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  • Momentum Brings Eye Candy to New Browser Tabs
    day and I ve never seen one that wasn t absolutely gorgeous Getting Some Momentum To install Momentum in Chrome open it in the Chrome Web Store and click the Add to Chrome button There s also what seems like an abandoned beta of a Safari extension for Momentum Unfortunately it has few of the features of the Chrome version many glitches and numerous complaints from users It may still be worth a try if all you want are Momentum s pretty pictures You ll need to download the extension and then double click it in the Finder to install it in Safari and then set Safari to use Top Sites in Safari Preferences General New Tabs Open With The team behind Momentum says they re planning a Firefox add on but are waiting for some changes in Firefox to stabilize hopefully soon Use Your Momentum Returning to the flagship Chrome version a picture truly is worth a thousand words when it comes to Momentum To see it press Command T to open a new tab Smack in the middle of the screen is the time along with a greeting that updates throughout the day Double click the time to switch between 12 and 24 hour time Momentum knows who I am because I told it early on and you can double click your name to change it at any time Below that is room to enter what you want to focus on for the day and a motivational quote At the top left there are controls for Links and Search Clicking Links reveals a small popover in which you can store links to frequently used sites just like a bookmarks bar If you click the magnifying glass you can search for anything in Google the results appear in another popover Moving clockwise in the upper right Momentum shows how many to do items you ve completed along with the temperature and weather in your location To switch between Fahrenheit and Celsius double click the temperature double clicking the location lets you change that as well In the lower right the Todo control shows and hides a simple to do list It s more like a slip of scrap paper for jotting things to remember than a task manager You add an item by clicking where it says New todo and typing and you can either mark an item as done by clicking its checkbox or just delete it by hovering over it and clicking the x that appears to its right Finally in the lower left Momentum tells you where the astonishing image you re seeing was taken and mousing over the place name toggles it to show the photographer s name A gear icon displays a menu of administrative options the most important of which is Customize Click it and you can turn off the focus quote links search weather and to do list if they re not useful to you You can also switch to Bing for

    Original URL path: http://tidbits.com/article/16154 (2016-04-24)
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  • FunBITS: Testing the Siri Remote as a Game Controller
    s touchpad try a game like Shadowmatic described later on where your success isn t predicated on accurate control of the touchpad Another game that works surprisingly well with the Siri Remote is Oceanhorn 8 99 a clone of The Legend of Zelda series see FunBITS Oceanhorn Emulates Zelda on iOS 31 January 2014 The touchpad is again used for movement with presses of the touchpad activating context sensitive actions such as attacking enemies lifting pots and opening doors Unfortunately the game lost my save file so I can t recommend it yet on the Apple TV Some games use clever workarounds to bypass the Siri Remote s limitations Rayman Adventures free with in app purchases is a port of the long lived console platforming series and it translates well to the Apple TV The trick is that it s set up as an endless runner Instead of always having to hold down a stick or button to move in a direction Rayman is always running You use the touchpad to change direction and jump and a combination of swipes and taps activates other actions such as punching through obstacles Overall the touchpad works pretty well for game control I ve found that the biggest limitation is that it just isn t large enough This can be alleviated by choosing Fast in Settings Remotes and Devices Touch Surface Tracking but I still sometimes run out of room The Siri Remote also has additional gaming capabilities in the form of an accelerometer and gyroscope In plain English this means motion control similar to that featured in Nintendo s Wii Remote and Sony s Sixaxis enabled controllers I ve never been a big fan of Nintendo or Sony s motion controls which tend to gimmicky and frustrating But Apple has far surpassed the Wii with the Siri Remote s motion sensing abilities My favorite Apple TV game so far is GameLoft s Asphalt 8 Airborne free with in app purchases which you control by putting the Siri Remote on its side and steering it like a wheel This isn t a new concept racing games on the Nintendo Wii have long used this scheme but it s far more precise than past implementations I ve tried Though the Siri Remote works decently as a game controller it s also the single biggest factor limiting the Apple TV s potential as a gaming device Graphically the new Apple TV is roughly equivalent to