Apple Watch: The Ultimate Stress Test

Wed Apr 22, 12:31 PM

When Apple released the iPhone 6 Plus there was a huge scandal because, under certain conditions, the phone could be bent.

With this in mind we’ve put the Apple Watch through the same rigorous testing. Guys, you’re not going to believe it but Apple has NOT learned from its mistakes with the iPhone 6 Plus!

We found that not only did the Apple Watch bend around our wrist but it did so with almost negligible force. Weirdly, the two ends of the Apple Watch even hook together, making it impossible for the now-bent Apple Watch to be removed unless we deliberately undid the hooks.

The great news is that if you do manage to remove the Apple Watch, it can be straightened out seemingly without any damage – although we did find that if we bent the Apple Watch repeatedly then it started to stay bent a little bit.

Maybe Apple’s already aware of this design fault because we hear on the rumors grapevine that they’re planning a huge range of swap-in straps that you can fit to repair bent Apple Watches.

What about Apple’s earlier hardware boo boos, such as Antennagate, where touching the Apple iPhone 4 in a certain spot caused calls to be dropped? Guys, it’s the same again! Apple has NOT learned from the past! If we touched the screen of the Apple Watch during a call then it was instantly terminated. However, thankfully this seemed to be limited to tapping the watch screen on the lower left-hand side.

Guys, what do you think? Tell me in the comments below. Meanwhile we’re going to go out and spent a few more thousand dollars on Apple Watches in order to destroy them by running over them with trucks, dropping them down mineshafts, and seeing what a steam hammer does to them – all so YOU guys can see what kind of damage an Apple Watch might take in average day-to-day use. Stay tuned!

Keir Thomas


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Apple Watch FAQ

Sat Apr 18, 10:43 AM

Apple’s just put an Apple Watch FAQ on its website. Here’s the most useful excerpts:

Q. How do I set the time on my Apple Watch?
A. Press the digital crown, turn it approximately 40 degrees and force tap the display four times across two seconds. Then wait.

Q. How do I add a quick reminder?
A. Tap the display in the rhythm of Shave-And-A-Haircut-Two-Bits.

Q. My Apple Watch has crashed. How do I restart it?
A. Raise the arm on which you’re wearing your Apple Watch and say, “I have the power!” Point your Apple Watch at your cat.

Q. How do I send a quick message to a family member?
A. Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, Start.

Q. How do I interface my Apple Watch with my Android device?
A. Force press the Apple Watch display, say the incantation, then use the portal to enter the parallel universe.

Q. My Apple Watch is cracked. What do I do?
A. Return the Apple Watch to the Genius Bar in-store where we will laugh at you.

Q. How do I switch my Apple Watch to 24-hour time?
A. Join the army.

Q. How do I tweet?
A. Flap the arm on which you’re wearing your Apple Watch and imitate a starling.

Q. How can I quickly add an item to my shopping list?
A. Do nothing. Apple Watch knows what you need.

Q. My Apple Watch is running low on battery power. What can I do to maximise the remaining time?
A. The following is recommended:

  • Be ultra-friendly. This will involve shaking hands with people, thereby activating the Taptic Engine in reverse. This will charge the watch. Probably.

  • Move to Florida. Everybody knows batteries can be revived by warmth.

  • Keep your hands in your pockets to avoid activating the Watch.

  • Refrain from using sign language if you’re deaf.

  • Don’t say the word Siri in case you accidentally activate the Apple Watch. Avoid all sibilant words, just in case.

  • Surreptitiously hold your Apple Watch against that of a friend or colleague. This will steal their charge.

Q. How do I change the band of my Apple Watch?
A. Go to an Apple Store and buy a new one. Duh.

Q. How do I reboot my Apple Phone?
A. Hold it against your computer screen while watching a WWDC keynote. For a hard reboot watch recordings of keynotes given by Steve Jobs.

Q. How do I silence an alarm on my Apple Watch?
A. Put it under a pillow.

Q. Does my Apple Watch adjust automatically for daylight saving?
A. Does a bear shit in the woods?

Q. Can my Apple Watch deflect bullets, like Wonder Woman?
A. Yes.

Q. How do I update the software on my Apple Phone?
A. OS updates are printed in special editions of Macworld magazine. Programming them in takes approximately two hours.

Q. Are there any regulatory notices affecting my Apple Watch?
A. Yes. An Apple Watch may only be worn by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints with prior permission from a church leader.

