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#714: iOS 4.3, Mac Treat #149, $910 Game of Scrabble, Fashionable New iPad Trend

 
     
 

Dear Friends,

It is snowing again today but nothing like the big dump we had on Monday. There was just under 3 feet of snow that came down at my house on Monday and we finally had a winner of the snow contest at Waitsfield headquarters. Jim Overman won the contest to predict when we would have over a foot of snow in 24 hours. Snow this time of the year is an annoyance but we know it will soon melt. With Daylight Savings time happening on Sunday morning, there is going to be some spring fever happening here but we have one of our famous shoulder seasons to get through first – mud season. We have had two thaws so far and the mud was horrible on Prickly Mountain.

My mother passed away last week and I had to turn around and come back from Jamaica as soon as we got there, so it was the shortest Jamaican vacation in history. My sister and daughter were at her side when she passed and she did awaken when I called from Jamaica so I was able to tell her that I loved her. My mom taught me early about work. For my teenage years she was a single mom with three kids and worked two jobs to support the family while finding time to volunteer and stay active in the community. She was a strong woman and a stubborn woman. Hapy was also very close to his grandmother and during Hapy’s college days in Evanston at Northwestern University, my mom would be a haven for him and his friends and my mom was a Northwestern employee for over 20 years and lived right near campus.

My mom always wanted the latest technology and had an iPad and MacBook and those in the Waitsfield office would frequently overhear me or Hapy giving technical support. My mom wanted an iPad so badly that she had her doctor write a prescription to me saying she needed it to “keep her mind strong” but he did not have to worry because until the end my mom was interested in what was going on in the world and we would talk politics and world events whenever we talked to each other. I’ve got a new best friend now, too, as mom’s Papillion, Max, will join Hammer and FanTail in our menagerie (or should I call that a pack?)

There was a lot of new and interesting news from Apple this week. I like the new upgraded software for the Apple TV that now allows you to stream major league baseball and NBA games if you pay the reasonable subscription rates. Personal hotspots are now a reality with iOS 4.3 on the AT&T network and the excitement is building for the release of the iPad 2 later today. We will have some iPad 2 for demo purposes at each store and more inventory will arrive daily. Also, if you are on a budget we have some stock of the original iPad starting at just $399!

 
     
  iOS 4.3 Released  
   
 

Apple released the latest version of their mobile operating system iOS 4.3 today. This is a free download and contains some exciting new features for your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad.

The first of these is AirPlay support for videos stored in your Photos app. This allows you to wirelessly stream the videos shot on your device to your TV using a Wi-Fi signal and Apple TV. This upgrade also adds support for streaming audio and/or video from third-party apps, such as MLB At Bat (iPhone or iPad) and Pandora that have been AirPlay enabled.

Support has also been added for streaming media to your mobile device. With iOS 4.3 you are able to stream your music, movies, TV shows, audiobooks, and podcasts from your Mac or PC. Note that this feature requires a Wi-Fi network and iTunes 10.2.

Safari, the Web browsing application, has also been upgraded. The new Nitro JavaScript engine allows your device to run JavaScript up to twice as fast as before. JavaScript is a programming language that is commonly used for interactive features on Web pages and can consume a lot of processing power, so this upgrade should greatly improve your Web browsing experience.

The final majorly updated feature is Personal Hotspot for iPhone 4. This allows you to use your iPhone 4 as a mobile Wi-Fi provider for any Wi-Fi-capable device. Up to five devices can be connected to one iPhone through Wi-Fi as well as USB or Bluetooth. Personal Hotspot requires a supporting hotspot tethering plan from your carrier and works with up to three devices over Wi-Fi, three devices over Bluetooth, and one device over USB.

To install iOS 4.3 on your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad simply connect to iTunes and follow the on-screen prompts.

 
     
  MAC TREAT #149: Retro Mac Alert Sounds  
   
 

Do you ever find yourself yearning for the “Moofs” and “Wild Eeps” of bygone days? If you’re new to Macs, you likely have no idea what I’m talking about, however legacy users will know exactly what I mean. Earlier versions of Mac OS contained alert sounds that have gone on to become as iconic as the machines they played on. Among these, several have achieved cult-like statuses. There’s Clarus the Dogcow, (pictured) and the lengthy legal backstory behind Sosumi. Of course, there are less memorable sounds as well— “Laugh” and “Logjam” for instance.

