CategoryMacworld

It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy: Chris Breen leaves Macworld for Apple

Veteran Mac journalist and author Christopher Breen has left Macworld to join a “fruit-flavored tech company sandwiched between Santa Clara and Sunnyvale.”

Breen made the announcement on his personal blog, and confirmed it on Macworld.com.  “There are loads of reasons for the change, but blend them together and they add up to my desire to try something different before I don the large shorts and spend the bulk of my remaining days looking for my misplaced spectacles,” Breen wrote.

Chris has been a staple in Mac journalism for almost 30 years, and in that time earned a reputation as fair, honest, funny and smart. In addition to his work on Macworld, he’s authored several books, hosted innumerable podcasts and appeared on TV shows and user group meetings—all with a self-effacing, humble attitude that was as genuine as it seemed.

I’ve been a fan of Chris for more years than I can count, and have had the wonderful privilege of not only meeting him, but coming to count him as a dear friend, bandmate and colleague.

As a result of his new role, Chris will be retiring his tech persona. “I’ll be leaving the public stage as Chris Breen Technology Guy (though I may still pop up as Chris Breen Musician Guy at a saloon near you).”

As is typical of moves to that fruit-flavored tech company, Chris is mum about what his new role will entail. I can only hope that Apple knows what they have in Chris and that they take full advantage of his talents.

I couldn’t be happier for him and I wish him nothing but success in this new chapter of his life. It quite literally couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

Beyond Cut and Paste: 20 keyboard shortcuts that will make you a more powerful Mac user

In my latest article for Macworld, I explain 20 (or so) keyboard shortcuts that can make using your Mac a lot more efficient. I like to think of these at “Mac 201” rather than Mac 101, since they go beyond the most basic keyboard commands.

I’m also thinking about doing a short video on the same topic—I think it might be a little easier to convey that way (and I want to try out my video demo chops anyway.)

The article is available on the Macworld website.

Macworld article: ‘3 key things to know about Yosemite and security’

My newest Macworld article covers some of the new features in Safari for Mac OS X Yosemite and how the could potentially impact your security. To Apple’s credit, each of these features can be controlled by the user. I’ll show you what’s shared, with whom, how to change the default settings — and why you might not want to.

The full article is on the Macworld website.

Dan Frakes: New features you may have missed in iOS 8

Dan Frakes compiled a list of his favorite new features in iOS 8. You may already know most of these, but having them all together in one place is very helpful, and some features may have slipped your notice.

I completely agree with Dan about the usefulness of the new “Hey, Siri” feature. I wasn’t expecting much from it, but I use it in my car all the time — it’s turned my car into a voice-activated command center.

Dan’s article is available on his website.

Macworld Review: NewerTech’s Wireless Keypad Puts the Finishing Touch on Apple’s Own Keyboard

I wrote a review for Macworld (after all these years of tech writing, it’s my first piece for them) in which I take a look at NewerTech’s unimaginatively named “Wireless Aluminum Keypad” and like what I see. How much did I like it? You’ll have to read the full review over at Macworld to find out.

Chuck La Tournous and Chris Breen to speak at NJMUG’s 30th Anniversary

I was honored to be invited to speak at the New Jersey Macintosh User Group’s (NJMUG) 30th Anniversary on Tuesday, October 21st. Macworld Senior Editor Chris Breen will be the featured speaker for the event.

My presentation will explore digital device security in the “new normal” of the post-Snowden era. Chris will take a look at the “Future of Apple.”

NJMUG has been helping people get the most out of their Apple devices since the age of the Macintosh 128K through the iPhone 6. The group will celebrate its 30th anniversary at a special meeting at the Meadowlands Quality Inn in Lyndhurst, NJ from 7-10 p.m. NJMUG organizers promise a “great night of eating, celebrating and reminiscing.” The group will also be raffling off “some goodies to those in attendance.”

The meeting is free to all NJMUG members; non-members may attend for a $5 admission fee, space permitting. More information is available on the group’s website.

The way we were: A look back at RandomMaccess’ first Macworld

With the announcement that Macworld Expo is going on an indefinite hiatus (more on that later), I thought I’d wax a little nostalgic and take a look back at my first Macworld — “The Show” — back in 1999. Although RandomMaccess had gotten press credentials before, this was the first time the show’s location made it practical for our little publication to attend.

