Maccast 07.24.2012 - Show #404
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
V Sponsor
V Smile
* TextExpander 4 is now out
V New options for "fill-in-the-blank" snippets
* Fill-ins have always given the ability for you to add dynamic data a expand time
* Great for form letters when you need to add a name
* Also good for setting up snippets for block of HTML tags or URLs that have parameters or variables
V Now you can do more than just text fill-ins
* multi-line text fields
* popup menus for multiple choices
* entire optional text blocks that you can enable with the check of a box to include or not include.
* For new users there is now a Snippet Creation Assistant that offers step by step help to get started creating snippets
* TextExpander starts at $34.95 for a single license. A Family pack is just $44.95 and a 5 license Office Pack is $99.95.
* Upgrades are just $15 and users who purchased after January 15, 2012 get a free upgrade.
* Free trials are also available, so get it now.
V News
V Apple's Q3 Earnings call
* Apple came in with slightly lower profits than may on Wallstreet had expected which is not something they often do.
* That said Apple still had a record quarter and revenues were up 22.4% with revenues of $35 billion and net profit of $8.8 billion
V Apple said the underperforming numbers were mainly the result of 2 key factors
* Declining sales due to "rumors and speculation" of new products. They didn't say it, but the new iPhone launch is implied.
* The declining economy, specifically in Europe. In the US and Asia-Pacific sales were still very strong and Apple did OK in those markets.
* Mac sales were up overall just 2% from a year ago, but that's better than Apple's competitor who saw declines in PC sales this quarter
* Even though Apple said folks are holding out for new iPhones they did manage to sell 26 million units. That's still a 28% increase from last year.
* The iPad was, not surprisingly, the big winner. Apple added 9.2 billion in revenue on iPads and sold 17 million in the quarter which was up from 9.2 million units last year.
* iPod sales continue to decline, but Apple did manage to sell a respectable 6.8 million units, down just 10% which is lower than in the past I think.
* Apple TV had a surprising showing. Sold 1.3 million units in the quarter up 170% from the same period a year ago. So far this year Apple's sold 4 million Apple TVs
* They didn't comment on the future of Apple TV beyond reconfirming it was a hobby, albeit a pretty lucrative one.
V Asked directly if Passbook was a pre-cursor to Apple's own mobile payment system.
* Cook said focus now is on replacing tickets, loyalty cards, and coupons.
* I get that. Seems more like Apple wants to make your iTunes account your mobile payment method of choice. Works well in their retail stores, would be amazing if they extended it outside their walls.
* Education was a big market for Apple with Macs and iPads doing well. As a matter of fact looks like EDU is the first place to see the Post PC shift. Apple' says iPads outsold Macs 2 to 1 in the education market. Also iTunes U has been a hit with 14 million downloads.
* But Apple buried the lead, Mountain Lion arrives tomorrow. It's in the PR.
V Mountain Lion set to launch
* Actually by the time you hear this there is a good bet it will be out.
* I will be scrambmbling to get all the details on how to install and upgrade after I get some FaceTime with the App
V A couple quick tips and thoughts though
* Backup, backup, backup. If you plan to erase and install remember if you only have one backup you'll have none.
* Check your disk. Run utilities, repair permissions, etc.
* Have a bailout plan. You may consider installing on a second Mac. Or keep a bootable cloned backup of your old system around.
* Clear out the cruft. Take inventory and remove or archive anything you no loner need
* Check your apps, drivers, etc. Don't forget the little things (menubar items, preference panes, plug-ins, etc.)
* Check your specs. Make sure you can run OS X and have plenty of RAM.
V Not sure if Apple's Recovery Disk Assistant tool will be updated
* The old steps of manually creating a disk from the InstallESD.dmg file in the installer package seem to still work
* You'll generally need a 2008 or newer Mac with a discreet GPU.
* Mountain Lion will reportedly not instal on systems that aren't up to spec, although I expect we'll see some hacks soon. It's also not clear what would happen if you had an older Mac Pro and then upgraded the graphics card.
* You'll have to get it via the Mac App Store and the price is $19.99 USD
V iPod Touch coming to the Fall party
* Not to be left out rumors say a new iPod Touch might make an appearance with the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini.
* The device would reportedly share the same screen as the redesigned iPhone.
* A 4" panel (3.99") that would use in-cell technology to merge the display and touch layers into a single unit.
