Tales form the Orchard: Apple Nabs Oprah in Latest A-List Grab

 

 

By Kimberly Roots of TVLine.com

Apple just got OWN’d.

Oprah Winfrey has entered a multi-year content partnership with the tech company, Apple announced Friday.

The producer/actress/talk-show host/force of nature will join Apple in creating “original programs that embrace her incomparable ability to connect with audiences around the world,” per the official release.

Winfrey’s projects will be part of Apple’s robust slate of original content, which includes a Reese Witherspoon/Jennifer Aniston-starring series set at a morning talk show, a comedy featuring Hailee Steinfeld as poet Emily Dickinson, and dramas from directors Damien Chazelle (La La Land) and M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense). The tech giant has also ordered the thriller Are You Sleeping, headlined by Octavia Spencer, and an untitled Kristen Wiig comedy, both executive-produced by Witherspoon.

Winfrey’s national TV career began with her daytime gabfest The Oprah Winfrey Show; her Harpo Productions company are responsible for Dr. Phil, The Dr. Oz Show and Rachael Ray. She founded the cable network OWN, of which she is CEO and chairman, in 2011.

At the Golden Globes ceremony in January, she was awarded the Cecil B. DeMille award and accepted with a speech that many hoped hinted at a future presidential bid. (Winfrey later said that she was not interested in running for office.)

“For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare to speak their truth to the power of [brutally powerful] men,” Winfrey said in her remarks. “But their time is up… A new day is on the horizon! And when that day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women… and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that… nobody ever has to say, ‘Me too’ again!”

Tips & Tricks: 20 Rocking Apple Music Streaming Tips

Apple’s streaming music service is growing by leaps and bounds—here are a few tips to get the most out of it.

 

 

By Eric Griffith and Jeffery L Wilson of PC Mag.com

Few streaming music services explode onto the market and into the public consciousness like Apple Music. Backed by Cupertino’s marketing juggernaut and millions of existing iTunes users, Apple Music is now growing faster than its top rival, Spotify.

This isn’t too surprising. It’s a default app on iOS devices, and there’s even an Android version for people who don’t own an iPhone or iPad. That’s potentially millions upon millions of customers who may give the app a try for their streaming music needs.
Plus, Apple Music is a fine music service. You get lots of tunes, music-related television and film content, and the Connect social network that keeps you on top of music happenings. And Apple Music offers a family plan ($14.99 per month for six people who share over iCloud) and a discount for college students ($4.99 per month).

Apple Music isn’t flawless. It doesn’t have a free, ad-supported option like Spotify, but it does let iOS users listen free to Beats 1 radio and other stations. That’s the big picture Apple Music, but the music service has lots of goodies beneath the hood. We’ve got a list of 20 tips and tricks here that will help you get the most out of Apple Music, or at least prevent it from getting the better of you.

 

1. Get Your Connect Name

When you post comments or playlists in Apple Music, it’ll show your name. You can claim a special nickname for Apple’s somewhat-revamped Connect social network, if you’re quick about it. (No one wants to be told they should be egriffith646985.) In the Music app, enter a handle and add a photo.


2. Skip Connecting

By default, any artist you add to your library is going to be one you follow using Connect. In fact, any artist you’ve ever bought music from in iTunes is auto-followed, even that one hit wonder from years ago. To change that, tap Account > Following. There, you can not only unfollow individual artists—who might, in fact, use the service to try and stay in touch with you about new releases—you can also tell Connect to stop auto-following artists you’ve added to your music library. Any artist you don’t follow on Connect won’t appear in the Connect Section of Apple Music, naturally.

 

3. Kill Connect Entirely

Want to do away with Connect? On iOS, go into Settings > General > Restrictions. Turn them on if they’re off. Scroll down to Apple Music Connect and turn on the restriction. After that, go back to the Music app—you’ll see the Connect tab has been replaced with “Playlists.”

4. Turn off the Auto-Renew
After your three-month trial of Apple Music, Apple is just going to assume you love it and want to subscribe. Prevent that charge from automatically appearing on your credit card. While in the Music app, tap the head icon in the upper left > View Apple ID > log in > Manage (under Subscriptions at the bottom). Turn off Automatic Renewal. A pop-up will tell you how long you have left in your trial. Remember, after your trial ends, any music you’ve added via Apple Music to playlists and the like will go buh-bye.


