Tag: General

From: BGR - Apple introduces collaboration tools, Touch ID protection and more in massive iWork update

It was a busy day for Apple on Monday, with the company releasing a sizable and feature laden iOS 10.3 update for the iPhone and iPad. Available as an over the air download and via your desktop computer, the latest iOS update brings with it a host of compelling new bells and whistles, including a Find My AirPods feature and a completely new APFS file system.

Somewhat obscured by the release of iOS 10.3, however, were a number of updates to Apple’s suite of iWork software, a collection that includes Numbers, Pages and Keynote for both iOS and macOS. While updates to productivity software aren’t typically all that exciting, you’ll want to take note of some of the new features Apple introduced today if you’re an existing iWork user or contemplating making the switch.

One of the more noteworthy enhancements is a more robust collaboration feature which allows users to “edit a document, spreadsheet or presentation with someone else in real time directly from the macOS and iOS apps.” Further, today’s iWork update brings with it support for Touch ID, essentially giving users the ability to security protect sensitive documents, spreadsheets and presentations via Apple’s secure fingerprint recognition software.

Additional features on an app by app basis can be viewed below.


-Easily add current or historical stock information to spreadsheets
-Use the new My Stocks template to easily track your portfolio
-A powerful new editing experience makes entering data and formulas fast and easy
-New action menu keeps most common tasks one tap away
-Quickly open password-protected spreadsheets using Touch ID
-Format text as superscript or subscript, use ligatures, and change text background color
-New leader lines make pie charts easier to read
-Easily replace missing fonts in your spreadsheet
-While collaborating on a spreadsheet, you can now cut, copy, paste, and duplicate sheets
-Customize dates, times, and currencies for your language or region
-Edit rich text within table cells


-Format text as superscript or subscript, use ligatures, and change text background color
-Add bookmarks to easily link from one part of your document to another
-Add elegant mathematical equations using LaTeX or MathML notation
-Quickly open password-protected documents using Touch ID
-Import and export documents in Rich Text Format (RTF)
-Easily replace missing fonts in your document
-New leader lines make pie charts easier to read
-Customize dates, times, and currencies for your language or region


-Change slide master and customize slide background
-Rehearse a presentation with current slide, presenter notes, and timer all in one view
-Quickly open password-protected presentations using Touch ID
-Format text as superscript or subscript, use ligatures, and change text background color
-Easily replace missing fonts in your presentation
-New leader lines make pie charts easier to read
-Import Keynote 1 presentations
-Post interactive presentations on Medium, WordPress, and other websites
-Customize dates, times, and currencies for your language or region

If you already have iWork installed on your computer or iOS device, you can download the above updates free of charge.

From: Smashing Magazine - Web Development Reading List #175: GraphQL, IndexedDB2, And An Open Ethical Internet



With GraphQL, FQL, and IndexedDB2, we have new tools at our fingertips that allow us to build products that are not only more flexible but also faster. With this week’s Web Development Reading List, we’ll dive a bit deeper into these promising technologies and combine this with thoughts about the openness of the internet, ethical choices, and building inclusive products. So without further ado, let’s get started!

Web Development Reading List 175

Chrome 57 just hit stable, now the Chrome developer team announced Chrome 58 beta. It includes IndexedDB2.0 support and improvements to iframe navigation. Among the smaller changes are also auto-pause/resume of video on Android when the window is in the background and the fact that HTTPS is now required for the Web Notifications API.

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From: Smashing Magazine - The Road To Resilient Web Design



Editor’s Note: In the world of web design, we tend to become preoccupied with the here and now. In “Resilient Web Design“, Jeremy Keith emphasizes the importance of learning from the past in order to better prepare ourselves for the future. So, perhaps we should stop and think more beyond our present moment? The following is an excerpt from Jeremy’s web book.

Design adds clarity. Using colour, typography, hierarchy, contrast, and all the other tools at their disposal, designers can take an unordered jumble of information and turn it into something that’s easy to use and pleasurable to behold. Like life itself, design can win a small victory against the entropy of the universe, creating pockets of order from the raw materials of chaos.

The Road To Resilient Web Design

The Book of Kells is a beautifully illustrated manuscript created over 1200 years ago. It’s tempting to call it a work of art, but it is a work of design. The purpose of the book is to communicate a message; the gospels of the Christian religion. Through the use of illustration and calligraphy, that message is conveyed in an inviting context, making it pleasing to behold.

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From: Smashing Magazine - Web Development Reading List #174: The Bricks We Lay, Remynification, And 0-RTT



We’re all designers. Whether we do a layout, a product design or write code to design a product technically doesn’t matter here. What does matter though, is that we always take the context of a project into consideration. Because as someone shaping a project so that it is appealing to the clients and works in the best way possible for the target audience, we have a pretty big responsibility.