Q. Should I wear my Apple Watch on my left or right arm?
A. Why not your ankle?

Q. Does the Apple Watch send any of my personal data to Apple?
A. Fuck yeah.

Q. How do I charge my Apple Phone?
A. Place the phone in its original box and place it near an illuminated light bulb. Wait 48 hours.

Q. How do I know if the time on my Apple Watch is correct?
A. All Apple Watches are factory set according to Steve Jobs’ wrist watch. Don’t defile his legacy by suggesting it might not be right.

Q. Are there any undocumented features on my Apple Watch?
Yes, as follows:

  • Your Apple Watch can attract butterflies.

  • Your Apple Watch will sound louder if you hold it closer to your ear.

  • Your Apple Watch has a flavor that can be experienced by licking it.

  • Your Apple Watch will make you 40% more attractive to the opposite sex, even if you’re gay or asexual.

  • Your Apple Watch makes the arm on which you’re wearing it better at arm wrestling.

Q. How do I interface the Apple Phone with my Apple iPad?
A. Take the two out for cocktails and see what happens.

Keir Thomas


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OMFG keyboard shortcuts #1: Emoji

Sat Apr 18, 09:18 AM

Ctrl+Cmd+Space opens the Emoji palette.

Think of it as the Spotlight shortcut, plus the Ctrl key. Then it’s easier to remember.

Keir Thomas


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Ultra-quickly share files via a web browser

Fri Apr 17, 01:59 PM

Your Mac has various ways to share files with others, including AirDrop, but for a quick, cross-platform way of doing so via a web browser, open a Terminal window (it’s in the Utilities folder of Applications) and type the following:

twistd -n web --path .

Note that’s a period/full stop at the end of the command, and it must be typed. This will share your home directory’s contents.

Then tell others on your network to visit your IP address in their browser, adding :8080 to the end of the address. For example, if your Mac is using address then they would type the following into the address bar of their browser:

When you’ve finished with your server, tap Ctrl+C to quit it.

If you find the above twistd command doesn’t work, try the following instead:

python -m SimpleHTTPServer 8080
Keir Thomas


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Introducing the Apple Pen

Wed Mar 18, 08:38 PM

[Tim looks down at his Apple Watch. It says, “Meeting with Jony re: new product lines”. He enters a meeting room where Jony Ive is quietly sipping Earl Grey tea.]

Tim Cook (for it is he): Hit me J-Boy. What ya got?

[Jony takes a pen from his shirt pocket, then pauses.]

Jony: We call it the Apple Pen. Handwriting made better.

[Tim looks around before realising Jony is referring to the thing he’s holding.]

Tim: You’re shitting me. A stylus?

Jony: No. A pen. An actual pen complete with ink. The ultimate personal technology.

Tim: But nobody uses pens anymore! That’s the whole point of what we do as a manufacturer of computing devices!

Jony: And everybody said nobody uses watches any more. Look what happened there! It’s called disruption, Tim. Business School 101. Well, 102 or 103, perhaps.

Tim: The market is sewn-up with pen manufacturers at every price point.

[Jony pauses to collect his thoughts, like he saw Steve do several times.]

Jony: Do you know who I saw today on my way to the office? The guy who used to run Swatch. The very guy. Sitting on the sidewalk. I thought it was an old bundle of rags at first. He had a paper coffee cup in front of him and a cardboard sign asking for spare change. I gave him a dollar. Then I asked him what time it was before running off.

[He sings]

“Threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you?” God, I hate that song, Steve never stopped playing it.

Tim: OK, let’s say I take this seriously. Run me through the features.

[Cut to Jony against a stark white studio background, talking to somebody off-camera.]

Jony: With the Apple Pen we had to return to basics. We had to engineer from the ground up. With iInk technology we’ve managed to make the black pigment 80% darker than anything experienced before, and we’ve made blue and red ink 85% more vibrant. The result is ink flow that truly defines the page it’s written on. In our simulations we found that the ink will remain 75% visible on the page after 100 years. No other writing technology comes close.

[Cut to lingering, panning shots of the Apple Pen in the style of an 80s Playboy Playmate of the Year VHS.]

Our Smart Nib technology requires incredibly precise engineering to create a nib that for the first time in history can be resized. You can write in thick broad strokes, or in thin neat writing. Just turn the Smart Collar at the top of the pen.

[Cut to Craig Federighi, Senior Vice President, Mac Software Engineering.]

We call it Digital Signing. Whenever the Apple Pen is used to sign your name, the Apple Pen records the date, time and a fingerprint via a tiny Touch ID sensor built into the bezel. The result is that nobody can argue a signature is forged.

