view in plain text or web browser  
Tech Tails | Apple news straight from the Tech Room | SmallDog.com | 800-511-MACS
 
#885: AirDrop? Activate!, The Bitcoin Adventure, Waze

 
     
 

Greetings!

There has been a lot of speculation about the “iPhone 5C”; while I can’t so much clear this up (read: I know when you know), here’s the rundown on the rumored version of the popular iPhone. As we near September, a month that has been full of iPhone releases in years past, “leaks” of a plastic back have appeared and sites claim that this is the design for a new low-budget iPhone.

The “C” supposedly stands for “color” as many of the photos show an array of colorful options, though others have claimed it would mean “cheap” (which I highly doubt Apple would do). The price point is supposed to be similar to that of the Android phones on the market due to the cheaper materials used to make it.

For Apple to save dollars, some analysts think Siri — which first appeared in the iPhone 4S — is likely to get cut. A different screen resolution, less memory capacity, no LTE, or a less powerful camera could also be in order. It’s also more than likely that the 5C won’t include any brand-new features that we might see in the 5S, such as the rumored fingerprint sensor.

Again, all of this speculation doesn’t mean much until Apple announces the real thing! Whatever they do announce in the coming weeks, I am sure it will be a stellar product that is made with the care and execution that Apple is known for.

We have more articles for you below as we roll into another week. Taylor writes about ways to use AirDrop on your Mac, Cindy tells us about her favorite Maps app, and Kyle writes about the many uses of an online currency called Bitcoin.

Hope you all have a great week and as always, come on over to Small Dog for all your Apple needs!

Barry
barry@smalldog.com

 
   
     
  AirDrop? Activate!  
   
 

If you are a Mac user with a newer version of the Mac OS, you may already be familiar with the feature AirDrop. AirDrop allows you to quickly and wirelessly share files between your Macs on the same local network.

Here is a little Terminal trick to activate it on machines that do not support it by default. This will also allow you to share via ethernet, since normally, AirDrop is limited to Wi-Fi.

First, open up the Terminal application. (As always, practice Terminal commands with care.) Then, type the following commands:

defaults write com.apple.NetworkBrowser BrowseAllInterfaces -bool TRUE

Hit enter and on the next line type:

killall Finder

The killall command will restart the finder of your Mac. Once it relaunches, AirDrop will be activated.

If you ever want to disable this change, enter the same commands as above, and just change TRUE to FALSE. (Like this:)

defaults write com.apple.NetworkBrowser BrowseAllInterfaces -bool FALSE
killall Finder

Enjoy!

 
   
     
  The Bitcoin Adventure  
   
 

Yesterday, I finally dove into the currency of bitcoins. Bitcoins, or BTC, are an electronic currency based on an open-source cryptographic protocol that isn’t part of any central authority.

Since their use is entirely digital, all transactions are processed through a computer or smartphone and are verified by servers called bitcoin miners that authorize the transaction by confirming that both parties have the required capabilities for the transaction. This currency is peer-to-peer, so it isn’t monitored or routed by any banking company and is used strictly from one person to another.

There are a finite amount of bitcoins produced every year, and every four years, the amount found is halved until 2140 when the amount will be rounded down to zero. Then, the amount of BTCs in the world will stop at 21 million. Each BTC is calculated to the 8th decimal place so a single BTC can be broken down even further.

Currently, bitcoins are accepted by many venders and merchants globally and it’s becoming more globally accepted as a form of currency. You would have to bring a laptop or smartphone with you, which would allow you to create transactions with vendors or merchants who accept the currency. There are no real overhead fees; however, because the value of bitcoins varies widely, it is considered a high risk asset.

How do you obtain bitcoins, you ask? Well, you can start accepting them in exchange for services or product, but the main way to obtain them is via mining. Essentially you use your computer and some open-source software which will then crunch through the internet solving cryptographic problems, seeking specific blocks which contain bitcoins.

