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Filmic Firstlight review: Subscription model holding back slick camera app

Fri, 12/06/2019 - 08:00

Following the App Store’s debut in 2008, a cottage industry for third-party iPhone camera apps began to flourish, a testament to how underwhelming Apple’s software was at the time. Over time, Apple started catching up, with the latest iOS releases proving the company now takes the Camera app as seriously as the hardware that drives it.

Third-party developers responded by finding new ways to differentiate their camera apps from the one already built in. The latest to face this challenge head-on is Filmic, virtually a brand name when it comes to shooting mobile video. Can the makers of popular video app Filmic Pro conjure similar magic with photos as well?

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Amazon Echo Buds review: An excellent value plagued by small annoyances

Fri, 12/06/2019 - 07:00

They sound pretty good. They have active noise reduction. They let you summon a digital assistant hands-free. They are relatively comfortable and not too big. And the Echo Buds true wireless earbuds from Amazon only cost $129. What’s the catch?

The catch, besides an obvious and expected bent toward Alexa and Amazon services, is that these earbuds annoy you with a series of small aggravations that make them feel like the economical choice, not the best choice.

My time with the Echo Buds alternated between being surprised at what you get for “only” $130 and frustrated that Amazon didn’t put more care into their design, craftsmanship, and quality. Echo Buds are a good value, especially if you’re already all-in with Alexa, but those who don’t care about hands-free Alexa integration should probably consider other options.

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Chamberlain myQ Smart Garage Hub review: The smart garage controller to beat is also the least expensive

Fri, 12/06/2019 - 06:00
This wire-free smart controller doesn’t just work well, it’s also priced to move (just be aware of the cost to control a second door opener).

Cord cutting: A beginner's guide

Fri, 12/06/2019 - 06:00
How to cut the cord: All the devices, services, and knowledge you need to ditch cable and save money.

Evaluating the rumors of the 2020 and 2021 iPhones

Fri, 12/06/2019 - 06:00

It hasn’t even been three months since the release of Apple’s latest iPhone lineup and already the rumor mill is working overtime on what might arrive in the company’s smartphones next year and, believe it or not, the year after that.

Even if the iPhone is making up a smaller percentage of Apple’s revenue these days, it hasn’t ceased being the product that defines Apple, meaning speculation remains at peak levels. And all the smartwatches, streaming services, and fancy wireless headphones aren’t going to be changing that calculus anytime soon.

Certainly the next iPhone is still a way off, but it’s worth taking a moment to look at this latest round of rumors and think critically about what they might portend—even if they don’t end up coming true.

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iOS 13.3: Apple releases the fourth beta to developers and public testers

Thu, 12/05/2019 - 16:57

While iOS 13.2 delivered the last of the features Apple promised when it first introduced iOS 13 back at WWDC, it’s not like the company is just going to kick back and relax until iOS 14 next year. We can expect at least one or two more point-releases with minor new features, and a few bugfix releases, as well.

iOS 13.2 brings a handful of minor interface tweaks, like the ability to disable memoji stickers suggestions in the emoji keyboard. It may also address the memory management issue reported by some users, where apps are too aggressively purged from memory and have to be reloaded often.

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Apple updates Clips app with Memoji and Animoji support, add new Disney stickers

Thu, 12/05/2019 - 13:45

Apple on Thursday did not release the Mac Pro that they said would ship in December. The company did, however, release something that probably is more appealing to the general Apple customer: An update to Clips, its iOS app for creating and sharing short video clips.

The main feature of the 2.1 update is support for Animoji and Memoji characters. Memoji that was made in the Messages app can be brought into Clips, and Memoji and Animoji characters can be layered with stickers, filters, and animated text. Animated stickers and emoji now follow the movements of a user’s face using the iPhone and iPad's front-facing camera.

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Wild rumor teases a full wireless iPhone 13 with no ports at all—and I believe it

Thu, 12/05/2019 - 12:15

The iPhone 11 has barely been out for two months, but we’ve already got a pretty good picture of what the iPhone 12 is going to bring, with an all-OLED lineup, 5G, and an enhanced camera array. But now MacRumors is reporting that Apple’s best analyst just dropped some news about the 2021 iPhone lineup, and it’s wild.

Let’s start at the top. TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that Apple will be seeking to add more space between its pro and non-pro phones with the upcoming models. He expects “the highest-end model would cancel the [Lightning] port and provide the completely wireless experience.” That means, you wouldn’t be able to buy a dongle to connect a pair of USB headphones, nor would you be able to carry around a power bank for a quick charge. Everything you do, from music streaming to charging, would need to be done wirelessly.

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iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Pro rumors, and more

Thu, 12/05/2019 - 08:00

We’re got iPhone rumors, iPad rumors, and MacBook Pro rumors. All this and more on this episode of the Macworld Podcast.

This is episode 678 with Leif Johnson, Roman Loyola, and Michael Simon.

Listen to episode 678

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Hate the screenshot floater in macOS? Here’s how to get rid of it

Thu, 12/05/2019 - 07:00

When you make a screen capture in macOS in Mojave or Catalina, a tiny thumbnail appears in the bottom-right corner of the screen for a few seconds. Click it, and a small editing suite appears that lets you modify what you captured or delete the image or images before they’re saved. (We have a complete guide to using this markup tool.)

If you don’t want that thumbnail, however, you have to know exactly where to change the setting. It’s not found in any System Preferences pane, and Mojave did away with Grab, the former standalone screen-capture utility built into macOS.