This piece is undated, but was first published around July 27, 1999. –Ed.


Somewhere between Faith Healing Revival and Grateful Dead Concert you get Macworld Expo NY ’99: a rollicking joyride of new product intros, gee-whiz technology demos and the legendary Jobs “Reality Distortion Field.”

by Chuck La Tournous

I’ve said it before: although I’d never been to a Macworld Expo before, I’m an old hand at conferences and exhibits at the Jacob Javits Center in New York. But the sight of would-be attendees lined up around a New York City block stopped me dead in my tracks.

Something’s wrong, was my first thought; they haven’t opened the doors yet. But closer inspection revealed that the doors were indeed opened. They were opened because that’s where the line around the block snaked its way into the center. And across the entrance hall. And through the registration queue.

I’ve seen crowded shows and long lines at Javits, but I’ve never seen anything like this. What was even stranger was the fact that no one seemed to mind standing in a line that must surely still be winding through the hall as I write this — some 10 hours later.

Thank goodness for press credentials, I think, as I pass them all and follow the signs to the Keynote speech.

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Where to find me at Macworld/iWorld 2013

I’ll be making a few appearances at this year’s Macworld/iWorld Conference in San Francisco next week. I always love meeting readers/listeners, so if you spot me, please take a minute to say hi.

Here’s where I’ll be:

  • Thursday, Jan. 31st, 1-1:45: TT803: Tech vs. Wild: Surviving Your Next Campout (and Other Natural Disasters) with High Tech Gear
  • Friday, February 1st, 3-3:45: TT843: iTravel Well: Troubleshooting Your Tech Travel
  • Friday, February 1st, 9PM-?: Cirque du Mac featuring the Macworld All-Star Band (If you see me on the show floor, ask — I may have a ticket or two.)

Psst — want a free ‘golden ticket’ to Macworld?

Going to Macworld/iWorld? I’ve got one Free iFan Pass to give away (a $100 value), courtesy of the kind folks at IDG. First reader to claim it, gets it. Send a DM to me on Twitter: @ChuckLaTournous.

[Update: The pass has been claimed; thanks to all for your interest. For those who didn’t get the free iFan pass, I’ll have a link for 1/2 price iFan passes and free Expo Only passes soon. Stay tuned.]

[Update 2: Use the link below a free Expo Only Pass or a $50.00 iFan pass (that’s 1/2 off): https://2013.macworldiworld.com/portal/registration/mwspeo13]

iRig HD wins ‘Best of Show’ award at CES

irig_hd_connect_iphone5_gui_335I don’t usually publish CES news, but I’m pretty excited about IK Multimedia’s “iRig HD,” the next generation of its iOS (and now Mac) interface for guitars and basses. I use the original iRig all the time (currently to practice for the upcoming Macworld All-Stars appearance at Cirque du Mac.)

IK Multimedia unveiled the “HD” version of its popular guitar interface at CES, and today announced it earned an iLounge Best of Show award.

The original iRig connected to iOS devices through their microphone/headphone jack. The iRig HD connects in a variety of ways: through the 30-pin or Lightning connector on iOS devices and now through USB on your Mac. Going through the dock connector promises a higher quality digital signal — a promise I look forward to testing. It also adds a pre-amp gain control, which should alleviate one of the very few shortcomings of the original version. Like its predecessor, the iRig HD uses a free companion app to act as a virtual amplifier. Additional amps, stomp boxes and other effects can be added as in-app purchases.

Here’s how IK Multimedia describes it the iRig HD:

iRig HD is a high-quality digital guitar/bass/instrument interface that allows users to plug their guitar or bass into their iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Mac. It can be used with the AmpliTube range of guitar amps/effects apps and software or any other real-time processing app/software, like GarageBand and more. Using AmpliTube, users can play with the sound of their favorite amplifiers and effects, record their performance and compose entire songs, everywhere. iRig HD features crystal clear digital signal thanks to its superior 24 bit converter, an onboard gain control for perfect level setting, a low power consumption circuit for longer device battery life, plus an ultra-slim design and interchangeable adapter cables for maximum portability and universal compatibility.

The iRig HD is scheduled to be available in the spring; pricing has not yet been announced, but according to reports from CES it will carry a $99 price tag. Look for a full review on The Mac Observer as soon as I’m able to test it.

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