Type2Phone ($4.99) is one of the most practical tools in my development toolbox. It emulates a Bluetooth keyboard from your Mac. With it, you type to your iOS device using your normal desktop keyboard.
While this may not sound like a big thing for many iOS users -- after all, the onboard keyboards and new dictation features streamline text entry -- it is a huge deal for devs and IT coordinators who have to keep typing similar things into apps and settings, over and over again.
For example, take Game Center development. You usually work with many different accounts, testing to see how access works for new users, for those with a good history of application use, or for those who have unlocked certain achievements. In a normal debug session, you may sign out and sign in with various credentials dozens of times. Type2Phone makes that a practical exercise in testing instead of torment.
Or, take today. I was trying to set up a SOCKS proxy system and had to keep typing addresses for various configurations. Once again Type2Phone came to the rescue. It's so much more practical to type or paste longwinded URLs like http://10.0.0.1:8888/Public/socks.pac from my home desktop than to laboriously tip-tip-tap it on the phone or iPad.
Type2Phone was designed smart, with re-use in mind. I long ago synced it to my primary dev units. Now, I just select each unit from the in-app pop-up list, and I'm ready to type right away.
To be fair, there are a few unhappy reviews over at the Mac App Store, but they describe situations (primarily beachballs) that I have not encountered, and I'm a pretty heavy user of the product.
For me, Type2Phone is an essential software component. My development life would be way harder without it. And that's why I consider it my Friday favorite for this week.Source | Permalink | Email this | Comments
In less than two weeks, Apple will head to trial over allegations that it colluded with five publishing houses in an effort to inflate the price of e-books. Indeed, the Justice Department last week released internal Apple emails which it claims supports the allegation that Apple was a "ringleader" in a price fixing conspiracy.
In one such email, Apple executive Eddy Cue explained to Steve Jobs that he was able to secure a deal with Random House by threatening to block an app of theirs from getting into the App Store.
With a trial on the matter scheduled to kick off on June 3, Bloomberg reports that U.S. District Judge Denise Cote -- who happens to be overseeing the trial -- expressed confidence that the government will be able to prove its case against Apple.
I believe that the government will be able to show at trial direct evidence that Apple knowingly participated in and facilitated a conspiracy to raise prices of e-books, and that the circumstantial evidence in this case, including the terms of the agreements, will confirm that.
The Judge's comments seem a bit curious because, as Bloomberg notes, this will not be a jury trial. Judge Cote alone will be deciding the case on its merits. Consequently, one wonders why Cote is comfortable expressing such a strong view before hearing any testimony and the full breadth of arguments from both parties. To that end, Judge Cote did qualify that her opinion at this point is tentative.
In an emailed statement to Bloomberg, Apple lawyer Orin Snyder remarked:
We strongly disagree with the court's preliminary statements about the case. The court made clear that this was not a final ruling and that the evidence at trial will determine the verdict. This is what a trial is for.
Apple has previously stated that it was not operating with the intent to artificially increase the price of e-books, but rather wanted to foster innovation in the e-book marketplace and break "Amazon's monopolistic grip on the publishing industry."
Judge reportedly leaning towards DoJ in Apple ebook case originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 24 May 2013 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
When your Mac starts acting unreliably your first line of defense is Apple's Disk Utility, but that solves a small number of problems, such as permissions and disk verification and repair. A good second line of defense is Drive Genius 3 for Mac from Prosoft Engineering. Drive Genius offers repair and maintenance utilities you can use to make sure your hard drive runs at maximum efficiency.
This US$99 suite of programs includes the following modules: Information, Defrag, DriveSlim, Repair, Scan, DrivePulse, Integrity Check, Initialize, Repartition, Duplicate, Shred, Benchtest, and Sector Edit. When you launch Drive Genius you can choose any one of the available utilities from a set of icons displayed across two screens. Each module presents an option to choose a drive, volume or files and folders on the right, depending on the utility's purpose.
Options available for each utility appear in the main window with simple instructions. A question mark icon on the bottom right opens the help file. The simple Preferences offer three options. You can choose to show the custom animation of data moving around a disk as a tool works, check for updates, and turn on email notification when a tool finishes its task. This last preference is a subtle reminder that many of the functions take a significant amount of time to run.The Modules
The Information module provides a complete description of your hard drive, probably more information than you want. The balance of the modules are best run after you backup your data, in case of unexpected problems.
Scan, Integrity Check, and Benchtest run read and write tests on your hard drive. They check for bad blocks, the health of your hardware, and in Benchtest, test the drives read and write speeds. As these tests sort of hammer on your drive, any electrical interruption or serious drive problem can result in data loss. That's one good reason to make sure you have a good backup or copy of your drive on hand. The Duplicate module can create a backup for you, but as with many of these tools, it will not copy your current start-up drive unless you start from a different drive. Duplicate creates a bit-by-bit copy of your drive, so you must use a blank drive of equal or greater size to use it. Personally, I prefer Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper! to backup my drives, but including a backup module in Drive Genius just makes sense.
