Category Archives: MacTalk

[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.
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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. !!

APPLE CRAZY? Only One Port On the New MacBook

 I decided long ago that Apple’s Marketing strategy is crazy and given up trying to make sense of it. The newly announced MacBook with only 2 ports is another case in point. Seems crazy, doesn’t it?
 
Reduction of ports down to 2 on a laptop, one universal USB-C and one standard Audio port. Having a permanent breakout box setup with a large monitor, printer, Thunderbolt or Firewire hard drives, at your home or office, with only one cable to connect upon arrival, seems very appealing. Apple seems to be positioning the new MacBook at the “mobile entry level” and making it light weight and ultra portable. As the iMac was positioned in the Mac lineup as the “low end” consumer model, many professionals loved that mono based format, and opted for iMac over the Mac Pro. Now there is a 27″ 5K resolution powerhouse model, powerful enough to satisfy demanding roles like audio and video editing. 
 

While the Macbook’s $1,299 price doesn’t really reflect a “low end” so much, the computer has the smallest mother board and fewest components of any Mac to date. Most of the internal space is battery. I can see it being a really good choice for students and people constantly on the move. It’s thinner than the MacBook Air and only weighs 2 lbs. A lot of weight removed from the weary shoulders of students and travelers.

After a seasonal job this past winter at Best Buy, I often saw people trying to decide between the 11″ and 13″ Air or the 13″ MacBook Pro. One screen a bit too small, the other the same as a MacBook Pro.  So Apple must have heard these concerns and went for middle ground settling on 12.1″ Retina display for the new Macbook. At 9 hours battery life, it falls short of the 12 hours purported to be available with the 13″ Macbook (best battery life out all Mac portables). It should be sufficient to get through a school day, or an airplane ride.
NOTHING much surprises me anymore when Apple takes such departures from marketing logic. They didn’t include a floppy drive or the old serial connectors on the first Bondi Blue iMac just a CD/RW. Crazy! I thought. Only USB connectivity? When very few peripherals were actually using the newly released Technology? Nobody will put up with that, I thought. And a see through case? What’s the point of that?
A COUPLE YEARS LATER the iPod. Who would want such a pricey thing just to play music? Nobody will buy into that, I thought. Boy was I wrong… again. I bought the second generation 60GB version. I would be still using it hadn’t been stolen from my car.

The iPhone released only to AT&T for five years? Crazy, again! However, that move put the cell phone market in turmoil turning the wireless phone industry on it’s ear. The price outrageous for a subsidised phone, but I stood in line overnight to be one of the first to get one. Did the same thing a year later to get the 3G model. Crazy! I did get on national news though, with an ice bag on my head posing in the 90° July heat in Miami Beach.

Years of the Mac Pro being the “go to machine” for professional users with tons of expanable space for extra storage and big production audio/video cards. A huge hunk of brushed aluminium case… a clear differentiation between the rest of the PC world of computers.  Interchangeable CPU, that could be upgraded, up to 128gigs of ram. Then Apple opted for radical redesign into a small desktop cylinder with little internal expandability, looking like a desktop trash can. Crazy again, right? 

Thunderbolt provides blazingly fast disk drive connectivity. Having huge external hard drive RAID arrays make sense for video pros and other large storage needs, though. Many new storage units deploy easy to exchange drive units. So Video editors for instance, can swap out sets of hard drives with working projects in tact, without the need to struggle shuffling hard drive space around on internal drives. Most Pros already used this production practice with the old Mac Pro, anyway. So Apple took it’s cue from the existing user base. Not so crazy after all.

So this new move to a single USB-C connector might seem like a crazy move on Apple’s part. Apple has pushed the envelope for change well… since the Apple I. Leading the market where other manufacturers follow, eventually using every technology Apple puts out there! Even before the Apple Watch has been released, there are clones reaching the market trying to fool people into thinking they are getting real Apple Technology. Crazy!
 

If some of the rumours pan out too be true, we might see an all electric Applecar in a few years. Now that would change the Auto game wouldn’t it?

