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  • Apple Watch credited with saving life of Seattle man with AFib

    Apple Watch was credited with saving the life of a Bothell, Wash., man who used the device's heart monitoring features to learn that his atrial fibrillation had returned, prompting doctors to get him back on medication to prevent a stroke.

    ECG app
    Apple Watch ECG app

    Previously diagnosed with AFib, the unnamed man was on blood thinners to correct the problem, but was ultimately cleared by doctors. While regular hospital monitoring showed normal heart rhythms, ECG readings from the man's Apple Watch Series 4, presumably taken at home, revealed irregular rates. After seeing the results, his cardiologist, Dr. Phil Massey of Pacific Medical Centers in Seattle, determined the AFib had returned and prescribed blood thinners to prevent a stroke, reports local news outlet KIRO7.

    Atrial fibrillation (AFib or AF) is an irregular heart rate characterized by rapid, irregular beats that can lead to heart failure or stroke. While there are sometimes symptoms, it can often present without -- as was the case for the man out of Bothell.

    "He had been off of blood thinner and he didn't know it had come back," Massey said. "When you have AF it can be intermittent so he could come into the office and be in normal rhythm. But then he could show me the tracking on his watch and show me that it had come back. And then we got him on a blood thinner to prevent a stroke, so that is a big deal."

    Massey was impressed with Apple Watch's functionality and remains optimistic that it can potentially save lives.

    "I am hopeful that other heart rhythm problems will be able to be detected in the future outside of the doctor's office, and that's exciting," Massey said.

    This isn't the first time someone was potentially saved by the ECG feature of Apple's latest Watch. A number of reports have highlighted the device's ability to detect AFib and other heart conditions since it launched in the fall of 2018.

    Taking an ECG with your Apple Watch Series 4 is easy to do and involves opening the ECG app and placing a finger on the Digital Crown for 30 seconds. Results will fall into one of three categories: AFib, sinus rhythm (normal) or inconclusive.

    February also happens to be American Heart Month which Apple has celebrated with a series of exclusive events at select Apple Stores across the country.
  • Apple's 'modular' Mac Pro design may mean units that connect like Lego bricks

    A new report claims that the Mac Pro refresh will rely on a custom data connector, and mission-specific modules that can be stacked to provide what users need -- but also that it may not ship to customers until 2020.

    How the current Mac mini is already being used as a stackable system of sorts
    How the current Mac mini is already being used as a stackable system of sorts

    YouTube channel Tailosive Tech has released a video that claims in-depth details of the new Mac Pro which are reportedly based on information from sources within Apple. The main news is that the Mac Pro is to come as a series of stackable modules, each only slightly bigger than the current Mac mini, letting customers choose the configurations they need.

    "What my personal insider sources told me is that the Mac Pro in the sense of modular, is a stacking system [as] opposed to a computer case with parts on the inside and door that opens up," says the presenter on Tailosive Tech. "There's multiple modules you can buy when you getting the Mac Pro. The only one you have to buy is the brain module which is supposedly a little bulkier than the standard Mac mini."

    "It has some ports on it and it mostly houses the RAM and the CPU," he adds. "But Apple has already made its own proprietary connectors that are placed on top of this brain module and this will allow you to buy different modules that have I/O, that have GPUs, extra storage."

    Tailosive also claims that while the Mac Pro will be unveiled this year, it may not actually ship until 2020. This is not entirely dissimilar to the 2013 Mac Pro, which shipped in profoundly limited quantities in the year it was released. When it did ship, it was only in the last few days of the year, allowing Apple to say that it hit the 2013 deadline it set for itself.

    As for the details of how each module in stack will work, Tailosive Tech claims to know that they will be powered from the base or 'brain' module but feature independent power supplies and cooling.

    "What it results in is ultimate customizability," he says. "So if a professional out there just wants a Mac Pro because it's a small device, they don't need to spend all that money on an iMac Pro..., they'll be able to buy just the brain module. But those people out there who really need that graphics processing, they'll be able to buy one, two, perhaps three or four different GPU modules and stack it on their Mac Pro however they want to stack it."

