Sunday, May 28, 2017

Why the Revamped MacBook Is Perfect for First-Time Mac Owners

By  Ben Stegner  

Are you thinking about buying a MacBook? Maybe you’re sick of the privacy issues on Windows and are looking for something different. The macOS platform is enticing, but which machine should you choose?Everything You Need to Know About Windows 10's Privacy Issues Everything You Need to Know About Windows 10's Privacy IssuesWhile Windows 10 has some issues that users need to be aware of, many claims have been blown out of proportion. Here's our guide to everything you need to know about Windows 10's privacy issues.READ MORE
You could save some money and get the MacBook Air, but that has a lousy screen. And the MacBook Pro is gorgeous, but for everyday use it’s overkill and beyond most budgets.
There’s a third option: the revamped MacBook. Today we’ll look at why it’s the perfect machine for Mac newcomers.

A Gorgeous Screen

Screen resolution is often what separates a low-end machine from a premium one. Look at the majority of $200–$300 Chromebooks, and you’ll find most of them have a resolution of 1366 x 768. This is poor, and you’ll notice it immediately. Low-resolution screens are blurry when viewed from close up, can’t fit as many elements on the screen, and often require the perfect angle for a clear view.Graphic Display Resolutions - What Do The Numbers Mean? [MakeUseOf Explains] Graphic Display Resolutions - What Do The Numbers Mean? [MakeUseOf Explains]Display resolutions can be a rather cryptic business, with multiple standards used to describe the same display resolution in 10 different ways. All of those technical terms tend to change based on the display's purpose...READ MORE
The MacBook might not be Apple’s most expensive laptop, but you wouldn’t know it from the screen. A brilliant 2304 x 1440 display on the 2016 model looks unbelievably crisp, and colors pop. It looks good from any angle, too.
The 12-inch screen is a great compromise between tiny 11-inch laptops and bigger 13- and 15-inch models. While the new MacBook Pro has a slightly better resolution (2560 x 1600 on the 13-inch model), this alone is not worth the extra money. The MacBook Air is held back by a grainy-looking 1440 x 900 display.

A Fantastic Trackpad and Keyboard

In a laptop this slim, a standard keyboard and trackpad wouldn’t work too well. Thus, you’ll find a few interesting design choices on the MacBook.
First, the keyboard keys don’t necessarily act like you’d expect them to. Instead of having a cap resting on a spring, the “butterfly” design means that the key caps move down in one piece wherever they’re pressed. Combined with a flat design and low travel distance, typing on this keyboard will feel strange at first. But after a week, I was pretty much used to it — and I’m a mechanical keyboard enthusiast.Which Mechanical Keyboard Should You Buy? 6 Keyboards for Typists and Gamers Which Mechanical Keyboard Should You Buy? 6 Keyboards for Typists and GamersWhile CPUs and GPUs remain essential to computer performance, there's an underappreciated peripheral: the keyboard. Everyone uses keyboards, but few people think about them when buying a new PC.READ MORE
The trackpad is full-sized and comes with all the standard macOS gestures like quick desktop switching and window management tools. It also adds a new input method called Force Touch, similar to 3D Touch in newer iPhones. By pressing harder on the touchpad than normal, you can perform extra actions across the OS. These include previewing links in Safari, quickly opening image files, or looking up word definitions.
There’s also some trickery going on under the touchpad. While it feels like you’re pressing down on it, it never actually travels anywhere. Mechanics also emit the clicking sound you’re used to hearing. While it might not replace your desktop mouse for daily work, this trackpad isn’t lacking in any form.

Slim Form Factor and Stunning Looks

A name like MacBook Air suggests a slim profile, but the 2016 MacBook manages to pull off an even smaller chassis. The whole device is about 13 mm thick and weighs just over two pounds. It’s a machine that’s easy to pick up with one hand and walk down the hall with — or to keep in your bag and forget how light it is.
If you value looks when choosing a laptop, the MacBook delivers. In any of its four available colors, this is a gorgeous machine. Pretty backlit keys add to the lightweight form and sleek aluminium to make a machine that’s as fun to look at as it is to use. There aren’t any fans, so your laptop is quiet and cool even when you’re using it.

