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Updated: 7 hours 33 min ago

Alien Skin Exposure X4 review: Raw photo processing app applies creative flair to your photos

Fri, 03/01/2019 - 07:00

Alien Skin Exposure X4 is a prosumer app targeted to photo hobbyists and enthusiasts who want to kick their photographic output up a notch or two.

While the app—which works both as a standalone or a plug-into Photoshop—specializes in raw images, it’s also compatible with a variety of formats including TIFF, JPEG and PSD. Version X4 offers improved shadow and highlight recovery for improved detail. New, customizable light effects add drama to your compositions while new transform tools let you correct keystone tilt and other skewed perspectives.

In addition to photographic features, Exposure X4’s Smart Collections let you more efficiently organize your photo library using keywords, ratings, and colors. A tethered shooting feature, mostly targeted to professional photographers, lets you monitor folders and do tethered shooting directly from camera to screen.

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Tivoli Audio Fonico review: These true wireless earphones are inexpensive, but they’re not a great value

Fri, 03/01/2019 - 06:00
Audio performance isn’t the problem, it’s a host of other little things.

How repairing an old Mac mini made me anticipate a new Mac Pro

Fri, 03/01/2019 - 06:00

I spent the better part of this week with my 2012 Mac mini in pieces in my living room, as I attempted to fix an issue with a dead drive. The problem that sparked it is still plaguing me, but the experience has given me both some appreciation for the way Apple used to do things, as well as the way it might once again.

This isn’t the first time I’ve taken apart a Mac—it’s not even the first time I’ve taken apart this particular Mac mini. Diving into hardware has always been a task that I enjoy. It’s fun not only to see how everything fits together (especially with Apple’s famously small tolerances) but also to realize that this amazing box, which can do all these cool things, is a clever combination of so many parts working in concert.

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Globesweeper review: February's most addictive game is a modernized take on Minesweeper

Thu, 02/28/2019 - 11:51
There's so much work to be done but I just can't stop playing Globesweeper, a spherical take on Minesweeper.

How to convert vector artwork into different formats using the Preview app

Thu, 02/28/2019 - 08:00

There’s a gulf of difference between bitmap and vector graphics. Bitmap art is made of pixels and has a scale attached: each pixel represents black or white, or some gray or color tone. The resolution of the file—how many pixels wide by how tall—defines the amount of information in it. Scale it up and you start to see the individual pixels.

A vector graphic, however, defines just the relationship of arcs and lines, which can be colored or filled with tints or patterns, and can be scaled to any size large or small. At whatever size they’re scaled, they render to the screen: the geometrical data gets converted to pixels for display. (Text included in vector files are almost always made of vectors themselves!)

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Gamevice review: A good iPhone game controller, but not for Fortnite

Thu, 02/28/2019 - 07:00

Hook up any latter-day iPhone to the Gamevice and you’ll wind up with a device that looks a lot like a Nintendo Switch. An iPhone XS Max in particular does a good job of masquerading as the Switch’s expansive central touchscreen. The Gamevice controllers themselves hug the phone’s edges like Joy-Cons. So fully does the Gamevice pull off the illusion that I spent the week before its arrival envisioning a future where we wouldn’t even need devices like the Switch. With the help of peripherals like these, I was ready to proclaim, the iPhone alone would suffice.

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Apple dominates the podcast market. But for how long?

Thu, 02/28/2019 - 06:00

If you aren’t someone who is part of the podcast business (disclosure: I make the majority of my income from podcasting), you might not realize that Apple is the dominant player in the field. That dominance is driven by two factors: its definitive directory of podcasts, and the built-in iOS Podcasts app, which drives the majority of podcast listening on the planet.

The slow shift from radio to on-demand audio continues, and companies are noticing. Investment in podcast companies is up, listening is growing, and the podcast advertising market continues to expand. Yet despite its dominance, Apple seems strangely uninterested in podcasting.

