Zephyrus of the Anemoi

.the ramblings of a radman.

Category: Apple (page 1 of 13)

News and updates all about Apple, Inc. — my favorite company ever.

Get an Apple TV 4K for $105 (or maybe less)

DIRECTV NOW is giving away a 32GB Apple TV 4K if you prepay for 3 months of service. That’s a savings of $74 (retail price for Apple TV 4K is $179). Plus, if you have a Bank of America debit card or your financial institution offers purchase rewards, you might qualify for a credit of $35 back, which makes the total price $70+tax. If you’ve been thinking about getting an Apple TV for a while, but haven’t felt like dropping nearly $200, this is a fantastic deal.

No details on when the deal will expire, so I’d hop on this one as soon as possible. Plus, while you’ve got the DIRECTV NOW service, you can start using it right away on the iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, or FireTV app to see if you’re interested in keeping the service. If you don’t want it, go ahead and cancel once you receive your Apple TV.

Thanks to The Loop for the heads-up on this great deal.

How to protect your iCloud account and Apple devices from hackers both real and imagined

Last week, a news story at Motherboard revealed that a group of hackers claimed to have gained access to nearly 600 million iCloud accounts. Apple has responded to the report saying that there is no breach of their servers, rather the attackers appear to have used the rather large password cache obtained from the massive Yahoo breaches of the last two years. It is likely that the hackers used other data sources to line up those passwords with Apple IDs belonging to the same people. While this means that you may not be at risk if your iCloud account was using a unique password, to be safe, you should probably change your password and enable two-factor authentication.

Why is this security measure important? Well, aside from attackers having access to potentially private information stored in your account, iCloud contains a security measure that allows you to remotely erase your iPhones, iPads, and Macs if they are ever lost or stolen. This feature is called Find My iPhone (or iPad or Mac). If your account has been compromised, and Find My iPhone is enabled on any of your stuff, then your devices can be wiped remotely, against your will. This is what the hackers have reportedly claimed to do if Apple does not pay their ransom by April 7th.

News flash: Apple will not pay the ransom.

So, for your protection, I suggest following these steps to allow you to keep your accounts and devices safe. Because no one wants lose all the pictures of their food they’ve taken for the last 10 years. I stole these instructions from Apple’s own support pages, so if you feel like you need more details on these, check out the original links by clicking on the links below.

Change your Apple ID password
  1. Sign in to your Apple ID account page.
  2. In the Security section, click Change Password.
  3. Enter your current password, then enter a new password and confirm the new password.
  4. Click Change Password.
  5. Sign in with your new Apple ID password to access Apple features and services.
Turn on two-factor authentication for your Apple ID

Two-factor authentication is currently available to iCloud users with at least one device that’s using iOS 9 or OS X El Capitan or later. Learn more.

You can follow the steps below to turn on two-factor authentication.

On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 9 or later:

  1. Go to Settings > iCloud > tap your Apple ID.
  2. Tap Password & Security.
  3. Tap Turn on Two-Factor Authentication.

On your Mac with OS X El Capitan or later:

  1. Go to Apple () menu > System Preferences > iCloud > Account Details.
  2. Click Security.
  3. Click Turn on Two-Factor Authentication.

If you already use two-step verification, turn it off, then turn on two-factor authentication.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204915

 

That’s it. Hopefully, everything will work smoothly and you can move on with your life, stress-free. If not, give Apple a call and they can help you ensure that Two-Factor Authentication is enabled, as well as confirming that the only devices confirmed with your account are those you own and trust.

There are, like, a crapton of iOS sales right now

Like, so many that I don’t even have the strength to write a paragraph about each of them. I’m just going to link to them here. You should find the ones you’re interested in and check them out. Or just buy them all. That works, too. Whatever. They’re all on sale, possibly through Christmas, but you should probably buy today, just to be safe.

Infinity Blade – $0.99

Infinity Blade II – $0.99

Infinity Blade III – $0.99

Waking Mars – $0.99

Transistor – $2.99

Don’t Starve: Pocket Edition – $2.99

Prune – $2.99

Attack the Light – Steven Universe Light RPGFREE!

Space Age: A Cosmic Adventure – $0.99

868-HACK – $2.99

Banner Saga – $4.99

Tales From Deep Space – $1.99

Til Morning’s Light – $1.99

Lost Within – $1.99

The Martian: Official Game – $0.99

Hitman Bundle (Hitman GO & Hitman: Sniper) – $0.99

 

Also, pretty much every Tin Man Games gamebook is on sale, so if you’re a fan of Gamebook Adventures or Fighting Fantasy, you will probably find something to love here.