the previous generation of consoles the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 which while outdated still deliver rich gaming experiences Storage is something of a factor with the Apple TV able to store only up to 64 GB locally as opposed to the 500 GB or more of storage space on current consoles but it s not as limiting as you might think For instance the critically acclaimed Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon is only a 1 32 GB download on the Xbox 360 and it s much more of a hardcore game than most of what you ll find for the Apple TV Between local and cloud storage Apple TV games can access up to 22 5 GB of data which should be enough for most games To put that into perspective the just released Star Wars Battlefront takes up about 20 GB on my PlayStation 4 while Destiny The Taken King uses a bit under 40 GB of storage In terms of graphics and storage the Apple TV has enough power for modern big name games the limiting factor is the Siri Remote The Siri Remote is restricted to touchpad input three buttons and motion control The idea of playing a first person shooter like the aforementioned Far Cry on the Apple TV is laughable since console first person shooters rely on dual analog sticks for movement and aiming This also precludes the possibility of modern role playing games like Fallout 4 which is played from a first person perspective Even an iOS first person shooter like Modern Combat 5 Blackout wouldn t work on the Apple TV due to the lack of enough touch sensitive space on the remote Perhaps a clever developer will figure out a way to make the first person shooter genre work on the Apple TV but it hasn t happened yet However that doesn t mean variants haven t been tried Galaxy on Fire Manticore Rising 5 99 is a space shooter and one of the most graphically impressive games on the Apple TV It uses motion controls for movement and the buttons to boost and slow down your ship But again Galaxy on Fire is hampered by a lack of buttons on the Siri Remote To make up for it your ship s guns fire automatically when you have an enemy ship in your sights I find this frustrating as I m used to having control over guns in space simulators A more traditional shooter is Xenowerk TV 2 99 an adaptation of the excellent top down alien shooter for iOS It s not a first person game but it s a fun spin on the Alien movies and a throwback to Nintendo Entertainment System shooting games You can use Made For iPhone MFi game controllers with the Apple TV The most popular one for the Apple TV is the Steelseries Nimbus which I haven t tried yet as I first wanted to get a proper sense of how gaming with the Siri Remote works But third party controllers won t help much because Apple requires that all games except Guitar Hero which requires a 99 95 guitar controller maintain compatibility with the Siri Remote Many are frustrated by Apple s insistence on Siri Remote compatibility but having used Amazon s Fire TV I understand Apple s reasoning Amazon allows controller only apps on the Fire TV which fragments its app store There s also the fact that generally speaking people don t buy gaming accessories Amazon doesn t release sales figures

    Original URL path: http://tidbits.com/article/16097 (2016-04-24)
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  • FunBITS: Preparing for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
    excellent and the episodes are often less childish than the prequel films The Clone Wars also introduces two of the more interesting characters in Star Wars lore Asaj Ventress a dark side assassin and Ahsoka Tano Anakin Skywalker s Jedi apprentice Star Wars Rebels is another animated series that focuses on the rebellion against the Empire Sadly it s not yet available on Netflix but if you subscribe to Disney XD via a major cable or satellite provider you can watch recent episodes in the Disney XD app for iOS and Apple TV Otherwise you can purchase the series on iTunes beginning with the short film Spark of Rebellion Books and Canon Over the years the Star Wars universe has been expanded in novels short stories and comics forming what was known as the Expanded Universe EU with each entry having varying degrees of canonicity canon being the things that officially happened in this fictional universe All of the Star Wars novels can be found in the iBooks Store or the Kindle Store you can t buy Kindle books from the iOS Kindle app but you can buy them in Safari which can deliver them directly to the Kindle app Diving into the EU can be daunting so when Disney acquired the franchise it simplified things by declaring almost all of the EU to be non canon This angered fans of works like Timothy Zahn s Thrawn trilogy but it cleared the way for filmmakers to have creative freedom in the new movies And frankly a lot of the EU was terrible Any Star Wars story that s no longer canon has been placed under the Legends banner Here s what s left of the official canon The main movies Episodes I through VI plus The Clone Wars Note that the made for TV movies Caravan of Courage An Ewok Adventure and Ewoks The Battle for Endor are not canon The two Star Wars animated series