    Sonnet RX 570 eGPU puck on top of an existing Mac mini
    Sonnet RX 570 eGPU puck on top of an existing Mac mini

    This isn't the first time that this rumor has surfaced. In previous incarnations of the speculation, it was suspected that the modules would work for RAM as well.

    The existing Thunderbolt 3 connection is in essence a PCI-E 3.0 x4 connection to a peripheral. In order for the system to work for RAM, the connector would not just have to diverge from Thunderbolt, but make major architectural changes to how it communicates to the system as well.

    Because of those architectural changes, it isn't clear how routinely swappable they will be. A connector allowing for RAM expansion would need a high-speed -- and not hot-swappable -- bus to connect with the CPU.

    Apple has executed the concept of a custom high-speed data connector in a rudimentary fashion before. The PowerBook Duo system from the '90s had a custom connector, which allowed for a wide array of expansion for a docked computer -- but it did not have a bus speed suitable for RAM expansion.

    While Apple has not commented on this report nor offered any detail of its plans, the company has gone out of its way three times to specify that the new Mac Pro will be "modular". It has also noticeably shied away from saying it will use PCI-E on the multiple occasions that it has talked about the hardware.

    Other sources including analyst Ming-Chi Kuo have claimed information about the forthcoming design which don't confirm those of Tailosive Tech but don't contradict it, either.
  • Goldman Sachs & Apple credit card with added iPhone features about to enter testing

    Apple and Goldman Sachs are continuing to work on a project that could result in a jointly-produced credit card, one that offers extra functions in the Wallet app that may help users manage their spending and their accounts more effectively, without requiring a separate card-specific app.

    Apple Pay works on both Mac and iPhone
    Apple Pay works on both Mac and iPhone

    In 2018, Apple was said to be in discussions with Goldman Sachs for a possible Apple Pay-branded credit card, with a view to launch sometime in 2019. A new report suggests the collaboration is close to launch, with testing of a card by employees set to start in the coming weeks.

    The Wall Street Journal reports the card will offer users with extra functionality via Apple's Wallet app, which will display spending goals, rewards, and to help manage their balances, according to sources with knowledge of the project. The Wallet features are thought to help users pay down any credit card debt before it becomes an issue, along with the possibility of using notifications if spending veers away from normal patterns.

    There is also the suggestion that the "Rings" concept used for fitness on the Apple Watch could be borrowed for the project, though it is unclear what metrics would be monitored in this fashion.

    Using Mastercard's payment network, the second-largest behind Visa, the card will earn its users cashback of around 2 percent on most purchases, with potentially higher percentages when used for Apple goods and services.

    The card would be Goldman Sachs' first, and is reportedly costing a hefty amount to organize. The card project is said to have a budget of $200 million, with the bank adding customer support call centers and improving its internal infrastructure to handle increased numbers of payments.

    Apple Pay is already a revenue generator for Apple, with the company taking fees from transactions performed through the mobile payment platform. It is suggested by the report sources that Apple would get a larger slice of the transaction fees from its own card, boosting its Services revenues further.

    It is also possible that the card and its connection to Apple could help boost the use of Apple Pay, both by users and by merchants. It was recently estimated only 24 percent of US-based iPhone users have tried out Apple Pay, with the number increasing to 47 percent for international users.
  • The Galaxy Fold is Samsung's $1980 7.3-inch folding smartphone

    The first product to debut in Samsung's Feb. 20 press event is the Galaxy Fold, its first-ever foldable smartphone, with an eye-watering price.

    Samsung Galaxy Fold

    When compact the device has a 4.6-inch, 1,960-by-840 pixel screen, but it unfolds into a 7.3-inch, 2,152-by-1,536 tablet, aided by technologies like an Infinity Flex display and a hinge with interlocking gears. "App continuity" allows apps to change size on the fly, and in tablet mode up to three apps can appear simultaneously.

