Should You Turn Your Computer Off At Night?

It’s an age old question answered by experts who still do not agree. Simon Hill:

The idea that you should avoid turning your computer off at night is pretty popular: After all, frequent shutdowns and start ups are going to have an impact on the components and wear them out faster. Aren’t they? On the other hand, you’d imagine having your computer running all the time is going to contribute to wear and tear as well, wouldn’t you?

So, it the end, it depends. If you use it all day, don’t turn it off for brief periods. If you use it for a few hours only, turn it off.

The 10 Most Expensive Cars You Can Own

There must be a reason we’re attracted to lists of vehicles most of us will never see, let alone drive, let alone own. It takes a few clicks to get through Exotic Whips list of expensive cars, #10 starts at $445,000.

If you happen to have a TON of cash sitting around collecting dust, this is going to be a great guide on how to spend that cash quickly! However, if you’re the typical gear head and you love checking out ridiculous cars, you’re who this is meant for! These are the current most expensive rides you can buy. This has been a pretty amazing year for super cars. We were introduced to the LaFerrari, Porsche 918, and McLaren P1…all of which made our list of most expensive cars, go figure

Spoiler Alert!

  • Lamborghini Aventador Roadster – $445,000
  • Rolls-Royce Phanton Extended -$550,000
  • Porsche 918 Spyder – $850,000
  • 2013 Henneyssey Venom GT – $1,000,000
  • 2014 McLaren P1 – $1,150,000
  • 2013 Pagani Huayra – $1,500,000
  • 2013 Koenigsegg Agera R – $1,700,000
  • 2014  Ferrari LaFerrari – $1,700,000
  • 2013 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse – $2.25-million
  • 2014 Lamborghnini Veneno – $4-million

What $4-million gets you.

Lamborghini Veneno

I prefer red.

Free: Cosmic Brush Is The Coolest New Mac Paint Tool

Photoshop competitors have come out of the woodwork in recent years, starting with Pixelmator and more recently Affinity’s new Photo app. In between are a few hundred photo enhancement, paint, and drawing apps which fill specific needs, but at a much lower price point than Adobe’s Create Cloud’s monthly rental fee.

The latest to hit my Mac’s screen is Cosmic Brush. I’m not sure if it’s merely a colorful way to doodle over a photo or create a radiant piece of neon art, but the results speak for themselves.

The first screen shot image has ‘doodle’ written all over it.

Cosmic Brush

Cosmic Brush brings multiple tools and options to fullscreen mode, including layers, color sets, undo and redo, and the all important customizable color palettes. Keyboard shortcuts make it easy to navigate through and around an image, matched with trackpad gestures.

Unique to Cosmic Brush and obviously resembling the name are the brushes; 3D-Shaded Brush, Plasma Chain Brush, Translucent Brush, Halo Brush and others. Yes, there’s even a built-in eraser because, well, you know; trial and error is your friend.

Cosmic Brush can be downloaded and used free from the Mac App Store, so you can get an idea of how it works. To remove the advertising and add more tools, including more layers, and multiple paper color options, the pro version will set you back a few dollars.

Cosmic Brush

I can see how the effects generated by Cosmic Brush, even in the free version, could be useful. They’re cool and colorful but altogether limiting. Every example given indicates Cosmic Brush could just as easily be renamed Neon Brush.

Apple Car: ‘Hairball’

From Dan Akerson, former CEO of General Motors on Apple building a car.

I think somebody is kind of trying to cough up a hairball here. If I were an Apple shareholder, I wouldn’t be very happy. I would be highly suspect of the long-term prospect of getting into a low-margin, heavy-manufacturing” business… A lot of people who don’t ever operate in it don’t understand and have a tendency to underestimate… They’d better think carefully if they want to get into the hard-core manufacturing… We take steel, raw steel, and turn it into car. They have no idea what they’re getting into if they get into that.