It started with the iPod

Apple reached this point because in 2005 it noticed that people were going to great lengths to load the first podcasts onto its iPod music player, and decided to make some effort to make the process easier. Apple released a new version of GarageBand with additional podcast-focused features, created a directory of podcasts using the iTunes Store framework, and updated iTunes to support podcast subscriptions directly. You still had to attach your iPod directly in order to download new episodes, which was not the best, but it beat the old method of loading podcast audio files into iTunes, marking them as songs or audiobooks, and syncing them manually.

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Macworld's March Digital Magazine: 10 must-have apps for your iPhone

Wed, 02/27/2019 - 19:00

Every day, Macworld brings you the essential daily news and other info about all things Apple. But staying on top of that torrent of information can be a constant challenge. One solution: the Macworld digital magazine. 

In the March issue

In the March issue of Macworld we’ve got apps. If you have a new iPhone or Apple Watch, we have our picks for the must-have apps for each device. And not to ignore the Mac, we’ve got the 10 best Mac games of 2018; don’t miss our list. 

In this month’s issue:

• MacUser: The old guard of Mac indy apps has thrived for more than 25 years

• MacUser Reviews: Adobe Premiere Rush CC, Sony PSZ-RA4T Professional RAID

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How to get all of the Apple Watch Activity badges

Wed, 02/27/2019 - 12:07

Achievement badges are a funny thing. You know they’re just a simple little bit of visual flair, they don’t even do anything, and yet for some reason you just have to collect them. Achievements are great motivators, and the achievement badges for the activity tracking on the Apple Watch have inspired many users to get more exercise.

If you want to maximize your badge count, you’re going to watch to chase down as many activity achievements as you can. Most are available year-round, but there are also some time-limited special events to grab, too. Here’s a list of all the activity achievements for the Apple Watch and how to unlock them.

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KeepSolid VPN Unlimited Review: A capable VPN and a great option for Netflix fans

Wed, 02/27/2019 - 06:30

In late November, KeepSolid rolled out VPN Unlimited 5.0 for Mac and Windows. Where the previous version of VPN Unlimited was a mess of options and information overload, VPN Unlimited 5.0 is more streamlined to help you get online faster.

Overall, KeepSolid is a pretty good service with reliable but not blazing fast speeds. It’s also a good platform for accessing streaming services like Netflix, whether you’re overseas or just securing your connection at an airport.

Note: This review is part of our best VPNs roundup. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them.

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Apple announces winners of its Shot on iPhone Challenge

Tue, 02/26/2019 - 17:34

Apple has announced the winners of its Shot on iPhone Challenge, in which iPhone users were tasked with sending Apple their most stunning and creative photos. Participants retain the rights to their photograph, but would grant Apple a royalty-free non-exclusive right to use the photograph.

After some controversy, the contest was changed so that the ten winners would receive a licensing fee for the use of their photos. It only seems reasonable: While the contest is meant to be for everyone and not just professional photographers, Apple is going to use the winning photos on billboards, in its stores, and in advertisements around the world. They're going to help sell iPhones. That's the kind of thing photographers get paid serious money for, and for one of the world's richest companies to stiff these photographers just because they may be amateur contest winners felt...cheap.

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Report: Apple working on sleep tracking feature for future Apple Watch

Tue, 02/26/2019 - 15:15

According to a new report from Mark Gurman at Bloomberg, Apple is testing a sleep tracking capability for the Apple Watch.

Gurman’s sources say that the company has been testing the feature for several months at sites around Cupertino, and if the testing goes well, it hopes to add the feature to “a future version of its smartwatch” in 2020.

It may be disappointing to have to wait that long when competitors like Fitbit have sleep tracking in wrist-based products today, but we can hope that Apple’s take on the feature is either markedly more accurate or more full-featured than current offerings.

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Apple needs to get into the folding game and save us from years of bad phones

Tue, 02/26/2019 - 11:17

When I first heard that Samsung was making a folding phone, I was excited. The idea that a phone could turn into a tablet intrigued me, and I closely followed the development of Samsung’s display technology leading up to the launch of the Galaxy Fold.