    Samsung Galaxy Fold

    Internal specs include 12 gigabytes of RAM, 512 gigabytes of eUFS (Universal Flash Storage 3.0), expansion with microSD cards, and twin batteries offering 4,380 milliamp-hours of power. A triple-lens camera with wide, ultrawide and telephoto options works in both phone and tablet modes, and a dual-lens front camera uses its second sensor for depth data.

    Samsung Galaxy Fold

    The Fold can even charge a second device via Wireless PowerShare while connected to its own charger.

    Prices start at $1,980, with colors including Cosmos Black, Space Silver, Martian Green, or Astral Blue. The phone will launch Apr. 26.

    Samsung Galaxy Fold
  • How to do basic editing and detailed markup of PDFs on Mojave

    The more you need to edit or alter PDFs, the closer you come to needing third-party apps. Yet again, though, the Mac comes with PDF tools that are capable and useful -- so let's talk about how to use them.

    If you need to read a PDF then there is probably no better machine than a Mac. However, if you want to mark up or edit one, things are a little less clear. As it stands, macOS Mojave does come with excellent PDF handling and its markup tools are first class -- but its editing ones are not.

    The chief reason you may decide to invest in third-party PDF apps is that they offer better editing features than come as standard on the Mac. Yet what Mojave does, it mostly does very well and there's enough power here that it's possible you'll never need more.

    Hang on

    If you need to make major, structural, in-depth changes to a PDF, you won't do it in a PDF editing app. You'll go back to the document's original app such as Pages or Word, Keynote or Illustrator, and make the changes there.

    Without exception, that is the most sensible thing to do. There are times, though, when you don't have access to the original document or its app. There are times when you only want to remove page 3 or correct a typo on page 17. And then, there are times when you don't want to change a single thing on the PDF but you must redact parts.

    The tools that come with your Mac won't let you redact. They won't let you change a typo. However, they will let you remove page 3 and they will let you annotate. So you can tell someone else which bits need to be changed and to what.


    Last time, we did all our PDF work in Apple's Preview app. This time, we will do exactly the same thing -- but we do have more options.

    Mojave adds a markup button in the Finder's new Gallery view
    Mojave adds a markup button in the Finder's new Gallery view

    You can markup a PDF by opening one in Preview and in Quick Look by finding a document tapping on the spacebar. What's more, as of Mojave, you can now switch the Finder to a Gallery view and have a Preview pane open. In that pane, you'll get some details about the document but also a Markup button.

    Clicking that really just opens the PDF in Quick Look -- but it's handy.

    Most of what follows applies equally to whether you open a PDF in the Preview app, or whether you use Quick Look. The differences are subtle, and in practice the reason for choosing one over the other is expediency. It's easiest and, unsurprisingly, quickest to use Quick Look.

    Find a PDF document on your Mac, select it and then tap the spacebar. The Mac opens it up in a Quick Look window that lets you see and read it fully. Quick Look now also lets you mark up that PDF with all the same tools that you get for this job in Preview.

    Preview is the more handy option if you're going to be doing a lot of work, though, as it means you can have that PDF open all the time. With Quick Look, as soon as you go to check some other document or window, it closes the PDF.

    The basic tools

    Open any PDF in Preview and you will get that document plus a very few tools arranged around it. Click on the first icon on the left and you get a dropdown menu with various options. Click on Thumbnails and a sidebar will open with small images of each page in your PDF.

    Click and drag any of those pages to anywhere else in the sidebar's thumbnails and you'll re-order the whole PDF.

    You can't do much PDF editing in Preview, but can move and delete pages
    You can't do much PDF editing in Preview, but can move and delete pages

    You can also delete any page -- but the way you do it is not as obvious or even consistent as how you move them. In theory, you can click to select a page and then right-click to get a popup menu and choose Move to Trash. Or you can choose the same Move to Trash from the Edit menu. And yet sometimes, for no clear reason, neither option is available.

    That Edit menu option lists the keyboard shortcut for Move to Trash as Command-Delete -- but it's grayed-out too. Nonetheless, you can select a page, press Command-Delete and it's gone.

