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Early Apple employee Daniel Kottke on the Apple I, more

Apple employee #12, Daniel Kottke , talked to Avi Solomon of Boing Boing about his time working at Apple. The interview has captivating stories about Kottke’s life in the early 1970s tech scene. Besides a long discussion of the influence of psychedelics on technology, Kottke also talks about Wozniak ‘s hardware genius and Jobs’s flair for design, which was starting to develop when he was working on the Apple I. Kottke says, It was brilliant of Steve to find Rod Holt to make a switching power supply, which was a lightweight power supply with no big heavy transformers, and to put the plastic case on it. So you could actually take the Apple ][ under your arm and carry it somewhere. We never really advertised that but it was part of the appeal. And Steve never forgot that. You can read more about Kottke and his early Apple adventures in the Boing Boing interview . Early Apple employee Daniel Kottke on the Apple I, more originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 10 Aug 2012 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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Early Apple employee Daniel Kottke on the Apple I, more

Put colorful Finder icons back in Mountain Lion

OS X Lion introduced greyscale Finder icons in the side bar of Finder windows. They look nice, but many think their colorful counterparts were nicer. SideEffects lets you replace them. This simple Mac utility installs components that enable color Finder sidebar icons in both Lion and Mountain Lion. SideEffects is donationware and a beta, so if that makes you hesitant you can skip over it. Otherwise, enjoy the pretty icons! Continue reading Put colorful Finder icons back in Mountain Lion Put colorful Finder icons back in Mountain Lion originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 10 Aug 2012 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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Put colorful Finder icons back in Mountain Lion

What time is it on Mars? There’s a Mac app for that

Budding astronomers and NASA flight controllers need to know — what time is it at the landing site of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Opportunity rover ? As we all know from watching the successful rover landing the other day, Macs are very popular at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory . So it’s not surprising that there’s a Mac app available for determining the current time at various points on the red planet. The Mars24 Sunclock app is a Java application that displays a constantly updating clock in one window as well as a second window that displays a sunclock (a map of the Martian surface showing the parts of the planet in light and shadow), a solar system view showing where the various planets are in their orbits around the Sun, a local panorama from the Opportunity rover’s current location, or an analemma . The app is surprisingly fun to use. The sunclock display also shows the spot on the Mars surface that is directly “under” the sun or Earth and the panorama display lets the flight controllers figure out when and where the sun is going to rise from the viewpoint of the rover. There’s a constant display of how far away Mars is at the present time (1.685 AU or 156,630,535 miles), and how long it’s going to take for signals from Earth or Mars to reach the other planet (right now, 14 minutes and 1 second). The only negative about this app is that most Mountain Lion machines don’t have a Java virtual machine installed and you’ll need to have OS X install one before you can run the app. There’s also a security concern — getting the app to run at this time requires you to “allow applications downloaded from anywhere”, since this is an unsigned app and Gatekeeper throws a hissy fit when you try to run it. Still, if your Mac is relatively secure — or if you want to just try the app out for a short while — you can install Mars24 Sunclock and enjoy the feeling of being a Curiosity flight controller without the need for a mohawk haircut . Now if they could just make this an iOS app and give authorized people a way to “drive” the rover from home… What time is it on Mars? There’s a Mac app for that originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 10 Aug 2012 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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What time is it on Mars? There’s a Mac app for that

Set up Mountain Lion’s text expansion options

Lifehacker has a simple look at how to set up Mountain Lion’s built-in text expansion (or, as Apple calls it, “substitution”) options. In System Preferences, under Language and Text, you can go in and set up any number of text shortcuts that will expand into commonly-used phrases and words. There are a few built-in already — typing “(c)”, for example, will give you a copyright symbol. But you can put anything in there, so you can use a few quick keys to punch out your email address or phone number, or use some other phrase for anything you happen to type often. Developers know how helpful this can be while writing code. Not only can you use text expansion to help reuse bits of code, but a text expander can remember the exact wording or form of something that you might not always remember. Third-party apps have handled this task well, but with the new restrictions on sandboxing, which is preventing a lot of apps from working on a system-wide scale , it could be helpful to set up your text expansions in the OS. Set up Mountain Lion’s text expansion options originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 10 Aug 2012 17:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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Set up Mountain Lion’s text expansion options