Of course, Apple didn’t know diddly squat about the smartphone business before taking away the industry’s profits.

7 Surprising Facts About Cannibalism

I can’t be the only one disturbed by the fact that someone tracks these kinds of facts. Phil Edwards explains:

Historians and anthropologists, however, have tried to study the history and science of cannibalism over the years: why it happens, when it occurs, and who’s affected. It tests the ultimate boundaries of cultural relativism, health, and ritual. Though this list isn’t at all comprehensive, it catalogs some of the unusual things about cannibalism you might have missed.

Spoiler Alert!

  • Humans are mostly hard-wired against cannibalism — but not always
  • Animals are mostly hard-wired against cannibalism — but not always
  • “Cannibalism” was named after people who might not have been cannibals
  • Cannibalistic rituals could be surprisingly complex
  • Cannibalism was practiced in colonial America
  • The Donner party wasn’t solely about cannibalism
  • Cannibalism was sometimes used as a medical treatment

Apple Car Is Fantasy

Former Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassée on the potential for an Apple car.

Apple has made a commitment to better in-car systems, not in and for themselves in isolation, but as a reinforcement of the iOS ecosystem. If the large number of engineers that they’ve “poached” from Tesla seems a bit much, consider again the enormous size of iPhone (and iPad) revenue for this past quarter: $60B – compared to GM’s $40B for the same period. To Apple, anything that helps the iOS ecosystem is well worth what looks like oversized investments to outsiders.

So, it’s Apple wanting to put iOS into every car on planet earth vs. making one with an Apple logo. Do you want one?

An Apple car feels good: design, quality, service, trust. A winner. I’ll buy two. It’ll work because it’d be really great if it did… but a small matter of implementation – actually the larger Moore’s Law intrudes.

The fantastic Apple Car is a fantasy.

But what a great fantasy to ruminate over for a few years? Just like we’ve done with an Apple-branded TV. My only question is, “Where is Gene Munster on this rumor?

How To Control Sound Volume Level On Each Mac App

My Macs are home to more audio recording, editing, and mixing apps than celebrities have gaffes and scandals. The latest is SoundBunny. This remarkable little app does something that Apple should put into OS X. Individual audio controls for each Mac app that uses sound.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this image of the SoundBunny control panel tells you everything you need to know.

SoundBunny Controls

What you see are the apps in OS X which use sound. SoundBunny gives you an individual volume control for each one. Set iTunes to be loud or soft. Set Mail’s incoming email notification sound to a lower volume, or mute the sound entirely.

You get the idea. Each app that uses sound can be individually controlled for volume or mute. This functionality has purpose. Set the volume on Mail so it’s nice and loud and drowns out iTunes if you’re expecting important email to arrive.

Adjusting the audio controls is equally simple. Drag the control knob to the left to reduce the volume. Drag it back to the right to increase the volume. Click the sound button on the right of each slider control to toggle sound on or off.

SoundBunny does require a restart once you’ve installed the app. What’s missing? I would dearly love to see a few sound enhancement functions for each app’s sound, and perhaps an equalizer feature, but those are minor requests. Otherwise, SoundBunny is sufficiently useful and so totally obvious that Apple should put similar controls in OS X Yosemite already.

Be Your Own ‘Genius’

This one is easier said than done but can work well if your Mac, iPhone, or iPad is having troubles not quickly solved. Joe Caiati was an Apple Genius and gives good advice for Mac users.

No one likes visiting the Genius Bar.

If you are going there it’s because something is wrong with your Apple product and depending on the time of day, you could be waiting for a while to see a Genius. Some wait all of that time just to ask a simple question, but others may need a repair and can be without their Mac for a couple of days or more.

The list is useful but probably not aimed at the average Mac user who does not understand Plist files and whose eyes glaze over when opening Activity Monitor.

