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The very first time Apple made a laptop that compromised in numerous ways, all in the question of being as thin and light as possible.
By Dan Moren
August 13, 2020 8:34 AM PT
It’s kind of tough out there right now, so if you’ve been finding it challenging to get through the days and weeks with some semblance of normalcy, you’re not alone. For my part, I’ve been trying to find a way to disconnect from the endless stresses and anxieties of the modern world, just to make sure I’ve got enough energy to take care of myself. One tool I’ve started using that’s actually been pretty helpful in this regard is the meditation app and service Headspace.
Meditation isn’t something that I ever thought I would be into, but I’ve found that doing even a tiny bit has been useful in dealing with what’s going on. In the past, I’ve often turned to the Apple Watch’s built in Breathe app for moments where I needed to step back from something particularly stressful—as someone with little to no experience in meditation, it was handy to have a framework to adhere to, and I appreciated that the results often seemed tangible.…
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We return to our Apple Watch roots this week and it turns out it’s Moltz’s turn to get picked on for some reason.
This week on the 30-minute tech show that has had a little too much gluten, Dan and Mikah are joined by special guests Paul Kafasis and Lory Gil to discuss Microsoft and Apple argue about cloud gaming, the iOS apps we want to run on our Macs, the future—or lack thereof—of foldable phones, and whether we’d trade our Face ID in for Touch ID.
By Jason Snell for Macworld
It’s hard to believe that it’s been nine years since Apple introduced AirDrop as a part of Mac OS X Lion and iOS 7. I consider AirDrop to be one of Apple’s best moves of the past decade. It’s a feature I have used hundreds of times and have come to rely on to quickly exchange files and other information with my own devices and with the devices used by my friends and family.
But just because AirDrop is useful doesn’t mean it couldn’t be better. In fact, I would argue that it’s been largely ignored the last few years, and could stand some major upgrades that would benefit users of iPhones, iPads, and Macs alike.
By Dan Moren
August 11, 2020 7:36 AM PT
As a person of routine, part of my morning regimen for the last several decades is settling down with my morning cup of tea and reading some comic strips. As a kid, I’d dig through the newspaper to find the funny pages, and the full-color Sunday section was the highlight of the week.
But for the past twenty years or so, my comic strip reading has been all digital; I’ve even added a few webcomics into the mix over time.1 At some point in the dim and misty past, I put all of my comics into a folder in my browser’s bookmark bar; every morning, I would click (or later tap) that folder and all my comics would open in tabs.
As systems go, it’s fine. But it presents two challenges: first, not every comic I read updates on the same schedule. Some are seven-day affairs, like reruns of “Calvin & Hobbes” and “Doonesbury.” Others update only on weekdays. Some are just on Sundays. Others solely on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Which meant that most days I knew I would just be automatically closing some of those tabs.
In and of itself, I could handle the sheer onerous nature of having to close some tabs—the horror!—but there was another more bothersome annoyance. Many of the comics I read are served up through one of the major comics syndicate websites, GoComics. Several years ago, the site changed its interface so that when you go to the main landing page for a comic—say, again, Calvin & Hobbes—all you would see is a crop of the day’s comic, which you would then have to click to get to the full comic. That meant every comic I read on that site now required an extra, obnoxious step.
Boy, this sounds like a job for automation, if there ever was one.
A few weeks back, I finally had the impetus to create a shortcut to streamline this process. After mucking with it on and off during various beta updates, I finally ended up with a version that works pretty well and is easily customizable, meaning I can share it with people.
The whole process ended up being more complicated than I initially thought, for a few reasons. First, though I’ve spent more time in Shortcuts recently, I’m still in a scenario of having to fit my programming knowledge (derived mainly from my time as a PHP developer) into the available receptacle (creating Shortcuts), which is, at times, very much a round-peg, square-hole situation.2 Second, some of the iOS 14 beta releases had glitches that interfered with Shortcuts, meaning I had to set the shortcut aside until the next release came along.
But what I ultiamtely ended up with is this shortcut: It takes a list of comics, each of which has an associated schedule and a URL. When it’s launched, it checks to see which of the comics have the current day in their regular schedule, then compiles a list which it opens in tabs in Safari. And, as a bonus, if the comic in question is hosted on GoComics, it automatically edits the URL so that you’re taken directly to the full comic, rather than making you click through.3
Perhaps nobody else in the world has this particular habit. Who knows? But maybe someone out there will get something out of this shortcut. If so, you can download it at the link above and may it increase your comic reading habits a thousandfold.