Belkin’s WeMo: iPhone-based home automation with a taste of IFTTT

In my futuristic dreams, I’m able to control everything in my house from my iPhone. That dream might not be too far off, thanks to the Belkin WeMo system . Currently consisting of two devices — a Wi-Fi equipped power switch/outlet and a Wi-Fi equipped motion sensor — and a free WeMo iOS app , the Belkin WeMo system is an easy way to move into home automation. Let’s take a look. Setting up the devices You can currently buy the WeMo switches for US$49.99 each or a set with a switch and a motion sensor for $99.99. I chose to buy the set, as I have some “experiments” I want to try. Belkin obviously looked at how other companies were doing setup of wireless devices and chose to come up with the most simple method possible. To get both switches working literally took less than three minutes. Gallery: Belkin WeMo Home Automation You begin by plugging the device into a standard 110 V wall outlet. At first, a small light flashes blue and red to indicate that the device isn’t configured. Launching the WeMo app, you’re given instructions on how to proceed. First, go to iPhone Settings, tap Wi-Fi and select the WeMo network. Next, go back to the app, where the device appears in a list. You tell the app the name of your normal home or office Wi-Fi network, enter the password for that network, and then choose whether to store the settings in the app. Doing the latter step makes set up of all other devices a real snap, as the app already knows the name and password for the network. And with that, you’re done. After I played around with turning lights on and off for a while, I noticed that there was a firmware update for the WeMo boxes. The process for updating is easy. You basically tap a button on the iPhone screen and wait for about three minutes. Using the app and setting rules There’s not too much to say about the app, other than once again it’s simple. There are tabs for switches, sensors and rules. For the switches, you’ll see a list of all WeMo switches on your network. Each switch, which you can give a custom name, has an on/off button. Tap the button, the device is turned on and the button turns green. Tap it again, the button goes back to gray and the device is turned off. With the motion sensor, there’s not a lot you can do until you set up a rule. Rules are exactly that — “turn on the living room lamp if the laundry room entrance sees motion on Mondays between 2 and 4 PM” as an example. Rules can also be used with the switches. You can choose to program a switch to go on or off at a specific time, or you can turn something on, then off again a few hours later. But the built-in rules are rather simple… WeMo, meet IFTTT Whoever the person was at Belkin who had the brilliant thought to integrate WeMo with If This Then That ( IFTTT.com ) should get a big raise. If you’ve never used IFTTT before, give it a try. There are currently 50 “channels” on IFTTT, with everything from Twitter and Facebook to ESPN and weather. You create “recipes” that perform a certain action if a specific trigger is met. For example, I use a recipe that tweets the URL of every post that I write on TUAW from my Twitter account. What does this have to do with WeMo? Well, there are IFTTT channels for the WeMo motion detector and switch. This opens up all sorts of possibilities. Say you want to receive a text message whenever your cat uses the litter pan. You set up a motion detector next to the litter pan, and every time el gato feels the need to go, you get tweeted. There are even wilder things you can set up. Plug a fan into a WeMo switch, then set up an IFTTT recipe to turn the fan on if the local outside temperature goes above 85° F (I tried this — it works). Have IFTTT call you whenever someone enters the house (it works). And if you want to shut that fan off, you can either write another recipe or just use the WeMo app to shut it off remotely. For push notifications, mix in a dash of Pushover and those emails and phone calls you’re receiving on your iPhone turn into regular old notifications. Conclusion While the components are little pricey, the WeMo system is probably about the easiest home automation system to set up. Literally anyone can set up this system in minutes, then be controlling lights, fans, appliances, and more from their iPhone anywhere there’s data service. With the IFTTT integration, it’s possible to set up a huge variety of recipes to mix and match apps and services to work at your command. Pros If WeMo was any more simple to set up, it would set itself up iPhone app is well written and easy to use Firmware updates are installed with one tap of a button Remote access extends your reach to your home lights and appliances to anywhere with data service Attractive design IFTTT integration turns a simple set of devices into a home automation powerhouse Cons A bit on the pricey side, but still affordable for most people who own iPhones Who is it for? Anyone who wants to dabble with iPhone-controlled home automation but doesn’t have the skills or patience to build their own hardware or write their own apps. Belkin’s WeMo: iPhone-based home automation with a taste of IFTTT originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 10 Aug 2012 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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Belkin’s WeMo: iPhone-based home automation with a taste of IFTTT