Ex-Flight Attendant’s Top 10 Airline Etiquette Tips

My favorite flight is from Honolulu to Maui. 10 minutes up, 10 minutes down; barely enough time to open the in-flight magazine or drink the guava juice. Sid Lipsey created a list of flying tips from flight attendants. Some are obvious, others not so much.

Being late to the airport, getting stuck in a long security line, being told your bag’s too heavy to carry on — these are all preventable mistakes that can lead to great stress, which, as we all know, is a recipe for inconsiderate behavior. So step one for being a courteous flier is to not make any unforced flying errors: Prepare for your flight.

Spoiler Alert!

  • Don’t pack what you can’t lift
  • Help others with their bags
  • Check behind before recline
  • Know the armrest rules (aisle and window seats get one, middle seat gets two)
  • Be respectful of others (no loud music or stinky food)
  • Be polite to noisy, talkative seatmate
  • Those in front should get off first
  • Hold your tongue (no sense in having two people be rude)
  • Be a good parent (or, just never travel with kids)

10 Old Cars On The Way To Becoming Classics

These lists are always subjective but this one is a good way to see if you happen to have an oldie that can also be a goodie. From Autos runs through page after page of Porsche, Lamborghini, Jaguar, before getting to a true classic:

In a sure sign of the collector car generational shift, Bandit-era Pontiac Trans Ams, which could be had all day long for under 10 grand five years ago, are now easier to sell than 1964 GTOs. Great 1976-79 Trans Ams (in black with the screaming chicken hood decal) are among the hottest collector cars in America right now.

How To Rip Colors From A Photo On Your Mac

Color picker apps and color palette utilities abound and Mac users have a growing choice of color tools. One function you won’t find in many such apps is the option to rip a color palette from a photo or graphic design or image. Every photo has a color palette and knowing the colors helps in design.

If you’re a Mac graphic designer or photo professional who needs the color palette pulled from a photo or image and you’d rather not devote the time, effort, and expense of Photoshop’s monthly rental fees and extravagant learning curve, there’s Color Palette from Image; an elegant Mac app that leaves change from a $2 bill.

Drag and drop a photo or image onto the app window and this is what you get. A color palette.

Color Palette for Image

As simple and elegant as the palette extraction is– drag and drop is about as simple as it gets– Color Palette has a few useful tricks.

For example, use Color Palette to correct a palette, save the adjustments or export a color palette to OS X’s color picker.

More Color Palette

Even the number of colors in a palette can be adjust in Color Palette.

What’s missing is a magnifying loupe to extract color values, color picker style. Sure, plenty of apps do that, and there are many inexpensive color pickers on the Mac App Store, but since Color Palette is already open, why not have a built-in picker?

Otherwise, nicely done, often needed, therefore useful, and priced about right.

How To Tell If Your iPhone Battery Is Healthy Or Bad

This tip works on both iPhones and Android smartphones (and probably on any other phone, smart or otherwise, that contains a battery). From Nick T on battery problems you can see:

If the battery of your phone is removable, simply take it out with caution (after turning the phone off, of course) and look for symptoms like bulging, corrosion near the metal terminals, and green or white-ish stains. These are all signs that the cell is about to kick the bucket. If you don’t see anything wrong with it, proceed to the next tip. If you find suspicious stains or if your cell has developed a hump, however, it is a good idea to ask your carrier or vendor for advice as your battery most likely needs to be replaced. Don’t put the old cell back inside the phone as you don’t want it leaking any nasty chemicals; these may damage the phone’s circuitry. Instead, seal the battery in a plastic zip bag and make sure you recycle it once it is confirmed to be faulty by a professional.

Duh.

What about problems you can’t see?

Not all phones have batteries that can be easily inspected by the user. If that’s the case with your handset, you can diagnose the health of its cell by monitoring how fast its charge level drops. It is not supposed to drop by two or more percentage points at a time. (Most phones allow you to have their battery level displayed as a percentage in the status bar. If you can’t find the option in its settings menu, try using a widget.) And if your battery goes from full to zero in a matter of hours even when you barely use your phone, its is probably a goner.

