Top 3 Apple Pay Locations

Jennifer Booton:

Apple Inc. users have a love affair with organic food, but they don’t mind stretching for a Big Mac sometimes, either.

First of all, I’m not an “Apple Inc. user.” I’m a customer who owns an iPhone.

Whole Foods Market Inc. has arisen as a retail star among Apple Pay, with the organic grocery store chain accounting for 20% of all Apple Pay transactions and 28% of all Apple Pay dollars spent in November.

Second on the list is Walgreen’s, then McDonald’s. Interesting mix. Health food, medicine, fast food.

Healthiest Fast Food

This is according to customers, not experts, and it’s not Chipotle. Rich Duprey has details on the fast food place customers think is the healthiest.

If you’re pulling into a White Castle to grab a sack of sliders, chances are you aren’t expecting to find a healthy meal staring back at you in their cardboard carriers. After all, the company ranks last in Consumer Reports latest survey that asks what consumers think of when considering restaurants with healthful meal options.

Which fast food places have the healthiest foods must be a subjective list, right?

For starters, Chipotle Mexican Grill doesn’t even make the top ten. Despite its effort to go GMO-free and antibiotic-free in its meats and serve higher-quality fresh ingredients at reasonable prices, consumers ranked it 13th on a list of 65 restaurants. Not even fast-casual rival Panera Bread topped the charts, instead coming in third place.

Tops on the list is the largest chain in the country. And it’s not McDonald’s.

So what eatery garners the most mindshare for offering healthy options? None other than Subway! A whopping 96% of the consumers surveyed said the sub shop offers healthier options than any other food establishment on the list.

Wow.

More Wacky Rides

Some of these are downright scary. From Odometer, of course.

Forget the cartoonish idea that mice or squirrels can power everything, what you’re seeing was a reality! Utilizing a squirrel cage and gear system, this man was able to walk his dog and take a ride around the farm at the same time!

Dog and Poochmobile

Others on the list are worse, though the dog might disagree.

Click To Put An Edge On Your Photos

I cut my graphic design teeth on early versions of Photoshop and Illustrator, but I have to admit I love the new generation of one-trick pony photo enhancement utilities. Pay a few bucks, get an app that does in seconds what would take an hour in Adobe’s finest. Here’s a perfect example.

The app is called EdgeStudio and what it does is simple, elegant, useful, customizable– all with a few clicks; tops. As the app’s name implies, it takes a photo and puts a creative edge around it in nearly whatever color and design or shape you want.

Here’s an example of a photo blended with a creative edge.

EdgeStudio

Considering the time consuming nature of creating a customized edge mask, EdgeStudio is surprisingly simple to setup and use.

Start with the library of preset edges and borders. Each of which can be transformed, customized, colorized and altered to match your requirements, then saved to be used again, or modified for a new photo project.

Onscreen tools let you adjust the photo’s edge for color, size, opacity, and more, using a few clicks or simple slider bars which adjust the image on the fly, in real time. Adjusting edge geometry is a trial and error process, but results are instant.

Borders can be rotated, scaled, flipped, and combined with other borders to create a unique edge.

EdgeStudio Sample

I would like to see more granular controls in EdgeStudio, but I guess that’s what Photoshop and Illustrator are for, right?

The EdgeStudio developer seems to specialize in one-trick pony apps for specific enhancements and I own a few; some are great, a few not so much. The only real problem is that each app in the collection is priced just beyond my personal threshold for throwaway money ($4.99) which is reserved for an app that does not have a try-before-you-buy option.

4 Mac Security Options Everyone Should Know

These apply to Mac users, of course, but are worth a visit if you’re concerned about security and privacy. From Topher Kessler:

While OS X is relatively secure by default, there are some additional steps you can take to ensure the data on your Mac is only accessible by you, even if your Mac is stolen.

Spoiler Alert!

