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20
Sep

MacOS Sierra is finally out: Here’s how to download it now


Apple on Tuesday released MacOS Sierra to the public.

The latest, major version of Apple’s desktop operating system follows eight public betas and the golden master version that launched earlier this month for testers. It includes not only new features but also a new name that brings it in line with Apple’s other operating systems: iOS, WatchOS, and tvOS. Here’s everything you need to know about the update, including how to get it now.

  • Apple will release MacOS Sierra update for Macs on 20 September

MacOS Sierra: How do you download it?

You can download MacOS Sierra directly from the Mac App Store by following this link. Alternatively, Apple should begin offering it through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store starting 20 September.

MacOS Sierra: Which Macs are compatible?

You can download MacOS Sierra on any of the following machines:

  • MacBook from 2009 or later
  • iMac from 2009 or later
  • MacBook Air from 2010 or later
  • MacBook Pro from 2010 or later
  • Mac Mini from 2010 or later
  • Mac Pro from 2010 or later

Note: You need to be running at least OS X 10.7.5 (Lion) on your Mac. You must also have at least 8.8GB of free drive space.

MacOS Sierra: How much does it cost?

Like OS X Yosemite (10.10), OS X El Capitan (10.11), and other major releases before it, MacOS Sierra is being offered as a free update.

MacOS Sierra: Should you upgrade?

MacOS Sierra has technically been available since the public beta opened in early July, so there is a wealth of information available about the features it brings, including better integration with the iPhone and Apple Watch, an improved user experience, Siri to the Mac, new Continuity features, a “Universal Clipboard” option, more iCloud integration, deep learning algorithms in Photos, and more.

You can learn all about MacOS Sierra from here:

  • Apple MacOS Sierra: New features and everything else you need to know

MacOS Sierra: Do you need to backup your Mac?

Yes. Operating system upgrades aren’t trivial, and sometimes things can go wrong, meaning you could lose all your precious data, photos, and files. On a Mac, you can back up to Time Machine, a cloud backup service like Carbonite or Crashplan, or an external drive. Apple has a help center with more details including step-by-step guides on how to backup your Mac using either option.

Want to know more?

More information on MacOS Sierra can be found in our MacOS Sierra hub.

20
Sep

Sainsbury’s to close its digital entertainment business


First it was Tesco, now it’s Sainsbury’s. The British supermarket will soon be closing its streaming and digital storefront services, called Entertainment on Demand collectively. These covered eBooks, music, movies and TV shows, and digital magazines. In a note to customers, the company said it was a “difficult decision,” made “following a detailed review of our service.” In short, the numbers just didn’t add up. Or, looking forward, it wasn’t worth the investment to compete with more popular and aggressive services, such as Amazon, Apple and Netflix.

The movies and TV component has already been shuttered. It’s no longer possible to buy, rent or watch anything through the platform — an abrupt end, and one that could come as a shock to customers who were still clinging on. Sainsbury’s says it will refund purchased movies and TV shows, as well as active rentals. Whether that’s the full amount, or some kind of cut-price rate is unclear, however. The supermarket says it’ll contact customers who are eligible for refunds before October 15th.

The eBook store will be closing on October 1st, however access will be supported through the Sainsbury’s apps until November 30th. Both the site and the reading apps will close for good on December 1st. Bookworms will be able to transfer their library to Kobo, the Rakuten-owned company that sells both ebooks and ebook readers. It’s a familiar turn of events — Kobo has accommodated Tesco and Sony’s users in the past, building out its own customer base in the process. In truth, it’s one of the last companies that can truly compete with Amazon over the ebook market in the UK.

Sainsbury’s will be shutting its magazine and music services in a similar manner. Purchases will be blocked from October 1st, and app access will end on November 30th. On December 1st, everything will be shuttered for good. Brits can download their music libraries and then export them to whatever platform they wish, such as iTunes or Google Play Music. Magazines will be disappearing altogether, however — Sainsbury’s is promising some kind of refund, which again will be made clear to eligible customers by email.

