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EDITORIAL

STAFF PICKS What are you going to do this year that you’ve never done before?

Editorial

I

’ve loved taking pictures since I was a kid. Back when I was about nine, I received my first camera as a gift. It used film cartridges that shot 12 images per roll, used a cube flash that was good for four shots and the film had to be taken to the local chemist to be dropped off for development and collected a week later. How times have changed. The cost of photography is almost free once you get past the initial equipment layout, if you’re an amateur snapper, and pros now operate in a market where a great deal of what was handled via a deep understanding of how cameras operate is being replaced by post-production software. Although this offers lots of opportunities, my friends making a living as professionals are often confronted by clients who don’t understand the difference high-end equipment and skill can make to the quality of an image. In this month’s feature on photography I take a look at some of those changes and try to offer some advice for beginners and pros alike. This month’s collection of reviews is a little more eclectic than usual. We’re including security, sports, networking and sound products as well as a movie review – something you don’t see too often in technology magazines.

Apple’s most recent earnings call and some subsequent market analysis pointed out that, although the iPhone is still a very popular and profitable product for Apple, Android does enjoy larger market share – albeit through its strength in the low-cost handset market where Apple chooses not to compete. That’s why this month’s feature by Michael Simon on taking an Android vacation is so interesting. I know of quite a few people who have jumped ship, either by choice or because of an employer, to Android. I’ve switched between iOS, Android and Windows Phone several times and am fascinated by the experiences of others. Susie Ochs’ look at the iPad Pro focuses on a big question – can the iPad Pro replace your Mac? Every since the first iPad came to the market I’ve flirted with using an iPad as my main travelling computer. And I’ve tested a lot of external keyboards and other accessories to make it possible, but I’ve always gone back to a Mac. Perhaps the iPad Pro will change that, although, despite the great hardware, I can’t help but wonder if the real reason the iPad Pro can potentially work as a mobile computer is the emergence of real enterprise quality apps.

ANTHONY CARUANA Run a marathon.

MADELEINE SWAIN Play my own daughter's grandmother in a play.

JAMUNA RAJ Visit Japan at the end of this year. I'm working with this goal in mind!

MONIQUE BLAIR Moving out of home to live with friends.

APRIL 2016 / ISSUE NO. 216 CONSUMER TECH DIVISION (Macworld Australia & MacTalk): Publisher Joanne Davies joanne.davies@niche.com.au Editor Anthony Caruana anthony.caruana@niche.com.au @anthony_caruana Subeditor Madeleine Swain madeleine.swain@niche.com.au National Advertising Manager Lachlan Oakley lachlan.oakley@niche.com.au +61 3 9948 4941 MACWORLD AU PRODUCTION: Production Manager Jamuna Raj jamuna.raj@niche.com.au Design and Digital Prepress Monique Blair NICHE MEDIA: Chairman Nicholas Dower Managing Director Paul Lidgerwood Commercial Director Joanne Davies Content Director Chris Rennie Financial Controller Sonia Jurista Subscriptions Freecall: 1800 804 160 subscriptions@macworld.com.au www.macworld.com.au/subscribe CTP/Print Graphic Impressions ISSN 2200-2375. Macworld Australia is a publication of Niche Media Pty Ltd ABN 13 064 613 529. 1 Queens Road, Melbourne, Victoria 3004 Australia. Macworld Australia is published under licence from International Data Group Inc. and Mac Publishing LLC. Macworld Australia has reprint rights to Macworld (UK & US), publications of International Data Group Inc. and Mac Publishing LLC. Macworld Australia is an independent journal and not affiliated with Apple Inc. Material appearing in in Macworld Australia is copyright and reproduction in whole or part without express permission from the publishers will result in litigation. Editorial items appearing in Macworld Australia that were originally published in the US and UK additions of Macworld are the copyright property of International Data Group Inc, which reserves all rights. Macworld is a trademark of International Data Group Inc. Products in Gadget Guide are included for information purposes only and carry no endorsement from Macworld Australia. This issue may contain offers and competitions that if you choose to to participate, require you to provide your personal information. Niche Media will use this information to provide you with the products and services requested. We may also provide this information to contractors and third parties involved who provide the products and services on our behalf (such as mail houses and suppliers of subscription premiums and promotional prizes). We do not sell your information to third parties under any circumstances, however they may retain the information we provide for future promotions, activities of their own including direct marketing. Niche Media will retain your information and may use it to inform you of other Niche Media publications and promotions from time to time.

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Features 16 SNAPPING THE WORLD – THE CHANGING WORLD THROUGH A CAMERA LENS Photography is now more accessible than it’s ever been. Anthony Caruana looks at what’s new in the world of photography with some advice for aspiring snappers.

38 WHY THE BEST iPAD YET WON’T WORK FOR EVERYONE Susie Ochs takes deep dive look at the iPad Pro to see if it really is the perfect crossover device that straddles the divide between the road and the office.

APRIL 2016 w.macworld.com.au www macworld com au

ONTENTS

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ONTENTS

Regulars 07 MAIL 10 MACMAN: It’s more than just the iCar 12 GUEST COLUMN: How Apple could fix the Mac App Store 14 HOT STUFF 22 BUSINESS 28 MAC GEMS 30 GADGET GUIDE 32 iOS APP GUIDE 34 SECRETS 36 SPECIAL FEATURE iPad Buyers’ Guide 43 HELP 44 GROUP TEST: Monitors

Reviews 46 47 48 49 50

LockSmart Edifier R20000DB Garmin Varia Bundle Linksys RE6700 Range Extender Movie review: Steve Jobs


MAIL

APRIL 2016 www.macworld.com.au

HAVE YOUR SAY LETTER OF THE MONTH

MISSING PRODUCTS IN GROUP TEST

MACKEEPER ANXIETY I thoroughly enjoy the magazine and read every word, although a lot of it is much too technical for an aged person (my first exposure to a computer was in 1967 – Basic and punchcards!). After years of frustration with Windows, I drew back the blinds, saw the light and, just like Adam, ‘bit the Apple’ in 2010. I upgrade every new version, and was ‘El Capitan’ as soon as it came out and before you wrote about how to install it. Now to the purpose of this letter. This month I was dismayed to read at line three on page 36 “never be tempted to install MacKeeper”. I was aghast! I have had MacKeeper for a couple of years now and have never found a problem with it. Should I be expecting trouble soon? I have only used it to do clean-ups and find updates. I’ll be on tenterhooks waiting for something bad to happen. Could you enlighten me as to the reason for such a statement, and should I be worried? Should I uninstall it? Should I lie awake at night worrying, or should I drink myself into oblivion?

Jack Barry Well, Jack – to put it bluntly – MacKeeper does not enjoy a great reputation. Many people have found MacKeeper slows their system down or makes it less stable. I’m pleased that’s not been your experience, but it’s certainly one that I’ve seen and read about for some time. MacKeeper operates at a very low level in OS X and can be difficult to remove. And it does little for its reputation by using scaremongering in its ads. I’m a fan of not installing any application without a specific purpose. I’m not sure what you mean by ‘clean ups’, but there are plenty of other tools like OnyX and Cocktail that perform similar tasks – although, in my experience, they are rarely needed.

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I was a little disappointed that there was no review of Topfield or Beyonwiz PVRs, which (from what I’ve been reading on the IceTV forum) are two of the best on the market. I totally understand that there is limited space in your magazine, but I’m sure you could have squeezed them in. As someone who ordered a Skippa in the first batch, but was ‘railroaded’ by IceTV, I’m in the market to replace my Foxtel service and I really could have used a review of these two PVRs. I’ve pretty much made my decision (Beyonwiz T4), but am still looking for reviews.

Shannon Pasto

It is a challenge to fit everything into the limited space we have. And often, as much as we’d love to review these products, some manufacturers don’t have review units available in the time we need them. We try our best to get a representative sample of the products in a category that we think are most likely to be appealing or of interest to Macworld Australia readers. But sometimes, despite our best intentions, we simply can’t get the products.

MEMORIES As a short lament for the anniversary edition of Australian Macworld that will not now see the light of day, may I share a memory? In mid 1985, at some considerable expense, I shipped back to Australia


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MAIL

HAVE YOUR SAY

a Smith Corona portable electric typewriter purchased during a year’s sojourn in the US. I felt I had entered a new world of ease and sophistication. A few month’s later, at a New Year’s Eve party, my friend took me into his study and introduced me to his new Apple Macintosh 512K. I spent much of the evening tucked in there in close conversation with it, like a schoolgirl with a new, exotic boyfriend. Soon, I was plotting how I might extricate myself from the old relationship. A few months later with a new contract signed, I took out a bank loan to purchase my very own 512KE – and how important was that ‘E’? The retail price was about $4000 – by the time I paid off the bank loan, I had laid out $6000. I purchased a piano for my daughter for half that with the same contract. I have never

had a moment’s regret. But it was a lonely world for Apple Macintosh enthusiasts – especially a freelance historian with tenuous institutional affiliations. We Apple people had to be our own technicians – and this is where Australian Macworld came in as an indispensable friend and colleague. Better than that, it proved to be a valuable early-warning system. Not long after I began subscribing they ran a story about the edition being late because of some glitch that had destroyed files that had not been backed up. Backed up! Oh yes, I knew about lost text. We all had colleagues who had suffered some disastrous loss of the only copy of their thesis, essay or draft of a book, but somehow that little box on my desk promised a new and enticing permanence – and

reproducibility. Multiple copies at the press of a key! That, I soon realised, was the key to backing up in those early days. Printing. Notwithstanding the cost of ink, I learnt from Macworld’s experience to print everything that was important. And, yes, there were times when the text disappeared – but I always had a copy. It was a lesson well-learned and backing up has become so much easier with time – but all the devices in the world are useless without the backup mentality. So thank you, Macworld – and for all the reading pleasure and useful information that I have absorbed since. As for the jilted Smith Corona – he found a home eventually, but I am not sure for how long he was in service. I have been entirely faithful to Apple ever since.

Carolyn Rasmussen


MAIL

without any issues; yes, it is getting a little slow with modern games like The Room 3 (which I recommend to everyone, it is a great game!), but it still works – one day it would be really nice to replace it with an iPad Air 2, but until the money fairy visits that’s not going to happen. I’d also note that now that El Capitan is up to version 10.11.2 the speed and stability issues that I had previously have more or less vanished. I’d also heartily recommend that everyone replace the 5400 RPM hard drives in their MacBooks with SSDs as the performance gain is spectacular and they’re not even that expensive any more. It’s funny at times how what are really the most minor of things can enrage you so much; perhaps that is why from time to time we need to step away from the keyboard or screen and think twice (or maybe three or four times!) before making posts in public forums or on Facebook – remember folks that things typed in anger can be very much just as hurtful and mean as words said face to face, or perhaps even more so. This has been a public service announcement bought to you by the number 9 and the letter X (and perhaps a few words that began with letters we best not mention!)

Jamie Dobbs

It’s fair to say that it’s not all smooth sailing for Apple users, but it can take a trip to an alternative to remind us that despite some of the missteps Apple has made it’s not all bad. And your advice about the SSD is a sound one. When I replaced the drive in an older MacBook a few years ago I was astounded by the difference it made. Operations that took several seconds were suddenly almost instantaneous.

APRIL 2016 www.macworld.com.au

REIGNITING YOUR LOVE... Despite the look of the subject of this, it has nothing do do with little blue pills, matchmaking sites or anything else of that ilk. I’m talking about the rollercoaster ride that is part of being an Apple user. 2015 saw the release of iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan, each of which was not without its issues and annoyances. I know for me that iOS 9 has had me tearing my hair out over problems with iMessage, autocorrect and Siri, but I was able to put it all in context again when I spent some time trying to get our daughter’s Android tablet locked down to stop her accidentally buying a game or an in-app purchase. What a mission! There does not appear to be any way to actually turn off or hide the Google Play Store and you can only password protect purchases that cost money. Free purchases can be downloaded without a password (note that the tablet is only running Android 4.1.2 and cannot be upgraded any further despite only being about two years old). This made me realise that the odd issue with a bad word replacement and Siri’s failings are a small price to pay for the joy of being able to update older devices to the latest version of iOS and that much better parental control system that is built in to iOS. Our iPad 2 runs iOS 9

9

Q Letters should be emailed to editor@macworld.com.au with a subject header of ‘Letter to the Editor’ or by post to: Macworld Australia Mailbox, Level 8, St Kilda Road Towers, 1 Queens Road, Melbourne, Victoria, 3004. Please include your full name and address, including state or territory. Q Comments on stories or Forum posts on www.macworld.com.au are also eligible for the prize. Q We reserve the right to edit letters and probably will. Q Letters of fewer than 200 words are given preference.

This issue’s prize to the Macworld Australia reader who has submitted what we think is the most interesting letter is a Joby GripTight GorillaPod for smaller tablets. The GPod provides a fun, flexible mounting stand, allowing you to wrap around your leg or chair, position on railing or stand on rubber foot grips for the best viewing for your small tablet. The GPod retails at $49.95. www.joby.com

TERMS AND CONDITIONS. Letter of the month 1. Instructions on how to enter form part of these conditions of entry. 2. To enter send tips or queries to editor@macworld.com.au with a subject header of “Letter to the Editor”. Entries will be judged by the editorial staff of Macworld Australia. The judges’ decision in relation to any aspect of the competition is final and binding on every person who enters. No correspondence will be entered into. Chance plays no part in determining the winner(s). Each entry will be individually judged based on its degree of interest. 4. Employees, their immediate families and agencies associated with this competition are not permitted to enter. 5. The Promoter accepts no responsibility for late or misdirected entries. 6. The best entry/entries as determined by the judges will win the prize(s). 7. The Promoter is neither responsible nor liable for any change in the value of the prize occurring between the publish date and the date the prize(s) is claimed. 8. The prize(s) is not transferable and will not be exchanged for cash. 9. The winner(s) will be notified by email. 10. All entries become the property of the Promoter. 11. The collection, use and disclosure of personal information provided in connection with this competition is governed by the Privacy Notice 12. The Promoter is Niche Media Pty Ltd of 1 Queens Road, Melbourne, Victoria 3004 Ph 03 9948 4900, (ABN 13 064 613 529).


