SoundByte 338 – April 2023

ChristopherNews, SoundByte

Welcome to SoundByte! In this issue:

Annual General Meeting

Please join us online this Tuesday, April 11 at 7:45 pm for our Annual General Meeting.

This will be a members-only meeting. As many members as possible must attend as we will be electing a new committee. There is much to discuss about the year ahead and what it should look like. Take part and help us set LMUG’s future direction! We will start the evening with our usual NewsByte presentation.

Members will have received a Zoom link for the AGM in an email from LMUG on March 27. Check your inboxes! Follow the London 😜 Mac User Group on…Mastodon🐘! If you are not familiar with Mastodon, have a look at TidBit’s explainer here.

We look forward to seeing you all there.

You get an update and you get an update and you…

Ahead of their WWDC conference in June, Apple has updated every device this month, from the Watch to the Mac. Many of the updates are under the hood. One of the biggest upgrades is in Safari, which implements many new Web standards. For me, one thing I noticed is an upgrade to the Home architecture, which should make our HomeKit devices work faster. There are also more shortcuts and languages supported. But the main visible feature across devices is increased emoji support – an extra 2️⃣1️⃣. You can read more details on TidBits.

If you have an iPhone with an Apple Music subscription (iPhone only at present), you can also now download the Apple Classical App. This re-orders music from singer/song based to composer based. The app contains classical music rather than pop music.

Apple Classical – Chamber Music genre

The app is great, but I felt a little discomfort at the apparent wall of convention around ‘classical music’ composers. The app presents a very…European visage. Yes, I did search for Jazz, and you can indeed find Gershwin and of course Shostakovich’s Jazz suite. But you won’t find Jazz as a genre. The few classical/jazz crossovers hint at the reality of how musical styles blend, but Apple Classical doesn’t go much further. Or does it? Maybe the walls have more holes if you look for them. Apparently Japanese traditional music is classical music too. I also found classical West African music. There is clearly a lot of curation happening so perhaps this is early days towards a more global view of classical musical styles and composers, including America’s own.

Looking now at security, it’s a new normal now, to stay aware of new malware and threats on the Mac. This is a good reason to keep your devices prepared with the latest security updates. One of the latest malware tries to steal your Mac login password (😤). Read about it on Apple Insider and how a crime ring was recently cracked on the BBC here. Sadly, bad news on AirTags continues. They continue to be a target for stalkers but it seems Apple’s controls are starting to have an effect, read more, also on the BBC.

Finally a quite unusual easter 🥚 has been found in the Mac OS screensavers. With some use of the terminal, you can bring up a slightly strange screensaver created by someone presumably with money on their mind. If you would prefer an alternative that is slightly more ethereal try these.

Outlook now free on the Mac

Microsoft Outlook has been made free on the Mac. It does contain Ads however which might put you off. But there could be a good reason to have Outlook. For example you might receive an Outlook .msg in a forwarded email. On my iPad I needed to install an ‘app for that‘ to read it. Other than that it is apparently a highly capable email and calendaring tool that could smooth collaboration with Windows users. Read about the new free version on Tidbits here or download it from the App Store.

More thoughts on AI

A month is a long time in technology and the shock developments in AI last month has caused some reaction. Will it take our jobs? Well, we have gone from the abacus to computers and mobiles and we’re still here, but doing different jobs, so maybe or maybe not? Is it dangerous? Some leading thinkers are clearly concerned and some concerned religious leaders are thinking about the implications.

In the meantime, the money-making potential has been quickly recognised. See more on that from the Verge below:

What about Apple? Home brew style integrations are on-going without anything being announced by Apple. A new shortcut has been created to easily integrate OpenAI’s Chat GPT with Apple devices. Read more on Mac Stories. For the rest of us, staying with the less sophisticated Siri, have a look below at the viral video of it doing, literally what it was asked to do…

Apple Watch at 6 months

The top-tier Apple Watch Ultra has passed the 6-month point since release. Have a look below at this all disciplines review from Brian Tong.

Can Apple make a Mac Pro?

It is more than a prediction that Apple will be releasing a new Mac Pro to replace the current Intel version this year. The new version will complete the transition of the Mac from Intel to Apple Silicon processors. But there’s an elephant in the room that is causing a lot of doubt that Apple can pull it off. Neural engines and image signal processors have sped up music, video and image editing to impressive levels without needing a Mac Pro. For many professionals the Mac Studio is the perfect Mac. Even the Mac mini has enough power for many and now at a further discount on Amazon. But there is one area where the Mac is still far behind: 3D graphics.

The 3D artist for 9to5 Mac has just switched to PC for his editing and it is well known that the fastest Nvidia graphics cards far out-rank those built into Apple’s M processors. The problem is how much power you can fit on the single small Apple Silicon chips vs the large power hungry Nvidia cards. Have a look at the performance gap that Apple has to close to best the most powerful PCs below:

Do you need Wifi hotspots anymore?

Do you remember WiFi dongles? Do you have one or is a iPhone Personal Hotspot enough for you? Netgear has upgraded the old 3G/4G dongles with a new 5G version with fast WiFi that is so expensive it must be for some specialised operations. Which though? Read about it on Tech Radar.

Remember Tetris?

If like me you had a GameBoy when younger, you will fondly remember Tetris. If you were interested in the story of this game, it has now been dramatised by Apple as a TV movie, read about it on 9to5 Mac. If you don’t have Apple TV but you’re still interested, the BBC made a documentary which someone has placed on Youtube.

Since we’re ending again on a computer history session, let’s come back to the Maaaaa…Lisa. Those knowing their history will know that the Mac was Plan B (or C if you consider the Apple III). The Lisa was Apple’s first attempt at a computer with a full graphical interface and it was an expensive sophisticated flop. But how good was it? Have look below at this rare example taken through its paces:

Offers for Members

Find below the special offers available to our paying members. Access these great discounts from the discounts page in the member’s section of the LMUG website.

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  • Que Publishing Products: 35-45% Discount
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  • TechTool Pro: 50% Discount
  • TidBITS Content Network for Apple professionals: Get a free month of tips and articles!