7 Super Mario Secrets And Secret Levels

Super Mario Run is Nintendo’s new genius at mobile gaming. As a game, the new Super Mario on mobile is proving a great challenge for players. But as a newbie to the game, you may not know all the secrets there is to know about Nintendo’s new Super Mario Run. Don’t worry, we got you covered with seven secrets to help you play Super Mario Run better.

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Ferrite Recording Studio Updates – Extract audio from Video and more bitrate exporting options.

Ferrite is perhaps the best way to record, edit and publish a podcast right from your iOS device and I make no secret of my liking for Ferrite. I’ve used it more than once to edit the Essential Apple podcast and recently did a whole show on the topic of producing a podcast just using an iPad (Ep 17: Nothing more than an iPhone). A new update is out with new features exclusively for paying customers and general free updates.

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EE to Offer 6 Months Of Apple Music To New And Upgrading Customers

Apple and UK mobile phone giant EE have stuck a deal to offer 6 months of Apple music free to new or upgrading users to the EE mobile network. People familiar with the matter have reported that the CEO of EE flew out to Cupertino to get the deal done.

At the time of writing an EE store employee, who for obvious reasons wanted to anonymous, reported that front line staff are already being briefed on the deal which will be completely seperate from Apple’s 3 month trial.

The 6 months free Apple music offer is due to roll out soon and what better timing with the Apple Music Festival at the RoundHouse London coming up on September 18 – 30.

6 months of Apple free Apple music dwarfs any free trail offeres from rivals Spotify and Pandora who offer free premium service trails for up to 60 days if you Google around and with EE having pretty decent 4G coverage and speeds around the UK buffering shouldn’t be too much of an issue but of course keep an eye on your data limits.

This deal follows hot on another deal where customers can get  6 months free BT sport.

Find out more on the EE.co.uk website about six free months of Apple music.

Bring Back The Best Games Of YesterYear With Retro Gaming On Your Mac.

Gaming on the Mac is a strange beast. Take a look at some top tier games and you’ll find an array of information telling you what isn’t compatible, rather than what will work. I’m looking at you X-Com 2. Running a system a couple of years old will stand you in good stead especially since Apple hasn’t updated some product lines in over 300 days, but even then if you don’t have the top of the line model you may be struggling with some of the most demanding  games.

But what if your kit is like mine, perfectly adequate for day to day use it still runs the latest Mac OS betas fine but getting your game on isn’t going to happen and funds don’t permit purchasing of a new shiny? There’s retro gaming.

Retro Gaming has seen an incredible resurgence recently even more so as the process of gaming in the yesteryear era is now substantially easier.  Before emulation / retro gaming could be a complete hassle. Previously it was a case of finding an emulator, finding a ROM to boot the emulator[1], configuring the emulator and then finding the ROM for the game you wanted to play. Depending on the game, you may have to tweak the emulation experience and then, finally, you’re  up and running (hopefully).

However there is an easier way thanks to the excellent website GamesNostalgia All of the pain has been removed of configuration leaving you to just search for a game, download and run. That really is all that’s needed and I should know as I’ve wasted more than a few weekends rolling back the years with Speedball 2 or just one more match on Sensible World Of Soccer.

Thousands of games are available from a huge range of old console and computer formats such as Amiga, C64, Spectrum,  Megadrive, SNES, Atari, Coleco, Gameboy… The list goes on and on, each game running near flawlessly on all my aging kit, including my 2009 MacBook Pro and my i7 iMac with a huge amount of ram powered by a weedy Intel HD graphics card.

Running retro games on a big screen did make me feel all nostalgic and for the brief moment I considered trying to work out how I might find a CRT and connect that up just so it would look fuzzier for the full old school gaming vibe.

Granted the experience hasn’t been perfect for a couple of reasons. Back in the day designers worked with the limitations of CRT screens. Back in those days colours would bleed together and on today’s LCD screens it looks almost jarringly sharp but that doesn’t detract from a horrendous level of addictiveness of some games. Also I don’t own a microswitched competition pro joystick or being a bit more up to date an Xbox controller, which is easily configured to work on the Mac, and has now been ordered from Amazon[2].

So if you want to game on your older equipment and you don’t fancy playing an iOS version of some games via airplay onto your TV go check out GamesNostalgia

[1] Not all emulators need this but the interesting ones like Dolphin and Playstation do.  
[2] All the Amazon links here use our affiliate code. It would be great if you used them when shopping at Amazon.

