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Apple car and other rumors on BTNS ‘Mac Show’

A happy change in scheduling meant I was able to rejoin my colleagues on the British Tech Networks “The Mac Show” last week. We had a great time as usual, with the added bonus of having tech luminary Andy Ihnatko join us.

As usual, we did a lighthearted round up of the week’s Apple news, which included more rumors about an Apple car, how long Apple expects you to use its devices (and a conspiracy theory about how they might enforce that) and of course — a slew of “cool things.”

Another rumor is that I might be coming back to the show on a more regular basis. (I can neither confirm nor deny any such rumor.)

I hope you’ll give it a look.

Pre-review PSA: Solartab solar charger/battery combo at 25% off

I’ll have a full review shortly, but I like the Solartab portable solar charger enough already to pass along the news that it’s currently on sale for 25% off its list price. The iPad-sized solar charger has an integrated battery powerful enough to recharge even an iPad.

Solartab Premium Portable Solar Charger for Phones and Tables
$97 (25% off) at Amazon.com

BTN Mac Show: ‘Greenie’s Arse’ (and content blockers)

On the latest episode of The British Tech Network’s “Mac Show,” host Ewen Rankin was kind enough to wait for my return to discuss a topic I really wanted to discuss: Content Blockers. New to iOS 9, content blockers prevent ads from loading and stop websites from tracking you — among other things. It’s a fairly controversial subject, with advertisers (and some content creators) calling foul. I sympathize with the content creators, but increasingly obnoxious and intrusive ads have made this day inevitable. Ads that cover up what you’re trying to read and make it intentionally hard to close make reading some sites feel like a bad game of whack-a-mole. My hope is that this will be a wake up call to the ad industry, but I fear it’s just the next round in a game of cat and mouse.

There’s a lot more to the conversation — it’s worth checking out.

BTN Mac Show: ‘Greenie’s Arse’ (and content blockers)

On the latest episode of The British Tech Network’s “Mac Show,” host Ewen Rankin was kind enough to wait for my return to discuss a topic I really wanted to discuss: Content Blockers. New to iOS 9, content blockers prevent ads from loading and stop websites from tracking you — among other things. It’s a fairly controversial subject, with advertisers (and some content creators) calling foul. I sympathize with the content creators, but increasingly obnoxious and intrusive ads have made this day inevitable. Ads that cover up what you’re trying to read and make it intentionally hard to close make reading some sites feel like a bad game of whack-a-mole. My hope is that this will be a wake up call to the ad industry, but I fear it’s just the next round in a game of cat and mouse.

There’s a lot more to the conversation — it’s worth checking out.

On The Mac Observer: Home Wi-Fi Weak in Areas? Use TP-LINK’s Powerline

Let’s all agree that Wi-Fi is a marvelous thing. It sets us free, untethered — literally — from cables and walls. It’s usually easy to set up, too — plug a router in, connect your cable modem (or whatever gets you to the Internet), answer a few questions and boom — you’re good to go.

Unless of course you travel to a room in your house that’s too far from your router, or you’re behind a concrete wall that doesn’t let the signal through, or you have an older device that doesn’t have Wi-Fi, or you’re in an area where a hundred other routers create congestion, or…you get the picture.

The short story is: Wi-Fi is great until it isn’t. As a result, wired networks still have their advantages, and the best network usually offers a mixture of wired and wireless options. Unfortunately, running network cables through your home can be a messy, expensive and difficult affair.

Read the full article on The Mac Observer.

On Macworld: How to set restrictions on the new Apple TV

The new Apple TV provides lots of options for bringing all sorts of content to your television, but not all that content may be suitable for everyone in your home. To deal with that, Apple gives you tools to control what can be downloaded and displayed on your TV. Unfortunately, those tools aren’t consistently applied across all content sources yet and don’t always work as expected. Even so, it’s better than nothing. Here’s a walkthrough of how these features work.

Read the full article on Macworld.

On Macworld: Five iOS apps to make your next road trip smoother

My latest Macworld article talks about five free iOS apps that could help you out on your next road trip. It focuses on apps that help save you time, money and frustration on the road by making it easier to find things like gas stations, food stops and hotels.

It was a fun one to write, based on a lot of real world experience. It was also inspired by a family trip to bring my son to his first year of college, so naturally, he wants a cut.

The article is on the Macworld website — I hope you check it out.

BTN Mac Show: ‘Trimming Back’

I was remiss in putting the word out about the latest Mac Show on the British Tech Network. I’d be lying if I said I remembered what we talked about, but I do recall it was a lot of fun as usual. Oh, right — I do remember talking about how I now have an Apple Watch.

My “Cool Thing” was the innerexile Glacier iPhone 6/6+ case — a slim, self-healing case that’s very, well…cool.

If you haven’t listened to The Mac Show, give it a try. It’s a fun, lighthearted conversation about some of the coolest things happening in the tech world today — and you don’t need to be an uber-geek to follow along.

‘It’s about time: Why watchOS 2 convinced me to buy an Apple Watch’

My latest Macworld article takes a look at why I finally decided to buy an Apple Watch. I told myself I would wait for version two — and I did. I just didn’t realize said version would come by way of a software update and not new hardware.

The article is here. I was thrilled to see how it resonated — it seems I’m not the only one who was waiting.

Current C minus

Great catch from The Loop’s Dave Mark from Apple’s earnings call:

Remember the MCX Consortium, the competing transaction processing system from Walmart, et al? One of their high profile members is Best Buy. As a reminder, there was a lot of discussion when MCX started out about members being restricted from taking Apple Pay.

Now recall that Cook announced today that Best Buy is (present tense) accepting Apple Pay in its stores.

Mark calls it “a pretty solid crack in the consortium.” I’d say that’s a fair description.

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