Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Masaya Nakamura, Creator of Pac-Man, Passes Away at 91

Pac-Man has probably had one of the most profound impacts on Japanese culture in recent years. In fact, Pac-Man is the most recognizable video game character of all time. Unfortunately, his creator, Masaya Nakamura, passed away on January 22 at the age of 91. However, many would argue Nakamura had a life well lived. He created the Nakamura Amusement Machine Manufacturing Company, in hopes of bringing amusement to Japan. This company would later become Namco. He was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun by the Japanese government for his contributions. That was a huge honor to have. Nakamura was truly one of the great minds that took an idea and made it change the world. He wanted people to have fun, and that's what his company did best. May he rest in peace.

Image Credit: Kyodo News

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Rise of Internet TV

If you told me seven years ago that I could bring my TV anywhere in my pocket, I'd say you're crazy. Growing up in a house without DVR, the only way for me to watch what I wanted was on a screen in a fixed position at a specific time. Today, that sounds barbaric. Why should the service that we pay for tell us when to watch what? Today, with on-demand options, we scoff at such options. It's truly amazing how fast everything has changed. I remember when I first experienced TV on my iPad, it was amazing. Even with a two minute delay and countless bugs, my mind was blown. Despite that, I rarely watch TV today. The rise of internet TV has given way to the rise of streaming video. Services like YouTube and Netflix have quickly dominated viewers. YouTube's broken algorithms even favor channels that publish content more frequently on their site, feeding users with more video to compete with most TV channels. That just begs the question: Has normal television become obsolete?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Apple Maps Adds Transit to Houston for Super Bowl

Since the Super Bowl is this coming Sunday, Apple has added transit information for Houston, Texas, the city where the annual football game will be played this year. While Amtrak was previously supported by Apple Maps, other methods, such as METRORail, have been added. This will certainly be useful to some people who are visiting for the big game, but it should be noted that Apple Maps also books ride sharing services like Uber, which is becoming a popular alternative to public transit.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Magic of Pokémon Games

There's no denying that Pokémon has made its place in society. Whether that was in 1996, when it wasn't cool to play video games, or in 2016, where it was cool to play Pokémon Go for two months. It's safe to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience in Pokémon Sun, the latest installment of the series. The story, the new mechanics, and the music. I continuously find myself listening to the game's soundtrack at school. But the icing on the cake was Pokémon Bank. Pokémon Bank is a step in the right direction for Nintendo, as it is the closest thing we've seen to a cloud-based storage system that is future-proofed. It essentially allows you to store all 802 Pokémon from all of the games online. That aside, it did get me to take a look at my old copy of Pokémon Diamond. This was the first Pokémon game I owned. I remember getting it because my friends were playing either Diamond or Pearl. I booted it up and found the various pocket monsters in their boxes. I think the fact that I named a Bidoof "Fat Racoon" proves I didn't understand the game at all at the time. But it was so cool to see my old partners from the Sinnoh region. I think that is part of the magic of the Pokémon franchise. It's been around so long, you don't just get to see your Pokémon evolve, but the entire series too.

Friday, January 27, 2017

The iPad Turns 7

Seven years ago today, the iPad was announced. The iPad was absolutely essential to creating the post-PC market. I remember distinctly watching the iPad being announced when I was in the fifth grade. By the time most of my classmates heard what the iPad was, they thought I meant iPod, which ironically is irrelevant today. The iPad brought the beautiful interface of the iPhone to a larger screen, allowing developers to create bolder, more detailed apps. The New York Times app was mind blowing to me. I had never seen a digital newspaper on such a screen before. The MLB At Bat app showed real-time baseball game data in an immersive way. The iPad has shaped the tablet industry as a whole, and today, we celebrate its seventh year of existence.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Touch Bar for Websites

Safari uses Touch Bar to show you all of your open tabs. However, when you're typing, keyboard suggestions and some font options appear in its place. This can be annoying, as I may reach for the Touch Bar to change tabs, and there's no tab bar. To be honest, the tab bar made a problem of itself because of this. Instead, we should have Touch Bar websites. Amazon would have a cart button and some other functions for Touch Bar. iCloud could allow you to quickly switch between different iCloud apps from any page. This would actually pair well with Apple Pay for the web. I would definitely give up the tab bar for this.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Night Shift Coming to macOS