The Right Price

MacBooks are expensive laptops and that will never change. But the 2016 MacBook hits a solid price point for what it offers. You don’t have to spend $1,500 for the (lowest-end) MacBook Pro, or compromise with the MacBook Air’s screen to get a lower price.Apple Tax: Why Do Macs Hold Their Resale Value? Apple Tax: Why Do Macs Hold Their Resale Value?You've probably heard it before: Macs may cost more, but they hold their value. Is this true, and if so why?READ MORE
The MacBook is available in two forms: one costs $1,300 while the other is $1,600. Opting for the more expensive model gets you 512 GB of storage instead of 256 GB, and packs a better processor. Whichever one you need, this model of MacBook arguably offers the best blend of price and performance.
Of course, you can follow our saving tips or even look for a refurbished Mac to get a better deal. I purchased a refurbished 256 GB model on Amazon for $999, which had a battery cycle count of under 10. It’s basically a brand-new machine for $300 less than retail.
Apple MacBook (MLH72LL/A) 256GB 12-inch Retina Display (2016) Intel Core M3 Tablet - Space Gray (Certified Refurbished)Apple MacBook (MLH72LL/A) 256GB 12-inch Retina Display (2016) Intel Core M3 Tablet - Space Gray (Certified Refurbished)This Certified Refurbished product is tested and certified to look and work like new. The refurbishing process includes functionality testing, basic cleaning, inspection, and repackaging. The product ships with all relevant accessories, a minimum 90-day warranty, and may arrive in a generic box. Only select sellers who maintain a high performance bar may offer Certified Refurbished products on BUY NOW AT AMAZON $999.99

A Few Caveats

While we’ve been singing the praises of the MacBook, it’s not flawless by any means. This machine is perfect for a specific way of using it — side or travel laptop — and not your primary computer. If you fit into this profile, the following negatives of the machine won’t affect you as much.
First and most obvious is the lack of ports on the MacBook. To make it so slim, Apple had to cut out the HDMI, USB, and other ports you’re used to having on a laptop. These are all replaced by a single USB-C port on the MacBook.Should the New MacBook's Single Port Scare You Away? Should the New MacBook's Single Port Scare You Away?Apple recently revealed the new MacBook, and it's a jaw-dropper — but it also has only a single port. Was this a blunder, or a sign of the future?READ MORE
While USB-C is the connection port of the future and supports different device types, the reality is that you probably own devices that don’t use this connection. For those, you need one of Apple’s adapters (we recommend buying a used one to save money). The multiport adapter adds a standard USB port, as well as HDMI output.
Combined with the fact that the MacBook won’t let you connect to more than one external display, it’s clear that this isn’t a main workhorse computer. If you need to connect all sorts of devices to your computer and use three monitors, the MacBook won’t work for you. But if you value portability, you probably won’t need more than the charger and an occasional USB slot, so the adapter is enough.Essential Tools & Tips for Working With Multiple Mac Monitors Essential Tools & Tips for Working With Multiple Mac MonitorsYou've found the right display adapters for your Mac and have a second monitor connected — now what? Here's everything you need to know to set up and use multiple monitors with your Mac.READ MORE
The other objectively bad part of this machine is the internal camera. It’s only 480p, which is frankly unacceptable in a premium machine like this. Presumably this choice was made to preserve the slim screen profile, but the result is lacklustre video quality. If you regularly use Skype or FaceTime to communicate for work, you need a computer with a better camera (or can substitute your iPhone). For casually calling friend on the go, though, this will suffice.
In all, the MacBook is built for a specific audience. People who want a slim, attractive laptop with a sharp screen and don’t need many cables or external devices are targeted here. As I’ve argued, this makes it a perfect first Mac. It won’t replace your power desktop or an iMac, but it’s a wonderful travel machine or secondary laptop.

The Best of Mac in an Awesome Package

Now you know what you’re getting into with the new MacBook. It’s not for everybody, but those interested in Apple’s machines should definitely give it a look. There’s no better introduction to the ecosystem. I recently purchased one as a new travel laptop, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised.
Of course, every MacBook gets you full access to macOS Sierra and all its sweet features, including great built-in apps. If you make the new MacBook your first Mac, make sure you follow our guide on what to do first and install the essential apps.What's New in macOS Sierra? The New Features Coming to Your Mac What's New in macOS Sierra? The New Features Coming to Your MacOS X is dead, long live macOS.READ MORE
Have you considered buying a MacBook? Which Mac are you using right now? Let us know which machine you would recommend for Mac newcomers down in the comments!

12 Cool Things You Can Do With iMessage Apps for iOS

By  Tim Brookes  

iMessage is Apple’s free proprietary messaging service for iOS and Mac users. Last year Apple paved the way for a richer iMessage experience, with the introduction of iMessage apps (or extensions) in iOS 10 for iPhone and iPad users.
That means you can now do a lot more than simply send text, voice, picture, and video messages. Once you’ve mastered the basics, why not try out a few of the apps below?

