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Jan 05
iDevices introduces HomeKit-enabled connected plug

iDevices has announced an Apple HomeKit-enabled product: the iDevices Switch (http://idevicesinc.com/switch/). This Bluetooth Smart and Wi-Fi compatible connected plug is set to start shipping during the first half of 2015.

Through a free iDevices Connected app, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users can control, monitor and schedule products around the house with the iDevices Switch. Hundreds of appliances such as lamps, fans, humidifiers, Christmas lights and stereos can be intelligently managed through the device.

The iDevices Switch plugs directly into an electrical outlet, and connects to a home’s Wi-Fi network. Once you download the iDevices Connected app from the iTunes Store, you can instantly control any product you have plugged into the Switch through an iOS device.

The iDevices Switch doesn't require an external hub or subscription fee. Switch’s HomeKit integration...

| Read more »
Jan 05
New Philips 34-inch curved display unveiled at CES

EPI (www.lcdmonitors.philips.com) has announced the 34-inch Philips Brilliance Curved UltraWide LCD Display, an UltraWide screen "with a gentle curve provides a pleasant yet subtle immersion effect, which focuses on you at the center of your desk."

The arc and UltraWide QHD 3440 x 1440 resolution and Panoramic 21:9 cinematic aspect ratio are designed to envelop users who seek a "natural" media viewing experience, according to EPI. The display also features built-in stereo speakers and MultiView technology.

The 34” Brilliance Curved UltraWide LCD Display has a 21:9 panoramic aspect ratio with over one billion color depth, as well as an UltraWide Quad HD 3440 x 1440 resolution. The super widescreen makes the display ideal for viewing spreadsheets, editing multiple documents and running several programs at once. Additionally, the monitor’s MultiView technology enables active dual connect...

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Jan 05
OWC releases Mercury Helios PCIe Thunderbolt Expansion Chassis

Other World Computing (OWC) says the OWC Mercury Helios PCIe Thunderbolt Expansion Chassis (http://tinyurl.com/9l6j2yv) has been updated with Thunderbolt 2 technology. The newly updated Helios handles throughputs of up to 20Gb/s, bringing Thunderbolt 2 technology to the original Mercury Helios' throughput of up to 10Gb/s.

OWC’s Mercury Helios PCIe Expansion Chassis is a solution for using half-length professional-level PCIe 2.0 cards with Apple’s entire line of Thunderbolt enabled Macs that do not have PCIe slots due to size or design limitations. It's bootable with AHCI-compliant cards and can daisy-chain up to five additional Thunderbolt devices. Types of PCIe cards Helios can use include: Fibre Channel, 10GB Ethernet, RAID controller, video capture, digital audio, solid state drives, SAS controllers such as the OWC Jupiter, as well as FireWire, USB 3.0, eSATA host adapter cards.
 
The...

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Jan 05
Levitating backpack floats onto the scene at CES 2015

STM (www.stmbags.com) is showcasing its The Drifter "levitating backpack" at this week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. It conceals two floating sleeves crafted for holding a laptop and tablet safely.

If the Drifter is dropped, the floating electronics pockets will remain safely suspended inches above the ground, says Adam Ziegelman, vice president of STM. It's constructed with water resistant fabric for the main body and reinforced bottom fabric.

The top loading design of the Drifter makes the bag easy to navigate through without dumping out all of the contents, says Ziegelman. The Drifter is 18 liters in volume and features an array of pockets, including a compression pocket on the side for quick water bottle storage and a zipped pocket on the opposite side.

At the bottom of the bag a pocket holds a form-fitted rainfly intended to go over the bag for additional water protection. The...

| Read more »
Jan 05
Survival Skills Guide launched for Mac OS X Yosemite

A new Survival Skills Guide (http://www.macsupportstore.com) for Mac OS X Yosemite has been launched online in eBook format. It's written by Jeff Graber of The Mac Support Store.

Yosemite is the 11th major release of OS X and can be downloaded from Mac App Store for free. Although it has special features, "there are many potentially disastrous technical issues" in the new operating system, says Graber.