Night Shift was a feature in iOS that would reduce the amount of blue light the screen showed to reduce eye strain and fatigue. That feature is coming to macOS according to the latest beta. macOS 10.12.4 can be toggled above Do Not Disturb in Notification Center, in Display Settings, and through Siri. The feature seems nearly identical to iOS, but it is interesting to see Apple's logic when creating macOS features.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Find My AirPods

In iOS 10.3, Apple will add AirPods integration to Find My iPhone. This will display the location of AirPods on a map along with your other devices. In addition, you can play a sound on the left, the right, or both AirPods to help locate them. This only works when the AirPods are out of the case, since they can't be heard as well while in the case. iOS 10.3 is currently in beta and has no release date.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Add Touch Bar to Any App

BetterTouchTool has been making it easy to create custom ways to maximize productivity with input devices for years now. Touch Bar is no exception to that list of input devices. Has there ever been that one app that really could use Touch Bar, but the developer doesn't support it? Well, BetterTouchTool may be able to help. With BetterTouchTool, I was able to create a Touch Bar layout for Android Studio (shown below). I'm sure this setup would be super useful to app developers tired of complicated function commands. I especially love using this for stepping while debugging an app. BetterTouchTool is available on its website starting at $4.99, but will accept donations up to $50 to help further its development.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Using Touch Bar to Control Media Playback

If you have supported media playing, you can control that through Touch Bar. The nice thing about Touch Bar is that it lets you interact with your Mac through touch, which can transform user interaction. When you have supported media playing, you'll see a new icon appear in the Control Strip on the right half of the Touch Bar. Tap this to reveal a scrubber and some controls. Now you can control your iTunes playback while working in Safari. This works in any app, not just the source app for the media. I hope this helps.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

tvOS Like Interface for Apple VR?

Layers of The Parallax Effect
With everyone joining in on VR, one must question how will Apple execute vrOS? Here's an idea I came up with. tvOS uses large, block-style icons for navigation. The buttons allow for layered icons, which offer a sense of immersion. This is called the Parallax effect. It's a bit difficult to explain, so it's pictured below. Such a cool, subtle feature would go to waste on Apple TV, one of Apple's less popular platforms? What if tvOS interface mechanics were recycled in a vrOS interface. Meaning, if Apple made a VR headset, certain features on the Apple TV would be used. It wouldn't be too surprising. The Touch Bar in the MacBook Pro uses a modified version of watchOS. You could even use the Apple TV remote as a controller for vrOS, Perhaps tvOS had more potential than we first thought.

The Parallax Effect

Friday, January 20, 2017

Group FaceTime Calls Coming in iOS 11

A sketchy rumor from The Verifier says that group FaceTime calls will be coming to iOS 11. This would allow for multiple people to show their faces through a video call. No matter the integrity of this rumor, this feature is long overdue. FaceTime originally replaced iChat, which supported group √idea calls. I would be satisfied with group FaceTime Audio calls. Let's hope both make it in.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Logic Pro X Receives Update

Last year, I said that Logic Pro X would receive an update in early 2017. That update has finally come. Logic Pro X 10.3 has been released with Touch Bar support and a new interface. There are quite a few other features, but I wouldn't do them justice with whatever description I would give. The main point is that support for Logic Pro X users will likely continue to receive updates and support from Apple. Logic Pro X is available from the Mac App Store for $199.99 [Direct Link].

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Apple Pencil 2

According to a supplier, Apple may be planning an Apple Pencil 2 to be released with the new iPad Pros this March. What this stylus would do better than the original Apple Pencil is questionable. The best guess is that it could have a magnet to attach to the iPad. Other features will likely revolve around the iPad Pro's new features.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Cause of Samsung Galaxy Note7 Explosions

According to Reuters, Samsung has concluded that the cause of the Note7 battery explosions were... the batteries. I must be a next-tier news source, because I predicted that several months ago. My second guess was the stylus. In all reality, Samsung wasn't able to replicate any of the explosions, so this was the best they could do. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

