Not Just Apple Mac News....

Not at all surprising to hear reports coming through that there are buckets of iPhones being held by US authorities in readiness for the potential flood gates opening if Apple are forced to back down and provide the FBI with access to the contents of the San Bernadino case iPhone….

I imagine this is exactly what Tim Cook was hoping to pre-empt by taking the stand that he has against the FBI. It will certainly be interesting to see how this all pans out.

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FreshBackMac is a small utility written by Arkanath Pathak, a Computer Science student from eastern India, that refreshes your Mac desktop wallpaper at regular intervals using images from some of the best photo sites on the Internet.

You can choose from a range of categories such as Animals, Nature, Technology, Paintings and more and can set the refresh rate from as little as 2 minutes to 12 hours.

If you would like a fresh look to your Mac without the effort of searching for new images and setting up as desktop backgrounds this is the app for you.


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A little while ago I looked at a device called the Nifty MiniDrive a neat little MicroSD card carrier that fits completely snuggly into the SD slot on MacBooks adding disk space for photos/documents and other temporary files. They are relatively cheap and can be used with whatever size of MicroSD card you have available. The downside is that the disk space provided is a separate volume to the internal drive and as such you have to manage which files and folders go where. It is certainly a neater solution than plugging a USB drive into your MacBook but if the internal drive is struggling for space it doesn’t immediately solve that issue.

Then last night I came across a product called TarDisk Pear which uses the same idea of plugging extra storage into the SD card slot in a completely flush carrier but extends it to the next level. With the TarDisk Pear instead of the extra disk space being presented as an external removable volume the additional storage is magically used to extend the space available to the internal drive ! The web site doesn’t give many details on exactly how it does this but there are a few hints on the FAQ’s page where it talks about the risk of data corruption and loss if you remove the drive after it has been setup. Clearly the magic comes at a price.


Despite looking I couldn’t find any information about the impact on the performance of the built in drive either. I would hope that it manages the data in a way that optimises the performance of the internal drive but this isn’t clear from what I have seen.

Pricing starts at $149 for 128GB rising to £399 for 256GB.

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Itsycal is a tiny menu bar application for OS X that gives rapid access to a pop up view of the current month of the calendar.

Just click the menu bar icon (the current date by default) and a compact view of the current month is displayed. This is really handy  when you want to work out what day a particular date falls on for example. In addition you can configure it to show events from the next few days of your calendar rather than launching the Mac calendar app.

One of my favourite little time saver apps.


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Nordic Workspace

Nordic Workspace

Posted By on Jan 26, 2016

Todays featured Mac Setup is another simple minimalist style workspace in a Nordic style and comes complete with instructions on how to Do It Yourself ! The slight downside is that the page is in Spanish but thanks to the magic of Google Translate anyone interested in following the guide shouldn’t have too much difficulty converting to English ( or your preferred language ).

Nordic Style workspace with MacBook

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One of my pet peeves is the number of plastic cards I have to carry in my wallet. Most of the time I tend to strip the contents to the essential debit cards that I use all the time but this sometimes means that I miss out on discounts or other benefits by not having a particular stores loyalty card with me.

Stocard solves this little problem by providing a simple way of importing store loyalty cards into your iPhone allowing you to leave the plastic at home without having to pass up on the discounts or loyalty points. Adding cards is very quick, just search for the store name from the extensive list then scan the card bar code using the iPhone camera and the cards details are captured. Now you can present the bar code on your iPhone to the cashier when making a purchase and they can scan this instead of the plastic. The app can also store card details for shops/companies not listed including adding a photo of the card for easy reference. I have used it to import my library cards for example.

Stocard do acknowledge that some older scanners aren’t able to read the iPhone screen but in these cases the bar code can be entered manually by the cashier.

The app is available for iOS and Android and is a free download.

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