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The Mac Stories you need from around the web

Brooklyn event impressions: Love for the Mac

Brooklyn event impressions: Love for the Mac

It seems that the days of major leaps in desktop technology are way behind us. The Mac Mini has changed so little in so many years, that I expected larger steps forward.

All the ports that you could want are still there. i3, i5 and i7 processors are next-gen with a 6-core option. Spinning discs have gone. The case is the same size and shape but space grey.

Jason Snell is more excited than me and has all the details about the new Mini and the updated Macbook Air.

https://sixcolors.com/post/2018/10/brooklyn-event-impressions-love-for-the-mac/

Mac users burned after Nuance drops Dragon speech to text software

Mac users burned after Nuance drops Dragon speech to text software

Nuance have decided to drop support for its Dragon Professional for Mac product, leaving some disabled users unable to use their macs.

The Dragon product is superior to Apple's own dictation app (in System Preferences > Accessibility)

The Register suggests that the decision could be related to Apple's API restrictions to make it more difficult for third party apps to implement certain features.

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/10/30/mac_users_burned_after_nuance_drops_dragon_speech_to_text_software/

Apple News's radical approach: humans over machines

Apple News's radical approach: humans over machines

Apple's News app for MacOS is one of four pioneering iOS-ported apps but that is not the only remarkable thing about it.

It has been revealed that it is steering a path through controversial seas of information and misinformation by using human editors rather than algorithms.

www.nytimes.com/2018/10/25/technology/apple-news-humans-algorithms.html

Give Mac users even more confidence in your software

Give Mac users even more confidence in your software

So this is it. News that will delight anyone who can't get enough operating-system dialogs.

Since iOS I've been waiting for the day that Mac users are only able to obtain apps via Apple's Mac App Store (with 30% of sales going to Apple)

We're not quite there yet, but this is a significant step in that direction.

This morning Apple wrote to me explaining that I am now able to submit my apps to them to be 'Notarized'. (Checked and signed by them).

Mojave's Gatekeeper will show them a dialog giving them confidence that the app is 'not known malware'

It goes on to say, "in an upcoming release of macOS, Gatekeeper will require Developer ID-signed software to be notarized by Apple."

This notarization (vetting by Apple) will become necessary for any 3rd-party web-download app to run on a Mac. Some will regard this a positive step for secure computing.

There's goth mode but developers will have to wait for the juicy stuff

There's goth mode but developers will have to wait for the juicy stuff

'The juicy stuff' that's not ready yet is 'Marzipan' which will allow iOS apps to run on a Mac and makes the desktop 'Legacy', a claim that Andrew Orlowski attributes to Apple. He feels that this is the most significant feature of Mojave, tried dark mode for five minutes and didn't like it.

Apple patented Stacks back in 1992, then amusingly called Piles.

He takes a look at some of Mojave's other headline features in The Register's cynical style.

www.theregister.co.uk/2018/10/04/macos_mojave_overview

macOS Mojave review: At the inflection point

macOS Mojave review: At the inflection point

Mojave is now unleashed, and will now be installed on many Macs.

Dark mode is worth getting excited about, and there are other interface changes. But, says Jason Snell, there are changes going on below the surface which pave the way for greater iOS / Mac integration. "The beginning of a journey, rather than a milestone."

This is a very full review of the new system.

https://sixcolors.com/post/2018/09/mojave/

Windows 95 returns as a Mac app

Windows 95 returns as a Mac app

Does it work more reliably than the original? This project puts the infamous Windows 95 system within a window on your Mac, running in 200Mb of RAM. How things have moved on in such a short time.

In case you fancy producing some world-beating artwork in Paint, playing the popular Solitaire game or trying to figure out how on earth this became such a ubiquitous OS, then this project is available on GitHub. Details are within this iDownloadBlog post.

www.idownloadblog.com/2018/09/04/windows-95-mac-app

Introducing the Aqua Screenshot Library »

Introducing the Aqua Screenshot Library

Remember the stitched leather and torn-off pages of Lion's calendar? Without doubt it was a step too far, but I think there's a lot to be said for buttons that look 'pressable' and the move back from skeuomorphism may have gone too far with the very flat, bland look of Yosemite.

Thanks to Stephen Hackett for this trip down memory lane. He has taken a large number of screenshots from each version of OSX from its first beta up to MacOS High Sierra. They are all made using real computers, not emulators.