The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels Confusingly there is an earlier Clone Wars series that is not canon and older animated shows like Star Wars Droids are also not canon Note that the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special is most assuredly not canon and many Bothans die whenever it s mentioned Just about anything Star Wars related that was released after Disney took control including novels and comics Wookiepedia a Star Wars wiki has a complete timeline of the current Star Wars canon If you re trying to figure out which new canon Star Wars novels are worth reading publisher Del Rey has released two free samplers one for the 2014 titles available both from Amazon and the iBooks Store and another for the 2015 titles Amazon iBooks Store that can help you decide These novels take place at various points in the Star Wars timeline For instance Dark Disciple takes place during the prequel era and you should probably watch The Clone Wars series first Tarkin and Lords of the Sith take place between the prequels and the original trilogy I recently finished Lords of the Sith and it s quite good and Lost Stars takes place during and after the original trilogy One Star Wars novel you won t find in the samplers is Chuck Wendig s Aftermath Journey to The Force Awakens Amazon iBooks Store It has the distinction of being the first novel to take place entirely after the original movie trilogy But it s also received some abysmal reviews on Amazon due to Wendig s uneven writing that often mixes up both tenses and details If you re a hardcore Star Wars fan the interludes which break from the mediocre plot to show events in the galaxy after the Empire s fall are interesting but I m not sure if they re worth the money Comics Disney owns Marvel Comics as well as Star Wars so if you subscribe to Marvel Unlimited you can read just about every Star Wars comic ever made dating back to the late 1970s Of course most of these now fall under the Legends label but that doesn t mean they re not entertaining I shared a middling opinion of Marvel Unlimited in FunBITS Marvel Unlimited App a 97 pound Weakling 24 May 2013 but the service has improved dramatically in the two years since I reviewed it The app is now fast and stable saves your place in comics and the selection has improved dramatically If you re a comic fan it s easily worth the 9 99 per month and the 69 annual subscription is an even better deal pray they do not alter it There are two comic series available in Marvel Unlimited that will be of interest to Star Wars historians the first Splinter of the Mind s Eye is a graphic adaptation of the 1978 novel which itself was planned as a possible sequel to Star Wars if the movie flopped and the second The Star Wars is a comic adaptation of one of George Lucas s early drafts with art based on Ralph McQuarrie s concept art While the latter bears similarities to the final film it s a much different story than the one that appeared on screens in 1977 Both are fascinating looks at what could have been and both are testaments to the importance of editorial revision Both of these fall under the Legends banner and are not canon If you re interested in following the new Star Wars canon then you ll want to check out the newer titles available on Marvel Unlimited Star Wars Darth Vader and Princess Leia which all take place between Episode IV and Episode V There s also Kanan The Last Padawan which serves as a prequel to Star Wars Rebels And there s a pre Disney comic miniseries in Marvel Unlimited that somehow escaped Disney s canon purge Star Wars Darth Maul Son of Dathomir which takes place after The Clone Wars series Marvel Unlimited restricts its

    Original URL path: http://tidbits.com/article/16062 (2016-04-24)
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  • The Illustrated iTunes License Agreement
    About TidBITS About Us Advertise Contact Copyright Privacy TidBITS Members Smile ScanSnap Thoughtful detailed coverage of the Mac iPhone and iPad plus the best selling Take Control ebooks Pick an apple Become a TidBITS member TidBITS Watchlist Fantastical 2 2 1 Retrospect 13 01 LaunchBar 6 6 2 Delicious Library 3 5 1 GarageBand 10 1 1 Pixelmator 3 4 4 1Password 6 2 1 Banktivity 5 6 7 Parallels Desktop 11 1 3 Fantastical 2 2 Published in TidBITS 1297 Subscribe to our weekly email edition iPad Pro Goes on Sale This Week The Million Dollar iOS Hack Isn t Turn Live Photos into GIFs for Wider Sharing Three Highlights from MacTech Conference 2015 Apps that Reveal the Apple TV s Potential TidBITS Watchlist Notable Software Updates for 9 November 2015 ExtraBITS for 9 November 2015 Close To help us avoid automated posts and misuse of our site please enter the words below Close Gerberding Thanks for your interest in forwarding this article via email Please fill in your email address and that of the recipient below You can also include a short message Close Send to Your email Your name Your message indicates required fields To help us avoid automated attempts to spam recipients please enter the words below Just for Fun 04 Nov 2015 Listen Print Comment 1 The Illustrated iTunes License Agreement by Michael E Cohen If you have ever bought anything from the iTunes store you have surely seen it before at least the first couple of paragraphs if you haven t bothered to scroll down in the dialog the iTunes Terms and Conditions to which you have to agree before you can buy anything It s not the most gripping prose you ll ever encounter but artist R Sikoryak nonetheless found it inspiring enough