Keep track of the candidates and the issues with PollTracker

If you’re following all the election news this year, it’s hard to avoid all the results of the many polls that are taken. PollTracker is a well done non-partisan iOS app that keeps you on top of the ups and downs of the polls in the Presidential race, Senate and House campaigns, gubernatorial races, and even statewide issues. The app has easy to read graphics, and you can see trends easily. The data comes from polling expert Dr. Charles Franklin of the University of Wisconsin, who has been tracking this kind of info since 2006. Gallery: PollTracker You can set push notifications that let you know if a favorite race has some new polling data or new analysis. Poll results go up and down, and as far as the Presidential race goes, it’s pretty early to pick favorites, but I still enjoy following the results. The app is free, and requires iOS5 or greater. Keep track of the candidates and the issues with PollTracker originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 10 Aug 2012 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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Keep track of the candidates and the issues with PollTracker

OS X 10.8.1 seeded to developers

Version 10.8.1 of OS X Mountain Lion has been seeded to developers. There aren’t any known issues listed in the release notes, just a short list under “Focus areas”: Active Directory Microsoft Exchange in Mail PAC proxies in Safari SMB USB Wi-Fi and audio when connected to Thunderbolt display These changes must be minor, as the delta update clocks in at a svelte 38.54 MB in size. This is the first developer seed we’ve seen since the release of Mountain Lion on July 25. This update is available at Apple’s developer site under “Additional Downloads”. OS X 10.8.1 seeded to developers originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 10 Aug 2012 19:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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OS X 10.8.1 seeded to developers

Smartphones find a growing role in the kitchen

This is a trend that has been going on for a while now, but this is the first time I’ve seen some real, solid numbers on it. Smartphones are playing a bigger and bigger role in kitchens , of all places. Back in the day, I remember most phones being too fragile and too problematic in the UI department to really be useful in the kitchen, but with big, sturdy tablets and phones these days, and apps that let you do anything with voice commands or just a swipe on the screen, smartphones while cooking or baking are more popular than ever. Allrecipes.com says that a full 15% of all cooks have viewed a cooking video on their smartphones, while even higher percentages have used iOS and other tablet devices to snap photos of food while cooking or out and about, or looked up a recipe online. Most recipes are still found through search engines, but cooking sites make up a big percentage of recipe lookups and information finding about food. And Allrecipes says the future is even brighter: 44% of people polled say online cooking sites are their best source of food information right now (as opposed to cookbooks or other cooks), and that figure will likely grow as these websites become more useful. Cooks also expect the role of the smartphone itself to grow, as they use their smartphone for coupons, or to even order or pay for food in the future. There are a number of factors going into this transformation, but if smartphones continue on in the direction they’re going, we could use them not just to call up and order a meal, but to pay for that meal, and then also see how to serve and cook it as well. [via Gigaom ] Smartphones find a growing role in the kitchen originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 10 Aug 2012 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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Smartphones find a growing role in the kitchen

Mac 101: Use Spotlight for quick review of Calendar events

Here’s a quick way to browse Calendar events (I still want to say ” iCal “) in the Finder with Spotlight . Simply enter your search keyword into Spotlight. The results are sorted by type, as usual. Move your cursor over a matching Calendar result and a pop-up appears, showing the event’s placement in Calendar, as well as other surrounding events from the day. Click any event in this pop-up window to jump right to it in Calendar. Note that this works with iCal in Lion as well as Calendar.app in Mountain Lion. Sorry, Snow Leopard users. To extend your Mac calendaring fun into the menu bar, check out Fantastical or QuickCal . Mac 101: Use Spotlight for quick review of Calendar events originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 10 Aug 2012 09:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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Foursquare update restores nearby checkins

Foursquare angered some of its users when a June update stripped away the nearby friends feature. This group complained loud enough and long enough that foursquare decided to restore the feature in its latest update, which hit the iOS App Store on Thursday. The update lets you switch between an all activity view that shows everyone’s check-ins and a nearby friends view that shows the activity of friends who are close by. Besides nearby friends, the foursquare app also includes a handful of bug fixes and tweaks to improve performance. The updated version of foursquare is now available in the iOS App Store. Foursquare update restores nearby checkins originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 10 Aug 2012 10:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Source  |  Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments

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Foursquare update restores nearby checkins