Rumours and Rumours and Rumours, Oh My!

With only a few weeks remaining until Apple reveals the new hardware it has been working on the tech press is naturally filled with rumours. The audio jack will be removed, dual cameras, OLED screen bars and countless other supposed rumours and hearsay that ‘people familiar with the matter’ or ‘unnamed sources’ seem more than willing to share.

Now I realise that these sites have to meet their daily post quotas and usually any attention grabbing headline with the word Apple in it is bound to generate some interest, be it positive or negative, but things appear to be getting out of hand this cycle.

There have not only been the usual rumours but now it seems a fresh cry has joined the chorus. That being that this year’s iPhone will be so lacklustre in new features that you’ll most probably be better off waiting until 2017 before upgrading.

What appears to be the main reason for this? Well, it relates to the fact that next year is the 10th anniversary of the iPhone and some believe Apple will really push the boat out for that model and load it with countless technological treats that we can only gawp at in wonder from way back here in boring old 2016. For some even the 2017 model is not good enough and it’s the 2018 model that we’ll ‘really’ want.

Now I want to give these publications the benefit of the doubt and trust their opinions are shared in the best interests of us mere consumers, however, I can’t help but feel a little cynical when I read these articles. I understand Apple has its detractors and I can see why some of the choices it makes can infuriate users and commentators, not to mention bewilder the competition and analysts alike. But to believe that Apple’s flagship device, the device that earns the most every financial quarter, would be allowed to lapse and lay stagnant for twelve, or even more ridiculous, twenty-four months is almost laughable.

These devices that we use are not rushed and pieced together a few months before launch. They are worked on for years. In an interview Jony Ive has discussed how as Apple was preparing to launch the iPhone 4 his team was already working though the form factors for the iPhone 6.

Apple is a long term company, especially when it comes to hardware. They are in the enviable position that they do not need to rush to market. Whereas other technology companies may release a number of different devices throughout the year and hope the sales are significant enough to earn a profit, Apple, until recently with the iPhoneSE, releases one model (albeit in two different sizes) but they still need it to be a successful in real terms. They need to make this one phone the best they can because they will not be able to correct it for another 12 months following the launch. They also have to build enough units to satisfy the enormous demand, a daunting logistical nightmare that they usually handle competently.

I have no real clue what Apple will announce this coming September, and from the looks of it neither do most of the tech press. This is not their fault as Apple is one of the most secretive companies around, something that is not surprising seeing how many of their designs are copied shorty after launch.

As a result it is no wonder the tech sites and press scramble for every morsel of information, no matter how outlandish, how brazen or, ironically, how predictable (it will be thinner and faster). Fortunately Apple will soon reveal their new devices and there will be a few glorious hours when rumours will take a backseat to actual facts. So once Tim Cook takes to the stage next month enjoy that brief respite, as it will only be a few days, I’m sure, until we’ll start hearing about the iPhone 7S or iPhone 8… and apparently this one will read your mind, an ‘informed source’ tells me.

Hey-Siri.io: A Comprehensive Guide On Talking To Siri.

Sometimes dealing with Siri is great, never missing a beat. Other times a drawn-out, knock-down battle rages, just to get the simplest thing done with Siri. How many times has Siri asked you a question to which you answer with a simple “no” only to be rewarded with “sorry I don’t understand”?

Most people will know the basics “call someone”, “Facetime audio someone”, “tell Karl I’m going to be late for the Podcast” but what if you want to delve deeper? To use the virtual assistants full selection of commands. As per the apparent standard from the Cupertino giant, there is no guide. Apple seem to want you to work it out for yourself. However, help is finally here.

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Meet Hey-Siri.io an incredibly useful site letting you browse every command supported by Siri in Apple’s apps. Over 433 commands are documented with 1000 variations ready for your perusal.

The Hey-Siri.io is very Apple-like in design, plenty of white space, easy to read text with a search facility and you can just choose a command you want to find out more about. I wasn’t aware that “I’m Home” existed.

As great as this resource is, the creators are seeking suggestions and feedback to make Hey-Siri.io even better. Here’s hoping for an even bigger update when Siri drops on the Mac later this year.