Source: Sainsbury’s

20
Sep

MakerBot’s Replicator+ promises bigger, faster 3D prints


MakerBot has had its fair share of woes lately, but the company isn’t slowing down. It’s launching a whole bunch of products, including a printer, revamped software and new materials. The Replicator+ is available beginning today, for $1,999, which is cheaper than the company’s fifth-generation devices.

The Replicator+ can handle 25 percent larger build volume at a 30 percent faster print speed than prior models. It’s also 27 percent quieter than its predecessor. But those aren’t the only improvements.

The Replicator+ also has a new carrier that allows for more precise movements and finer prints. It will also have better print adhesion and breakaway supports to prevent you from destroying your product by tearing it off the print platform. The printer sports a flexible build plate as well. All Replicator+ units will ship with the company’s Smart Extruder+, a more reliable printing head.

MakerBot also launched a new software app called MakerBot Print, which will be available on desktop and mobile devices. Print is designed to improve workflows by getting rid of the need to convert CAD formats to the company’s native version, as well as removing the print prep step. It’ll also let you print from a single computer to multiple printers and queue jobs.

The new software supports more than 20 CAD formats so you can go from authoring to prepping and printing without having to keep converting. Print will also help you lay out parts on the build plate, optimize slicing for better output quality and also lets you watch your printer’s progress from your computer.

MakerBot also introduced a new material it’s calling Tough PLA, which is a stronger version of the existing PLA filament. With that, the company’s library of materials makes it possible for you to produce stronger, more realistic prints.

20
Sep

Hasselblad’s V1D camera concept is a modular dream


With Project Ara, Google learned how to build a modular smartphone, and then discovered that nobody actually wants one. Cameras are different, though — photographers love to accessorize with battery grips, handles, DSLR rigs and more. Hasselblad takes that a step farther with its customizable V1D medium-format concept. You start with a “black box” camera (with the form of a classic Hasselblad V) then add an electronic viewfinder, handles and controls wherever they suit you. The idea is just a dream for now, but Hasselblad is soliciting feedback here at Photokina and might actually build it one day.

Aaron Souppouris contributed to this report.

We’re live all week from Cologne, Germany, for Photokina 2016. Click here to catch up on all the news from the show.

20
Sep

WhatsApp adds user mentions so you can’t ignore group chats


Anyone who has been included in a group chat knows how annoying they can be. You end up muting the thread to keep the notifications from driving you crazy. Sometimes you do need to see a message and WhatsApp is adding a new tool that will make it a little more difficult to ignore group chats. The app now has user mentions so you can make sure whoever you need to see a message gets a notification about it.

Like Twitter, Instagram and other social apps, using the “@” symbol to tag someone will alert them. And yes, it will do so even if they’ve muted a conversation. While the change will make it more difficult to ignore the group chats you want no part of, it does seem useful. When you take into account that WhatsApp allows 256 users in a group, it can be difficult to keep up or making sure the right person sees your note. You can tag multiple users at once, too.

The new feature is available in Android and iOS versions of the app, but you won’t be able to use it on the web. WhatsApp has been keen on regularly adding new features for group chats. Back in June, a new tool debuted that allows users to quote the exact message they’re responding to in a group thread.

Via: Wired UK

Source: iTunes, Google Play

20
Sep

Vodafone now blocks unwanted calls before they reach you


Nuisance callers are having a tough time of it already this year, with Ofcom banning them from withholding numbers and helping to create a simple, text registration option for the UK’s leave-me-alone database. But Vodafone’s decided to go even further, today announcing that it has begun blocking unwanted calls at the network level, so they don’t even reach your phone in the first place.

Vodafone already had a system in place to save customers from the missed call scam, stopping them from returning a dropped call from a premium rate number that would charge silly amounts of money. This new barring technology can block these outright, as well as other types of fraudulent and nuisance calls like the dreaded PPI claim offer.