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THE MACMAN... BY GARRY BARKER

It’s more than just the iCar

I

t’s now clear that Apple is going into the automotive business, and why not? It’s an area that’s ripe for innovation – a whole new way of looking at safe individual transportation, and who better to do that than the world’s leading consumer technology company? It has the money, it has the smarts, it has the design genius to do something really outstanding and, like Tesla, won’t delve into the jungle of creating a dealer network. It also has shown that it never rushes to be first, but has the patience to aim for highest possible quality. Industry observers say an Apple car may not appear on sale until 2019. Besides, while iPads, iPhones and Macs will be upgraded with more processing power, better graphics, smarter cameras, more storage and stuff like a shift to USB-C connection, it’s hard to see anything really revolutionary in the years ahead – maybe an iPad one could roll up and

stuff into a backpack or a mini iPhone to stick behind your ear and dial by calling Siri. But cars, that’s a whole new and fertile field for people who have always thought outside the square. Of course, Apple won’t say anything about it until it is good and ready. Some of the best guesses say the first production models will appear in 2019 with demonstration models by late 2017 or 2018. The other point on which most of the experts agree is that Apple will probably concentrate on design and software, stuff it really knows about and on which it has plenty of money to spend rather than going into the very expensive business of setting up an entire car factory, just as it does not manufacture iPads, iPhone or Macs (with the exception of the ‘Darth Vader’ powerhouse professional Mac Pro). Of course, with about US$180 billion in cash in the bank it could do almost

anything, but it has never been a spendthrift. Apple CEO Tim Cook is known to have recently had talks in Munich with BMW management. Others think carmakers in China, India, Europe or Scandinavia may get the job. Austria’s Magna Steyr and Finland’s Valmet Automotive have been mentioned by The Wall Street Journal, which sounds convinced an iCar is on the way. Good batteries will be essential. Tesla may be tapped for them. It’s building a giant factory in the US for the purpose. There are even possible Australian links. Redflow, a Brisbane company in which Internode founder Simon Hackett has an interest, is regarded as a world leader in advanced battery technology. And, several years ago, a team led by Dr Laurie Sparke, who was head of Holden’s Advanced Engineering before GM Detroit shut it down, was working on a small electric town car for which


THE MACMAN

ride it to their destination, and leave it to pick up someone else. Uber already has the software to handle bookings and credit card charging, and is already researching in the driverless arena. So far at least 25 automotive companies have started work on the concept. Google was a pioneer and has been working on driverless cars for a few years. Their cars have covered about 4.8 million kilometres and, I am told, have had two crashes, both when humans, not the system, were driving. Since then some of the biggest names in the industry have dived in – Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Volkswagen, Volvo, Ford, BMW (in concert with Baidu of China), Bosch, Honda, GM, Renault, Tata (the Indian firm that owns Jaguar and Land Rover), Tesla, Toyota and also Uber. Scania is even said to be looking at driverless trucks running in platoons to reduce traffic jams and China is said to be working on a driverless bus. In China’s appallingly undisciplined traffic driverless would be a live-saver. Overall, it looks like being the biggest revolution to hit the automotive industry since Karl Benz first chugged on to the streets of Mannheim Germany in 1878. He invented the

internal combustion engine and is thus called the father of the modern car, but he was nowhere near first in self-propulsion. Indeed, the first electric car was built by a Frenchman, Gustave Trouvé, in 1881 and another Frenchman, Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot, built a steam-powered three-wheeler in 1769. Apple has been hiring automotive engineers for more than a year – some, we understand, from Tesla, to join a team headed by Apple vice president Steve Zadesky, who once worked at Ford. And, finally, think of the cachet Apple products have; people trust them and will pay to have them. Apple has been deeply involved with car infotainment systems for a decade and more. It already has its own sales organisation and, like Tesla, will probably avoid the minefield of an extensive dealer network. Finally, will the iCar be like Tesla’s products: an expensive power car? Or will it be for consumers and commuters – beautifully designed, reliable, cheap to run and, above all, safe. You choose. Me, I’ll go for a user-friendly town car, and most likely one you will rent from an ‘Uber’ rather than own. Think how much money you could save! C

APRIL 2016 www.macworld.com.au

an iPad was the dashboard, control system and security. We think the Apple car will be powered by electricity and that it will be driverless, or certainly have that capability. That’s where the world automotive industry sees the future. Driverlessness (if that’s a word) will be forced upon us simply because of the troublesome traffic density already building in every city. Driverless vehicles, controlled with micro-second reaction times by powerful software, could allow cars to run much closer and more accurately on freeways and roads. We are not talking about following a cable under road. The cars will be smart enough to know where everyone is on the roadway around them, have the destination dialled into their electronic brains, sense traffic lights and emergencies before they impinge and thus run, probably in designated lanes, much closer to one another than is possible or safe under human control (despite the tailgating you see on our roads). The other probable point is that driverless cars are beautifully positioned for short-term, Uber-style rental. Rather than owning a car, people will simply use their smartphone to call up a car,

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GUEST COLUMN... BY ROB GRIFFITHS

How Apple could fix the Mac App Store I think the current implementation is flawed and leads to bad experiences for both developers and customers. A few simple changes – and one notso-simple change – could make the Mac App Store the place to shop for Mac software, instead of a place where you only find apps that meet Apple’s narrow definition of what an app should be.

THE SIMPLE CHANGES The following changes should be easy for Apple to implement as none involve altering the store’s operations. They are mostly policy changes rather than complex technical changes. 1. Allow demos There are no technical reasons Apple couldn’t offer demos. The company could issue a licence that expires in a given number of days or after a given number of uses.

2. Allow refunds While you can’t get refunds on software you purchase at retail stores, Mac developers have long offered refunds on downloadable software. Panic, BareBones, Smile and more have generous refund policies. Why can’t Apple officially offer refunds, too?

3. Allow paid upgrades For many independent developers, reduced-cost (but still paid) major version upgrades are a key revenue source. They’re also a benefit for existing customers, as they save money compared to the full cost of the new app. For apps in the App Store, developers either choose to release a major new release for free, or set them up as a new app and list at a discounted price to simulate upgrade pricing. But everyone gets the low price and prior customers aren’t rewarded for their original purchase.

Apple could easily let developers designate a release as a paid upgrade with its own price, available only to those who already own the app. 4. Treat the Mac App Store like an equal If you compare the Mac App Store to the iTunes Store, the former is clearly the ignored child. iTunes Store apps can use videos to demonstrate how they work. iTunes Store developers can use Apple’s TestFlight to beta-test their apps. iTunes Store apps can implement app analytics to help with marketing and design decisions. The Mac App Store gets none of these tools. 5. Allow interaction between developers and users Pick any app on the Mac App Store and you’ll find a few one-star reviews that have nothing to do with reviewing the


GUEST COLUMN

6. The harder change To really make the Mac App Store a vibrant and lively storefront for Mac apps, Apple should find a way to allow non-sandboxed apps, as well as other currently prohibited apps, into the store. “Danger!” you scream? Keep in mind that the Mac App Store was open for over a year without any sandboxing requirements, and the world didn’t end. In fact, there are still non-sandboxed apps in the App Store today. These non-sandboxed apps exist because Apple allowed them to remain (but not gain new features) in the store if they were there when the sandbox rule went into effect in March 2012. For over three years, then, thousands of people have been buying and installing nonsandboxed apps, with no ill effect.

I’m not suggesting that Apple removes the sandbox. Rather, there should be some way for shoppers to browse non-sandboxed apps. Why? Because by removing the sandbox restriction, Apple can showcase an entire range of useful applications that users are not seeing today. Programs that rely on inter-application communication, for example. Programs could do more, too, if they were allowed to implement features that weren’t sandbox-able. Beyond the sandbox, Apple needs to let more complex apps into the store. Microsoft Office, virtualisation apps like VMware Fusion and Parallels Desktop, Adobe’s entire product suite, backup apps like Carbon Copy Cloner and Backblaze, alternative browsers such as Firefox and Google Chrome, text expansion utilities like Typinator, TextExpander and TypeIt4Me. I could go on, but Dan Counsell of RealMac Software has put together a great list, which is just the tip of the iceberg. By keeping these apps out of the App Store, Apple is presenting a limited view of just what the Mac can do. And as the Mac App Store is installed on every new Mac, many users probably

don’t know any better and think that what they see is what they can get. That’s not good for users, not good for developers and, in the long run, not good for Apple. But what about the danger, you ask? Every developer in the App Store has to be registered with Apple. They can easily include kill-switch functionality that would disable any rogue apps that get through the review process. And, yes, every app in the store would still have to go through the review process, and meet Apple’s nontechnical requirements for functionality, features, appearance etc. But the sandbox wouldn’t have to apply, and apps that require extensions or System Preferences panels to run would be welcomed, assuming they passed the rest of the review. Is this an easy thing for Apple to do? I don’t think so; the implementation details are complex (how would users access these ‘outside the box’ apps? Do they show up in search results?). However, for the good of the platform and the App Store itself, I think it’s critical that the store offer a much broader selection of apps. C

APRIL 2016 www.macworld.com.au

software. Here’s one example, taken at random from a selection of many: “I purchased this app and [am] trying to burn disk with no success. It keeps crashing and it won’t load at all any more. I’ve gone through five discs with no luck.” This ‘review’ comes, of course, with a one-star rating. But the user isn’t reviewing the software, they’re asking for tech support help. But the app developers have no way to contact this user to solve their problem. The best they can do is leave another ‘review’, asking the user to get in touch with them. But it’s not a reply to the review, so there’s little chance the user will see it. Apple could easily solve this problem by letting the registered developer of the app (you’d have to be logged in using the account associated with your app) send a response message to any posted review. Developers wouldn’t see the user’s address, of course, as it’d first be made anonymous by Apple. Amazon, eBay, Craigslist and many other sites do something similar when buyers contact sellers; why can’t Apple? Regardless of the ‘how’, something should be done. The current system is broken for both users trying to find actual reviews, and for developers trying to provide support.

13


14 NEWS

HOT STUFF

A selection of Apple, Mac and iOS news from Macworld.com.au TWO SIDES TO THE ARGUMENT

THINKING AHEAD

Those who believe Apple is acting poorly

defensive mode with this issue.

say we ought to have the right to choose

I think that’s a mistake.

repair services. Although we are spoiled

I spend a lot of time covering

in Australia with many Apple Stores and

information security for other publications.

authorised service centres, that’s not the

And I’ve spoken to a lot of people on both

case everywhere.

sides of the security fence – those in the

Also, Apple’s repair services can be expensive. Then there’s the issue of information.

hit with a significant issue. It seems that

saw with the recent XcodeGhost hack,

this could happen when having an iPhone

for Apple’s supply chain to be tainted.

or iPad with a Touch ID sensor repaired.

Malware was injected into pirated versions

system. If someone switches out a part, it

of X-Code and used to create infected iOS apps. However, the bad guys see other mobile

could possibly compromise the system.

platforms, particularly Android, as a better

The issue isn’t likely to be a rogue

target as it has massive market penetration

bigger risk comes from a tainted supply

and is far more open. Apple ought to be standing up on this

chain that pushes thousands of tainted

issue and using it as an example of how

sensors into the market.

it is protecting your personal data – in

As far as I’ve read, none of the

iPhones that have been exposed to

commentators on this issue have noted

two conditions are being ‘bricked’ – or

that Apple is now a major player in the

rendered unresponsive and unrecoverable.

payments business and the Touch ID

The two conditions that can create the

sensor, Secure Element chip and the

Error 53 issue are running recent versions

associated software are a tightly controlled

of iOS and the Touch ID sensor being

system.

‘tampered’ with in some way.

Here’s what I hear. Apple’s systems

there was anyone outside Apple who knew

repairer installing dodgy sensors. The

A number of iPhone users have been

to the other side. are not unbreakable. It’s possible, as we

ID sensor is part of a complex security

BY ANTHONY CARUANA

protection business and those connected

Until this issue hit the news, I’m not sure

Apple’s argument is simple. The Touch

WHAT’S THE STORY WITH ERROR 53?

At the moment, Apple seems to be in a

Compromising any part of that system

I use the word ‘tamper’ with some

would result in a major problem for Apple –

reservations. In all the cases I’ve read

far bigger that today’s anger over Error 53.

particular your credit card and payments information.

APPLE IS SECRETLY PROTOTYPING VR HEADSET TO RIVAL OCULUS RIFT AND HOLOLENS

about, the affected party’s iPhone has suffered some type of damage and been repaired by an unauthorised repairer. When the screen is replaced, the

APPLE IS AT FAULT – BUT NOT HOW YOU EXPECT

BY OSCAR RAYMUNDO

Apple has made a misstep with the

Apple is hoping to replicate the success of

button on the front face of the iPhone is

Error 53 incident through a lack of clear

the iPhone by tapping into another reality.

disassembled or, in some cases, replaced.

communication.

According to Kyle Wiens, from iFixit.com,

According to reports, Apple is secretly

If Apple had stated clearly that repairs

building a team of experts to develop the

independent repairers sometimes replace

that ‘tamper’ with the Touch ID system in

company’s virtual and augmented reality

the fingerprint sensor or its small cable

any way could result in the iPhone or iPad

efforts. Apple has reportedly been testing a

when repairing broken screens or home

being bricked then, I suspect, there would

secret VR (virtual reality) headset prototype

buttons on iPhones.

have been less outrage. Certainly, people

for months now.

Apple says this is a protective measure

would be disgruntled, but they would be

Apple has poached experts formerly

to ensure the integrity of the iPhone’s

able to make informed decisions when

working on HoloLens to kick-start this

security is maintained.

choosing repair services.

secret initiative, recently bringing on


NEWS

you’ll reach a goal of 250 steps per hour. Like the Blaze, the Alta automatically recognises exercises such as walking, running, dancing and soccer, so you don’t have to launch the Fitbit app to record a workout. Fitbit has called the Alta and Blaze its most fashionable fitness trackers, and the company is going to sell a variety of interchangeable bands in different materials and colours so you can switch up your look. You’ll be able to snag a classic band in black, plum, blue and teal, a leather band in grey or pink, or a stainless steel band. Fitbit will soon partner with designer Tory Burch to create even more stylish band options.

board a top virtual reality researcher and

Last year Cook told The New Yorker that

former director of Virginia Tech’s Center for

the company’s greater goal for wearable

Human-Computer Interaction.

technology was to create something that

more versatile and less utilitarian, because

“isn’t obnoxious” and that doesn’t create

people are more likely to buy fitness bands

“a barrier between you and me”.

that can be worn both during a workout

It remains uncertain whether Apple is developing a VR accessory for iPhones or

and out on the town. The company already

a fully-integrated headset like Oculus Rift or HoloLens. Apple has declined to comment on its VR efforts. “In terms of virtual reality, uh, no, I don’t think it’s a niche,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said during a recent earnings call. “I think

FITBIT SLIMS DOWN WITH FASHIONABLE NEW ALTA FITNESS TRACKER BY CAITLIN MCGARRY

start-up that had been working with Google

Fitbit took a bold step at CES when it

to let smartphones ‘see’ the world around

unveiled the Blaze, a $329.95 fitness-

them. Cupertino’s virtual and augmented

forward smartwatch that seemed designed

reality efforts can be traced back to 2008

to compete with Apple Watch. But Wall

when Apple first filed a patent for what

Street wasn’t a fan of the announcement,

looked to be a VR headset exclusively for

and Fitbit’s stock plunged. Though the

iPhones.

Blaze hasn’t even been released yet, Fitbit

looked into virtual reality. Apple’s interest in VR and AR (augmented reality) dates back

is back with an activity tracker more in line with the rest of its fitness bands. The $199.95 Fitbit Alta is slimmer than

to the mid-2000s, but Steve Jobs thought

other Fitbits you may have used in the

the technology was ‘immature’.

past, like the Surge and Charge HR, and

Apple is reportedly looking to make

but smartwatches that also track fitness are nipping at the heels of traditional workout bands, according to a new survey from the NPD Group. Fitbit needs to continue to The Alta is currently available to pre-order online and began shipping in March. C

Apple recently acquired Flyby Media, a

This isn’t the first time that Apple has

makes the most popular activity trackers,

innovate to stay ahead of the game.

it can be… it’s really cool, and has some interesting applications.”

