Make Your iMac Do the Tango

Author: Sven Rafferty
Wednesday, November 16, 2011

XtremeMac-Tango-Bar.jpeg

The iMac is a pretty ingenious computer and I’m always pleasantly surprised how good the speakers sound for such a small footprint for them to live in. But truth is, if you want to be rockin’ the iTunes or pumping the Steam, then you need real speakers. XtremeMac agrees and yet, keeps it small and complimentary to the iMac with its new Tango Bar. The bar sits right under your iMac or Apple Cinema Screen and plugs into an available USB port. Snug tight in this bar are six speakers configured with dual dome tweeters and midrange/bass drivers. Oh yea, the passive radiator takes care of those 808 lows, too. And if you caught that USB mention, then you’ll understand that this baby will also work on any laptop or PC as well. Drop in the fact it also comes with a line-in jack and this baby pretty much can be used on any audio device. Too loud? Jack into the headphone port, then. :)

Price, availability, and deets in the press release.

 

View Press Release »

Oakdale, MN – November 16, 2011 – XtremeMac, a leading designer and manufacturer of accessories and audio solutions for Apple devices, is excited to announce the U.S. availability of the Tango™ Bar.  The powerful 10 watt amplified USB powered sound bar features a sleek and stylish design while delivering high quality sound.

 

The Tango™ Bar enhances audio from any computer (Mac® and Windows® compatible) through its cutting edge technology that delivers twice the output of most traditional USB speakers. The six speaker configuration with dual dome tweeters, midrange/bass drivers and passive radiators provides for best in class audio.  The Tango™ Bar sports a clean and modern design featuring a simple plug and play USB connection, and an amber backlit volume control that provides added style and functionality.

 

The slim Tango™ Bar is built to fit perfectly beneath an iMac® or Apple® Cinema Display.  The single USB connection for both power and audio cleans up any workstation area by reducing cord clutter.  Additional connections include a headphone output, line-in jack and optional sub-out port for an additional subwoofer.

 

The Tango™ Bar is available now in the US for $99.99 at Apple.com, Amazon.com and XtremeMac.com.

 

For more information on the Tango™ Bar and XtremeMac’s entire line of award winning products, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

About XtremeMac:

Celebrating its 10 year anniversary, XtremeMac is a portfolio brand of Imation Corp. (NYSE:IMN).  Founded in 2001, the same year Apple introduced the first iPod™, XtremeMac provides innovative solutions to protect, power and play Apple devices. The brand’s award winning cases, speaker docks and charging solutions incorporate leading edge design and advanced technology to enhance customer experience with Apple products. Additional information can be found at XtremeMac.com, Facebook/XtremeMac and Twitter/XtremeMac.

 

XtremeMac, Tango and the “X” logo, are trademarks of Imation Corp. iPod, Mac, iMac, and Apple are rtrademarks of Apple Inc, registered in the U.S. and other countries.  Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the US and other countries.

 



Tuesday, November 15, 2011

RSS Ticker for Google Reader

I don’t get why there is not a wide selection of RSS tickers for the Mac like one can easily find for Windows. What is available ranges from horrible to alright. RSS Ticker for Google Reader sits in the latter position. Its strengths are Google Reader intigration, quick display of feeds, direct tie-in with Google Reader for viewing all your feeds, and the ability to place the ticker on a wide screen.

It fails to give you control of your feeds subjecting you with old read messages for at least 24 hours cluttering up your news feed with archiac news. This drowns out the new posts and if you’re like me, you’ll miss the refreshed entries due to the numerous other feeds clogging up the ticker with stale items. Why is it not a standard to hide read posts? This seems idiotic to me. Additionally, the ticker likes to “blink out” every once in a while and present itself empty until the feed repopulates. Nice, more useless time wasting as I await something new to appear.

Other disappointments lie in the tiny favicons, lack of site name for each post, and non-intuitive controls. I stumbled over the procedure for closing the drop-down draw by accident after closing the entire application and reopening it for the first few minutes of use. Dude, I’m an IT guy and if it took me that long to figure it out, you’ve got a serious UI flaw.

