Maccast 07.14.2012 - Show #403
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
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V News
V Mountain Lion goes gold
* Apple released the GM build of Mountain Lion 10.8 to developers
* Apple had already announced that we could expect it in July, so it's likely we could see a release as early as next week, but likely in 2 weeks just after Apple quarterly results call on the 24th.
V Apple also posted the list of officially supported Macs. Most 64-bit capable Intel Core 2 Duo or better Macs are supported, but not all
* iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
* MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)
* MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
* MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
* Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
* Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
* Xserve (Early 2009)
* Seems like generally models that only offer and Intel integrated GPU, and not a discreet processor, are excluded from the Mountain Lion upgrade
V And not all features in Mountain Lion will be available on all Macs
* A big one will be AirPlay Mirroring which will only work if you have an iMac, MacBook Air or Mac Mini from mid-2011, or a MacBook Pro from early 2011. The reason is you need a Mac with on-GPU h.264 encoding.
* Apple also opened up app submissions for Mountain Lion compatible apps for the Mac App store so you know we are getting close.
* You need to have Snow Leopard or Lion installed to upgrade
* Mountain Lion will be sold exclusively from the Mac App Store for $19.99 US
V New category added to App Store
* Apple announced the upcoming change to App developers about a week or so ago, but now it's official
* The App Store has a new "Food and Drink" category.
* Prior to the update apps like Urbanspoon, the Starbucks app, cooking, and bar tending apps were living in the more general Lifestyle or Travel categories.
* At release the new section contains over 2,800 food or drink related apps, so obviously enough to warrant a new category.
* Hopefully this is a sign of things to come as in my mind there kinds of apps that may benefit from a more granular category.
* With hundreds of thousands of Apps, app discovery has become more and more a burden in iTunes.
* Apple acquired the recommendation app Chomp in February and speculation is that Apple plans to use their search algorithms and recommendation technology to continue to improve iTunes app discovery.
V Small update to iPhoto
* Apple release a minor update to iPhoto. iPhoto 9.3.1
V It fixed an issue where migrating photos from Mobile Me Gallery may have resulted in photos being moved from their original events into an event called "From MobileMe."
* After Mobile Me shut down launching iPhoto would prompt you to download your Gallery.
* The update also addressed and issue where iPhoto could crash when upgrading your Library
* This update comes just a month after the 9.3 update which added support for opening Aperture 3.3 or later libraries.
V Russian developer hacks in-app purchases
* 9 to 5 Mac has a story about Russian developer has posted a video and instructions on a way to use faced certificates and a proxy server to bypass Apple's in app purchase system and unlock paid content in some apps for free
* The hack should be particularly concerning for developers because it's relatively easy to implement and doesn't require hacking or jailbraking the iOS device
V Customers who think this is an easy way to get purchased content for free should also be wary though too
* The system requires pointing the device at a proxy, presumably one run by the hacker.
V In doing so it will pass this info to the server
* -restriction level of app
* -id of app
* -id of version
* -guid of your idevice
* -quantity of in-app purchase-offer name of in-app purchase
* -language you are using
* -identifier of application
* -version of application
* -your location
* In addition to just not stealing from developer you should also be concerned about the potential of a hacking having your information
* The hacker did post on his site, "not pirate AppStore apps", giving the impression that he may be releasing this as a warning to Apple, but 9to5 claims he has helped others in troubleshooting his solution.
* On his blog he also has posts about the IP being blocked by Apple and asking the community for a "transparent proxy" to be set up. He also notes his PayPal account has been limited. And asks Apple to contact him saying he'd share details about his experience in exchange for a free iPhone 5. Again, likely not a guy you want to trust with your information.
* Either way this is a pretty serious hole and one that hopefully Apple will address quickly, which it seems they are.
* Apple does give developers an API for verifying store receipts. Apps that use the API are not effected, but it's curious why Apple doesn't require developers to verify their receipts as coming from Apple.
* My guess is that after this incident even without a requirement from Apple, many more developers will be using the receipt verification system.
V iPhone leads handsets. Android top OS
* Nielsen posted their Q2 2012 numbers for US handset sales and they pretty much show more of the same.
* Together Apple and Android based devices account for 85% of the US smartphone market
* In looking at just the OS US smartphone buyers choose Android based devices 51% of the iPhones 34%. Blackberry came in at 9% and Windows Mobile at 3%
V When you breakdown handsets by manufacturer though the iPhone still clearly comes out on top.