    Original URL path: http://tidbits.com/article/16056 (2016-04-24)
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  • The Rise and Fall of Mac User Groups
    Entertainment External Links Home Macs Inside TidBITS iPhone iPad iPod Just for Fun Macs Mac OS X Media Creation Networking Opinion Problem Solving Safe Computing Tech News Watchlist Weekly Issues Issue 1317 18 Apr 16 1316 11 Apr 16 1315 04 Apr 16 1314 28 Mar 16 1313 21 Mar 16 1312 14 Mar 16 1311 07 Mar 16 1310 29 Feb 16 1309 22 Feb 16 Back Issues About TidBITS About Us Advertise Contact Copyright Privacy TidBITS Members Smile ScanSnap Thoughtful detailed coverage of the Mac iPhone and iPad plus the best selling Take Control ebooks Pick an apple Become a TidBITS member TidBITS Watchlist Fantastical 2 2 1 Retrospect 13 01 LaunchBar 6 6 2 Delicious Library 3 5 1 GarageBand 10 1 1 Pixelmator 3 4 4 1Password 6 2 1 Banktivity 5 6 7 Parallels Desktop 11 1 3 Fantastical 2 2 Close To help us avoid automated posts and misuse of our site please enter the words below Close Gerberding Thanks for your interest in forwarding this article via email Please fill in your email address and that of the recipient below You can also include a short message Close Send to Your email Your name Your message indicates required fields To help us avoid automated attempts to spam recipients please enter the words below External Links 08 Sep 2015 Print Comment 1 The Rise and Fall of Mac User Groups by Adam C Engst We love and have long supported Mac user groups but this New York Times article does a good job of describing the fading state of many MUGs Despite or perhaps in part due to the vastly larger size of the Apple user base most groups are suffering falling attendance though they still succeed at meeting the needs of their aging

    Original URL path: http://tidbits.com/article/15916 (2016-04-24)
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  • FunBITS: Pac-Man 256 Retools Classic Fun for iOS
    course of gaming history But developer Namco never recaptured that magic Pac Man s hugely successful immediate sequel Ms Pac Man was actually created by another company and Namco s own Super Pac Man wasn t a hit Nevertheless the Pac Man character has been squeezed into platformers racing games educational titles and even fighting games with usually only modest success at best Nor has the original game with its need for quick controls and a large screen translated well to mobile After more than three decades developer Hipster Whale has figured out how to revive that Pac magic After last year s Crossy Road which resurrected Frogger for the iPhone generation Hipster Whale has respun Pac Man as Pac Man 256 again designing it from the ground up for mobile devices It s free with in app purchases for the iPhone and iPad but isn t compatible with the iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S Check out the trailer Why is it called Pac Man 256 Have they really made that many sequels Possibly but the real reason hearkens back to a bug in the original game In Pac Man the level counter was stored as an 8 bit integer which meant that the highest value it could hold was 255 A bug caused the counter to advance to 256 jumbling the right side of the screen in a mess of ASCII gibberish and making the level impossible to beat Hipster Whale cleverly riffs on this infamous bug to convert Pac Man into a sort of infinite runner You start your maze chase by swiping up and you need to keep moving up because The Glitch slowly advances upon you consuming everything it touches Unlike the original Pac Man which had multiple maze levels Pac Man 256 is one never ending maze Other changes to the Pac Man formula help Pac Man 256 adapt to smartphones and tablets Instead of a top down view the camera sits at an angle which gives it a more modern look The controls are based around swipes which work quite well The basics of the Pac Man formula are still there You still eat dots get chased by ghosts and eat power pellets that let you turn the tables on the ghosts But of course Hipster Whale has mixed things up Ghosts now use a variety of tactics Some patiently wait to ambush you while others band together to form moving obstacles Where Pac Man 256 gets wild are in its power ups which go far beyond the plain vanilla power pellet As Pac Man consumes dots you unlock various power ups such as lasers that can blast an entire row of ghosts ice blocks that slow ghosts down and bombs that blow up any ghost that bumps into Pac Man You can have up to three different power ups on the board at a time which you activate by crossing over their icons But only one can be active at a time any

    Original URL path: http://tidbits.com/article/15889 (2016-04-24)
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  • FunBITS: Do Computers Dream of Psychedelic Bears?