Which leads me to one of my grandest complaints. There is zero support for this application. If you click the support link in the App Store, you are greeted with an icon in the middle of the page. Oooh, if I click it, it opens the website? Nice indicator on that graphic. Once there, nothing else is clickable like the contents bar one would figure would lead you to different sections. But wait, it gets better. While you “navigate” this site, you find yourself scratching your head. There is NO mention of RSS Ticker for Google Reader. It’s just games – kiddie games – that’s it. Forget about finding a support link or email address. Remember, nothig is clickable.

I feel this could be the ticker for Mac user if the mysterious author could accept input and correct a few minor issues. Give me new posts only and an easy way to close that drawer and I’m happy. Very happy.



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

fetch2335.jpg

One of the most popular file transfer clients for the Mac has been updated. Fetch now allows user to find a specific file on a remote server and work specifically with it without the need to stumble over other unneeded files. Also new to original Mac file transfer app is an overall upload progress indicator to give you a better idea when all those files will be done.

Give Fetch a try for 15-days free and then purchase it for $29 or $10 if you are upgrading.

View Press Release »

Etna, NH (October 24, 2011) – Fetch Softworks announces the latest release of Fetch, the original Mac file transfer app. With new features designed to provide greater control over the user’s file transfer tasks, this release continues the Fetch tradition of steady, relentless improvement.

Fetch now offers users better control over files. A simple but very useful way Fetch does this is by preserving the modification dates of uploaded files, making it easier to tell when a file on a server matches the local copy. Further, Fetch’s new Find field enables users to zero in on just the files they are working with.

Fetch also helps users better monitor the progress of file transfers. While previous versions reported the transfer progress of each individual file, Fetch now displays the progress of the overall transfer, making it easier to see when the entire operation will be complete.

Finally, Fetch now makes it easier to use Fetch on multiple computers without having to manually update shortcuts on each one. Fetch introduces support for syncing Fetch shortcuts using Dropbox, enabling individuals and groups to access an up-to-date collection of shortcuts no matter which Mac they use.

Fetch 5.7 is compatible with Intel Macs running Mac OS X 10.5 or later, including Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, and can be downloaded from http://fetchsoftworks.com or from the Mac App Store.

Fetch is free to try for 15 days, and a single-user license is $29. Upgrades are free for Fetch 5.5 and Fetch 5.6 users and customers who purchased Fetch after January 28, 2009; otherwise, upgrades are $10. Free licenses and upgrades are available for educational and charitable use.

About Fetch Softworks:
Developer of Fetch, the original Mac file transfer client, Fetch Softworks has been helping customers transfer videos and other files since 2001. For more information, visit http://fetchsoftworks.com.

Trademarks are the property of their respective owners.



Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sync Digital Pictureframes, MemoryCards and USB MemorySticks with your Mac

Berlin based nova media today announced the immediate availability of FrameLoader in the Mac App Store. FrameLoader synchronises photos, music and movie files on a Mac with digital pictureframes, SD cards and USB memory sticks.

FrameLoader will convert pictures, music and videos automatically into a format which can be displayed by the selected digital Pictureframe. To display media files on a TV or other devices, FrameLoader can synchronise media files with an SD card and USB memory stick.

“Up to now it has been a pain in the neck to copy and convert files every time you want to see them on a digital pictureframe. Using FrameLoader, you simply attach the frame to your Mac and let the software do the rest.”, states Jan Fuellemann, PR spokesperson at nova media.

To select the media contents, FrameLoader displays a list of iPhoto albums and iTunes playlists. They can conviniently be checked or unchecked to be synced. Custom media files can be dragged and dropped into FrameLoader and selected accordingly. A click of the sync button starts the synchronisation process and an activity monitor displays the details of the sychronisation process.

Availability:

FrameLoader is available today at the Mac App Store for US-$ 11.99 (Euro 9.99). The software requires an Intel Macintosh computer running Mac OS X 10.6.6 or higher. A demoversion of FrameLoader is available at nova media’s website åhttp://www.novamedia.de
.



Thursday, February 17, 2011

NFC, Near-Field Communication, Pay-by-Phone,Visa,Master Card,Credit Card

NFC is the new big thing in mobile. No, I’m not referring to the National Football Conference of the NFL here in the States, but rather Near-field Communication. Much like RFID – another acronym for Radio Frequency Identification – NFC will allow devices to pass information to a near-by reader.