My iPhone 6 Plus can go about three days on a charge, a bit less if I play games or use FaceTime.

Cheapest Gas Price On Planet Earth

Vying for the lowest gasoline prices anywhere, even when the earth’s economy faces a glut of oil and lower fuel prices, is Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Kevin Sullivan on prices to make you jealous (but not enough to move there):

Ahmed al-Ghaith pulled his Dodge Durango into a gas station in central Riyadh and told the attendant to fill it up. In a country where gas sells for 45 cents a gallon, that cost him $12.

Ouch.

Millionaire Pitcher Lives in VW Microbus

Keith Griffin:

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Daniel Norris was paid a $2 million signing bonus. He promptly used that money to buy a 1978 Volkswagen Westfalia microbus…that he lives in.

That’s right, it’s not part of his automotive collection. A good part of the year it’s his home. This talented pitcher, who made his Major League debut in September 2014, would rather rough it than live the easy life in a place with four walls, a shower and a toilet.

Roughing it?

Daniel Norris

The dude shaves with an ax.

A New But Odd Way To View, Manage, Sort, Arrange, And Share Photos On Your Mac

Mac users have many ways to manipulate, enhance, or edit photos, but fewer choices to manage and share a large number of photos. At the low end there’s iPhoto. Freely available for every Mac with some enhancement tools and photos can be uploaded and shared easily. At the higher end there’s Apple’s moribund Aperture, and Adobe’s highly touted Lightroom. In-between are a number of utilities which act as viewer, or batch processor, or photo editor, but none of them are quite like My Photos Over Time.

Let me call it MPOT to save everyone some reading time and to save me some typing effort. MPOT is a photo organizer with a number of useful functions bolted on. It generates photo collections from a folder of photos, so you’re kinda sorta in control of how your photos are organized.

MPOT can search through many subfolders and display photo thumbnails in JPG, PNG, GIF, but, oddly, not RAW or PSD. Photos can be arranged and displayed by date, all neatly formatted with thumbnails and timestamp. Click to create a photo gallery to upload to the web.

My Photos Over Time

While MPOT’s user interface isn’t scary, it’s also a bit convoluted. The basic toolbar at the top is easy enough to figure out because the icons are labeled, but the viewing process requires many clicks and windows to manage.

MPOT would appear to be useful for Mac using photographers with many photo projects that need to be shared with clients online. An FTP upload capability is built-in, and MPOT documents are saved in the egg page document format which is also used by the HTML Egg Pro app for iPhone and iPad, which is used to create websites (also published by the MPOT app developer).

HTML Egg Pro

In all fairness, it seems like a very convoluted way to organize photos, and then create a gallery of photos to share online. iPhoto does much the same kind of gallery publication for free, and even uploads photos to Flickr with a click.

Another Smartphone Battery Problem Solved

Samsung to the rescue with its proprietary ePoP memory for smartphones. Jay McGregor explains ePoP and what it means for smartphones.

ePoP is a single memory package that consists of 3GB LPDDR3 DRAM, 32GB eMMC (embedded multi-media card) and a controller. It combines all essential memory components into a single package that can be stacked directly on top of the mobile processor, without taking any additional space.

The estimated 40-percent space savings means a larger smartphone battery. Or, a slimmer, thinner smartphone. Or, a bigger battery and a higher resolution screen.

My iPhone 6 Plus has over 400 pixels per inch and the battery lasts two to three days.

Demand, Meet Supply

Why are gasoline and oil prices so low? Barani Krishnan explains it the hard way.

Oil cut short a four-day rally on Wednesday, with investors and traders focusing again on the supply glut in the market after U.S. crude stocks set record highs.

A rebound in the dollar also weighed on crude prices because it makes commodities denominated in that currency more costly.