He adds this is why the Mac Support store has released an eBook guide that helps resolve Yosemite issues. In this book, users can learn, in depth, about common problems faced upon their installation, as well as usage of the new operating system, and ways on how to easily resolve these problems.

The ebook discusses the possible Wi-Fi and Bluetooth problems that may arise when the OS is used and ways on how to resolve them. Other OS problems discussed on the eBook include: email...

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Jan 05
Mad Catz' new headset is a F.R.E.Q

Mad Catz Interactive is shipping the F.R.E.Q. Wireless Surround Headset, a gaming headset compatible with practically any audio source including Macs, PCs, game consoles, mobile and smart devices. It allows gamers to enjoy expansive wireless surround sound via AM3D Audio technology. 

 
The F.R.E.Q. features a discrete integrated mic that allows gamers to communicate online, as well as use the headset with smart phones, tablets and more, all without the need of a boom mic obstructing their movement. With no need for a boom mic to be attached, gamers can stay connected with multiple devices and enjoy the headset in a variety of situations.
 
The F.R.E.Q. features Bluetooth technology and can connect to practically any audio source thanks to the adapter box that connects to a standard digital optical or analogue source, transmitting wireless audio directly to the headset.

The F.R.E.Q is available for pre-order for US$299.99 at...

| Read more »
Jan 05
LaCie announces Rugged RAID drive

LaCie (www.lacie.com) has announced the US$449.99 Rugged RAID, the latest product to join its line of Rugged mobile hard drives. It features twice the speed and capacity of a standard mobile hard drive.

According to the folks at LaCie, the Rugged RAID is also the only product in its class to feature hardware RAID 0 and 1, which lets professionals optimize the product for speed or data security according to their workflow – and use it on any Mac or PC. It features Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 along with two internal hard drives that are preconfigured in hardware RAID 0 for sustained performance of up to 240 MB/s.

The LaCie Rugged addresses sports 4TB in a compact footprint. It features RAID 1 (mirrored mode), which is where the data is duplicated across the two drives.

| Read more »
Jan 05
Seagate launches 'world's slimmest portable hard drive...

Seagate (www.seagate.com) has launched what it says is the "world's slimmest" portable hard drive: the Seagate Seven. It's a 500GB drive with a 7mm depth.

According to Mark Whitby, senior vice president of Seagate Branded Group, the company leveraged the latest of the company’s drive technologies and manufacturing processes to create the drive.  The deep draw process allows for the all steel enclosure to be shaped in a method that the material could not be any thinner and still hold the structural integrity needed to perform as an external portable storage device, he says.

The steel encasing also provides a rigidity, which allows for the incredibly thin design to be functional. The low profile motor technologies used in the bare drive are designed to include extreme Gyro handling capabilities with tablets and thin computing in mind.  This is a true benefit when considering that Seagate Seven is a storage...

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Jan 05
LaCie rolls out Mirror drive

LaCie (www.lacie.com) has released the US$280 Mirror, a portable hard drive wholly encased in scratch resistant Corning Gorilla Glass. It's designed to be both a functional 1TB hard drive with an USB 3.0 interface and a striking piece of decor.

The LaCie Mirror hard drive sits in its base made of a single piece of ebony wood from Makassar. It's been designed in collaboration with the acclaimed French designer, Pauline Deltour.

| Read more »
Jan 05
WD to demo world's fastest 4 TB Hybrid Drive at Storage...

WD (www.wd.com) is demonstrating what it says is "the world's fastest 4 TB hybrid drive" at the SATA-IO booth at Storage Visions 2015.

WD's prototype drive utilizes the SATA Express PCI-e interface, 4 TB 3.5-inch hybrid hard drive, and up to 128 GB solid state drive. The two WD SATA Express interface demonstrations at Storage Visions 2015 will include commercially available motherboards from WD partners ASRock and Gigabyte. These systems will demonstrate cabled SATA Express PCI-e interconnect flexibility and configuration options for single-volume caching and RAID.