New MacBook Pro with 32GB RAM and Kaby Lake Processors Coming This Year

According to Ming-Chi Kuo, there will be a 15-inch MacBook Pro this year with some highly requested upgrades. First, there will be an option for 32GB of RAM. Phil Schiller said that the current MacBook Pros didn't have this option because it took too much power. Perhaps this means there's a battery upgrade in the works? And there will be Kaby Lake Processors, Intel's newer generation of processor. Needless to say, these upgrades are totally welcome, but I just wish they were available for last year's update.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Quickly Move Files to the Trash

In macOS, you may move files to the trash by either dragging them to the trash can or by right-clicking and clicking "Move to Trash." However, there is a much simpler command to do this. Just select the item and use command and delete. This will instantly move your file to the trash. Don't let the delete key fool you, it's only in the trash. To delete it, empty the trash by going to the trash and clicking "Empty." I hope this helps.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

macOS Extensions

One of the more obscure features of macOS is Extensions. More commonly associated with iOS, Extensions allow you to enable app functionality in other parts of the system. For example, using Pixelmator's Distort Tool in the Photos app. There are a lot of cool extensions in macOS that you may have. To check, go to System Preferences > Extensions. Here, you can see all of the different extensions you have.

Friday, January 13, 2017

iPhone 8 to Have IP68-Rated Water Resistance

The iPhone 7 was the first iPhone to be water resistant. It was rated IP67, however, many tests said it did better than Samsung phones rated at IP68 in water. That being said, IP68-rated water resistance for the iPhone 8 would be amazing. And according to The Korea Herald, that's going to be happening. It would be interesting to see if the iPhone 8 will have water damage covered under warranty.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

tvOS Maximum App Sizes Increased to 4GB

There was a lot of controversy about how tvOS apps were limited to just 200MB upon launch. This would cause apps to resort to downloading data after install, which was inconvenient to the user. Apps like Infinity Blade would have no chance on the Apple TV without this loophole. But now, tvOS apps can now be a maximum of 4GB. It's clear that tvOS isn't the most popular platform in the Apple ecosystem, nor should it be, but I think it's important to make its app store as convenient as Apple's other app stores.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Safari Bug Cause of Poor MacBook Pro Battery Life

According to Apple, the cause of low battery life in the new MacBook Pro has been a hidden setting in Safari [Source: MacRumors]. They disabled local caching. Consumer Reports has redone their tests with caching enabled and their tests resulted in better battery life. There will be a fix coming this week for developers and beta testers.

"We also turn off the local caching of web pages. In our tests, we want the computer to load each web page as if it were new content from the internet, rather than resurrecting the data from its local drive. This allows us to collect consistent results across the testing of many laptops, and it also puts batteries through a tougher workout.
According to Apple, this last part of our testing is what triggered a bug in the company’s Safari browser. Indeed, when we turned the caching function back on as part of the research we did after publishing our initial findings, the three MacBooks we’d originally tested had consistently high battery life results."
- Consumer Reports 
As an update, I am noticing better battery life on my MacBook Pro. It's about the same as what my old 2013 MacBook Pro had after three years of use. Honestly, it still should be better, but hopefully this update may help.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

BeatsX Give Shipping Estimates in January

Amazon delivery estimates have placed BeatsX shipments in January [Source: MacRumors]. Apple's own site says they will ship in February. It could be very likely that BeatsX may be expedited to January for those who pre-ordered. For those who don't know, BeatsX is a new wireless earphone set by Beats that uses the same W1 chip and Apple's AirPods. They start at $149.95.

Monday, January 9, 2017

10 Years Ago Today, Apple Reinvented the Phone

Henry Ford once said, "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." Steve Jobs took this to heart when creating the iPhone. It's hard to imagine life without our smartphones. And ten years ago was a defining moment in history. January 9, 2007 was the day Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone. It was a wide-screen iPod with a touch display. It was a revolutionary mobile phone. It was a breakthrough internet communicator. It broke the status quo for what a smartphone should be. Getting rid of physical QWERTY keyboards in favor of a touch screen. Combining a iPod and a mobile phone was unheard of at the time. So, happy tenth, iPhone. Here's to another 10 years.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

7 Great Uses for your New Apple Watch

If you got a new Apple Watch recently, here's a quick guide on some of the best uses for your Apple Watch, in my opinion.


