Most Used Tech: July 2015 Edition

Most Used Tech: July 2015 Edition

I’ve decided near the end of every month to round up the technology I’ve been using the most throughout my day to day life. Be it work or personal, hardware or software, services & websites you name it. In an effort to take a step back from focusing on the latest & greatest and write up about things that I’ve just been enjoying. New or old.

So consider it a roundup of my favorites for whatever specified month & whatever I have ongoing in my life at the moment.

Hardware:

Bose QC15

I bought these about a year ago before going on a trip to Osaka, Japan. I’ve been looking for a decent pair of noise canceling headphones with that being the priority. Now grant it Bose isn’t the greatest in terms of sound quality & while I am a stickler for quality they do a great job for my use case. I’ve been putting these through the paces traveling with them constantly & using them in the office daily. Draining batteries constantly which can be a pain but other than that no major issues. The noise cancellation is amazing especially on planes. The second part coming in the comfort, the design is simple & easily sits on my head for hours without any issues.

IMG_0676

Software/Services:

Spotify (Premium)

I have a whole series of music streaming service content upcoming however Spotify seems to be the one I’ve turned to the most. Working primarily at my desk & in the office Spotify is always on If I’m not recording, watching something, and or in a call for work. I have this weird thing about silence. Spotify fills that void with access to literally millions of songs. Specifically the premium service which I find is highly worth the price tag. Filled with main stream & indie artists alike it has everything I need. Their recent addition of the Discover Weekly playlists adds the recommendation layer to it. If your a fan of music its a no brainer.

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Klok Timezone Converter App/Widget

A recent iOS app I discovered & reviewed that is a must have for me. If you work with multiple timezones at all & easily want a way to convert it on iOS then this is for you. The app adds a widget to your notification center that elegantly displays time zones & makes a simple tap to to see time conversion across multiple locations.

Beme (Social Network)

I’m a big fan of content creator Casey Neistat so when I heard of his new social network I knew I had to try it out. Beme is different. It works it a very unique way compared to social networks, promoting honesty in video. No editing, filters, or preview just shoot & upload. Achieving this via the proximity sensor in iPhones & soon to be released for Android users. Beme isn’t perfect & I think will take time & updates for the masses to adopt it. Authenticity is a hard to thing to really capture especially with an app & phone involved. However I love the premise & path its on.

TeamSpeak (VOIP)

In my downtime I try to step away from work not so much the desk by playing games. I play with friends locally & abroad as such we need to communicate while playing. Services like Teamspeak provide low latency which is important when it comes to gaming. The lower the resources the better. I recently purchased my own TS server after the one my group of friends used went down. It’s simple & works great for gaming or just having a conversation. Set up multiple channels, push to talk, its like Skype without the loads of other unnecessary features or interface.

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GrandPerspective

Ton of apps like this nowadays however it simply showcases visually the biggest files on your drive. Simple & straightforward.

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ScreenFlow

This piece of software for OS X is literally the core focus of a lot of my work. If your serious about screen capture based recordings nothing compares to it on OS X. Camtasia has made a OS X version that I’ve tried but nothing beats Screenflow’s interface, editing tools, and general ease of use.

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That about rounds up my most used tech for this month, mainly software focused. Feel free to add your most used picks in the comments down below!

 

 

How To: Hide Files on Mac OS X

How To: Hide Files on Mac OS X

So lets say you have those pictures I mean documents or what have you that you just don’t want people to see.  Private, sensitive, or just outright explicit. Here’s a look at how to hide your files on mac OS X easily & through a variety of methods.

Be it word documents, photos, or video files these methods allow you to hide those files of your yours from prying eyes. Completely shielding files from users who have physical access to your machine. Through native methods to 3rd party software that makes hiding files a simple click away.

 

Video Overview:

 

Method 1- Plain Sight

The most simplest & possibly so stupid it may just work is hiding your files in plain sight. That “secret folder” or folder buried within a folder can go a long way for some people. A great place in Mac OS X that users can hide files in is the “Library” folder.

