Category Archives: Mac
Kanex today introduced a new product that’s sure to get the attention of MacBook Air and MacBook Pro owners who need a few more USB 3.0 ports and Gigabit Ethernet connectivity. The US$119 Kanex Simple Dock makes it easy to gain those ports and fast Ethernet with just a single USB 3.0 connection.
The Simple Dock has a 2.1A charging port for your favorite iOS device, and iPhone owners will love the fact that there’s a flat “table” on the top of the dock that’s perfect for housing a plugged-in phone. Three USB 3.0 ports expand the capabilities of your MacBook, and there’s no need to purchase Apple’s $29 Ethernet adapter as the Simple Dock has Gigabit Ethernet built-in.
There hasn’t been any fanfare about this, but if you are using Mavericks, you now have a universal dictation feature that doesn’t require an Internet connection.
Dictation made its debut in Mountain Lion and required an Internet connection so your speech could be processed on an Apple server and sent back to you as text. There were limits, and you had to pause to let your data get to Apple and back again. It worked, but it wasn’t very effective.
A cool hidden new feature of OS X Mavericks is that the new OS allows Macs with ambient light sensors to detect user movements and delay sleep mode. The feature was first reported by a Mac developer on Twitter, who incorrectly assumed that at first the iSight camera was tracking a user’s movement. However, other Mac devs quickly found, and The Verge confirmed, that it is the ambient light sensor located next to the iSight camera.
The ambient light sensor doesn’t actually track movement itself, instead registering the changes in light resulting from that movement to detect if a user is in front of the Mac. When it registers changes in light, suggesting user movement, it resets the idle time clock in OS X accordingly. It’s a pretty cool feature and another example how its usually the little things that are among some of the coolest features of an OS X upgrade.
Users all over the world are having their say about the relatively recent revelations of spying and stealth information capture that seems to be standard practice within certain departments. That heightened sense of awareness hasn’t been helped by the fact that a keen eyed programmer came across a block of code in Apple’s new OS for the Mac — OS X Mavericks — that suggests that the Californian giants are watching us. As we expected, it turns out that jumping to an initial conclusion without all of the evidence generally ends up with the wrong assumption being reached.
The block of code in question suggests that OS X Mavericks has been developed in such a way that it internally resets a Mac’s idle time counter whenever the system detects real-world movement. Does Apple use Mavericks to permanently watch what is going on in our rooms through the embedded iSight camera on the Mac? The short answer is that they don’t watch us with the camera, but they are using other sensors in an intelligent way.