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Star Apps: David X. Cohen

When David X. Cohen was in graduate school, he hit the proverbial fork in the road. The Harvard graduate had a degree in physics and was studying theoretical computer science at U.C. Berkeley. Would he opt for a career in mathematics and computer science or take a gamble and become a comedy writer? Fortunately for "The Simpsons" and "Futurama" fans, he took the comedy route. Now an expert in three disciplines, Cohen will chat about the intersection of math, technology, and comedy writing at Moogfest 2014 (April 23-27).

Talk to us about your appearance at … Read more

Convert images using Preview in OS X

There may be times when you might need to convert an image from one format to another on your Mac, either because of some requirement for a specific format, or to compress batches of images to save space.

Regardless of the specifics, if you need to convert images then you might find yourself considering expensive tools like Photoshop, or perhaps free open source projects like The Gimp as options for converting images; however, in doing so you will be overlooking a built-in option for doing this in Apple's included Preview program.

Single-image conversion Preview is Apple's utility for … Read more

Convert audio to ringtones using OS X Terminal

Have you encountered a sound bite, or perhaps a full song, that you would like to use as an alert or ringtone on your iPhone? If so, then you can do so using a simple utility available in the OS X Terminal to convert into a tone for your iOS device.

The utility is called "afconvert," which stands for "Audio File Convert" and is a tool that Apple has included in OS X since 2003. As its name suggests, this tool allows you to specify one audio file and convert it to another format, managing bitrates … Read more

StartStaX review

StarStaX is a powerful photo editing software that creates stacked images from your photos to generate amazing effects. With features like gap filling, blending, and overlaying dark frames, this tool helps you create works of art from your time-lapse and other photos.

There is no Help file in this app, and the interface is a bit confusing, especially if you're new to this type of program. Once you find your way around, though, you can quickly make some great images with the processing and blending tools available. The interface features an area on the left-hand side where you can … Read more

Voice is not enough: Motion is key to Android Wear

Google and Motorola rolled out their joint vision of Android Wear, the Moto 360, and the future of wearables on Tuesday. (LG also gave us a taste of its upcoming G Watch.) Based on the few videos and all the information released for developers, it appears that Google's wearable platform is a fancy port of Google Now "cards" and voice control in a pretty spiffy, new form factor.

While this is the focus of the developer preview out this week, don't be fooled. Android Wear will be much more than just some full-faced watches that respond to speech, taps, and swipes. For the past few years now, Google has been telegraphing that it is much more interested in how we ambulate our entire bodies, not just our index fingers and vocal cords. … Read more

View your iPhone on your Mac

Apple's iPhone and iPad support several options to display on larger screens, including using a VGA, HDMI, or DVI adapter. In addition, Apple supports its Wi-Fi-based AirPlay mirroring technology that allows streaming of the iPhone or iPad's screen to supported devices. This allows for viewing through projectors and on televisions which have this technology.

While this feature is convenient if you have a device that supports AirPlay mirroring, you might find that Apple's own line of Macs lack this feature. As with iOS, Apple has included AirPlay mirroring in OS X to stream to devices that support … Read more

How to send a text message via command line in OS X

OS X Daily recently outlined a new hint which allows you to send text messages to any SMS-supporting phone for free, from the OS X command line (or any OS with a command line supporting the "curl" command).

To do this, you use TextBelt, which is a Web-based SMS API that you can use to text messages using simple POST requests with the "curl" command. For example, to send a text message, you can run the following command:

curl http://textbelt.com/text -d number=4155551111 -d message="The Message Text"

In this example, … Read more

AT&T Moto X sees Android 4.4.2 update

Motorola and AT&T have commenced the Android 4.4.2 software update for the Moto X smartphone.

Available immediately, the update brings the handset current with the latest and greatest of Google's mobile operating system. As is the case with the other carrier-branded versions of the Moto X, Android 4.4.2 KitKat includes native cloud printing capabilities and improved battery life.

The new release also includes a bug fix to address email sync delays and a patch for data connectivity issues when roaming outside of the United States.

Moto X users on AT&T's … Read more

iBetterCharge monitors your iOS device battery level from a Mac

Forgetting to charge your smartphone or tablet, only to realize the battery is almost dead when you're heading out the door is a bummer. If only there were some way for your Mac to alert you when your device's battery was getting low. Wait, there is.

As reported by 9to5Mac, a free OS X app called iBetterCharge will monitor your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch battery level for you.

After downloading and installing the app, you'll need to ensure that you have iTunes Wi-Fi sync enabled for the specific device(s) you want to monitor. After that, … Read more

How to save to hidden directories in OS X

While in standard uses there may be little reason to save files to a hidden directory in OS X, there are sometimes cases when you might want to do this. The operating system contains numerous hidden directories, such as the Library folder in your user account, a number of system folders that contain configuration files and programs, as well as the ability to manually hide specific folders on your system which, for fun or otherwise, can be used to keep items relatively hidden.

If you would like to access a hidden folder on your system, you might find that accessing … Read more