Fitbit is trying to make activity trackers

is more stylish than the similarly trim Fitbit

more high profile acquisitions in this

Flex. The Alta has all the basic activity-

area, but it’s altogether possible that the

tracking features that other Fitbit bands do,

company will decide not to release the

but also adds Apple Watch-like reminders

headset if it can’t get it right.

to move – though the Alta urges you to

APRIL 2016 www.macworld.com.au

walk around instead of just stand so that

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SNAPPING THE WORLD – THE WORLD OF DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANTHONY CARUANA

I

t’s fair to say the integration of cameras into mobile phones earlier this century completely changed the way we considered photography. My first camera took film cartridges and used a flash cube that was good for four photos. Throw in the cost of the film and having to run it down to the chemist for development and then having to wait a few days and you can see why photos were seen as such an investment in days gone by. Today, people think nothing of snapping hundreds of pictures per day as the cost of photography has fallen, in one sense, to almost zero. And modern cameras have evolved to the point where it’s possible to take good photos with almost no real understanding about how cameras work – something that professional photographers are sometimes loathe to admit. There are lots of upsides to this change for everyone. For those looking to enter the world of photography, entry-level DSLR cameras are now more affordable than ever. And for those who have no

aspirations of trading in their amateur status, the cameras in our iPhones continue to improve with each generation and the tools we can use to edit those pics become simpler and more powerful with each new software release. So, what’s out there for photographers new and old? What if you don’t want a camera?

PHOTOGRAPHY BASICS When digital photography first hit the consumer market, helped in no small way by Apple with the QuickTake 100 – the world’s first mass-market digital camera – just over 20 years ago, photography purists said digital would never surpass the quality of film. Well, that’s changed. What digital photography has done is brought what used to be a very expensive and highly technical pursuit to more people. Beyond the megapixel count, however, there’s a lot more to digital photography. Knowing some of the basics is still really handy.

When shooting either with a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera or using an app on your iPhone that lets you adjust the camera’s settings, it’s worth knowing a few basics so you can hone your skills. While it’s easy to work in automatic mode, there’s little point in owning a DSLR if you only keep the settings on the trusty ‘A’. There are a few things you’ll need to identify with your DSLR camera. First, learn how to adjust the f-stop and shutter speed. Also, check your camera’s manual and ensure you know how to disable autofocus. The f-stop is a ratio of the focal length of the lens and the diameter of the aperture. If you think of a camera as being similar to your eye, the diameter of the aperture is analogous to the opening of your pupil. This determines how much light reaches the camera’s sensor (in the case of your eye, it’s how much light reaches your retina). The focal length is the distance within the lens where the image you are shooting is optimally focused. So, when you zoom


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in on an image, you’re changing the focal point and the amount of light reaching the camera sensor. When the camera is in automatic mode, it automatically adjusts the f-stop, so that the right amount of light reaches the sensor when you zoom in and out or use different lenses. This is done electronically with the camera’s computer making determinations about what you want to see in your photos. The shutter speed is also important. If you’re shooting in low-light, increasing the exposure time will allow more light to reach the camera sensor. If the camera is not held steady, however, you’ll end up with a blurred picture, as all the movements are captured on the sensor. This can be used to great effect. For example, placing a camera on a tripod facing a busy freeway at night, with a very long exposure, will produce one of those spectacular images with headlights streaking across the roadway. Or you can point the camera at the night sky and capture the movement of the stars.

In contrast, if you’re shooting fast moving events, such as sports or kids playing, then a short exposure time will capture the moment with no blurring. Putting all these things together, you can see that getting the photo you want is a balancing act between ensuring enough light reaches the sensor and the sensor only picking up what you want. That means being able to manipulate the aperture, focus and exposure, so that the camera captures what you actually want and not what you think it wants. Finally, when it comes to focus, autofocus is great for a quick snap. But turning autofocus off allows you to ensure you focus on what you want. Most autofocus systems make a determination of what you are trying to shoot. But by manually focusing you can zoom into specific objects in your shot. Some of my favourite shots are ones where the objects in the foreground – which is what autofocus typically homes in on – are out of focus with something further back captured sharply.

MANDATORY EQUIPMENT FOR THE BUDDING PHOTOGRAPHER Once you’ve got a camera, you’ll need a few other accessories. Like any hobby or occupation, you can accessorise to well beyond your budget, so it’s important to prioritise your spending. The first two essentials are decent bags that protect your camera and lenses, and a tripod. With the bag, don’t just buy a padded backpack. Investing in a decent bag will ensure your gear is well-protected and easily accessible. Camera-specific bags do cost a little more than regular backpacks, but the investment is worthwhile. I’d suggest having at least two bags to start with. One should be a smaller one that can easily hold the camera and possibly a second lens. Making sure it has small, easy-to-reach pockets is essential as well, so you can get your hands on memory cards, cleaning cloths and other bits and pieces as well. The larger bag should be able to carry everything you need for a bigger shoot.


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As well as your camera or cameras, it needs to hold all the lenses you need. A spot, either inside our outside, for your tripod is handy so you can easily grab and stow it as needed. A tripod is essential. There’s little chance you’ll be able to hold the camera perfectly still in every situation. Although a cheap tripod may get you started, a more solid one with lots of adjustment capacity for when you’re shooting on even ground is essential. While all tripods ship with a head for connecting the camera to the main body, buying a tripod with the capacity to add different heads for different situations is a good way to futureproof that investment. As you’d imagine with such a technical field, there are all sorts of technical gadgets you can buy.

A couple of essentials are a remote for the camera and a light meter. A remote control ensures you can snap an image while the camera is on the tripod without disturbing the camera. Remember, when the exposure time is long, even the smallest touch can blur the image. A light meter can help you to adjust your exposure and f-stop settings correctly. Not all lighting conditions are perfect. There are times when you’ll need to somehow compensate for poor lighting, excessive brightness or other trying conditions. That means investing in filters, flash units and lens hoods to ensure the right amount of light hits the sensor. If you’re planning to spend a full day out with the camera, a spare battery or two can be handy as well.

CHOOSING YOUR FIRST DSLR Choosing your first DSLR camera can be a daunting experience. And if you want to start a war, akin to the Mac versus Windows battle, ask some professionals which of photography’s ‘big two’ is the best – Nikon or Canon. There are many other brands – Sony is probably the main challenger – but take a look at the gear being used by fashion, sports, wedding and other pros, and you’ll see Nikon and Canon cameras everywhere. When you’re buying your first DSLR, you’re taking your first steps into a new equipment ecosystem. Most entry-level cameras come in kits with two main components: the camera body and a lens kit. This is part of the beauty of a DSLR. Not only do you have


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lots of control over how you capture your images, but you can also choose different lenses for different purposes. If you’re planning to move your photographic hobby from being an enjoyable pastime to being a potential career, then you can invest in lenses and upgrade the body later. Like any purchase, you need to balance between the features you need, the features you want and your budget. Make sure you test out a potential purchase at a store before laying down your cash or card. Different cameras weigh differently and have different shapes, so take some test shots, ensuring your fingers can reach the various controls easily. The digital viewfinder on the back of the camera is important. Less expensive cameras may skimp. While a centimetre may not sound like much, it can be substantial. Although the difference between a 2.5in screen and a 1.8in one may not sound like much, it’s easier to view your shots on a larger screen. One other feature worth holding out for is stability control, or anti-shake. This will automatically compensate for any slight shudder that occurs when holding the camera or pressing the shutter button. This can make a significant difference, particularly when shooting at high zoom.

EDITING YOUR IMAGES Despite many years of education and practice, there are times when your images aren’t perfect straight from the camera. And for those moments there are thousands of apps for your office and mobile devices that let you make all sorts of changes to your images. The simplest form of image editing is cropping. This is the art of cutting away anything around the edges of your photos you don’t want to keep. Apple’s Photos apps for iOS and OS X make this quite simple. Once the image is in your Photos library, use the edit functions to access the crop commands. And while you’re there, you can also straighten your images just in case the camera was on a bit of an angle when you clicked the shutter. When it comes to more specialised edits – such as removing blemishes in your photographs, applying filters, adjusting colours and shading or applying special effects – you’ll need to go to a more complex editing tool. Without a doubt, the most well-known application for editing images is Photoshop. Like Xerox and Hoover, the product name has become a verb for editing images. Traditionally, Photoshop has been outside the budget of many users, although the introduction of Adobe’s Creative Cloud

service ushered in the era of monthly payments for software. You can access Photoshop via a subscription to Creative Cloud for as little as $9.99 per month. For that you get Photoshop, Lightroom for managing your images and access to Adobe’s suite of mobile apps. I’m a big fan of Pixelmator. At $46.99 from the OS X App Store or $7.99 for iOS, this tool offers a lot of bang for your buck. All of the image editing tools you expect are there and it can open and edit Photoshop files. It integrates with iCloud, so you can access and edit your images from almost any device. I use Pixelmator to edit most of the images you see on the Macworld Australia website. Similarly, Polarr (from the OS X App Store) offers much, with the ability to edit RAW files – these are the uncompressed files that are created from the data captured by your camera’s sensor. It can import and export images in a wide variety of formats and lets you easily add watermarks when exporting images – handy for photographers concerned that their images will be used with attribution or permission. In addition to complete editing tools, there are many small apps, particularly for iOS devices, that apply a small number of effects. For example, ColorSplash (US$7.99 from the App Store) takes an image,


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converts it into black and white and then lets you selectively re-add colours. For example, you could take a photo of some children playing and make all but your own kids black and white. Others like Pic Collage (free with in-app purchases from the App Store) let you collate a number of different images and create a collage that you can either print or share over social media.

SHARING YOUR PICS One thing about the digital photography revolution is the ease with which you can share pictures. Many of us, of a certain vintage, will remember the family gathering around a screen and slide projector to sit through a slideshow of holiday snaps. Today, we can do the same, albeit electronically, with Apple’s Photos app

and an Apple TV over AirPlay. Or you can create a photo slideshow using iMovie and add a soundtrack such as music or a commentary. There are, however, many other ways to share your pics, whether you’ve shot them with a DSLR, a compact digital camera or an iOS device. If you and your friends all live in the Apple ecosystem, then iCloud Photo Sharing is an easy way to share images. To share photos from your Mac, launch Photos and open Preferences. Click on the iCloud icon on the screen and enable iCloud Photo Sharing. You can also do the same from your iOS devices by tapping Settings and scrolling down to Photos and Camera. Tap and on the next screen, switch on iCloud Photo Sharing.

To share photos from your Mac, select an album or some thumbnails. Click the share icon in Photos’ toolbar and choose iCloud Photo Sharing. Click on New Shared Album, name the album and invite someone to subscribe to it by entering their name, email address or mobile phone number into the To field and add a description in the Comment field. The process is similar on your iOS device, although you can only share single images and not albums. As well as being able to pass your photos around via iCloud Photo Sharing, the OS X and iOS Share menus are chock full of sharing options. Twitter, Facebook and Flickr are easily available on your Mac. But if you’ve installed services such as Instagram or Picasa, the iOS share menu will add those services. C


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A QUICK WORD ON PHOTOS Over here at the Macworld Australia office, few changes made by Apple have created more angst than the demise of iPhoto in favour of Photos. And the almost simultaneous decommissioning of Aperture left many Apple users in states varying from bewilderment to outright anger. After its release 14 years ago, iPhoto evolved into a solid image manager and basic editor. But a year ago, Apple pulled the rug out from everyone’s feet and introduced Photos for the Mac. Like its iOS counterpart, Photos for the Mac has a far more Spartan interface than iPhoto. Apple, in its quest for simplified interfaces, chose to remove many features or change how images are managed. Over the last year, Apple has addressed some of the issues and has opened up the application so that third parties can create plug-ins to augment Photos’ limited editing capability. On the upside, Apple did include lots of nifty features in Photos – it just happens that existing iPhoto users lost out. For example, while the addition of lots of Automator actions was a step forward, the loss of the ability to add geographical information to non-geotagged images was a backwards step. The old star system for designating favourite photos was replaced with a heart. So, whereas you used to be able to designate photos with zero to five stars, now you can simply ‘heart’ an image. Fortunately, the old stars weren’t removed from your images when you upgraded, so you can still search for photos based on the stars, but new images can only be tagged with a heart. Clearly, Apple is looking to make its Mac and iOS apps more feature compatible. For rusted-on Mac users this has been a source of frustration. As well as Photos, other applications such as Pages and Keynote have seen features removed from the desktop versions as the programs were redeveloped to be multiplatform. However, those applications have seen features added back over time. Perhaps the same will be the case for Photos – only time will tell.

While there’s lots of interest in digital photography, some retro trends are making a comeback. Fujifilm’s Instax Mini 8 harks back to the days of the Polaroid instant cameras – which are also still available. They take a film cartridge that delivers up to 10 images, each printed instantly on a credit-card sized piece of photo paper. There’s no zoom, so you’ll need to frame your subject using the viewfinder. There’s a manual dial around the lens that adjusts the exposure time depending on whether you’re indoors or in cloudy or sunny outdoor conditions. Taking a picture is a snap. Simply turn the camera on, set the lighting level using the dial, frame the shot and click. A couple of seconds later a blank piece of photo paper emerges from the top of the camera’s body. Doing this with anyone under the age of 18 is something of a revelation. They can scarcely believe this is how we used to take pictures in ‘the olden days’ – having to wait to see the picture rather than today’s instant gratification culture. To be honest, the image results are quite mixed. When the light is bright and even, you can get some great shots. But if you choose the wrong lighting level, you can end up with an almost blank piece of paper. My best results came from taking pictures indoors with strong natural light. The camera retails for about $80 at various department stores. Film costs about $15 for 10 images if you choose plain paper. There are also decorative papers with different patterns for a couple of dollars more. In other words, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 is great for occasional use like birthday parties, but it can get pretty expensive if you use it as a day-to-day snapper.

APRIL 2016 www.macworld.com.au

GOING OLD SCHOOL WITH FUJIFILM INSTAX MINI 8

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to say, ‘Keep your hands in your pockets!’ – there’s nothing here you want to touch unless you know why you’re touching it.)

INSIDE THE SERVER APP

A PRIMER IN PROFILE MANAGER JEFFERY BATTERSBY In the previous issue of Macworld Australia, we completed the process of installing El Capitan and the Server app on an external hard drive. Now we’ll look at the Server app’s features and we’ll also get started with Server’s remote management features.