Whatever you write is digitally sent to your Apple Watch, and then to your Apple iPhone, and then to your iPad, and then to your MacBook, before being uploaded to iCloud. Everything you write is securely stored online – from a grocery list, to the latest novel that you’re definitely going to write one day and need an Apple device to do so.

[Cut to a man sleeping soundly at night and a nightstand alongside him full of Apple hardware. Jony’s voice is heard.]

The Apple Pen charges each night alongside your Apple Watch, your iPhone, your iPod, your iPod Nano, your iPad, your MacBook, and your MacBook Pro.

[Cut back to Jony in the studio against the white background.]

We’ve pushed materials science to its limits to create a pen that’s slimmer than anything you’ve ever seen, and that weighs only half an ounce. Three models are available. Apple Pen Sports uses a polymer coating for simply excellent grip. Apple Pen is made from aluminium and comes in either Slate Grey or Silver, while the Apple Pen Edition comes in precious metal composite that’s close enough to gold for most people not to care despite the eye-watering price tag.

[Cut back to Tim and Jony in the meeting room. Jony sips more tea.]

Tim: That’s pretty cool. Patents?

Jony: Yeah patents! Into the triple digits, my friend.

Tim: Price point?

Jony: High enough so poor people can just about save up for one, low enough so the rich folks can buy one for each of their kids – plus getting an Edition model for themselves when their tax rebate comes in.

Tim: Bono?

Jony: He loves it.

Tim: China?

Jony: It writes hanzi as well as it does latin script.

Tim: I’m sold. Let me try it out.

[Tim looks around for a scrap of paper, then taps his Apple Watch. Within a split second a lackey runs in.]

Tim: Paper. I need some.

Lackey: Paper? Like we put in printers?

[Tim looks at Jony. Jony nods his head. The lackey runs off again.]

Tim: Obviously we’ll need to – you know –

Jony [nodding]: Apple Paper will be available exclusively from the Apple Store at $20 for 10 sheets. The finest 120gsm stock. Comes in a beautiful white box. It’ll be the only paper we recommend for use with the Apple Pen. Warranty void if people use anything else. We’ll think up some patent to do with how it’s manufactured to stop eBayers selling knock-offs.

[The lackey return with paper. Tim tries the pen then shrugs.]

Tim: Pretty good, I guess.

Jony: Oh, and one last thing…

[Tim laughs.]

Tim: OK! Hit me!

Jony: FM radio.

Tim: What?

Jony: The pen has an FM radio built in. Your choice of golden oldies, or Christian, or Country stations. Just plug in EarPods. And look at the top of the pen –

[Tim does so with an expression of horror.]

Jony: – there’s a small LCD window showing the time. Press the little button on top and – look! The LCD flashes between showing the time and the date. Isn’t that cool?

Tim: Are you serious?

Jony: Totes.

Tim: But this is little more than those cheap novelty pens you get for 50 cents in places like China.

Jony: No. It’s an Apple novelty pen. That’s the difference.

[Tim glares at Jony, then at what he’s just written on the paper. When he looks up Jony has vanished. He hears laughter over his shoulder. He turns around to see a keynote audience of thousands behind him. He realises he’s on stage, giving a keynote speech at WWDC, but is entirely naked except for his socks. The laughter grows louder. Tim attempts to make light of the situation, smiling and welcoming everybody as he’s done many times before, but it’s too late. A young man walks on stage with a notepad and asks Tim for his autograph. Tim pulls out a pen. It’s an Apple Pen. Tim presses the button on top and it starts play a beep-beep version of The Yellow Rose of Texas, like a digital watch from 1979. The crowd erupts into cheers.

Cut to Tim sitting up in bed at night, having woken-up suddenly, screaming.]

Keir Thomas


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Your iPhone may be tracking your steps

Wed Mar 11, 07:40 PM

Did you know that, if you updated to iOS 8.2 on your iPhone, it’s probably acting as a pedometer and tracking your steps and how many flights of stairs you’ve climbed — even if you didn’t ask it to?

My iPhone 6 Plus has been doing so since 5th March, which is when I updated to 8.2. You can view the data in the Health app and deactivate the feature in the Settings app by clicking Privacy > Motion & Fitness. In fact, some people have been claiming that this feature is eating battery life, so advise turning it off. I can’t say I’ve noticed any difference.

It’s not terribly accurate for me because I frequently leave my phone on my desk while I go off and do other things.