How to stop iTunes opening when you plug in your iPhone / iPad

iTunes opening when you attached your device is handy to start with but soon becomes an annoyance. iTunes pops up, invariably there will be a dialogue box of some sort when all you wan to do is give your device a quick charge.

iTunes has changed how you stop it launching  when a device is plugged in, before you would open iTunes, select your device, go to the Summary tab and unselect Open iTunes when this iPhone is connected. With iTunes that option has moved.

How to stop iTunes running when plugging in your device.

  1. Open iTunes (or just plug your device in).
  2. Goto preferences
  3. Click devices
  4. Un tick Prevent iPods, iPhones and iPads from synching automatically.
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and you’re done. The only thing to bear in mind is that now you’ll need to run iTunes manually if you keep your backups on your system.

Apple Releases New Apple TV Remote App

Finally, some might say, the promised Apple TV Remote app has been released to the general public after being part of the iOS 10 developer Beta since WWDC.

The app is new and not an upgrade, is iPhone only mimicking the look and functionality of the Siri remote bundled with the latest Apple TV yet has some sizeable differences.

You can still get the old remote app called iTunes Remote but upon running an error pops up warning you it’s not optimised for iOS 10, if you are running it on the iOS 10 beta.

Two thirds of the Apple TV remote’s screen is taken up with a representation of the track pad that is the equivilant counterpart on the Siri Remote. Below this menu options are available letting you step back through levels after you’ve drilled down into the many Apple TV screens. At each side buttons to stop forward or back if you are listening to music, and change to ten-second skip ahead back/forward if you are watching video.

Aside from the obvious graphic differences between the Apple TV remote layout and the Siri remote and the lack of volume controls there are a few other nice differences.

As with the  iTunes Remote app, passwords can be typed, passwords entered and searches performed on text areas using your iPhone’s keyboard. Apple made improvements with Siri letting you enter information one word at a time yet if you have 1Password for your iPhone it’s a heck of a lot easier entering a long secure password rather than trying to spell it out loud.

One thing which is missing is Siri Remote trackpad touching. On the remote you can tap an edge to navigate around the menus but not so in the app. Some might find it confusing to hold down the Siri icon on the iPhone’s screen rather than the actual button to initiate Siri commands.

With video playing tapping the trackpad area in the Apple TV remote app and swiping your finger left and right without lifting brings up the 10 second skip features. Hopefully a further release will see 3D touch where pressing harder skips further.

Those of you with phones supporting haptic feedback will find their device buzzing away with every touch.

The Apple TV Remote app is compatible with 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation Apple TVs and requires an iPhone running iOS 9.3.2 or later.


How To Leave A Podcast Review Using Your iPhone

Every week on the Essential Apple podcast you’ll always hear us mention to review or rate the show. We read them all out of course but it’s not too obvious on how you leave a rating for us. Here’s our simple guide on how to do just that.

  • Launch Apple’s Podcast app.
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  • Tap the Search tab and enter the name of the podcast you want to rate or review (hint essential apple podcast 😀 ) and click search
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  • Tap the album art for the podcast, not the episode. Normally you’ll see the shows Podcast library at the bottom right of the screen. You’ll then be whisked into the place where you can leave a podcast review.
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  • Tap the Reviews tab.
  • Tap Write a Review at the bottom.
  • Enter your iTunes password to login if you aren’t already logged in. 
  • Tap the Stars to leave a rating.
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  • Enter title text and content to leave a review.
  • Tap Send.
  • Sit back and relax knowing you’ve made a podcaster happy.

How do reviews affect the iTunes listings? No one is really quite sure and seems to be in the lap of the gods. All that’s known is reviews and subscriptions really help the show climb the rankings, not that it’s all about the rankings we just love doing a podcast.

So there you have it, how to review and rate shows on your iPhone.. so you might as well leave one for the Essential Apple Podcast then hadn’t you 😀

GoEuro iOS Travelling App.

Holiday season is here and yet whilst it might be the season to be chiling out, maxing and being all cool, trying to book your holiday / day break / long weekend travel can be a royal pain in the butt.

Taking public transport, leaves you working out that thorny equation of price vs time vs aggravation. GoEuro aims to take the pain out of this, and it has one feature to make it stand out from other similar apps.

Interface-wise there’s nothing to boast about, practical with enough features to filter results which are initially sorted by cheapest first.