APPLE’S SERVER (YUP! IT’S REALLY AN APP) If you’re used to working with typical server software, you’re also used to the notion of a server operating system, such as Microsoft’s Windows Server 2012. Apple’s server app is a horse of a different colour, which is to say, it’s an app running on Apple’s El Capitan operating system. Install and set up the app and you have all the features of a server operating system. Drag the app to the Trash and the app will detect that it’s no longer in the Applications folder and will turn off all the services. Re-install and open the Server app and you will once again have a functioning server. It’s so simple that, if you’re used to other server environments, it can initially be a little confusing. (Note: While it’s outside the scope of this primer, if you want to see where the Server app stores its server data, you can take a peek inside your Server’s /Library/ Server folder at the root of your hard drive. But, just like my grandmother used

If you haven’t done so already, open the Server app and let’s take a look around. One of the first things you’ll see is that the app’s sidebar is organised into four sections: Server: Used to view and change information about your server, manage Apple AirPort base stations for use with your server, view and take action on Server alerts, view Server logs and graphical statistics for services you have running. Accounts: Used to create and manage user accounts and groups. Services: For managing the most commonly used services. Advanced: For managing less frequently used services. If you don’t see any information displayed underneath any of these sections, move your mouse on top of a section title and you should see the word Show. Click your mouse button while you see Show and the services under that section should appear. Services are active when you can see a little green dot next to the service name. At this point in time, you shouldn’t see any services active. If any services are

active you can turn them off, unless, of course, you’re working in an active server environment. You turn services on and off by selecting one in the sidebar of the server app and flipping the services switch to the on or off position. If you want to take a quick look at turning on a service that you should be running, have a look at Save your bandwidth by using a caching server.

SERVER INFORMATION Select your server under the Server section in the sidebar of the Server app. When it’s selected you should see four tabs across the top of the Server app window. Overview: Displays information about your server, including your Server’s host name, external IP address, current version of the OS and Server app running on your server, and available network interfaces. Settings: Allows you to manage your server’s remote access options and Apple’s Push Notification Services, and change your service data location.serversettings Storage: For viewing every disk attached to your server and for managing access to the files and folders located on those disks. serverstorage Access: Lets you define which users will have access to the services you’re hosting on your server. serveraccess


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TURN ON REMOTE ACCESS At the moment, you’re probably managing your server using a mouse and keyboard connected to the computer on which that Server is running. While that’s practical when you’re only working with one server, the reality is that you want to be able to manage servers when you’re not sitting directly in front of them, either while they’re in a server room somewhere or while you’re at a remote location and your server is in at the office. Apple’s Server app allows you to do this, but not without first enabling Remote Access services. To do this click the Settings tab. Locate the Remote access section and put checks in the boxes next to: ‘Screen Sharing and Apple Remote Desktop app’ and ‘Using Server app on a remote Mac’. Now it’s time to check and see if remote management works. To perform this part of the setup you’re going to need another Mac with server installed. Before we begin, double-check to make sure that both Screen Sharing and Apple Remote Desktop app and Using Server app on a remote Mac are checked under the Settings tab in the server app. • Click your server’s name in the sidebar of the Server app • Click the Settings tab • Verify that both the screen sharing and remote access options are selected.

After clicking the Share Screen button, you should see an authentication window. Enter your server’s administrative user ID and password. Once you’ve authenticated you should be able to control your server remotely. Leave the screen sharing session open for a few minutes so we can compare differences between a screen sharing session and a remote management session.

REMOTE MANAGEMENT SCREEN SHARING The first service we’ll verify is screen sharing, to make sure we can connect remotely to our server and control its screen. In order to perform this task, you’ll need to have another Mac you can use that is on the same network as your server. Open a Finder window and locate and click your server in the sidebar. If you can’t locate your server in the sidebar, open the Finder’s Go Menu, click the Network menu item and locate your server in the list of servers that appear. With your server selected, click the Share Screen button. Note: Depending on the Finder view you’ve chosen, it’s possible you won’t see the Share Screen button. If you don’t, click the Finder’s Show Items In Columns button.

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The second sharing feature we enabled was remote server management, which allows you to remotely manage services on your server using the Server app on another Mac. In order to use this feature, you have to download the Server app in the computer you want to use to remotely manage your server: • open the App Store app • click the Purchased tab • locate the Server app and click the Download button • once the app is downloaded, drag it from the Applications folder to the Dock, and • open the Server app. It’s very important that you select your server from the list of servers in the Choose a Mac window that appears when you open the

Server app. If you choose This Mac and click Continue the Server app will begin setting up services on your administrative Mac. If you do not see the Choose a Mac window when you open the app, select the Server app’s Manage menu and select ‘Connect to server’. From the Choose a Mac window, select your server and click continue. Enter the name and password for your administrator and click Connect. After connecting to your server, you may see a message stating that your server is using an untrusted SSL certificate. Choose the option to trust the certificate and click continue. Enter your current computer’s administrative user ID and password. Once you’ve completed these steps, the Server app will open displaying information about your server. Compare the server app running remotely with the server app running in your screen sharing session, you should see that it looks exactly the same with one exception: under Server’s Settings tab your remote app cannot make changes to the Remote Access setting for using the Server app on a remote Mac. Next issue we’ll set up Open Directory, so we can begin managing devices using profile manager. C


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the software engineering lieutenant under Steve Jobs for more than two decades. I managed to get in on the beta and spent a couple weeks putting Upthere through its paces. While not yet as robust as other cloud storage players, the service shows plenty of promise – but without a sync component, it could wind up hamstrung by data caps and a lack of fast, ubiquitous internet.

HOME ON THE CLOUD

UPTHERE HANDS-ON: PROMISING SYNC-FREE CLOUD STORAGE FOR MAC, iPHONE KIRK MCELHEARN Like it or not, cloud storage is the future, despite the fact that even major players with deep pockets haven’t quite nailed it yet. Now that Dropbox has come down to Earth on pricing and capacity, it’s generally considered superior to competing services from Amazon, Google and Apple – and don’t even get me started on Microsoft, which recently reneged on its promise of unlimited storage for Office 365 subscribers. Recently, a new player named Upthere (upthere.com) burst onto the scene, offering an alternative, sync-free ‘cloud computer’. Currently available free with unlimited storage while in beta (the company has yet to announce pricing), Upthere does have at least one ace up its sleeve: founder and former Apple vicepresident Bertrand Serlet, who worked as

Upthere is currently accessible from a Mac or a trio of mobile apps. The OS X client, Upthere Home, monitors Photos, Aperture, Photo Booth or iTunes libraries for new content and uploads it automatically. There’s also an iPhone version that does the same for your Camera Roll, a companion Upthere Camera app for direct uploading of photos as they’re shot, and a unified Home and Camera app for Android. Upthere Home splits uploaded content into four areas: Flow, an activity monitor for files that have been added or shared; Photos and Videos, which displays both media types in one consolidated view; Music, sorted strictly by artist name; and Documents, where you can drag and drop files such as documents that don’t fit into other categories. Uploaded files remain private until shared with friends or family as Loops, which are displayed underneath the main categories on the Mac, or in a separate tab on mobile.

The all-white user interface is quite straightforward, intuitive and easy to use; sharing requires only a name or email address. During the beta period, anyone you share with can also use Upthere free of charge. At launch, there’s no web component, but shared photos can optionally be set to appear online from the Details tab, making them viewable to anyone with the public link. On a 5Mbps broadband connection, it took most of the weekend to upload more than 18,000 photos, around 30 videos and my nearly 71GB iTunes library from a MacBook Pro running night and day. The Mac uploader completely locked up on several occasions, but I was able to pick up right where I left off after the software rescanned the connected application libraries (15 to 20 minutes in my case). Although photos displayed perfectly well, videos wouldn’t play at all unless downloaded first, which kind of defeats the purpose of using a cloud service.

YOUR CLOUD CAMERA On the surface, Upthere isn’t significantly different from rival services – in fact, it’s downright underpowered in some ways. On the Mac, there’s no central folder for syncing files like iCloud Drive, Dropbox or OneDrive, and desktop content can’t be mirrored like SugarSync or Bitcasa either. This is by design: Upthere was designed as a central cloud repository for all of your files.


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Although the Upthere Home can be configured to automatically upload Camera Roll images, new photos can also be taken with Upthere Camera, which pushes fullresolution images straight to the cloud. None of the apps offer built-in image editing, although users can view metadata such as time/date and location. There’s also an option to store new photos in your Camera Roll, but this has to be turned on prior to taking pictures or they’ll only appear in the cloud; in my tests, Upthere Home was smart enough to skip any duplicates that exist in both places. The concept of a cloud camera isn’t particularly new: StreamNation has offered

an unlimited, free storage in its Shutter app for several years. What makes Upthere Camera unique is the ability to take photos directly into existing Loops. Create a new shared camera (or swipe to select an existing one), snap a picture and it’s instantly shared with everyone in that group. Other than this neat trick, Upthere Camera is a no-frills affair – so basic, in fact, I’m surprised the developers didn’t roll its functionality into the Upthere Home app like they did on Android. For now, Upthere Camera doesn’t shoot video (although Upthere Home will upload anything shot with the built-in camera app), and neither iPhone app works

natively on iPad at this time; support for additional platforms is planned.

CAN IT COMPETE? As the latest contender to the cloud storage throne, Upthere is off to a promising start. Mac uploader bugs aside, the service is quite polished for a beta, and sharing content is about as frictionless as it gets. But the verdict is still out on how much it will cost, and whether consumers want to entrust their content to yet another fledgling start-up. Sharing is a snap from Upthere Home for Mac, including the option to make content viewable on the web to anyone with a link. C


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NUMBERS 3.6.1 FOR MAC REVIEW: THE BEST VERSION OF APPLE’S SPREADSHEET APP SO FAR ROB GRIFFITHS The last major release of the ‘new’ Numbers came with a slew of changes – both good and bad – to the interface and feature set. Now, two years on, Numbers has gained 0.6.1 version numbers, as well as some new features and changes to its interface. It’s also now a much stronger collaboration tool, and you can work on spreadsheets on OS X, iOS and the web.

ISSUES FROM THE ORIGINAL REVIEW When I reviewed version 3.0, I noted that the left-hand sidebar and customisable toolbar were both gone. While the lefthand sidebar is still gone, the customisable toolbar has returned. No longer are you stuck with the buttons Apple deems most important. If you’d like some room back on the toolbar, consider removing the Tips button; it just pops up a few mostly useless yellow text boxes. Numbers once again allows you to decide which buttons you’d like to see on the toolbar. Beyond this one change, however, Numbers 3.6.1 looks much like Numbers 3.0. There’s still no formatting bar below the customisable toolbar, so everything is still controlled by the context-sensitive right-hand panel. And while this cleans up the look a lot, it leads to lots of clicking between tabs in the panel for many common tasks.

Another annoyance that remains from version 3.0 is the lack of an editable formula bar. To edit a formula, you have to double-click the formula, which pops up a tiny editing box. This box can be both resized and moved, but for no reason I can discern, these changes aren’t permanent, so you have to resize and move the formula box every time you use it (assuming you don’t like its size/ location). AppleScript, which vanished in 3.0, has also returned from the dead, to the relief of scripters everywhere. (It’s even gained a couple new options for PDF and Excel export.) Macros, which didn’t exist before, still don’t exist. I expect them to continue to not exist in all future versions, so macro users should look elsewhere. This version of Numbers also returns Help to the app, sort of… Numbers no longer opens a webpage when you open Help, but the in-app help viewer still requires an internet connection. Get stuck with Numbers on a flight? Oh well, no Help available. To me, this is inexcusable: using the internet to update Help files is fine, but the base version of Help should be available without a net connection. Performance is greatly improved when opening large worksheets. I have an 8MB test file that I’ve been using

ever since Numbers first came out. Opening this file in Numbers 3.0 (and Numbers 2009) took nearly 30 seconds; in Numbers 3.6.1, it opens in about five, which is only a second or two slower than it opens in Excel. If you routinely work with large files, this is a most welcome improvement.

NEW AND/OR IMPROVED The list of changes in Numbers, across all three platforms, is massive. If you sort your data, Numbers finally lets you sort only a subset of rows in the table. In version 3.0, you had to sort all the rows in a table, which could wreak havoc on your data. Not only can you sort on a subset of rows, but you can sort on multiple columns as well, which makes sort much more useful. One nice-to-have-back feature is the alignment guides for working with multiple tables on one sheet. These existed in pre-3.0 Numbers, and have returned to the 3.x series. As you drag one table around, alignment guides appear to help you properly align it relative to other tables on the sheet. More specific to the latest Numbers update, charts have gained some new powers. You can easily add up to five reference lines to a graph, making it simple to display an average, median, mode or custom value as a visual reference.


BUSINESS

27 APRIL 2016 www.macworld.com.au

Another nice touch in graphs is the ability to use an image as the style for a chart (or table or shape). You do this by telling Numbers which image you’d like to use as the source for the object. Numbers then analyses the colours in the image and applies them to the chosen object. The end result can be quite compelling; in my tests, Numbers did a good job of picking colours that really helped the objects blend with the photo on the table. If you’re using Numbers to create complex reports with a mix of data, text and objects, this feature can really help pull them together. There are a number of other minor changes in this latest update, including improved Excel compatibility when reading and exporting, Voiceover support for comments and charts, and the ability to view Photos’ Collections and Moments etc from the Media Browser. And if you’ve purchased a new Magic Trackpad 2, you can use Force Touch on certain items in Numbers. One final feature that’s migrated from the iOS world is support for Split View. If you’re working in Full Screen mode, you can slide over a second app to ‘multi-task’.

If you find this feature useful, here’s a tip: you’re using a Mac. Simply don’t enter Full Screen mode, and then you can work on more than two things at once! Finally, there are a couple of nice looking new templates for simple budgeting and expense sharing. Neither of these will replace Quicken or a bill-sharing app on your iPhone, but both do a good job of demonstrating some of the things you can do with Numbers.