Nearly every long term Mac user has an alert sound they’ve identified with over the years. Unfortunately with successive OS releases, Apple periodically removed many sounds—replacing them with ones arguably more sterile or grown-up. Thankfully, compilations of original system sounds still exist and are easy to implement on your modern Mac. A full collection of sounds is available here. After downloading, make a trip to your Home Folder, and Library. We advise backing up prior to this step as the Library contains many important system files. Once you’ve backed up, navigate to the Sounds folder and copy over the .aiff files contained in the download folder. To select a retro alert sound, simply open System Preferences and select Sound. Under the Sound Effects tab you should see all the newly added retro alerts. Your MacBook Air will be “Quacking” in no time!

 
     
  Playing a $910 Game of Scrabble  
   
 

A few days ago, a good friend and I partook in the most expensive game of Scrabble I’d ever played. While no wagers were involved, a whole lot of iOS devices were. Using the Scrabble HD app on iPad as a hub, the two of us connected our iPhones to it over Wi-Fi and used them as Tile Racks. The end result was surprisingly seamless and a blast to play.

One could argue that this method removes the fun from a timeless game as it involves yet another way for us to spend time staring at screens, but I’d argue the opposite. This type of argument would be like saying reading on the iPad isn’t really reading as it uses an LCD instead of paper. I see this version of Scrabble as the logical evolution of the game‚Äďand board games in general for that matter. No longer is a trip to the basement required to grab a dusty old box off a shelf. Now a game of Scrabble or Monopoly can be played with the same level of immersion and interactivity with devices one carries on their person. Even better, the majority of these games support local bluetooth in addition to Wi-Fi to interact with devices. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities. For instance, when’s the last time you were able to play a full game of Scrabble with the family while on a road trip? Unless your Wagon Queen Family Truckster is a Rolls Phantom, those tiny tiles will be bouncing around everywhere! EA’s execution of these classic titles on iOS has, for the most part, been flawless. The only problem was my own lack of vocabulary. Remember, the on-board dictionary is cheating folks!

Scrabble HD is available in the App Store for $9.99 here.

The free Scrabble Tile Rack app for iPhone is available here.

 
     
  A Fashionable New iPad Trend to Watch  
   
 

I’m no fashionista, but I do follow the popular street-style blog The Sartorialist. Scott Schuman’s photographs capture fascinating instances of personal style from around the globe, revealing different ways people adopt and modify trends. Last week, Schuman posted an image titled On the Scene….iPad & Print at Missoni, Milan featuring a man clad in a funky animal print using his iPad during Milan Fashion Week. While the man’s outfit got mixed reviews in the comments, many readers chimed in with enthusiastic words about the iPad.

But the iPad, it seems, is not simply a must-have accessory in the fashion world: It is also revolutionizing the way the industry functions. On Sunday, Jeremy Peters blogged on the New York Times’ Web site about “Glamour Girls,” an iPad-exclusive reality series created by Glamour magazine that follows four fashionable women. What makes “Glamour Girls” unique is that, while also designed to entertain, it ultimately functions as a sales platform for clothing featured on the show. Via the “Shop the Looks” feature, viewers can purchase items worn by characters on the show. If you’re interested in viewing “Glamour Girls,” you can access the show within Glamour’s app for iPad.

While fashion is the first frontier for this new marketing strategy, it will likely make its way quickly into other areas of consumer culture. We’d love to hear your thoughts on the way the iPad is changing the product placement game.

 
     
  K&B SPECIALS: 03/11/11 - 03/18/11  
   
   
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   iPod touch 8GB (4G), AppleCare Plan + Free MiLi Blue/White AC Adapter!
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   Save $20! MiLi PowerSkin External Power Pack + iPhone Charger Bundle
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   Save $20! MiLi 2.1A Universal Charger 4-plug Version
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   Save $100: MacBook 2.4GHz 8GB RAM, 250GB (white), AppleCare, Free Sleeve!
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I am taking a quick trip to Cupertino this weekend for a meeting on Monday and then a red-eye back to Vermont. I can’t wait to get my hands on the iPad 2 and hope we will have enough so I can start playing with one when I get back. I will be taking it to China with me when I go in April so I can test the fit of accessories when I attend the trade shows.

Thank you so much for reading this issue of Kibbles & Bytes! We want you to understand that you are our most valuable asset – loyal and friendly customers, customers we intend to make for life!

Your Kibbles & Bytes Team,

Don, Ben, Mike, Stephanie & Morgan