Category Archives: GCMAC

Gold Coast Mactintosh Users Group listserv

[REALLY ALL NOTIFICATIONS do] GRINDS MY GEARS!

Anyone can complain without any solution for the complaint. The brilliant folks at Apple bring us great products without a doubt. Also without argument we have more computing power in just one of our little iPhones, than NASA engineers of the 1960’s had to power an entire fleet of space shuttles!

Apple engineers have brilliantly come up with NOTIFICATIONS, now present in MAC and IOS7/8 are just arduously annoying to me. Jim Lynch penned an article why he isn’t buying an Apple Watch which he sees as essentially a glorified (and expensive) “wrist notifier” that something is happening on your iPhone.


  As Family Guy Peter Griffin exclaims,
“this stuff really GRINDS MY GEARS!


NOTIFICATIONS always seem to pop up at the most inopportune moments, when I’m writing a text an email or post! on a Mac the aren’t so obtrusive, but on my iPhone they obscure the top of the screen (using banner mode). There is a way to make them disappear automatically but for some reason mine always default to making me physically CLOSE them before I can continue my text or post.

While it’s good to keep informed and aware, I’m sure having NOTIFICATIONS running all the time is using up CPU power and battery power better used elsewhere. Likewise, I think Notifications have been crashing my phone.

Like Peter Parker’s uncle told him, “…with great power, comes great responsibility…” It should be up to us, the consumer to decide how to use the products we buy. Apple has had the philosophy for years, “…let’s show people what they want from our products, and they will buy them, anyway…” It’s proved mostly true what they think but eople buy other smartphones so not everyone drinks the “KOOLAID”!

I myself have queued up (more than once) on a long line overnight, anxiously awaiting the Apple Store to open on a release date for an iPhone or iPad. “The Simpsons” made an hilarious episode mocking the “Mapple” experience, a few years ago. I wrote about it back then, you can read my article here. (an Apple commercial aired during the show!) the owner of Mapple was Steve Mobs!

I do buy into the Apple ecosystem, I’ve made a decent living supporting the products. While not expert at every product, I do try to learn important features, advantages and disadvantages alike in order to support my clients.

Fortunately there is a tweak to toggle notifications on and off.

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Then there is when you upgrade to the latest shiniest IOS version. One of the GCMAC USERS reported this:

May 4, 2014, at 5:29 PM, Laura wrote:

I was installing the latest software to the iPhone 5, and after the software installed, the phone went to Recovery Mode. It now says I can’t use it till i Restore—which I don’t want to do! The forums all say it’s a done deal; can I do anything before I have to restore to the last backup?
Laura 

Pretty much a given (I wrote to) Laura as we have discussed on this listserv. Before performing ANY Mac OS and now especially ANY IOS update, make sure you have a current BACKUP and perhaps a BACKUP of your BACKUP.

I’ve learned a couple of times the hard way, about iPhones. Losing important data I thought I had backed up, by performing a quick “RESTORE” without first double checking the date of the backup.

Mac OSX will allow you to apply a major OS upgrade on top of an existing installation. As I have repeatedly stressed, I don’t use SOFTWARE UPDATE for a major OS upgrade, except perhaps to test to see what happens if there are reported issues using this method.

That ONLY on a non-essential backup hard drive, again to check the “frailty” of this method. Definitely not on my main production machine HARD DRIVE. I’m down to one MAC these days, but I have all flavors of older OSX set up on boot hard drives to trouble shoot problems for clients.

IOS on the other hand upgrades in a completely different and in my opinion an unwelcome method.

Plugging into iTunes strongly suggests making a backup before proceeding. Not just because it’s a good idea. Upgrading IOS wipes everything from the phone.

When the iPhone first came out, Apple said to developers, “you can only develop web applications.” Of course there was an uproar from the fledgling developer community. “How can you release a new operating system without the tools for developers to program software (ie. software they could sell)? About 3 months LATER APPLE came out with developer tookits, WEBKIT software programming tools.

Ironically, as smartphones grew in in popularity, the “CLOUD” shared computing idea began to grow at just as fast a rate. Having the cloud now meant new handheld devices could synchronize with your desktop. These apps ARE ALL WEBKIT BASED APPS. Every time you turn around one company or another has new mobile APP. Developing custom company apps using Apple’s original WEBKIT tools is the quickest and fastest way to deploy new software.

On the iPhone, usually it’s installing new firmware at the same time as upgrading or updating IOS. Firmware being software that updates the HARDWARE. This usually requires the system isn’t there during the FIRMWARE update process. Firmware usually improves the performance of the hardware additionally adding security features Apple had discovered since the last update to the previous IOS version. So the process wipes all of the data stored in memory down to the core hardware.

