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Apple’s Freeform app exists and we tried it

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Over the past few iOS, iPadOS, and macOS updates, Apple has been all about collaboration and sharing. We got SharePlay to watch movies or shows on FaceTime with friends or family. New looks for classic UX elements, and now with the latest batch of updates — iOS 16.2, iPadOS 16.2, watchOS 9.2, and macOS Ventura 13.1 released December 13 — there’s a whole new app called Freeform.

It’s basically a digital whiteboard that supports all forms of input, and works on your Apple device (AAPL) – Get a free report devices, and sync through iCloud. Whether it’s a shared live document for brainstorming with a team, reminders and notes for a family, or really a surface for whenever pen needs to reach the proverbial paper.

And while it’s down to everyone now – you’ll see it as a A new app on your home screen After the update is complete – I’ve been using it for the past few weeks, and I’m sharing my early thoughts. Once more people come in, I’m sure I’ll get more paintings.

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First things first, you need to be running the latest version of the software. Specifically, you need iOS 16.2 on your iPhone, iPad requires iPadOS 16.2, and macOS requires Ventura 13.1.

On the iPhone or iPadYou will need to open Settings and then tap General > Software Update. From there it will check for the update and once it detects the appropriate version, you can click on download and install. Expect the download to take a few minutes and then it will ask you to install.

On a Mac, you’ll open System Settings and click General > Software Update. Likewise, it will check for an update and then display it as available for download. You can click Download and Install to start the process. Like iPhone or iPad, you will be prompted to install. Regardless of your Apple device, you’ll want to make sure you back up your data before completing the update. This is unlikely to cause any data loss, but it’s always a good idea.

Once installed, you will find the Freeform app on the home screen of your iPhone or iPad and on a Mac it will be in Launchpad or in your Applications folder. The first time you open Freeform, you’ll see a splash screen that briefly explains it and then drops you directly to your first panel.

And Apple’s iteration of the board is a mostly white background with repeating gray dots. You will quickly realize that it is a very large area that you can zoom in and out to see a fairly large surface. This is useful, especially with the ability to populate these freeform panels with text, images, video, embeds, and contributions from a group of people.

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How do you add objects or mark up the board? Well, that’s where the top or lower Ribbon comes in: sticky note creator, shapes, textbook, embed photo or video, and markup. This bar is located at the top of the screen for Mac and iPad, while at the bottom for iPhone users. Coding should be familiar to people within the Apple ecosystem. It’s where you can choose the writing app of your choice, adjust the colors, and even the thickness or opacity.

While you do get five icons to choose from and familiarize yourself with, the options within each of them are endless. You can put a sticky note and a photo, but then use the tags to make each one your own and add layers on top. It’s also important to note that unlike some other note apps, you can customize the entire template. You can drop in an image of, say, a lined notebook page, to get that — and there’s no formal layering system here. You can move different components – typed text, written text or images – at your leisure.

The board will be automatically saved through iCloud, and if you want to edit who it’s shared with or start sharing it with, just tap the share icon. To make a new note, it’s the square icon.

And when you share with someone, it’s not like you see a copy of the document but you give them access to the documents in real time. Meaning you can be on the same board with those you share with, and see changes in real time. I’ll detail this a bit below, but it’s pretty cool and changes sync over fairly fast.

How have I been using Freeform

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Freeform as a whole is very intuitive to get the hang of. Unlike third-party note-taking or whiteboarding apps, this one is made by Apple and is designed to fly on the respective devices. I’ve found myself quite at home, playing a lot around Notes and finding that Freeform does some note-taking better, but it’s also a vastly more scalable desktop.

I can brainstorm notes or outline a test for a product, drop in a photo or maybe a video showing something right and animate it as I see fit. You’re not stuck with margins or borders like you would with a typical app. In Google Docs for example, it’s much more organized.

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In addition to brainstorming ideas, I’ve used it as a shared list of genres with my family and as a general digital idea for my doodles or doodles. What brought me back to the app, rather than say Notability or just a general feedback app, is that it syncs completely across the ecosystem and that it’s very easy to use.

Ask me what is the best experience with Freeform and this answer is very easy: With the Apple Pencil and on the iPadApparently, the app is somewhat unstoppable. You can easily scan some ideas and they really shine using multi-touch to easily add assets.

Drag from photos, use drag and drop to easily place a photo or drawing from another app, then get real-time feedback from another user on the board. Or, in my case sometimes, just zoom in all the way to see all of your work at once.

