iOS 11 makes Spotlight search super-powerful

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spotlight search in iOS 11
Spotlight in iOS 11 is a power-users dream, letting you find anything -- whether on the web on on your device -- fast.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Spotlight search gets a big overhaul in iOS 11. The Spotlight updates in iOS 11 don’t seem quite as spectacular as the iPad’s new Dock, or drag-and-drop, but the small tweaks make the search tool a lot more useful.

Now you can search both your iPad and the web, similar to how you conduct a search in Safari. If you ever used Launchbar, Alfred or Quicksilver on the Mac, the new iOS 11 Spotlight will feel familiar.

Replace Photobucket sharing with this automatic Dropbox action

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workflow dropbox photo bucket
Workflow makes short work of rolling your own image-hosting service.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Imagine if an almost 15-year-old image hosting company suddenly decided to deactivate all the links to the photos you had stored there. That’s exactly what happened last week, when Photobucket cut all “hot-linked” — or embedded — images, and insisted that users pony up $400 per year to get them back. That’s a big deal, because Photobucket images power much of the web. It’s not used only for posting images to forums, but to put images on Amazon store pages, and eBay listings.

Few of the folks affected by this are going to pay the ransom to get their photo links back, so the web will be littered with Photobucket placeholders reminding people of this fiasco for years to come. We can’t help with that, but we can offer a great alternative to Photobucket. Today we’ll see how to upload a photo to Dropbox and grab its direct link automatically, so you can use the image on any website you like.

How to automatically save iMessage pictures to the iPhone Photos app

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save iMessage pictures
Easily save lots of iMessage pictures and movies all at once.
Photo: Cult of Mac

You can’t yet automatically save incoming photos and videos from the Messages app in iOS, but there is a way to quickly select a whole bunch of iMessage pictures and movies, and save them all to your Camera Roll.

Why would you want to do this? The main reason is search. Once your media gets inside the Photos app, it can be searched and included in Memories. Plus, all the pictures of people will get scanned and recognized. In short, right now some of your most valued pictures don’t show up in the place you keep all your pictures. Let’s change that.

How to automatically import new music into iTunes

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iTunes sales hit a peak in 2012, and they've been falling ever since.
Use an Automator workflow and never manually add media to iTunes again!
Photo: Apple

So, say you have a Dropbox folder that keeps your media files synced across all your machines. Wouldn’t it be super-convenient to have iTunes import music from the Dropbox folder automatically? Also, just double-clicking the media files to import them to iTunes doesn’t sound too much work at first, but, what if your files are scattered all over the disk? For instance, some of you might have organized your media files into different folders by artist name, or by download source.

Let’s see how you can harness the power of automation to automatically import music to iTunes on a Mac.

How to turn your Mac into an internet printer, and print from anywhere

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Epson Expression Home XP-430 multifunction printer
It's surprisingly easy to print a file remotely on a Mac.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Picture this scenario: You’ve multiple computers at your office and only one of them (which is a Mac) is connected to the printer. Every time you need to print a document stored on these “other” computers, you have to manually transfer the file to the Mac and start the printing process from there. Wouldn’t it be super-convenient if you could just send a document wirelessly and instantly initiate the process of printing files remotely?

Today, I’ll show you how to break apart from this hassle and easily print files remotely from any computer using a combination of Dropbox and Automator.

Apple VP Lisa Jackson joins federal committee overseeing automation

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Jackson
Lisa Jackson presenting at an Apple keynote.
Photo: Apple

The U.S. Department of Transportation revealed that it has established a new advisory committee that will make recommendations in the field of automation.

Apple’s VP of environment and policy, Lisa Jackson, will be one of the committee’s 25 members that will work on some of the most important issues facing transportation, including self-driving cars.

This company built an AI for helping customer service teams

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This powerful artificial intelligence tool can help customer service agents, or converse with customers directly.
This powerful artificial intelligence tool can help customer service agents, or converse with customers directly.
Photo: Agent.ai

Ex-Apple engineers want to make your dumb car smart

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Pearl's RearVision adds a camera to your car.
Pearl's RearVision adds a camera to your car.
Photo: Pearl

It will be years before we get to see how simple and amazing a car designed by Apple will be, but for now a new hardware startup created by ex-Apple engineers is ready to give us the next best thing.

Pearl Automation, an autonomous car tech startup co-founded by Apple veteran Bryson Gardner, revealed its first product today that makes your dumb car smarter by adding a new feature usually only found on luxury vehicles.

Howard Hughes’ former home is retro sci-fi, controlled by an iPad

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Howard Hughes House
It's straight out of a David Lynch movie.
Photo: Ben Bacal (via YouTube)

If you have an extra $11.5 million sitting around, and you’ve always wanted to live somewhere that looks like a great place to plan a heist while your robot butler serves you drinks, we may have found your new home.

The house at 535 Haynes Avenue in Beverly Hills once belonged to tycoon, filmmaker, and real-life Iron Man, Howard Hughes. And if its classic charm and amazing views weren’t enough for you, it’s also entirely automated and runs from an iPad.

You can see more of the swanky house in the video below.