Said to be the first network-wide system of its kind in the UK, Vodafone admits the technology isn’t 100 percent effective. During testing, though, the carrier boasts it was able to block over 425,000 unwanted calls in just one day, apparently seeing a drop in the number of attempts over the course of a week as cold callers began to cotton on.

As to how the technology works exactly, Vodafone is keeping tight-lipped. According to the carrier, human curators of the system use a mixture of personal expertise and computer analysis to identify the calls that need blocking. Vodafone didn’t want to say any more than that, though, fearing that revealing the ins and outs could give those holding the phones enough info to develop workarounds.

Source: Vodafone

20
Sep

MakerBot’s Replicator Mini+ is designed for classrooms


More and more classrooms today are getting into 3D printing, and MakerBot wants to be there for them. It’s taken its Replicator Mini printer, which was a surprising hit in schools, and made it faster and quieter than before. The new Replicator Mini+ is available for $999 starting today, and promises to be 10 percent faster and a whopping 58 percent quieter than before.

MakerBot’s own reps acknowledged during its media event that the prior Mini was pretty loud, so the noise reduction should be welcome by teachers who no longer have to scream over whirring printers to be heard.

The company added a new Education vertical to its free Thingiverse ecosystem, which now lets teachers find lesson plans and models to work on in class. You’ll also be able to use the MakerBot Print software and mobile app. The latter has also been revamped, and now offers an easier guide to setting up your first run out of the box.

The Mini+’s current $999 price is only for an introductory period that ends Oct. 31, 2016, so you should probably pick one up soon if you’re already considering it. If you need more information before deciding, though, stay tuned for our hands on impressions.

20
Sep

Leica’s Sofort instant camera is better than it looks


A $300 Leica? An instant Leica? Strange things are afoot. We were a little taken aback by the announcement of the Sofort, a $300 instant camera from the storied German camera brand. It doesn’t look very… Leica-y, and instant cameras aren’t really known for the level of quality that the Leica dot typically signifies. Nonetheless, when the opportunity arose to spend some time with the Sofort at Photokina 2016, we jumped on it.

After roughly 30 minutes, I came away pretty impressed with the Sofort. It looks a lot better in person than the promotional images suggested, with a solid, albeit plasticky, build and decent handling. The lens, according to the representative I spoke to, is Leica made, and fixed at 60mm. That translates to about 34mm on a full-frame camera, which is a nice all-round focal length. Being a film camera, there’s no display for previewing images, meaning you need to peer through a viewfinder to frame your photos. From there, you can choose from numerous scene presets including selfie and macro modes. There’s also a mirror on the front to held you frame your face correctly.

But, and this is a huge but, the Sofort is, as far as I can tell, an (admittedly thorough) rebadge of the Fuji Instax mini 90. It takes the same film — although Leica will sell you its film for around $15 for 10 shots — has the same focal length and the same basic shape as Fuji’s camera. Leica says it’s reengineered the aperture system, lens and flash (it fires a little later than the mini 90), and the result is a superior product.

My experience with Instax has been at the low end of Fuji’s range, so perhaps it should come as no surprise that I was impressed by the quality of the shots I took with the Sofort. I used Leica’s monochrome film, and got a sharp image, with a lovely range of shades despite my subject wearing black and the background being mostly black.

I’m told that the mini 90 is a similarly strong performer, though, and that camera costs about $150 right now. So there’s really one question that you should ask yourself: Are you willing to pay an extra $150 for a Leica badge and a few tweaks?

​​​​​​​Steve Dent contributed to this report.

We’re live all week from Cologne, Germany, for Photokina 2016. Click here to catch up on all the news from the show.

20
Sep

Making Karma: Behind the scenes with GoPro’s camera drone


A typical GoPro camera launch is much how you’d imagine it to be: Extreme sport athletes perform for the press at a beautiful outdoorsy location. But where I am today is not a typical GoPro launch. That won’t happen for a few weeks yet, when CEO and Founder Nick Woodman will present the company’s much-anticipated Karma drone to the world.