That is why “RESTORE” becomes necessary from a backup.
!!
I have written my strong opinions about supporting Jailbreaking of iPhones. It is something Apple does not want the end user to do. So these “Security Updates” are often a result of reverse engineering the Jailbreak community uses in order to inject the unlock code into an iPhone.

In a recent article I wrote, I called out Apple once again, for being a bully to its customers.

Steve Jobs believed he created products people wanted. Even though they didn’t know that they wanted them.

I have never doubted his genius and impressive astute mark on our society because of his personal vision. But I feel that the “pioneering adventure” that started with the “two Steves” in Jobs’ parents garage, is long gone and intentionally been abandoned in the name of profit.

I think Steve Jobs learned a painful corporate lesson when he was ousted from control of Apple by John Sculley in the 90’s. That being, “money talks and bullshit walks!”

I don’t have to go into the maniacal behavior Jobs exhibited and was the concern of Apples board of directors. That has been reported ‘ad nauseum’. To say some of Jobs’ ideas were way out there as they were way ahead of its time. He was dreaming of a palm held computer phone and tablet computers in the 90’s. That board was only concerned with the bottom line, and not forward thinking.

Okay, getting off my SOAP BOX. To reiterate Backup, BACKUP, Backup. Having a fail safe is just a good sense overall idea.

Last bit: “APPLE, WHERE IS YHE ADVENTURE”?!? They do show some pretty incredible stuff you can do with the 5S iPhone. I bought one, so I must think its a pretty good tiny computer. And, IT IS. !!

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Apple’s Precision Tolerances Can Make Things Sticky

Apple has had the small footprint Bluetooth keyboard for some time. The battery chamber has a very tight fit. I have one of the original models that takes three AA batteries.

I have had batteries leak and make it almost impossible to get them out.

My daughter had a newer 2 battery keyboard, and upon realizing the batteries were dead, could not get the screw cap off to change the batteries.

On Christmas Day we were fooling with it and her husband and I became obsessed with getting that cap out. We bent several coins, holding them with a vice grips.

Finally we got out a Dremmel and ground at that sucker until we got the batteries out. We tried torch heat to free it frying the Escape key. Once we did all this hacking, we got the old leaking batteries out, popped in some new ones. Amazingly, the darn thing still works. All except the Escape key.

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Continue reading Apple’s Precision Tolerances Can Make Things Sticky

DVD COPYING, COPYRIGHT LAW, iPhones in China

QUESTION

Hi All,
My sister likes the absolute latest and best technology, and then usually keeps it for awhile. She wanted to buy a MacBook with Retina display. She also has a collection of over 200 DVDs (movies) and more CDs (music) that she has purchased legally over the years. She also burns CDs and DVDs for music and videos.

However, MacBook with Retina has no optical drive. The optional portable drive only has USB 2, and will not play high quality DVD/Blu Ray movies. She is concerned that USB 2 is too slow – she likes fast speed. And she likes the best picture quality.

So she left the Apple store without a purchase, disappointed because she thought she would buy the MacBook Retina yesterday.

Is there a 3rd party that sells a very high quality Optical Drive that will work with the MacBook Pro Retina that has USB 3 and High Picture quality (Blu Ray)? Or is Apple going to make one anytime soon? I didn’t see anything with Mac Rumors. My techie sister wants the best money can buy.

(On Sep 18, 2013, at 5:18 PM, Amy added)
I totally understand wanting a optical drive with a connection better than USB.
I sent the listserve a email I received from OWC that showed just such an item. And a super duper high quality one at that. USB is ridiculously slow for video transfer..

ANSWER

TO MAKE EXCEPTION AMY, USB 3 is anything BUT slow at 3.2GBps AND is supported on most Macs built after 2011. Maybe not enough for HD video output from Final Cut Pro, but surely fast enough to play or burn Blueray or burn backup files to Blueray Optical drive and as fast as one might need to RIP DVDs.

THAT SAID, IT IS IN OUR GCMUG CLUB CHARTER OR MISSION STATEMENT THAT WE DO NOT PROMOTE COPYRIGHT PIRACY OR SHARING OF COPYRIGHT SOFTWARE. The following is an explanation why you aren’t legally allowed to RIP DVD’s. If there are descriptions of how you “might” do it, it is for educational information ONLY. This ARTICLE, and GCMAC does not promote copyright infringement of ANY KIND
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Continue reading DVD COPYING, COPYRIGHT LAW, iPhones in China

Are Alternative Carriers Like Virgin Mobile Selling the iPhone for “Real”? (you better believe it!)

