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Apple updates iMac, MacBook lines; doubles down on performance

Winston Sih | posted Wednesday, Jun 7th, 2017

 

Apple refreshed its line of Mac computers at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, Calif., Monday, including the iMac desktop – a device the tech giant hasn’t updated in almost two years. Manufacturers typically renew computers at least yearly to stay relevant.

iMac reimagined on the inside, not out

Not much has changed on the exterior, but the first thing you do notice when powering on is the vibrancy of the display – boasting a beautiful 4K display and 5K display in the 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMacs, respectively. These displays are 43 per cent brighter than its predecessor at 500 nits with support for one billion colours. Essentially, you’re guaranteeing yourself a vivid picture with whatever you’re doing.

The thin bezel of the new Apple iMac. CITYNEWS/Winston Sih

The thin bezel of the new Apple iMac. CITYNEWS/Winston Sih

From a performance perspective, Apple has heavily invested in the Intel Kaby Lake seventh-generation Core i5 processor as standard, with an option to upgrade to Core i7. Measured against the previous-generation model, the new iMac will allow for three-times-faster gaming on the 21.5-inch model.

iMac pushes the envelope in storage with the evolution of the Fusion Drive across the 27-inch line and on the high-end 21.5-inch 4K computer, adding higher-capacity memory. Fusion Drives allow users to access frequently used documents, photos, videos, on a flash drive, eliminating spinning disks of the traditional hard drive. It means fewer parts to break down. I’d like to see a move to this being standard on all desktops.

Available ports on the 27-inch iMac. CITYNEWS/Winston Sih

Available ports on the 27-inch iMac. CITYNEWS/Winston Sih

Users will find plenty of connectivity on the 27-inch iMac, and unlike iPhone 7, there’s still a headphone jack, alongside four USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt 3 (a.k.a. USB-C for everyone else), a Gigabit Ethernet, and an SD card port. This allows for added displays, high-speed hard drive connectivity, and other third-party accessories.

Among the updates from the conference include a peek at the next iteration of the Mac platform – macOS High Sierra – chock-a-block full of new toys for developers to create immersive experiences for users, like virtual reality. However, the upgrade won’t be available until the fall.

MacBook Pro: Building on its success

The previous generation of MacBook Pro made the laptop much thinner and lighter. Plus, the integration of a fluid and interactive Touch Bar and Touch ID fingerprint reader has been surprisingly useful — not just a gimmick — and the 2017 version builds on that.

The new 15-inch MacBook Pro. CITYNEWS/Winston Sih

The new 15-inch MacBook Pro. CITYNEWS/Winston Sih

The upgrades bring a routine processor and hard drive boost. Machines will see the same Intel Kaby Lake processor as its desktop counterparts, as well as faster solid-state drives, and the 15-inch MacBook Pro will have snappier graphics out of the gate.

The notebook could benefit from an added USB 3.0 port for so many existing devices while still offering flexibility in the increasingly popular USB-C port. I also miss the SD card reader. Can there be a balance struck with ports, or lack thereof?

 

The OLED-lit Touch Bar on the 15-inch MacBook Pro. CITYNEWS/Winston Sih

The OLED-lit Touch Bar on the 15-inch MacBook Pro. CITYNEWS/Winston Sih

As for the OLED-lit Touch Bar that offers virtual buttons that react to the specific program you’re in, the technology continues to be unique in its class. I’d like to see exponential growth of adoption by third-party developers for it to be a real hit. But for the apps that currently utilize this, it’s fantastic.

 

The Force Touch trackpad on the 15-inch MacBook Pro. CITYNEWS/Winston Sih

The Force Touch trackpad on the 15-inch MacBook Pro. CITYNEWS/Winston Sih

 

With the last MacBook Pro, I had some issues with the shallow-but-tactile butterfly keyboard sticking. Apple has made some improvements to address reported problems with switch keys.

Other standard updates include increased speed and longer battery life. A larger Force Touch trackpad that reacts to the amount of pressure given to surface different actions remains.

MacBook receives a minor—but needed—spec bump

The new entry-level MacBook. CITYNEWS/Winston Sih

The new entry-level MacBook. CITYNEWS/Winston Sih

The entry-level MacBook remains one of Apple most popular laptops. It’s small in form and packs a punch as an ultraportable device, though it’s not as powerful as its sibling MacBook Pro. It gets the job done if you’re a parent just looking to surf the web and answer emails.

The entry-level laptop will get a boost in processor gigahertz, albeit minor at 1.2GHz dual-core, but when you’re working with less than 1.5 GHz to start with, every bit counts — even when you simply have a handful of web browser windows open.

In addition, the new solid-state drives are 50 per cent faster than its predecessor — rounding out a machine many students will no doubt adopt come September.

Availability

The new MacBook and MacBook Pro machines are available now.

A pro version of the iMac—aptly named iMac Pro—was announced Monday, but will not be available for sale until December. The updated classic line is available today.