Google already employs this in its mobile operating system Android, as does Nokia in a handful of its handsets (see image). The most commonly used technology used for NFC is in fact that other lesser-known acronym, RFID. Found in key fobs for “Pay Pass” as well as Google phones to your passport, RFID has become the standard hardware for NFC. While many have become concerned with RFIDs security vulnerabilities, manufacturers have taken to it to like crack due to its affordability and its it-just-works aspect. While reports have already floated around between job offers at Apple and rumors of NFC devices being tested in the field by the iCompany, what Apple will choose is not clear.

One thing is clear, however: NFC is the next big thing.

With its heavy use in social media from services such as Google’s Lattitude, FaceBook’s Places, to foursquare and Gowalla, all which basically are employing NFC, we have seen just how popular this technology is already in its infancy.

A start-up based in Southern California wants to be the first to take shopping to the fullest with your iPhone and other devices to pay for things like groceries, shoes, coffee, and lumber. MobilePayUSA is currently working with major merchants and financial institutions in making payment with your phone a reality. MobilePayUSA is an immediate, simple, low-cost and viable alternative to NFC sidelining security concerns and costly equipment for the merchant. I spoke to founder and CEO Randy Smith about his company’s visions and use of NFC last fall, and he hopes to eliminate plastic (credit cards) and paper (receipts) with MobilePayUSA. Smith told me that the idea is that no one really forgets their phone anymore, but wallets still seem to sometimes not find their way into peoples’ pockets. With MobilePayUSA on your phone, you won’t have to worry about having your wallet, credit card, check book, or cash. As an added bonus, Smith said that reward cards we all love to lose will be built into the application and instantly give you discounts at the register and track your points for you with every purchase. Smith hopes to have a public beta available soon.

iphone 5 MobilePayUSA

MobilePayUSA may beat Apple to the punch with its application, but Apple doesn’t seem to want to just go after the eWallet feature. No, like anything Apple, it wants to be the only one doing what it’s doing. It wants to go far beyond “There’s an app for that.” Think car security. Think home security. Think computer security. Think whereever you need a key – or password – and you’ll begin to understand just how huge NFC can really be.

Take a look at the tech landscape and you’ll find GM’s onStar app for nearly every 2011 model in iTunes. Unlock and lock doors with a push of a button. Start your vehicle with a push of a button. Lock and unlock your front door with one of the many wireless dead bolt locks available today. Turn on or off your home lights. All from your iPhone. But the trick is, you need to actively do something with your device.

Apple will remove that from the equation and, much like how keyless entry works on a Mercedes with its fob, you could simply walk up to your front door and open it…as long as your iPhone is on your person. Or go into the garage and open your car door and simply push the Start button to power up the engine. (I can say power up now since hybrid and electric vehicles are more common. :) )

This is would make the iPhone 5 the reason to ignore Droids and Windows 7 phones and all the others.

It’s not hard to see this technology coming to vehicles soon, either. Remember, Apple and Volkswagen openly admitted a few years ago that it was working closely on iPod integration and rumors even had an iCar in development before the global economical crash. It would be easy to bring auto-locks and authorize vehicle operations with an iPhone 5 to the masses with VWs bread-and-butter Jetta and Golfs. Since VW owns Audi, Porsche, and Bentley, upscale customers would be able to brag to their friends how their phone can start the car. Heck, how cool would it be to sit in a Lambo and just drive off without every grabbing for a key?

I could see GM jumping on board as well due to its onStar app already being in use. It wouldn’t take much for GM to integrate NFC with onStar. Between GM and VW, you would have 2/3 of the most sold vehicles in the world NFC ready for the iPhone 5.

Boy, wouldn’t that make Steve Jobs smile?



Thursday, January 6, 2011
Office 2011 for Macintosh: The Missing Manual

Office 2011 for Mac is easy to use, but to unleash its full power, you need to go beyond the basics. Fortunately, you’ll find crystal-clear explanations on the features you use most—and plenty of power-user tips when you’re ready for more—in Office 2011 for Mac: The Missing Manual (O’Reilly Media, $34.99 USD).

“Ask a Mac user what they want from Microsoft Office and before long they get around to: 1) Make Office more Mac-like, and 2) Give Office for Mac the same features as the Windows version. Office 2011 for Mac doesn’t completely resolve those issues, but it’s certainly a welcome improvement,” notes expert author Chris Grover. “And you’ll find all the Office features, new and old, covered in Office 2011 for Mac: The Missing Manual.”