5. Tap to Like, Double-Tap to Love.

Services such as Spotify and Apple Music live by mining what you like musically, so it can recommend more. In Apple Music, you’re asked from the get-go for suggestions of favorite artists and styles when you tap “For You.” To make changes later, tap the head icon > Choose Artists for You. Pink bubbles with musical genres and then specific artists will appear. Tap to tell Apple you like it. But if you double-tap, it indicates a deep, abiding love and that singer or band or genre is going to weigh heavily into future suggestions. If there’s a genre in a bubble you don’t like at all, tap and hold it to get rid of it.

 

6. Like from Lock
Listening to Apple Music with your phone locked is a god-send. If you hear a new song stream you like, but don’t want to go back into the app to indicate you like it, just click the heart outline on the iOS lock screen. It’ll turn solid red, to indicate your devotion. (This does NOT add the music to your phone or playlists. It just lets Apple know you like it/them, so future recommendations can reflect your refined tastes. You’ll find those recommendations on the For You tab.)

 

7). Siri into Apple Music
The ties between Apple’s audio AI and Apple Music are pretty good. You can use Siri to search for music (“Find ‘White Christmas’ by Bing Crosby on Apple Music” brought it right up), but also to do things like shuffle songs (hold down the home button while in a playlist and say “Shuffle Songs.”) Remember Siri also has built-in Shazam, so ask Siri to ID a song playing around you, and when she does, you can then immediately click the arrow button to start playback.

 

 

8. Hide Apple Music Suggestions
Hate that For You tab because you already know what you like, and hell, you already have all the music you want? You can stay subscribed to Apple Music while hiding it from view. On the iPhone, go to Settings > Music and turn off Show Apple Music. Next time you open the Music App, the For You and New tabs will be gone, and it will show My Music, Playlists, Radio, and Connect (assuming you didn’t kill it in restrictions).

 

 

9. See Recent Searches
If you can’t remember the last thing you looked for, or just don’t want to type it again, look for the clock icon in the search bar on iOS. It’ll show you a full list of the most recent searches.

 

 

10. Download for Offline Listening
You’re an Apple Music paying customer, or soon will be… so enjoy the fruits of that by making music you wouldn’t necessarily buy otherwise available to listen to, anytime, anywhere, even when you’re offline. All you do is click the three-dot menu next to a song (or an entire album) and on the menu that pops up, click Make Available Offline. (To buy it, click Show in iTunes Store.) This also works from within Beats 1 Radio.

 

11. Download Over Cellular
The default setting is that you only get to download music to the phone using Wi-Fi. You can change that by going into Settings > iTunes & App Store. Turn on the Use Cellular Data option. It’s up to you to make sure you don’t hit your data cap, if you have one.

 

 

12. Call in Your Requests
Want to make a request of Beats 1 radio? You can, by calling the number for your geographic location, listed here (and shown above). To be clear, in the US, call 1-310-299-8756 or toll free to 1-877-720-6293.

 

 

13. View Downloaded Only
Let’s say you’ve got a huge library of music showing in your My Music tab—but most of it’s streaming. If you want to know what’s available when you’re offline (namely, the tracks you’ve downloaded), tap on the My Music tab, and at the top of the tracks, tap Songs or Albums or whatever shows just below the album covers. It brings up the menu where you change how to sort music. At the bottom of that menu, toggle Show Music Available Offline to only see what’s stored on the phone. (This doesn’t quite work for iTunes Match users; on my phone, I still saw all my Match titles, even though they’re not locally stored. Seems like more of a bug than a feature, Apple.)

 

 

14. Publish to Apple Music
Looks like Spotify isn’t the only place you can push your tunes! On iOS, music crafted with GarageBand can be shared direct to Apple Music Connect. (This doesn’t yet work on the Mac desktop.) Naturally, an Apple Music account is required, and chances are if you ever leave the service behind, the service will kick your music to the curb. And it’s not exactly going to replace SoundCloud for original music sharing anytime soon. But it’s an interesting start.

 

 

15. Wake to Apple Music
Any song in the Apple Music library of 30 million tracks can now be what you wake to in the morning. Save a favorite song to your library (click that ellipsis three-dot menu as a song plays and select Add to My Music)—after that, go into the iOS Clock app, create or edit an alarm, and under Sound, click Pick a Song. From there, find it in the lists by album, artist, song, or just search for the individual track. (If you let the subscription lapse, you won’t have that song to wake to, of course.)

 

 

16. Access Apple Music on the Desktop
You’ll need to make sure you’ve got the latest version of iTunes, 12.7.3, but when you do the software that has always held your Apple-based music collection (and is the focal point of Apple-based music sales, not to mention backup up your iPhone, etc.) becomes your streaming center. Along with the usual tabs for My Music and Playlists, you’ll see Apple Music-specific tabs at the top including For You (seen here on both mobile and desktop), Radio, and Connect. If you’re all thumbs, this is the best way to do some of the detail work, like adding things to playlists, creating Smart Playlists, etc.

