Maccast 2014.02.16 - #475
Links
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
* Mandaandthemarbles.com
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V News
V Airplay issue on new Macs
* Apple recently acknowledged an Airplay issue impacting the latest MacBook Pros and Mac Pros (Late 2013 models)
* In a support article they detailed an issue with AirPlay Mirroring performance freezing or dropping out.
* Here' stage thing, it only impacts those Macs if they are using 802.11 b/g networks.
* The fix detailed by Apple is to disable Bluetooth on the Mac. Obviously not ideal if you use a Magic Mouse, Trackpad, or an Apple Wireless Keyboard.
* The better fix is probably to upgrade your wifi network to 802.11n or better 802.11ac
* If you need to run a mixed network look for a dual band router.
V Latest on the iWatch
* It's looking more and more likely that Apple's wearable device, which many call the iWatch, will become a real product sometime this year.
* It's also looking pretty clear, if you look at many of Apple's recent hires, that the device will be much more than just a "watch".
* Sensors and sensor tech are the key, but exactly what functions and tech the device will have at launch are still unclear.
* That won't stop us from going over the speculations though.
V Apple has been hiring a TON of people in the sensor and medical tech fields. It's fair to assume that an "iWatch" would have a serious focus on health and fitness monitoring and tracking among other things.
* What kinds of things?
* We've heard the usual pedometer, weight, calorie, and sleep tracking stuff.
* Also pulse, heart rate, and blood glucose monitoring. These more advanced features are rumored to not be making it into the 1.0 product though.
V The Korea Herald reports that there will be new lithium-ion batteries supplied by Samsung SDI, Tianjin Lishen Battery, and LG Chem
* The key to longer battery life in the compact device may be a "stepped" battery, which LG Chem has designs for.
* It sounds exactly like what it is, a ridge or "step" in the batteries shape that can boost the battery by up to 16 percent according to LG.
* The stepped batteries can also be shaped and curved to wrap around a wrist say.
* Doesn't sound like much but an extra 16 percent could mean 50 percent battery at the end of the day, vs. 34 percent.
* We had heard reports that some of Apple's prototypes were giving just 2 days of battery, something Apple was not happy with.
* There was a rumor of Apple investigating solar as a way to help extend battery life.
* Also they are looking at wireless induction charging. The charger is a big pain point on my Pebble
* Apple has also hired top managers and designers from sports and fashion based companies, so it's likely the device will not only be highly functional, but also look good too.
V Cook told the Wall Street Journal recently that Apple is hard at work on products that would be considered in new product categories for Apple
* Could be a wearable, at TV, or something else.
* Cook also promised they are continuing to drive Mac development forward too.
V And what about the next iPhone?
V Production of the Touch ID fingerprint sensor in Apple's next iPhone will remain identical to the iPhone 5
* TSMC was said to be investigating 12-inch processing methods for Touch ID in the next iPhone, but surprise, there were yield issues
* Using the existing process will mean Apple can use a proven production method.
* Sony will reportedly supply both the front and back camera modules for the iPhone 6
V Tim Cook said in an interview that Apple wasn't opposed the the idea of larger screen iPhones, but noted again that Apple won't make compromises to make that happen.
* We are still hearing rumors the next device will have between a 4.7" and 5.5" display.
* It's also said it will have a higher pixel density. i recently saw 441ppi reported.
* We're also hearing that the iPhone 5c might not be long for the world after the release of the iPhone 6 with the iPhone 5s sliding down to take the iPhone 5c mid-priced slot.
* Recent rumors have put the iPhone 6 in a September release time frame.
V What's Apple doing with all that Sapphire glass?
* An analyst uncovered documents that shows Apple's sapphire glass parter in Arizona, GT Advanced, purchased enough furnaces to produce between 103 million and 116 million ~5-inch displays per year.
* They also have another 420 machines on order that could potentially double that output
* Some have said Apple won't use the glass for iPhones, but for iWatches. With that much production capability that might be overkill.
* Apple uses sapphire currently for lenses on iPhones and iPads and for the cover on TouchID sensors.
* Sapphire glass is extremely scratch resistant, one reason its' great for camera lenses.
V Might be more breakable than the Gorilla glass apple currently uses
* I would be concerned because most Apple devices are pretty breakable already when it comes to the glass
V Lower cost Lightning on the way
* Apple quietly scaled back the licensing fees it charges companies wanting to make Lightning and/or Made-for-i accessories
* We don't know how much lower, just lower
* The existing fees were said to be $4.00 USD per connector and could be double that if a vendor needed "pass-through".