* Apple stays of course at 34% share
* In Android devices Samsung, who I feel most closely mimics Apple's designs, has 17% of the market with HTC and Motorola getting 14% and 11% respectively
V In looking to this quarters numbers Charlie Wolf with Needham & Company thinks we'll see a hefty jump in iPad sales with iPhone numbers declining as folks wait for the iPhone 5 release
* Wolf see iPad shipments for the June quarter reaching 20 million units which would double the 9.25 million units Apple sold in the same quarter last year
* For iPhone's Wolf expects the numbers to be around 27 million units which would be down significantly from the 35 million units Apple shipped last quarter
V IDC and Gartner also reported that Apple's 2Q US Mac marketshare had grown, although they differed slightly by how much
* IDC predicted that Apple shipped around 1.81 million Macs during the quarter putting their expected PC marketshare at around 11.4 percent, up from 10.3 percent a year-ago
* Gartner had the numbers a bit higher, saying Apple sold 1.91 million Macs garnering about 12% of the US PC marketshare.
* The interesting thing about the different unit sales numbers is that in the same quarter last year Apple sold 1.83 million Macs, so by IDCs numbers year over year sales declined, while using Gartner's figure shows a sales increase
* Either way Apple is generally doing better than the PC industry as a whole which saw a sales decrease of 10.6%
* Not surprisingly consumer use of Smartphones and tablets were cited as a main contributing factor in lack of demand and consumers delaying purchases of new PCs
V Feedback, Comments and Commentary
V More fixes for YouTube videos
* Last episode I mentioned having issues with YouTube playback.
* I was in the HTML 5 beta because I don;t like running Flash on my Mac, but YouTube's HTML 5 player seemed to be performing very badly for me.
* The fix was to leave the HTML 5 beta and run Click to Flash which will on the fly convert YouTube videos to a native HTML 5 player.
* The solution works great and has the bonus of disabling all Flash.
V Jason pointed out another solution he learned about from Don McAllister which does a similar function, but doesn't disable Flash completely on other sites.
* YouTube 5 does the on the fly flash conversion on YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook
* You can enable it for each service individually
* It has a really nice looking custom HTML 5 player, supports full screen, and in play resolution selection and you can enable the default player (Which I need to do to access YouTube's "Watch later" option)
* You also don't need Flash installed at all for this to work, not sure about with Click to Flash
* I need flash sometimes in apps like Google Analytics, so this extension might be better for me.
* It does add a slight delay on when you start to play a video. I think because it's having to generate the HTML 5 code on the fly.
V Issue booting new Macbook off external
* Jef made a good point if you are cloning a version of OS X that you had previously installed and just been running updates on
* You may need to apply Apple's most recent "Combo" update for your version of OS X
* The "combo" updates should contain all the universal drivers for the latest models
* Now in the case of the totally new Macbook Pros then it might not included since Apple has pushed a new general update of the OS since they were released. Often these new models have a new build of the OS optimized for the new features and functionality, like the USB 3 ports.
* Similarly if you already have an external drive you boot from you may want to boot from it and apply the latest combo update
* You need to download combo updates directly from the downloads area of Apple's support site.
V In the same email Jef also pointed out that if you run OS X Lion Server there is an option to have the home folder for a user account stored on a remote volume
* Chris Breen at Macworld also covered how to set this up in OS X Client
V Warning: be very careful if you try this. It's an advanced procedure and I'm just giving you an overview. If you mess up your Home folder bad things can happen. Needless to say backup before you attempt this.
* Connect the external volume and copy you Home folder to the location you'd like on the drive. You will have to authenticate to do the copy. Leave the home folder in place on the internal drive for now.
* Open System Preferences > Users & Groups
* Click the lock to make changes. Enter your admin credentials
* Control or right+click the username of the account you are moving the Home folder for and choose 'Advanced Options…'
* Notice the 'Home Directory' field. It has the path to your home folder.
* Click the 'Choose' button and then navigate to the home folder you moved to the external drive, select it, and click Open. Now the path should be changed to point to the folder on the external volume.
* You can now exit system preferences and test the system to make sure everything is working properly.
* Make sure you also have an admin level account that is still set up on the internal drive. If the you have the only admin account and you moved it's home folder to the external and that external dies you would not be able to startup the Mac.
* Once you are 100% sure everything is working you can go back and delete the home folder you moved from the internal drive.
* The one thing I'm not sure of is if you could use a home folder on an external drive with the OS X installed on two different Macs. As long as both Macs are running the same OS and the same apps I don't see why not. Apps can also be installed into a User folder, so you would have your apps with you on the external as well, but again I've never tried this. In theory I assume it would work.