This blog post contains some of his favourite screenshots (one from each version) and a link to his full archive.

https://512pixels.net/2018/08/introducing-the-aqua-screenshot-library/

How to create and format lists in Stickies for Mac

How to create and format lists in Stickies for Mac

I was delighted to see this story; I'm really fond of Stickies, it's been in the Mac's Applications folder since system 7 (thats OS7, not 10.7) Maybe it's had some updates but it looks pretty much the same.

I wasn't aware that it handled lists. Apparently it's easy to type them, indent them and even check things off in a bit of a hacky way.

http://www.idownloadblog.com/2018/08/03/create-format-lists-stickies-for-mac/

Chrome to label http-only sites insecure within weeks

Chrome to label http-only sites insecure within weeks

23 July is the date that Chrome is to start warning users when a website is not secure. This is designed to spur the adoption of https.

It is thought that other browsers will follow suit.

Note that Scrutiny can help with your migration by telling you about links to internal pages which are http and pages which contain 'mixed' or insecure content (ie images, style sheets and js files which are http).

Here's the story as reported by The Register.

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/07/03/google_chrome_http/

Chrome sends old Macs on permanent Safari

Chrome sends old Macs on permanent Safari

It's a poor show when software updates itself to a version that won't run on your computer.

Mavericks has certainly been around for a while now, but if you love the more skeuomorphic experience then you won't be able to launch Chrome after the update.

Firefox is still an option, as well as of course Safari.

Full story on the Register.

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/06/26/chrome_mac_mavericks/

Apple launches Keyboard Service Program

Apple launches keyboard service program

The butterfly keyboard's feel has divided users and there have been reports of problems.

Apple have announced a service programme to replace keys or the keyboard on certain Macbooks and Macbook Pros, and make refunds to people who have already paid for such repairs.

More details of the affected models and service programme at idownloadblog.com

www.idownloadblog.com/2018/06/22/keyboard-service-program-macbook

Dark Mode on your Mac

Dark Mode on your Mac

One of the most exciting features of MacOS Mojave is the dark mode. Apple have already been dabbling with this - since Yosemite it's been possible to switch certain things like the menu bar and dock to a darker colour.

I'll be surprised if the majority of people who've found and switched that on haven't left it on permanently. Dark mode goes further, transporting window title bars and sidebars to the dark side.

It's really nice, although it is a little jarring when certain apps display their content with a white background. At this early stage, Textedit is still opening documents with a white background, although I expect that to change. Surprisingly, third party apps open with their window borders and sidebars in 'light mode'. I'd have expected all standard windows to be drawn dark when dark mode is in use rather than being something that developers have to enable. And of course many web pages will be displaying with a white background, although I hear that Safari's reader view sorts this out.

Another attractive feature of 10.14 is the dynamic desktop; a desktop that changes throughout the day. It's really neat, but you soon discover that dynamic desktop and and dark mode don't play together. If you switch on dark mode, you get a dark static desktop picture. If you want a dynamic desktop, you get light mode. I know I'm not the only person scratching my head over this because I found active forum threads when I went searching for answers. Maybe the solution is an enhancement to MacOS's Night Shift, where dynamic desktops run and the mode shifts from light to dark at sunset. Maybe the shift from light to dark is too much of a step for the system to automatically make while you're in the middle of writing a document. Maybe third party developers will experiment with these things. We'll see.

In the mean time, here's idownloadblog's take on dark mode.

www.idownloadblog.com/2018/06/13/mac-dark-mode-tutorial

What will the Mac be like in 2020?

What will the Mac be like in 2020?

You may have recently seen the gorgeous hunk of man that is Craig Federighi announce in no uncertain terms that the Mac and iOS were definitely not to merge. Which seemed a little like protesting too much as he then went on to explain how UIKit would be incorporated into the MacOS at some point.

I'm not clear about whether Mac owners will simply be able to go to the iOS app store and download and run anything they like within some kind of emulator, or whether developers will have to build an iOS version and a Mac version of their app from common code.

Bearing in mind that Apple's big innovations have been happening in iOS, only included in the MacOS years later if we're lucky, the cynic in me wonders whether this is simply an easy way for Apple to 'catch up a bit' and get apps like Home published for Mac with minimal effort. To be less cynical, they're probably finally conceding that it's a PITA to have to build and maintain separate apps for the two platforms. And making life easier for themselves as well as 3rd-party developers.

Jason Snell at Macworld takes a considered look at what Craig has had to say, and speculates about what the Mac will look like in two years' time.

www.macworld.com/article/3279325/os-x/what-will-the-mac-be-like-in-2020.html

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