MacCast 05.10.2011 - Show #348
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is "Say Anything" by Manda and the Marbles
* Band's MySpace page
V Sponsor
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V News
V Apple patches location tracking bugs
* iOS 4.3.3 is available via iTunes for the GSM iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, all iPads
V iOS 4.2.8, is available for CDMA iPhone users
* Reduces size of cache
* No longer backs up cache to iTunes
* Deletes the cache entirely when Location Services are turned off.
V Apple reiterates stance on location to Congress
V Testifying before a congressional hearing lead by Senator Al Franken, Apple’s vice president of software technology, Bud Tribble re-stated a lot of what we already had heard.
* Google was also called and sent Alan Davidson, director of public policy and government affairs.
* "We do not share customer information with third parties without our customers’ explicit consent. Apple does not track users’ locations. Apple has never done so and has no plans to do so. "
* "The data seen on the iphone was not the location past or present of the iPhone, but the location of cell towers surrounding the phone."
V Tribble also pointed out the many ways Apple tries to make the location tracking transparent to users
* All apps must implicitly ask to use location information via a pop-up.
* Location can be disabled for any app in the Settings
* The "purple" arrow appears in the menubar and in the location settings
* Further, Apple apparently does random audits of Apps to ensure they are in compliance and Apple monitors blogs and developer communities to look for information on potential violators.
* Apps that are found in violation are removed from the App store within 24 hours and the developers notified.
* Apple patched many of the items of concern with the 4.3.3 and 4.2.8 updates and said the next major IOS update will encrypt the cached location data on the device (which is already done if you enable a passcode).
V iOS 5 focus on voice
* The week saw rumors of Apple in talks with Nuance to deliver voice recognition features in iOS 5
* TechCrunch claims the deals are in the works and Apple already has Nuance software and maybe hardware in place at their NC data center.
* Apple purchased Siri, a natural language based services app, in April of 2010
* Siri used Nuance technology as it's speech engine. It stands to reason Apple would have to re-negotiate those licenses after the acquisition
* Some reports rumored Apple intended to buy Nuance, but not likely. ($6 billion market cap)
V Apple in 1987 did a concept for the Knowledge Navigator
* Credited to former CEO John Sculley
* Used software "agents" to access a large networked database of hypertext information (Internet?).
* You could speak to the "agents" with natural language queries and they would retrieve the information.
* Voice recognition, with Spotlight and natural language queries would be interesting
V iOS 5 may finally offer over the air OS updates.
* Would require the OS to be able to install incremental patches, something iOS currently doesn't do.
* Backups wouldn't happen before an update, but I would imagine a roll-back would be possible once you got back to your Mac. Also some think iCould will offer a backup before install option (again incremental?).
V Lion updates have been coming to developers over the App Store leading to rumors of a no-disk OS X upgrade.
* What about doing a clean install?
* Apple has include USB Flash drives with the Macbook Airs
V Details on new iMacs
V Highlights
* Quad-core Intel Sandy Bridge processor
* AMD Radeon HD 6750M, 6770M, or 6970M graphics
* Thunderbolt I/O technology
* FW 800
* FaceTime HD camera
* 4GB memory standard
V 21.5" - $1,199-1,499
* 2.5 or 2.7GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5
* 1920 x 1080 pixels
* 500GB or 1TB hard drive
V 27" iMac - $1,699-1,999
* 2.7GHz or 3.1GHz quad-core Intel Core i5
* 2560 by 1440 pixels
* 2 Thunderbolt ports
V GPU is on a removable board (possibly a MXM (Mobile PCI Express Module)), making it potentially upgradeable
* My guess is more easily repairable based on all the GPU issues Apple's dealt with lately.
V Originally the three internal SATA ports are only 3Gbps ports. Not 6Gbps SATA 3.0 ports like the new Macbook Pros.