This entertaining guide not only gets you started with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and the new Outlook for Mac, it also reveals useful lots of things you didn’t know the software could do. You’ll learn how to:

Take advantage of new tools. Navigate with the Ribbon, use SmartArt graphics, and work online with Office Web Apps.
Create professional-looking documents. Use Word to craft beautiful reports, newsletters, brochures, and posters.
Crunch numbers with ease. Assemble data, make calculations, and summarize the results with Excel.
Stay organized. Set up Outlook to track your email, contacts, appointments, and tasks.
Make eye-catching presentations. Build PowerPoint slideshows with video and audio clips, animations, and other features.
Use the programs together. Discover how to be more productive and creative by drawing directly in Word documents, adding spreadsheets to your slides, and more.



Nag Leaps from the iPhone to the Mac

Author: Sven Rafferty
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Nag Mac App Store

Electric Pocket’s popular Nag app, which you’ll recall bugs iPhone users in 5, 10, 15, 30 minutes, in an hour or at the top of the hour with the touch of a button, has been released today for Mac. We like to think this super-simple timer can put an end to late meetings, burned dinners and forgotten phone calls. From what we’ve heard, all those who have used it on their iPhone love how simple and useful Nag is.

A single button press sets a nagging alarm that will jog your memory over and over – you can use Nag for TV shows reminders, cooking, phone calls, collecting the kids – whatever you need to make sure you remember.

Nag’s controls let you press a single button to set an alarm at the top of the hour, or at a set time away, such as in 5 minutes, or an hour from now. If you want to fine-tune the alarm time, then simply press the buttons again to add more minutes to the time.

Here’s the link for more info: http://electricpocket.com/mac/. The app is selling for $.99.



Monday, December 6, 2010
ode 42 Software Releases CrashPlan+, Version 3.0 for Windows, Mac, Linux

Code 42 Software Inc., developers of CrashPlan and CrashPlan PRO, award-winning backup software for home and business, today announced the release of CrashPlan+, Version 3.0. In addition, the company announced new pricing for CrashPlan+ which now includes CrashPlan Central, an online backup destination.

CrashPlan+, Version 3.0 features easy-yet-powerful multiple backup sets, allowing users to specify which files go to which locations and with what settings. Consumers are now able to mix and match destinations with different backup settings to fit even the most complex backup scenarios. Additional enhancements to CrashPlan+ include: flexible scheduling of the dates and times that backups occur, recognition of new computers and devices, automatic subscription renewal and the ability to scan and verify the files in your backup files selection (or in your backup sets) on demand.

“The most common request we hear from CrashPlan users has been the ability to have multiple backup configurations for different destinations. Our new Backup Sets feature delivers that, and more,” said Matthew Dornquast, founder and CEO of Code 42 Software. “Because we protect people’s data, we’ve spent a lot of time testing these new capabilities to ensure that they’re rock solid and easy to use. We believe CrashPlan version 3.0 is the most powerful, yet easy to use, backup system available.”

In addition to the new software features of CrashPlan+ version 3.0, the company also rolled out new affordable pricing plans which include all of the expanded features of CrashPlan+ and online backup to CrashPlan Central, a secure, online backup destination. With the new pricing structure, consumers can chose from one of three packages for CrashPlan+:

· CrashPlan+ 10GB – $24.99/year – All of the expanded features of CrashPlan+ and the option to store up to 10 GB of data from one computer on CrashPlan Central.
· CrashPlan+ Unlimited – $49.99/year – All of the expanded features of CrashPlan+ and the option to store unlimited data from one computer on CrashPlan Central.
· CrashPlan+ Family Unlimited – $119.99/year – All of the expanded features of CrashPlan+ and the option to store unlimited data from every computer within a household on CrashPlan Central.

CrashPlan is comprehensive backup software for Windows, Mac, Linux (and Solaris) users, which allows automatic back up of any computer to hard disks, other computers on a local network, and the optional CrashPlan Central online backup facility. With CrashPlan’s unique social backup feature, users can back up to computers belonging to friends and family (and vice versa). CrashPlan’s wide compatibility, flexibility and security set it apart from other backup providers, delivering unrivaled protection against the unexpected. CrashPlan’s basic software (without online backup) is free for non-business use. Expanded features are available on CrashPlan+ which comes standard with all three new pricing options.