Open Finder & hit the keyboard shortcut “Shift+Command+G” to open the go to folder menu. Insert the following line:

~/Library

This will open a library folder that is normally hidden within OS X this is a great place users can store files that isn’t easily accessed from most users. For that matter one that unless a user knew how to access such a folder that no one would see.

Again this is a method that is perhaps the simplest way to hide files but isn’t exactly full proof.

Method 2- File Vault

Another built in method is utilizing OS X “File Vault” encryption feature. This allows you to protect a drives files easily without the need for 3rd party software. FileVault encrypts your data & makes sure no one without appropriate information or access keys can see your data. This is a two for one benefit in that FileVault implements  a high level 128-bit encryption to lock down your files while also in a sense hiding them behind this software based vault door.

Method 3- Third Party Software

Of course there’s a ton of software out there for you to hide files which make hiding those P$%N videos I mean cat videos you don’t want anyone to see easy & simple. Two apps we recommend are:

Hider 2 ($10 USD) Hider is a fully featured app that allows you to lock your data down easily & privatize your files so only the user with the Hider key can see & access. A list of features from 256 encryption, password protection, and external drive support all make it a great product if your willing to spend the money to secure your data.

Hide Folders (Free) Altomac’s solution is completely free & while it isn’t as polished as Hider its functionality & price can’t be argued with. Simply drag files/folders into the app you want to hide & hit the hide button. Boom! Just like that your folder/file is hidden from wherever its original location is & out of sight from other users. To re-show files you can easily do the same in reverse even adding on a password layer that way only you can hide/show files at your leisure.

Method 4- Terminal

For your geeks out there who like to use Terminal (Windows CMD equivalent) have no fear. By simply typing in the following command you hide files on OS X as well.

Start by typing

chflags hidden (File Path) note you can easily just drag in the file into Terminal after the “chflags hidden ” is typed in. Again note the spaces are important. An example would look like

chflags hidden /Users/Dojo/Desktop/TEST.txt

To unhide the file input the following command chflags nohidden (File Path) so essentially the opposite with the “nohidden” command.

 

Whatever method you decide to use these are all methods to hide files on Mac OS X easily & efficiently.  Highlighting both free & paid solutions for you to secure and hide those important/secret files. Great tips to keep in mind if your using a personal computer that frequently is accessed by others or just something you want to keep secret in general in the event lets say your computer is compromised. Get those files together & get them hidden on OS X today!

Look forward to more content on hiding your files for both Windows & Android coming soon.

 

Apple’s “Spring Forward” Event Recap

Apple’s “Spring Forward” Event Recap

Apple’s “Spring Forward” event has just wrapped up & here’s a full recap of everything announced. The primary focus of the event was to highlight the Apple Watch which was announced several months ago while also pushing some updates across the mac lineup.

Video Overview:

Opening Figures-

Apple Keynotes are known for their openings figures & sales this event was no different.

Main aspects from the introduction included

  • Over 120 million people have visited Apple Stores in the last quarter
  • 6 new stores released in China totaling 21 stores
  • 700 million+ iPhones sold

Apple TV-

Cook quickly took the time to touch on the Apple TV updates.

  • Price reduced from $100 to $70
  • HBO Now Introduced

HBO Now will be an exclusive deal to bring HBO’s content & popular shows such as Game of Thrones to the Apple TV platform for $15 a month.

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Research Kit-

Tim Cook then introduced Jeff Williams (Senior VP of Operations) to talk about the importance of research kit. Research kit’s aim to provide a powerful tool for medical research. Advancing how we gather data & making it easier for app developers to build these amazing applications. They went onto showcase some of these apps behind major diseases such as Parkinson’s & Diabetes.

