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Fledging Shell Thunderbolt 3 review: Roll your own X5 with this fast, portable NVMe enclosure

Thu, 06/13/2019 - 06:00

There’s nothing like generic when it comes to saving money, be it prescription medicines or the Shell Thunderbolt 3. The Shell, a svelte $151 unpopulated (no drive) enclosure from Fledging offers about the same performance as Samsung’s X5, but for quite a bit less, depending on which M.2 NVMe SSD you install in it.

Design and features

The Shell Thunderbolt is considerably smaller than the Samsung X5: 3.75 inches long, by 1.85 inches wide, by a mere 0.4 inches thick. It’s rendered in solid metal which is better for shedding heat, a good thing. At least until you pick the Shell up after heavy use. It can run startlingly hot under heavy load.

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Malwarebytes Premium review: A fast, efficient security program with an unusual approach

Thu, 06/13/2019 - 06:00

Malwarebytes began life as a complement to antivirus suites. It was a backstop to catch and remove particularly troublesome malware that your primary security program couldn't. That all changed in December 2016 when the company announced its paid version, Malwarebytes Premium, was capable enough to be your primary security program. “With the launch of Malwarebytes 3.0, we are confident that you can finally replace your traditional antivirus,” the company said in a blog post.

Malwarebytes comes in two flavors. The first is the free version that is only capable of removing malware infections during a scan. Upgrade to Malwarebytes Premium at an annual cost of $40 for a single device or $60 for 10 devices, and it adds real-time protection, adware and unwanted program blocking, automatic updates, and scan scheduling.

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WWDC announcements with the widest impact, E3, iPhone USB-C rumor, and your hot takes

Wed, 06/12/2019 - 16:43

Now that the dust has settled in the wake of WWDC, we spent today’s show talking about which announcements from last week will end up leaving the biggest impact on ordinary users. We also chat a bit about E3, iMovie’s latest update, the Windows 10 iCloud app, and a dubious rumor about the Lightning port on the next iPhone. This is episode 655, featuring Jason Cross, Leif Johnson, and Michael Simon.

Listen to the podcast

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Apple's iCloud app finally comes to the Windows Store, with OneDrive's syncing prowess

Wed, 06/12/2019 - 09:20
Apple's new app uses the Microsoft technology behind OneDrive's Files On-Demand.

Recover messages from a deleted mail account in Mail for macOS

Wed, 06/12/2019 - 08:00

Sometimes you make a rookie mistake, like shutting down a hosted email account before you—well, before I—download all the messages that are stored on the server and synced to my Macs and iOS devices via IMAP. I felt like a dope. I had already contacted the mail hosting company, which retains deleted accounts for seven days for just this reason, when I realized I should have a full backup cached on my iMac.

This Mac is always on and the Mail app is always running. The account I’d just deleted should be fully synced with the cached download in Mail, so long as I didn’t restart my Mac or even quit Mail. If you quit or restart, it’s hard to know exactly what cached content would be temporarily deleted by Mail or macOS.

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E3 2019: The best game and service announcements for Mac and iOS

Wed, 06/12/2019 - 06:30

We’ve now heard most of the big announcements coming out of this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, and—as usual—the lion’s share of the attention went to games for consoles and Windows PCs.

But there’s a decent amount of love here for the iOS and Mac crowds, too, particularly from Bethesda Softworks and Square Enix. This year’s show also introduced us to xCloud—Microsoft’s Xbox-centered alternative to Google’s upcoming Stadia streaming service—as well as Bethesda’s new technology for making all these new streaming services run more efficiently. We didn’t see many truly new game announcements for Mac and iOS, but there are plenty of updates for existing games.

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Reolink Argus Eco review: This Plain Jane wireless outdoor security camera can run on solar power

Wed, 06/12/2019 - 06:00
Reolink delivers a home security camera with all the essential features at an affordable price and gives you the option of recharging the camera's battery with a solar panel.