Web Development Reading List

Imagine architects building a wall out of recycled material that also looks nice — sounds pretty great, right? But seen in the context that this will be a wall that divides people and encourages racism and even more inequality in our society, our first impression of the undertaking suddenly shifts into the opposite direction. We have to make new decisions every time we start a new project, and seeing things in context is crucial to live up to our responsibility — both in our work and our lives.

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From: BGR - The best 4K TV of 2017 (so far)

Whether you’re watching the latest blockbuster or Sunday night football with your friends, it’s always better in glorious 4K. Now, we’ve rounded up the best 4K TVs that look great and don’t break the bank.

Televisions with 4K resolution, otherwise known “Ultra High-Definition” have steadily usurped 1080p TVs in the market over the last few years due to increased competition driving the prices down. While only the very well off could afford the best in home entertainment just a few short years ago, there’s now a bevy of stellar options for under $800; and we’ve picked the finest around.

In our research, we wanted to determine the best affordable 4K TV based on a level playing field. We chose to look at 50 to 55-inch televisions exclusively to get the fairest price comparisons on the market. If you’re looking for the home theater experience, all of our options are available in larger sizes. Also, since there’s no shortage of exquisite 4K tellys on the market ranging upwards of $5,000, we capped our budget well under $1,000 to weather the competition down to only the most economical choices.

Best overall – TCL Roku TV 55US5800

Pound for pound (or pixel for pixel), the TCL Roku TV 55US5800 is simply the best bargain we found on the market. For a 55-inch 4K television being sold for a measly $500, this TCL display is remarkable all-encompassing, including one of the best smart TV interfaces of any price range. Let’s dive into the specifics that make this Roku TV from TCL stand above the rest as our top pick.

Of course, picture quality is a paramount component to your 4K television. Can a $500 TV even come close to matching the clarity and power of its big-ticket competition? While its picture quality can’t compete with the upper echelon of luxury TVs, it still exhibits a remarkably clear and vivid picture that is nothing to scoff at. Out of the box, the TCL requires a bit of tweaking to get the best picture possible, but once you’ve fiddled with it for a few minutes it boasts a picture that’s worthy of whatever 4K Blu-ray you can throw at it.

While the picture quality may not be as pristine as other 4K screens, the true selling point for the TCL Roku TV is in the name: Roku TV. With full integration of Roku’s intuitive and gorgeous interface, this bargain television blows virtually every other smart TV out of the water. The remote included is virtually identical to the typical Roku remote and offers simple and straightforward browsing between thousands of 4K enabled apps, videos, and top-rated streaming services, including Amazon Video, Netflix, HBO Now, and Hulu.

The smart interface effortlessly integrates your connected devices (gaming consoles, cable box, etc.) and puts everything in the same spot, allowing the user to customize the icon tiles to fit their preference. It also allows you to cast your photos, videos, and music from your tablet or smartphone, as well as casting from Netflix and YouTube on your mobile device. In an age when video streaming is rapidly taking down traditional cable, the smart TV prowess of the TCL Roku TV 55US5800 established its hold at our top spot.

On the technical side, this TCL offers a 55-inch LED display with a refresh rate of 120Hz. It’s a standard backlit LED screen that unfortunately doesn’t feature HDR (high dynamic range) compatibility or local dimming. It does however brandish the TCL Creative Pro 4K UHD Upscaling Engine that makes for some very effective upscaling of 1080p visuals. Other miscellaneous technical specs include dual-band WiFi, an ethernet port, 4 HDMI inputs, 1 USB port, an antenna input, and an optical audio output.


  • Top-notch smart TV interface
  • Roku built in
  • Good 4K picture quality
  • Effective upscaling
  • Thousands of 4K apps and videos sorted under “4K Spotlight”
  • Casting from mobile device
  • 4 HDMI inputs, 1 USB input, ethernet port, optical audio out

Head-to-head, this TCL may not contend with an upper-end TV, but for a paltry $500, this unit packs a wallop. The 55US5800 boasts one of the best smart TV interfaces on the market, bypassing clunky native software that other companies offer for Roku’s top-notch design. While the picture quality may not be awe-inspiring, it still features an impressive and dynamic display that accommodates this television’s strongest assets. If you’re looking for a true budget TV with unbeatable smart capabilities, the TCL Roku TV 55US5800 is unmatched.