Heavy desktop usage scenarios will benefit from larger cache sizes (64 GB will be demonstrated) by enabling retention of key hot data across multiple applications, which improves overall performance, says Matt Rutledge, senior vice president, Storage Technology, WD. In WD's labs, WD's SATA Express 4 TB drive with 64 GB cache achieved a PCMark8 benchmark...

| Read more »
Jan 04
LaCie announces Rugged RAID drive

LaCie (www.lacie.com) has announced the US$449.99 Rugged RAID, the latest product to join its line of Rugged mobile hard drives. It features twice the speed and capacity of a standard mobile hard drive.

According to the folks at LaCie, the Rugged RAID is also the only product in its class to feature hardware RAID 0 and 1, which lets professionals optimize the product for speed or data security according to their workflow – and use it on any Mac or PC. It features Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 along with two internal hard drives that are preconfigured in hardware RAID 0 for sustained performance of up to 240 MB/s.

The LaCie Rugged addresses sports 4TB in a compact footprint. It features RAID 1 (mirrored mode), which is where the data is duplicated across the two drives.

| Read more »
Jan 02
New hacking tool evades Apple's iCloud password protection

A new tool submitted to GitHub (www.github.com), a a web-based Git repository hosting service, claims to be able to perform password dictionary attacks on any iCloud account, seemingly able to evade detection from Apple’s rate-limiting security that is supposed to prevent such dictionary attacks from happening, reports "9to5Mac" (http://tinyurl.com/pqj3qkf).

The source code for the tool has been released onto GitHub. It tries every possible word in its 500-long word-list as the password for a given iCloud account email. This means while it will succeed "100%" at trying 500 times over, the tool is by no means guaranteed to succeed at cracking your password, notes "9to5Mac."

According to Apple: "iCloud secures your data by encrypting it when it's sent over the Internet, storing it in an encrypted format when kept on server (review the...

| Read more »
Jan 02
Microspot releases Limited Edition MacDraft package

Microspot is celebrating their 50th anniversary by announcing the 50th anniversary limited edition package of MacDraft Professional, their 2D drafting, design and illustration software.

This limited edition pack brings together the power of MacDraft Pro 6.1.1, seven vector symbol libraries plus lots of exclusive merchandise all in one limited edition pack that's Mac OS X Yosemite compatible.

The Microspot MacDraft Limited Edition Package is available only from the Microspot web store (http://www.microspot.com). It has a retail price of US$499. There are also various upgrade options available from the website.

| Read more »
Jan 01
Happy New Year

Happy NewYear greetings to all our readers and advertisers. MacTech will be "closed" today and will reopen for business as usual on Friday, Jan. 2.

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Dec 31
The Big Apple may use Apple Pay for parking tickets

The city of New York’s finance department is looking into alternative payment methods like Apple Pay, PayPal and Bitcoin for the US$600 million in parking ticket revenue it collects annually by issuing up to 10 million tickets, reports "MarketWatch" (http://tinyurl.com/mvtlo34).

Drivers currently pay for tickets online, via mail or in person at the courthouse. However, the online system is not mobile friendly and credit and debit card payments are subject to a 2.5% convenience fee. The city told "MarketWatcH" that offering mobile options might help cut down on the fines it racks up each year from base fines and penalties on unpaid violations.

Apple announced Apple Pay in September, describing it as “a new category of service designed to transform mobile payments with an easy, secure and private way to pay.” It works with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus through a NFC antenna design, a dedicated...

| Read more »
Dec 31
Bankrupt GT Advanced Tech wants to give key employees bonuses

Former Apple supplier, GT Advanced Technologies, is asking a bankruptcy court for permission to give "executive bonuses" of up to $2 million to help motivate and retain "key" employees, according to AppleInsider (www.appleinsider.com).

In October GT Advanced Tech, Apple’s partner in a sapphire production facility in Arizona, together with certain of its direct and indirect subsidiaries (collectively, GT), commenced voluntary cases under chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Hampshire.