 

 

17. Enjoy Music-Related TV and Films
Apple Music has more than just audio content. By visiting Browse > TV & Movies you can dive into video, too. The annoyingly popular Carpool Karaoke, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A Bad Boy Story, and Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives are just some of the music-focused television and film content available for streaming.

 

 

18. Apply Content Restrictions
Did you know that Apple Music lets you filter out naughty language and adult themes? By visiting Settings > Content Restrictions, you can toggle the Allow Explicit Content option on or off. This doesn’t only apply to music; you can also apply filters to music-related television and movie content.

In addition, you can create a restriction password to prevent someone else from adjusting the restriction parameters (a much welcomed feature for those who have children).

 

19. Automatically add Songs to Your Library
You like playlists, I like playlists, we all like playlists. Themed music collections are the way to go for those times when you need extra energy for a gym session or soft vibes for falling asleep. Music in your playlists are likely to be tunes you dig, so a handy Apple Music feature lets you automatically add playlist tracks to your Library. You can get it up and running by opening Settings and toggling on Add Playlist Songs.

 

20. Tweak EQ Settings
You don’t need to use Apple Music’s default audio settings. The app includes an equalizer that lets you boost various frequencies, as well as up the bass and adjust the surround sound.

What are your favorite Features of Apple Music? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Tips & Tricks: 13 Roku tricks you should try right now

Your Roku streamer can do a lot more than you might think. These are some of the coolest tips we’ve tried.

 

 

BY Rick Broida of CNet

Is there a more widely beloved tech product than the Roku streamer? Whether yours is a stick or box, it delivers virtually unparalleled video goodness to your TV: Netflix, Hulu, HBO and so on.

And, yet, it could be better. That onscreen keyboard? Bleh. The default interface theme? Room for improvement. Below I’ve rounded up 13 ways to improve your Roku experience, from organizing channels to watching iTunes movies to adding TV-control buttons to the Roku remote.

Use your phone as your Roku keyboard

Is there anything more aggravating than using a remote to operate an onscreen keyboard? Just signing in to, say, your Netflix account can be a slow, agonizing affair, to say nothing of searching for actors or movies.

Thankfully, there’s an easy fix: Use your phone instead. As you probably know, the Roku apps (iOS | Android) can take the place of your Roku remote, but they also provide a keyboard that makes data entry significantly faster and easier.

So anytime you land at your Roku’s onscreen keyboard on your TV, whether for a search or sign-in, just run the app, tap Remote and then tap the keyboard icon near the bottom of the screen. Now you can tap-type! Or, power tip, tap the keyboard’s microphone icon and “type” your entry using your voice. Speaking of which…

Use your phone for voice search

You know what’s even faster than a keyboard? The spoken word. If you’re lucky enough to have a current-generation Roku, you may have discovered the joys of voice search, which you can operate via the Roku remote.

Don’t own one of those models? No problem: The Roku app now offers voice-search capabilities of its own. So instead of tapping out, say, “Leonardo DiCaprio” to find his available movies (and risk spelling it wrong), you can just tap the Search option, then Voice, and actually say, “Leonardo DiCaprio.”

Stream media from your phone or tablet

Want to show everyone the photos and videos you took at the recent wedding, graduation, soccer game or zombie escape room? Don’t gather them around your relatively tiny phone or tablet; gather them around the TV instead. The Roku app lets you cast photos, videos and music from your mobile device to your streamer.

Just fire up the app and tap Play On Roku. Choose the kind of media you want to stream, then the specific media. Presto! Big-screen viewing from your small(er)-screen device.

Want to take this a step further? You can also mirror your smartphone or tablet to your Roku device.

Turn your Roku remote into a universal remote

I really like the design of the Roku remote, especially those that have shortcut buttons to the likes of Netflix and Amazon. What I don’t like: You can’t program a Roku remote to control your TV.

But you can program a Sideclick. Available for a variety of streamers (including Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV), this clever add-on (with the best name ever) clips to the side of your Roku remote and adds a row of handy programmable buttons: power, volume up/down, channel up/down, input and A/B (these last available for whatever functions you want).

The Sideclick starter kit for Roku sells for $30 and comes with four adapter clips to accommodate the majority of Roku remotes. It’s a pretty nice option for anyone tired of juggling remotes.