Best picture quality – Vizio E-Series E50u-D2

If pure picture quality is chief on your budget 4K TV wish list, there’s no better telly than the Vizio E-Series E50u-D2 (catchy name, right?). This 50-inch unit from Vizio is the same price as our top pick at $500, making them an equal bargain, albeit for different reasons.

While the TCL shone the brightest in unparalleled smart capability, the Vizio E-Series makes a name for itself with incomparable 4K power. The secret to its superior picture quality lies in its local dimming feature — meaning the full array LED backlighting can dim certain parts of the screen that should be dark while keeping the rest of it bright. The end product is a picture with deep blacks and striking colors that can’t be attained by normal contrasting alone. Although most upper-end 4K TVs come with local dimming, it’s rarely seen at such an affordable price point.

Vizio ditched its suffering native smart TV software in favor of a simpler, more practical integration of Google Chromecast, called “SmartCast.” This certainly has its advantages and its drawbacks. For starters, you have to use the Vizio SmartCast app on your phone or tablet for anything more advanced than switching HDMI inputs, which can be a hassle if you’re not into tying up your mobile device while you watch TV.

Once your connected, you can use it like you would a Google Chromecast. In other words, if you want to watch the latest season of House of Cards, you’ll have to open the Netflix app on your phone and “cast” it to your TV. While this is certainly less convenient than TCL’s Roku integration, it’s leaps and bounds better than Vizio’s previous smart TV setup.

Other various specs for the Vizio E-Series E50u-D2 include the Spatial Scaling Engine for quality upscaling, a 120Hz refresh rate, DTS StudioSound speakers, 4 HDMI inputs, 2 USB ports, an ethernet port, and an optical audio output.


  • Excellent picture quality with local dimming
  • Vibrant and true color palette
  • Google Chromecast integrated
  • DTS StudioSound
  • 4 HDMI inputs, 2 USB inputs, ethernet port

Just like the TCL, the Vizio E50u-D2 is an incredible TV at an unbeatable bargain that nearly worked its way to the top our list. Although the Vizio is a smaller TV with less comprehensive smart capabilities, it makes up for it with stellar picture quality and vibrance thanks to LED local dimming. In the end, choosing between our top two picks is a matter of preference; if superior picture quality is firmly at the top of your checklist, we would recommend the Vizio E50u-D2 over TCL’s Roku TV.

Best curved TV – Samsung 55-inch KU6600

Whether it’s a cosmetic gimmick or a true TV revolution, curved displays have altered the television market over the last few years. Although they’re typically much more expensive than old humdrum flat screens, the Samsung 55-inch KU6600 (another catchy name!) is an excellent bargain for anyone looking to try out the whole curved TV experiment.

Samsung is one of the leading pioneers in the curved television explosion, claiming that the display can increase viewer immersion and enhance the overall experience over traditional displays. While the jury is still out on the extent of the benefits of a curved screen, Samsung’s bargain curved TV is an overall excellent television that is both affordable and aesthetically pleasing.

Of course, the main selling point here is the value curved display; but does it look any good? It doesn’t match up to Samsung’s luxury line, but the KU6600 looks exceptional, especially for its price range. The sharp 55-inch screen is LED edge-lit and offers Samsung’s “UHD Dimming” feature that enhances the color, contrast, and detail of the image. This TV supports HDR content in HDR10 format, paving the way for authentic and vivid color replication through Samsung’s proprietary PurColor that outshines the TCL Roku TV, but falls slightly short of the Vizio E-Series.

Other assorted visual attributes include an impressive upscaling engine and the Auto Depth Enhancer, which gives more depth and immersion to an image by applying varying levels of contrast to an area of the screen.  All in all, it’s a first-rate display at an extremely affordable price that offers much more than a curved screen.

Samsung’s Smart Hub is an intuitive upgrade to the company’s past smart TV forays, exhibiting its “Smart Hub” with quick and easy access to all your streaming apps and live television. Although it still falls short of the TCL’s Roku integration, it’s an exceptional smart TV design that is amongst the best of any brand. The remote control that comes with the Samsung KU6600 is of sleek, tech-savvy design, with a touchpad and wireless integration all built in.

The KU6600 has a refresh rate of 120Hz and includes 3 HDMI inputs, 2 USB ports, an ethernet port, an antenna input and an optical audio output. It’s loaded with WiFi and Bluetooth onboard and can be easily integrated with Samsung’s SmartThings.