Karma’s reveal will be the climax to one of GoPro’s most scrutinized business moves yet. After multiple delays and much investor speculation, it’s important that GoPro get this one right. Will Karma silence GoPro’s doubters, or give them more to talk about? Engadget spent some time behind the scenes during Karma’s crucial final stages to find out.

GoPro Karma Drone: Hands-on

That’s why I’m on a farm in northern California surrounded by dirt, tractors and a lone portapotty. A team of GoPro employees is working under gazebos, fiddling with wires poking out of stripped-down prototypes. Concentrated faces stare into laptops as they spew out technical readouts. Four or five quadcopters are flying in the overcast sky at any one time, often more. This is where Karma is being refined and — literally — field-tested ahead of its public reveal.

The atmosphere is upbeat, but serious. There’s work to be done. The assorted drones, controllers and batteries dotted around aren’t final hardware. Each has a version number scribbled in magic marker. The low hum of spinning rotors drowns out the nearby traffic from the Pacific Coast Highway. There’s little in the way of glamour here, until a lemon yellow vintage Porsche roars up a dirt track and into the field we’re standing in.

GoPro’s charismatic CEO Nick Woodman unfolds from the car. It’s a 1970 Carrera tweaked to match the much rarer ’73 GT “They’re basically the same,” he tells me, after greeting his staff with smiles and high-fives. It’s been a tough year for the company. It started with layoffs in January, and investors have made much about the sinking share price — a narrative that Woodman is eager to put to rest. But if Woodman is nervous about the big launch just around the corner, you wouldn’t know it.

Karma’s success isn’t just about pleasing shareholders. This is the first major GoPro launch that isn’t a camera (although the company revealed a pair of those this week too). That means the company is wading into unknown waters. Launching mainstream products is risky even when you have years of experience — just ask Apple and Samsung. Totally new ventures multiply those challenges.

So when I ask him why they made a drone, his first answer is predictably on message: “We’re always looking for new ways to help users capture new perspectives.” But Woodman’s a little more relaxed once he actually shows me the Karma bundle for the first time. “We wanted to develop an experience that people would be blown away by,” he says. “After you’re done being blown away, we want people to think ‘of course this is how GoPro did it.’”

By now the secret is out. Karma isn’t just a drone. It’s a package that includes a quadcopter, a stabilizing handheld grip (that’s also wearable) plus a touchscreen controller and a backpack (that doubles as a launch pad!). The camera stabilizer is removable and can be placed into the handheld, a party trick that makes Karma a ground-based stabilizer as well as a drone. Note that rival DJI also makes drones (obviously) and handheld stabilizers, but sells them as individual products.

Most people were expecting a drone, but GoPro actually developed Karma as a complete stabilization system. That’s why there’s a teaser video shot in a library that would have been near-impossible with just a quadcopter. Karma isn’t just about getting cameras up in the sky — it’s about improving self-shot video for every one. A much bigger strategy than just adding a radio-controlled accessory to the line up. One that will pay dividends for GoPro’s image every time a silky-smooth video gets uploaded to the internet.

Despite the promise of better video for shooters and viewers alike, the biggest surprise with Karma might be the price. The above bundle and a GoPro Hero5 Black costs $1,099 ($999 if you opt for the Hero5 Session; $799 if you bring your own). That’s not exactly cheap, but the cameras alone account for a sizable chunk of that. If you want a 4K DJI Phantom 3 or 4, things start at $999. Add an Osmo Mobile and you’re already at $1,300. Woodman tells me that after the fumbled launch of the Hero4 Session, “We did not want to make the same mistake with Karma. And so that’s why we took the extra time to make it an incredible experience and price it right so that we don’t have any question marks hanging over it.”

For a company associated with daredevil stunts and adrenaline, it feels like GoPro is playing it relatively safe with Karma. The drone eschews tricks like follow mode and obstacle avoidance, opting instead for a slick user experience. There’s a clever “Passenger” app will let friends control the camera while you fly via a smartphone, or the boring yet practical placement of the camera, that ensures propellers don’t get in your video. GoPro is hoping to appeal to consumers used to box-ready, glossy products — not the budget-conscious or hobby RC crowd. It’s a market DJI has courted with the successful Phantom series, but GoPro has specifically leveraged its experience with non-pilots to build something it thinks they’d want.