  • Enable the OS X Firewall
  • Enable FileVault
  • Get A Password Manager
  • Lock The System

What Happens When You Step On Hot Lava

This should come under the heading of ‘duh’ but stepping on hot lava will cause a shoe to catch fire. Immediately.

15 Hideous Cars

From Odometer, of course. Here’s a sample.

Hideous Cars

It gets worse.

What’s Best? Viewing Email? Or, Just Knowing It’s There?

There are times when I gravitate toward using a Mac utility because it’s different and that causes me to rethink my processes and procedures. Take email. Puhleeze. If ever there was a killer app, it’s email. It’s always there, always bothering us, always asking for attention; it takes effort from users, but doesn’t give pleasure in return.

So, think different with Mail Mini, a Mac Menubar utility which, as the ‘mini’ in the name implies, doesn’t do much. In fact, Mail Mini does almost nothing except tell you when new unread email messages have arrived.

What’s the advantage of that? Doesn’t Mail or most email apps do the same thing? Yes, but that’s all Mail Mini does, so you can keep your regular email application closed, which reduces the urge to view and reply to incoming messages.

Mail Mini sits in the Menubar, checks for new unread messages on your email accounts (using IMAP only), displays when it was last refreshed and how many unread messages are available for each email account.

Mail Mini

One click to the Menubar displays each email account and the number of unread messages in each, but the Menubar itself displays the total number of unread messages.

Mail does much the same thing in the Dock, but that requires Mail to be running. Mail Mini does not, and that’s the beauty of using the utility as it reduces the urge to view or reply to each incoming message, so it’s good as a focus item for GTD followers.

Mail Mini supports the IMAP protocol (instead of POP) so it should work fine with Gmail, Yahoo!, iCloud, AOL, Outlook, and others. You’ll still need to use Mail or Outlook or whatever email app you use to read and respond or act upon email messages. Mail Mini simply notifies you how many messages are unread from each email account.

And that’s not bad for people who know the value of GTD, focus, and the dangers of constant interruptions.

13 Common Car Items You Can’t Find Anymore

I love lists like this; all click-bait but interesting. Where else but Odometer? The article says 10 but 13 are on the list.

Spoiler Alert!

  • Vent windows
  • Crank windows
  • Ashtrays
  • Suicide doors
  • Rear-facing seats
  • Cassette or 8-track players
  • Automatic should restraints
  • Horse-head hood ornaments
  • Wrist twists
  • Sedan front bench seats
  • Dial radios
  • Tail fins
  • Full size spare tires

Corvette Singray vs. Challenger SRT Hellcat

Ezra Dyer with the goodies on the matchup:

On paper, it looks like a bloodbath: the Hellcat has 707 horsepower to the Corvette’s mere 460. But horsepower isn’t the only factor at play here. For one thing, the Vette weighs about 1,100 pounds less than the Hellcat. With its rear transaxle — in this car, the new eight-speed automatic — the Vette has a higher percentage of its weight over the rear tires, which are also 10 millimeters wider than the Hellcat’s.

So, it’s brawn vs. lots of brawn.

By about 105 mph, the Hellcat and Vette are door to door. By 110, he’s pulled in front. At 120 the Hellcat is walking away. Then we hit the brakes. Our unscientific conclusion: The Vette launches harder off the line, but the Hellcat will inexorably reel it in if you give it enough runway.

I wonder how both compare to a Tesla.

Free: Super Fantastic Photo Image Editor: $30

Mac users have a wide variety of photo and image editing apps that range from free to fantastic to professional level. One of the best, Fotor, is free, Pixelmator is considered akin to Photoshop Lite and bargain priced, relatively speaking, though the learning curve simply to enhance photos can be daunting.

Down around the bottom of the price barrel is the free version PhotoScape X, packed with features perfect for enhancing photos with a minimum number of clicks. The feature list is extensive so somewhat predictable and ranges from standard adjustments like rotate and straighten, crop and resize, adjust color, add various effects, and the like. PhotoScape X does collages, animated GIFs, features a built-in photo and image browser, all kinds of brushes, effects, and filters.

