Test run the macOS Sierra public beta and alert Apple about bug fixes

Caught up with some MacWorld reading and it seems the macOS Sierra public beta was released in early July. Want to be a test pilot? Sign up to the Apple Beta Software Program with your Apple ID. You can sign up for both macOS and the iOS.

This public beta software is confidential, so you can’t share any information about it except to send reports directly to Apple with the built-in Feedback Assistant app.

As this is pre-release software, you should not try this on your workhorse mac. Some applications may not be ready for macOS Sierra, but some will have public betas ready, which they hope to recruit feedback for as well.

This sort of exercise has solved many problems I have had over the years with various software so I am glad to see this happening again.

If you have been dying to try out macOS Sierra, want to put it through its paces, want to help iron out conflicts for a smooth ride eventually, and can’t wait for the official release in a couple of months, then sign up here.

How to get the macOS Sierra beta

‘When to enhance audio?’, the soundman asked me – screen grab annotations with Skitch 1.0.12 to the rescue!

I was giving a talk at a venue which had a tech guy controlling audio from the sides. the crowd was noisy gabbing away over dinner so I needed the subtle vote overs to be heard. But we could not keep the volume up as that generated feedback noise. The soundman wasn’t sighted well enough to respond quickly when the slides flashed by. And I had just turned up so there wasn’t time for him to get familiar.

Well, a prompt would be helpful.

My videos were embedded on a dark background so I switched keynote to lightbox view, did a screen grab with Skitch 1.0.12 and circled the videos – they were obvious in the lightbox view but circling removed any doubt. I dragged and dropped the the image to the USB drive which dangled from my keychain and he was relieved. Now we were in business.

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Well we started minutes later and managed a very smooth delivery indeed, and kept to time too! We exchanged a satisfied thumbs up to each other when it was over.

I made a point of citing the version – Skitch 1.0.12, because it is this 2012 version which was well loved by many [download link (11.9MB)]. Subsequently, Evernote bought over Skitch and completely ruined a lovely tool (e.g. see here and here)!

Ver 1.0.12 is still my favourite screen grab and annotate tool. It still works in OSX 10.11 El Capitan but I looked around for Plan B, just in case and YellowMug’s SnapNDrag Pro is not bad.

Update your Mac hardware – phone, laptop, watch, tv etc (18 Jul 2016) & OSX El Captan 10.11.6 Combo Update

There was a bug alert it seems, so do update your Apple products to OS X El Capitan v10.11.6, iOS 9.3.3 and the tv and watch OS’ too, with the latest OS releases – check your device settings if you have not been prompted as yet, or your App Store Updates tab.

Although the published date for the updates were from three days ago, I had not been prompted by my phone or laptop. Instead it was a friend on twitter who alerted me.

I apply an update when it comes these days, and am no longer the cautious wait and see guy.

But I hunted for the preferred combo update, which does not easily surface early in a google search during a release. So I checked one of the online mac magazines and found it the link.

Download OS X El Capitan 10 11 6 Combo Update

Penned this reminder when a Mac user asked me, what release?

Share your green love story (Singapore Sustainability Story II, by 08 Aug 2016)

This is a great opportunity to share stories we can all learn from, enjoy and be inspired by – and every story, no mater how small, counts. I am looking forward to sharing the repository with students, volunteers and friends

Green Living is calling for inspiring stories which they want to share through the Singapore Sustainability Story II.

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“Do you have a story to share on your efforts to go green and sustainable?”

This year at Green Living, we turn our focus on you. If you have a story on your journey towards an eco-friendly lifestyle, we’d love to hear from you. We’re calling for inspiring stories from individuals, groups and corporates to be part of Singapore Sustainability Story II at Green Living.

The Singapore Sustainability Story II seeks to showcase initiatives through story telling by individuals, groups and corporates. The shortlisted stories by our curation committee will be featured at Green Living and the best 3 stories (people’s choice) will be given a prize of $100 shopping vouchers.

