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Updated: 2 weeks 1 day ago

Best soundbars to improve your TV's audio

Fri, 07/05/2019 - 15:36
Find the best soundbar for music and movies and that's the perfect fit for your budget.

LG SL8YG soundbar review: Generally excellent sound quality, though only in certain circumstances

Fri, 07/05/2019 - 11:00
This soundbar has some significant limitations, especially for such a high price.

Jony Ive is gone, but he won’t take Apple with him

Fri, 07/05/2019 - 07:00

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Here we are, once again debating whether or not the departure of a single prominent Apple employee signals doom for the company. This time it’s designer extraordinaire Jony Ive who’s leaving the company, though the reception to his exit is decidedly mixed. Some feel Ive is the embodiment of an Apple that’s placed too high a value on form over function; others worry that the company won’t be able to keep delivering world-class design without him. Neither of these is precisely true—and they’re definitely not both true.

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Your Time Capsule has died. How can you wipe its data?

Fri, 07/05/2019 - 06:00

A few days ago, I explained how to extract data from a Time Capsule networked drive and Wi-Fi router if you received a warning that you couldn’t back up to it as a destination. That was a “logical” solution, offering advice on archiving and reformatting.

But as Time Capsule age, they’re more likely to fail: the drive dies, the circuit board goes wonky, or the power supply poops out. If you can’t get the Time Capsule to power up or respond, how do you deal with the physical element of its drive? With a dead Time Capsule, you can’t easily extract the hard disk, either to recover it or erase it if you want to pass the unit on—or to destroy it to render the data unrecoverable.

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Kuo: Scissor-switch keyboards to return in 2019 MacBook Air, 2020 MacBook Pro

Thu, 07/04/2019 - 11:51

Few if any of Apple’s recent designs have been so vocally reviled as its butterfly keyboards for the MacBook. But according to a new report from respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (as reported by 9to5Mac), Apple may at last be reverting to the scissor-switch design for this year’s MacBook Air and 2020’s MacBook Pro.

This doesn’t mean that Apple is simply bringing back the beloved keyboard it used in older MacBooks. Instead, Kuo claims the new keyboards will have a fresh design that includes glass fiber for reinforcing the keys. Interestingly, Kuo suggests that such a scissor-switch design should cost Apple less to make, although I’ll caution that we’ll have to wait to see if that translates into savings at the consumer level.

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Best iPhone XR cases: Top picks in every style

Thu, 07/04/2019 - 08:00

More than six months into its lifespan, the best iPhone to buy is still the most affordable of the bunch: the iPhone XR, starting at $749. The 6.1-inch phone has many of the premium features found in the more expensive iPhone XS and XS Max, and comes in six different colors. (See why we think the iPhone XR is a worthy upgrade to the iPhone X.) It might be the more affordable option, but it’s still a significant expense, so you’re going to want a case to protect it. Fortunately, there are some very nice case options to choose from. We rounded up our top picks to help you decide. We’ll add more to the list as new cases become available, so watch this space.

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Best Mac remote access apps

Thu, 07/04/2019 - 06:00

Sometimes—maybe often—you need to access your Mac, but you’re not sitting in front of it. You might be an office away, across town, or on the other side of the world. For decades, the fix for this involves an ever-changing mix of remote-access software that can pierce network complexities, allowing you to remotely control or observe a computer. More modern flavors can pass along audio inputs and output, transfer files, and allow remote peripheral access.

In this round-up of remote-access software, I look at products that have the right mix of features and price to consider for personal, non-commercial use and for small business.

For multiple users who need to control a few computers

With LogMeIn Pro, remote access can be installed on one or two computers. But an unlimited number of different users can access those computers. It’s the right option for a small business that has software with a single-seat license or with massive files installed on a computer, and that wants multiple employees who aren’t on site to have access, or to have cross-platform access.

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TeamViewer review: Great remote-access system for personal use, but priced high for most business purposes

Thu, 07/04/2019 - 05:40

TeamViewer is a powerful remote-access tool designed for large-scale use, and combining remote screen control, remote file access, and robust ability to share the observation or control of screens among users. It bundles in text, audio conferencing, and video conferencing, and a single-user license allows the remote control of unlimited computers.

It’s also the most generous company out there where personal use is concerned. TeamViewer allows unlimited use of the full version of its software for non-commercial purposes, which the company offers a clear definition of (no direct or indirect revenue or business support).

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Splashtop review: affordable remote access app with core remote access options

Thu, 07/04/2019 - 05:20

With a focus on just providing solid remote-access tools, Splashtop is far less expensive than its closest competitors, which include features that many users may not need, such as file storage, password management, and full-blown conferencing tools.

That approach appears to allow Splashtop to offer pricing that makes sense to individual users as well as some categories of business user. Splashtop Business Solo at $5 a month (billed at $60 a year) lets a single user access two computers. It offers a range of expected remote-access features, including remote printing, playing remote audio locally through client software, and managing a system with multiple moderns.

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LogMeIn Pro review: The right remote access when you have many users that need to control a few computers

Thu, 07/04/2019 - 05:00

LogMeIn provides straightforward remote access to a computer’s screen and files from a smartphone, tablet, or other computer. The company orients its approach around the number of computers available to control in a given account, rather than users.

With the LogMeIn Pro flavor of the service, remote access can be installed on one or two computers. But an unlimited number of different users can access those computers. It’s the right option for a small business that has software with a single-seat license or with massive files installed on a computer, and which wants multiple employees who aren’t on site to have access, or to have cross-platform access.