V A last method if you just want a sync'd home folder between two Macs would be Chronosync.
* They have a Home-to-Home sync tip on their site
* I use ChronoSync to sync large folders of important data to my Drobo connected to a Mac Mini on my network.
* Need their companion ChronoAgent product to make that work, but it's great
V Does upgradeability matter anymore?
* This topic has begun to surface more and more lately. Especially since Apple started building more systems with custom designs and closed architectures
V The new Retina Macbook Pro was given the worst rating from iFixit for repairability and hack-ability
* The display is fused to the glass as a single assembly
* RAM is soldered to the motherboard
* Batteries are custom shapes and glued to the case
* Even the flash modules have a special shape and non-standard connectors
V Apple also removed it's products from EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) certification, and much speculation was because the new products can't meet the standard for disassembly
* Many governments and educational institutions require EPEAT, so Apple immediately got a lot of customer backlash for this.
* So much that Apple VP of Hardware Engineering, Bob Mansfield, had to issue a public retraction of the withdrawal. Apple now work with the organization in updating the standards. Apple had helped develop the original standard.
* EPEAT doesn't do certifications for smartphones or tablets, so maybe that's something Apple can help get added to a next generation spec.
V This seems to be a general direction Apple is moving in.
* They say that the hardware and design innovations facilitate those needs
* Certainly reviews are showing there is some evidence to support this. Competitors of sub-notebooks are finding it hard to match Apple's battery size and performance for example
V The question is though is this trend bad for us as Apple consumers?
* I have to admit that I only ever do two upgrades to my old Macs, RAM and hard drives
* In recent years though I have really only done RAM and turned to external solutions for storage
* So how big a deal is this really?
* I think for what you would call a true "Pro" users it might be a deal breaker, but that type of user may be a dwindling breed
* With SSD sizes growing and prices dropping
* RAM at 8GB and 16GB
* Next generation external connectivity like Thunderbolt and USB3
V Using iCloud iCal Sync under Snow Leopard
* So I have been vocal about my feelings that Apple has pulled a jerk move in locking users of older Macs that can't run Lion out of iCloud syncing.
* Only proving my point Maccast listener Jason pointed me to some sites that show you how to hack iCal for Snow Leopard to work with the iCloud servers.
* I tried this trick out on my old Mac Mini and while I've only had time to do simple tests it does seem to work fine. That said it's obviously unsupported and Apple could change things and break it at anytime.
* I think the reason it works is because Apple's iCal uses the standard CalDAV server technology and iCal in Snow Leopard supports connecting to a CalDAV server, so really we just need to manually enter the server info. It's getting at that info that's a little tricky.
V Basically you need to know the dedicated iCloud server that your iCloud account connects to.
* The easiest way to get this is to connect to the iCloud service in Safari
* Access the Calendar in your browser and go under Window > Activity in Safari
* In the Activity window expand the iCloud Calendar section and look for a URL that begins with or where pXX is p and a 2 digit number, like 'p02-'
* Note that 2-digit number as that indicates your dedicated server and you'll need it later
V Setting up iCal on Snow Leopard to connect to the iCloud CalDAV server
* Make sure you have the latest iCal update for Snow Leopard (Version 4.0.4 (1395.7)
* Select 'Preferences' from the iCal Menu.
* Go to the Accounts tab.
* Click the + sign to add a new account.
* Select the 'CalDAV' option under the Account type.
* Enter your 'User name' which is your iCloud .me email address.
* Enter your iCloud 'Password'.
V Now comes the tricky part; the 'Server address':
* That will be, where 'XX' is that server number you noted earlier
* After this step you should see the calendars show up in iCal, but there are a couple more things to check
V Still in the Settings, select your account and go to the 'Server Settings' tab
* Check that the 'Server path' is using the newer iCloud format. In my case it was, but the Mac OS X Hints piece said it may show the older Mobile Me path
* The path should be /XXXXXXXXXX/principal (XXXXXXXXXX is your dedicated account number)
* If it says, /principals/users/1.XXXXXXXXXX/, that's the old style and you will need to change it.
* Set the port number to 443 and make sure use SSL is checked. Setting the port manually may be unnecessary since 443 is the default SSL port.
* Restart iCal and it should refresh your Calendar.
* So the follow-up would be can you hack Contacts to sync too? The short answer is there are some ways to do that since it uses CardDAV. Unfortunately it involves a deeper hack of manually hacking .plist files. I will link to the TidBits article that has links to show how to do that for those who are interested, but it's a bit too involved to cover in audio on the show.
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