Install and Use iMessage Apps

If your outgoing messages within a conversation are blue, then you’re using iMessage (if they’re green, then many of these apps won’t work). You can access iMessage apps by tapping the “>” arrow near the text input box on any iMessage conversation.
imessage apps access
From here, tap the App Store icon. You can hit the button in the bottom-left corner to access a list of available apps including the store. Hit Store to find apps by category or using the search feature in the top-left corner. You can hit Manage to turn apps on or off.
imessage app store
Many regular apps (like Dropbox) have iMessage components, and you can enable or disable them from the Manage tab. This is especially handy for games that often include stickers you have no interest in seeing. Once an app is installed, head back to the menu and tap on it to launch it.
imessage apps
And that’s really all there is to it!

1. Play Games

This one’s pretty obvious, but there are many games that lend themselves well to the asynchronous nature of an iMessage conversation. These include favorites like Words With FriendsFour in a Row, and chess app Checkmate! ($0.99).
Check out a few of our other favorite iMessage games and recommend your own in the comments below.

2. Share Your Location

You can share your location easily with other iMessage users simply by tapping the i button in the top-right corner then hitting Send My Current Location. This is fine if you want to use Apple Maps, but if you’d rather use a better mapping service, install Google Maps and enable the iMessage app.
google maps imessage
You can then hit Send to get an exact location fix and send a web link to the other party.

3. Send GIFs

Despite the arrival of WebM video and high-speed internet, the world still loves GIFs — so why not liven up your conversations with some looping animations? Apple provides you with an app called #images for this task, which is a Bing-powered animated image search, and it does the job.
giphy imessage
If you’d like to step it up a bit, then Giphy is the best tool for the job. Don’t miss Giphy Cam either, which allows you to create your own GIFs to share with friends.

4. Go Crazy With Stickers

The vast majority of iMessage apps are sticker packs, which allow you to send still images and animations to friends for a laugh. Stickers go a step further than regular old images as they can be picked up, dragged, and then placed over messages and images you’ve already sent.
stickers imessage
It’s not entirely a useful feature, but there are stickers out there that can brighten your everyday conversations. I’d recommend browsing for something that matches your taste, as there’s so much to pick from. I grabbed Apple’s Classic Mac and Microsoft’s Halo Stickers for free.
Don’t miss Giphy Stickers for more animated fun or Bitmoji if you’d like to create your own sticker avatar.

5. Share Some Music

Apple’s built-in Music app for iMessage lets you quickly share a song with a friend. Launch it, and you’ll find the last few songs you played, along with the currently playing item, which you can send with a tap. This will provide them with a “playable” iTunes link, which may or may not be useful depending on whether they have Apple Music or not.
music imessage
If you really want to share the song that’s playing right now (in the room), then Shazam lets you do that in record time. Launch it, hit Shazam, and as soon as the song is identified a Shazam link is added to the text box. Don’t forget you can connect Shazam and Apple Music too.
Unfortunately there’s no support in iMessage for Spotify yet.

6. Send Private or Self-Destructing Text and Media

You can already hide what you’re sending in iMessage with the aid of iOS 10’s new features. Simply type a message or choose a photo, then 3D Touch the Send button (squeeze it quickly), then choose Invisible Ink. If you’re using an iPhone 6 or similar older device, you’ll need to tap and hold the Send button instead.
The recipient will need to swipe across your message to reveal its contents, handy if you don’t want someone peeking over their shoulder.
If you want to take things a step further, then try out the free app Confide, which allows for self-destructing text and photo messages. The app features end-to-end encryption just like iMessage, and though there are premium options available, core functionality is 100 percent free.

7. Talk About the Weather

Being British, I can talk about the weather for hours, especially living in one of the most meteorologically changeable cities in the world (Melbourne, Australia). If you want to take things a step further, you can use an iMessage-friendly weather app to quickly check and share the forecast while chatting away.
weather channel imessage
The Weather Channel provides basic free forecast sharing functionality, while CARROT Weather($3.99) is probably the funniest weather app money can buy. Don’t miss Weathershot the next time you need to brag about the weather with a selfie, or MOON if you’re a werewolf.

