Bring Apple TV screen savers to your Mac with Aerial

The fourth-gen Apple TV comes with screen savers that is a collection of over 30 videos of day and night aerial shots of cities (China, Hawaii, New York, London and San Francisco). Developer John Coates has created an OS X screen saver aptly called “Aerial” to allow you to enjoy the videos on your Mac.

Aerial screensaver osx

Aerial is free and open source. The source code to build the screen saver as well as the screen saver binary is available to download on Github. Visit the Github depository and follow the download instructions to install the screen saver onto your Mac. The file size of the screen saver is small as Aerial streams the videos directly from Apple website. 

There is a paper tape in Calculator app for OS X

It might surprised some that Calculator app in OS X comes with a paper tape feature. This feature is reminiscent of those old calculator with running paper tape, that keeps a running trail of each item entered. This is useful when you enter many items and needs to follow and audit the calculation.

To display the paper tape, select from Calculator app menu Window > Show Paper Tape, or press the keys Command-T. Use the same menu and shortcut keys to toggle and hide the paper tape window.

There is a paper tape in Calculator app for OS X

When you complete your calculations, save the paper tape trail into a file with menu File > Save Tape As. Or you can print out using menu File > Print Tape. Hit the “Clear” button to clean the paper tape and start over.

How to zoom with one finger on Google Maps for iOS

How to zoom with one finger on Google Maps for iOS

Zooming in and out are essential gestures when you’re using a map app. Google Maps for iOS makes it easy with using just one finger. Start by double tap on a spot and then hold on the screen. You can now swipe down to zoom in and swipe up to zoom out. This zooming shortcut is not standard on iOS. It takes some practice to get it right but could be a saver especially when you’re using your iPhone with one hand.

Update your Facebook app to stop it from draining battery life

Facebook app for iOS was under fire recently for sucking enormous battery life. Facebook engineering manager Ari Grant has confirmed the problem in a post and a bug fixes update is available on the App Store today. If you use Facebook app for iOS, go to the App Store app and update the app immediately. 

Facebook has identified and fixed two issues. One was a “CPU spin” issue where the app keep pushing out network queries when there is no response. “This repeated processing causes our app to use more battery than intended” said Grant. The second problem happened when users watched a video and then left Facebook app. The audio session “sometimes stays open as if the app was playing audio silently” explained Grant.

To check battery usage by apps, go to Settings app at Settings > Battery

Check the price before you sign up for service subscription from within iOS app

YouTube Red

When you buy an app or in-app purchase from the App Store, Apple takes a 30 percent cut of the revenue. This applies to subscription fee when you sign up in-app for web services such as Spotify. Instead of paying its cut of revenue to Apple, Spotify chooses to pass that cost directly to consumers. As such you will pay higher fee when signing up from within Spotify for iOS app than on the website.

As reported by ArsTechica, YouTube’s newly announced ad-free subscription service YouTube Red is taking the same approach. It is cheaper to signup YouTube Red from its web page at

There is a big catch about that $9.99 price: $9.99 will cover Android, desktop, and the mobile Web, but if you purchase a subscription via Apple’s in-app purchasing on iOS, the price goes up to $12.99/month. Apple takes a 30 percent cut of all subscription revenue on its platform, and Google is passing that cost directly onto the consumer.

As a side note, you might notice that some apps such as Dropbox, does not offer you to subscribe for its paying plan directly from within the iOS app. As per Apple App Store policy, if an app does not offer in-app purchase of its subscription plan, the app can not advertise such plans or provide a link to its webpage from within the app. 

Not many web services are passing the 30% cost to consumers. Before you subscribe to any web service paying plan, check and compare the prices from within iOS app and on the website. 

How to tell which A9 processor is in your iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus

How to tell which A9 processor is in your iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus

Apple uses two manufacturers for its A9 processor chip found in the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. One version is made by Samsung using a 14nm process, and the other is a slightly bigger size built by TSMC. Tuns out that both versions have similar processor performance as expected, but the battery usage is different. Based on posts in Forums and Chinese sites, the iPhone that has TSMC processor can get up to two hours more battery life running Geekbench battery test, and is running cooler as well.

Apple is quick to respond in a statement to Techrunch to calm the uproar:

Certain manufactured lab tests which run the processors with a continuous heavy workload until the battery depletes are not representative of real-world usage, since they spend an unrealistic amount of time at the highest CPU performance state. It’s a misleading way to measure real-world battery life. Our testing and customer data show the actual battery life of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, even taking into account variable component differences, vary within just 2-3% of each other.

Accordingly to Apple, you should not notice differences in real life usage. If you’re curious to find out the processor version in your new iPhone 6s or 6s Plus, download the free Lirum Device Info Lite from the App Store. Samsung chip with a supposedly lower battery life has the model number N71AP (iPhone 6s) and N66AP (iPhone 6s Plus). TSMC chip has the model number N71MAP (iPhone 6s) and N66MAP (iPhone 6s Plus). Really its best to get over this and just be happy that you’ll getting the newest and the best iPhone. You have no choice as you’ll know which version of iPhone only after opening the box. 

How to set looping video as Facebook profile picture

Facebook has started to roll out changes to profile page announced last week. One interesting new feature is the ability to set a looping video as your profile picture, not different from those GIF animations you see on the web.

Facebook profile picture looping video

To set it up, go to your profile page on Facebook app on iOS. Tap on your profile picture and select “Take a New Profile Video” or “Upload Video or Photo”. If you don’t see these options, then the rollout has yet to reach you.

An illustrated history of Mac OS X

An illustrated history of Mac OS X

The maker of Tower, a Git client for developers on the Mac, has created an illustrated history of Mac OS X. Starting with OS X 10.0 Cheetah in year 2001 up to the latest OS X El Capitan, each version of OS X comes with a nice illustration as well as a short note on major features. Checkout An Illustrated History of Mac OS X.

Reddit launches original content Upvoted publication

Reddit launches original content Upvoted publication

Reddit has launched a news site that has no users, no voting and no comments. It contains original content by Reddit the company.

The site will feature anywhere between 10-40 stories a day, written by a team of writers and editors. They will scour every nook and cranny to cover Reddit’s untold stories, conduct interviews, and, in some cases, orchestrate podcasts or video content.

We want to go beyond the upvote and tell stories with you and your communities at the epicenter. What happened before that post was made? What happened afterward? We’re not here to repackage content and present it as our own. 

Read the Reddit blog post for the why and what of this publication. 

Two fingers to position cursor and text selection on iPad in iOS 9

Two fingers to position cursor and text selection on iPad in iOS 9

iOS 9 gives you a more intuitive way to control the cursor on an iPad. While editing text such as composing an email or writing a Pages document, you can drag two fingers on the screen to position the cursor. This gives you better control than using the normal one finger with magnifying glass method.

To select a block of text, press and hold two fingers on the soft keyboard to turn it into a trackpad. You can now drag your two gingers on the ‘trackpad’ to expand the text selection.