Just ahead of schedule, for a change, Techinch Magazine 7 is here for your reading pleasure. Mac enthusiasts have quite the busy week coming up, with OS X Mavericks’ expected release along with announcements of new iPads and apps in Tuesday’s Apple announcement. Be sure to check Mac.AppStorm for all the extensive OS X Mavericks coverage we’ve been working on at AppStorm, including detailed reviews of every app in the new OS.
But that’s for then. For now, you’ve got a new issue of Techinch Magazine to read. So go enjoy it! It’s a tad shorter than the last few issues — and more on par with the length of earlier issues — so I trust you’ll enjoy some of my OS X Mavericks coverage this week as well. And hopefully this issue will provide some nice, thought-provoking weekend reading.
Here's what you'll find inside:
- Well, hi again!
- Search, and Ye Shall Find
- Stop Talking. Start Writing.
- Build Your Own Google
If you've already subscribed to Techinch Magazine, you'll find the new issue in Newsstand on your iPhone or iPad already. Otherwise, go download the Techinch Magazine app, start a free 7 day trial, and check out the new issue. Or pick up a PDF and ePub copy of Issue 7 from Gumroad. And enjoy!
One more quick thing: I’ve restarted my email newsletter, so if you’d like to get occasional emails from Techinch.com about articles I’ve published or any new stuff I’ve released, be sure to go signup at tinyletter.com/techinch.
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The other Steve’s outlook on life is something we all need.
Steve Jobs is everywhere. A recent Bangkok book fair had a life-sized wax model of him, malls use his quotes alongside those from celebrities and politicians to decorate boarded up shops while they’re being renovated, and the roti and tea shop around the corner from my house has a hand-painted mural featuring the Mona Lisa, the Eiffel Tower, the Statute of Liberty, President Obama, the Dali Lama, and, yes, Steve Jobs, all enjoying their chai yen (Thai iced tea). Ashton Kutcher’s acting as Jobs in the Jobs biopic isn’t enough for Hollywood, as Sony Pictures is still planning another film based on Isaacson’s biography of Jobs. Aside from Bill Gates, there’s few other people in tech that the majority of people on earth would know of. Jobs a legend, an icon.
But the other Steve — Steve Wozniak — is the often unsung hero that provided the technical genius that launched Apple. Jobs was the personal embodiment of Apple, the marketing guy who knew what was insanely great when he saw it, and fought to bring it to the world. Wozniak, on the other hand, was the reason Apple Computer, Inc. had computer in its name, the technical guy that made Apple’s original tech possible.
Aside from what Isaacson biography of Jobs mentions about Woz, as he’s affectionately known, and random other things about him from the internet, I’d never taken the time to learn much about Apple’s less-public cofounder. So, last week, I’d bought his autobiography iWoz: How I Invented the Personal Computer and Had Fun Along the Way in iBooks to try it out in OS X Mavericks, and then ended up sick in bed with the flu all weekend. With no energy or inspiration to write — my typical pastime — I read Wozniak’s full book.
In short, it was inspiring, almost tear-jerking without being the least bit sad. Absolutely nothing like I expected.
You won’t walk away from iWoz wishing you were a millionaire, or feeling left out that you didn’t start a Fortune 500 tech company. You won’t feel like you’re dumber if your IQ isn’t near Woz’ score of 200. You won’t think less of Steve Jobs, and you’ll likely think better of Apple’s numerous presidents — and Apple’s long-forgotten competitors from the early days of computers.
What you will walk with is a touch of the childhood amazement that radiates from the text. Woz stands in awe of technology and what it can do, and seems to still be amazed that he was able to have a part in it all. He makes you fascinated by how electronics work together, and how each early computer design was important for the final goal of everyone owning a computer. I don’t know how else to describe it other than that he’s simply bubbling over with fascination over the smallest things, and has never lost that childish enthusiasm.
One could easily pull individual sentences out of context from the book — or even in context — and make it sound like Woz is bragging. It could easily seem that way, when he talks about being the best in his class, knowing more than other people his age, and designing electronics that were years ahead of their time. But that’s not at all how he made me feel. Instead, it felt like he was simply amazed that he was able to do those things, and incredulous that others didn’t see the same possibilities he did. It’s like he wants you to share in his excitement over doing good in school, winning contests, and making friends.
He analyzes others’ personalities, and finds the unique things about them fascinating. Others, even his good friend Jobs, do him wrong, and he takes it in stride, seeing it as a life lesson. He’s the only person I can imagine making you interested in universal remotes. Why? Because he’s fascinated by life.
The very quality of fascination is what makes children so interesting. Young kids are amazed by everything, starting with their fingers and toes as newborns. Everything’s new, and everything’s exciting. The whole world’s a new gadget for them to unbox and explore.
But then, we become jaded. We get older, get used to the amazing things around us, and forget to notice the magic that’s long-since become ordinary. The world is a really amazing place, filled with interesting things, and yet, we’re so used to it that it ceases to amaze us. The iPhone dazzled us when it first came out, but now we swipe to unlock unlock absentmindedly, when we used to would have marveled over the detail and fluid animation. We fly across the globe, and complain more over the delays than thrill over the speed and convenience. Louis C.K. got it right in his “Everything’s Amazing, and Nobody’s Happy” piece during his appearance on Conan O’Brien’s show: we’re the most spoiled generation with the most amazing technology that people complain about more than appreciate.
Somehow, though, I think we can’t include Woz in that list. If he’s anything like he comes across in his book, I happen to think that everything still amazes him. And that’s awesome.
So Revive it.
