The Next Track, Episode #193 – Is Stereo Wrong?

Is stereo the right way to listen to music? After all, it is an artificial attempt to reproduce the sound of live music. Perhaps we should revolt against the tyranny of the sweet spot.

Help support The Next Track by making regular donations via Patreon. We’re ad-free and self-sustaining so your support is what keeps us going. Thanks!

Support The Next Track.

Find out more at The Next Track website, or follow The Next Track on Twitter at @NextTrackCast.

Review: Apple Watch Series 6 & Solo Loop Band

I can’t help but think that I’ve been repeating myself over the years when reviewing the Apple Watch. In reviews for the Series 3, Series 4, and Series 5 Apple Watch models, I pointed out how not much had changed in the device, and that if you had the previous year’s model, then you probably shouldn’t consider upgrading. The marquee features in these models was the addition of cellular access in the Series 3; the increased size of the Series 4; and the always-on display added to the Series 5. All of these were small, incremental upgrades to the device, making it hard to justify getting a new one if yours was recent.

The same is true for the Series 6 Apple Watch: the changes are limited, and my advice remains that, if you bought last year’s model, you probably won’t need the new one. But if your Apple Watch is two or three years old, then it’s worth considering the upgrade.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

PhotoActive Podcast, Episode 77: Photo a Day Challenge

We gave ourselves a simple challenge to create one photo every day for the month of August. It’s advice we give often: shoot often, shoot what’s nearby, use your photographer’s eye to find beauty in the everyday experience. Were we successful? And what unexpected challenges arose?

Find out more, and subscribe to the podcast, at the PhotoActive website. You can follow The PhotoActive on Twitter at @PhotoActiveCast to keep up to date with new episodes, and join our Facebook group to chat with other listeners and participate in photo challenges and more.

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode #154: Beware Drive-By Downloads in Safari

The popular fitness tracking app Strava can assist stalkers; Facebook is irked about European regulators; a new Bluetooth vulnerability takes a new tack on attacks; and we look at some disturbing drive-by downloads that are coming from rogue Google ads.

Subscribe to The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.

Apple Watch 6’s blood oxygen sensor is unreliable and misleading – The Washington Post

Sometimes the new Apple Watch Series 6 reports my lungs and heart are the picture of health, pumping blood that’s 100 percent saturated with oxygen.

At other times, it reports my blood oxygen is so low I might be suffering from emphysema. (I am not.)

The watch can’t decide. This much is clear: Don’t buy one of these $400 devices in the hopes of monitoring your lung health.

I’m very skeptical about including a pulse oximeter in a consumer device like this. I don’t know who would need to use this, or when, and the fact that it is not very accurate can make people worry needlessly. As the article points out, this device is not approved by the FDA, and, according to Apple, is “only designed for general fitness and wellness purposes.”

There are important differences in the blood oxygen data that Apple and Fitbit report. But in my experience, neither company’s measurement serves much purpose at all. You should know what you’re buying, because it might do more harm than good.

[…]

It should not be acceptable for giant tech companies to market devices that take readings of our bodies without disclosing how those devices were tested and what their error ranges might be.

Source: Apple Watch 6’s blood oxygen sensor is unreliable and misleading – The Washington Post

Size Matters: Apple’s Solo Loop Watch Band and Sizing

Solo loopI was intrigued by Apple’s new Solo Loop band for the Apple Watch. It’s a nice idea: a band with no clasp. It comes in two versions, one similar to the Sport Band, and a Braided Solo Loop, which is “16,000 polyester yarn filaments in each band are interwoven with thin silicone threads using advanced braiding machinery then laser cut to an exact length.”

Apple provides a sizing tool that you can print out, to find the right size. I used this to determine that the right size for me was size 10; this would allow the band to be a bit loose on my wrist, which is how I like to wear them.

I got the band this morning, tried it on, and immediately initiated a return. It’s at least two sizes too small; it’s tight, not just snug. It’s uncomfortable.

To be fair, I had estimated that I had a 50/50 chance of getting the right fit. In normal times, any band I have with holes (ie, not a Milanese or leather loop) fits correctly in either one of two holes depending on the day.

But this is clearly not a band that you should buy online. The only way to be sure of the fit is to try it in a store. And you really don’t want to go to an Apple Store these days. It’s a shame; it does feel comfortable, but given the number of reports I have seen in forums and on Twitter, it looks like at least half of the people ordering this band have sizing issues. For some people it’s one or two sizes too tight; for others it’s too loose. Several people say that they used Apple’s sizing tool, then went into an Apple store to try the bands, and there was a difference of one or two sizes. (See this MacRumors forum thread, for example.)

Note that if you ordered an Apple Watch with a Solo Loop and it doesn’t fit, you have to return the watch and the band. So even if you have another band, you’ll be without the watch for at least a month, as delivery times are pretty far away for now.

Have you ordered a Solo Loop? Does it fit? Drop a comment below.

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode #153: New, New, New from Apple!

Apple announced new Apple Watch models, updated iPads, a new fitness subscription service, and a subscription bundle, Apple One. While iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 were released this week, there’s still no news on macOS. Josh and Kirk look at all the new stuff, and try to figure out what’s best for most users.

Subscribe to The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.

Should You Back Up Your iOS Device to iCloud or Your Mac?

You probably know how important it is to back up your data, and there are a number of different backup options for Mac.

But it’s also important to back up your iPhone or iPad. While you may not have a lot of documents on these devices that aren’t stored on a cloud server—which you can easily retrieve if necessary—you are likely to have photos and videos which, if you haven’t backed up, could be lost. Additionally, it can take a long time to re-create the setup of your iOS device; re-downloading all your apps, entering your user information, and organizing them on home screens can be a tedious process.

If you have a problem and need to restore your iOS device, it’s easy to do from an existing backup. But if you haven’t backed up your iOS device yet and want to prepare ahead of time, you might be wondering: should you back up your iOS device to iCloud or to your computer? If you use a Mac, since macOS Catalina, you back up your iOS device in the Finder. If you use Windows, or are running a version of macOS prior to Catalina, you back it up in iTunes. While these are different apps, the backup interface is the same.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

Everything you can do with the Apple Pencil and Logitech Crayon on Your iPad

Steve Jobs famously said, about tablets, “If you need a stylus, you’ve already failed.” But he was talking about using a stylus as the main input device for a tablet. When Apple released the Apple Pencil in 2015, this quote was revived to remind people that a) things have changed, and b) Steve Jobs wasn’t always right.

In 2018, Apple released a second version of the Apple Pencil, with more advanced features designed for the then new iPad Pro models. And Logitech also sells the Crayon, their less expensive pencil, which is compatible with certain iPads.

iOS 14 takes the Pencil further, with Scribble, a new technology that allows you to write in any location where text is accepted.

In this article I’m going to tell you everything you can do with the Apple Pencil, and the Logitech Crayon.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.