Searches cover trains, coaches and planes with GoEuros differentiator from other similar apps being on flying, getting to and from your chosen airport. More on that in a moment.

Keeping things local I plotted my first GoEuro journey from my home home town to Bristol. At a glance cheapest prices per travel method are shown at the top. With the train costing £39 and taking 3h 28m vs coach £20 at 6h 15m I’ll save my sanity and pay the extra for a significant reduction in journey time.

Sadly coach offerings are limited to the UK’s one main carrier, National Express, excluding the very cheap Mega bus service. Trains searches cover pretty much the whole of the UK and look thorough on a few cursory glances to foreign places I know. Flight information comes from a couple of flight comparison services primarily Fly.co.uk and Skyscanner.co.uk.

Flying is where things start to get really cool. Other apps make you select an airport to fly from, GoEuro instead lets you select a location and this is where the differentiator between this and other similar apps comes into play. [1]

To test this I put my starting location in as my local town and destination of Munich. Enter date, tap go and let GoEuro work out the magic.

The whole journey is pretty much taken care off including with train journeys and flights being sorted at least in the UK.[3][4] On distance shorts (Munich) it simply leaves you saying Public transport with no option of booking tickets for the foreign side.

img GoEuro iOS Travelling App.

Same train, same time, same everything yet two different booking screens, both of which horrendous to use in a mobile browser.

When it comes to purchasing things start to fall apart. On my selected flight with FlyBe I’m whisked to Fly.co.uk in an embedded Safari webview. Sometimes things loaded fine, other times I’m left blankly staring at a white screen wondering if anything will happen as there’s no progress bar or indicator. Skyscanner bookings faired better.

If flights were bad enough transit purchasing via Raileasy.co.uk was much, much worse. Despite a declaration of “Preparing your reservation” one or two things are going to happen on the booking screen. Either it will populate with the information you’ve already entered or it doesn’t.

Booking a domestic journey from my home town to Cardiff, RailEasy came up as the vendor. One tap later I arrive at the booking screen with my date and departure all nicely selected for me

Time to broaden the Horizons so in the next test I travelled from my Home town on the same day as my previous test bu this time to Munich. Despite the train selection being exactly the same as my local travel test, this time I was taken to a completely different looking booking screen with only the date already selected not the time.

Meaning if you forget the time of travel you are left clicking back out of the bookings screen, finding the transit time, re-clicking purchase and manually making those selections. It’s odd, inconsistent and frustrating the same journey means more work.

The site in question Raileasy doesnt provied a good browsing experienced on a normal desktop looking like a site designed back in the 90’s and you can forget about responsive design on a mobile browser.

This places me in the reviewers predicament. GoEuro has a solid engine to power searched but is at the mercy of third party websites, some of which I’m almost sure bump the prices up ever so slightly if you repeatedly search for them.

Other new updates for the latest GoEuro update includes profile creation, saving name and credit card details. However profile creation uses Facebook and I’m way to paranoid for letting that service know more about me even if GoEuro is only access your public profile, email address and doesn’t post to Facebook. Don’t let my paranoia influence you as creating a profile is not mandatory.

GoEuro has a decent scraping engine with the App itself really only having a few niggles to complain about but the experience afterwards leaves a lot to be desired.

Being bounced from an app experience to a webview which sometimes populates information and sometimes doesnt make for a frustrating time. Couple that with no forward or back controls if you make a mistake during the booking process youre pretty screwed.

For example your purchasing on foreign website and change the language. Somesites will bounce to you to the home page in your chosen locale but then how do you go back to your booking or navigate back if you mis click something?

You could use GoEuro as an accessory to finding the information and then booking via desktop but that might defeat the point somewhat.

Despite the third party flaws and webview let downs, if you are looking to go away or often need travel info whilst out and about this new release of GoEuro is a fine update to an already sturdy offering.

[1] Apps that I’ve tried so far which were sent in for review.

[2] Actually there is no train to Cardiff airport but to it’s town. A shuttle service runs a bus service which costs £1.00

[3] It’s offered me an interesting changing point rather than Swansea it’s determined to make me wait at a platform in the middle of no where for some odd reason.

[4]Cardiff airport doesnt have a train station. The town does and a shuttle service runs often but it’s a worry to say you can get to the airport without 3rd party help. (https://www.cardiff-airport.com/by-rail/)