, and your keyboard should now behave as expected.
Before you leave the Language & Text preference, enable the Show Input Menu In Menu Bar option. This places a little flag in the menu bar that indicates the keyboard layout you’re using. Should this problem crop up again, a quick glance at the menu bar will tell you where you’ve gone wrong. There’s one more thing you might do if you have multiple input sources selected. Glance up at the Input Source Shortcuts area of the Input Sources tab and examine the
keyboard shortcuts used to select the next and previous input sources. If they’re key combinations that are easy to accidentally type (1-Space, for example) you might consider changing them. To do that, open the Keyboard system preference, click the Keyboard Shortcuts tab, select the Keyboard & Text Input entry from the left column, and choose the Previous Input Source entry from the right column. Now type a key combination that’s more difficult to execute by mistake.
Have you got a problem?
Email your question to mac911@ macworldme.net or connect with us on Twitter at twitter.com/macworldme. You can also check out the forums at www.emiratesmac.com. EmiratesMac is an Apple Users Group based in Dubai.
November 2010 | www.macworldme.net | 45
When the user takes a back seat Why a “walled garden” is not a good idea. BY PAUL CASTLE
Apple has long been known for its user-friendly designs in both hardware and software. It’s their primary claim to fame, and since the introduction of the first Macintosh the company has lived up to it, for the most part. There have been occasional exceptions, but currently my main complaint in this area is against iTunes. Now, the iTunes application isn’t so bad in itself as hub for music and video. There are good choices for browsing and searching one’s library of entertainment choices, and the variety of tools for building playlists are useful, as well as support for podcast subscriptions. And using the iTunes Store is reasonably pleasant. (Your experience may vary depending on which country’s iTunes Store you are able to shop in.) The real problem is with iTunes as an ecosystem and its role as sole gatekeeper to iOS devices: iPods, iPhones and now iPads. Much has been said about the “walled garden” of iOS apps, especially of the review and approval process to which developers must submit their apps. While this can be frustrating for some, I don’t feel it is the worst part of the situation, and some would argue that this helps to enforce some degree of quality in the available apps. There has been some lamenting of the fact that this restricts user to only obtain apps from the one source, the App Store. Again, while this narrows user choice technically, with hundreds of thousands of apps in the store, a lack of selection has not been a great problem in reality. The main downside of the “walled garden,” as I see it, is the restrictions it puts on the user in using their apps,
to the point that one has to log in with their iTunes account even to simply download a free update to a completely free app. And if you have used more than one iTunes account to purchase apps, then updating them is a juggling act of logging with one account and updating apps purchased with it, then starting over again for apps purchased with other accounts. Digital Rights Management (DRM) at its worst. It’s ironic that in the past Apple, and Mr. Jobs himself, had been an opponent to DRM when it came to
iOS apps, they have chosen some of the most restrictive DRM policies ever put into use. The use of DRM turns a blind eye to the reality that no matter what measures are taken to “protect” the content, there are always ways to get around them; but far more importantly it ignores the fact that those who are most inconvenienced by its strictures are the very people who make the content profitable: the paying customer. In his letter calling for the removal of DRM in music, Steve Jobs called a DRM-free world, “clearly the best
The use of DRM turns a blind eye to the reality that no matter what measures are taken to “protect” the content, there are always ways to get around them. music in the iTunes Music Store. Reportedly it was only agreed to initially as a demand of the record companies which they needed to make agreements with. As the popularity of iTunes grew- and more importantly its share of the digital music market- Apple pushed for the elimination of DRM for music downloads, with Steve himself publishing a letter calling for its abolishment. Gradually at first with iTunes Plus, DRM was removed, and now all music in the store is DRM-free. Movies however remain highly DRM-ed, with a number of restrictions on how a purchaser can use the title that they have paid top dollar for. And when it comes to Apple’s own domain of content,
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alternative for consumers”. And that gets to the heart of the matter. A company’s reliance on DRM says firmly that control of “their” content is what is most important to them. By implementing such rigid control of the use and even the functionality of iOS apps, Apple has stated, “Accessibility and usability for the user are not what are most important to us.” And that is a major turning point.
Paul Castle is a freelance ne’er-do-well. Mostly harmless. Often aims to misbehave. Sometimes writes and edits things. Tweets entirely too much as @daddybird about tea, cats, Macs and Bollywood.
9/23/2010 8:24:03 PM