Allister Jenks stands in for a vacationing Allison Sheridan. We have a review of Paintcode, a story of using the Apple Watch to track health in ways other than the Activity app, Allister’s own health app Stretch Timer, two interviews from CES with We.Stream and Bellus3D, some security tips with Cyber Essentials, and a fun casual iOS game, Rings.
UPDATE: Since I wrote this post (and recorded for the podcast) an update for Rings has appeared which claims to fix the in-app purchase bug and also streamlines some other parts of the app.
I’m not a “gamer” by any stretch of the imagination, but I do like to while away some time playing logic games – usually ones that don’t have a focus on speed or timing.
I recently came across the game Rings, by Kamil Kucma. The premise is very simple. You have a three by three grid of points onto which you place coloured rings. There are three sizes of ring and each spot can accommodate one of each size. So if a spot already has a large and a small ring, you can still place a medium ring there.
In my story about PaintCode, I mentioned I had rewritten an app that I use for timing my muscle stretches. I’d like to tell you about that app now, in a bit of an ‘advertorial’.
I first wrote the app in 2016 when I was having back trouble, and part of the treatment for this involved regular stretching exercises. It was critical, I was told, to hold the stretches for the correct amount of time for them to work properly. While I can fairly reliably count off seconds in my head, also keeping track of the number of repetitions completed can make it easy to lose track, especially if there were also left and right variants to perform. I set about finding the perfect app in the App Store, but I couldn’t find one that wasn’t either difficult to use or overkill for the task. So, I decided to write my own.
PaintCode is a macOS app with a very specific audience: macOS and iOS developers, although other developers should hang in until the end. If you’re not a developer then this review may not offer you an insight into purchasing, however, if you’re just interested in knowing “how stuff works,” this is a pretty cool story. For this reason, I have aimed this review at a less knowledgeable audience, which should also serve to explain to hobbyist developers, like myself, what value this tool can bring.
Security Medium 1 — Google’s Ad Filter
On February 15 Google’s Chrome browser gained a nice new feature for controlling ads. It’s been reported on as an ad blocker, but that coverage misses a very important subtlety. Google itself calls the feature ad filtering, and an ad filter describes this feature very well indeed.
Google is an advertising company, it is not in their interest to destroy the advertising industry. They’re trying to solve a subtly different problem — the rise of ad blockers!
It’s another big big show, with four CES interviews with Analogix SlimPort video connectors, Netgear about their outdoor Orbi, Acronis backup solution, and L’Oréal’s UV Sense product. We’ve also got a photography tip by Rally about digital zoom vs cropping (followed by some fun experiments by me) and a review of the free iOS app Klok by Helma. Bart brings us up to speed with the latest on Security Bits.
Meltdown & Spectre Update
- Steve Gibson of GRC (author of ShieldsUp & SpinRite) has released InSpectre, a free Windows app which clearly communicates your PC’s current level of protection against Meltdown & Spectre, and what kind of a performance hit you should expect — www.grc.com/…
- RedHat have withdrawn their microcode patch for Spectre after it caused some systems to become unbootable (Linux supports dynamic updating of CPU microcode without the need for a BIOS update) — www.theregister.co.uk/…
- A great post on the official Raspberry PI blog that primarily aims to explain why the Raspberry PIs are not vulnerable to Spectre, but in the process, explain Spectre in clearest and most understandable way I’ve yet seen — www.raspberrypi.org/…
This is just a little review of an iOS app called Klok I came across when browsing the app store on my phone. I was intrigued by its name so I installed it and it turned out to be quite useful.
What’s the problem it solves? When you have friends or business relations in multiple timezones you’d like to have a quick overview of the time in their timezone. So you’d like to access the world clock quickly.
Rally Barnard sent in a photo tip I really like, especially because he’s actually quoting me in it! After he sent this in I made some observations that may change my advice. First, let’s hear from Rally.
A while ago Allison in one of her talks on the MacMania Solar-Eclipse cruise said that the best way to take photos with iOS devices was to never zoom the image by pinching on the screen. Always take photos with the default field of view. If you wanted to zoom the picture, do it with Photos or other editing app after you have taken the picture.
Well, as I always dutifully follow Allison’s advice, I always take photos that way. If others aren’t aware of this photographic gem, or want to know the reasoning behind this diktat, I guess that’s the problem to be solved.
Allison interviews Gaidar Magdanurov from Acronis about their multi-platform backup solutions. Acronis offers a single solution for backup, disaster recovery and file sync & share services. Using Acronis’s personal backup software, you can safeguard PCs, Macs, iOS and Android devices as well as your social media accounts. Acronis will also actively defend your data against ransomware attacks with backup that detects, stops and reverses unauthorized encryption. The setting is Pepcom at the Mirage hotel. Learn more at https://www.acronis.com/en-us/
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