 

What you need in your Emergency Preparedness Kit

Winston Sih | posted Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

Basic emergency kit checklist:

Consider these additional emergency kit supplies:

Courtesy Government of Canada

5 household items you need to replace right now

Winston Sih | posted Wednesday, Jan 18th, 2017

Pillow

Replace a pillow every 18 months. Your pillow collects a ton of bacteria through sweat, mould, and dust mites. The average pillow collects up to 350,000 bacteria.

 

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Dish cloth

Replace a dirty dish cloth every week. People typically place a dish cloth on a kitchen counter when damp – perfect for germs to multiply. 89 per cent of dish towels are contaminated with E. coli, according to a study.  Wash them at 60 C to extend their life, but remember to replace them regularly.

 

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Sponge

Replace sponges weekly. More than 10 million germs per square inch are on a used sponge.

 

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Contact lens case

Replace every three months. Studies have shown that cases collect bacteria through the moisture in the solution – not good as your eyes are the most sensitive part of your body.

 

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Razor

Replace every two weeks. Moisture, hair residue, foam encourage mould and bacteria to multiply. Instead, replace regularly, store them in a container, and wash with alcohol after every use.

Join us at the 11th-annual BT Christmas Party!

Winston Sih | posted Wednesday, Dec 14th, 2016

It’s been a tradition for the past decade… the BT Christmas Party is back for its 11th anniversary, and you’re invited!

The morning of Friday, Dec. 16 is the BT Christmas Party and we will be broadcasting live from the lobby of the Sheraton Centre (across from Nathan Phillips Square). The morning is in support of Daily Bread Food Bank.

Plus, now confirmed to perform at the BT Christmas Party include The Elwins and Virginia To Vegas!

SPECIAL ROOM RATE FOR BT VIEWERS:

There’s a special rate if you want to stay with us on the night of the 15th – just make your way to the hotel lobby in the morning!

  • Festively priced at just $149
  • Book by calling 1 (866) 716–8101 and mentioning code “BTXMAS” or online
  • Click for more details HERE.

Stay at the hotel with $20 from every guest room going to Daily Bread . It’s a great rate and giving back to Daily Bread – perfect for holiday shopping – hotel connected via PATH to The Eaton Centre, so leave your boots and coats in your guest room.

Not able to make it on Dec. 15? The Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel is offering special savings from Dec. 2 through Dec. 30, 2016. For every room booked, $20 will be donated to the Daily Bread Food Bank.

Donate to the Daily Bread Food Bank:

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Tips to prevent your home security from being hacked

Winston Sih | posted Friday, Aug 12th, 2016

A new app, which we have decided to keep unnamed for the purposes of this article, features hundreds of home security cameras across North America, causing great concern among users online.

In Toronto, dozens of driveways, backyards, front entranceways are featured, and south of the border, cameras inside the home are displayed for public streaming.

When it comes to security tips, experts are saying to regularly change the password on the camera itself, and ensure it is a strong key combination that is different from the default password.

Similar practices are recommended for routers itself. Change your Wi-Fi network password, hide your network (SSID), and remember to set your router administrator credentials away from the default username/password.

 

“I Want You To Want Me” Lyrics

Winston Sih | posted Wednesday, Apr 13th, 2016

I want you to want me
I need you to need me
I’d love you to love me
I’m begging you to beg me
I want you to want me
I need you to need me
I’d love you to love me

I’ll shine up the old brown shoes
Put on a brand new shirt
I’ll get home early from work 
If you say that you love me

Didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I see you crying?
Oh, didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I see you crying?
Feeling all alone without a friend, you know you feel like dying 
Oh, didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I see you crying?

I want you to want me
I need you to need me
I’d love you to love me
I’m begging you to beg me

I’ll shine up the old brown shoes
Put on a brand-new shirt
I’ll get home early from work 
If you say that you love me

Didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I see you crying?
Oh, didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I see you crying?
Feeling all alone without a friend, you know you feel like dying
Oh, didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I see you crying?

Feelin’ all alone without a friend, you know you feel like dying
Oh, didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I see you crying?

I want you to want me
I need you to need me
I’d love you to love me
I’m begging you to beg me
I want you to want me
I want you to want me
I want you to want me
I want you to want me

If you’re a Mac user, beware of ‘ransomware’

Winston Sih | posted Tuesday, Mar 8th, 2016

Parents with kids should be aware–many teens use torrent software to download pirated music, movies, and television shows. This content can often come with ‘phishing’ software – prying for personal information, including addresses, credit card information, and bank account passwords.

Although this is alarming being the first ransomware has hit the Macintosh operating system, security experts are noting to not overreact and keep the following tips in mind:

Ransomware protection tips

Courtesy: Symantec

  • Regularly back up any files stored on your computer
  • Always keep your security software up to date
  • Keep your operating system and other software updated
  • Delete any suspicious-looking emails you receive
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