  • Authentic and striking color replication
  • Great 4K picture quality
  • Sleek, slender curved design
  • Samsung’s Smart TV incorporated
  • Samsung SmartThings enabled
  • WiFi and Bluetooth onboard
  • 3 HDMI inputs, 2 USB ports, ethernet port, optical audio output

The Samsung UN55KU6600 is an altogether well-made television. With a sleek curved design, accurate 4K display, and smart home integration, this Samsung is certainly a premium television for a budget. The only real drawback is that it will run you around $300 more than our top two picks. Still, if you’re interested in a curved display and have a little extra money to play with, you can’t really go wrong here.

From: Smashing Magazine - Web Development Reading List #173: CSS Grid Support, A Virtual DOM Alternative, And Designing Better Cards



This week was a big week in terms of web development news. We got much broader support for CSS Grids and Web Assembly, for example, but I also stumbled across some great resources that teach us a lot of valuable things.

Web Development Reading List 173

With this Web Development Reading List, we’ll dive deep into security and privacy issues, take a look at a lightweight virtual DOM alternative, and get insights into how we can overcome our biases (or at least how we can better deal with them). So without further ado, let’s dive right in!

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From: BGR - Mother of Columbine shooter gives TED Talk about mental health and violence

On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School with an elaborate plan to kill as many students as possible. Armed with knives, homemade bombs and an arsenal of high-powered guns — including a TEC-DC9 and various sawed-off shotguns — Harris and Klebold wreaked havoc at the school before they both committed suicide. When the dust settled, 12 students and 1 teacher were killed, with many more injured in the process.

The Columbine High School massacre, as it’s known, could have actually been much worse. Thankfully, a good number of the homemade bombs used in the attack — some of which were designed to kill and maim emergency responders — didn’t detonate as intended. More broadly, the massacre made headlines across the globe and sparked heated debates about contentious issues like gun control, suicide, bullying, school violence and mental health.

Nearly 18 years later, many unanswered questions remain about the underlying motivations behind the attack, not to mention the mental states of both Harris and Klebold. Recently, though, Klebold’s mother Sue has stepped into the public light in an effort to help make sense of the attack.

Over the last year, Sue Klebold has sat down for interviews with publications like the Oprah’s O Magazine where she discussed how the massacre has impacted her life. All the more interesting are Klebold’s ruminations about and how she seemed to miss some warning signs she, with the benefit of hindsight, should have paid more attention to.

Klebold also penned a book titled, “A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy.” The book’s description reads in part: “In A Mother’s Reckoning, she chronicles with unflinching honesty her journey as a mother trying to come to terms with the incomprehensible. In the hope that the insights and understanding she has gained may help other families recognize when a child is in distress, she tells her story in full, drawing upon her personal journals, the videos and writings that Dylan left behind, and on countless interviews with mental health experts.”

More recently, Kelbold delivered a Ted talk where she touched on a few of the issues referenced in her book, including the “intersection between mental health and violence” as a means to “examine the link between suicidal and homicidal thinking.”

For anyone with an interest in the Columbine massacre specifically or some of the issues it brings to the forefront generally, the video is well worth watching.


From: BGR - Google’s proposed new campus looks like a giant tent city

Maybe it’s the air, or the ocean, or the sheer saturation of electronic devices modifying everyone’s brainwaves, but every tech giant in Silicon Valley seems to have to make its new headquarters a few degrees more absurd than the ones before it. For many months Apple’s spaceship was the kind of utter insanity, but a new challenger has emerged in the form of Google’s long-planned Mountain View HQ, which was recently shown off in a series of conceptual renders in the lead-up to a city council vote on March 7th to decide whether or not the company can begin construction.

The campus, which will encompass nearly 600,000 square feet, looks like a massive metal frame with tarps draped over the entire thing. That, of course, is just for aesthetics, as the building will obviously be rigid, but that tiny detail doesn’t stop the structure from being totally crazy. It might look like a tent, but the roof will actually be lined with solar panels, and the gaps along the edges of the roof sections will be inset skylights to provide free illumination and further the green vibe of the building.

SiliconBeat reports that Google’s project consultants have described the unorthodox shape of the structure as “a building form not typically described in standard city codes.” That’s probably an understatement, and it will certainly be interesting to see how the city council decides to address the many challenges of judging whether or not this massive metal tent is suitable for Mountain View.

From: Smashing Magazine - World Wide Web, Not Wealthy Western Web (Part 1)



“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy,” said Shakespeare’s Hamlet, in the famous scene in which Hamlet teaches Horatio to be a web designer.

World Wide Web, Not Wealthy Western Web (Part 1)

Horatio, as every schoolchild knows, is a designer from Berlin (or sometimes London or Silicon Valley) who has a top-of-the-line MacBook, the latest iPhone and an unlimited data plan over the fastest, most reliable network. But, as Hamlet points out to him, this is not the experience of most of the world’s web visitors.

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