Notable: Connect with Thunderbolt 3; HandBrake 1.0; How China build iPhone City; Origins of Carpool Karaoke featuring George Michael

 Connect with Thunderbolt 3

Connect with Thunderbolt 3

The late-2016 MacBook Pro features Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports that replace all other type of ports except for the headphone port. To aid in this aggressive push for adoption of the latest port, Apple even has a comprehensive support article that explains what is Thunderbolt 3 and how you should connect to your peripheral devices. Check out the article Connect with Thunderbolt 3 on your late-2016 MacBook Pro.

HandBrake 1.0

HandBrake open source video transcoder

HandBrake for Mac is a capable video convertor that can also help you burn your video file to DVD. After 13 years, the developer has finally decided the software is worthy of version 1 tagging. This new release comes with improved set of presets that make it easy to convert to popular video formats. HandBrake is free and open source.

How China build ‘iPhone City’

How China build iPhone City

New York Times has published a lengthy article that examines the inner working of Foxconn’s major manufacturing plant in ‘iPhone City’ Zhengzhou, China. It describes the history and how perks and tax breaks is helping the operations. Read the article that is a result of over 100 interviews with factory workers, truck drivers, logistics handlers, and current and former Apple executives. 

The origins of Carpool Karaoke featuring George Michael

Watch the origins of James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke before it became a hit show. It is a comedy skit for British charity Comic Relief in 2011, featuring the late superstar George Michael driving around and singing. 

How to enable Picture-In-Picture for YouTube videos in macOS Sierra

How to enable Picture-In-Picture for YouTube videos in macOS Sierra

One of the new feature in macOS Sierra is the Picture-to-Picture mode for Safari. First appeared in iPad, Picture-in-Picture allows you to detach a video so that it is always viewable while using other apps.

It is easy to enable Picture-to-Picture mode for YouTube video. First right-click on the video to bring up a menu. Then right-click again on the menu to bring out a different menu. Select “Enter Picture-in-Picture” from the menu. 

The video will now detach, and stay on top so that you can watch it while using other apps. You can control the video as usual, and also resize and reposition it on the screen.

Hand draw to search special character in Google Docs

Handdraw to search special character in Google Docs

If you’re trying to type a certain scientific symbol on your computer, it is at times tedious to browse through pages of special character pane to locate the symbol that you need. Google Docs has a helpful feature where you can hand draw your character to narrow down the search. 

On Google Docs menu, select Insert > Special Characters to bring up the dialog box. On the right panel there is an empty area for you to hand draw your symbol. Your input will then be used to narrow down the search with the filtered search result display on the left panel.

This tool is handy even if you’re not a regular Google Docs user. Simply use it to locate the symbols that you need, then copy and paste them from Google Docs to Pages, Word or whatever editor you’re using.

Notable: MacBook Pro not recommended by Consumer Reports; Apple vs Nokia; Amazon drone delivery gets real; USB-C dongle discount extended; Chewbacca sings Silent Night

First MacBook to NOT receive a Consumer Reports recommendation

 

First MacBook to NOT receive a Consumer Reports recommendation 

The latest MacBook Pro has become the first MacBook to not receive the coveted recommendation by Consumer Reports. Apple’s latest and greatest notebook has been widely panned as a letdown due to its high price, lack of ports and gimmicky Touch Bar. For Consumer Reports, it is the inconsistent battery life of the MacBook Pro that is costing the recommendation badge.

Apple vs Nokia

Apple vs Nokia

After Samsung, Apple is going to court with Nokia. This time around, it is Nokia who sue Apple for patent infringement, saying that Apple has refused to license its patents. In a sign of retaliation, Apple has pulled all Withings products from its online store. Withings is a subsidiary of Nokia who makes digital scales, health and fitness gears.

Amazon Prime Air delivers to first customer

Parcel delivery using drone becomes a reality as Amazon has successfully tested its delivery in U.K. Currently under testing, drone delivery is expected to expand to dozens of customers and later grow to hundreds near the piloting Amazon facility in Cambridge. Find out more about Amazon Prime Air.

Apple USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 dongle discount extends till end March 2017

 

 Apple USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 dongle discount extends till end March 2017

Last month, Apple dropped the price of all its USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 adaptors until December 31 to make peace with its new MacBook Pro customers. The good news is this offer is extended till March 31, 2017.

Chewbacca sings “Silent Night”

For the Christmas and holiday spirit, here’s our favourite wookie singing “Silent Night”. 