- The highlight of that period was probably about 20 years ago, and I’ve given up on all but a few. ↩
- Figuring out how to loop through a multi-dimensional dictionary in Shortcuts almost broke my brain, especially as this is something I know how to do in PHP and could implement almost without thinking about it. ↩
- If I were being perhaps a little more…subversive, I would be scraping for just the comic images on the page. But that seems to take this to a different level. ↩
[Dan Moren is the official Dan of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at email@example.com. His latest novel, The Aleph Extraction, is out now and available in fine book stores everywhere, so be sure to pick up a copy.]
Jason reviews the new iMac (with nano-texture display) and the public beta release of macOS Big Sur. Myke thinks Apple’s making a big mistake in keeping game streaming services off of its platforms. And in Upstream, the transformation of the film industry continues at a rapid pace.
By Jason Snell
August 10, 2020 9:00 AM PT
Most of Apple’s early laptops were, like today’s MacBooks, complete Macs. The premise was: “Let’s engineer a Mac that’s like the one on your desk, but put it in a single package with screen, keyboard, pointing device, and battery.” My first laptop was a PowerBook 160 and it did everything my old Mac SE did (and much, much more).
The PowerBook Duo was different. It wasn’t trying to be the Mac on your desk.
By Dan Moren for Macworld
August tends to be right in the middle of the summer doldrums, the time when everybody goes on vacation and thus news—including tech announcements—are few and far between. Then again, 2020 isn’t your average year, so perhaps it’s not a shock that this week saw a departure from the norm with Apple announcing a surprisingly substantial update to the iMac.
My colleague Jason Snell has already expounded upon what the revamp to Apple’s popular desktop means for the future of that product, but I think it’s worth it to take a moment and see what we can extrapolate from this update and learn about the future of Apple’s other devices. Apple is no stranger to introducing updates in one device that eventually migrate to the rest of its lineup, even from the Mac to the iPhone and iPad and vice versa, and this iMac update is certainly no exception.
The classic “cheese grater” design of the Power Mac G5 influences the design of the modern Mac Pro, and also represents (in the worst way) the last time Apple embarked on a chip transition.
By Jason Snell
August 6, 2020 10:15 AM PT
So here we are, at the end of OS X. Two decades ago Apple parked the sixteen-year-old Classic Mac OS and leaped to version 10.0, but four years ago the company rebranded the software that drives the Mac as macOS, and the writing was on the wall. And now in 2020 it’s macOS Big Sur, version 11.0. The name is an extension of Apple’s use of California places to brand its Mac releases, but the version number is the real story. The Mac OS X era is truly over. macOS Big Sur is the start of a radically new era in the Mac’s life.
With the release of the macOS Big Sur Public Beta, Apple is inviting users to get a head start on the journey that will eventually lead to Macs running Apple-designed processors and software built for iPhones and iPads alongside apps made specifically for the Mac. With huge changes to Mac hardware looming on the horizon, Apple has made the biggest design changes to macOS since the launch of Mac OS X.
Last year’s macOS Catalina felt like a release designed to settle old scores and clear the field for future advancement. It broke a lot of old software, frustrated a lot of users, and generally had the worst reputation of any macOS update in a decade. (I see you, Mac OS X Lion.) Did Apple sacrifice Catalina so that future OS updates wouldn’t be blamed for them? That’s probably a conspiracy theory too far, but I will say this: Good Cop macOS Big Sur fills me with excitement about the future of the Mac in a way Bad Cop Catalina never did.
By Jason Snell
August 6, 2020 9:00 AM PT
This has got to be the end, right?
Apple has announced that it’s moving the Mac to Apple-designed processors. The design of the iMac is stale and in desperate need of reinvention—just as it was last year when Apple updated the iMac. But before the transition to Apple silicon arrives, it’s time for one last hurrah.
The 2020 revision to the 27-inch iMac adds in many (but not all) of the features of the late 2017 iMac Pro. It’s an update with some intriguing options and which addresses some of the iMac line’s most glaring weaknesses. If this is the end of the Intel Mac era, at least it’s going out with a bang.