Instead, you have to invoke a screen-capture mode to change associated settings. You can either press Command-Shift-5 or launch Applications > Utilities > Screenshot, the not-quite-an-app that replaced Grab.

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Yale Assure Lever with Connected by August review: Yale lets you ditch its own app for August’s

Thu, 12/05/2019 - 06:00
Alas, Yale’s hardware and August’s wireless technology make for truly unhappy bedfellows.

F-Secure Safe for Mac review: No-frills quality protection

Thu, 12/05/2019 - 06:00

Simplicity is the name of the game when it comes to F-Secure Safe. This antivirus suite provides a lot of protection, but that's about all it offers. You won't find any extras such as encrypted online storage, secure file erase, or a VPN, though F-Secure does have its own VPN called Freedome that can be purchase separately.

A lack of extras is not necessarily a bad thing. Many security suites get overloaded with tools that few people use, but a few well-chosen extras such as those mentioned above would've been a nice addition.

Still, there's no denying that F-Secure's protection level is very high. Let's dive into the details of this suite.

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Best smart lock for a keyless home

Thu, 12/05/2019 - 06:00
Keys are yesterday’s tech, your smart home needs a smart door lock.

The Mac Pro is an important symbol, but you probably shouldn’t buy it

Wed, 12/04/2019 - 14:30

The new Mac Pro is coming very, very soon—in the next couple of weeks, if we hold Apple to the astronomical definition of “coming this fall.” It’s safe to say that this is the most anticipated Mac in history—if only because its existence was pre-announced more than two and a half years ago, with the specifics following six months ago.

The Mac Pro is important and it’s platform defining. And unless you’re someone in the extreme high end of the Mac market, you will never use one. It’s a bundle of expectations built on a precision stainless steel space frame and sheathed in a machined aluminum housing.

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What to do if your new 2019 13-inch MacBook Pro randomly shuts down

Wed, 12/04/2019 - 12:39

Lucky you if you got a new 2019 13-inch MacBook Pro. Unlucky for you if it turns out it has a problem with shutting down at random moments. On Tuesday, Apple seems to have acknowledged the problem and posted a support document to try and fix it.

This problem seems to occur with 2019 MacBook Pro models that have two Thunderbolt 3 ports. According to the support document, here’s what you should do.

  1. If your MacBook Pro’s battery is less than 90 percent charged, continue to step 2. If your battery is more than 90 percent charged, use your computer until the percentage drops below 90 percent, then continue to step 2.
  2. Connect your Mac to its power adapter.
  3. Quit all open applications.
  4. Close your computer’s lid, which puts your Mac in to sleep mode.
  5. Let your Mac charge for at least 8 hours.

If this doesn’t fix the problem, the document recommending contacting Apple to schedule a support meeting at your local Apple store.

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What the new iOS 13 Wi-Fi message means about nearby available networks

Wed, 12/04/2019 - 08:00

Since you updated to iOS 13 or iPadOS 13, you may have seen a message appear when you’re away from a Wi-Fi network you’ve joined previously. “Available Wi-Fi Network: ‘Name of Network’ is an available network nearby.” A Join button may appear or you may need to tap the notification to get one to show up.

The first time I saw this, I wondered if a malicious party had finally figured out a way to make an illegitimate message somehow appear on my iPhone. Then I remembered this somewhat obscure bit of text at Apple’s announcement of the new operating system updates:

Popular Wi-Fi networks. Your iPhone determines which Wi-Fi networks at your location are being used and notifies you if one is available.

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iRobot Braava Jet m6 review: a smarter robot mop

Wed, 12/04/2019 - 06:00
The Braava Jet m6 can map your rooms, recognize carpet, and even clean in sequence with select Roomba vacuums.

Adobe Premiere Elements 2020 review: Minor update enhances creative options

Wed, 12/04/2019 - 06:00

Manipulating still images tends to be easier than editing video—tweak the brightness, add a vignette effect, throw on a filter (or three), and you’ve got a photo worth sharing with others. By comparison, digital video requires a degree of timing and skill to assemble disparate shots into a cohesive whole.

Such is the challenge for creators of video editing software: Take something inherently complicated and make it easy enough for anyone to do. Is it really possible to toss random clips onto a timeline and let artificial intelligence assemble them into a slick presentation? Not quite, but we’re inching closer to that goal.

Smart tags

On the surface, the video editing workflow in Adobe Premiere Elements 2020 remains unchanged since last year’s release. Like sister app Photoshop Elements for images, there are three methods for editing videos: Quick, designed to trim clips or hastily assemble a timeline from multiple videos; Guided, which walks users step-by-step through the entire process; and Expert, which offers freeform editing with more advanced tools but none of the guidance.

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Google's latest messaging service is basically DMs for Photos

Tue, 12/03/2019 - 14:30
Google is rolling out a new messaging service for sharing, liking, and commenting on photos inside the Photos app.

Sony firmware update adds AirPlay 2 and Homekit to some 2018 and 2019 TV models

Tue, 12/03/2019 - 13:28

Back in January at CES, several TV manufacturers announced their intent to support both HomeKit and AirPlay 2 on some of their current and upcoming TVs. Most of the announced products have now either shipped or had firmware updates to add the necessary support, but Sony has been a little slower than LG, Vizio, or Samsung.

On Tuesday, Sony is rolling out firmware updates for several TV lines that run Android TV, upgrading them to Android 9 Pie. The update adds several new features, including Dolby Atmos support, and of course HomeKit and AirPlay 2 support.

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