September 22, 2015 – Tool-assisted poetry

from heaven above, beneath, and among,
these dark waters filled this world

if some dæmon in love bewrayeth more woe,
what shall betiden of necessity make?

till thou com’st home, thy sweet voice afar confounds me.​
— Written with assistance from the Creative Writer keyboard app for iOS.

I’m quite enjoying this app. A friend of mine sent me one of her poems last week, and it was very beautiful—far more beautiful than my own, in afraid. I’ll have to ask her permission to share it.

Anyway, I performed edits to this one after it was finished, as some of the word choices I was given this time were the wrong tense or worked well if there was another word placed before it that had not been offered. The coolest thing, though, is how well it gets the mind turning. I could very easily see poems born entirely of this app by someone that knows not what they wish to write, but that discovers it upon looking at the words they have writ.

September 16, 2015 – Tool-assisted poetry

i will never forget july,
and all the little emptiness it creates
for her love was mine
and all the world was bright


The above poem was written using Creative Writer, an iPhone app that replaces the keyboard with a list of words that are suggested based on context (kind of like iOS’s QuickType feature on steroids). Be sure and check it out.

Hey! Listen! Wake up, Lonk!

Lonk's Awakening Icon

There is currently a Flappy Bird-esque game on the App Store called The Legend of Zeldo: Lonk’s Awakening DX. No, that is not a typo. This is an actual game someone developed, because of reasons. It’s not terrible, as far as Flappy Bird clones go. It has a unique inventory system where you can collect items as you go which affect the game play (Pelican Boots let you dash ahead a short distance, Irony Boots increase the speed with which your character flies), which almost alleviates the frustration of the core gameplay conceit. Almost.

Lonk's Awakening Gameplay

It’s free, though. And it will likely only exist for a short period of time before the developer receives a cease & desist (even though it is clearly parody and protected, the dev likely isn’t willing to pay a lawyer to prove that), so if you think it might even be slightly interesting, you should pick it up now before it’s gone forever.

Bonjour, Yosemite, and you!

For several months now, I’ve been watching my Apple TV have an identity crisis whenever I see its name advertised across the network via Bonjour. I named my Apple TV Durendal (because all of my devices are named after weapons and because Marathon is awesome). It used to only happen every now and then. I’d go to AirPlay to my Apple TV and I’d be greeted with a “Durendal (2)” in my available devices list. I’d change the name to something else and back and it would fix. But a few days later, we’d be right back where we started. It was an issue that didn’t bother me much, so I didn’t worry about it. There’s only one Apple TV on my network and the name is unimportant, so long as it works.

But then today, Glamdring (my MacBook Pro and Gandalf’s hand-and-a-half sword of legend), started having a similar issue. Glamdring is less regularly accessed over the network, but having it always showing up with the wrong name in my Shared items in the Finder set off my OCD something fierce. Worse, changing the name in the Sharing preference pane only fixed it for a few seconds. Soon, it would increment right back up to “Glamdring (2)”. So I set out to find a solution.

It only took a second to find one. Toggling Bonjour off and back on is reported to resolve the issue. Unfortunately, partway through the beta release cycle, Apple changed the way this worked. All the instructions I found gave command line instructions to unload and reload the mDNSResponder LaunchDaemon. Unfortunately, the necessary .plist went missing during Yosemite beta’s development. Thankfully, Matt Burgess made a comment over at coderwall.com that revealed the new Terminal commands necessary to fix this (which has since been resolved, thanks to this tip). Since I can’t link directly to the comment, I’ve included it here for quick access.

sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.discoveryd.plist
sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.discoveryd.plist

Run these one after the other in Terminal and then change the name of your computer to its correct name. The problem should be resolved.

Since Glamdring was now resolved, I moved on to Durendal (which had climbed all the way up to “Durendal (102)” since I last fixed it). That one was easier, though less permanent. I simply went into the Settings app on the Apple TV and changed the name to one of the suggested default names the Apple TV provides. Then I went back to Custom… and put Durendal back into the field. So far, so good, but we’ll see what happens the next time the network cuts out unexpectedly or I have to force the Apple TV to restart.

Get seven of Stanley Kubrick’s best films for only $40 on iTunes

For the last couple days, iTunes has been selling a seven-film collection of Stanley Kubrick movies for only $40. In HD. That’s less than $5.72 per film. Hell, A Clockwork Orange and 2001: A Space Odyssey are worth $40 alone. Why are you still reading this? Go buy these!

Room 12 Studios: Official game developer of games and other game-type things

It’s been nearly a year since the first prototype of Ecliptic showed up on my phone and now, after a lot of work, a fair amount of luck, and an egregious amount of procrastinating, it’s live on the App Store.