It is pretty hardware intensive and there are computers out there specifically designed to do this, and only this. The faster your machine can get through the sequences, the higher the probability that you will find a block containing a batch of bitcoins. They are found in batches of 25 or 50, and singly, each bitcoin is worth roughly around $109 USD, though the value rises and drops quickly.

Currently, I have a setup with my PC at home that is currently mining for bitcoins in a pool with other machines. A pool is a set up where multiple machines will tackle strings of cryptographic information together, and the payout depends on how much work your machine puts in (or is capable of). It’s a calculation to it that I haven’t fully understood because my ability in math is severely limited!

I can’t begin to describe the entire process for bitcoin mining and or use, but with its growing popularity and the fact that you can have your computer make the currency for you while you’re out is actually a pretty cool feature. I’m not saying that I’m planning on investing a lot of hardware and time into this currency, but I like having a few bitcoins on hand in the event that it becomes a more widely accepted form of payment.

 
   
     
  Waze  
   
 

Waze is community-based satellite navigation map. Waze reports and alerts are real-time. Traffic accidents, vehicles on the shoulder, police presence, cameras and more are reported and alerts pop as you enter the area. The Waze community in your driving area assists with these pop alerts.

If someone reports something, a pop-up appears, asking you to confirm or deny the vehicle on the shoulder or police in the area — you’d then click ‘There’ or ‘Not There’ and the info quickly updates, as needed, for the nearby Waze driving community. Also, community-edited corrections to the Waze map are live within 24 hrs.

My favorite is the Reports. You can report a traffic jams, police hazards, accidents and more — a few taps and a report is out to all Waze users in the area. You can vent in the reporting tool as you sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic!

Navigation is a dream with the turn-by-turn directions, which allows for hands-free driving. One appreciable aspect is Waze’s intuitive rerouting. If Waze finds a quicker alternative route to your destination, a Waze pop-up will appear and announce that an alternative route has been found and how much time you will save. Waze also displays eateries, gas prices, government offices, road closures, hospitals, etc.

In today’s urban landscape, different modes of transportation are used during trips. Alas, Waze does not have a walking/biking mode (like Google has), so no info on public transportation and bikeways is available. I use Waze in the car on my iPad or iPhone and hop onto Google maps once I reach my destination.

Waze is free in the App Store, and the Waze app is also available for Android devices.

Changes are coming, though. Google just recently purchased Waze for a reported $1 billion, and has begun integration of many Waze features into its own maps. Apple just recently purchased Embark, which is known for its mass transit info. The map war continues, and I believe that we, the driving populace, will benefit greatly from these recent purchases.

 
   
     
  SPECIAL | Save $15 on AppleJuce JucePeel  
   
 

TT | Save $15 on AppleJuce JucePeel for iPhone & iPad

Starting at $ 14.99

Stop paying to replace expensive iPhone or iPad screens after you break them! Simply install a JucePeel over your screens and protect against cracking or scratching.

As part of our Mac to School special, we’re offering our Tech Tails readers an extra $5 off these JucePeels. A total savings of $15!

View

 
     
  SPECIAL | Save $20 on G-Tech G-DRIVE 500GB  
   
 

TT | Save $20 on G-Tech G-DRIVE Mobile 500GB Hard Drive

109.99

G-DRIVE mobile features USB 3.0 and FireWire interfaces, exceptional throughput performance, and up to 500GB capacity — making it the perfect storage option for portable use.

Enjoy $20 off this great hard drive!

View

 
     
  SPECIAL | Save $30 on G-Tech G-DRIVE 1TB  
   
 

TT | Save $30 on G-Tech G-DRIVE Mobile 1TB Hard Drive

149.99

G-DRIVE mobile features USB 3.0 and FireWire interfaces, exceptional throughput performance, and up to 1TB capacity –making it the perfect storage option for portable use.

More space, bigger savings! Enjoy $30 off!

View