It's actually best to use the Drive Genius startup disk from which to run most of the tools. These tests chew through quite a bit of time, so make sure you run the programs when you don't need the machine for a number of hours.
The problem I often solve using Drive Genius 3 is a slow drive and one that mysteriously is eating up space at a surprising rate. That's where DriveSlim and Defrag come in handy.
DriveSlim is useful to search for large files, duplicate files over 1 MB, Unused Localizations (language files you don't need), Universal Binaries, and Cache and Temporary files you no longer need. I'm not quite sure I understand how it works though. I wasn't happy with the way DriveSlim displays the information, I found that it showed duplicates that were not, but only with files over 320 MB. On one drive, using Mac OS X 10.6.8, it listed both duplicate files and on another, in OS X 10.8, it listed only one file and I had to search for the duplicate in the Finder to see where it was stored. I then manually removed the file stored in the wrong folder. I'm sure that's not the way the tool was designed to work, but I was not confident to just check a box next to the DriveSlim found file and have it decide which file to keep, where to alias that file, or where to back up the file. You can choose which of the files to locate, but if you choose to act on only one type of file, you must run DriveSlim again to work on another type of file. Time consuming to say the least.
Even though most people claim you don't need to defragment a Mac-based hard drive, the OS actually only defragments files that are less than 20 MB. If you create or edit sound, video, or photographic files, you may have some hefty sized files on your drive(s). As Apple states in one of its manpages for XSan: "There are two major types of fragmentation to note: file fragmentation and free space fragmentation." "A file extent is a contiguous allocation unit within a file. When a large enough contiguous space cannot be found to allocate to a file, multiple smaller file extents are created. Each extent represents a different physical spot in a storage pool. Requiring multiple extents to address file data impacts performance in a number of ways."
In short, if pieces of the file you want to use are scattered all over your hard drive, it is working harder to deliver that file to you, slowing your workflow, and potentially reducing the lifespan of your hard drive. In checking a couple of my hard drives I found movie files that were divided into over 2000 fragments and photo files with over 100 fragments. When you run Defrag the files are concatenated into one whole file and the free space is moved to one area. I did test defragmenting my startup drive, not a recommended action to take, but I have a current backup. Drive Genius reboots your Mac into the Command Line and runs the defrag command, which also repairs your drive and reboots your Mac when its done. It worked fine, but a bit unnerving to watch.
The Repair module seems to duplicate the functions of Disk Utility, such as verify and repair disk errors and permissions. It will also rebuild the drive's catalog file.
The rest of the modules are aimed at setting up your drives. You can Initialize a drive and format it for GUID (recommended for Intel Macs) or use the old Apple Partition Map. You can also Repartition a volume, but not your start up drive-unless you start off the Drive Genius 3 disc. Partitioning lets you divide one drive into multiple volumes. I seem to be one of the few people who still partitions my drives and use this function when I first use a new drive. Explanation of initializing, partitioning, and Sector Editing your drive are beyond the scope of this review, but you can find more information on the Drive Genius site and in the Help file. One word of caution, if you do not know exactly what you are doing, never use Sector Edit, because it can corrupt the drive and render files useless.
Last is the newest module, added in Drive Genius 2, DrivePulse. This module loads into your Apple menu bar and monitors your drives in the background. I found it unnecessary on my new iMac, but have used it in the past on older machines. It checks for fragmentation, and file and physical drive problems. On my new iMac most of the drives I loaded yielded a Pending status. It checks drives when the machine is idle, so it doesn't interrupt your work. You can turn it off from the menu item or within Drive Genius.Conclusion
The one thing Drive Genius will not do is run any tests on a drive that has serious physical problems, which is a shame. I started my tests using a 160 GB Iomega Ego that had trouble mounting. Anyone who deals with drives knows that clicks means ensuing death, but usually you have a little time to remove your files before the drive goes belly up. Well, this drive with three partitions fell off my desktop within 5 minutes. Drive Genius could see it initially, but would not run any tests and I couldn't recover anything from it.