IT’S A SHARING WORLD Numbers is set up to work with iCloud Drive, meaning you can edit the same worksheet on OS X, iOS and the web. I tested this using a number of devices on the local network, and it worked reasonably well. Changes would take up to a minute to sync, but I had no problems with changes made to the same document by several simultaneous users. Shared worksheets can also now be previewed on Android and iOS browsers, so users can see them without having to edit them. The collaboration level isn’t quite up there with Google’s Sheets, but it’s

probably sufficient for most users. Being able to save and edit anywhere is a definite strong point with Numbers. Bottom line. Apple has added back many of the missing features from the original Numbers 3.0 transition, and that’s a good thing. AppleScript support and the customisable toolbar improve the app’s usability, and performance with large data sets is now much better. The interface is generally pleasant, and many of the provided templates are genuinely useful and well-designed. Of course, if you work across iOS, OS X and the web, Numbers’ sharing features can’t be beaten. Annoyances remain, of course. It’s still a bit tricky to edit formulas, Help still requires an internet connection and formatting objects requires lots of clicking around in the right-hand sidebar. Overall, this version of Numbers is the best of the 3.x series. If you’re still hanging on to Numbers 2009, you may find this version does everything you need it to do, and provides a number of features (particularly sharing) that aren’t available in Numbers 2009. C

PROUDLY SUPPORTING MAC IN BUSINESS


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APPLICATIONS

MAC GEMS

NEW SOFTWARE FROM THE MAC APP STORE

ON1 PHOTO 10

TOP PICK

PHOTOGRAPHY On1 US$120

For about a decade, On1’s photo-editing tools were plug-ins for Adobe Lightroom, Apple Aperture or Adobe Photoshop. A couple of versions back, On1 began rolling these into a Perfect Photo Suite that created a dashboard for all the tools. On1 Photo 10 now stands on its own as an alternative to Lightroom and Photoshop. NEW NAME, NEW LOOK At the heart of Photo 10 are three editing modules – Enhance, Effects and Portrait – and a fourth module for creating and managing layers. Photo 10’s Enhance module can read raw files and perform basic adjustments, corrections and enhancements, such as exposure, contrast, colour, noise and sharpness, and spot removal. The Effects module gives you a quick start on your images by selecting a preset from the drawer on the left. You can edit all the presets or build your own. Portrait provides tools for editing the elements of a face. You can enhance detail in eyes without exacerbating wrinkles, or soften skin and remove blemishes without making a mask that excludes eyes and mouth. Layers goes beyond Lightroom and invites comparison to Photoshop. Even within a single layer you can get layer-like effects by stacking filters and by using masks and blending. Edits made to raw files by Photo 10 are saved in separate files (JPEG, TIFF or PSD). I have always worked in a variety of editors, and I don’t really trust any of them (remember Aperture?). For me, keeping my edited files independent of any one app is a big plus. WORKFLOW COMPLETE Photo 10 eliminates the need to import files. Since it doesn’t store your edits in a proprietary database, you copy images from your camera to your computer’s storage any way you like, then click on a folder of images in Photo 10’s Browse module. The Browse module renders images quickly and I can quickly rate, keyword, label and caption a large folder of images. Photo 10 can export to multiple file formats, resize files, add a watermark and add effects from editing presets. The new sharing feature hooks into OS X to upload images to Flickr or Facebook, send to Photos or Messages, or share via AirDrop. I’m especially

fond of On1’s Photo Via feature, which syncs selected images with my iPhone and iPad via Dropbox or iCloud. WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE? Photo 10 doesn’t do everything. There’s no panorama stitching, tools for advanced lens corrections, perspectival correction or support for movie files. And Photo 10 needs some polishing. In testing, it occasionally misbehaved in ways that suggested there are still bugs to be squashed. There are rough edges in the user interface and user experience; there’s no way to view an image in full-screen and, when I close a file in the Layers module, I expect to return to Browse, but I don’t. I’ve been told by the folks at On1 that some of these foibles will be fixed in coming updates. Bottom line. No other single app in active development for Mac OS X provides the range of features found in On1 Photo 10. Even if you’re a Photoshop virtuoso, you may be interested in Photo 10 for the creative presets in the Effects module. If you are already happy with another app as your primary photo management and processing tool (say, Lightroom or Photos), you should check out Photo 10’s easy implementation of layers. But remember, Photo 10 is now a complete raw workflow app that can stand on its own. – WILLIAM PORTER


APPLICATIONS

FOTOR PHOTO EDITOR

PHOTOGRAPHY

PHOTOGRAPHY

Polarr Inc $14.99

Chengdu Everimaging Science and Technology Co FREE

Sometimes, you don’t need a complex tool for making edits to your photos. Polarr Photo Editor is a compact application – taking up just 4MB of disk space – that delivers filters and myriad other adjustments for your photos. here are 12 filter categories that make it easy to apply over 100 different filters. As well as the Mac version, there are OS X, Windows, Android and Linux options.

Fotor tries to fill the middle ground between Apple’s Photos and Photoshop at the perfect price – free. Fotor’s editing tools give you control over exposure, brightness, contrast, white balance, sharpening, blurring and much more. The app supports most image formats including raw import and is optimised for Apple’s Retina displays. While pros may be looking for more sophisticated tools, it’s worth having Fotor in the toolkit as it’s easy to use and can complement more complex tools.

SWIFT PUBLISHER 4 GRAPHICS DESIGN BeLight Software $30.99

Swift Publisher 4 is affordable page-layout software for the Mac that’s best described as a pared-down version of Adobe InDesign. At the heart of the software is a Template Gallery covering nearly 400 common scenarios. Fully populated templates provide a quick way to get started – text and graphic elements can be added, customised or removed in a few clicks of the mouse. There’s also an Electronic Media section for designing Facebook and Twitter covers or iOS device screens. Designers can start from scratch, selecting from thousands of built-in, high-quality clip art elements, Photos/ Aperture/iPhoto libraries and smart shapes. The Insert menu lets you place other objects including photos, text, tables and calendars. Elements can be manipulated using the Layout tools with most of the window reserved for designing and managing documents. The user interface will make iLife users feel at home. Version 4.0 brings barcodes into the mix making it easy to insert retail UPC (universal product code), QR (quick response) and ISBN (international standard book number) codes into a document with custom values – something that requires additional software for many design applications. There are dynamic text fields, the equivalent of Microsoft Word’s popular Mail Merge feature, for quickly swapping out names, addresses and more. Swift Publisher’s image editing capabilities tap into OS X’s Core Image filters to adjust colour, exposure, gamma and other enhancements without the need for more software. Given the price,

it’s not surprising Swift Publisher lacks a few high-end features like true CMYK preview and robust type controls, but this won’t be an issue for the target audience. It’s an exceptional value for parents, home business, educators and just about anyone else who needs to create paper-based products quickly and easily. – CHRIS BARYLICK

APRIL 2016 www.macworld.com.au

POLARR PHOTO EDITOR

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30

PRODUCTS

GEAR S GIZMOES GOODI

GADGETGUIDE QODE Ultimate Lite Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2 My name is Anthony. I’m the editor of Macworld Australia and I have an addiction. Ever since the first iPad was released back in 2015, I’ve been looking for ways to use it as a serious productivity tool and not just a consumption device. And that’s resulted in my being on an unrelenting quest to find the perfect keyboard. Over the years, I’ve tried many – some cheap, some very expensive. Some were great to type on and others felt like trampolines. But over the last couple of years, accessory makers have improved their products significantly. So much so that devices such as Belkin’s QODE Ultimate Lite Keyboard Case for the iPad Air 2 have made it possible for me to seriously consider leaving my MacBook Pro behind on many business trips. Last month, I looked at the ClamCase (p63, January 2016) and liked it a lot. Belkin’s QODE takes a similar approach by completely enclosing the iPad Air 2 in a cocoon of plastic and aluminium that protects the iPad and offers up a nice keyboard without adding lots of weight or making the iPad unwieldy to handle. When my iPad Air 2 was securely snapped into the top section of the case, I could still access all of the ports and buttons easily although the top section does make it a little harder to reach the volume control buttons and the edge is slightly thickened in order to protect the iPad.

The keyboard section of the case is made of aluminium and feels quite solid despite the entire case weighing just 360g. When typing, there’s none of the sponginess associated with cheaper units. Although the keys are smaller than those of a full-sized keyboard, it’s still comfortable to type on. There are a few sacrifices made in order to accommodate the keyboard into the limited space available. There’s just one pair of Command and Option keys and all the keys are smaller than a standard keyboard There are five rows of keys – like a traditional QWERTY keyboard – but there are no extra function keys. Some iPad keyboards add a row of narrow keys for quickly launching Safari, email and other commonly used applications. However, a function key in the bottom left corner acts a modifier for the number keys and some others for play/pause control of movies and music, volume controls and task swapping. Belkin claims the QODE will last about six months between full charges – which are done via a mini-USB cable that’s provided in the box. Unfortunately, there’s no way to easily monitor the battery level while the keyboard is in use; however, after using the QODE for about four weeks, I didn’t see a single battery warning even though I haven’t connected it to a charger since taking it out of the box. There are many options when it comes to adding a keyboard to your iPad. Belkin’s QODE Ultimate Lite Keyboard Case for the iPad Air 2 is certainly one of the best I’ve tried and well worth your consideration.

Unlike many other similar cases that use a hinge, the QODE has a wide band of flexible material that joins the two halves of the case. With the clever use of magnets in the keyboard section, you can prop the iPad up on two different viewing angles easily when using the keyboard.

Belkin / $149.95 / www.belkin.com/au

This approach also makes it easy to lay the iPad flat against the keyboard so it can be used as a slate rather than as a quasi-laptop.

– BY ANTHONY CARUANA


PRODUCTS

31 APRIL 2016 www.macworld.com.au

TruSwing Garmin’s TruSwing is a small, lightweight and easy-to-use first golf club sensor accessory that measures the swing metrics golfers need to improve their game. It syncs wirelessly to a variety of Garmin’s Approach watches or handhelds, so golfers can get instant swing feedback on their wrist after each swing or, with the recently updated Garmin Connect mobile app on their smartphone or tablet, they can get detailed data like 3D animations, or review their entire swing session. Data is transmitted after each swing, so golfers are able to analyse several elements of their action. The Ball Flight metric looks at the club path, face angle and shaft angle to help golfers understand what adjustments they need to make to hit the ball

straighter. Trajectory measures the shaft lean and face angle, which impacts the trajectory taken by the ball, so golfers can practise taking off or adding loft to their shots. Distance relates to how fast the club head is travelling and where on the club face the ball is hit. Golfers can use the swing tempo metric to improve swing consistency and see how it affects club head speed TruSwing can produce 3D swing animations through the Garmin Connect mobile app on a smartphone or tablet so golfers can view side-by-side swing comparisons to analyse their data in real-time. Data is stored within Garmin Connect and each session is organised by date, so users can go back to see each individual swing and how they’ve improved. Garmin / $229 / www.garmin.com.au

BookArc möd

Boom 2 speaker

Fitbit Alta

The BookArc möd is a hardwood stand for the MacBook, MacBook Air or MacBook Pro. The möd was inspired by the Cherner chair, so you can think of it as fine furniture for your laptop. The stand keeps your MacBook upright to free up space on your desk, and the rubber rings hidden on the bottom keep your cords securely in place, even when disconnected from your Mac. The möd is also the perfect place to keep your MacBook in ‘closed-clamshell’ mode next to your display. It comes in three wooden finishes: Birch, Espresso and Walnut.

If your friends are always fighting over who gets to play DJ during your get-togethers, the UE Boom 2 wireless speaker may solve a few disputes. The Boom 2 lasts for up to 15 hours on a charge and a recent firmware update introduced the new Block Party feature, so that three smartphones can be hooked up to it to take turns playing music. Only one person has to have the app installed and the other devices can play music from their preferred streaming service. Pairs of UE Boom speakers can be linked using the app to double the volume or designate a left and right speaker to create stereo sound.

The Fitbit Alta is Fitbit’s latest entrant to the wearables game – and it has a very strong fashion focus. It can be personalised to fit your style with many different bands to choose from, and adds several new health and fitness features – such as reminders to be more active – to make tracking workouts easier and keep you motivated. Fitbit Alta is designed with a satin finish and stainless steel body, and features a line of interchangeable bands in multiple popular colours and premium materials.

Twelve South US$60 twelvesouth.com

Logitech Ultimate Ears $189 ultimateears.com

Fitbit $200 www.fitbit.com


32

APPLICATIONS

APP GUIDE

Cool software for the iOS & Apple Watch.

VOICE 2.0 PRODUCTIVITY

TOP PICK

Adobe

iPHONE AND iPAD FREE (IN-APP PURCHASES) If you are already using Adobe Voice, you’re not the type who wants to leave much margin for error. You have something to say and you want to get that message across quickly and succinctly. A bit of flair and polish wouldn’t hurt, either. The newly released universal iOS app guides you through each step of creating a unique and appealing animated video presentation, complete with audiovisual elements, images, icons and, critically, your own voice. With Voice, Adobe diverges from its target audience of professional designers, photographers and artists into consumer territory. The more you know about design, and the pickier you are about elements like colour, layout or fonts, the less inclined you’ll be to surrender your visuals to the template-driven, procedural approach that Voice takes. Adobe Voice methodically walks you through the building blocks of your animated video. There are plenty of choices for a unique look without becoming overwhelming. Then again, the app’s ease of use and high-end output may tempt pros that need to quickly knock out a project. It’s easy enough for a kid to learn and the slick productions never look canned.

The latest version has iPhone support. Anything you create is synced via your Adobe account so you can access and work on the same project from whichever device you have on hand. The main ingredient for a Voice presentation is your voice. You start by recording the narrative. It’s odd to be repeatedly prompted to speak, but it encourages you to hone your message. While the templates will initially make design choices for you, there’s plenty of flexibility. You can experiment with different themes, fonts, colours and music. Adobe includes a limited number of free soundtracks to use as backing music and you can use non-DRM (digital rights management) songs from your iTunes collection. For the most part, Voice 2.0 brings you all the design goodness most users will need. The credits conveniently ensure that any Creative Commons drawings or images you use in the piece are properly credited, plus you can add your own copyright to your original. From a design viewpoint, it may seem odd that the app works only in portrait mode on the iPhone. Though I can appreciate how that may add to novice ease of use, a landscape option would allow for even more customisation. As I placed icons on top of images, it became obvious that they could not be resized or placed anywhere but in the middle. It would have been nice to be able to resize the icons, an inherently non-complex task, especially since images can be adjusted within the template. With all the free apps available these days, the question has become not whether an app is worth the money, but rather whether it’s worth your time. Adobe Voice is free on the App Store with no Creative Cloud strings attached. You will need an Adobe login ID to save and share your work from Adobe’s servers. – JACKIE DOVE


APPLICATIONS

OVER

LIFESTYLE

OVER

Bloom Built LLC

Photo and Video

iPHONE, iPAD AND APPLE WATCH US$4.99

iPHONE AND iPAD FREE (IN-APP PURCHASES)

Writing a journal can be a very therapeutic activity. Day One lets you easily record what you’ve been doing and how you feel through a clean interface that makes it easy to capture whatever is going on by typing, shooting a picture or recording your voice. Journals can be protected from prying eyes with their own security code and you can store up to 10 different journals – so you can keep one for personal reflections, one for work and others for specific purposes. You can export your journal to PDF or plain text for offline saving.

Over is designed to help you create beautiful art by combining your photos with great typography without you needing to become an expert graphic designer. The app includes more than 300 fonts and 800 illustrations with new content added regularly. The applications are quite broad, ranging from dressing up social media posts to creating funky backgrounds for your iPhone or iPad and presentation slides – if it can use a great image, then you can use Over to create that image. There are adjustment tools as well, so you can tweak the images you use to get the art you create just right and lots of text effects as well.

SIDEFARI UTILITIES Francisco Cantu

iPHONE AND iPAD US$1.49 iOS 9 brought multiple gifts for iPad owners: Slide Over, Picture in Picture and Split View allow the tablet to multitask in new ways that make the device feel more like a personal computer. Unfortunately, browsing websites in Safari remains a singlescreen experience. Sidefari provides a second web browser window alongside Safari’s own, making it possible to browse different sites at the same time. Sidefari works its magic through Safari View Controller, the stripped-down browser available inside many third-party apps. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – with the iOS 9.2 update, apps like 1Password can be used with any in-app browser, even if the developer hasn’t directly added support for them. Sidefari offers its own history of the 50 most recent sites visited from the app, an option that can be toggled off if desired. Users can swipe to delete individual entries, or clear the entire history at once. Sidefari takes advantage of share and action extensions, as well as login details and credit cards stored in iCloud Keychain. There’s no search option in the address field – it’s strictly for websites. There are a couple of little conveniences like a Paste Clipboard shortcut, and the ability to autofill passwords or credit cards saved with iCloud Keychain. Users can send open Sidefari web pages to Safari by tapping the compass in the upper right corner, or share with compatible apps and action extensions. While Sidefari is worth the meagre asking price, there’s room for improvement. Built-in search would be nice, along with more intelligent handling of text entered without an extension. One big downside to Sidefari: websites that default to a mobile version can’t be switched to the desktop version. Sidefari makes side-by-side web browsing a reality for late-model iPads, but lacks most of the niceties of the full Mobile Safari.