What kind of stories are we looking for?

  • Individuals who commit to greening their homes and leading a sustainable lifestyle
  • Children who help to spread the message of green
  • Small groups that opted for sustainable lifestyle
  • Community groups that do things in a sustainable way

Every story counts. If you have a story to tell, no matter how small it is, we will record it in this journey and seek to share with everyone.

Go ahead, share your story!

Join me in celebrating National Day with a coastal cleanup @ Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove!

In 2008, I was dismayed to see the amount of plastic and other trash that had accumulated on the lovely patch of mangroves at Lim Chu Kang – this was one of the first mangroves I had mapped as an undergraduate with Paddy Murphy and a site I spent many days and nights at.


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I decided I could not wait for the annual International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS) in September so initiated a cleanup. The next year, I shifted the cleanup to early August in celebration of National Day where it also heralded in the start of the academic year and an extremely hectic semester at the National University of Singapore. We usually remove more than half a tonne to a tonne of trash.

This 9th year of the cleanup, we will be working on Saturday 6th Aug 2016: 8.00am – 10.30am. To join us, sign up here by 1st August 2016! Transport will be provided from Kranji MRT to the cleanup site @ Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove. Details on the ICCS blog.

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BBC News features Bishan10 – Singapore’s most famous smooth-coated otter family

The 13th International Otter Congress has lead a to feature of Bishan10, our most famous and best-photographed smooth-coated otter family in Singapore.

You can follow news about them on Otter Watch.

Bishan10 use the Kallang River and we hope to have congress participants catch a glimpse of them on Friday. A pre-dawn advance party of scouts hope to provide us a lead as we pick participants up at 6.00am and then to either Marina Bay, upriver at Boon Keng or AMK-Bishan Park.

Many otter folk track elusive animals like I used to, who disappear in a flash when encountered in the field. So we do hope to share with them the joy of observing friendly urban otters – wish us luck!

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Camille Coudrat’s Project ANOULAK in the Nakai-Nam Theun National Protected Area, Laos

NewImageRelatively new to the IUCN-SSC Otter Specialist Group family is primatologist Camille Coudrat’s who leads Project ANOULAK (conservationlaos.com. She initiated this project in 2012 when conducting research for her PhD project in Nakai-Nam Theun National Protected Area in central-eastern Laos.

The project takes an integrated approach to scientific research, capacity building, habitat protection and environmental education and community involvement. As they educate and train villagers within the Nakai-Nam Theun National Protected Area, they form a base of field-savvy research assistants.

Amongst her projects is the project descriptionPilot School Education Project for Knowledge and Attitude Change towards Wildlife and Habitat in Nakai-Nam Theun National Protected Area, Laos:

“Villagers are generally not aware of the National or Global status of local species and did not receive any basic environmental education. Providing a curriculum on environmental education adapted to the area’s schools, including teachers training and educational material creation, will empower the next generation to become conservation actors.

If children living within the NPA develop a strong knowledge in the environment and resident wildlife, a positive attitude towards it and the capacity to change their behaviour this will have a long-lasting impact on the wildlife and habitat of the area.”

We look forward to more updates about Laos from this protected area.

“Otters: The waterdogs of Moyar” in Tamil Nadu, India

Kannadasan Narsimmarajan, a Conservation Leadership Programme recipient, shared this video with us at the 13th International Otter Congress.

He says the film crew shot the footage over seven days at his field sites in the River Moyar in Tamil Nadu, India, during which they were really lucky with capturing otter behaviour. They then had to work hard to keep the video length short for the unforgiving internet audience – I thought the end result was excellent! He uploaded this to Youtube and Vimeo just four days ago.

It is interesting that they call the smooth-coated otters “waterdogs”. That was the recorded name used by peninsular Malays in the 19th century – “Anjing Ayer“. Indeed otters are mustelids, one of the Caniformia, or dog-like carnivorans.