Drive Genius 3 is especially useful if you create or edit very large files. For this review, I tested version 3.2.2, but have also used version 1 and 2 in the past. The price of Drive Genius pales against the cost of a new hard drive. At about $7.60 per module, it helps you keep your machine lean and mean and working at peak efficiency.Requirements: Intel-based Mac
OS X 10.6.8 to 10.8.x
1 GB RAM
Does not support Drobo drives
Limited support for FAT32, ExFAT, NTFS, and Software RAID
Upgrade from competing product for $75 Source | Permalink | Email this | Comments
Backblaze, the online backup company that has made TUAW headlines with its innovative open-source 180 TB Storage Pods and drop-dead simple Mac backups, today announced a way to get mobile access to your backed-up data. Backblaze Mobile for iPhone (free) works for any current or future Backblaze customers running an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 5.1 or later.
After logging into a Backblaze account with user credentials, users are presented with stats for each computer backed up on the service including the number and size of files stored and when the last backup was performed. There's a browser for going through backups to look for specific files, and any file can be downloaded to the iOS device to be used or shared with others.
The Backblaze service is priced from as low as US$3.96 per month when pre-purchased for a year or more, or can be subscribed to on a monthly billing basis.
Backblaze Mobile for iPhone provides on-the-go access to file backups originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 24 May 2013 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
AT&T's prepay GoPhone service is to include an iPhone purchase option as of today. The service will also gain the addition of 4G LTE and HSPA+ support, according to MacRumors. GoPhone lets users sign up for AT&T service without joining a contract. Previously, iPhone owners could sign up for the service but they would have no access to cellular data. With the update expected to roll out today, iPhone owners will be able to access all of AT&T's services on a GoPhone contract, including 4G LTE and Visual Voicemail.
MacRumors says that iPhone owners will have three options for GoPhone service. The highest priced one is a US$65 plan that offers unlimited texts and calls and one gigabyte of data. AT&T is also offering $50 and $25 plans that include text and calls, but users will have to add additional data plans on top. When choosing a GoPhone plan, users can bring in their existing unlocked iPhone or they can buy an unlocked iPhone from AT&T in the store. MacRumors says that current existing GoPhone plan owners will be automatically updated with cellular data support for their iPhone on June 21, but the site says that those that want to see cellular data support before then may be able to have their plan manually upgraded first.
AT&T's GoPhone prepaid brand to fully support iPhone originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 24 May 2013 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
No WWDC tickets? No matter. AltWWDC is a free, five-day event that will be held in San Francisco June 10-14, 2013. Today, the group has announced AltLabs, which will serve as dedicated lab space for attendees. Each lab will be staffed by helpful folks who are there to answer your questions or just act as a sounding board.
In addition, several special labs have been announced, including one on connectivity and web services, hosted by Matt Thompson of Heroku and AFNetworking; Isaiah Carew of Kiwi and Kirby Turner. You'll find the full run-down here.
Keep an eye out for familiar faces while you're there, including our own Victor Agreda, Kelly Guimont and Brett Terpstra.Source | Permalink | Email this | Comments
AllThingsD is reporting that Best Buy plans to begin a monthlong iPhone sale on Sunday. iPhone prices will drop by US$50 when bought in conjunction with a two-year contract from AT&T, Sprint or Verizon. All current models of the iPhone -- iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 -- are included.
This coming Monday in the United States is Memorial Day, and the weekend prior is a big shoppers' weekend. Best Buy is also offering discounts on several popular Android handsets, but those discounts are expected to expire on June 1. There's no word on why Best Buy's iPhone sale will carry on for an entire month, but it could be that the company is trying to move inventory before any potential iPhone announcements this summer.
Best Buy to begin month-long iPhone sale on Sunday originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 24 May 2013 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Smule may be only five years old, but the California development firm started in part by Jeff Smith and Stanford assistant professor Dr. Ge Wang has had an amazing impact on the world. The company shared some stats with Evolver.fm that are incredible -- Smule's apps have been downloaded over 100 million times, are used by 15 million people a month, and that audience has recorded over one billion songs.
Sure, those songs may be amateur auto-tuned, auto-rapped or karaoke trash, but the statistics -- and Smule's bottom line -- prove that the company is on to something. While such venerable music gaming titles as Rock Band and Guitar Hero have seen better days, Smule's apps are all about actually making music, and that seems to make a difference to app consumers.
Smule pulled in US$12.6 million in revenues last year, and is expected to reach the $20 million mark in 2013. The latest addition to the Smule stable is Guitar! (free), a music game released yesterday in which users play along with recordings of popular songs to gain points and where practicing opens the door to new levels and songs.
[via GigaOM]Source | Permalink | Email this | Comments
Apple is continuing to roll out increased Maps 3D Flyover coverage. The latest update was first spotted by AppleInsider and appears to include large parts of California. Specifically, the latest update includes the cities of San Bernardino, Riverside, Rancho Cucamonga, Ontario, Moreno Valley, and more.