APRIL 2016 www.macworld.com.au

DAY ONE 2 JOURNAL + NOTES

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34

SECRETS

Create Smart Playlists to find which of your songs are Apple Music, in the cloud and more S ince the launch of Apple Music, your iTunes library can contain several different types of music files, and they can be stored in different locations. You may have files that you’ve ripped from CDs, which are stored on your Mac. Your library probably holds some music that you bought from the iTunes Store, which may be on your Mac, or may be in the cloud. And if you’ve signed up for Apple Music, you may have added some music to your iTunes library. It may be local, or it may be on Apple’s servers. All this can be a bit confusing. While you don’t always need to know which tracks are on your Mac or in the cloud, it can be useful. For example, if you decide to not opt for an Apple Music subscription after your

three-month trial expires, you’ll want to check and make sure that none of the music you’ve added from Apple Music to your iTunes library remains there. Or, if you need to make space on your drive, you may want to find which of your tracks are Apple music tracks or purchased tracks stored in the cloud, and delete the local copies. You can find out where any tracks are stored using smart playlists.

APPLE MUSIC TRACKS To find which tracks in your iTunes library come from Apple Music, go to your Music library and then click Playlists in the navigation bar. Choose File > New Smart Playlist (or press Command-Option-N). Create a playlist with the following conditions: Media Kind is Music. iCloud Status is Apple Music.

(Click the + button after the first condition to add the second.) Make sure that Live Updating is checked; this means that each time you view the contents of this smart playlist it will show you the latest tracks you’ve added to your Music library. Click OK to save the playlist. You’ll see, when you look at this playlist that it contains all of your Apple Music tracks, and that some of its tracks display cloud icons; this tells you that the tracks aren’t on your Mac, but that you can download them if you wish. If you only want to find which of your Apple Music tracks are on your drive, taking up space, you can alter the smart playlist by adding the following condition: Location is on this computer If you want to delete some of these tracks from your Mac – but not


SECRETS

35 APRIL 2016 www.macworld.com.au

from your iTunes library – select one or more tracks, right-click and then choose Remove Download. If you want to delete all your Apple Music tracks, press Command-A to select all the tracks in this playlist and then press Option-Shift-Delete. iTunes will ask you to confirm that you want to delete these tracks.

TRACKS IN THE CLOUD If you’re using iCloud Music Library or iTunes Match, you can create a smart playlist to show you which of your

tracks are stored on your Mac, and which are in the cloud. You may want to do this to delete some of the local tracks to free up space on your Mac. Create a smart playlist with the following condition: Location is on this computer. Press the Option key and click the + button to add another, nested condition, then click the + button to add two more: iCloud Status is Matched iCloud Status is Purchased iCloud Status is Uploaded.

Make sure that Match All of the following rules is selected at the top of the playlist, and that Any of the following are true is selected for the second group of conditions. As above, you can delete the local copies of these tracks by selecting one or more of them, rightclicking and then choosing Remove Download. Smart playlists are quick and easy to create, and they help you free up space, or delete Apple Music tracks. C


36

FEATURE

HOW TO CHOOSE AN iPAD PRO, iPAD AIR OR iPAD MINI BY JASON SNELL

S

o you’re in the market for a new iPad. Excellent choice – I couldn’t live without mine. It’s my companion when I’m catching up on news and email in the morning over tea, reading a comic book in the evening to unwind, or watching a movie while travelling on an aeroplane. But these days, picking an iPad can be tricky. Apple currently sells five different models of iPad, with prices ranging from $369 to $1699. There are size, storage, colour and connectivity options to consider. All in all, there are 61 different variations of iPad from which to choose. So which iPad is right for you? Read on.

IF YOU WANT IT ALL: iPAD PRO The iPad Pro is the newest and biggest iPad, with a 12.9in diagonal screen. It’s a bit like someone ripped the screen off a 13in laptop and turned it into an iPad. The iPad Pro is also the fastest iOS device ever and offers many features that aren’t available on any other device. If you’re an artist who has dreamed of having a larger and more responsive iPad to draw on, the iPad Pro is a dream come true. It’s the only iPad that supports the $165 Apple Pencil, and while there are other pressure-sensitive iPad styluses on the market, this is the one that’s made by Apple – and that means it will probably be the best in its class, if for no other reason than it will be deeply integrated into the iPad Pro’s

software. The iPad Pro’s screen can scan for the location of the Apple Pencil 240 times per second, twice the rate of other iPads. If you’re someone who does a lot of serious work on your iPad, the iPad Pro is made for you, too – its larger screen is perfect for running two apps in Split View. And rather than having to rely on a Bluetooth connection to attach an external keyboard, the new Smart Connector supplies data and power to both Apple’s $269 Smart Keyboard (which doubles as a carrying case) as well as other forthcoming keyboards, including the Logitech Create. But, despite its name, the iPad Pro isn’t just a tool for artists and other people wanting a more powerful and expansive iPad to get work done. It’s also a fantastic (albeit pricey) entertainment device, thanks to its stereo speakers and that gorgeous 2732 by 2048 pixel display. For all its size, the iPad Pro doesn’t feel heavy. At 725g, it’s about as heavy as the original iPad – but its weight is spread over a much larger area, making it comfortable to hold. Colour options: Silver, Gold, Space Grey Storage options: 32GB ($1249) or 128GB ($1499) Cellular option: Only the 128GB model is available with a cellular variant, for $1699 Who it’s for: Artists, people who use their iPads to get work done, and anyone who wants a big, bright screen (and good audio) for watching videos.

THE ALL-PURPOSE POWERHOUSE: iPAD AIR 2 It was introduced more than a year ago now, but the iPad Air 2 is still the beating heart at the centre of the iPad product line. It was so advanced compared to any other iOS device that preceded it, that even a year later it’s the model that most people should consider when they’re shopping for a new iPad. In terms of tech specs, the iPad Air 2 is impressive: it’s got a three-core Apple A8X processor and 2GB of RAM. This year’s iPad mini 4 can’t even match it in terms of speed, and the extra RAM improves almost everything when it comes to switching among a bunch of different apps. While it’s technically ‘last year’s model’, it’s probably more accurate to say that the iPad Air 2 was next year’s model back in 2014, and it’s still in its prime. The iPad Air 2’s 9.7in display puts it firmly in the centre of the iPad product line. It’s got the same screen size as the original iPad model from five years ago – but of course, things have advanced an awful lot since then. This screen is a Retina display at 2048 by 1536 pixels, and is laminated to an anti-reflective glass coating, the result being a relatively low-glare screen that feels incredibly close to the surface. It’s also thin and light, weighing in at less than 454g. Yes, the displays of the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 2 offer the exact same


FEATURE

SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL: iPAD MINI 4 Apple pretty much took 2014 off when it came to the iPad mini, adding a Touch ID sensor (and very little else) to the iPad mini 3. But 2015 was a very, very good to fans of the smallest iPad. The iPad mini 4 is powered by a speedy A8 processor and has 2GB of RAM, making it almost – but not quite – the match of its big brother, the iPad Air 2. The Air 2 is a little bit faster, but only by a hair. And the iPad mini 4 has access to all the advanced features of iOS 9 that its predecessors didn’t have, including Split View multitasking. The iPad mini 4’s screen is also to die for. The Retina display is laminated directly to the glass, reducing reflection and making you feel like the pixels are right underneath your fingers. The 2048 by 1536 pixel resolution is the same as the iPad Air 2 – the only different is that all 3.1 million pixels are packed into a 7.9in diagonal screen, as opposed to the Air’s 9.7in diagonal. But making the trade-off that favours smaller size is what the iPad mini line has always been about. It’s a pretty great size, at 20.3cm (8in) tall by 13.4cm (5.3in) wide,

and weighing 300g. My 11-year-old son has been toting around an iPad mini for the last couple of years, and he absolutely loves it. As for me, I always found the smaller size of the iPad mini preferable to the iPad Air, but in the last year I’ve become aware that my ageing eyes feel a lot less strain when viewing all those pixels on a bigger screen. If you want the smallest screen with the most power, though, the iPad mini 4 delivers. Colour options: Silver, Gold, Space Grey Storage options: 16GB ($569), 64GB ($699) or 128GB ($829) Cellular options: 16GB ($729), 64GB ($859) or 128GB ($989) Who it’s for: It’s the perfect device for someone who wants it all, but wants to keep it small.

BIG SCREEN, LOWER PRICE TAG: iPAD AIR The original iPad Air, released in 2013, is still available for sale. It’s $100 or $150 less than the iPad Air 2, but it’s quite a bit slower and doesn’t have access to some new features like Split View multitasking. The screen, while the same resolution as the iPad Air 2, isn’t laminated to the glass, so it’s got more glare and feels a bit further away when you hold it. This is not a bad iPad by any means, but it is older technology, and for the same price as the 16GB model you can buy the 16GB iPad mini 4, which is faster and has more RAM. The best buy in the line is the 32GB model, which is $150 less than the iPad Air 2 – but also has half the storage capacity. And you can’t get more than 32GB of capacity in this model – if you want more storage, you’ll need to buy a different model. In general, we’re reluctant to recommend that anyone buy an original iPad Air unless price is absolutely the biggest consideration and, even then, the iPad mini 4 is worth considering. Chances are good that many future iOS features will not include this device, so if you care about speed and a long device life, steer clear. On the other hand, the iPad Air has a big 9.4in Retina display and is perfectly

suitable for everything but the most taxing productivity multitasking and the latest cutting edge games. Colour options: Silver, Space Grey Storage options: 16GB ($569), 32GB ($629) Cellular options: 16GB ($729), 32GB ($789) Who it’s for: Price-conscious buyers who want a full-size iPad and don’t mind if it’s a little slower than the mainstream model.

THE LOW PRICE LEADER: iPAD MINI 2 Like the iPad Air, the iPad mini 2 was originally released in 2013. As a result, it’s slower and has less RAM than modern models. But it’s the cheapest iPad by far, starting at $269. For that price, you get a light, small iPad that’s got the same 2048by-1536 resolution as the other iPad mini and iPad Air models. Yes, there are some concerns about buying a new iPad that’s using two-yearold technology. Certainly if you were someone who was committed to cutting edge games and multitasking between lots of productivity apps, this model may not be for you. But if there’s someone in your life who just wants to play games, surf the web or check Twitter, this is a pretty great little tablet for a pretty great price. Until this summer, when I switched to the iPad Air 2, my everyday iPad was an iPad mini 2, and I loved it. Yes, it’s not as good as this year’s models, but it’s still pretty great. As with the iPad mini 4, my only caution is for people who are older and are dealing with ageing eyes or failing eyesight. My mother’s first iPad was an original iPad mini, but she’s much happier now with a full-sized iPad Air. The mini screen size is ideal for people with good vision. Colour options: Silver, Space Grey Storage options: 16GB ($369), 32GB ($429) Cellular options: 16GB ($529), 32GB ($569) Who it’s for: Kids, casual users, pretty much anyone who wants a low-cost iPad and doesn’t mind the smaller screen size. C

APRIL 2016 www.macworld.com.au

number of pixels. What sets them apart is sheer size. On the Air, those pixels are given room to breathe – and if you’ve got ageing eyes, you’ll be grateful for that. I’ve found reading comic books much more pleasurable on the iPad Air 2 than on the iPad mini, and it’s entirely down to the fact that everything on the screen is bigger. To sum it all up, the iPad Air 2 is a powerful, thin, light iPad with a beautiful screen. It’s the mainstream iPad and the one that most potential iPad buyers should consider first. Colour options: Silver, Gold, Space Grey Storage options: 16GB ($699), 64GB ($8299), or 128GB ($959) Cellular options: 16GB ($859), 64GB ($989), or 128GB ($1119) Who it’s for: Just about anyone, but especially people who are happy to trade a little weight and size for a larger screen that’s more comfortable for imperfect eyes to scan.

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39 APRIL 2016 www.macworld.com.au

iPAD PRO: WHY THE BEST iPAD YET WON’T WORK FOR EVERYONE BY SUSIE OCHS

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ell, I tried. I tried the whole ‘use the iPad Pro instead of my computer for a week’ thing and barely lasted a day. It doesn’t fit my workflow like my MacBook Air does, so I stopped trying to force it – and that’s OK. Apple’s newest largest tablet doesn’t need to be a laptop replacement to be good, but for a $550 premium over the cheapest iPad Air 2, it does need to deliver more than just a larger screen. In some ways it does. Thanks to a faster processor and more RAM, the iPad Pro can enable a new class of applications that feel as powerful as desktop apps. Support for the Apple Pencil is limited to this iPad, so if your work includes drawing or drafting, or you’d rather handwrite notes than type them, your choice is clear: buy this iPad Pro or wait a year to see if Pencil support trickles down to more models. But if you aren’t planning to use the Pencil, it could be hard for most people to

justify the extra cost over an iPad Air 2 or even an iPad mini 4 – at least, it is for me. As a work tool, the iPad Pro is a little like the Mac Pro, or the MacBook Pro, or even something specialised like a miter saw. If you really need it to do your job, you likely know you need it, and you don’t need me to tell you. If you find yourself wondering if you really need it… you probably don’t.

THE PENCIL IS THE iPAD PRO’S BIG SELLING POINT Using the Pencil is awesome. It feels natural, writes naturally and makes a cheap rubber-tipped capacitive stylus feel like trying to write your name with a hot dog. Drawing and even just doodling with it are wonderful experiences thanks to the pressure sensitivity and tilt detection that help it act more or less as you would expect, with very little lag. I haven’t done much drawing or painting since college,

but the Pencil just makes me want to use it, and the fact that I can doodle, colour, sketch or mind-map while catching up on a show in Hulu in a Picture-in-Picture window appeals to me in a unique way. It’s a strange blend of nostalgia for the time when paper and pencils were my daily tools of choice, and that futuristic tingle of using something that feels so cutting edge. I’m not really sure why it’s so round – I hate putting it down and seeing it roll away – and I’m fairly afraid of losing the little cap that covers the Lightning port. And I don’t actually need the Pencil for my workflow, since I mostly type text into boxes and edit JPEGs in Pixelmator. So while I love using it like I used to use notebooks and pens, I could buy an iPad mini and a lot of very fancy notebooks and pens before I hit the $1414 barrier to entry of the iPad Pro and Pencil. But graphic designers will think this setup


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41 APRIL 2016 www.macworld.com.au

plus an app like Astropad is a bargain compared to a Wacom Cintiq. More uses for the Pencil could emerge over time as well – developers and tinkerers are already experimenting.

