macOS New App Release – SlideFlow

Product Announcements – VeprIT of Zoetermeer, Netherlands has released SlideFlow, a new macOS app for generating animated photo slideshows with background music, and playing it on a TV screen. SlideFlow offers the most natural viewing experience, presenting the full photograph, and then applying Ken Burns effect to zoom on human faces. The user can export the generated slideshow as a video file, or play it immediately on a connected TV.

“I believe this is simply the best way to present photos.” explains Dr. Demid Borodin, VeprIT owner. “And it is remarkably easy to use: just drop some photos to SlideFlow and click Play! Enjoy a beautiful slideshow on a large TV screen together with family and friends!”

SlideFlow works over a local Wi-Fi network with many modern smart TVs, such as Samsung, LG, and Sony TVs. It is also expected to work with other DLNA devices. Support for Google Cast (Chromecast) is coming in future versions, as well as an iOS version.

Device Requirements:

  • 64-bit Mac computer
  • macOS 10.12 Sierra or later (will soon be also compatible with macOS 10.11 El Capitan)
  • 20.8 MB disk space

SlideFlow 1.0.1 is Free (with in-app purchases) on the Mac App Store, available worldwide in the Photography category. A promotional watermark is added to the generated slideshow, it can be removed with the $2.99 (USD) in-app purchase.

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Review of “Invictus”

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Book Reviews – “Invictus” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Ryan Graudin (http://www.ryangraudin.com). Mr. Graudin has published seven novels.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘G’, though there are minor scenes of Violence. The setting spans the centuries. The primary character is Farway Gaius McCarthy.

McCarthy is in his late teens and is a student at the Corps of Central Time Travelers Academy. This has been his objective since he was young, since his mother, a time traveler, disappeared. He is about to graduate as valedictorian, when everything goes wrong. His final exam has been sabotaged, but unable to prove it, he is kicked out of the Academy.

That is when he is approached to become a Time Machine Captain operating outside the law and collecting artifacts for private sale. He, and his crew, are performing well and succeeding. Then they find out that their memories and their entire timeline is at risk. They must risk their very existence and all be willing to sacrifice much in an attempt to save their timeline and themselves.

I really enjoyed the 9.5 hours I spent reading this 465 page science fiction young adult novel. I really liked the characters and the plot. I thought that the plot was very different (in a good way) from so many other novels I have read. There is a little action, a lot of creative problem solving and even a bit of romance. I don’t like the cover art as it relates to nothing. I give this novel a 4.4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

macOS New App Release – Server Ranger 2

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Product Announcements – LibertyApp Ltd of Belfast, United Kingdom has released Server Ranger 2, the server and website monitoring solution for Mac OS X. And for the first time, Server Ranger is also coming soon to Windows and Linux. Are your servers, websites and devices online? Monitor their network performance and uptime with Server Ranger 2. Get email or SMS alerts when things go wrong. Any number of nodes. Server Ranger 2 can check 1 device or 1000:

  • Per-Device Policies – Choose from Critical, Normal or Less important default policies. Or create a custom policy for each server.
  • Smart Interface – Nodes performing properly are in green. Yellow indicates the node is online but slow. Red is for offline. Only interested in 1 device? Switch to Single Server Mode to reduce on-screen clutter.
  • Alerts – New in Server Ranger 2 are SMS text message alerts (*). Nodes can send a text to one or multiple recipients, as well as emails, notifications, sound alerts and more. Decide if alerts should repeat or not. Only receive alerts after a timeframe of your choice. It’s all entirely customisable.
  • Anchor Server – Prevent false alerts using the new Anchor Server system. Simply give Server Ranger 2 a server that you can rely on, such as a Google DNS server, and Server Ranger 2 will intelligently check it first, to ensure local connectivity.
  • More Than Just Ping – Server Ranger 2 can Ping any device to check if it is online and performing properly. But it’s possible for a server to be online yet still have website problems so Server Ranger 2 does more than just Ping. Check HTTP headers are successfully downloaded and in a timely manner. Login to email servers and test for availability. You choose the type of check that Server Ranger 2 performs.
  • Statistics – Server Ranger 2 logs every response from your devices. Graphs show uptime and performance. Spot patterns of poor performance and print or export the log to a CSV file.
  • Big Screen Mode – Open the Overview window and get a glance at all your servers. Airplay to a screen on the wall or another monitor.
  • Support – Fast, friendly, professional support is just an email a way. Stay up to date with a free monthly newsletter with Server Ranger 2 news and tips.