Freeform is sort of like notes on steroids mixed in with the ability to drag and add all sorts of different file formats. Apple sees it as a collaboration tool that syncs and works seamlessly across devices. For me it’s the multiple formats of input and the ease of working across devices.

While it is not an innovative app or the first of its kind. There are many note taking and whiteboards. But the deep integration and its sheer reach will make you at least give it a shot. I’m keen to see how it continues to grow in the future and if Apple opens it up to future integrations through third party form.

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And the best part is that it comes preinstalled with the latest software versions and if you want to give it a try, there are no additional charges.

Prices are accurate and items in stock at time of publication.



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Red Flags That Your Spouse Is Hiding Money (And What To Do About It)

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Marriage can be hard enough without one spouse hiding money from the other.

When financial infidelity occurs in the form of “hidden cash,” a marriage or a live-forever relationship can easily be ended.

The truth is About 30% of American couples suffer from financial infidelity. Other evidence shows that more than 75% of couples describe the hidden money situation as negative and common 10% of these scenarios end in divorce.

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US judge orders Norwegian Cruise Line to pay $110m for use of Cuba port By Reuters

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© Reuters. Norwegian American Airlines cruise ship Marina arrives in Havana Bay, Cuba on March 9, 2017. REUTERS/Alexander Meneghini/File/File Photo

Written by Brian Ellsworth

MIAMI (Reuters) – Norwegian Shipping Line (NYSE) has to pay $110 million in compensation for the use of a port confiscated by the Cuban government in 1960, a US judge said Friday, marking a significant milestone for Cuban Americans. Who are seeking reparations for the Cold War era. Assets confiscation.

The decision by US District Judge Beth Bloom in Miami follows her decision in March that use of the Havana Cruise Terminal constituted smuggling of forfeited property belonging to the plaintiff, Delaware-registered Havana Docks Corp.

The decision read: “The judgment is made in favor of Plaintiff Havana Docks Corporation and against Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Ltd.”

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“The plaintiff was awarded $109,848,747.87 in damages,” it says, adding that the Norwegian must also pay an additional $3 million in legal fees and costs.

Norwegian Cruise Line did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel has sharply criticized the Helms-Burton Act, calling it an extraterritorial violation of international law.

Havana Docks also sued Carnival Cruise Lines (NYSE: ), Royal Caribbean (NYSE:) and MSC under the Helms-Burton Act, which allows US citizens to sue over the use of property seized in Cuba after 1959.

The ruling could fuel more lawsuits by Cuban exiles pursuing claims, worth $2 billion, according to one estimate, over asset seizures under late Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

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It may also serve as a reminder to multinational companies of the complexities that can come with doing business in Cuba.

In 2016, US cruise ships began traveling to Cuba for the first time in decades after a détente negotiated by former President Barack Obama eased some provisions of a Cold War US embargo.

But the Trump administration in 2019 ordered a halt to all such cruises amid efforts to pressure Cuba over its support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Washington’s ideological foe.

The Trump administration has also allowed US citizens to sue third parties for using property seized by Cuban authorities, a provision of the Helms-Burton Act that every previous president has waived since the law was passed in 1996.

Havana Docs says Cuba, which has been under a US trade embargo for decades, has never compensated it for taking the drug.

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The four cruise lines sued in 2019 in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Bloom in March held the companies liable for damages under the Helms-Burton Act, also known as the Libertad Act.

According to the US-Cuban Economic and Trade Council, a nonprofit organization that provides information on relations between the two countries, 5,913 validated claims related to property seized in Cuba represent an estimated liability of nearly $2 billion.

Forty-four lawsuits have been filed under Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, the organization says.

“For the current plaintiffs of Cuban descent, (the decision) will give them a moment of relief,” said John Cavulich, the group’s president. “It will give them a moment to say ‘You can run but you can’t hide,’” Cavulich said.

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Is a Royal Caribbean or Carnival beverage package worth it?

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An all-inclusive beverage package that gives you access to beer, wine, liquor, bottled water, soda, specialty coffee, and even shakes/juices may cost more than your cruise fare.

This is especially true right now when many cruise cabins are being sold at discounted prices while the drinks package prices have gone up.

Deciding whether to purchase a drink package is a challenge because you have to estimate whether you will be drinking enough to cover the cost. Or, more importantly, whether you’d spend more if you decided not to purchase a drink package.



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