Preserve camera mode and photo filter in Camera app for iOS 10.2

The recently released iOS 10.2 adds a new “Preserve Settings” settings to the Camera app. You can now preserve the last used settings for Camera Mode and Photo Filter. Go to Settings > Photos & Camera > Preserve Settings to turn on the switches.

Preserve camera mode and photo filter in Camera app for iOS 10

iOS defaults to opening the Camera in Photo mode. By turning on the Camera Mode in Preserve Settings, the Camera will now open in your last used camera mode. This is useful if you predominately use a particular camera mode.

Similar to Camera Mode, the Photo Filter switch will preserve the last used filter, instead of reset to None when you next use the Camera app.

Notable: Super Mario Run; Netflix offline viewing; Microsoft Solitaire Collection; Gift wrap hack

We’re starting a new Notable series where we highlight recent news, apps and interesting video and links.

Super Mario Run

Nintendo Super Mario Run on Apple AppStore

Nintendo releases Super Mario Run on the AppStore on December 15, and it’s proven to be more popular than Pokemon Go. It is free to play for its first level, with an in-app purchase of $9.99 to unlock the remaining levels. One thing to note is to counter pirates, an Internet connection is required to play the game.

Netflix Offline Viewing

If you recently updated your Netflix for iOS app, you might notice “Download & Go” new feature. This long-awaited feature allows you to download shows for offline viewing. There is no extra cost but not all titles will have the download button. Also it is available only for Netflix iOS and Android.

“Netflix is working with lots of partners globally to get downloading rights for the bulk of the content on our service. This is an ongoing effort as we know consumers want this capability and we are working to provide it.”

Microsoft Solitaire Collection

Microsoft Solitaire Collection for iOS

Microsoft has at long last brought its staple Windows games Solitaire to iOS. Microsoft Solitaire Collection contains Klondike, Spider, FreeCellm Pyramid and Tripeaks. The game is free to play.

Christmas Gift Wrap Hack

Christmas is coming. Here’s a Japan style gift wrap hack you might need. It is quick and easy gift wrapping without using tape and ribbon.

Quickly restart Google Chrome

Quickly restart Google Chrome

Google Chrome on the desktop is admittedly a memory hog compares to Safari and Firefox. Beside removing non-essential Chrome add-ons, one way to release Chrome’s memory usage is to restart the browser.

Here’s a handy way to quickly restart the browser with a Chrome URL. Simply key in “chrome://restart” on the address bar and hit Enter key.

To make it one step more convenient, you might want to bookmark (Command-D) the URL “chrome://restart” and save it to your Bookmark Bar for quick access.

How to disable built-in Trackpad on your MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro

There are times when you might want to disable the built-in Trackpad on your MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. For example, you’re more used to using a mouse as an input device, you’re using an external trackpad device, or the trackpad is having issues and behave erratically.

To disable the trackpad, go to System Preferences > Accessibility. Select “Mouse & Trackpad” and check the box “Ignore built-in trackpad when mouse or wireless trackpad is present”.

How to disable built-in Trackpad on your MacBook MacBook Air and MacBook Pro

You will notice that there is no way to permanently disable the Trackpad. You will need an external mouse or input device in order to make the built-in Trackpad non-functional.

You can take photos while filming a video on iPhone

You can take photos while filming a video

When you’re recording a video on iPhone, you might notice a white color shuttle button on the screen. The button is located at right bottom corner if you’re shooting in horizontal position, or at left bottom corner when in portrait. Tapping on the button will capture what you’re filming into photo. A very convenient feature indeed.

Uber is tracking your location even if you’re not using the app

Uber recently changed the way the app collects your location data. Previously Uber app was tracking your location “While Using the App”, which means iOS only reveal your location to Uber when you’re using the app.

When you run the latest update, Uber app will prompt you to accept their new policy with an explanation.

Uber is tracking your location even if you are not using the app

On iOS, an app has three location tracking options. The first is “Never”, the second is “While Using the App” and the third is “Always”. Thus in order to track your location five minutes after your trip ends, the app has to change to “Always” track your location.

So it is up to you to have good faith in Uber that they’re not tracking your location after the said five minutes. It is strange that Uber has to circumvent the basic iOS privacy protection to implement its app feature. As one of the largest app on iOS, Uber is in good position to discuss with Apple on how to properly get the additional five minutes tracking.  

You can prevent location tracking by going to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > Uber and select “Never”. Or remove the app if you’re uncomfortable about the changes.