Keir Thomas


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System report without personally identifying info

Sat Mar 7, 02:01 PM

Sometimes people who are trying to help you online might ask for a full system report. There’s a variety of ways of doing this but one issue is that personally identifying details might be included, and this can be insecure — even your login name could give malicious interests vital information, but you should always keep your Mac’s serial number confidential.

EtreCheck is the answer, and will provide a report with the salient details included. it’ll also highlight problematic areas, with a More Info link so you can research. It’s free.

Keir Thomas


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Make TextEdit open with a new document, rather than a file open window

Wed Mar 4, 04:35 PM

I used to use TextEdit all the time to jot down quick notes but since the introduction of iCloud it’s insisted on starting=up with a File Open dialog box, on which you have to click the New Document button. A PITA, if ever there was one. Progress, eh?

The following command pasted into Terminal (which is in the Utilities folder within Applications) will make TextEdit open straight to a new document each time, just like the old days. Triple-click the line to select all of it if you can’t see scrollbars and quit TextEdit first if it’s open:

defaults write NSShowAppCentricOpenPanelInsteadOfUntitledFile -bool false

Then reboot.

Should in future you wish to return to the default way of working, paste this in to the Terminal:

defaults delete NSShowAppCentricOpenPanelInsteadOfUntitledFile
Keir Thomas


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Adware... On a Mac?!

Wed Mar 4, 11:55 AM

Like many people I installed Go for Facebook, an app from Fiplab that provides quick access to Facebook from the menu bar. It’s advertised in the App Store as being “FREE FOR A LIMITED TIME!!”.

Unfortunately, I booted my Mac just now and saw a pop-up notification advert appear at the right of the screen for another Fiplab product. I’m not 100% sure that Go for Facebook is adware — another app could’ve caused the notification to appear — but let’s be honest: it’s unlikely. I wasn’t using the app at the time, although it was running in the background as a menubar process.

I didn’t agree to ads, and if I did it was hidden in a licensing agreement. If I want that kind of crap I’ll use Windows.

I’ve now uninstalled Go for Facebook. I advise you to too. In fact, I used App Zapper to ensure that every aspect of it was removed. I also removed all other Fiplab apps on my system. This is an extensive list of apps and many have been recommended by influential sources. The list includes:

  • Disk Doctor
  • Duplicate Detective
  • Disk Map
  • Memory Clean
  • CopyClip 2
  • InstaReel for Instagram
  • MailTab for Gmail (and Outlook)
  • MenuTab for Facebook
  • NotesTab
  • StatsBar
  • Battery Health
  • Share Bucket
  • Privacy Protector
  • RSS Bot
  • StockTab
  • Alerts for Gmail
  • Download Shuttle
  • London Cycle: Maps & Routes
  • CopterKid
  • Magic Math
  • Exporter for Address Book
  • Translation
  • Converto
  • Owly
  • CopyClip

Not cool, Fiplab. Not cool. I’ve contacted them for comment. If I get anything I’ll post an update here.

UPDATE: No response from Fiplab. In the meantime you might want to use the free-of-charge Adware Medic to scan your system.

Keir Thomas


Know better? [1]


Fine-tuning font antialiasing on Yosemite

Mon Mar 2, 02:28 PM

I decided today to have a play with font antialiasing on Yosemite. To tweak this you’ll need to open a Terminal window (it’s in the Utilities folder of Applications) and type the following:

defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleFontSmoothing -int

… and follow it with a number, from 0 to 3, with 0 being least severe and 3 being strongest. (a value of 4 or 5 appears to be equivalent to 0, although I suspect a value of 4 affects sub-pixel rendering. However, more testing is needed.)

I tested each value on my non-Retina MacBook Pro and it was quite interesting, especially bearing in mind the change of system font that was introduced with Yosemite. The results are here in screenshot form (when viewing this don’t forget to set zoom to 1:1, or 100%; note that I also tested values of 4 and 5, as shown, but these appear to be identical to a value of 0). The red number at the top left of the Finder window is the number set for that particular screenshot.

For example, to set an antialiasing value of 1, you’d type:

defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleFontSmoothing -int 1

To restore to default value (which is 3), you’d type the following

defaults delete NSGlobalDomain AppleFontSmoothing

You’ll need to reboot after each change of setting to see the results system-wide.

See what you think works best. I think 1 looks great. Characters are clearer and less blurry. If anybody has a Retina display, can you send me screenshots of each integer in use so I can add it here? Thanks!

Keir Thomas


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