That same month it was announced that GT Advanced and Apple had reached a settlement agreement under which GT will wind down its sapphire materials production in the company’s Mesa, AZ and Salem, MA locations. The company indicated that it will exit from the market as a producer of sapphire materials and will refocus its business as an equipment supplier,...

| Read more »
Dec 31
Judge dismisses proposed employee lawsuits against Apple

Citing a recent Supreme Court ruling, a federal court judge has dismissed a pair of proposed class action lawsuits against Apple by some retail employees, who argued the company's anti-theft policies incurred lost wages, reports AppleInsider (www.appleinsider.com). Alsop's ruling hinges on a unanimous Supreme Court decision (PDF link) regarding a similar situation involving employee security checks and overtime pay.

In 2013, former employees at Apple stores in New York and Los Angelesfiled a class action suit, claiming the iPhone maker required them to stand in line for up to 30 minutes every shift and wait for a manager to search their bags. According to the complaint filed in San Francisco federal court, the searches result in Apple workers being deprived of around US$1,500 a year in unpaid wages.

The lawsuit was filed by Amanda Frlekin who worked at Apple’s Century City store in Los Angeles...

| Read more »
Dec 30
'Thunderstrike' hack can affect Mac firmware

A security researcher speaking at the Chaos Computer Congress in Hamburg demonstrated a hack that rewrites an Intel Mac's firmware using a Thunderbolt device with attack code in an option ROM, reports 9to5Mac (www.9to5Mac.com).

Known as "Thunderstrike," the proof of concept (http://tinyurl.com/nla6jqt), infects the Apple Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) in a way he claims can't be detected, nor removed by reinstalling Mac OS X. According to researcher Trammel Hudson, it's a "a vulnerability that allows the installation of persistent firmware modifications into the EFI boot ROM of Apple's popular MacBooks. The bootkit can be easily installed by an evil-maid via the externally accessible Thunderbolt ports and can survive reinstallation of OSX as well as hard drive replacements. Once installed, it can prevent software attempts to remove it...

| Read more »
Dec 30
Apple to save historic barn on 'spaceship campus' site

Apple has set aside a place on its "spaceship" campus for the Glendenning Barn, named for a pioneer family whose land "became a magnet for tech companies after the blooms faded from their orchards," reports the Mercury News (mercurynews.com).

In the years before his death in 2011, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs decided that he wanted to tear up the husk of Hewlett-Packard and bring the land back to its roots, when it was known as the Valley of Heart's Delight for all its orchards and flowering trees, the article adds. When finished, the 175-acre site off Wolfe and Homestead roads in Cupertino will be transformed from 80% asphalt and concrete to 80% greenery and open space.

The upcoming campus, which will supplement and not replace Apple’s current headquarters at 1 Infinite Loop, was a pet project of the late Jobs. It’s a four-story, 2.8 million square foot building to be built on land formerly occupied by Hewlett Packard’s campus. Originally slated to accommodate 6,000...

| Read more »
Dec 30
Chevron to roll out Apple Pay support next year

Chevron Oil has plans to expand its use of Apple Pay to gas pumps in the new year, according to a tweet the company sent out to a customer Monday — as noted by MacRumors (www.macrumors.com).

In the message, Chevron says that it is working with Apple to bring Apple Pay payment solutions to pumps by early 2015. Apple announced Apple Pay in September, describing it as “a new category of service designed to transform mobile payments with an easy, secure and private way to pay.” It works with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus through a NFC antenna design, a dedicated chip called the Secure Element, and Touch ID.

Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, says Apple Pay is easy to set up, so hundreds of millions of users can simply add their credit or debit card on file from their iTunes Store account. Apple Pay will also work with the newly announced Apple Watch, extending Apple...

| Read more »
Dec 29
The latest iOS apps for Dec. 29

Here are some of the latest apps available at the Apple App Store for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Bad Games has announced Selknam Defense. It's a free (though sponsored by ads) Tower Defense game variant.

MBG UG has released Mr. Noble. The app is designed to be the "digital Swiss Army knife" for iSO devices. Mr. Noble a a free download and offers full access to "Toolbox" and "Looks," as well as the chapters "Suits" and "Shirts." Additional content can be unlocked via in-app-purchases: US$0.99 for individual chapters or $4.99 for the entire suite of chapters.