This update covers Anaheim as well, so users can now view a 3D Flyover of Disneyland in Apple Maps. It seems like Apple is continuing to roll out aggressive server-side updates to Apple Maps. Only a little more than two weeks ago Apple added 3D Flyover coverage in Paris.
Apple expands iOS Maps' 3D Flyover coverage in California, including Disneyland originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 24 May 2013 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Following up on an announcement made at the end of April, Verizon has begun rolling out its Verizon Cloud storage solution to iOS devices today. Verizon Cloud offers Verizon users a free 500 MB of cloud storage to backup their photos, videos, contacts, music, call logs and text messages. Users who want more storage can buy it at a monthly fee of US$2.99/month for 25 GB, $5.99/month for 75 GB, and $9.99/month for 125 GB.
The Verizon Cloud service lets users stream music and sync data between devices, including photos, videos and documents. Users can also access their files via the web and desktop applications. On the iPhone users can manage their Verizon Cloud account through the free Verizon Cloud app.Source | Permalink | Email this | Comments
To do this, invoke Siri, then say "Wolfram password," or "Wolfram Alpha password." This retrieves an 8-character random password, along with a list of a half-dozen others. You can also have Siri get longer passwords, if eight characters doesn't ring your bell. Say, "Wolfram 14-character password," for example.
The downside to this is that you can't copy this password, and once you've switched away from the Siri results, you can't get them back again. So you need to either type this password on a computer or other iOS device, or write it down. Either way, make sure you delete it, or store it in some sort of encrypted file.
Details are vague on this one, but we have received confirmation that IPG-owned, West Hollywood, CA-based agency Dailey has had to cut some staff in the wake of longtime client TurboTax launching a creative review earlier this month (the agency has chosen not to defend).
In a statement, Dailey president/CEO Tom Lehr tells us, “Yesterday, we said goodbye to a few wonderful people, which we hate to do. As with any agency, business ebbs and flows, and we must be responsible in maintaining appropriate staffing levels.” Lehr wouldn’t go into specifics including approximate numbers or departments affected, but we’ve been told the layoffs were not “massive” like tipsters were telling us this week. Below is one of the more recent TurboTax from Dailey, which had been working with the brand for well over a decade.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Marketwatch recently took a look at the rising price of iPhone 5 screen repairs, pointing out that the $229 Apple sometimes charges to repair a broken iPhone 5 screen is often more than the cost of the device itself, with a two-year contract of course.
At the root of rising iPhone repair costs are more expensive components coupled with a lower supply of said components.
The replacement components for the iPhone 5 are much more expensive than similar parts for prior models - so expensive in fact that many independent repair services cannot compete. "Due to the high cost of replacement parts, we are not yet offering iPhone 5 repairs," according to a statement on ComputerOverhauls.com, an online repair shop. "Currently, the Apple Store is the least expensive option for repairing damaged iPhone 5s." Other services charge as much as $250 for the repair.
The article also relays that the iPhone 5 is actually easier to fix than previous iPhone models. Replacing a display on the iPhone 4S, for example, involves 37 steps.
Oh cruel irony.
All told, AppleCare+ for iPhone owners is steadily looking like the smart play. I opted not to get AppleCare when I picked up my iPhone 4S. 15 months later, the screen cracked after I clumsily let it slip out of my hand.
With AppleCare+, which costs $99, Apple extends warranty coverage on the iPhone to two years, a plan which covers two incidents of accidental damage along with a $49 service fee. Damage not caused by human error or clumsiness is not subject to an additional service fee.Source | Permalink | Email this | Comments
Apple on Thursday evening began running a new iPhone 5 ad titled "Music Every Day." The ad shows iPhone users in a variety of environments using music on the iPhone for inspiration, fun, work, and as a means to bond with friends.
"Every day," the narration reads, "more people enjoy their music on the iPhone than any other phone."
The ad is a cousin of sorts to Apple's most recent ad, appropriately dubbed "Photos Every Day."
Apple runs new iPhone ad, dubbed "Music Every Day" originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 24 May 2013 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
From Apple and TBWA/Media Arts Lab comes the spiritual sequel to last month’s “Photos Every Day” spot for the iPhone.
“Music Every Day” uses the exact same formula as its predecessor, with similarly excellent execution. We’ve come a long way from Apple’s original iPod commercials. No longer do we have silhouetted dancers projected against green screens with a loud, indie-rock soundtrack. Instead, just like “Photos Every Day,” we have a simple concept that, more than anything, humanizes iPhone users. What are these people listening to? It doesn’t matter; the important thing is that they’re enjoying it. We see them smile, nodding their heads along to a beat, something that we see occur is real life every single day.
Again, it ends with a single-sentence VO: More people listen to music on the iPhone than any other phone. The entire concept seems obvious, but sometimes it’s the obvious that needs to be said.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.