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by Tom Nelson

Today Apple released OS X Yosemite Preview 8 to the developer community, with the public beta of Yosemite expected to be updated later today to version 3.

OSXYosemitePublicBeta3

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Developers, and those participating in the public beta program, will find the updates available via the Mac App Store, under the Updates tab. Public beta participants may not see the update right away as Apple slowly rolls out the newest version.

Apple doesn’t provide a release note to the public beta testers, and the developer release note is under NDA, but I suspect we’ll see publications pointing out what’s new and what’s still not working very soon.

Read more on About: Macs.

by Tom Nelson

It’s not unusual to see the refurb store seem a little empty this time of year. School is back in session and many people have passed through the store, picking up deals on their back-to-school computing needs.

But even with the seasonal low stock condition, the refurb store is still able to provide pleasant surprises, such as the appearance this week of a 2014 model of the MacBook Air. This is its first appearance in the store, and we’re sure it won’t be the last.

AppleRefurb

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Deals of the Week

Our deals of the week include the 2014 11.6-inch MacBook Air, which is being offered for $130 off the current retail price. Our other deal this week is a 2012 15-inch MacBook Pro with a 500 GB hard drive.

Read more on About: Macs.

by Tom Nelson

Weather Dock from Voros Innovation puts current local weather conditions in your Mac’s dock, where a quick look can confirm why you have the AC on high or the fireplace stocked and burning brightly.

WeatherDock

Image courtesy of Voros Innovation

Weather Dock is one of those simple apps that does the things it needs to do and does them well. While it may not have a lot of features, it can tell you the local weather, including wind speed, wind direction, current conditions (cloudy, sunny, foggy, raining), dew point, sunrise and sunset times, and rainfall amount.

Read more on About: Macs.

by Tom Nelson

Weekly Mac news roundup for the week of September 12, 2014.

AppleWatchiPhone6

Image courtesy of Apple

iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Watch, Apple Pay, iCloud price cut, and new processors from Intel. Oh, and did the iPhone 6 reveal tell us anything about a new iPad later this year?

Read more on About: Macs.

by Tom Nelson

At the Intel Developer Forum 2014, Intel gave a sneak peek at the next phase in its processor roadmap, Skylake. Skylake will be based on the same 14 nm process now used in the Broadwell family of processors.

Intel says that Skylake will be the “tock” to Broadwell’s “tick,” a reference to its two-step processor development scheme. The tick step occurs when Intel takes existing processor architecture and moves it to a smaller processing technology. Smaller scale technologies can yield faster performance, as well as lower power and heat.

haswellbroadwellcompare

Image courtesy of Intel

The tock part of the development cycle involves taking an existing processing technology, in this case the 14 nm process, and changing the processor’s microarchitecture to bring new features and speed. The successful tock development then becomes the platform for the next tick stage, hence Intel’s ongoing tick-tock processor development system.

Read more on About: Macs.

by Tom Nelson

Question: 

I’ve always used a third-party app on my PC to zip files before I send them off to friends, or upload them to my web site. How do I do this on my new Mac?

CompressMenu

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Answer:

There are a number of free and low-cost third-party compression apps available for the Mac. The Mac OS also comes with its own built-in compression system that can zip and unzip files. This built-in system is fairly basic, which is why so many third-party apps are also available. A quick look at the Mac App Store revealed over 50 apps for zipping and unzipping files.

Read more on About: Macs.

by Tom Nelson

We’ve gotten used to Apple media events, which are usually slick productions, with any bit of surprise coming when a demo goes awry. That’s one of the main reasons Apple always has multiple backups of products arrayed around the stage, ready to go should something break during a demo.

AppleWatchiPhone6

Image courtesy of Apple

Today’s media event was no different, except the item that broke was the Internet. (No, Apple didn’t have a spare Internet hanging around to use.) Seems Apple was so successful at marketing the event that many folks, myself included, reported trouble in streaming the live event. Luckily, even though the live stream was often interrupted, the blog feed from Apple remained active during the keynote, making it easy to piece together what was happening on stage.

I’ll view the event again in its entirety once Apple posts the keynote address on its site. In the meantime, the Apple web site and store have been updated with all of the information about the new iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Pay, and Apple Watch.

Read more on About: Macs.

by Tom Nelson

Bank Innovations is reporting that Apple’s NFC (Near Field Communication) based mobile payment system, which will be introduced alongside the iWatch and iPhone 6, will not use credit card information directly in the data exchange when users are making purchases.

iphone6

Image courtesy of Apple

Apple’s payment system will make use of new NFC capabilities reported to be included in the new iPhone 6 and iWatch, both of which are expected to be announced on September 9, 2014. NFC technology has been in use for a few years, for everything from product tracking and inventory management, to payment systems that allow you to tap or wave an NFC-equipped device in front of a payment terminal.

Read more on About: Macs.

by Tom Nelson

Stock this week in the Apple refurb store seems to be on par with last week’s findings, although the inventory has shuffled around a bit, with some of last week’s deals gone.

Mac minis remain well stocked, but although I would like to be able to recommend one as a deal of the week, none of the mini models have significant price reductions. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a Mac mini, there are plenty to choose from.

AppleRefurb

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Deals of the Week

Our deals of the week cover both MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models, with a small screen version of the Air coming in at $869, and two MacBook Pros, one with a Retina Display and one without.

Read more on About: Macs.

by Tom Nelson

Township from Playrix is a city-building simulator that allows you to control and manage the development of a small town into a large metropolis. If you’re thinking it sounds like another Sim City game, well, you’re not wrong. But Township has a few advantages over Sim City, not the least of which is that it’s free. You can also trade goods and services with friends who are managing their own towns.

Township

Image courtesy of Playrix

The simulation engine ties the success of your town, and its ability to grow, to basic economics, such as growing wheat, corn, and other crops so you can produce bread, food for farm animals, milk, eggs, etc. Production is limited by both available cash and population. Growing your population requires building housing for the residents, as well as town facilities and services, to ensure the overall well-being of the population. Almost all things in Township are interconnected; good planning, time, and patience are required to achieve success.

Read more on About: Macs.

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