CrashPlan+ version 3.0 and CrashPlan version 3.0 will be delivered as an automatic upgrade to current users. First-time users can download and try CrashPlan+ for free for 30 days at: www.crashplan.com/consumer/download.html. To learn more about CrashPlan, please visit www.crashplan.com.



Thursday, November 4, 2010
LaCie Brings USB 3.0 Speed to the Mac World

LaCie announced today a major breakthrough, introducing industry-leading performance to Mac users with the availability of a USB 3.0 driver for Mac OS®. The driver brings the fast speeds of LaCie’s USB 3.0 hard drives to Mac computers and laptops – delivering transfer rates that are up to two times faster than FireWire 800!

By downloading LaCie’s USB 3.0 driver for Mac, and using it in conjunction with LaCie’s USB 3.0 expansion cards, Mac users can easily experience USB 3.0 speeds. Simply check your compatibility with USB 3.0, install the peripherals, and download the driver.

“LaCie is excited to bring full USB 3.0 compatibility to our Mac customers,” said Marketing Director Minh Lê. “This milestone demonstrates LaCie’s industry leadership and longtime commitment to delivering the best performance possible to our valued Mac users.”

LaCie USB 3.0 product offerings now include:
-LaCie 2big USB 3.0
-LaCie d2 USB 3.0
-LaCie Minimus
-LaCie Rugged USB 3.0
-LaCie Rikiki USB 3.0
-LaCie USB 3.0 PCI Express Card
-LaCie USB 3.0 ExpressCard/34

If you already have one of LaCie’s USB 3.0 products and a LaCie expansion card, visit www.lacie.com/usb3mac to download the driver, get more information, or check your Mac’s compatibility.

*Maximum drive speed achieved with a 2big USB 3.0 in RAID 0 using Blackmagic Disk Speed Test.



Quicken2011Premier

Intuit today releases it’s next version of Quicken for Windows in the name of Quicken 2011. I virtually sat down with Intuit’s Product Manager Eddy Wu earlier this week as he showed off some of the new features in Quicken 2011. Wu told me that Intuit wished to bring the easy to use interface of Mint.com to Quicken 2011. While, “Quicken has been known for it’s flexibility and comprehensiveness,” Wu told SvenOnTech, “It has become too complicated,” completing his thought. With the recent acquisition of Mint, Intuit was able to work closely with the Mint interface (UI) team to bring the simplicity of the successful web site to Quicken 2011. Together, Wu went on, the best of both worlds would be realized for the new version of the successful financial software. The overall architecture was looked at and it was designed with a more modern experience found on such programs as Apple’s popular iTunes. The rigid iced columns of previous versions of Quicken are now configurable from sizing to adding or removing columns all together. For example, if you no longer write and print checks, you can simply right-click on the Check and Check Number column and un-check it from the list and – poof! – they are gone. New to the Windows version are more institutions for download with over 12,000. If your bank isn’t listed here folks, it may have gone under. ;) Another feature borrowed from Mint is auto-categorization. So when you make a purchase at Fry’s Electronics, Quicken 2011 will automatically assign it to Computer and Electronics. If you wish to fine tune it, you can it will remember your custom choice.

Something Intuit added that did not come from Mint is a new “stay on top of monthly bills” feature. The feature allows you to create reminders to Quicken 2011 for such reoccurring costs as cable, utilities, rent, and so forth. This will allow you to see a future trends graph giving you an indication how much money you will have, or need, in the coming months.

For the Mac side, Intuit will be releasing its most substantial upgrade release in the history of Quicken for either Mac or WIndows. Wu told me that this was Intuits way of showing Mac users that Intuit is committed to the Mac platform and its users. Back by demand is the ability to write checks with a typical check interface, Tax Schedules, improvements to reports such as Cash Flow, as well as a Spending Over Time Report. Quicken Essentials for Mac increases the power of Investment Performance with the ability to manually add stocks if your institution is not listed. This allows you to add your investments and then for Quicken to automatically update its value.

Intuits goal for Quicken Essentials for Mac is to bring the ease and power of Mint.com to the Mac platform and not release something complex and intimidating. Wu believes 1.5 will accomplish this as well as future releases.