Not bad for free, right?

PhotoScape X

Photos and images can be batch renamed and resized, uploaded to various social media sites, viewed full screen, merged, combined, sliced, diced, and Julienned with ease. Unlike some photo enhancement apps, PhotoScape X even has a built in screen capture and color picker.

In fact, it’s loaded with features you wouldn’t expect in a photo enhancement app, with some, like the masking and backgrounds, similar to those found on professional level tools.

What’s not to like? It’s free, right? Almost.

PhotoScape X

PhotoScape X is free on the Mac App Store but to unlock all the professional level features and functions you’ll have to cough up almost $30.

What are all those features? Nobody really wants to say, and I couldn’t find an official list on the Mac App Store or on the developer’s website. PhotoScape X starts at free, so there’s little to lose but your time, though the entire effort is trial and error. Once you try to use a feature you expect but is not there, for example.

That leads me to an issue I have with both the Mac App Store and the iTunes App Store for iPhone and iPad. I don’t mind in-app purchase options, but both Apple and the app developer need to be upfront about what you get for free, what you don’t get for free, and when you pay for extras, a user should know exactly what the add-on features are before the purchase.

You Know You’re A Redneck When…

Great collection of photos from Odometer of rednecks who repaired their own cars.

Sample:

Redneck Recaro Seats

216 Square Feet

That’s the size of the smallest apartment for rent in San Francisco. Tracy Elsen:

The diminutive dwelling is being called a “mini-studio” and is asking $1,425 a month. There is, of course, just one room that looks like it would fit a bed and not much else. It’s accompanied by a kitchen nook that is only a few feet wide and has a very small sink, a mini-fridge, one small cabinet and possibly a drawer. There’s also a shelf where we assume dishes would go. If you want to cook, a hot plate or a microwave are your only options.

On the positive side, dusting and cleaning won’t take long.

More Quantum Teleportation

Beam me up, Scotty‘ is closer to reality (though still far, far away) thanks to another successful experiment. Kelly Dickerson has details:

In a recent experiment, the quantum state (the direction it was spinning) of a light particle instantly traveled 15.5 miles (25 kilometers) across an optical fiber, becoming the farthest successful quantum teleportation feat yet. Advances in quantum teleportation could lead to better Internet and communication security, and get scientists closer to developing quantum computers.

I’m thinking very fast and secure quantum computers rather than beaming bodies around the solar system.

How To Turn Email Into Notes

Two related issues to living in a digital world still affect most of us. Email. And notes. As to the latter, we collect pieces of information daily and need a place to store and organize each one. As to the former, it’s the necessary evil of Mac and PC users, often because we use email as a storage place for notes and reminders.

Hmmm.

What if there were a way to take an email message and convert it to a note in a well organized note taking app. Oh, I don’t know. Something like Evernote! It would be a way to merge email into notes.

Let’s call it Evermail. Evernote gets email messages and stores them as notes in this clever and highly useful Mac utility.

EverMail works as a Mail plugin which makes it easy to convert an email message to an Evernote note. Install, set it up to link to Evernote, click to convert and create a note in Evernote which links back to the email message in Mail. The note keeps the email formatting, attachments, links and everything else.

EverMail

EverMail works forwards and backwards. Each email note in Evernote is linked back to the original email message (good for backups), yet remains a note. Each email message provides direct accessibility to the Evernote note.

Together, the two provide Mac users with the benefits of a popular and free notes app in Evernote, and still keep messages stored in Mail. EverMail is from the same Mac app developer who publishes one of my all time favorite email plugins– SendLater– a utility which lets you create an email message but send it later via a scheduler. Both are well done and very useful, though EverMail more so to those who needs a notes app or who already use Evernote.