Organize your channels

 

The more channels you add to your Roku library, the bigger a jumbled mess they get. If you’re forever scrolling all over the place to find the handful of channels you visit most, you’ve probably wished for some way to reorganize them.

This is that way: Find a channel you want to relocate — let’s say HBO Now — and highlight it with your remote. (Don’t actually select it, just move the cursor over it so it’s highlighted.) Next, press the Option button on your remote (it looks like an asterisk), then choose Move Channel. Now use the direction pad to move the icon where you want it, noting how others move out of the way as you go.

Once you’ve found the perfect spot, press OK to complete the process. Repeat as necessary.

Reorganize channels in the Roku app

A recent update to the Roku app added a great feature: a Channels screen, similar to what you see on your TV. It makes for much faster access to your favorite channels.
However, it’s not immediately obvious how to organize those channels. That’s because you can’t actually do so within the app: You have to hit up your actual Roku on your TV. Then just follow the steps outlined in Organize your channels, above. Or, if you want more detail, check out How to organize your channels in the new Roku 4.0 app.

Choose a new theme

Not a fan of Roku’s default interface theme? That’s OK, not everyone loves purple. If you venture into the Settings menu and choose Themes, you’ll see a handful of other options.

Even better, select Get More Themes, which will bring you to the Roku Channel Store’s Themes collection. (You can also browse them online if you prefer.) Here you’ll find several dozen other options, everything from golf to Garfield to Star Trek. Alas, these add-ons aren’t free: <ost range from 99 cents to $2.99.

Install a screensaver

 

Tired of that Roku logo bouncing around whenever your streamer sits idle for a while? Why not choose a screensaver that’s a little more interesting?
As with selecting a theme, you can head to the Settings menu and then choose

Screensaver for a handful of other options. (If you’ve already chosen a different theme, you may see other screensaver options already. Nebula, for example, offers a digital clock in place of the bouncing Roku logo.)

And, again, you can head to the Channel Store to find lots of other screensavers: aquariums, animated fireplaces, headlines from “The Onion,” even a Nixie Clock. A handful are free; most will cost you a buck or two.

Rename your Rokus

If you have more than one Roku device, it makes sense to assign each one a name — if only to simplify things when using the Roku app. It’s a lot easier to switch between, say, “Bedroom Roku” and “Living Room Roku” than it is “Roku 2” and “Roku 3.”

Curiously, however, you can’t do this from within the app. Instead, you need to sign into my.roku.com, then head to the My Account page. Scroll down a bit to see a list of your connected devices, then click Rename next to the one you want to change. Not sure which is which? You can actually refer to the app for this; tap Settings > Switch Device for a list of connected Rokus (and their convenient accompanying pictures), then look for the serial number. Match that to what you see on the Web portal.

Install private channels

Everyone knows about Roku’s Netflix, Hulu and other mainstream channels, but your streamers also support the addition of private channels.

Is that code for “adult”? Yes and no. Although adult channels do exist for Roku, you can find a variety of family-friendly options at sources like Roku-Channels.com, RokuGuide.com, StreamFree.tv and RokuChannels.tv.

One cool option: The Silent Movie Channel, which offers selections from the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Rudolph Valentino.

To add it, head to Roku’s My Account page in your browser (as described in the previous tip), click Add a Channel, then enter the code ROLLEM.

The channel should get automatically added to your Roku device within the next 24 hours, but you should be able to force it by going to the Channel Store on your Roku, then exiting back out to the main menu.

Find a lost Roku remote

Much as I like the design of the Roku remote, the size can be a problem: It goes missing that much more easily. The Bermuda Triangle has nothing on my couch cushions.

Fortunately, if you own a Roku 4 ($63.99 at Amazon Marketplace) or Roku Ultra, there’s a fast way to find your remote. (Assuming, of course, you can still find the Roku itself. Gotta be somewhere near the TV.) Both models have a button on top; press it and your remote will make a sound.

Want to learn how to choose what sound it makes? Check out Quickly find a lost Roku remote with this trick.

Watch movies from your iTunes library

If you live in the Apple ecosystem, you know that owning a Roku means forgoing any movies you’ve purchased via iTunes. After all, it’s not like Apple offers a Roku channel.

Thankfully, there’s Movies Anywhere. This free tool puts all your movies under one roof, so to speak, meaning you can now use a single Roku app to access movies from your Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu accounts. Obviously you could already access Amazon, Google and Vudu movies on your Roku via their respective apps, but Movies Anywhere brings iTunes into that mix and saves you from having to remember which movie is located where.