While the Maps app on Apple Watch isn't very useful on its own, in conjunction with your iPhone, it's very useful while driving. First, open the Apple Maps app on your iPhone, enter a destination, and drive (or walk) to it normally. Without doing anything on your Apple Watch, you'll feel a gradual vibration on your watch as your get close to a turn. This is perfect when you get close to a turn but you're too focused on the road to look at your phone for directions and you can't hear Siri well enough to know where to turn. That's a big trend with Apple Watch, it's use of continuity with other Apple products.


Let's say you want to listen to music while studying, but you don't want to be tempted by your iPhone and get distracted. What I like to do is to have a watch face with the Music complication on it. Go to the Apple Watch app, tap "Face Gallery" at the bottom, and find a watch face you like (or modify your current watch face). For one of the complications, choose Music. Tap "Set as current Watch Face." Now, just start some music on your phone or watch, and put your phone in your backpack or bag. You can view the progress of a song right from your watch face. Tapping on it will reveal playback controls. You can turn the digital crown to adjust volume. 

Watch Faces

Speaking of watch faces, here's my next favorite use of the Apple Watch. I always have a secondary watch face just for music playing and school related stuff. Making watch faces that match your lifestyle can be a lot of fun. There is so much customization. You can change your watch face to one of your presets by either swiping between them on your watch, force touching (pressing hard on the screen) on your watch face, or through the Apple Watch app on iPhone. If you ever need inspiration, check out the Face Gallery in the Apple Watch app for iPhone. 

Unlocking Macs

When you wake up your Mac, you're typically greeted with a password screen. However, did you know you can bypass this through your Apple Watch? Go to System Preferences on your Mac, choose Security & Privacy, and enable "Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac." This may require you to do a bunch of security stuff with your Apple ID, but it is very helpful. It knows the difference between being right at your computer and being five feet away. Admittedly, it's a bit slower than touch typing in your password, but there are situations where it can be useful. 

Apple Pay

If you ever forget your wallet or phone, Apple Watch can be used as your credit card. If a store takes Apple Pay, which is becoming much more common, you can use your Apple Watch. After setup, just double click the side button (the rectangle shaped one) and hold your watch near the terminal. You can choose cards by swiping between them on this screen. Take notes of your favorite places that use Apple Pay, so you can use them in the future.


These days, there are so many devices and apps to record a workout. Apple Watch can help solve this. By pairing your Apple Watch to your iPhone, you'll add the Activity app for your phone. Think of it as your universal way of tracking fitness. It works with Apple Watch workouts, as well as a variety of third-party apps (including Pokémon Go). The Workouts app on Apple Watch is Apple's official app for workout tracking. It tracks heart rate through Apple Watch, which is awesome, because you don't need a special monitor and the data shows up in the Health app. GPS data can also be recorded with an Apple Watch Series 2. If you take a hike up Yosemite with this, location data can be added to workouts, even without cellular data.

Camera Remote

When you need an easy way to take a picture from afar, you can use your Apple Watch. Setup your iPhone as the camera and open the Camera Remote app on your Apple Watch. From here you can see the viewfinder in real-time, tap to focus, and take a picture. You can also tap the smaller button to take a picture with a timer of three seconds. 

So, I hope these seven tips are useful for your Apple Watch. There are a lot of hidden features that don't come through well in Apple's marketing. To me, Apple Watch is primarily a gorgeous timepiece, but I often find its more obscure features some of the most useful. And I've found these to work well with my lifestyle, so their usefulness will vary by your lifestyle too. I hope this helps.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Chamberlain Announces HomeKit-Enabled Garage Door Opener

Chamberlain has announced at CES 2017 that they will add HomeKit support for their existing and new garage door openers. This lets you give your garage door smartphone capabilities, by just adding a bridge or hub. It works with most garage door openers. Those who already have a MyQ garage door opener can add HomeKit support through a bridge for a special introductory price of $49.99, normally $69.99. This will be available in April 2017. New users who want to add support to their existing garage door can get their hub in July 2017, with a price yet to be announced.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Original iPhone Prototype Showcases Click Wheel