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The “New” Macbook-

One of the more surprising announcements was the all new Macbook that’ll be in the middle of the laptop lineup. This all new macbook as it was touted is the thinnest laptop that Apple now offers. Redesigned from the ground up to provide a more portable & powerful experience from battery to design.

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From a pure engineering standpoint this laptop is an amazing feat as far as what they’ve crammed into while maintaining the power & battery life it offers. Some main takeaways from the Macbook are

  • $1,299 baseline price
  • 13.1 mm at its thickest point
  • Available in Gold, Silver, and Space Grey
  • 9-Hour Battery Life (Estimate)
  • All new keyboard/track mechanisms
  • USB C- All in one port

The all new profile does come at a cost. Your now limited to one “USB C” port that requires adapters to hook up USB, HDMI, and other devices. So port wise your very limited in this case with no other ports available outside of a 3.5 mm jack for headphones.

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Other major technology integrated into the Macbook is the all new trackpad which integrates new sensors & haptic feedback to really verify your clicks/presses. On top of that you can use OS X settings panel to control the tension of the trackpad.

Tech-Spec wise here’s the breakdown for the baseline model.

Retina Display 2304×1440

1.1GHz Intel Core M (Turbo to 2.4GHz)

8GB of memory

256 PCIe-based onboard flash storage 

Weight: 2.03 pounds

Wireless: Wi-Fi 802.11ac & Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology

 

Apple Watch:

Most of the Apple Watch was already known from a design & information perspective. The two main aspects we were lacking in was the release time frame & price point.

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Apple went onto reiterate their idea behind the watch & it being a personal device. They then went onto really specify their materials that go into each watch from the aluminum to steel. Even dedicated a section to showcasing WatchKit’s apps that have been developed thus far & how the interaction with the watch may look like.

Then it came down to brass tax.

Apple Sport Watch-

$350 for 38mm size

$400 for 42mm size

Apple Watch-

$550 for 38mm size

$600 for 42mm size

Apple Watch Edition-

$10,000+

Now each watch price not only depends on the size but the bands well from rubber to steel making it a very varying factor with prices across the board. More over the rumors surrounding the luxury end watch edition came priced at $10,000 to start & can go up to even $17,00 based on your customizations. This of course is very niche watch and Apple plans to offer this for a limited time to those who can afford it. Featuring 18K gold by itself already raises the price in this case your paying a premium for the right to own one of the exclusive watch editions. All watches feature the same specs only differing in material which the base is made of.

Watch

Release date wise pre-orders start on April 10th & set to ship April 24th.

All in all Apple’s Spring Forward event was nothing new under the sun. The exception of course really came in the form of the Macbook which leaves much room for question regarding the macs lineup & future of the Air. The Watch front pretty much secured all notions of price & estimated April release time. We got to get a better look at the overall experience & how well it integrates with iOS & the iPhone in general. Acting as an extension of our every day convenience and irony aside give us time back while tracking it.

Stay tuned for more coverage regarding the event & in-depth look at the announcements.

 

Apple’s “Spring Forward” Watch Event Set for March 9th

Apple’s “Spring Forward” Watch Event Set for March 9th

Apple has announced their March 9th event with the headline “Spring Forward”. The event will be live streamed via their site on March 9th at 10 a.m PDT. Timing wise its more than likely this event will center purely on the Apple Watch. Giving us further details on the product that was announced months ago with little details surrounding areas like price.

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That said I’ll be covering the event live with commentary on all announcements made via the Youtube channel.

As far as what can we expect regarding the Apple Watch lets take a look at what we know first.

What We Know:

Three Models-

There’ll be three models of the smart watch. The Apple Watch (Base level), Apple Watch Sport (Fitness Model), and the Apple Watch Edition (High End Model).

Interchangeable Straps-

Each watch model will feature straps which can be removed & swapped out for leather, rubber, and various other materials provided by Apple & 3rd party companies much like a standard watch.

Apple Pay-

The Apple Watches will feature Apple Pay allowing you to pay with your watch in hundreds of locations around the U.S.