* The result of the change could mean that we see lower priced 3rd party lightning cables that are Apple certified.
V Another key component of Apple's Made-for-i program was suppliers needed to have their factories comply with some of Apple's supplier code of conduct policies
* Apple issued their 2013 Supplier Responsibility Report
* Apple ran 51% more audits this year
* Tightened environmental controls
* Also one of the few tech companies to disclose their supplier list on their website. List shows suppliers and products they produce for.
* Greenpeace who called Apple one of the worst tech companies when it comes to the environment in 2009, applauded Apple for cutting conflict minerals and for their supply chain transparency saying Samsung and others should follow Apple's example.
V 12-inch iPad might not be an iPad
* Kuo does say Apple is focused on a new 12.9-inch iPad for the tablet market this year, but thinks the iPad Air will be the only iPad model to see a refresh in 2014.
* He says the new iPad Air will get a next-generation A8 processor and Touch ID fingerprint sensor late in the third quarter of the year.
* He doesn't think the "iPad Pro" will be ready before the close of 2014
* Surprisingly he also doesn't think the iPad Mini will get a 2014 upgrade and as such iPad shipments will actually decline this year.
* Also Kuo says to expect Apple to finally retire sales of the iPad 2, possibly being replaced by renewed production of the iPad 4th generation with Retina Display.
* KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple is planning to release an ultra-slim 12-inch Retina MacBook in the middle of 2014
V Push Mac Pro GPU, but only on Windows
* BareFeats has their hands on the Mac Pro and are doing what they do best. Pushing it to the limits.
* They figured out that the Dual GPUs can be connected together in what AMD calls "Crossfire" mode.
* This allows the two cards to be connected together significantly boosting performance of geometry-limited applications.
* Basically from what I'm reading it makes the apps see the two cards as a single rocking GPU. That means you get the performance jump without the app needing to be rewritten to take advantage of dual cards.
* What's that mean to us? Serious frame-rate jumps in many popular games for one. Also boosts for things like CAD applications.
* The only downside is that, at least for now, this trick only works when booted into Windows using Bootcamp.
* So the ball is in Apple's court now to add support, the hang up might be that Apple won't be "exclusive" to AMD. The technology is proprietary by vendor, and Apple typically won't lock themselves in with their hardware.
* So what do you think? Does this matter to you?
V iTunes Radio starts international roll-out
* On Monday Apple launched iTunes Radio in Australia
* Aussie's can get free, ad-supported edition on Macs and iOS 7. Or with a AU$34.99 per year subscription to iTunes Match get the ad free version.
* Apparently there was a soft rollout of iTunes Radio in Australia, Canada, and the U.K. late last month, but so far Australia is the only new country outside the US to get an official roll out.
* As far as I've heard the service is pretty much the same as it is in the US, although I assume tweaked to match local interests and tastes.
* So if your a down under Maccaster let us know what you think.
V More evidence of Apple TV update
* 9to5Mac has found references to a new model of the Apple TV hardware within the iOS 7 software build.
* There is an "AppleTV4,1." reference.
* The last minor tweak of the Apple TV 3 changed the reference from from "3,1" to "3,2", so a 4,1 update would be assumed to be significant.
* It's believed that one of the big additions might be games along with bluetooth game controller support.
V Apple has also aggressively been working on expanding the channel content on the device
* They recently added a "Beatles" channel showing their original US appearance on the 'Ed Sullivan' program
* Apple has also reportedly given up on trying to work as much with the studios directly for content and is now going to the cable providers to acquire content. An unholy alliance if you ask me, but maybe a temporary necessary evil to help the Apple TV gain more traction with consumers.
* Many are also hoping Apple will bring apps to the Apple TV
V Bloomberg says Apple is aiming to unveil the device by April and have it available for sale by the Christmas holidays.
* Seems like way too long a lead time for Apple.
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V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V Fix for Mavericks Mail retrieval bug
* If you're running Mail in OS X Mavericks and have noticed new Mail is not being picked up after the initial opening of the App, you're not alone
* Luckily Cult of Mac posted some help.
V To get things unstuck without having to quit and relaunch Mail
* Go to the Mailbox menu and choose the “Take All Accounts Offline” option
* Then in the same menu choose the “Get All New Mail”
* You can even use the View > Customize Toolbar and add buttons for “Take All Accounts Offline” button and the “Get Mail” button to your Toolbar to make things easier.