Abdullah Karimi has introduced Gold Coins Billionaire. It's a free game in which the player has to push coins by tapping at the right place. The player also needs to be cautious of not pushing the coins and prizes on side walls.

RV AppStudios has cooked up Christmas Cookie. It's a free, match 3 puzzle game.

| Read more »
Dec 29
Apple expected to reverse iPad misfortunes in 2015

According to the latest forecasts from market intelligence firm, ABI Research, tablet growth is expected to resume and continue over the next five years with a forecast of nearly 290 million tablet shipments in 2019.

As the calendar year comes to a close, many of the world’s tablet vendors are looking forward to opportunities in 2015 and are hoping to avoid a repeat of lackluster 2014 results. Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Google are expected to show year-over-year declines in branded tablet unit volume, while Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, LG, Microsoft, and Samsung should end higher in calendar year 2014.

"Historically, Apple has counted approximately 35% of its iPad sales in the last calendar quarter of the year," says Senior Practice Director Jeff Orr.  :Unless Apple can pull off a 32+ million unit quarter, sales for CY2014 [calendar year 2014] will be down for the first year since the iPad launched."

ABI Research predicts iPad sales to reach...

| Read more »
Dec 29
Amped Wireless unveils new Wi-Fi range extenders

Amped Wireless (www.ampedwireless.com) has launched two new range extenders that are reportedly the first to provide up to 12,000 square feet of Wi-Fi coverage and up to 1750Mbps of combined Wi-Fi speed.

The REA20v2 and the RE1750A are high power range extenders designed for large homes and offices with multiple users and a need for more Wi-Fi coverage. The REA20v2 is an update to the originalREA20 range extender with more output power, new and improved components and better technology for improved signal reliability and more overall coverage, according to Lacey Limbrick, brand/marketing manager at Amped Wireless.

A high power AC1200 Wi-Fi Range Extender with dual band capabilities, the REA20v2 features eight high power amplifiers, two high gain dual band antennas for up to 800mW of total Wi-Fi output power. The REA20v2 can be directly connected to up to five devices via the built in gigabit...

| Read more »
Dec 26
MegaSeg optimized for Mac OS X Yosemite

Fidelity Media has updated MegaSeg (www.megaseg.com/), the DJ mixing app and broadcast automation system made especially for Mac, to version 5.9.4. The upgrade boasts over 60 improvements, including OS X Yosemite optimizations, new Denon controller presets, and an updated sound engine with superior quality pitch-lock and seamless looping.

MegaSeg Pro provides features for pro DJs and VJs, radio and TV stations, and hospitality businesses such as restaurants and hotels. The Pro edition incorporates video playback for ambient visuals, hot keys for instant sound effects, automated music scheduling, ad messaging events, track separation rules, request lists, and more. The DJ edition offers features including visual beat syncing, headphone outputs for preview, MIDI support, automatic volume control, fast category searching, track logging, integrated iTunes playlists and protected audio playback.

MegaSeg 5.9.4...

| Read more »
Dec 26
Subtitle Studio for Mac OS X adds full chapter markers

TheKeptPromise has released Subtitle Studio 1.1 (http://tinyurl.com/q5jrxlw), an update of its subtitle adding app for Mac OS X.

To use Subtitle Studio, you drop your movie onto Subtitle Studio. The app will auto-search for missing subtitles. You can sync subtitle with a single button, hit save, and you're done.

Version 1.1 adds a full chapter mark solution and Tap2Sync. To use Tap2Sync, you enter the Tap2Sync mode from the menu. The movie autoplays and presents you the first subtitle. When you hear it, tap space and the subtitle is fixed to this location after being reduced to a preset reaction time. Tap2Sync auto selects the next subtitle and even adjusts all future subtitles, so there's no over lapping. All you need to do is listen and tap space.

Subtitle Studio supports M4V, MOV, AVI, MKV and other files. You can embed your subtitles into a M4V file for the Apple TV, iPhone, iPad...

| Read more »
 
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