Then I saw the Fold, and, well, my excitement waned. After dreams of giant screens opening to gianter screens, the Galaxy Fold has some clear first-gen compromises. The outside display is only 4.6-inches, which is laughably small for a 2019 smartphone (sorry iPhone SE lovers). It opens to a 7.6-inch screen that has a giant notch on the right side for the cameras. And it looks like it’s thicker than two iPhones stacked on top of each other.

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How to export your Photo Booth photos and videos

Tue, 02/26/2019 - 07:00

The Photo Booth app lets you take selfies and record videos through a Mac’s built-in camera or a third-party camera. But the app’s simple interface can make it a little tricky to figure out how to extract images.

There are three ways:

• Select an image or video in the row below the main window, and then Control-click (or right click on your mouse) and select Export.

IDG

• Select one or more images or videos (hold down Shift to select a range or use Command to add or remove) and drag into the Finder.

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Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i review: Gorgeous headphones with great active noise cancellation

Tue, 02/26/2019 - 06:00
B&O's H9i headphones hit a high note with excellent active noise cancellation, premium build quality, and superb sound.

Beneath the fold: The reality about Apple and foldable screens

Tue, 02/26/2019 - 06:00

There’s a new technology on the streets (disclaimer: not actually on the streets yet) and it’s not coming from Apple so please prepare your large, novelty-sized forks to stick into the company.

Yes, foldable smartphones are here! Well, not here in the sense you can buy one yet (other than this atrocity), but both Samsung and Huawei have announced phones with folding screens that will be available in April and mid-year respectively. Thus, we can see the innovation is dead at Apple and the company is behind yet again. Just like it was in the digital music player market, the netbook market, the self-driving car market, the wearables market and the market for rocket-propelled pants.

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Best true wireless earbuds: Free yourself from the tyranny of cords

Mon, 02/25/2019 - 17:46

Earbud makers have been busy doing away with wires—a good thing whether or not your phone still has a headset jack. You no longer have to deal with cords if you don't want to. True wireless earbuds connect to one another and your audio source via Bluetooth.

No wires mean no inline microphones or controls, but truly wireless earbuds sound just as good as traditional Bluetooth counterparts (for better or worse). They also boast all of the features we've come to expect from earbuds designed to work with your smartphone, tablet, or PC.

Since Apple’s AirPods became a runaway hit, an endless stream of companies have rolled out their own true wireless earbuds and earphones. As you might expect, not all of them are worth your time or money—so we've got your back with buying suggestions to meet a wide variety of needs.

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Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100 review: Excellent durability for athletes, plagued by connection problems and poor sound quality

Mon, 02/25/2019 - 17:41

Remove non-productPlantronics has a reputation for churning out well-made, reliable hands-free Bluetooth communications gear that drivers and corporate I.T. types adore. Its headphones and earphones, however, tend to fly under the radar of most music lovers. It’s a shame, as their consumer audio gear not only sounds great (for the price) but also comes packed with features typically reserved for headphones that cost significantly more. As such, I expected great things from Plantronics’ first stab at a pair of true wireless earphones, the BackBeat Fit 3100.

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Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100 review: Excellent durability for athletes, plagued by connection problems and poor sound quality

Mon, 02/25/2019 - 17:41

Remove non-productPlantronics has a reputation for churning out well-made, reliable hands-free Bluetooth communications gear that drivers and corporate I.T. types adore. Its headphones and earphones, however, tend to fly under the radar of most music lovers. It’s a shame, as their consumer audio gear not only sounds great (for the price) but also comes packed with features typically reserved for headphones that cost significantly more. As such, I expected great things from Plantronics’ first stab at a pair of true wireless earphones, the BackBeat Fit 3100.

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The iPhone SE is available on Apple’s online Clearance Products store

Mon, 02/25/2019 - 16:57

Apple’s iPhone SE disappeared from the iPhone lineup last fall, when the company introduced the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR. But it keeps reappearing in Apple’s online Clearance store. It’s back again, and who knows how long inventory will last.

You can’t find the iPhone SE at the retail Apple Store, though you may be able to find one at a carrier store. If you’ve wanted one but had no luck through the methods above, now’s your chance. Since it’s on clearance, stock on these phones is limited.

Here’s what’s available. 

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