Apps-

Running a mobile version of iOS the watches will support apps specifically for the watch interface. Developers have access to a WatchKit in order to start app development.

Interface-

You’ll be able to interact with the Watch via a touch screen or using the digital crown similar to what you’d use on a standard watch to adjust the time.

Sensors

A set of sensors to monitor your physical activity will also be built in to the smart watch. Pedometer, heartbeat monitor, and so on.

 

What We Don’t Know:

Price point-

The big question is regarding the price of the watch models. Estimated to range from $350-10,000+. The big issue here comes at the high end model the “Apple Watch Edition”.  This is the first time Apple really is entering a luxury market, think of an actual watch thats built with 18K gold then add on the digital features. This is certainly a premium model & it’s price can’t be rightly gauged but more than likely we’ll be seeing something in the 1k+ range. Some argue Apple will offer a sort of upgrade program for this premium model others state that it isn’t like Apple to provide such a program. Then again its unlike Apple to offer a full 18K gold product to begin with. This smart watch is all new territory thats just now coming into public eye & anything can really go here when it comes to price on the Watch Edition. More than likely the Apple Watch & Sport will be the higher selling models for everyday customers.

Battery life-

Another big aspect of a smart watch is the battery life. Something you’d ideally be wearing all day needs to survive just that. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has already been quoted stating

wind up charging it daily

Due to constant usage of the device so we’re estimating about 2.5-3.5 hours of usage at a constant rate. Obviously this would span out across the day if your using it on and off much like a phone. Heavier usage would drain it quicker but using at a glance now & again could certainly last you a majority of the day.

Ship Date-

At the event we’ll be sure to hear the official shipping date of the devices. Early estimates were predicted that it would ship in April but with the event being held a bit earlier we may see a new launch date for specific models or a full scale rollout later in the month.


 

These are the big three questions that’ll all be answered at the event. Alongside recapping the watches capabilities & Apple’s strategy in this new market as they certainly aren’t the only competitors in the space with tons of new products announced from LG to the all new Pebble.

Stay tuned for the official coverage & commentary come March 9th.

LG Watch Urbane Brings Elegance & Luxury to the Smart watch Lineup

LG Watch Urbane Brings Elegance & Luxury to the Smart watch Lineup

LG at the Mobile World Congress event unveiled the all new LG Watch Urbane. The Urbane is a fully functional smart watch running Android that is encased in a luxurious case coupled with a leather strap.

Urbane is housed with a OLED display of 1.3-inches & powered by a 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 CPU with 512MB of memory. Currently available in the two iconic silver & gold finishes. As of current the pricing & shipping information is yet to be announced. LG’s watch features an all metal design which is much more durable & timeless as far as aesthetics go. So far the long awaited Apple Watch coming in April is the closest we’ve seen to this sort of design. Urbane strikes this balance of a classy timepiece with the hardware & software of a 2015 smart watch.

LGWatch1

 

LGWatch2

 

As a time piece enthusiast myself I really enjoy the simplistic approach to the design while coupling advanced technology in the watch. They’re definitely advertising it as an everyday sort of wear be it for a casual or more formal like event. This is how I see a smart watch personally fitting into society. Something that is an extension to our technology we already have & exists in a seamless fashion of something that looks & feels familiar but functions efficiently.

LGwatch3

 

Further tech specs reveal it’ll be sporting a 410mAh battery, the screen will featured a 320×320 resolution with a touch screen interface & possible navigation with the crown, a heart sensor, & will be water/dust resistance. Software wise it’ll be running standard Android Wear.

All in all this is the technology smart watch culture clashing with the classic time piece & producing something that is not only visually appealing but highly technical & useful at its core. As time goes on & the rest of the competitors ramp up production of their smart watches we’ll see how the space plays out. Until then LG Urbane watch certainly sits up there with Apple’s Watch in terms of elegance & sophistication while being coupled with great technology.