Radio Shack Virgin Mobile iPhone $30/month plan

How long has this plan been around? This plan sounds so cheap, there has to be a catch. Are these re-manufactured phones? Anyone know anyone with this plan? It is auto pay, no annual contract, 300 minutes, unlimited data and messaging, for the iPhone 4S. I don’t have a cell phone, believe it or not. The phone is $649. $30 plus taxes and fees per month. radioshack.com/weeklyad
Thanks
Geoffrey

Virgin Mobile is the “Real Deal” and I am now using the service myself. Phone and data coverage is as good anywhere that Sprint is – well… good. That is, Virgin uses Sprint’s networks. So, as far as 3G or 4G SPEEDS, these are SPRINT issues. Sprint is rolling out 4G “LTE” networks as fast as they can, but total deployment looks at least two years away.

Virgin Mobile - iPhone Ads
Virgin Mobile – iPhone Ads

Yes, there is a $30, monthly billable (in advance of use) plan for 300 minutes, unlimited text and Data. I got the 1200 minute plan for $45, unlimited text & Data. I lived on Miami Beach in a high rise and for 10 years never had an issue with Sprint, until the iPhone came out and I HAD TO SWITCH TO ATT whose “Miami Beach” coverage at the time sucked. (I hated that). I couldn’t make a phone call from inside the Apple store when I bought the first iPhone because of “no bars” inside the Lincoln road store in South Beach! Could when I walked outside of the store with only “two bars” showing service.

The phone you buy at Radio Shack is the same phone you would get from Sprint, Verizon, ATT, Best Buy, HH Greg (kidding) or Apple (except they are different models for different carriers). Same warranty applies as does Apple care extended warranty if you buy it. They are not refurbished (although I would buy a refurbished one before paying $649 for a 4S that will soon be out dated and orphaned as Apple has started doing with all of it’s products.

That is, leaving out relatively current models from software upgrades available only for “newer” models. [John’s 2008 Mac Pro unable to load Mountain Lion directly from the App store].

Apple wants your money directly, they make less money if third party vendors sell thier products. So whoever “they” are that are telling you NOT to buy from a third party like Best Buy or Radio Shack, is just blowing smoke. Apple warranties all of it’s newly purchased products for one year, unless they are “gray market” purchased in another country, regardless where you bought it from.

Continue reading Are Alternative Carriers Like Virgin Mobile Selling the iPhone for “Real”? (you better believe it!)

LG OPTIMUS ELITE – iPhone 3G CloneFamilies using Electronic Gadgets don’t talk to each other.

Simply put, the iPhone started a telecommunications battle royal, as well as a mobile revolution. Not only for “geeks” like me, but anyone who can afford the huge price for data service that comes along with the price tag of the phone itself.  You barely see a flip phone anymore.  With subsidies, just about anyone can get sucked into a 2 year contract for a “free” iPhone (3GS) or a $99 iPhone 4.

All the electronics companies have jumped on the bandwagon, with Samsung Galaxy III running Google’s Android OS leading the chase of Apple’s iPhones (still only able to access 3G data networks), Windows mobile a pale third place.  The GS3 is HUGE compared to the iPhone. Great if you want to watch movies, unwieldy just a tad, in my opinion to put into your shirt pocket.

Apple is the most valuable company in the world. The iPhone helped make it so and it’s sale alone exceed ALL OF MICROSOFT sales combined. My last iPhone was a 3G (still in use by my grandson). Had a Samsung Galaxy S on T-Mobile which was a very fast phone on 4G HSPA+ data (4G supposedly) network. It’s now an orphaned product unable to use the latest Android OS.

T-Mobile is now as outrageously priced as ATT with no flexibility, once you have signed a contract. Their data network is the fastest with 40mbps available in some large markets. No other carriers offer data service even close in speed.  The ads they run claiming “unlimted data” is a bold face lie.  They cap at 2 or 5GB after which the speed slows down to Edge (2g) speeds.  However, they are the only major network NOT offering the IPhone. They plan to offer the radio frequency the iPhone 3G data Service runs on. So millions of iPhone 4G phones (unlocked) currently using TMobile, will get faster data service than on ATT.

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Along comes Richard Branson and another Virgin product, Virgin Mobile (on the Sprint network). Their service is “Pre-paid”. $35/month gets you 500 minutes of talk time, unlimited text and data. $45 dollars a month gets 1200 minutes talk, unlimited data and text. Less than half of what I was paying T-Mobile. T-Mobile offers a $49 PLAN plan if you get two lines capping data at 2GB and a two year agreement.

For a hundred forty-nine bucks
($149) the LG-OPTIMUS ELITE is better than the Galaxy S, iPhone 3G and has a faster processor than iPhone 4, particularly because of it’s 2 gigabyte built in memory and faster processor. Memory is expandable (unlike iPhones) with MicroSD cards up to 32 gigs.

For the price (now under $100) – it’s the nicest small smart phone I’ve owned and works well with a 4GB or 8GB card. It’s maybe 2mm taller than the 3G and a soft rubber iPhone 3g case fits petty well with an Exacto knife modification.

Continue reading LG OPTIMUS ELITE – iPhone 3G CloneFamilies using Electronic Gadgets don’t talk to each other.