Sonny Dickson has shared what appears to be an early prototype of the original iPhone. This iPhone was heavily inspired by the successful iPod line, as it featured a click wheel, instead of a touch screen. The original iPhone was made to combine an iPod, a web browser, and a phone into one revolutionary device. With a click wheel, it's questionable whether there would be a web browser. The video is below if you'd like to see the emulation of the prototype in action.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Using the MacBook Pro's Larger Trackpad as a Drawing Tablet

The MacBook Pro's new larger trackpad was made for supposedly "creative" purposes. What exactly could that entail? Well, perhaps it works as a drawing tablet. After all, the Force Touch Trackpad can receive input from anywhere on the trackpad and detect pressure. So, I tried it out using Mischief and an Adonit Jot Pro. What resulted was the atrocity to the left. So, is it a drawing tablet? Not exactly. While drawing skills are subjective, my chief complaint, at least with Mischief, was my stylus and cursor were not one to one. Everything felt very forced. A lot of drawing and undo-ing. The only thing that didn't feel forced was resting my hand. The palm rejection on the trackpad is spot-on. My control for this was using the Paper app on the iPad with the Adonit Jot Pro, shown on the right. I finished this drawing in about half the time. Everything felt natural, by digital drawing standards. The thing that it didn't do right: palm rejection. So, there's a trade-off here. It would be nice if the trackpad worked like a drawing tablet, because it would feel super integrated. No peripherals, just a stylus of your choice. This way, a larger trackpad would've felt much more justified. But the results below are raw drawings with minimal undos and redos. If you polished it enough, you would definitely get a better result, but I felt these as results can show how the drawing process felt better than polished results.

Created using Paper on an iPad Air 2
Created using Mischief on a 2016 MacBook Pro

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Withings Announces First HomeKit Enabled Cameras

Having played with the HomeKit Accessory Simulator and having messed around with Raspberry Pis to act as HomeKit bridges, I've gotten to know how HomeKit works. I've seen what a security camera can look like in the Home app, but we've never really seen a supported camera. That is, until today. At CES 2017, Withings announced the Home Plus, their security camera with HomeKit capabilities. Their previous model, Home, will have HomeKit capabilities through a bridge that will be announced at a later date.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Apple Watch Series 3 To Have Improved Battery Life

When the Apple Watch Series 2 came out, I was hoping there would be a large emphasis on battery life. My Series 1 still has enough battery life to get me through the day, but that's if I don't use apps. I want to see the newer Apple Watches be able to get me through a 5-hour hike with GPS. Apple keeps advertising all of these apps, but conveniently don't say much about battery life. According to Economic Daily News, Apple Watch Series 3 will have better battery life as its key feature. That would be awesome if that's true. While there aren't any other features on the horizon yet, I also wouldn't mind a better processor while we're at it, but one step at a time I suppose. 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Samsung Will Reveal More Details of Note7 Explosions This Month

Samsung, after having a rough 2016 with their flagship phone discontinued due to exploding Note7 phones, will finally be releasing their findings of what caused this later this month [Source: Reuters]. For months, people, myself included, have been speculating what could be the cause of it. By now, we know it was the batteries in the Note7, but we don't know anything beyond that. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

On the 2016 MacBook Pro's Battery Life

I absolutely love the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. Every snappy click on the keyboard, the useful touch interactions of the Touch Bar, and the vibrant display. It's the redesign I've been waiting for.

That being said...

What's the point of owning a Porsche if you can only drive it three miles before needing to go to the gas station? The same goes for the new MacBook Pro. Consumer Reports recently refused to give the new MacBook Pro a recommendation because of its inconsistent battery life. I can back them up when my MacBook Pro has been failing to even reach three hours on a full charge, sometimes two hours. The only app open? Safari. No matter what anyone has to say about their preference of browser, Safari is the bundled browser on the Mac and should be able to hold a decent battery life through normal use. In 2016, that's more important than ever. "Normal use" these days falls under the umbrella of having 20 tabs open. People need the internet more than ever. Having USB-C as a charging method does not help this situation. During the transition period to USB-C, people won't have the chargers and adapters they need at all times. While at a Starbucks, the average user may be shocked to see their battery life tank, while their charger is at home. This is not how to do a refresh on your flagship notebook, Apple. If my MacBook Pro can't handle 3 hours of Safari, how is it supposed to accomplish 5 hours of video editing using Final Cut Pro without a charge?