* A firmware update reportedly fixed the 2 main ports bringing them up to 6Gbps. The optical drive port stayed at 3Gpbs
* 21.5" iMac can only use a maximum of 4GB SO-DIMMs, for a total of 16GB of RAM vs. 27" iMac can use 8GB SO-DIMMs for a total of 32GB of RAM
* iMac gets an ambient light sensor to the left of the FaceTime HD camera
V 450Mbps WiFi
* Uses a 3 antenna Airport card (3 channels of 150 Mbits/s)
* Need a current-generation Airport Extreme or Time Capsule
* Connect via 802.11n in the 5GHz band and turn on simultaneous dual-band mode
* The 450 Mbps wi-fi also exists in the 2011 MacBook Pro family.
V iFixit noted a newer Intel "Z68 chip", designed for Sandy Bridge 1155.
* new iMacs appear to be the first systems with the new chip. (May 11th release date)
* Allows for solid-state drive data caching
* meaning you can pair a small cheaper solid state drive with a traditional drive and the Z68 chip coordinate using the SSD as a cache for the spinning drive.
* Feature is not enabled in the new iMac though.
* Mac Observer reports that once external drives with the Thunderbolt interface are available they will be able to boot a Mac.
* Early benchmarks are showing the new systems to be about 15-20% faster than the prior generation systems
V Already an OS update, Mac OS X 10.6.7 Update for iMac (early 2011) 1.0
* Improve the reliability of Back to My Mac
* Resolve an issue when transferring files to certain SMB servers
* Address various minor Mac App Store bugs
* Address minor FaceTime performance issues
* Address issues with graphics stability and 3D performance
* Improve external display compatibility
* Improve Thunderbolt device support
* Apple also release a couple updates for current gen Macbook Pros. MacBook Pro Software Update 1.4 and MacBook Pro EFI Update 2.1
V MACDefender malware in disguise
* A fake anti-virus program for the Mac
* Pop's up a security warning in your browser and clicking cancel actually downloads a ZIP installer
* Variants have already begun surfacing
* Requires permission to install. May want to turn off "open safe files" in Safari.
V Smash and Grab a new Apple Store Trend?
* Apple's Crocker Park retail store in Westlake, Ohio was hit by a smash-and-grab robbery.
V The door was smashed at the Apple iPad 2 launch in in Beijing, China.
* And a foreign Apple employee allegedly hit a customer with a metal bar
* Global Times later reported that Apple was compensating at least on of the victims ~$3,000 for injuries.
* Apple did acknowledged the incident saying the store had to be shut down for a few hours and that, "The store team acted to protect themselves and our customers".
* Maybe Apple needs to re-thing their design or start using the iPad 2's "DragonTail" glass on their store fronts.
V Apple's Customer Pulse survey system
* Currently invite only.
* Offers surveys seeking product feedback, sort of a more pro-active approach to Apple's "feedback" site.
* This continues a trend that I am enjoying
V Apple Customer Pulse is the latest in a string of customer service and support updates from Apple
* ExpressLane support, which I love. Used to access MobileMe chat support.
* MyApple ID, MySupport Profile (summary of all support), revamped Discussions, etc.
* My big complaint is the logins not being consolidated and fining all these different sites is confusing.
V Sponsor
V Faronics
* Deep Freeze
* Used in hospitality, government, and education
* Free trial available
V Feedback, Comments and Commentary
V Adding AVI files to iTunes
* Phil was wondering if there was a way to add non-iTunes supported files to iTunes. Specifically an AVI.
* The best an most compatible way would be to use a tool like Handbrake and convert to H.264 format optimized for the devices and places you want to playback.
V You need to first be able to playback non-quicktime supported formats with QuickTime
* Perian will get most
* Flip 4 Mac to get Microsoft formats, WMV, etc. (really Windows Media Components for Quicktime)
* If you just need playback and don't want to use iTunes or Quicktime use VLC
V Create a reference movie to add to iTunes
* Make sure you've installed QuickTime 7 Pro (optional Snow Leopard install)
* Open the AVI in QuickTime 7 and do a File-->Save As…
V Choose the 'Create reference movie option'
* Depending on the size of the original these could be a few KB to several MBs
V Add the resulting .MOV reference movie to iTunes
* I've read reports that sometimes there are issues adding metadata (i.e. Album Art) to reference files
* So this will let you play the movies from iTunes, but Home Sharing, syncing to iDevices, etc. won't work.