Ideal For:

  • Small to medium businesses
  • Website owners
  • IT departments

Server Ranger is already in-use around the world, from home offices to IT departments to schools. Unlike other similar services, Server Ranger 2 is a one-off purchase with no monthly subscription. You are in control!

Key Features:

  • Monitor any type of server or site – file servers, routers, web servers, email servers and more
  • Define alerts for slow and offline devices
  • Emails, SMS texts, Mac notifications, sounds, and visual alerts
  • Eliminate false positives – alerts are only sent after verifying local connection and a user-definable number of checks
  • Single Server Mode
  • Overview window – perfect for a screen on the wall or Airplaying to an Apple TV
  • Detailed log file with export and print
  • One simple price – no adverts or monthly subscription fees

System Requirements:

  • OS X 10.10 or later
  • 64-bit processor
  • 11.5 MB

Server Ranger 2 (v2.0) ships today for a special introductory price of only $49.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the Mac App Store in the Utilities category. Server Ranger 2 is a free upgrade for all current customers. Optional SMS alerts use the Twilio service and costs may vary. For news on the Windows and Linux launch, please join our newsletter.

Trailer for “Maze Runner: The Death Cure”

Trailers – This trailer for the science fiction young adult movie “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” looks good (IMDB has it rated at 8.3/10). The movie is based upon the novel “The Death Cure” by James Dashner. The synopsis (according to IMDB):

Young hero Thomas embarks on a mission to find a cure for a deadly disease known as the “Flare”.

I haven’t seen the first movies in this series. Perhaps I need to view those before I see this one. Not much time as it opens later this month.

macOS New App Release – MacX MediaTrans 5.0

Product Announcements – MacXDVD Software of Chengdu, China has released MacX MediaTrans 5.0 to introduce the new HEIC to JPG convert ability and include several important improvements. The update mainly addresses the problem that Mac and Windows users cannot open the HEIC images captured with their iOS 11 devices. It’s now the only iPhone manager that is able to transfer and export HEIC photos to ubiquitous .jpeg in one click.

Apple has switched from JPG to HEIC/HEIF format for photos to keep the size down in iOS 11. The move, however, has problems. Now the Apple forum is being swamped with complaints about unwelcomed HEIC won’t open on Windows & Ubuntu platforms, third-party photo editors or photography apps, and not even on Macs before High Sierra and older iOS devices like iPhone 6, 6 Plus, iPhone 5S, 5 etc. The HEIC images captured with iOS 11-powered phone or pad can be imported smoothly but won’t be recognized – they get stuck when clicking on them.

The fact is, for iPhones with smaller storage capacity, the traits of HEIC/HEIF are highly desirable. However, the reality of real-world choices immediately deflates any optimistic plans, as so far, only Apple computers (macOS High Sierra and later), TVs (tvOS 11 and later) and mobiles (iOS 11 and later) offer full native support for HEIF at the moment. When users transfer HEIF photos to a non-Apple device or macOS earlier than High Sierra, chance are that most media programs will refuse to open .heic formatted images.

While it’s a given that HEIC won’t overtake JPEG in usage in the near future, MacX MediaTrans V5.0 is on to let .heic survive on incompatible platforms. With the HEIC-to-JPG ability added in the iPhone photo transfer solution, the new HEIC format is fully prepared to fit in the JPG world where we currently live in.

Via simply a click, HEIC images can be converted into JPG automatically for Windows Photos app, Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, other photo viewers, editors and Android phones. It will not only convert photos to JPG, but also optimize photos with untouched quality, yet even smaller size. Even with an extra conversion step, it remains the fastest iPhone manager – tests indicate that it requires 8s only to convert and transfer 100 4K HEIC pictures into JPEG.

The jam-packed iPhone file manager is an expert to handle all the iPhone data transfers, including photos, videos, music, books, iTunes items, etc. Not long ago, the iPhone manager just got an upgrade to offer seamless support for iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus running on iOS 11. “People should be able to instantly view, share and control their iPhone content freely,” said Jack Han, CEO of MacXDVD Software, “That’s what the iPhone manager always does and continues to do.”

Other improvements in V5.0 upgrade include:

  • Fixed the failure to play vertical shot videos in full screen in iOS 11
  • Fixed the failure to remove DRM from iTunes M4B Audiobook
  • Fixed the failure to recognize M4B audio books

MacX MediaTrans is normally priced at $59.95 (USD) for a single license copy with life time free upgrade and one-to-one top-level technical support. Now the upgraded iPhone manager is 70% off in MacXDVD’s official Black Friday Sales. Plus, flexible toolkits are available at steep discounts, like the No.1 fast DVD ripper and fastest 4K video converter.