It’d sound quaint to say we should “stop and smell the flowers”, but as I argued in the inaugural issue’s Perspective article, it’s something we need. Sometimes it’s worth stopping and thinking about how awesome everything is, taking the time to appreciate what’s actually happening behind the scenes in the tech we use. It’s really, really amazing — but it’s so easy to get used to it and just expect it to work.
But when something breaks, as things are apt to, it’s equally not surprising because it’s just stuff, things full of tiny pieces working together to make their virtual magic. When the internet’s slow, it’s more amazing that it actually works in the first place than that it’s not loading our YouTube videos as fast as we like. I happen to think that we’d be far less frustrated with stuff not working — far less frustrated with life in general — if we remembered how amazing life and the things around us really are.
Want to get a glimpse at the story behind Apple from another perspective than Jobs’, and get a feeling of childhood wonder at today’s tech at the same time? Then go grab a copy of iWoz. I happen to think you’ll enjoy it.
Me? I want to be like Woz when I grow up.
Enjoy? Then check out Techinch Magazine for articles like this, now on the App Store and Gumroad.
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While restoring a friend's Windows Vista-powered laptop this week, I discovered that most programs — say, Chrome, Evernote, and even iTunes — still support Windows Vista (and XP), which is nice to find for those trying to eek the last bit of usage out of an aging PC without ditching Windows or paying for an upgrade. Sure, Creative Cloud and Office 365/2013 require Windows 7 or 8, but he like so many PC users is sticking with Office 2007 and an older copy of Photoshop, so that's not an issue.
There was only one app I couldn't get reinstalled for him: iCloud Control Panel PC. The latest v.3 is for only for Windows 7 or 8, and the older version was nowhere to be found — even OldApps.com didn't have it, and, well, freeware apps aren't what usually is on torrent sites.
As a last ditch effort, I check the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine for an older copy of Apple's iCloud site — and managed to find the original iCloud for PC download link that's still live on their server. So here you go. If you need to reinstall iCloud sync on your Windows 2000, XP, or Vista PC, here's the link to download the still-functioning iCloud sync for your PC:
Oh, and just in case, here's another copy if Apple pulls their's off their server: http://d.pr/f/Shgz.
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A new issue of Techinch Magazine, and a whole new iOS.
A few short weeks ago when Techinch Magazine Issue 5 hit Newsstand, it still looked like it was made out of wood. Well over 60% of iOS users now have upgraded to iOS 7 only weeks after it was released, and chances are you’ll be reading this issue on iOS 7.
iOS 7 is a huge upgrade to Apple’s mobile platform that’s brighter, layered, and animated, with the tech foundation to bring on the next generation of great apps for our phones and tablets. We’ve already seen some great new app redesigns, such as those that prompted me to break out of my habit of writing about Mac and Web apps and round them up for iPhone.AppStorm, but the best are yet to come. It’ll sure be exciting to see how developers continue to innovate on iOS going forward.
And, I must admit that iOS 7 has inspired much of the content in this issue. Here's what you'll find inside:
- Everything You Know is Wrong ...or so you might feel after installing iOS 7.
- The iPad 1: a review, 4 years later.
- Make Stuff every. single. day.
- Think, then act. Actually, think some more first.
- OmniFocus 2 for iPhone is Really, Really Great: A review of the app that makes sure I write reviews.
If you've already subscribed to Techinch Magazine, you'll find the new issue in Newsstand on your iPhone or iPad already. Otherwise, go download the Techinch Magazine app, start a free 7 day trial, and check out the new issue. Or, buy the PDF and ePub copy to read the magazine on any device. I sure hope you enjoy it.
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There's science films, and there's science fiction films. The former are the dry, National Geographic-sanctioned footage that museum IMAX theaters play on weekdays, while the latter is what sells out summer blockbusters annually and makes names like Star Wars and Star Trek become multi-million dollar franchises while playing fast and loosely with anything resembling real science.
Gravity is the perhaps closest to the former you're going to get out of a Hollywood blockbuster. In some ways, it resembles the former with its footage that looks like it's cut straight from NASA TV and a storyline that's nearly summed up entirely in 140 second trailer. And yet, it still plays a bit loose with the truth like the latter, as Time Magazine's Fact Check and Neil deGrasse Tyson's series of tweets revealed.
But really, the only reason that's noticeable is the fact that Gravity is so close to a scientific film, it's tough to set your thinking skills aside and accept that it's just a film. It depicts space and zero gravity so well that it's received praise from the likes of Buzz Aldrin and astronauts, and yet it still misses it at spots (hint: hair floats in space, too). Its premise is something that's a realistic concern in space today, and yet going from Hubble to the ISS isn't even remotely possible — and satellite debris wouldn't affect either since it would be at such a higher orbit than both of them.
So you're going to have to set aside the critical parts of your brain just a bit — far less, still, than you would in science fiction films where their space walks are decidedly less possible. But for any space buff who's spent too much time at the Air and Space museums and any NASA facilities they could reach, Gravity is a thrill like no other. You're not going for the storyline, you're going for the breathtakingly expansive views of earth, the Milky Way, Aurora Borealis, and the interior of the ISS. You're going to get the tiniest feel for what it'd be like to be on an extended space walk, one set with real hardware that's been in space in our lifetimes. It's still science fiction, but it's insanely close to real life in space in 2013, assuming the Shuttle hadn't been grounded. And that's absolutely worth seeing.
And yes, it's absolutely worth splurging for IMAX 3D tickets this time — though be warned, if you're prone to motion sickness from spinning or 3D, there's enough of both in this film to make you lose your lunch, as my wife discovered. In that case, try to get it in IMAX non-3D — this much space eye candy deserves all the screen room it can get.
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