    It's just that you could equally well simply press Delete.

    That's a design confusion in Preview but the errant graying-out of the Move to Trash is more to do with problems with PDFs in general. If there's anything wrong with the PDF, you can get this problem. If you can't remove a page by pressing Delete, use File, Export to PDF and create a new PDF to work from.

    Starting anew

    It's not a bad idea to start a new PDF anyway. If you do open one and then remove some of its pages, you are extremely likely to inadvertently save the new, stripped one back over the original. There is an alternative, though. Instead of opening a PDF to start work on, first find that document in the Finder.

    This handy option is solely available when you have first copied a PDF or other graphic
    This handy option is solely available when you have first copied a PDF or other graphic

    Right- or option-click on it and choose Copy. Then when you go to Preview and select the File menu, you'll see that the very first option is New from Clipboard.

    Most of the time, this option is grayed-out. Whenever you've copied anything graphical like a PDF or an actual image, though, it becomes available. Choose it when you've copied a PDF and you get a brand new, untitled copy of that.


    When you have a PDF open, Preview will display a bar with markup tools on it. You may have to tell it to do this by choosing View, Show Markup Toolbar.

    You can also call up the Markup toolbar by clicking on the icon next to the Search bar
    You can also call up the Markup toolbar by clicking on the icon next to the Search bar

    This toolbar contains a dozen icons, many of which are drop-down menus with more options. The most significant ones are for adding or editing text, drawing lines or shapes, and adding your signature.

    Preview will usually let you add text to a document but it won't be pretty. You won't be able to add a sentence to a paragraph and make it look precisely the same font. You will, though, be able to add, say, titles.

    Depending on the PDF and how it was created, you will often be able to click into a text field and then just type. When you get a form that has fields like Name, it typically lets you do this.

    The rest of the time, you have to tell the PDF that you want to add text. You do that by choosing Tools, Annotate and then Text. Now you can type anywhere on the PDF and by default, Preview shows that text in red so that you're really clear where you're typing.

    We didn't really try very hard to match the new text to the old
    We didn't really try very hard to match the new text to the old

    Once you've written text, you can select either it or the existing text in the document by choosing the Text Selection tool. It's the first icon on the left of the Markup toolbar and lets you drag across text, highlighting it as you go.

    When you've done that, you can get Preview to change the color of the text's background. It doesn't change the text color itself. It's more like running a highlighter pen over the words.


    Since you can't click into a sentence and just write as much text as you like, the tool for adding text is mostly useful for short lines. If you need to write more, such as telling someone that you need major changes to the document, you can add a note.

    The eighth icon from the left, which looks more like a calendar symbol, is Note. Click that and you get a rather small white rectangle with a faint border around it. Click on that rectangle, though, and it expands out into a much larger yellow rectangle that you can type into.

    Highlighting and annotating text in a PDF
    Highlighting and annotating text in a PDF

    It's a lot less obvious how you get rid of these notes if you change your mind. If it's too late to just hit Undo, you need to choose the Tools menu and select Show Inspector.

    This Inspector isn't a great deal of use because it shows you a lot of information about, say, the size of the document but you can no longer edit or change any of it -- except for one thing. Click on the last icon in the Inspector window to call up Annotations. It lists every page that has one of these notes on and you can select and delete them there.

    The Inspector is frustrating. Click on the line and the note disappears.
    The Inspector is frustrating. Click on the line and the note disappears.

    It's a little inconsistent, though. You will find that you've got an errant annotation that just doesn't show up in the Inspector's list. It won't print out, but it also won't disappear if you try creating a new version through Preview's Export to PDF.

    PDF is a compromise

    Inconsistencies like this make editing PDFs a little tedious and sometimes a lot frustrating. That doesn't get a lot better when you're using third-party apps, either, as it's less about the app and more about the Portable Document Format itself.

    Yet at least you're on a Mac. The Mac comes with far better and more powerful PDF creation, editing, and markup tools than it gets credit for.

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