CRAZY or not so?

The following video report talks a little about the new Macbook.
From CNN:
 

IPhone 6 Guessing (???) Designs Proliferate And A New Scam Is Born

Has anyone else seen this new scam?

The iPhone 6 is not even announced yet, and I’m already getting spam to pre-order my new phone, before Apple has even hinted at the product release! Not from eBay or Amazon, but from some third party resellers offering ridiculous discounts by “pre-ordering” an iPhone 6. I blame this on all of the pre-release hype!

During a recent earnings call for investors…Apple CEO Tim Cook stated,
“We care about every detail and it takes us a bit longer to do that. That’s always been the case,” he said. “It means more to us to get it right than to be first…”

“There’s to dog-gone darn much speculatin’ going on here!” – Elmer Fudd

I blame this “rush to promote” on all of the pre-release hype. I know it’s a scam, but it’s annoying and suggests un-savvy buyers could fall prey.

It’s more than a little distracting, anticipating the release of a new Apple product. The distraction is the lure and promise by Apple iPhone 6 prognosticator artists, rendering ad quality video and guessing (with action video) as to what the new models will look like. They base their renderings on photos supposed to be authentic pre release parts or production molds leaked from Chinese manufacturers.

I think all of this gives spammers and crooks a new bit to try and steal from the unsuspecting. After all, these “fake” ads look as if Apple made them. Edited out of context, and you have something truly believable.

I sold my iPad 4 in order to purchase the iPhone 5S was a good move, I think. Many of my followers know that I try to cycle my Apple products routinely. I try to gauge the market for resale so I can get current Mac and iPhone models. I don’t buy when products are released as a rule.

Regurgitating the hype of new releases has become a yearly obsession by the media, Apple Watchers and investors. No shortage of people writing and trying to guess what Apple will offer. (Now I’m writing about it, too!)

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I’ve taken to writing this blog text on my iPhone 5S. This is the fastest and best iteration of this form factor. Having had a 4, 4S, skipped the 5 then bought a deeply discounted 5S from Virgin Mobile ($349).

“The iCloud” is now working pretty well as an adjunct repository for Apple devices sharing data, video, music and photos. So I have not found that the higher memory model iPhones have been necessary, for me. I don’t need to use my local storage if I choose not to, or my own severs for music or photos at all. I send backups regularly up to “the (i)Cloud”, sync my 1Password, Safari Bookmarks, contacts across the cloud, and minimize music and photos on my iPhone so it works well within the 16gigabyte storage on the least expensive 5S.

We resisted cloud storage and network dependency for a long time, because I feared privacy invasion or security risks. Then I acquiesced, rationalizing that Apple, the NSA or the “Blacklist” can find me, get any information they want about me, very easily.

I’ve put myself out there JUST buying an iPhone (and into the Apple ecosystem), going on Facebook, buying in eBay and Amazon. And it’s amazing how both Amazon and eBay know my buying habits so well, they both tempt me with exactly the products I long for or drool over.

I do also keep backups at home locally on my own hard drives, to be safe. You never know when the cloud is going to explode, Implode or vaporize!

WEARABLE APPLES

from iPhoneHacks……
“Apple Drops Biggest iWatch Hint: Extending Apple’s trademark to cover Jewelry and Watches”

 


Tim Cook said, “…that Apple sees the wearable devices market as an area of “profound” interest, and the iWatch is reported to be Apple’s first product in this new category of devices”.

Apple has also filed many patents for jewelry, watches and all sorts of Apple “wearable” tech stuff. According to rumors and speculations, the iWatch will be a smartwatch with a focus on health and fitness, thanks to an array of on-board sensors.” Apple has been hiring many high tech people that have biometric specialties. That should tell us all something big is on the horizon.

In My Not So Humble Opinion, iWatches need to come in wide range of multiple price points, right from the beginning. That is if Apple wants to truly break into this wearable market and pin it down.