Flying Karma is simple. The controller was deliberately designed to handle like on a game console, so it feels natural. There are no dorky antennas, no protruding clip for your phone, no WiFi networks to join. Instead there’s a bright 5-inch, 720p touchscreen baked into the clamshell design. Open it and a message greets you: “Swipe up to fly.” It feels more like checking your email than running through a pre-flight rain dance.

I swipe up, as instructed, and seconds later I’m in the air. There are almost no dials and widgets on the screen; no pilot terminology (no “aileron,” “yaw” or “pitch”). Every now and then a calm voice delivers instructions and alerts — something that on other quadcopters usually involves a nagging beep or a throbbing red light. Grant McCauley, UX lead for the controller tells me why. “The last thing you want when you’re having an ‘oh shit’ moment or you’ve lost the drone is a siren like something that’s going to self destruct.” You’ll get about 20 minutes in the air per charge, and batteries recharge in an hour.

Woodman explains why they wanted to avoid the “usual” drone experience: “We’ve been consistently guilty of building products for ourselves that we really want and that’s worked really well over the years.” Basically, GoPro is its own customer. The staff I speak with don’t want to think about flying in Mode 1 or Mode 2, or care what a flight controller is. They’re probably cool with putting on a backpack and getting on with their snowboarding, though.

karmasketch1.jpg

You only need to spend five minutes at the company’s San Mateo offices to see that GoPro’s staff live the brand. The sand-colored low-rise buildings look like any other business park, but there are no suits. The average age feels like “thirty something;” shorts and caps replace slacks and loafers. Before meeting my PR contact, she sends a message warning me not to be freaked out: A recent surfing injury had given her a black eye — an injury that anywhere else would elicit concern. At GoPro HQ it’s a badge of honor earning high-fives and kudos. These are the people who built Karma.

Leading that team is Pablo Lema, Senior Director of Aerial products at GoPro. I asked him: Other than the user experience, what problems was hoping to solve with Karma? “The analogy I like to give is that drones are in this ‘luggable’ state,” he said. “If you remember the old laptops you used to carry around they were technically portables, but they were very heavy, very bulky, very cumbersome.” Lema doesn’t name any names, but it’s hard not to think of the game’s largest player: DJI and its ubiquitous Phantom series.

Even before Karma hits shelves and faces the public jury, it has a distinct advantage. 3DR will no longer make consumer drones, pretty much guaranteeing GoPro be the biggest US player in the high street drone space from day one. DJI has a healthy head start — the Phantom 3 is reportedly the most popular drone in the world — but but doesn’t have the same brand reach GoPro does (for so-called “normals”). Other companies like Yuneec offer competitive value, but with more complex controls and (in my experience) weaker cameras. Parrot’s focus is in the department store, or executive toy section.

karmaslider1.jpgkarmaslider2.jpg

Karma’s simplicity is deceiving. “We started with a small team,” says Lema. “We used them to attract other people that are roboticists, we have control theory folks. We have a team that joined us in Zurich, that’s our advanced navigation team that’s working on some future product ideas.”

That last part is important. Lema is referring to Skybotix a company GoPro acquired that specializes in autonomous flight. Karma doesn’t have much in the way of autonomous flight features, which will be the biggest eyebrow-raise of Karma’s launch for most industry pundits. There are smart camera modes like “orbit” and virtual cable cam (which in my experience are actually more useful). But, unlike AirDog and the Phantom 4 (and many others), it doesn’t follow you.

Most “experts” would have bet good money that feature would have been included. I gather it’s possible/incoming, but it’s not a launch day priority — and would probably require an accessory. Likewise, unlike DJI’s Phantom 4 or Yuneec’s Typhoon H, Karma doesn’t have any form of collision detection or object recognition. Ostensibly, two large omissions — but not according to GoPro.