SwiftUI and Catalyst: Apple executes its invisible transition strategy

Wed, 06/12/2019 - 06:00

Last week in San Jose I found myself considering something John Gruber wrote for Macworld at the beginning of this decade—about how Apple’s product design doesn’t happen in short bursts, contrary to popular belief. It is a marathon, not a sprint. And no other company in the tech industry has the track record at it that Apple has.

“It’s a slow and steady process of continuous iterative improvement—so slow, in fact, that the process is easy to overlook if you’re observing it in real time,” Gruber wrote. “Only in hindsight is it obvious just how remarkable Apple’s platform development process is.”

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Best home security camera: Keep an eye on the home front

Wed, 06/12/2019 - 06:00
A boom in wireless security cameras is inspiring a movement in DIY home surveillance. Follow our buying guide and read our reviews to find the best option for you.

iMovie's latest update brings green screen effects, 80 new soundtracks, and more

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 15:11

Apple’s iMovie app for iOS just got updated to version 2.2.7, and it's one of the app's most interesting updates in a while. It includes support for a green screen effect, 80 new soundtracks, support for images with transparent backgrounds, and some noteworthy smaller changes.

The green screen effect is by far the most interesting as it lets you replace any green or blue background in your videos with imported imagery. It does a lot to make iMovie more like the real movies.

You’ll also get 80 new soundtracks that run the gamut from pop to chill, and each one adjusts to fit the length of your projects. Today’s update also introduces the ability to drop images with transparent backgrounds into your videos, which will come in handy if you’d like to keep your logo on the screen for a YouTube project.

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Apple releases iOS 12.4 beta 4 to developers

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 13:17

Apple released iOS 12.3 in the second week of May, bringing us its new TV app with Channels subscriptions. Just days later, it started releasing betas to developers for another point release, iOS 12.4.

With WWDC just around the corner, and the first iOS 13 beta likely to land at that time, it’s not yet clear why Apple needs another release. Simple bug and security fixes generally don’t get major point-release status; we would get a 12.3.1 release if there were no significant user-facing features.

Those who are part of Apple’s developer program can register a device for developer betas by heading to Those who are not in the developer program can register their devices for public beta releases by visiting while using the device on which they wish to run the beta software. While many beta releases are stable and even include new bug fixes, we suggest you do not run beta releases on your primary device.

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The feature that dare not be named: Apple’s privacy advantage

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 10:00

It’s been more than a week since Apple’s WWDC 2019 keynote and now it’s time to look back and…[squints to read] realize what a failure it was.

That seems wrong, but that’s what it says here.

Yes, writing for the Forbes contributor network and sock puppet theater, Greg Petro says that “At its Core, Apple Is No Longer Innovative.” (Tip o’ the antlers to Peter and Gary.)

Just this week at Apple’s much touted WWDC 2019, the company unveiled—you guessed it—more mundane updates to its iOS software for iPhone and iPad…

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How to make FileVault work again when you’re missing a 'secure token'

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 08:00

Several months ago, we posted a column called “What to do when FileVault won’t turn on,” which offered a set of strategies when you couldn’t get macOS to let you enable FileVault, Apple’s full-disk encryption (FDE) technology. These worked for some people who have followed up with us. The most severe of the scenarios was the “nuclear option,” which required a full backup or clone of your Mac, erase the drive, reinstalling macOS, and restoring your previous files. This would always re-enable the FileVault capability, but it’s a big investment of time and effort.

I’d put off carrying it out on my MacBook, which had this problem, hoping another alternative would emerge. Fortunately, Rich Trouton has a solution at his Der Flounder site, where he often provides inside into tricky or unsolvable disk-formatting and encryption issues. (Thanks also to reader Christophe for alerting me to Trouton’s update.)

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All the ways iOS 13 is going to be faster than iOS 12

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 06:30

Apple announced a slew of new features coming to iOS 13 at WWDC. But you probably shouldn't worry about all those fancy new capabilities slowing your iPhone to a crawl.