The 9 Least Loved Cars

From Erich Schaal:

It turns out the average vehicle has about 70% of Consumer Reports subscribers saying they would buy it again. Top dog (surprise!) was the Tesla Model S at 98% satisfaction. Ho hum. Porsche drivers and Corvette owners ranked their smoking cars just behind the Model S. OK, we get it: Expensive performance cars make their owners happy. We won’t be standing on pins and needles waiting for word on how much Bentley owners love their cars.

On the other end of the spectrum were the cars that fewer than 50% of owners would buy again. Call them the least satisfying automobiles on the U.S. market.

Spoiler Alert!

  • Hyndai Tucson
  • Buick LaCrosse
  • Nissan Pathfinder
  • Ford Fiesta
  • VW Jetta
  • Nissan Sentra
  • Kia Rio
  • Jeep Compass
  • Nissan Versa

Nissan has three on the list.

$150,000 Dealer Markup

Car dealers are notorious for marking up popular models, but one dealer pushed the latest Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat into Aston-Martin territory. From Justine Hyde:

Caught over the weekend by one of the Dodge forums… a San Diego-area dealer asking for a “market adjustment” that would raise the cost of the 707-hp Hellcat to $212,175 — or roughly twice the price of a new Dodge Viper. Dodge executives knew that the $59,000 Hellcat would likely draw some “market adjustments,” so it set rules for supplying dealers that rewarded turnover — the more quickly a dealer sells its Hellcats, the more it gets — in hopes of limiting such practices.

Who would pay that much for a Dodge?

i5? Or, i7?

In case you were wondering about the differences between Intel’s i5 and i7 CPUs, Brad Boerque has a good summary on why the i7 might be worth the extra money.

It’ll make complex operations in demanding software smoother and decrease the time needed for serious number crunching. Shaving a few seconds off every minute of encoding 1080p video, for example, adds up if you regularly encode projects that are a couple hours long. Mobile gamers will also want to go Core i7, if only because Intel doesn’t make mobile Core i5 quads.

My typical buying routine is to get the fastest CPU, the largest HD, and the most RAM possible.

Get Focused And Declutter With Menubar Magic

The Mac’s Menubar is a mess. Apple really needs to make it a useful feature for all app developers because it’s convenient, handy, and available from within any Mac app. The Menubar is just one example of unfocused visual clutter. So is a Mac screen full of apps and windows. What the world needs is a Menubar utility which gets rid of the clutter so you can work on a specific app, distraction free.

Enter Houdini, a free and magical Mac Menubar utility which does that. It helps clutter up the already overworked and crowded Menubar, but with an ulterior motive in mind– distraction free apps.

Houdini is fun to use. Click on the magic wand in the Menubar. Select the app or apps you want to hide, use the slider bar to adjust the duration, and you’re done.

Houdini for Mac

Apps that are hidden are easily displayed with a click. Another click disables Houdini completely, or at the app level. Apps can be disabled from Houdini’s hiding apparatus by clicking the app icon within Houdini and dragging the time slider back to zero.

What you get is an uncluttered Mac screen which displays just those apps you want to view. If there’s a negative to using Houdini at all, it’s that it, too, is another Menubar app, and the Menubar is already a cluttered and disorganized place.

If your Mac’s Menubar needs organization, there are two apps I recommend. The first is Menubar Arranger, which arranges Menubar apps. The second is Bartender, which gives you multiple Menubars.

Bigfoot In Britain

With a couple of billion smartphones in the world, each sporting a very good camera for photos and videos, you’d think we would have found Bigfoot by now. Turns out, he’s gone abroad. Andy Campbell tells where Bigfoot went.

Adam Bird, 31, snapped a photo of what appears to be something lurking in the woods, as well as a video of groans in the woods that sound like they’re ripped right out of the original Jurassic Park movies.

Yes, there’s a video, too.

The real question that should be asked is, ‘How did Bigfoot get from the Northwest U.S. all the way to England?‘ Tunnels? Traveling circus?