* You might not have to use the work around too much longer, OS X 10.9.2 is on it's 6th beta version out to developers.
V Delete and skip the Trash
V Adrian asked:
* "I use USB sticks a lot to transfer files around, but when I delete files from the USB stick on my mac it doesn’t actually delete them, it just puts them in the trash, and this is one area where I prefer windows which actually just deletes them.

This means to reuse the space I have to empty my trash, which I prefer not to do very often as I have a 3TB hard disk and don’t need the free space.

So is there a way to delete the files of a USB stick completely short of reformatting them?"
V With some quick Googling I found a couple things
V Delete files without using trash
* Adds a 'Delete' and 'Delete as Administrator' option to the Contextual menu
* To install in Mountain Lion or Mavericks you need to completely disable GateKeeper (the right+click and open doesn't work), so I wouldn't use it.
V A GitHub project that is a Service called 'Delete Immediately' and adds a service to the Services menu
* This may be a bit tricky for some to set up.
* All of these solutions are essentially relying on the 'rm' UNIX command that underlies OS X.
* So I'd prefer to roll my own solution which is easy to do.
V If you wanted to use the Applications > Utilities > Terminal you could manually do it each time.
* WARNING: Using the 'rm' command will tell the system to delete files and folders immediately without warning. Using this commend incorrectly can have catastrophic results.
* Launch Terminal
* Type, `rm -rf ` (space on the end)
* Drag the file or folder into the Terminal window. This appends the full path to the command
* Hit 'enter'
* The files and folders will be removed instantly.
V A better way would be to build your own Service using Automator
* I found a great thread on Stack Exchange that explains how:
* With this method you can add in a 'confirm' step to reduce any errors.
* Launch Applications > Automator
* Select a 'Service' project in the 'Choose a document type' panel
* At the top of the right pane in your new workflow set 'Service receives selected' to 'files and folders' and set 'in' to 'Finder'
V Find 'Ask for Confirmation' in the Actions library and drag it into the Workflow window on the right.
* Set the message you want to appear. Something like, "Are you sure"?
* It will have Cancel and OK buttons, you can change those labels too.
V Next find and drag in the 'Run Shell Script' action as the next item
* Set the 'Pass Input' option on the action to 'as arguments'
* This will set up the script code for you. You'll see a 'for' loop and 'do' action as well as some variables like '$@' (input)
* inside the 'do' section you'll change the "echo" command to "rm -rf". Leave the "$f" variable.
* As a bonus after the "done" you could play a sound using the "afplay" command and point it to an AIFF file. The default system Trash sound is at "/System/Library/Components/CoreAudio.component/Contents/SharedSupport/SystemSounds/finder/empty trash.aif"
* Once you've finished Save the Automator and give it the name you want to appear in the 'Services' menu in the Finder.
* Now if you select the files or folders in the Finder and then right+click and go under the 'Services' you should see the new Service. I named mine 'Trash Immediately'
* Choose your service and the command should run. You probably want to try it on some dummy files and folders before you use it for real and of course make sure you're backed up first.
* Once it's working you could also use the System Preferences > Keyboard panel to set up a Keyboard Shortcut for your new Service
V Personal database for Mac
* Joe is trying to manage the data for a club and wants a database, but with Bento dead what are the options?
V The seemingly obvious solution would be to upgrade to Bento's big brother Filemaker
* The trouble is the cost starts at over $300 USD
* It will offer the ability to transition your old Bento stuff and has a ton of features and functionality
V On the consumer level though there seems to be not a lot of options
* iDatabase ($19.99 USD)
* Symphytum 1.1 ($7.00 USD)
* Tap Forms for Mac ($29.99 USD)
V I haven't tried or used any of these apps, but Macworld has a nice write-up
* Seemed the Tap Forms was the most capable, but still falls short of a full Bento replacement
* The newest version seems to have a decent Bento template import and has some support for relational database
V I guess if you're really enterprising you could use a MySQL or SQLite database
V MySQL Community Server runs on Mac
* MySQL System Preferences pane to start and stop.
* Lots of cheap and free GUI tools
* Use with MAMP too.
* Build your own HTML interface to manage members.
V SQLite is built into OS X and fairly easy to work with
* Like the app Base (£19.99 or about $34.00 USD) for managing SQLite
* Again you'd need to build your own GUI using PHP, Javascript, HTML, etc. or something.
