Epson FastFoto FF-640 review: Quick, convenient photo scans don’t come cheap

It’s a tedious task to take your old photos in an album or box and convert them to a digital format by using a scanner. In recent years, mobile apps like Unfade, Photomyne, and Pic Scanner have taken some of the friction out of this process by automatically cropping, enhancing, and organizing prints. But those apps share a singular limitation: No matter how good the smartphone camera, it can’t compete with a decent hardware scanner.

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How to block certain calls in iOS 10

Adam Finberg would like a call-blocking app in iOS 10 that would:

  1. Allow all calls on your contact list to ring through.

  2. Send all calls not on your contact list that are also not within designated area codes to go directly to voicemail.

If an incoming call is not within my nearby area codes that I designate, I don’t want that call ringing through.

I’ve tested three call-blocking utilities in iOS 10, though there are many.

mac911 call protect att IDG

AT&T’s Call Protect works at the carrier level, not within iOS.

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51% off Foval 150PSI Car Digital Tire Pressure Air Gauge – Deal Alert

This tire pressure guage from Fovsal features a lighted nozzle and display screen for ultimate visibility in low light, and doubles as a vehicle emergency tool with LED flashlight, car window breaker, seat belt cutter, and red safety light.  It averages 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon, where its typical list price of $20 has been reduced 51% to just $9.87. See it now on Amazon.

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How to kill the evercookie and supercookie, the cockroaches of tracking

Advertisers want to track us. We typically, but not exclusively, prefer not to be tracked. In the best case, we’re aware of the fact, and use opt-out policies and third-party add-ons to profess disinterest in, technically block, or otherwise delete unique codes or patterns designed to sniff our footprints across the Internet and assemble a dossier on us for marketers to more effectively target our interests.

But I give advertisers too hard a time, when it’s really the behavior of advertising networks and other parties that create platforms on which ads are delivered or marketing data collected and then sold. The ecosystem of online advertising involves a lot of different specialized entities, and it would hard to say that, say, Nordstrom knows that some of its ads might appear on sites for reasons that involve violating our intent and possibly our privacy. Many advertisers don’t really know where their ads Continue reading "How to kill the evercookie and supercookie, the cockroaches of tracking"

Eat, pray, shoot: Our favorite gear and apps for travel photography

Some photos turn out great, but most are merely okay. As anyone who has picked up a camera will tell you, everyone shoots both kinds. But let’s be honest: the majority of the photos we capture on vacation fall into the just-okay category. Thumbs make their way into shots. People and objects show up that we failed to notice when composing the shot. The sun can wash your photos out or cast harsh shadows. Not enough sun can turn what should be a beautiful moment into a grainy mess.

The good news is that, with the right hardware and software, most of these issues can either be improved upon or avoided altogether. To help you up your photographic game before your next adventure, I present a two-part travel photography special. In this first installment, I’ll cover the best hardware and software to use, and next time, I’ll focus on putting Continue reading "Eat, pray, shoot: Our favorite gear and apps for travel photography"

SteamWorld Heist’s tactical action might steal all of your free time

These days, keeping up with games can be a full-time job. So how do you separate the signal from the noise, the wheat from the chaff, the Temple Runs from the Temple Jumps? Allow us to help by regularly selecting a game You Should Play. 

While your iPhone might seem most ideal for quick-hit games, it’s also a pretty great vessel for richer and lengthier experiences like those seen on consoles. Classics like the old Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest games are available on the App Store, as is Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, while newer games like XCOM: Enemy Within, Severed, and The Banner Saga can all provide extended play sessions—and are well worth the time. 

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All is fail: Apple doom only comes in extra large

Once again the Macalope must exhort you, dear reader, do not ask for whom the Apple doom bell tolls. It tolls for Apple. I mean… duh. That’s why it’s called the Apple doom bell. It’s right there in the name. Says it right on the tin. Couldn’t be more obvious, really. Try to keep up, Gordy. Writing for The Week, Navneet Alang describes “The sad end of the Apple era.” (Tip o’ the antlers to Shawn King and @JonyIveParody.)

Sad! Alas, to all things there is an ending. Except, apparently, Supernatural. 46 seasons and a movie.