Lema is confident that his team has gone about things the right way. “There are many drones out there, but this one is ours,” he says. “We wanted to create something that’s first and foremost about ease of use, and related to how GoPro users will use our cameras.” That’s not to say you can’t expect a few updates in the works, or more feature-rich versions in the future. Lema hints some of these could be coming soon.

“We look at what’s happening with technologies in the industry. I think you’ll see some stuff coming out of GoPro in future products that’ll be pretty incredible,” he says, before reminding me, “We have full teams that work on collision avoidance.”

GoPro’s cameras are rare in that they are used by consumers and professionals alike. Something the company hopes will be true for Karma. When I sit in on one of the Karma promo video edits, I realize that the development of Karma doesn’t just happen on the whiteboards over in engineering. The company’s own media team has played a key role in shaping it, sneaking in selfish feature requests that might be invisible to the consumer — but could give Karma more curb appeal to lightweight professional crews.

For example, Karma’s engineers added a “dronie” mode — where the quadcopter moves up and away from the subject in a dramatic rise. Sam Lazarus, the lead for Karma’s media team, told me that it was their experiences out in the field that got the feature changed from an angular, robotic straight-line “lift” to a much slicker, more cinematic curved Hollywood-style “reveal.”

I hear about many such fine-tune details during my time in different departments. GoPro clearly hopes they all add up to something that stands out in a busy, smart drone market. This month alone, DJI is likely launching its most consumer-friendly drone yet, and cheaper competition from Yuneec or Parrot etcetera isn’t stopping any time soon. Not to mention the sheer number of cheap, unknown camera drones at the low end. With action cameras, GoPro inspired the imitations that meant it had to diversify. With drones, the bargain-priced no-name brands were already there.

One of the very first things I asked Woodman at the farm was, what he would have done differently with Karma if he had the chance to do it all over again? “The development of Karma has gone so well,” he said,” and OK, it took us a little bit longer than we’d intended, but the end result is so phenomenal, that I wouldn’t change anything about how we approached developing Karma.” He added: “If we were just developing a drone, we could have released it much sooner.”

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Karma goes with you

Nick Woodman – CEO & Founder, GoPro

Perhaps Karma’s delay worked out for the best? This week GoPro also announced its most user-friendly cameras yet, along side a shiny new cloud service that aims to solve GoPro’s age old problem of getting video off of users’ memory cards, and out on the internet where it belongs (promoting the brand). Yesterday’s launch was much more than a drone — it was a mini-relaunch of the company’s whole line-up.

As such, GoPro delivered its most coherent vision of its future yet, and Karma is poised to be a huge part of that. The product lineup is more focused than ever before, the drone adds an exciting new opportunity, and the cloud platform should help glue it all together (along with improved mobile apps). All reports suggest drones will be big business, and it feels like GoPro is well placed to make them “cool.” Whether shoppers actually take to Karma is yet to be known, but GoPro’s trying to make it as easy as possible.

Having spoken extensively to people behind the scenes, the tone was clear: It’s a confident ending to bumpy two years, and it’s hard not to feel good about the new lineup. At one point at the farm, as on-brand as ever, Woodman told me “Karma goes with you” — a cheesy play on words he’s likely going to be saying a lot this week across the media. But, needless to say, with both the cameras and drone hitting stores in October, he at least hopes Karma makes it as far as the checkout.

20
Sep

Apple’s macOS Sierra is now available for download


If you skipped the beta releases, today’s the day you can put Siri to work on a Mac. Apple’s latest desktop operating system, macOS Sierra, is now available for download. While the new version debuted back at WWDC and followed with a public beta, this is the first time the finished product will be available to the masses via the App Store on a Mac.

In addition to the aforementioned virtual assistant hitting the desktop, the free update includes features like a universal clipboard, revamped Messages, a storage optimization tool, Apple Pay on the web and more tabs… lots of tabs. For a full rundown of the new features and our detailed impressions, consult out full review right here.

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