In fact, Apple Senior VP Craig Federighi opened the iOS 13 section of the WWDC keynote by saying "nothing is more important to our iPhone users than performance. So this year, we worked top-to-bottom making everything faster that you do the most."

Here are the ways you can expect your iPhone to get even faster when iOS 13 is released this fall.

Faster Face ID Apple

Face ID is faster. Faster is better.

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Sony SRS-XB32 Bluetooth speaker review: Flashy lights, fun, amazing sound—and it's waterproof!

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 06:00
The Sony SRS-XB32 is a fun Bluetooth portable speaker with a nice amount of thump and great overall sound. And its IP67 rating means it's submersible up to three feet.

Fitbit Charge 3 vs Inspire HR: Which advanced fitness tracker is right for you?

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 06:00

If you’re looking for a new wearable with a screen that counts your steps, receives notifications, and can withstand a dunk in the pool, you don’t have to buy an expensive smartwatch. Nor do you have to settle for an outdated fitness tracker on eBay. Fitbit makes a pair of fitness trackers that strike a balance between smart and sensible without breaking your budget or sacrificing any of the modern features you want in a wearable. Here’s how they stack up.

Fitbit Charge 3 vs Inspire HR: Size, display, and design Michael Simon/IDG

While Fitbit’s Versa and Ionic devices have giant square faces with big color screens, the Charge 3 and Inspire HR bands are much smaller and sleeker. The Inspire is quite a bit smaller than the Charge 3, but either of the three will fit any sized wrist.

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Why use both Text Message Forwarding and Messages in iCloud?

Mon, 06/10/2019 - 15:00

It can sometimes be tricky to tease out the difference between two similar iOS or macOS features that aren’t quite identical. The option on an iPhone to enable Text Message Forwarding to other devices and the Messages in iCloud feature are a case in point. If you’re forwarding text messages, then why do you need to use iCloud at all? It has to do with notifications and availability.

The Messages app in iOS and macOS keeps some sense of “presence,” or which device you’ve interacting with. When a message arrives, the Apple ecosystem tries to prompt you first at the device you’re actively using or most recently used.

Without Text Message Forwarding enabled in Settings > Messages, only Apple’s iMessages (messages in blue bubbles) appear on all your devices and use presence to figure out which one to prioritize. Otherwise, text messages (in green bubbles)—whether plain text SMS or rich-media MMS—show up only on your iPhone. Text Message Forwarding honors presence awareness and happens in real time.

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iOS chief Craig Federighi hints that someday Siri won't take over your whole screen—but not for a while

Mon, 06/10/2019 - 13:14

Apple may have changed the volume controls in iPadOS and iOS 13 to be less in-your-face, but that’s not the case with Siri. Summon Apple’s assistant and it will still overtake your entire screen and stay there until it’s done thinking and doing whatever you asked it to do, regardless of whether you have a 4-inch iPhone SE or a 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

That might change in a future update. As MacRumors reports, Apple VP Craig Federighi responded to iPad fan Juliano Rossi's question about Siri’s interface with a hopeful yet vague response: “What you describe is certainly valid feedback. Unfortunately, it's not something we can add in at the last minute, but we will certainly consider it for the future.”

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7 ways to make use of your old iPhone

Mon, 06/10/2019 - 07:00

Few things feel better than finally upgrading to a new iPhone after hanging on to your old one for three or four years. The photos are so good! It’s so fast! You finally have storage space! That battery lasts so much longer!

Assuming you didn’t trade in your old iPhone when you purchased your new one (which isn’t a bad idea), you’re left with a conundrum: What do you do with a several-year-old iPhone?

Here are some ideas to keep your old friend out of your junk drawer.

Sell or donate it

Just because you didn’t trade in your old iPhone when you got a new one doesn’t mean it has no value. Check out our guide for all the steps to take before you sell or trade in your iPhone, as well as some ideas of where to list it.

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LG E9 4K OLED smart TV review: The real deal gets brighter

Mon, 06/10/2019 - 06:00
LG's top-of-the-line 4K OLED remains a velvety, colorful, and now slightly brighter viewing experience.