MyAppleMenu - Fri, Mar 6, 2015

Fri, Mar 6, 2015 The Write-Once-Run-Everywhere Edition

Today, Microsoft is launching the beta version of Microsoft Office 2016, promising "redesigned Ribbon and your favorite cross-platform features and keyboard shortcuts." To celebrate, here's a look back at the famous Mac Word 6.0. :-)

Speaking of Microsoft... If you are a programmer, you are probably familiar with Microsoft Visual Studio, one of the better products Microsoft produces for the Windows platform. But, are you aware that there was once a Microsoft Visual C++ Cross Development for Macintosh? As best as I can recall, Microsoft never followed up with a second version.

These Apps Help Kids With Autism Learn Basic Skills

Li Zhou, Smithsonian:

For children with autism, math problems are a lot easier if images are involved. Addition, for example, becomes significantly more clear if the equation and answer are accompanied by physical pictures representing the math taking place. Two cars plus three cars is logically depicted with images of five physical cars. Reinforcing every question with a visual reference helps make it more concrete and accessible.

Katie Hench, Christopher Flint and Lally Daley, all of whom have worked with autistic students as special education teachers or therapists, were inspired by their firsthand experiences to establish Infiniteach, a Chicago-based startup building mobile apps that cater to the specific ways that kids with autism learn. Their current app, Skill Champ, teaches ten vital skills, including number matching and object sorting, using approaches proven to resonate with autistic students.

Microsoft Releases the Preview Version of Microsoft Office 2016

According to Microsoft, Office 2016 is designed to unify the look and feel of the applications across all platforms, so that no matter where you use Office—Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Web—the way you work remains the same. To that end, Microsoft has updated the “ribbon,” that tabbed toolbar running across the top of every Office document, so it looks like Office 2013 for Windows, and according to Microsoft, the user interface is now the same across all versions. Looking at the Windows and Mac versions side-by-side I’d say that’s accurate, although, to my somewhat biased eye, Office 2016 is easier on the eyes.

Office now supports Yosemite’s native full-screen mode, but does not support Yosemite’s native auto-save features nor does it support renaming, moving, tagging, or locking documents using the document title bar. And it should be noted that it’s unlikely you’ll see support for these features in any future versions of Office, as, according to Microsoft, Yosemite’s autosave feature and OneDrive don’t play well together. The one notable autosave exception is (pun intended) OneNote, which has had its own version of autosave and synchronization since it was first released.

Cloud connectivity is a central tenet of the "Microsoft everywhere" strategy that drove the company to create all-new clients for iOS and the Mac, and users who frequently hop between platforms will be pleasantly surprised to see it used not just for synchronizing documents, but for enabling small interactions that make things easier.

One example can be seen in the redesigned Open dialog. Taking a cue from their mobile brethren, the new Mac apps feature an updated "Recents" tab that automatically surfaces the user's most recently-opened documents, regardless of platform — edit a document in Word for iPad, and it will appear at the top of the list in Word for Mac.

Microsoft is providing a free preview of Microsoft Office 2016 that you can download onto your Mac. It is for OS X Yosemite only, and you need to be aware that this is a beta version. It can potentially wipe out your hard disk and you have no one to blame.

Access Hidden Options and Information with Your Mac's Option Key

How-To Geek:

Apple hides a lot of additional information and useful options in your Mac’s menus. You can access these > hidden options by holding down the Option key.

In some cases, you may have to hold the Option key before opening a menu. In others, you can press the > Option key while the menu is open and see the menu items change.

Holding down the Shift key while holding down the Option key may reveal even more additional options in some menus.

Apple's Secret Lab Lets Facebook Fine-Tune Apps before the Watch's Debut

Adam Satariano and Tim Higgins, Bloomberg:

In a lab shut off from communication with the outside world and where visitors can't bring in a pad of paper, let alone a phone, Apple Inc. has given some companies special early access to Apple Watch.

The three companies named in the article are BMW, Facebook, and United.

Also, if you are developing apps for Apple Watch, do take note:

Apple has recommended that developers be judicious about interrupting people with constant alerts that will buzz their wrist or drain the battery. [...] Apple is suggesting developers design their applications to be used for no longer than 10 seconds at a time.

About the Price of Apple Watch



Banks Changing Apple Pay Procedures after Fraud, Consultants Say

Olga Kharif, Elizabeth Dexheimer and Tim Higgins, Bloomberg:

“This is a black eye that needs to heal through improved authentication procedures,” said Richard Crone, chief executive officer of Crone Consulting LLC. Some banks are now requiring users to call them to activate Apple Pay, to ensure that their identities haven’t been stolen, he said.

France, Luxembourg Lose Lower VAT Rate Battle on Ebooks

Foo Yun Chee, Reuters:

France and Luxembourg lost their battle to apply reduced VAT rates to ebooks on Thursday when a top European court agreed with EU regulators that only paper books qualified for lower taxes.

Your e-books are going to cost more. Even though Europe wants to encourage you to read more, you are not suppose to benefit smartphone and tablet makers through reduced VAT.

It doesn't make sense to (layperson) me -- afterall, didn't you pay for the VAT already when you purchase your smartphone or your tablet? Or maybe, in a world of digital goods and services, VAT doesn't make sense anymore?

What's Interesting?


Parting Words

Thanks for reading.