8. Translate Your Conversation

There are a lot of translation apps on the App Store, but not all of them play nicely with iMessage. It’s also worth keeping in mind that translation and language-learning services often require a premium contribution. So the best apps for the job aren’t necessarily free.
itranslate imessage
Fortunately, the best tools come with a good free option. iTranslate is great, providing unhindered access to a huge number of languages while you’re connected to the web (offline translation requires an in-app purchase). Yandex Translate is a free option with offline support, but it isn’t quite as well-designed as iTranslate.
yandex imessage
It’s a huge shame that the excellent Google Translate app for iOS doesn’t have iMessage functionality. If the company expands the app to include this functionality in the future, then it could be the only translation tool you’d ever need.

9. Find a Film

Planning a trip to the cinema with a group of friends? Thinking of an older film but want to convince someone to watch it with you? Enter IMDb and its iMessage extension, which provides you with a list of films showing nearby (provided you’ve granted location access) and a searchable IMDb database right from the Messages app.
imdb imessage
Once you’ve found something, simply tap it to send an IMDb link to the film.

10. Share Files in the Cloud

iCloud isn’t so great when it comes to file sharing, and that’s why there’s no iMessage app for sharing items in your iCloud Drive. But both Dropbox and Microsoft OneDrive have added this functionality. If you already use either of these services, you likely already have the app installed. You can enable the iMessage extension from the Manage tab under the iMessage App Store.
dropbox imessage
Once installed, each of these apps allows you to browse and share files directly to a conversation. OneDrive even allows you to open files quickly in Microsoft’s other apps, like Word and Excel.

11. Send a Quick Scan

If you’re not already storing invoices and receipts digitally using a scanning app, do yourself a favor and make the switch to paperless.
scanbot imessage
Owners of the premium Scanner Pro ($3.99) app can add an iMessage extension under the usual Manage tab. If you’re looking for a free iMessage-friendly scanner, give ScanBot a shot. Both of these apps handle the scanning, converting, and sending process without having to leave the Messages app.

12. Check a Math Formula

Finally, if you’re a mathematics student who needs to bounce ideas of your classmates, then Vulcanize is the app for you. It allows you to convert LaTeX to beautiful mathematical formulas worthy of any printed textbook.

Which iMessage Apps Do You Use?

iMessage extensions may seem like a gimmick, but the right apps can really help speed up your workflow and brighten your everyday conversations. Whether you’re playing word games, sending dank memes to your friends, or saving a precious few seconds by optimizing your workflow, iMessage apps are worth a second look.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

How to Stop Third-Party Apps From Accessing Your Private Data on Social Media

By   Nancy Messieh 

Email subscription management service recently made headlines for selling user data to other companies, including Uber. quickly issued an apology for what The New York Timesdescribed as a widespread Has Been Caught Selling Your Data Has Been Caught Selling Your DataIf something is free then there's usually a catch. And it turns out is no exception.READ MORE
If you’re still concerned about who has access to your various accounts, the good news is that it’s very easy to revoke access. On the other hand, if you want a better understanding of how each app uses your data, you may need to dig into each app’s Terms of Service.
For the time being, if you want that quick and easy fix, here’s how to revoke access to third-party apps in Google, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.


To disconnect third-party apps from your Gmail or Google account, go to your Connected Apps page in your account. (You can also reach this page by going to My Account > Sign-in & Security > Connected Apps & Sites > Manage Apps.) You should find a list of all the apps you’ve granted access to your Google account with an explanation of what kind of access they’ve been granted. You can scroll through the list, click on apps you want to remove, and click the Remove button.


Go to Settings > Apps and you’ll see a list of apps that have access to your Twitter account. You can also tell what kinds of permissions the apps have: read and write (meaning they can post to Twitter on your behalf) or read-only. Click the Revoke Access button on the apps you want to disconnect.


Go to Settings > Apps and you’ll see a list of apps that have access to your Facebook account. Hit the Show All button and you can click on each app to see what information the app can access from your Facebook profile, and whether it can post to Facebook on your behalf. To revoke access, just click the to remove.
You can also selectively remove what information an app can access, but this could also break the app’s ability to work.


Instagram users can go to Settings > Authorized Applications in your browser to see what apps can access your account – and what permissions they have. Possible permissions include viewing your media and profile, accessing your follower and following lists, posting or deleting likes and comments on your behalf, and following or unfollowing users.
Just click the Revoke Access button to disconnect the apps.


On Pinterest go to Settings > Apps to see which third-party apps have access to your account, and what kinds of permissions they have. Click Revoke Access to remove them.
Do you feel like you should review the list of apps that have access to your accounts? Have you stopped using Let us know in the comments.   Source:

How to View and Delete Your Location History on Facebook

By  Nancy Messieh, If you have the Facebook mobile app installed on your phone, chances are it’s storing a lot more of your location hi...