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The Week in Apple News: iPhone 10th anniversary, MacBook Pro battery life, Apple’s plans to make TV shows and movies, and more

Apple headlines for the week ending Jan. 13, 2017
Apple headlines for the week ending January 13, 2017

Image by Apple

The Apple-related headlines were slow to roll out at the beginning of this year, but going into the second week of 2017, the news picked up. Check out the important Apple headlines from the past week in this slideshow. Just click on the link to get more information.

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Researchers find that “moderate” screen use is OK for teens

fellowkids Parents rejoice! Researchers have found that “moderate” screen use “has no detectable link to well-being and levels of engagement.” This means your kids can play on the iPad for a few hours — but not all of them. The study, led by psychological scientist Andrew Przybylski of the University of Oxford, examined the habits of 12,000 British teens, found that… Read More

Snapchat just got way easier to use thanks to a new search bar

Snapchat is confusing to use. That’s part of what makes it fun, because it’s sort of like knowing a secret language not everyone can understand. But it can also be annoying, like when you’re looking for something specific and don’t want to tap or swipe a million times to find it. So Snapchat’s latest update, rolling out soon to both iOS and Android users, adds a universal search bar you can access from anywhere in the app.

snapchat search bar Snapchat

Finding stuff in Snapchat just got waaaay easier.

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44% off YETI Rambler 64oz Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Bottle with Cap – Deal Alert

With double-wall vacuum insulation, these over-engineered drink holders keep your favorite beverage as cold -- or hot -- as science allows. Over-the-nose wide mouth, anti-condensation, puncture and rust-resistant, no-leak cap, and a giant 64-oz capacity that can fit everything from a growler of beer to multiple bowls of soup. The Yeti Rambler is currently listed for the very low price of $49.99, a good deal considering its $89.99 list price. See the high-end, over-engineered Yeti bottle now on Amazon

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How to browse privately and avoid persistent tracking on a Mac, iPhone, and iPad

Say you find yourself using the Web on a strange computer—maybe one owned by a relative or friend, or in a library or school. When using a computer or other device that you don’t control, you can enable a private-browsing mode to prevent leaving traces of your activities. That’s good for accidental security, as it keeps the next user of the device from visiting a site with your credentials, set in a cookie or via a login, when they didn’t intend to. This an even better idea for shared computers where the subsequent user is someone you don’t know.

Likewise, you can set someone else up with private browsing on your Mac, so that they don’t have access to your settings (guest mode in Chrome) or can’t change your settings (all modes), although browsers don’t let you “lock” a browser into that mode. You get better protection by setting up Continue reading "How to browse privately and avoid persistent tracking on a Mac, iPhone, and iPad"

Google’s adding native Chrome support for FLAC lossless audio files

Google is adding a little treat for audiophiles in the next version of Chrome. Chrome 56, which is expected to roll out by the end of January, is coming with native support for FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) audio files meaning you can play the high-quality sound files directly in the browser, as first noticed by 9to5Google.

Chrome isn’t the only browser rolling native FLAC support into its feature set. Mozilla is also adding FLAC support to Firefox 51, which is scheduled for mainstream release around January 24.

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Apple must face claims of monopoly in iPhone app market

An appeals court has ruled that Apple must face antitrust charges in a lawsuit that alleges that the company monopolized the market for iPhone apps. The U.S. Court for Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed Thursday a decision by a lower court and ruled that the app buyers filing the lawsuit are direct purchasers of iPhone apps from Apple, rather than from app developers, and hence have standing to sue. Apple was a distributor of iPhone apps, selling them directly to buyers through its App Store, according to the court. The proposed class-action lawsuit started in 2011 with the complaint changing several times.

The purchasers object to the 30 percent "surcharge" that they pay to Apple. The company collects 30 percent of the revenue of third-party apps on its store, with the balance going to the developer, in a closed system in which Apple controls which apps can run Continue reading "Apple must face claims of monopoly in iPhone app market"

How to encrypt a bootable clone in macOS

Tony Padgett uses FileVault in macOS to encrypt his startup volume. However, it occurred to him that because he routinely updates a bootable clone of that drive, his clone remains unprotected at rest.

After cloning my internal drive to an external, I can take that external clone, plug it into another Mac, and see and read the contents.

This “hole” is not very obvious to the average person. I somehow assumed because FileVaut has encrypted my iMac, an encrypted version of it was being cloned the external drive.

I agree! I understood this because of extensive testing of FileVault, but it’s certainly not immediately obvious if you don’t know how a seemingly identical clone is managed at a low level by macOS.

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