V If you need a solution that integrates well with FrontRow, but is outside iTunes try DVDPedia
* Plug-in for FrontRow (and hacked Apple TV)
* Pulls in MetaData from IMDB, Amazon, etc.
* Displays all that in FrontRow
V Battery Guesstimating
V Glyn is questioning the accuracy of the Mac's battery indicator
* 15% i had a full hour left and after ~ 20 minutes with 14% it dropped to 37 minutes.
* So the minutes seem to be close, but you'd think the % would now be around 10%.
* If every 15% = 1 hour of use that's just over 6 hours of battery life and that does seem in stated spec for a 1 year old Macbook Pro
V Reality is often different than spec
* The OS has to constantly monitor all the items that may put load on the battery and make a guesstimate.
* There are going to be fluctuations
* I always try to go off "real world" numbers. I would time it myself to measure performance for me and how I use my system
V The discharge curve also isn't always linear for me.
* Since iOS 4.3.1 update my iPhone appears to discharge quickly and then slow down.
* Batteries have a normal "wear" cycle (2-3 years in my experience)
V Every time I mention it I get debated, but Apple says it's best to keep the battery cycling.
* Apple recommends charging and discharging its battery at least once per month.
* I can attest that leaving a Macbook Pro plugging in all the time is a sure fire way to kill the battery.
V Quick switching audio sources
V Lyle has a setup where an audio adapter for some wireless speaks connects to the headphone jack on his Mac
* This disables the internal speaker, but sometimes he needs to use them and disconnects the adapter. If he forgets to reconnect he can't remotely control the audio until he goes back to the Mac and re-connects the adpater
V Wants a software way to switch between headphones and internal speakers.
* You would still need a remote way to control that switch. (VNC)?
V Workarounds
V Get a USB audio adapter like the Griffin iMic ($39.99)
* Then you could Option+Click the sound menu item to switch sources
* Or use Rogue Amoeba SoundSource
V Use Airport Express' to connect the remote speakers ($79.00). He has two zones, so that's kind of expensive.
* Offers a lot of flexibility and can use the Airports for other reasons.
* Apple should make an AirPlay only wireless speaker adapter ($29.00?).
V Using Spaces with multiple monitors
* Mackay has a 27" iMac and recently added a 27" Cinema Display
* He using Spaces and asks, "Can I enable spaces on one monitor and disable it on another?"
* The answer is no, but the reason he wants the functionality is to leave a video playing on the second monitor, but still be able to switch spaces on the main screen without the video flying away.
* So based on the desired application there is a way to achieve what we want.
V Typically with spaces you have specific applications in specific spaces and you switch between them, but you can set specific applications to show up in all spaces.
* 1) So place the video (I'll assume its running in Quicktime) on to the second monitor. And then set up the spaces on the main monitor as desired
* 2) Open System-->Preferences-->Expose & Spaces
* 3) Click the "+" to add a new Application assignment. Add the app you use for playing the tutorial videos. From the Space drop down set it to 'Every Space'
* 4) Now just use the Switch between spaces or Switch directly to a space hotkeys to switch spaces and your video should remain in place.
* You can't switch spaces using Expose or it will still "fly out" the video.
* If you have other apps on the second monitor in other spaces they my come up over the video player.
V A couple other potentially useful Spaces apps
* Secondbar - Adds menubar to second display
* DockSpaces - Define up to 10 Docks and assign specific once to specific spaces
V Closing
V Podcast Marketplace
V Thanks to my sponsors
* Gazelle
* Circus Ponies
* Smile
* Faronics, Deep Freeze
* Stitcher
V Keep emails coming. Audio comments.
V 281-622-4269 or 281-Mac-I-Am-9
* MacCast Forum
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V New Music
* "Long Drought" by NovaLux
* Artist's web site
* Buy on iTunes
V EOL - AppleCrate II: Apple II-Based Parallel Computer
* Michael J. Mahon has built a parallel computer made out of 17 Apple IIe motherboards.