In other words, the supply chain is full, demand has peaked, and oil producing and exporting countries do not want to cut production.

Demand, meet supply.

Ford Tough?

Great video from Anthony Alaniz of a Ford F-150 pickup truck pulling a tractor trailer truck through Chicago’s snow packed streets. What happened?

The tires dig as billows of smoke and snow erupt before the behemoth begins to move. You hear the semi engine revving in unison with the pickup truck’s. The F-150 pulls the semi out in just over a minute, appearing to take almost no effort (Ford, make this into a commercial. You can thank us later.)

Impressive.

Not so impressive is Theophilus Chin’s Ford Mustang hatchback.

The idea behind the rendering was to create a shooting brake, but somewhere along the way it morphed into this hatchback. And, well, it’s not the best looking version of the Mustang. It was created by Thoephilus Chin, and to be fair, there was a good amount of work that went into keeping the car’s signature elements, but it just doesn’t work.

Ford Mustang GT Hatchback

Yep. It doesn’t work.

What Am I Missing About Mac Screen And Graphic Annotation Features?

How much do you use document annotations or screen capture annotations? A friend of mine asked me to try a clever Mac application which captures anything on the screen, and lets you annotate whatever is on the screen or captured image. In a way, that capability turns the Mac’s screen into some sort of magical whiteboard (without the white, markers, or eraser).

The app I tried on my Mac costs a mere 99-cents and it’s called Screenink. As in digital ink for what’s on the Mac’s screen.

What you get is a clever utility which lets you annotate– write or draw– almost anything on the Mac’s screen while you’re using your Mac, and capture the screen images and save them as graphic files. All the palette tools you need to write, draw, copy, annotate are available with a click.

Screenink

Draw speech bubbles with text, arrows, lines, circles, rectangles, boxes and control shape, fill, stroke and color– all over the top of whatever is on the Mac’s screen at the moment. There’s even an option to capture the screen with a freeform shape tool, and pick out a color from the screen.

There’s even a built-in ruler and magnifying loupe.

More Screenink

There are a few dozen screen grab and annotation apps on the Mac App Store to tell me there must be a market for such utilities. Apple even puts some of the annotation tools into the Preview app and Mail app, so users obviously want the functionality.

So, what am I missing? What’s the point? Why do Mac users need such capability?

Marriott’s Convoluted Logic

Arne Sorenson, Marriott International’s CEO, on the Wi-Fi blocking scandal that plagues the company. Total PR speak.

We have withdrawn our petition to the FCC on cybersecurity – an initiative we thought was the right thing to do. However, in the face of disagreement from both regulators and our customers, we see that the effort was doomed.

Really? Blocking a customer’s ability to use a personal smartphone hotspot was a good idea?

We wanted to protect the security of Wi-Fi use for conferences at our hotels – it had nothing to do with individual guest use of Wi-Fi or personal Wi-Fi hotspots.

Uh huh. Sure. That’s the ticket.

In fact, we have led the industry in offering millions of customers free Internet access. In October, we announced that Marriott Rewards Members – a membership that is free and open to anyone – would have free Internet when they book direct. That message has been drowned out by the noise with the FCC.

Good grief. The FCC did the right thing by scolding Marriott which did the wrong thing, then masked it by saying “free internet” (if you join a Marriott membership group).

Cybersecurity is a major concern across the business world and, certainly, in our industry, where guests and conference-goers rightly expect that any hotel-provided connection be secure.

The subject at hand is Marriott’s desire to block user hotspots, not hotel-provided connections. Doublespeak is PR’s language; the one Marriott uses.

We are in a pitched battle against hackers who are at work daily trying to fool consumers…

Just as Marriott tried to fool consumers by using security as a shield to extract more money from customers. Marriott only did the right thing when exposed and shamed publicly for customer abuse, then scolded publicly by the FCC.

Still, using doublespeak PR, the company managed to pat itself on the back.