The bulk of the development was handled by my cousin, Alex (who wrote up a nice little blog post about the app, as well). But, as with all Room 12 Studios projects, the whole project is a group effort. Between beta testing, hiring a real composer, and pushing each other to get stuff done (all while working full-time jobs and/or raising children), it was a pretty interesting experience.

But enough about the boring stuff, let’s talk about the game.

It’s not fancy. It’s not groundbreaking. It’s not even award-winning (except for the award for Best Game Currently Released by Room 12 Studios). But it is fun. It’s great for kids. And the music is pretty awesome. Plus, it’s free (as in beer). And if you like the app and want to support what we’re doing, you can buy the Theme Pack as an in-app purchase for the low, low price of <insert the cheapest paid value available on the App Store in whatever country your account is located>. The entire game is entirely playable without paying a dime, however. And there are no ads (unless you count links to our other apps, in which case, I’m a liar).

Speaking (sub-consciously typing) about our other apps, be sure and check out iPredict, as well, if you haven’t already. It’s a quirky little fortune teller with an attitude. It received an update today, as well, which added some beautiful new animation and support for 4-inch iPhones and retina iPads. Be sure to check it out.

(also comes in a Lite version, with 100% fewer calories)

So go, download Ecliptic, and tell us how awesome it is. Or don’t. But share it with your friends, anyway. Especially if any of them decide to take pity on us and keep us as pets. We’re really tired of working for a living.

Dust off that French Maid outfit, it’s time to play Tanto Cuore!

I’m not sure why—maybe it’s because it’s Friday the 13th; maybe the full moon has got the world’s blood up—but whatever the reason, several iOS app developers have decided to throw an impromptu sale on the App Store. This is good news for the rest of us, though, as some really great games are on sale for just a dollar each.

As you may have guessed from the title, one of the apps is none other than Felicia Day’s favorite card game, Tanto Cuore. In this game, you play as the master of a mansion and you collect maids. Or something. I really don’t know, because it seemed confusing and I was only half paying attention to the episode of Tabletop in which they played the game. But it looked like a pretty good deck-builder, so if you’re into that sort of thing and like anime French maids, then this game should be in your wheelhouse.

Continuing with the tabletop gaming theme, the Euro-style board game Agricola is also on sale. If you’re a fan of the game, this is an excellent adaptation into a digital form. If you’ve never played it before, the game has an excellent tutorial system to get you started while playing your first game. The entire goal of the game is to build your farm from a 2-room hut to the most profitable farm in Europe, saving countless starving villagers.

And at this point in my post, I’m realizing that most of the great games on sale today are all Playdek titles. The one I’m most excited to start playing is D&D Lords of Waterdeep. This game was also featured on an episode of Tabletop, and it’s an interesting take on the Dungeons & Dragons universe. Instead of controlling a group of heroes as they quest for gold & glory, you join a shadowy group of powerful men & women secretly controlling everything that goes on in the city of Waterdeep. It’s sort of like Monopoly but with more backstabbing and less parking.

And finally, the only non-Playdek title on my list is a Disney title. Now, I heard you groaning back there, but hear me out. It’s for Star Wars Journeys: The Phantom Menace. No, wait! Come back! Seriously, I know that the movie is not for humans everyone, but this is a far better way to experience the story than watching the movie. Most notably because George Lucas wasn’t involved. Plus, it has a podracing game! Anyway, check it out. It’s only a dollar. What do you have to lose? I mean, aside from your self-respect.

Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s continue on the sci-fi trend we’ve got going here. If you’re a fan of Star Trek and you enjoy strategy games, you’re going to love Star Command. Set out on a mission to save the galaxy and try your best not to lose any of your crew. But good luck, because space is dangerous and humans are fragile. Assign your crew to Command, Science, or Engineering teams and give them jobs. Firing your weapons is a minigame in and of itself, but watch out for invaders on your ship. And hope you don’t get a hull breach, or else anyone nearby will be lost forever.

Bringing it back full circle to the fantasy and tabletop gaming of the start of this post, Warhammer Quest is also on sale. To date, Warhammer Quest is still my favorite tabletop dungeon crawler and it seems unlikely that any game will ever supplant it. While the iOS game is not as great as the actual board game, it’s still pretty fun and provides a heck of a lot of value for just 99¢. Plus, there are several expansions that add all new heroes and environments to explore. Happy treasure hunting!

That’s the last of the $0.99 sale titles that I felt were worth sharing, but there is one more title you should check out, because it’s free. Ridge Racer Slipstream may be just another Ridge Racer title and is not even close to the best racing experience on the iPhone and iPad, but it’s still a fun arcade racer and you can’t beat the price. So pick it up while it’s free, at the very least.

So go buy games and have some fun this weekend. Besides, what else were you going to do with that six bucks?

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