* The iPad app DraftCode, will let you write and develop PHP/SQLite web apps
V SDD upgrade instead of RAM
* Play comment from John
* I think I need to clarify my position a bit
* My rules, as I hope I've mentioned before, are generalized. That assumes some things.
V I still think for overall performance and for the average user more RAM is dollar for dollar the best bang for your buck.
* Most Mac come with barely adequate RAM for the year the machine came out. No headroom.
* RAM is cheap compared to SSD
* Yes, there is a point when you get diminishing returns. For most people no more than 16GB is probably needed.
V Your performance benchmark is going to also factor in
* Again generalizing, the average person views "beach balls" as the "my Mac is slow" indicator.
* Most people run with every app open all the time which tends to lead to RAM getting used up, then virtual memory kicking in, then beach balls, then "my Mac is slow". Why?
* The cool thing here is SSDs are going to be much quicker in a Virtual memory scenario, but I say why not just avoid pegging to disk all together.
V If boot times and cold app launch times are the benchmark then SSD wins hands down
* I personally never shut down my machines, so a longer boot time or shutdown doesn't really impact my experience.
V All that said, we are moving (or Apple is) to a place where the SSD vs. RAM argument might be moot
* My guess is that in 1-2 years you won't be able to buy a Mac with a spinning drive.
* Also since RAM and Flash storage on Macs are trending to non-user upgradeable you'll probably want to maximize both at time of purchase.
* Still because RAM can't be added but external SSD Thunderbolt drives can I would still tell folks to use their limited budget dollars on RAM upgrades first.
* All of this of course my opinion and knowing how you use your Macs I agree SSD is a better performance upgrade for you.
V Converting analog to digital audio
* Robert recently found a bunch of old reel to reel tapes and wanted to know about using his Mac to convert them to digital.
* He has a reel to reel player, but how to connect to his Mac?
V First you'll need an analog to digital interface and the right cables fro connecting to your tape player
* You may also want to go through an amplifier depending on your source.
V A simple analog to USB converter should work and there are tons of options.
* Tried and true is the Griffin iMic. $39.99 USD. 1/8" audio in and out. Worked through Mountain Lion and should in OS X Mavericks.
* Beringer U-Control UCA202. $29.99 USD RCA in and out. On board monitoring. There is a 222 model with some DSP effects likely added to a proprietary driver (could pose compatibility issues).
V Once connected you will see the USB audio as an input source in supported apps like GarageBand or Audacity
* Audacity
* Can add effects, filters, and eq to clean things up.
* Basically set up a new project, set your levels and effects, hit record, and hit play on your source.
* Export from GarageBand
* When it finishes you will have a .band file in Garageband that you need to convert.
V If you're using the new Garageband or GarageBand '11 (6.0.5) the you can use the Share > Export Song to Disk option to save an AIFF version
* With GarageBand '11 you can also enable the Podcast track ('Show Podcast Track' in the track menu) and use the 'Export Podcast to Disk' and get conversation option (MP3, AAC, etc) from Garageband
V If you export an AIFF version you can convert it using iTunes
* Add the AIFF file to iTunes
* Choose iTunes > Preferences.
* Click the General button, then click the Importing Settings… button in the lower section of the window.
* From the Import Using pop-up menu, choose the encoding format that you want to convert the song to, then click OK to save the settings.
V Select the AIFF version in your library, then choose File > Create New Version menu, choose one of the following (the menu item changes to show what's selected in your Importing preferences):
* Create MP3 version
* Create AAC version
* Create AIFF version
* Create WAV version
* Create Apple Lossless version
* Bothe version will now be in iTunes. You can then drag the converted track out. You can then delete versions you no longer want or need in iTunes.
V If you have any audio file that needs more cleaning, hisses, hums, pops, scratches. You can process the AIFF file with SoundSoap before converting in iTunes
* Works best if you can get 10-15 seconds of the "noise" audio only, so don't clip short in you original recording or in GarageBand editing.
V Another Applecares success story
* These kinds of stories never get old for me.
* Play comment from Marc
* Share story about Mandi
V Accidental damage is not covered by Apple, but it never hurts to ask. Worst case they'll tell you what it costs to fix or replace and it may not be as high as you're expecting.
* Sometimes an "out of warranty" replacement price is possible.
* Again, not always.
V Closing
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* Smile
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