The ALO Island is a USB-powered digital audio converter/headphone amplifier, and it's a honey! Functionally, it's not so different than many of the other USB digital converter/amps I've covered on this blog, but it's a bit bigger. The others are about the size of a thumbdrive; the Island is a 1.25x1.25x3.25-inch aluminum "brick," but it's still small enough to be considered a portable device. It handles low- and high-resolution files, up to 192kHz/24-bit. The Island sells for $299 in the US direct from the ALO Web site, … Read more
You'd probably like to know if it's actually useful in practical day-by-day applications or if it's merely a gimmick. Even if it is useful, are these devices worth the extra cost -- at $299 with a two-year contract for the Note 3, and $550 for the Wi-Fi Note 10.1 (Apple's Wi-Fi iPad Air costs $500)?
After using them both for a month, I think that they are … Read more
The idea of having lock screen notifications from apps you use on your Mac sounds good in theory. Then, the first time you come back to your Mac and find a long list of notifications on your lock screen, notifications you either don't want others to see or have already viewed on another device, it can be a bit annoying.
You can change the default setting of pushing alerts to your lock screen on an app-by-app basis.
In order to disable the intrusive notifications, you'll need to launch System Preferences and select the Notifications option. Alternatively, you can … Read more
Despite its rather lofty name, the ZTE Majesty is a simple, entry-level prepaid handset available on Straight Talk and Net 10 wireless. Available for $169.99 online and at Walmart retail stores, the device runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and is 3G-enabled.
The Majesty is equipped with a 4.5-inch capacitive touchscreen with a 480x854-pixel resolution. So while you won't be watching the sharpest HD videos on it anytime soon, you can still view YouTube videos without a hitch.
On the back you'll find a 5-megapixel camera for all your informal photo opportunities, and on the front … Read more
When Apple first introduced the native emoji keyboard in iOS 5, it had neglected to bring the same user-friendly shortcut to OS X. Sure, there were ways to get to the emoji keyboard and enter special characters, but it wasn't a button (or in this case, a keyboard shortcut away).
With OS X Mavericks, Apple has accounted for this oversight and given Mac users running the latest operating system a shortcut to bring up an emoji board, primed for picking.
The tip comes from Steve Streza via a tweet:
Mavericks pro tip: Press Command-Control-Space to bring up the new ( … Read more
Free MP4 Player is a fine video player, but it could do without all of the programs that come attached to the install. It doesn't make up for them with nifty features, either. However, if you just need a player that plays MP4 files (and no others), it will get the job done.
During the installation, this program tries to install four different add-on programs. If you don't decline them, they can take over your browser, home page, and many more parts of your computer. The program, itself, sports a nice all-black layout that barely includes any buttons … Read more
Free AVI to MOV converter isn't as fast or dynamic as other converters, but it gets the job done. It sports a helpful layout that's easy to figure out. If you don't care about other video formats and can afford to wait a bit longer for your video to convert, this converter will provide you with admirable performance and no watermarks -- which is neat for a free program.
Since this program only converts AVI files to MOV format, it won't change them back or to any other formats, so don't expect a universal converter. … Read more
On Tuesday, Apple released the latest version of their desktop operating system, OS X 10.9 Mavericks. Available as a free download via the App Store, OS X Mavericks is supposed to bring power and performance improvements, as well as some new features, including the new Maps app.
Creating an OS X USB installer from the App Store download hasn't been very straightforward in the past, and the old methods no longer work for OS X 10.9. However, there's a new Apple utility with Mavericks that makes it relatively simple, and thanks to MacForums member, tywebb13, we … Read more
Apple has always supported a rudimentary file flagging system in OS X called Labels, in which you could apply a colored label to items to group them. For instance, important files could all be labeled with the color and the word "Green," so you could easily identify them when perusing your folder hierarchies.
In addition to the color label, you could customize the label name to something like "Important Files" instead of simply "Green," and then use the system's searching and scripting capabilities to distinguish these files from others.
In the latest version … Read more
Free: Mac OS updates are typically a paid upgrade, but Apple has finally embraced the free distribution model, including a bunch of new app updates to boot.
Tabs and Tags: As users are now naturally used to browsing and managing the Web with tabbed interfaces, one is left to wonder why first-party developers never incorporated this into the native OS sooner. You can now browse your directories with similar Safari-like prowess. Mavericks also brings the ability to add tags to each file. Users can now label each file with a tag and color for quick indexed search.
Notifications: You … Read more