Tag Archive for ‘TidBITS’

One Switch, a Must-Have Mac Utility ➝

Josh Centers, writing for TidBits:

We’ve seen many narrowly focused menu bar apps that turn features on or off, like Amphetamine to keep your Mac awake, but One Switch promised to do so much more that I installed it immediately. It was everything I had hoped for.

I’ve been using One Switch since I first heard about it a handful of months ago. It’s a great little utility app and I use it all the time.

➝ Source: tidbits.com

Why Is the Apple TV Constantly Advertising to Us? ➝

Josh Centers, writing for TidBits:

The Apple TV app on the Apple TV is currently the bane of my existence. In theory, it should be a tidy way to manage everything you watch, bringing together content from Apple, Disney+, HBO, Hulu, and other streaming services (but still not Netflix, for some reason), plus live news and even sports. It sort of does that, but over time, Apple has started using the app to push the company’s own paid content, especially its Apple TV+ service.

Josh explains how to adjust the TV app’s settings to display your up next list in the top shelf instead of recommendations. This is an absolutely essential change — everyone that owns an Apple TV should have it set that way. It helps to mitigate some of the frustration with Apple promoting content that you may or may not have access to from within the Apple TV app itself. You can simply launch directly into your content from the top shelf extension. But I still wish you had the option to limit the media in the Apple TV app to only show what you already pay for. I don’t expect that will ever be added, though.

It’s becoming clear that Apple is more than happy promoting their services through apps like Apple TV. And because of this, I’ve slowly moved away from using Apple’s apps and services toward alternatives. For most of my TV and movie viewing, I use Infuse, which streams content from my Plex library. That library is populated with ripped DVDs, Blu-rays, iTunes content that I’ve stripped the DRM from, and media I’ve recording using Plex’s DVR functionality. It’s a much nicer setup and I don’t have to worry about whether or not I’ll need to pay in order to watch something listed.

I still pay for Hulu and Disney+, but I’m watching less and less there. I sort of hope I can eventually reallocate the money I currently spend on streaming services toward purchasing media instead. Canceling these recurring charges would feel pretty freeing and I have a hunch I will end up saving money in the long run — especially since I tend to rewatch the same dozen or so TV shows most of the time.

➝ Source: tidbits.com

The Few Remaining Uses of the Word ‘Macintosh’ ➝

Adam Engst points out the three remaining uses of the word Macintosh from Apple — the default name of each Mac’s boot drive, within the about screen for Finder, and on the back of the iMac’s retail box.

Apple hasn’t really used the term “Macintosh” in any meaningful way during my time using their products (since roughly 2004). But it is a great name and I would love to see Apple use it again. Imagine them introducing a new desktop Mac that sits between the Mac Mini and the Mac Pro with the name “Macintosh”. That would be neat.

➝ Source: tidbits.com

The Dark Side of Dark Mode ➝

Adam Engst, writing for TidBits, in reference to a 2013 paper by Piepenbrock, Mayr, Mund, and Buchner in the journal Ergonomics:

To summarize, a dark-on-light (positive polarity) display like a Mac in Light Mode provides better performance in focusing of the eye, identifying letters, transcribing letters, text comprehension, reading speed, and proofreading performance, and at least some older studies suggest that using a positive polarity display results in less visual fatigue and increased visual comfort.

I’ve never been a fan of dark mode and don’t understand its recent popularity. Whenever I give it a try, I find text harder to read, interfaces more difficult to navigate, and I feel like it’s more tiring to actually use. And I’m glad there’s some amount of evidence to support my impressions.

Disable Find My Mac by Resetting NVRAM ➝

Adam Engst, writing for TidBits:

In essence, Apple stores the Find My Mac data in NVRAM, which is good for keeping it around even if the hard drive is removed, but bad in the sense that it’s easy to reset NVRAM — just restart while holding down Command-Option-P-R. A quick test confirmed the problem in OS X 10.11 El Capitan, and nothing has changed in the public beta of macOS 10.12 Sierra.

The only way to prevent this is to set a firmware password.

Previously Downloaded OS X Installers No Longer Work ➝

Josh Centers, writing for TidBits:

The Apple Worldwide Developer Relations Intermediate Certificate is required for all apps in the Mac App Store, including OS X installers. When used to sign an app, the certificate enables OS X to confirm that the app has not been corrupted or modified by an attacker. This certificate expired on 14 February 2016, causing error dialogs and preventing some apps from launching. Most apps affected have already been updated with the new certificate. But if you downloaded an OS X installer in case of trouble, you may be in for a surprise the next time you try to use it.

How to Stream Super Bowl 50 on Your Apple Devices ➝

Josh Centers, writing for TidBits:

Super Bowl 50 (yes, 50 and not L, because the NFL has switched from Roman to Arabic numerals) will take place 7 February 2016 at 6:30 PM EST. If you want to watch the showdown between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos, but don’t have traditional TV service, the good news is that CBS will be streaming the game for free to viewers in the United States.

I don’t watch much football, but if I myself with some free time on Sunday night, I might check in on the game with the CBS Sports app for Apple TV.

The iPad as a Blank Slate

Back in January I wrote this piece about the yet-to-be-announced iPad. I was trying explain why everyone was so excited about the iPad, the following bit sums up the point of the piece:

people are interested in the tablet because it is literally a clean slate (pardon the pun). The tablet isn’t about the hardware, it’s about the software — a new way of computing — done right this time (not like Microsoft’s tablet initiatives). After countless rumors about the display, the technical specs, whether or not it will have a webcam, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is the software — how we will interact with the device in new ways.

Adam Engst continues this thought in one of his recent articles on TidBITS. Where my piece focused on why we were excited about the iPad, his spends time talking about why people would want to buy one.

Here’s my favorite part of his article:

No matter what you do on a Mac, the keyboard and mouse and window-based operating system make it impossible to ignore the fact that you’re using a Mac, and it’s often equally impossible to ignore the fact that you’re using a particular program. In contrast, the iPad becomes the app you’re using. That’s part of the magic. The hardware is so understated – it’s just a screen, really – and because you manipulate objects and interface elements so smoothly and directly on the screen, the fact that you’re using an iPad falls away. You’re using the app, whatever it may be, and while you’re doing so, the iPad is that app.

As much as the criticizers want to call the iPad a device for grandmothers they really need to re-think that concept. The iPad isn’t for grandmothers (although I’m sure many of them would be incredibly happy with one), it’s for anyone who wants an easier simpler way to interact with their stuff. So much of our lives are stored on computers and current desktop operating systems seem to do everything in their power to make it difficult to do anything.

And, as stable as my MacBook and iMac are, the iPhone is still the most stable computer I’ve ever used, not a single app has crashed on me in the past six months and I can’t even remember the last time I rebooted it. On the desktop side of things I reboot my computers at least once a day and applications quit unexpectedly about 4-5 times per week. As low as that may seem it is still 4-5 times more than I’d like it to be.

I still haven’t had the opportunity to use an iPad (I ordered mine on day one but chose to pre-order the 3G version), but Adam reminds us all that the most important aspect of the iPad is it’s ability to get out of your way when you try to do things on it. It doesn’t matter what application your running, when it’s open, the iPad becomes that app.