Many punidiots have made the conclusion there will only be one model in two sizes priced at $1000 which may not tank.. Or will it? Releasing other models a few months after the initial release, that are less expensive is an Apple tradition.

However, I think Apple should release a full line. Men’s Women’s and kids. Yes Kids. A watch with GPS tracking so parents know where their children are and can instantly connect to them.

A $99 security watch with a couple health monitors. A $99 watch that can automatically monitor a kids diabetes or kids subject to anaphylactic syndrome, or just where the heck Jack & Jill are?.

An entry level $129 smart Health Monitoring watch that doesn’t necessarily need to sync with anything but can via Bluetooth, Wifi and GPS. Maybe fewer radios, Bluetooth, Wifi, but no CDMA, GSM cellular phone radio.

LETS face it, our privacy is willingly compromised if you carry a smartphone. So why not make wearable devices that maximize the technology? We all are trackable anyway. I can see parents using the devices to help keep their kids safe in a very strange often violent world. Privacy abuse aside the Matrix knows all anyway. Take the RED PILL.

Then if you must put all of the bells and whistles into the darn things Apple, a $349 smaller 38mm model $50 more for the 42mm model. Then if you must an ULTRA model that can tell you before you need a bathroom or about to have a heart attack, is solid 18 carat gold model for $10,000 up to $17,000 for “rose gold”.

Older men like myself often need that alert as our bodies don’t always cooperate. Didn’t your mother always say just before a car trip, “Don’t you have to go the bathroom?”

Quick take an aspirin so you don’t have a heart Attack! 

AUXO TWEAK – Best $1.99 Reason To Jailbreak

You would think that Apple would want to look at every tweak that third party JAILBREAK enthusiasts are using. They haven’t updated the keyboard on the iPhone or IOS at all since IOS was built. The Control Center in IOS 7 is an improvement, but to really make it functional, you need to JAILBREAK your phone.

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AUXO 2 ($1.99 on Cydia Repository) is a third party tweak that is a MUST.  Like the image above shows, it opens up to control center, but with a few differences. You see the Application Switcher in the middle? You can scroll through open Apps without going back to a HOME screen and switch between them in a flash.

FLIP CONTROL Center  allows you to add additional switches to both the top and bottom rows, for fast easy control of things like toggling the flashlight, go straight to settings or toggle WIFI or Airplane modes.  These are obviously working tweaks and in demand, so why doesn’t Apple just allow folks to use their phones the way we want to?

Apple has kept the iPhone OS very tightly controlled.  I can understand security reasons, but are they that lame that exploits continue to become available with every IOS release?  It’s a Cat & Mouse game they play, sealing up one exploit, only to create others.

And by exploit, I mean to holes in IOS that JAILBREAKS need in order to gain root access to the phone. This enables third party software that Apple cannot produce, the ability to run (all at the risk of the end user violating the EULA).

I TWEAT regularly to @Tim_Cook, “What has happened to ‘Think Different’, the Steve Jobs mantra he introduced upon his return to Apple from exile?”.  When Jobs came back in 1997 and walked onto the WWDC stage to a deafening roar of approval from the crowd for the first time after his return. He promised an open source MAC OS (to become OSX) based on the contributions from thousands of independent UNIX developers.  He promised a commitment to developers that Apple would communicate and cooperate in a new way. It seems the open systems and cooperation Jobs promised, have vanished.

Everything Apple is making has become less field serviceable that ever. Screens are glued on the iMac, no (regular) screws are being used in exterior cases. We get the idea Apple doesn’t want end users inside their devices. Therein is the rub. We aren’t borrowing what we buy. WE PAY FOR HARDWARE!

So why is it so unfathomable that we would want to use the devices, with whatever software we want? The FCC has said that if a device is not under contract, wholly owned by the end user, they are entitled to unlock the phone to use on any carrier of choice. The directive goes further to say that the process of “opening systems” which is also known as ROOTING or JAILBREAKING is also up to and only the responsibly of the end user.

(to be continued)