HITS AND MISSES WHEN TRYING TO WORK Some work apps really do benefit from a bigger canvas. Drawing apps like the wonderful Procreate, sure. Editing photos with Pixelmator, definitely. Apps with a lot of tools like iMovie are a natural for a larger screen. And when you’re working with two apps side by side, it’s great to be able to give each of them the space of an entire iPad Air. But the apps I use the most on my iPad – Byword, Safari, Kindle, Mail – are just as good on a 9.7in iPad Air (or even a 7.9in iPad mini) as they are on the 12.9in iPad Pro. Plus, running two apps side by side isn’t exactly multi-tasking. I kept running into limitations that I could work around, but didn’t want to have to. I liked having Byword open along with Safari in Split View on the iPad Pro. But on my Mac,

I typically have more than one Byword document open at a time – one file with notes and another with an article in progress, usually – and the iPad can’t do that, since you can’t have the same app open in both sides of Split View. If you want to see two webpages side by side rather than just in tabs, you have to open them in different browsers. And, of course, not every iPad app supports Split View. That’s not all. On my Mac, I use a few utilities that can run in the background, like RescueTime, which logs every minute I spend using various Mac apps and websites, but has no iOS version. Only on my Mac can I record Skype calls for the podcast, while plugged into Ethernet for the occasion. My Mac lets me download files more easily and organise them however I like – although the iCloud Drive app in iOS 9 has made that easier on the iPad than it’s been in the past.

IT’S STILL THE BEST iPAD EVER One of the things I like best about the iPad Pro is that while it isn’t as capable a work machine as my Mac, it’s a much better

iPad than my Mac. No, really – for all the iOS creep into the Mac (from iBooks to Maps to Launchpad to swipe gestures), the iPad is still better at a slew of tasks that my brain has firmly categorised as ‘mobile’ since iOS does them so well. As I set up my iPad Pro, I first took a look at the Applications folder on my Mac, so I could grab equivalent iOS App Store offerings like Slack, Byword, Pixelmator, Tweetbot and Things. But then I took a look at my iPhone home screens, so I’d remember to grab my favourites from the mobile side, such as Kindle, My Fitness Pal, Spotify and Pocket Casts. It was cool to be able to log a snack or take a quick Instapaper break, and then get back to my writing and editing work, without having to switch devices. And I loved listening to podcasts or music while writing fullscreen, then just swiping up to Control Center for the playback buttons, always handy but tucked neatly out of sight. Still, everything in the paragraph above is just as possible on the smaller iPads than the nice, big, roomy iPad Pro. Apps on the Pro launch faster, which makes Split View


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feel more fluid, since you’re switching apps and flipping back and forth in a blink. But aside from Pencil support and overall speed, I’m hard-pressed to name a task I can do better on the iPad Pro than on the smaller (and more reasonably priced) iPads in the line-up.

IT’S LIGHT IN MY BAG, BUT BIG ON MY LAP Big as it is, the iPad Pro feels a lot lighter in my shoulder bag than the 13in MacBook Air I typically carry. Even with the Smart Keyboard, which bulks the iPad Pro up to 1kg, it’s a noticeable change from my 1.3kg, 13in MacBook Air. When working at a table, the iPad Pro doesn’t feel too large, but when I curl up in bed to watch Netflix or read Kindle books on it, it starts to feel a little unwieldy – I want to prop it up on pillows way on the other side of the bed, or I feel like I’m watching movies too close to the screen. The speakers are much improved, though, which does make a difference when using the iPad Pro as an entertainment device. Apple included four speakers, and the top two are used for treble while the bottom two are used for bass – no matter how you hold the tablet.

They sound good, loud enough to fill an average room with music even if you don’t have a Bluetooth speaker handy. Still, compared to using a laptop, the iPad Pro is just less comfortable all around. When sitting at a desk with the Smart Keyboard, I didn’t like how I couldn’t adjust the angle of the screen, or keep my hands in one relative position. (Reaching up to tap the screen feels awkward at first, but after about a day and a half, I found myself reaching up to tap the screen of my MacBook Air, instead of going for the trackpad). Battery life is excellent – starting a workday at 85 percent charged, I didn’t get the 10 percent warning until almost 4pm. I do wish the iPad had the Low Power Mode that I’ve been enjoying so much in iOS 9 for my iPhone, but that mode works by throttling some performance behind the scenes (stopping background app refreshes, slowing down the processor speed) and Apple may have felt these weren’t acceptable trade-offs to eke more power out of the iPad Pro. The tablet ships with a 12-watt USB power adapter for charging – both the battery life and the tiny universal charger are big points for the iPad Pro over a MacBook.

Bottom line. Apple offers multiple sizes of iPhones, laptops and iPods, so it makes total sense to expand the iPad line-up from two sizes to three, and with the Pencil, Apple’s given the 12.9in iPad a rightful claim on the name Pro. For me, it’s just not worth the considerable premium in price over an iPad Air 2 (which starts at $699 for 16GB) or my favourite model, the iPad mini 4 ($569). The Pencil is fabulous, but instead of shelling out $1249 for the entry-level (32GB, Wi-Fi only) iPad Pro and another $165 for the Pencil, I could get a maxed out 128GB iPad mini 4 with cellular for $989 and have plenty of money left for all the fancy pens and notebooks my heart desires. C

APPLE www.apple.com/au PROS Excellent battery life; Plenty of speed and power CONS Software keyboard bug $1249 (32GB WI-FI), $1499 (128GB WI-FI), $1699 (128GB WI-FI AND CELLULAR)


HELP

!

From Martyn Cox I read with interest the article on page 50 of the December issue ‘How to make a bootable OS X 10.11 El Capitan installer drive’. I have been using the methods described for the last three or four OS X releases. While I have had no issues I can appreciate how having to use the Terminal and the steps involved may be too daunting for some. I recently found a small app called Install Disk Creator from MacDaddy that reduces the process to three clicks of the mouse. Perhaps you might share this great little app with your readers. You can download the app from http://macdaddy.io. Thanks for the tip, Martyn.

Q EACH MONTH, STM gives a prize to the Macworld Australia reader who submits the best and most useful tip (undocumented tips preferred). This month’s prize is a comfortable and portable STM sequel small laptop shoulder bag worth $99.95. Your daily gear travels in sleek protective style. The sequel is the perfect, just the essentials bag for your 13in laptop, tablet, a couple of files, cords and chargers. Features: • main flap secured with light but durable brushed aluminium buckle with easy one-handed click-and-go design • laptop compartment lined with soft nylex and high-density foam to protect most 13in screens (will hold most laptops from 12 to 14in) • front zippered stealth pocket is lined and accessible without opening main flap – perfect for sunnies or a phone • dedicated tablet slip pocket with soft nylex lining • organisational front pocket for biz cards, pens, keys, etc • slip rear pocket for some reading material with quick drop phone pocket • luggage pass through secures the bag to the handle of your wheeled travel piece • padded, non-slip shoulder pad for a comfortable carry • quick cam-adjust shoulder strap for both cross body and shoulder carries, and • water resistant 320D brushed poly main c fabric with 640D reinforced bottom fabric www.stmbags.com.au

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BACKUPS AND CLOUD SYNCING

Recently I had a close scare with almost losing a lot of photos of my family. That day I decided to completely change my backup strategy – which, before the scare, was essentially ‘Keep important things on both my iMac and MacBook’. So I bought a 3TB Time Capsule, which is now doing its job. However, as we know, a good backup strategy means one version needs to be kept off-site. I explored options such as Carbonite and CrashPlan, but decided that since I pay for extra iCloud Storage, I would give that a go. So I copied roughly 32GB of photos to my iCloud Drive as ‘Photo Backup’ and I left my computer on for three days to do the upload. This brings my total iCloud Drive usage to around 50GB. I have found, however, that in the course of three days my download usage has been in excess of 150GB and not even looking like slowing down. Since I have got close to my 500GB cap now, I have deleted the photos off my iCloud Drive and have also turned off iCloud Drive on my iMac. It seems to have stopped the problem. Now, I could go to Carbonite, CrashPlan or even Dropbox, but was hoping iCloud Drive could be the solution. Is there a fix for this yet? Or am I doing something wrong? Kyle Bryant iCloud Drive isn’t really a backup solution – it’s more about syncing files, so you can share them across devices. The difference is subtle. Another option for off-site is to simply use an external hard drive and take it to a friend’s each week. Although it’s not real-time, combined with synching your most important files online (rather than everything) it’s a pretty good strategy. Perhaps you could reciprocate with a trusted friend, so you store their backup and they store yours? C

APRIL 2016 www.macworld.com.au

STM READER TIP

YOU CAN ASK THE MACWORLD AUSTRALIA TEAM ANY MAC- OR APPLE-RELATED QUESTIONS BY EMAILING EDITOR@MACWORLD.COM.AU. ANSWERS THIS MONTH BY GLENN FLEISHMAN.

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Monitors By Adam Turner

Dell UltraSharp U2515H A versatile monitor delivering a stunning picture, the Dell U2515H will appeal to those looking for plenty of high-end features. This 25in Dell monitor offers 2560 x 1440 resolution with a 16:9 aspect ratio, so it’s sharper than a 1080p Blu-ray movie, but not quite sharp enough to do Ultra HD content justice. It’s an IPS (In Plane Switching) LCD panel offering 350 cd/m2 brightness and an 8ms grey-to-grey response time. The result is a bright screen with vivid colours, wide viewing angles and deep blacks‚ making it a great choice for multimedia work or watching action movies. It’s a matte display with an anti-glare coating. You’ll find two HDMI video ports on the back which are MHL-compatible (Mobile High-Definition Link). The monitor also sports DisplayPort and mini-DisplayPort video connectors, along with a DisplayPort MST (Multi-Stream Transport) output for running multiple monitors. To round things off the monitor also features a five-port USB3.0 hub. This Dell lacks built-in speakers, but there is a 3.5mm lineout to take the audio through to external speakers. Dell offers an optional sound bar, which hangs from the bottom of the monitor. This monitor also comes with an extremely flexible stand. Along with turning the screen from side to side you can raise it, tilt it forward/back and even rotate it sideways. The monitor is also compatible with Dell’s optional MDS14 Dual Monitor Stand.

BenQ BL2420PT With a fantastic picture and plenty of video connectors, BenQ’s BL2420PT is designed for serious multimedia work. This 24in BenQ monitor offers 2560 x 1440 resolution with a 16:9 aspect ratio, so it’s sharper than 1080p Blu-ray. It relies on an IPS LCD panel offering 300 cd/m2 brightness and 5ms grey-to-grey response time. It’s also a matte display to keep down screen glare. This BenQ can hold its head high alongside the Dell when screening movies, although it isn’t quite as bright. The BenQ is designed with multimedia work in mind, featuring a CAD/ CAM Mode, which shows up fine detail in graphic designs. The BenQ’s strength is its range of video connectors from HDMI and DisplayPort to the older DVI-DL and D-Sub. You’ll also find built-in 1W stereo speakers, which play audio via HDMI and DisplayPort connections. They’ll suffice for everyday computing, but aren’t much to get excited about in terms of listening to music or watching movies. There’s a 3.5mm line-in on the back along with a headphones jack, plus the monitor features a two-port USB2.0 hub. Like the Dell, the BenQ comes with a very flexible stand. You can turn the screen left/right 45 degrees, adjust the height of the display (about 25mm higher than the Dell), tilt it forward/back and rotate it sideways to use it in portrait mode. The BenQ has a surprisingly chunky 16mm bezel, the thickest of the bunch, which may frustrate you if you’re looking to run multiple monitors side-by-side.

DELL www.dell.com.au PROS DisplayPort MST; USB3.0 hub

BENQ www.benq.com.au PROS Plenty of video connectors

CONS No built-in speakers; expensive

CONS Mediocre speakers

$549 (INC DELIVERY)

$399


OUTSTANDING

VERY GOOD

With a decent picture and reasonable built-in speakers, Asus’ VX24AH is aimed at those looking for an all-rounder for work and play. This 24in Asus monitor offers 2560 x 1440 resolution with a 16:9 aspect ratio, so it’s sharper than 1080p Blu-ray and offers 77 percent more workspace on the screen. It relies on an IPS LCD panel offering 300 cd/m2 brightness and 5ms grey-to-grey response time, with a matte finish. When it comes to video ports, you’ve only got two MHLcompatible HDMI ports and D-Sub. You’ll probably need a mini-DisplayPort to HDMI adapter to connect your Mac, but shop with care because some adapters only support up to 1920 x 1080. The monitor also lacks USB ports. On the plus side, you’ve got built-in downward-facing 2W stereo speakers, playing sound from HDMI devices or the 3.5mm audio line-in. They’re obviously no substitute for decent desktop speakers, but they may suffice if you’re looking for your computer workstation to double as an entertainment centre. There’s also a headphone jack on the back. Like all the IPS monitors in this bunch, the Asus offers wide 178-degree horizontal and vertical viewing angles, meaning the colour accuracy isn’t compromised if you’re looking at the screen on a bit of an angle. As for picture quality, it’s not bad, but fussy viewers will feel it falls short of the Dell and BenQ (perhaps not helped by the reliance on a mini-DisplayPort to HDMI adapter). The screen features an extra-thin 3.94mm bezel, which is useful if you want to use multiple monitors side-by-side. However, the stand is rather disappointing. It’s fixed at a surprisingly low height and your only adjustment option is to tilt it backwards. Ergonomically it’s best to have the top of the monitor at eye height, so you may end up sitting this monitor on telephone books.

UNACCEPTABLE

Samsung LS24E510CS With a curved screen and low motion blur, Samsung’s LS24E510CS is aimed at gamers looking to become immersed in the action. This 24in Samsung monitor is the odd one out in this bunch, because it only offers 1920 x 1080 resolution with a 16:9 aspect ratio. It’s a VA LCD panel, which can’t quite match the image quality of its IPS LCD rivals. The colours aren’t as vivid and the screen is also a little dimmer, only offering 250 cd/m2 brightness, but it still offers very wide viewing angles and has a matte finish to keep down glare. The strength of VA LCD is its faster response time than IPS LCD when switched to gaming mode. This Samsung offers 4ms grey-to-grey response time, which reduces image lag and motion blur, targeted at gamers playing first-person shooters who are primarily concerned about split-second timing. That said, serious gamers tend to prefer TN monitors. Samsung’s choice of VA LCD is a compromise intended to appease gamers without sacrificing too much on picture quality for multimedia fans. This monitor only features HDMI and D-Sub video ports on the back. There are no built-in speakers, but you’ve got a headphone jack. The screen’s curve is subtler than you may expect, only sticking out about 10mm further than the centre of the screen. It adds nothing to the viewing experience on a screen this small. Despite the curved screen, it features 100mm VESA points for mounting on a wall or monitor arm, like all the monitors in this bunch. The Samsung’s fixed-height stand sits about 30mm higher than the Asus; once again your only option is to tilt it backwards. C

ASUS www.asus.com

SAMSUNG www.samsung.com.au

PROS Built-in speakers

PROS Low motion blur

CONS Limited inputs

CONS No built-in speakers; limited inputs

$499

$469.95

45 APRIL 2016 www.macworld.com.au

ASUS VX24AH

FLAWED

GOOD


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opening and closing of the LockSmart is logged, so you know who opened the lock and when. As well as letting you unlock the LockSmart by tapping on the screen, the app also allows you to use Touch ID or a passcode to unlock the LockSmart if you want to add some extra security. The app also integrates with the iPhone’s notification system so you can be alerted when the battery level is low – although you won’t see too many of those notifications as the battery is rated for up to two years or 3000 opens. One of the applications I saw for the LockSmart was being able to remotely unlock secured locations without having to fumble around looking for keys. One of the challenges, however, is the need to press the power button under the rubber cover. Although it’s not a massive inconvenience a lot of the time – pressing on the cover will activate it – it is annoying finding the button in the dark. Also, the size of the LockSmart limits its usefulness. The 8mm shackle is quite large and the 388g weight quite hefty. So, while it’s great for locking up a shed, it’s not suitable for smaller applications such as letterboxes.