    and misuse of our site please enter the words below Close Gerberding Thanks for your interest in forwarding this article via email Please fill in your email address and that of the recipient below You can also include a short message Close Send to Your email Your name Your message indicates required fields To help us avoid automated attempts to spam recipients please enter the words below Just for Fun 07 Aug 2015 Listen Print FunBITS Do Computers Dream of Psychedelic Bears by Josh Centers You may have seen some strange images around the Internet lately even stranger than usual Pictures of everyday scenes distorted to the point that they start to resemble peacocks The image below was taken by our own Jeff Carlson and processed with deepdreamer io The source of this weirdness is none other than Google The company developed an internal tool to visualize how neural networks think and when the researchers found that their neural networks do some trippy things with images they released the visualization code as DeepDream so that other developers could create their own psychedelic art DeepDream has become a bit of an Internet sensation with a number of tools built around Google s code and even a Reddit community dedicated to creating and sharing DeepDream artwork Now Realmac creator of stylish productivity tools like Clear and Ember has released its own native Mac client Deep Dreamer currently in beta Despite its beta status many features are unavailable unless you pay 14 99 for a full license however Realmac offers a money back guarantee for an unheard of six months Deep Dreamer appears complicated at first but it s really quite simple The Deep Dreamer window is split into three sections the left side displays previews of presets the middle portion is where you drop and view images and the right hand side lets you tweak the settings by hand The image I use in the following screenshot was also taken by Jeff Carlson Click Start Dreaming to begin the process which could take some time If you re patient you can watch it unfold and even stop it if it presents an appealing result before it s finished There s a slider that lets you see the image both with and without the DeepDream effect Unfortunately Realmac doesn t explain what all of these settings do We encourage you to explore the options in Deep Dreamer is all the manual says But I will say that generally the higher you crank up the settings the weirder the output will be and the more time and CPU cycles it will need It costs nothing to download Deep Dreamer and play around but if you want to export what you create generate transformation videos and view more than two thirds of the output you ll have to pony up 14 99 I m all for supporting developers but it s a bit irritating to be asked to pay that much to essentially test a

    Original URL path: http://tidbits.com/article/15847 (2016-04-24)
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  • FunBITS: Music in Time and Space
    to spam recipients please enter the words below Just for Fun 24 Jul 2015 Listen Print Comment 3 FunBITS Music in Time and Space by Michael E Cohen One thing we all learned from the recent New Horizons fly by of the dwarf planet Pluto and its assorted satellites is that as Douglas Adams said Space is big Really big You just won t believe how vastly hugely mind bogglingly big it is You can however get a hint of how big it is by realizing that to send a signal to the New Horizons probe and then confirm that the signal was received takes well over 9 hours at the speed of light 186 000 miles per second And Pluto is compared to the rest of the universe right down the street To send a signal to the nearest star outside our solar system would take more than 4 years This means that any of our nearest celestial neighbors who intercept our radio transmissions are just now hearing our golden oldies However there s no need to hunt up back issues of Billboard to find out what the folk around Arcturus 36 67 light years away are hearing Lightyear fm can do it for you This site has leveraged the statistics compiled by the Whitburn Project to find which songs were popular during the entire history of radio transmissions from Earth It then uses that information to take you on a tour of space starting from Earth orbit playing snippets of the most recent music that you could hear broadcast at that distance As you travel farther from Earth you hear bits of tunes that get increasingly older the longer you listen Unlike real space travelers who like our transmissions to Pluto are limited by light speed you travel much faster For example after you listen for slightly more than 30 seconds the site has taken you as far from Earth as New Horizons currently is which by the way took more than 9 years to get where it is at the moment about 4 5 light hours away Of course at that distance you re still hearing stuff that is popular right now But keep listening Like Han Solo putting the pedal to the metal in the Millennium Falcon you pick up speed quickly After 90 seconds you are more than halfway to the nearest star and can rock out to the stylings of Macklemore as heard in 2013 After listening for 5 minutes you find yourself getting broadcasts from 2007 If patience is not one of your particular virtues though you don t have to remain a passive passenger the time line at the side of the page is live click a point anywhere on it and you are instantly that many light years from home For example click near the 36 year point to discover what our Arcturian neighbors are enjoying Sing it Rod So if you simply can t find anything of interest in Apple

    Original URL path: http://tidbits.com/article/15812 (2016-04-24)
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