Trailer for “Ready Player One”

Trailers – This trailer for the young adult science fiction film “Ready Player One” looks very interesting. The fact that it is directed by Steven Spielberg also makes me think it will be a good movie. The synopsis (from IMDB):

When the creator of a virtual reality world called the OASIS dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all OASIS users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune. Wade Watts finds the first clue and starts a race for the Egg.

The movie opens late this coming March. I think that this will be one I want to see in the theater.

Review of “An Alien Perspective”

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Book Reviews – “An Alien Perspective” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Roxanne Barbour (https://roxannebarbour.wordpress.com). Ms. Barbour has published five novels.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘G’. The story is set in contemporary times, though it takes place on another planet. The primary character is 17 year old Cyn-Tia Silverthorne. She wakes up to find herself with seven other Humans and 24 aliens split between three other races.

None know why they are there. Alien tech allows them to communicate easily with one another. They are given a number of challenges by their abductors that they must complete as a team. Silverthorne finds herself on the managing committee for the group. She encounters many issues and experiences a variety of emotions. She also finds herself drawn to one of the males from another species.

I spent 4+ hours reading this science fiction young adult novel with a touch of romance. I liked the characters. I also thought that the plot was interesting. It was a story dealing with how teens must adapt and learn to cope with their unwanted situation. I felt it was a little weak, but then again I guess that is part of being a young adult novel. The cover is OK, but one showing a scene from the story would have been better in my opinion. I give this novel a 3.8 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

macOS New App Release – ID2Office 2018

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Product AnnouncementsRecosoft Corporation of Osaka, Japan  has released ID2Office 2018, the latest version of its InDesign to Microsoft(R) Word, PowerPoint(R) and Apple(R) Keynote(R) conversion plug-in. ID2Office 2018 has been enhanced to support Adobe InDesign CC 2018, the newest release of InDesign CC for both the Mac and Windows platforms. Additionally, ID2Office 2018 adds support for macOS 10.13 and the APFS disk and volume format. Finally, ID2Office 2018 includes an enhanced layout-processing core resulting in even more accurate conversion fidelity.

ID2Office converts InDesign files to common Office formats such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Apple Keynote type; converting the text, associated styles, paragraph structure, corresponding property information, frames linking, tables, graphics and other objects and properties while matching and maintaining the layout fidelity resulting in enhanced workflow automation for the Creative Professional.

Key New Features:

  • Support for InDesign Creative Cloud 2018 – ID2Office 2018 now supports and integrates with InDesign CC 2018. InDesign CS6 through CC 2017 are supported as well.
  • Support for macOS 10.13 (High Sierra) and APFS volumes – ID2Office 2018 has been enhanced to operate under macOS High Sierra. APFS disks and volumes are also completely supported.
  • Font name processing enhancements – The font name matching process has been further enhanced to accurately reflect in the converted Word, PowerPoint and Keynote formats.

“With ID2Office 2018, we introduced a modernized InDesign to Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Apple Keynote conversion core while adding support for InDesign CC 2018” explained Paramjit Chadha, MD, Recosoft Corporation.

System Requirements

  • macOS 10.8.x or higher
  • Intel based Mac
  • InDesign CS6, CC, CC 2014, CC 2015, CC 2017or CC 2018

ID2Office 2018 is available immediately in the following configurations from the Recosoft web store (per license): ID2Office Standard 2018 Annual subscription (macOS/Windows) $199.00 and ID2Office Professional 2018 Annual subscription (macOS only) $249.00 (USD).

Review of “Days Until Home”

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Book Reviews – “Days Until Home” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Mark Gardner (https://article94.com/), Greg Dragon (https://gregdragon.com/) and David Kristoph (http://www.davidkristoph.com). Mr. Gardner has published 10 novels, Mr. Dragon has published a dozen novels, and Mr. Kristoph has published 17 novels.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in the near future. Earth has expanded within the Solar System. This particular story is about a ship and crew who are mining in the asteroid belt.

They launch back towards Earth with a load of very valuable minerals. Soon after launch there is a massive explosion. The those that survive the blast must find a way to sustain themselves back to Earth. Miraculously they are soon rescued, but was this ship just coincidentally close by or was it there by prior arrangement? Was the blast sabotage rather than an accident?

I really enjoyed the 8.5 hours I spent reading this 356 page science fiction novel. This was a different science fiction tale. I liked the struggle to survive that the crew experienced. Not only did they need to solve the technical problems arising from the disaster, but they had to deal with paranoia (not always imagined) and personnel conflicts. The cover art is OK, but I think that their damages ship would have been better. I give this novel a 4.4 (rounded down to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

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