Listen in private with private listening

One of Roku’s best features is private listening, which allows you to stream audio through a remote or your phone to your favorite headphones. That’s great for your half-deaf relative who would normally need to crank the TV volume to house-shattering levels, or for your elliptical workouts where you can’t hear the TV over the sound of the machinery.

The Roku 3, Roku Premiere+, Roku 4 and Roku Ultra all come with a remote that has a built-in headphone jack, by far the easiest option. (Pro tip: If you plug in, remember to unplug when you’re done. Headphones will continue to draw power even when you’re not using the Roku, making it quite likely you’ll return to a dead set of remote batteries.)

But all current-gen models, from the Roku Express to the Roku Ultra, also support private listening via the Roku app. This works with both wired and wireless headphones; just fire up the app and tap the headphones icon to switch from TV speakers to private listening.

And there you go! Thirteen cool ways to improve your Roku experience.

Hit the comments and share your favorite tips!

How to: Use your Mac’s screen as an Apple TV

 

 

By CHARLIE SORREL of Cult Of Mac

You have a big 27-inch iMac sitting on the desk in the corner of your living room office, and yet you’re over there on the couch watching a movies on your iPhone or iPad. Wouldn’t it be great if you could beam one to the other, like sending video from an iPhone to an Apple TV? The good news is that you totally can, just by installing an app on your Mac. There are several available, but today we’ll use my favorite, Reflector.

AirPlay for your Mac

 

Reflector 2 is a media-receiving app which works with AirPlay and Google Cast, and is available for Mac, Android, and Windows. It has some other tricks, like allowing you to stream your iOS video live to YouTube, and to record video and audio using your Mac’s microphone and camera. But today we’ll be seeing how to do one simple thing: steaming video from your iPhone (or iPad) to your Mac’s big screen.

First, you should download Reflector 2. The full version costs $15, and the app runs as a free trial with a watermark over the screen. This trial is one of the reasons I like Reflector over other options like AirServer, because AirServer’s “free” trial requires you to give them your email address. Also, AirServer never works on my Mac.

After installing Reflector 2 (which requires a restart), you’re ready to go. If you ever used AirPlay or Apple TV to stream video or music, you’ll be familiar with using Reflector 2. That’s because it works by turning your Mac into an AirPlay receiver. Your iDevice requires no special software. Your Reflector-running Mac just shows up as a standard AirPlay device on the network.

Using Reflector to stream video

 

This is the easy part. To watch a movie or YouTube video on your Mac, just play it on your iPhone, tap the little AirPlay sharing icon (the triangle in the rectangle), and choose your Reflector-running Mac in the pop-up list. Because it is masquerading as an Apple TV, you’ll see an Apple TV icon, with the same name as your Mac. Then you tap this icon, wait a couple of seconds, and your video (and sound) will appear on your Mac’s screen. You can now sit back and enjoy a movie, or whatever. And remember, because this is AirPlay, it has other uses too. A visitor to your home can run a slideshow of their photos from their iPhone, for example, or make a Keynote presentation the same way.

That’s it — more or less. You may find that the window on the Mac is not running full screen, or that the name of your iDevice is displayed at the top of the window. This last — the name of the sending device — is there to help out in offices and classrooms. It tells you who is beaming to the device right now. This isn’t so useful at home, so let’s switch it off, as well as making the full-screen the default display.

Customizing the video

 

First, let’s switch off the pesky name displayed at the top of the screen. On the Mac, open up Reflector’s preferences
Reflector > Preferences…, or (Command-comma). Then, under General, change the Show Client Name popover to Off.

 

Next, we’ll tell Reflector to always open video in full-screen. Click on the next section in the app’s preferences: Connection. Here you can set the Default Scale to Fill Screen, and toggle Show Frame (which shows the video framed with a picture of an iPhone or iPad).

 

That’s about it for settings, but as you’re in here, click around to see what else can be changed. I switched off support for Google Cast, as well as support for related apps form Reflector’s developer, AirSquirrels.

Airplay apps

 

When researching this post, I looked into several other apps, but settled on Reflector because it works, because it looks good, and because the company behind it seems to be in the game for the long term. I’ve tried the main rival, AirServer, extensively in the past, even buying it (twice), but I could never get it to work properly. Video would fail to appear, or the iPad end of the equation wouldn’t work out. Between that and the aggressive trial mode, I’d avoid AirServer. Reflector, on the other hand, just works — even on my 2010-vintage iMac.

 

What’s your favorite way to stream? Tell us about it in the comments below!!

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