LockSmart Keyless Bluetooth Padlock

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he humble padlock, first invented almost 2000 years ago, has barely changed. A key on the bottom, a solid metal shackle and a strong body have been the recipe for security for a long time. But that doesn’t mean this guardian of our gear isn’t ripe for a technological facelift. Dog & Bone has taken this ageold protector and added a wireless twist to create the LockSmart Keyless Bluetooth Padlock. At first glance, the LockSmart looks like almost any other padlock, albeit a slightly more stylish one. The polished zinc alloy body safely houses the electronic and mechanical components within. The shackle is made of 8mm stainless steel. There’s a rubber cover over the USB port that’s used to recharge the LockSmart. That also covers a small button that can be used to initiate the pairing process and indicate the battery status via a small LED on the LockSmart’s face. LockSmart’s boast is that its padlock isn’t just weather resistant – it’s weatherproof. So rain, hail, snow

and sunshine are not a problem, with a working temperature rating of between -20 Celsius and 70 Celsius. Although, there’s a fair bet your fingers will get burned if you’re opening it on a hot summer’s day. The LockSmart, despite its technical sophistication, is very easy to use. In order to use the LockSmart, you’ll need to install an app to your iPhone or Android smartphone and create a user account. Once that’s done, you use the LockSmart app to connect to the lock. The app lets you control several LockSmart devices. You can name each one, as well as include an image to make different locks easy to identify. For example, if you have a LockSmart on your shed and another on the gate, you can shoot a picture of each and include it on each lock’s profile. As well as being able to control multiple locks from one instance of the app, the LockSmart can be shared to multiple users – overcoming the old ‘who has the keys for the lock’ problem many households face. Each

Bottom line. As well as the obvious domestic applications, tradies will find the LockSmart useful. A site manager could lock sheds and allocate access to specific people and tradespeople can lock their vans and trailers easily. In short, the LockSmart is a great example of how technology can improve an old product. C

– ANTHONY CARUANA DOG & BONE www.dogandbonecases.com PROS Battery life; secure; easy to use CONS Only one size $125


REVIEWS

47 APRIL 2016 www.macworld.com.au

R2000DB speakers

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ne of the most strongly contested market segments in consumer electronics is speakers. And, over the years, the quality you can get for your money has leapt forward. So, it takes a lot for a speaker to stand out. In the past, Edifier used some very creative design to create speakers that sound great and appeal to those looking for speakers that make a design statement. The R2000DB stereo speakers look like basic black bookcase speakers, but they pack a lot of bang for your buck into their 174 × 289 × 252mm MDF wooden bodies. The right speaker contains all the smarts. As well as holding the power supply for the speakers, the volume, bass and treble controls are at the back of the unit. There are two RCA inputs and an optical input making these a good choice for many applications such as home audio, home theatre and even accompanying your desktop Mac. The two speakers are connected by another cable. Complementing all those wired options is Bluetooth making the R2000DB very flexible. And you won’t need to make a trip to the store for extra cables as Edifier supplies all the cables you’ll need, including RCA to 3.5mm cables to make it easy to connect almost any playback device.

Music playback is sensational. I tested Edifier’s R1700BT last month and thought they had great sound for the money. But the R2000DB speakers are even better. My standard speaker testing regimen involves listening to many different musical genres by both cabled and wireless connections. When I test some speakers, I run through a track or two of each genre to get a feel for the sound. But with the R2000DBs I didn’t want the testing to stop. I listened to a lot of music, including classical, rock and jazz, and could identify almost every instrument. I must be a bit of an old fogey, but I’m not a fan of the modern trend for speakers and headphones to play up the bass. The R2000DB speakers deliver solid, but not overwhelming, bass. Edifier has chosen newly developed 25mm silk dome ‘Eagle Eye’ tweeters and 13.3cm full range units to push the sound out. Even with the volume pushed up, there was no noticeable distortion as Edifier uses Digital Signal Processing (DSP) and Dynamic Range Control (DRC) to limit distortion. Depending on your preference, you can either leave the front of the speakers exposed or covered by a fabric grille that can be easily put on or removed. Although I wouldn’t use the R2000DBs for a large room filled with

people at a party, they are a great fit for a lounge room, bedroom or office environment. I’d also rate them as worth considering for gamers. Although the R2000DBs look great, they do have one functional annoyance. All of the controls are on the back of the right speaker. Assuming you place the speakers on a shelf, that makes adjusting the bass, treble and volume rather annoying. There is a remote control for changing the volume and switching between inputs, but bass and treble remain tricky. I’d also have liked Play/Pause and Forward/Back controls on the remote control. Bottom line. At this price point, buyers have a lot of choices when it comes to speakers. Edifier’s R2000DBs deliver great sound that will fulfil the needs of many different users. They’re a good fit for home theatre, gaming and music lovers. C

– ANTHONY CARUANA

EDIFIER www.edifier.com/au PROS Exceptional sound; connectivity CONS Position of control knobs $369.95


48

REVIEWS

Pressing the power button toggles between several different flashing patterns. While out riding, the RDU provided a visual indication of vehicles approaching me from behind. Once a car came into range of the sensor and a dot moved along the indicator showing its proximity. When more than one car approached, several dots appeared. This was particularly handy on busy roads when I wasn’t sure of what was behind me and I needed to move around parked cars. Although I don’t wear headphones while riding, it’s not always easy to hear approaching cars. Hybrids, especially, are very quiet. One thing I found a little annoying when I was riding was that parked cars were sometimes detected as I passed them. While riding along a major thoroughfare with a wide service road, I stayed in the service road and the adjacent parked cars sometimes appeared on the RDU. It wasn’t a major issue, however. Interestingly, Garmin is adding to the Varia range with its new Vision, a heads-up display that attaches to almost any pair of sunglasses and can receive data from the RTL-500 and other sensor devices such as heart rate monitors, GPS units and cadence monitors.

Garmin Varia Rearview Radar Bundle

F

or many cyclists and runners, Garmin is the go-to brand when it comes to tracking and monitoring accessories. I’ve tested several Garmin accessories in the past, but this is the first cyclingspecific accessory I’ve looked at. The Varia Rearview Radar Bundle brings together two pieces of equipment – the Varia RDU (Radar Display Unit) and the RTL-500 radar taillight. The taillight unit, as well as improving my visibility to vehicles, has a radar unit that warns me of vehicles approaching from behind. As cars approach, an indicator flashes on the RDU. This gives me warning of vehicles as they get closer from a range of about 140 metres. This is important. According to research carried out by Monash University, looking at national data, about 20 percent of bicycle incidents are caused by vehicles travelling in the same direction as the cyclist. So, being aware of the vehicles behind you is important for cyclists.

I installed the two components on my hybrid bike, which I use on light trails and on the road. For the purpose of testing, I used the Varia Radar Bundle while riding on the road. Installation of the taillight was straightforward. Garmin provides a couple of different mounting options. I chose the seat post bracket, which comes with inserts to accommodate different post diameters. Once the bracket was in place, the RTL-500 can be easily removed and put away. The RDU can be installed to either the handlebars or gooseneck of your bike. I installed it to the gooseneck using the mounting plate that is attached using rubber rings. Initially, I was concerned that this wouldn’t be very secure, but it was very secure. Like the taillight unit, the RDU can be easily removed so that I could secure it when I parked my bike. The RTL-500 can also integrate with other Garmin cycling computers. The rear taillight unit offers several different options for the array of LEDs.

Bottom line. For cyclists, safety is of paramount concern. And knowing what’s around you is critical. The Garmin Varia Rearview Radar Bundle offers riders a tool to assist them with riding safely and having greater awareness of road conditions. C

– ANTHONY CARUANA

GARMIN www.garmin.com.au PROS Makes riding safer; easy to install and use CONS Occasional false positives with parked cars $389


REVIEWS

49 APRIL 2016 www.macworld.com.au

RE6700 AC1200 AMPLIFY Dual-Band Wi-Fi Range Extender

N

ot every home is a good candidate for coverage by a single Wi-Fi-enabled router or access point. In some cases, your router, because of where you installed your inbound internet connection, will be poorly placed to deliver optimal coverage. Or the construction of your home means the wireless signal can’t pass through some areas easily. In particular, an extender installed to a power outlet near the backyard can extend your wireless network outdoors without the need for extra wiring. The Linksys RE6700 AC1200 AMPLIFY Dual-Band Wi-Fi Range Extender picks up a wireless signal from an access point and rebroadcasts it back to the main router, acting as a relay point for your wireless LAN. I installed the RE6700 in my home. The unit plugs into a regular power outlet. It’s the size of a large power supply and has two antennae, one on each side. The unit is quite bulky and makes it hard to access the second outlet on a standard double power point. However, it has another outlet on its face so you don’t lose access to the outlet it’s plugged into. Setup was very easy. Once the RE6700 was plugged in, it created a wireless network for configuration. I connected my iPhone to that access point and browsed to http://extender. linksys.com. From that point, it was

simply a matter of following the instructions to connect the RE6700 to my existing network. Interestingly, Linksys’ advice is to give the extended network a different name to the main wireless network. By default, the configuration process added ‘_Ext’ as a suffix to my main network’s name so I can tell whether I’m connecting to the main network or the the extended one. There’s no need to do this unless you need to know to which access point you’re connecting. The setup process not only configures the RE6700, but also helps you place it in the best location so that you get the best possible performance. Equipped with 2.4GHz and 5GHz radios, the RE6700 delivers up to 300Mbps of throughput. I used the RE6700 with a Mac mini to stream video, transfer files and connect to my NAS for Time Machine backups. In testing some file transfers across my network, I used a MacBook Pro and copied a 500MB file from the MacBook Pro to my NAS. The initial copy, using my regular network equipped with a Telstra-suppled Netgear modem/router, saw the file arrive in about two minutes or around 33Mbps. The same copy, using the RE6700 took closer to three and a half minutes or 19Mbps. Those numbers are dependent on both the

network and the NAS – the RE6700 is likely performing well in excess of those numbers, but the test is being throttled by the NAS. That’s quite a significant difference, but given the choice between a slower network and no network, I’d take slower. For those on ADSL connections, it’s unlikely you’d notice the difference when using your internet connection, as very few ADSL connections operate in excess of 19Mbps in the real world. It is likely, however, that large file transfers within the network would be impacted by the RE6700. As a bonus, there’s a headphone jack on the RE6700, so you can use it with a set of speakers to AirPlay music in your home. The RE6700 AC1200 AMPLIFY Dual-Band Wi-Fi Range Extender is easy to set up, less expensive than adding wired access points to your home and delivers on its promise of extending your wireless LAN.

– ANTHONY CARUANA

LINKSYS www.linksys.com.au PROS Easy setup, AirPlay support CONS Performance, bulky $189.95


50

REVIEWS

Steve Jobs

W

hat, I hear you ask, didn’t we just see a film about Steve Jobs a couple of years ago? Well, yes, we did and even more confusingly they both were at least a little inspired by Walter Isaacson’s best selling biography of the Apple founder. But the two films are very different, Jobs was made in 2013, starred Ashton Kutcher and was a fairly straightforward TV movie-style. Steve Jobs has a much more formidable pedigree. It was written by Aaron Sorkin, who has form in this department, having already won an Oscar for his screenplay about Mark Zuckerberg and the beginning of Facebook in The Social Network, but is also famous for films like A Few Good Men and The American President, as well as TV shows like The West Wing. And what all those titles will tell you right away is that Sorkin likes to write dialogue. It’s his forte and he’s certainly let all of his creative juices flow in this direction on Steve Jobs. The film was directed by Danny Boyle, best known for being the opposite of Sorkin, in that he seems to be totally unpredictable in his project choices. His films range from the anarchic Trainspotting via the superior zombie flick 28 Days Later, to the sci fi Sunshine and the Oscar-winning Indian feel good hit of 2008, Slumdog Millionaire. The cast too is a classier affair, with Michael Fassbender in typically intense and focused form as the titular IT visionary. And Kate Winslet as his marketing guru Joanna Hoffman. The supporting cast includes Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels and Sarah Snook, the Australian actor who seemed to be in just about every local production last year from Oddball to The Dressmaker and TV’s The Beautiful Lie, but appears here in her first American role.

So what’s the result? Did we need another retelling of the Jobs story? Don’t we all know by now that the man lauded and worshipped by millions for introducing the world to the iPod and iPhone was also a dreadful bully who refused to acknowledge his own daughter for many years and could terrorise staff he thought were underperforming, as well as lionise them if he thought they could cut the mustard. Driven and dastardly, or inspiring and insensitive in equal measure? The answer is a qualified yes. And for a start, the performances are infinitely superior to the first Jobs biopic. It’s not that Kutcher didn’t give it a red hot go, but you could see how hard he was working and how much study he’d done every moment that he was on screen. Fassbender, being a more naturally gifted actor, simply melts into the role, so that you forget to watch the tics and mannerisms and concentrate instead on his speeches and actions. What’s interesting about Sorkin’s screenplay is that it is both more filmic and less so than its immediate predecessor. I say more because instead of a conventional linear structure, it is a very specific three-act affair, each act comprising the half hour or so before one of Jobs’ major product launches – the Macintosh computer, the NeXTcube computer and the iMac. In between there are linking sequences explaining a little of how we have travelled from one event to the next, but in the main Sorkin uses these three acts to examine the man, his relationship with Apple and his colleagues and, particularly, his relationship with his daughter Lisa – who goes from a young ignored child to a college aged young woman, frequently at loggerheads with her father.

This structure gives the film space to explore motivation, character and consequences in a way that a linear biopic would struggle to do. And this is where the film is most successful. Conversely though, it also means that the film could work equally as well as a stage play. Like so much of Sorkin’s work, it’s largely composed of conversations, or more likely heated debates and arguments. It’s mostly set backstage somewhere and requires very little external photography. If you don’t know a huge amount about the man who made the cover of Time magazine at least eight times before succumbing to pancreatic cancer in October 2011 at the age of 56, this will certainly leave you a little wiser. C

– MADELEINE SWAIN

STEVE JOBS WRITER Aaron Sorkin DIRECTOR Danny Boyle STARS Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels M, 122 MINUTES


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