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Apple’s event calendar: When is the next Apple event?

Wed, 07/03/2019 - 15:37

Updated 07/03/19: Now that WWDC is over, we don't expect another Apple event until September.

Apple doesn’t often participate in big industry-wide events like CES or E3. The most valuable company in the world holds its own events, thank you very much. Several times a year, Apple invites the press and industry professionals out to a theater to hear all about its latest products and services. Apple calls these “Special Events,” and streams them online to its millions of fans.

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Can’t download photos from your iPhone to your Mac? It could be a trust issue

Wed, 07/03/2019 - 08:00

Your Mac needs to trust your iPhone or iPad—and vice-versa. Apple added a Trust button to iOS years ago that appears when a device is connected to a computer, requiring a phone or tablet be unlocked and the connection confirmed. This was another layer in attempting to ensure that a device’s owner really wanted that computer to have access.

However, you can run afoul of this provision. My dad wrote to me from a small island on Greece recently after he’d swapped in a Greek carrier’s SIM for his unlocked AT&T iPhone. While voice, text, and data worked fine, whenever he plugged his iPhone into his laptop, he neither received a Trust dialog nor could get his phone’s images to appear as available with iTunes, Photos, or Image Capture.

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Should you run the iOS 13 beta?

Wed, 07/03/2019 - 07:00

The iOS 13 public beta is out now, and it look like a smorgasbord of all the things we ever wanted. Dark Mode! Siri support for music apps! Better video editing! Overhauled Maps! A swiping keyboard! Smaller downloads!

It’s really tempting to pop over to and jump on the beta bandwagon. (For more on how to install the beta, and how to uninstall it, read our guide.)

But you might want to pump the breaks a bit. Running beta software has sometimes serious consequences, and not all the wonderful features of iOS 13 are even available yet in the beta. To help you decide if you should participate in the iOS 13 or iPadOS 13 public beta, we prepared this short guide.

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FitzyTV review: A neat but shaky workaround for streaming TV annoyances

Wed, 07/03/2019 - 06:00
FitzyTV addresses some streaming TV annoyances, but adds some of its own along the way.

How to use Sidecar to make your iPad a secondary Mac display in macOS Catalina and iPadOS

Wed, 07/03/2019 - 06:00

If your Mac is running macOS Catalina, you can now use your iPad as a secondary monitor with the new “Sidecar” feature. It’s ridiculously easy to set up wirelessly through AirPlay.

First, a few notes. Unlike with some existing third-party screen-sharing apps such as Air Display 3, you can really only use your fingers on the display for simple actions such as scrolling through text.

The Apple Pencil works as a “mouse,” though—and that includes using it to alter and create images through the full version of Adobe Photoshop while we’re waiting on the proper iPad version to appear. Apart from the Apple Pencil, interaction involves a number of shortcuts on the borders of the interface—and you can press these with your fingers. Notably, Apple also includes relevant Touch Bar actions when someone is using an app on the iPad through Sidecar, so in Safari, for instance, you’ll see the visual toggle for the different tabs.

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Best DVR for cord cutters

Wed, 07/03/2019 - 06:00
TiVo vs. Tablo vs. Channel Master vs. Plex: None are ideal, but one might work for you.

iOS 13 and iPadOS 13: Apple releases beta 3 to developers

Tue, 07/02/2019 - 14:34

Apple’s huge WWDC developer conference kicked off on Monday, and as expected, the company took the wraps off iOS 13. It’s the next major revision for one of the most important and influential operating systems of all time, with iOS used daily on over a billion iPhones and iPads. It looks to be a doozy.

Here are all the major new features that iOS 13 will bring to your iPhone and iPad when it releases this fall, along with details about supported devices and how to join the beta test to try it out early.

Update 07/02/19: Apple has released the third developer beta of iOS 13 and iPadOS 13. This build will likely become the second public beta release, which may release as early as tomorrow, or as late as next week.

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Ive got a story to tell: Differing views on Apple’s exiting designer

Tue, 07/02/2019 - 10:00

Big news from ye olde iPhone shoppe last week as Apple announced that Jony Ive would be leaving the company to run his own design firm. Get ready to be sprayed in the face with a firehose full of hot takes.

First, let’s go to Vice, where Jason Koebler says “History Will Not Be Kind to Jony Ive.” (Tip o’ the antlers to SamT and @designheretic.) History and Jason Koebler.

And why is that?

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iPadOS 13: How to use the floating digital keyboard

Tue, 07/02/2019 - 07:00

Here’s a truth we’ve had to endure for the iPad’s entire lifespan until now: The bigger the iPad, the bigger the frustration of typing on the screen when you’re holding the tablet like a clipboard. One hand had to hold up the iPad, leaving the index finger of your other hand to hunt and peck its way across the QuickType keyboard on the expansive screen. It certainly didn’t help that the normal keyboard is simply bad for presentation because it obscures around a fourth of the screen.

Apple originally attempted to solve this problem by letting you split the keyboard in two halves, but Apple is removing that feature with iPadOS 13. That’s because iPadOS 13 introduces a better option: Now there’s a floating iPhone-sized keyboard that can freely move to any spot of the display. Unlike the iPad’s digital keyboard in its default configuration, this smaller floating keyboard even supports the swipe-typing feature Apple is bringing to the iPhone with iOS 13.

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Ecovacs Deebot 500 review: This budget-priced household helper is a solid choice

Tue, 07/02/2019 - 06:00
With app control plus Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support, this robot vacuum packs a punch for the price.