Verify! Repair! Mac Hatter gets his comeuppance in El Capitan

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For years when faced with any OS X problem the cry from the Mac Hatter has been Verify! Repair! Dodgy permissions were the root cause of all Mac ills, he told us with conviction. Now, it seems, the tea party is over as El Capitan has deemed permission verifying and repairing to be an unnecessary frippery. Has all this hocus-pocus had us all fixated over the years on something that was merely a placebo rather than a general help.

How the Apple iPod changed the world and potentially saved IBM $50 million

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On 23 October 2001 Apple launched the iPod. Its halo effect has changed the computing world and has persuaded millions of opinion leaders to choose Mac computers over Windows PCs. IBM staff have joined the stampede and their decision is saving IBM up to $50m a year.

Bargain Parrots: Cheap-as-chips bits from the Bay, for and against

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My friend and fellow Australian blogger, John Shingleton, was obviously cut to the quick by Bill Palmer's condemnation of cheap third-party accessories bought from well-known auction sites. Bill's ire was raised by a faux teleconverter for the Fuji X100T. Conclusion: He would have been better to throw his £20 note into the fire. He also waxed eloquent against cheapo lens-mount adapters covered in swarf and rattling like a fleet of 1920s Ford Ts.

iPhone 11 Pro: Is it worth upgrading just for a better camera?

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Smartphone manufacturers seem obsessed with photography, almost to the exclusion of many more useful features of the devices. Is this the end for the traditional camera industry or an opportunity to be grasped?

Apple Watch health monitoring and the Kardia Mobile electro-cardiogram

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Who would have imagined that you could take a medical-grade electro-cardiagram as often as you like, just by using a thin sensor and an iPhone? The Kardia Mobile ECG monitor has been approved both in the US and UK as a medical device and is being recommended by general practitioners.

Steve Jobs: “Tech Industry’s First Rock Star”

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London's Financial Times today named Steve Jobs as Personality of the Year, saying he was the tech industry's first rock star:

"When Steven Paul Jobs first hit the headlines, he was younger even than Mark Zuckerberg is now. Long before it was cool to be a nerd, his formative role in popularising the personal computer, and Apple’s initial public offering on Wall Street – which came when Mr Jobs was still only 25 – made him the tech industry’s first rock star."

"Now, three decades on, he has secured his place in the foremost ranks of the West Coast tech titans who have done so much to shape the world around the turn of the millennium. Long-time nemesis Bill Gates may be richer and, at his peak, arguably exerted greater sway, thanks to his monopoly over the world’s PC software. But the Microsoft co-founder has left the stage to devote his life and fortune to good works. It is Mr Jobs who now holds the spotlight"

Safari Extensions: Three invaluable minimalist additions

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I'm generally against cluttering my web browser with lots of plug-ins. Many Windows users, particularly those who aren't very tech savvy, have their Internet Explorer bulging with several tiers of menus containing everything that Yahoo, Google and Microsoft have ever suggested and thrown at them. And, for the most part, they don't use any of it and haven't a clue why it's there.

So my Safari installation is a model of minimalism. Recently, though, I've been trying three excellent extensions that take up little space on the menu bar but perform vital tasks.

The first is Adblock (Michael Gundlach) which successfully removes advertisements from web pages. There are lots of settings, so you can choose exactly what you want to see or don't want to see. 

Second comes a real winner, Click to Flash (Mark Hoyois), which blocks Flash on the fly. Although you can block flash from Safari Preferences, that's a global setting and you have to reboot Safari for any changes to take effect. This little add-in turns flash off by default but offers the opportunity to click on a "FLASH" button in the centre  of any Flash pane.That way you open only the specific content you want to see; and afterwards Flash is again turned off. Brilliant. 

Next is Auto Refresh (Andy Griffin)  to allow you to auto refresh pages. This is effective if there's a particular site where you want constant updates throughout the day. You can set a refresh interval in seconds. Easy and invaluable. 

These three extensions are shareware and donations are appreciated.

Protecting your Apple ID against malicious phishing attacks

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Over the past few weeks there has been a nasty outbreak of phishing attempts to gain access to Apple IDs. Macs and iOS devices are relatively immune from many infections but the only antidote to phishing is common sense.

iPhone smugglers: Out of London, (almost) in to Israel

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So now we know what happens to some of those hundreds and thousands of iPhones I noticed being spirited away from London's Apple stores amid a cloud of £50 notes. They are being smuggled into countries far and wide. Thanks to Engadget for the story of the 60-something lady who was stopped at Ben Gurion with 44 iPhone 4s secreted about her person.  Roll over cocaine, make way for the iPhone. 

Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar: The one computer you’ll love

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Over the past year I’ve lost count of the number of times friends have asked if they should invest in a new...

Safari: Add pinned tabs to your list of New Year resolutions

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Apple’s latest version of OS X, El Capitan, has brought us a raft of new tricks, including the split-screen view to which I am now addicted. Another small change that has grabbed my attention and addiction is pinned tabs which have come to Safari at last. Other browsers, including Firefox and Chrome (see below) have had pinned tabs for a time.

Did Leica’s Oskar Barnack test a prototype Apple Vision Pro in 1914?

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Here's evidence that Leica's Oskar Barnack didn't sit twiddling his thumbs after cooking up the 35mm miniature camera. Far from it, he was beavering away on the Leica Vision Pro, virtual reality for the start of the war in 1914...

iTunes Damp Squib: Apple cries wolf once too often

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Good old Aesop had it right. Cry wolf too often and no one takes any notice when the real McCoy appears. So all the Beatles works are now available on iTunes. Yawn and yawn again! Is anyone in the world remotely interested? Apple said today would be a day we'd never forget. Maybe, but for all the wrong reasons. It's the day Apple's PR experts cried wolf and got us all excited over a bunch of nothing. I should have known 7 am was too early for Steve to rise and put on his black polo neck. The Beatles announcement is of such stunning mediocrity that it comes best before the cornflakes while we're all half asleep. Unfortunately, on this side of the Atlantic we were only too wide eyed and bushy tailed and the disappointment was immediate. Apple, your PR department should be ashamed of itself. 

Apple Watch: Two big surprises as I walk my socks off

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The Apple Watch has been on my wrist, exclusively, for the past three weeks. So far I have not missed my mechanical IWC Pilot’s Chronograph except in one respect which I will cover later. In general, though, I thought I knew what to expect from the Watch, having read all the reviews and teasers. But I have been surprised on two fronts.

MacBook Air: Winning over the tech writers

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Pietro Montalcino of Macography.net sets off on his Californian vacation with his new MacBook Air tucked underneath his arm. Another convert. Since I bought my MacBook...