* Because of the new technology and high demand for the new devices it's expected supplies will be constrained at launch.
* It's also likely the new device would use the A5 processor like the iPhone 4S and iPad 2
* The new Touch would also reportedly have a buffed aluminum back case which to me sounds a lot like the meterial used on the back on the latest iPads.
V That new iPhone is said to be entering production at Pegatron
* It's also still believed it will have a new smaller 19-pin doc connector
* iMore says there will be a 30-pin adapter, but it's not clear if it will be included or sold as an accessory
* We are also getting early rumors of a 13" Retina Macbook Pro around the September time frame (seems a little late for Back to School) and new iMacs nearer to October.
V Small tweak to Thunderbolt Displays
* Really a retail tweak instead of a hardware tweak
* 9t5 mac reported noticing a changed part code going from MC914LL/A to MC914LL/B.
* There is only speculation on what changed, but the feeling is that Apple will include a MagSafe toMagSafe 2 adapter in the box.
* Since June Apple retails stores have been throwing one in with new Display purchases since the new Macbooks and Macbook Airs would need one to be compatible.
V Feedback, Comments and Commentary
V Figuring out upgrades for your Mac
V Follow up on Pro upgrades
* Play comment from Jason
V Some users shared Jason's sentiments
* Pro users often replace their computers more frequently, so aftermarket upgrades may factor in less.
* Putting components closer to the "metal" allows system to be smaller and perform better, something Pro users DO want
V Being a Pro computer is more about having a system that performs the task at hand with performance and reliability. Individual specs are less of an issue if the performance you need is there when you need it.
* I get this, but there will be edge cases where if you could just add a 3rd party card or bigger drive, or more RAM it may solve the issue
V Many Pro users though feel Apple is leaving the "Pro" market by not including what they consider to be Pro features and options
* Thunderbolt is great, but adoption by 3rd parties is moving too slowly (we did have these issues with USB and Firewire when they were introduced too though).
* Many feel Apple cutting their server products, re-focusing FinalCut X, and now the closed Macbook Pro line are signs that they are not interested in the high end "Pro" markets anymore.
* Loss of built in Ethernet ports is a "Pro" feature that doesn't get mentioned too often, but is a big deal for some Pro customers.
* To many not having the ability to update components builds in a expiration date on the machine, so therefore it's not Pro (exact opposite of other opinion).
* I'm only going to cover the two most common upgrades. Memory and hard drives
V Determine your specs
* System Profiler
* Mac Tracker
V Hard Drives
V SSD vs. Spindle
* Spindle will offer the most storage for the price.
* Rotational speeds will effect performance, faster will also generate more heat.
* SSDs are faster, but pricier per GB. Getting cheaper.
* Read SSD reviews and research firmware compatibility with Macs.
V 3.5." or 2.5"
* Desktop or Laptop.
* Interface (SATA, IDE)
V SATA speeds, 1.5, 3, 6 Gbps
* SATA-II (3 Gbps) or SATA-III (6 Gbps)
* SATA should be backward compatible, but you will only get the speed benefit of the version that is on your interface and motherboard.
* In some cases you may need to set jumpers or use software to put drive into a compatible mode
* You might not want to spend extra on a 6Gbps drive if your Mac doesn't support it.
V Figuring out what you have
* From the Apple menu, hold the Option key and choose System Information ( or System Profiler if you're on 10.6 or earlier).
* Select Serial-ATA from the column on the left
* In the top pane on the right you should see the SATA interfaces available on your Mac. Select one
* In the details pane at the bottom you'll see the specs. Look at "Link speed" for example.
V Memory
V How much can my Mac take?
* I like to use Mac Tracker for this.
* Some Macs are officially spec'd by Apple at one maximum, but will actually accept more.
* The motherboard and interface may limit the max recognized by the Mac. Put in 8GB, but only get 6GB useable for example
* Crucial has a great memory selector tool that can tell you exactly what your Mac will take based on the model
V What kind? DDR2, DDR3
V Figuring out what you have
* From the Apple menu, hold the Option key and choose System Information ( or System Profiler if you're on 10.6 or earlier).
* Select Memory from the column on the left
* In the top pane on the right you should see the slots and memory you have installed.
* It will also show the type (DDR3), Size (2GB), and speed (1333Mhz)
* Selecting a slot will give you more info in the details pane below
V Memory speed
* Generally you can get RAM that is rated faster than what your system will take and it will be backward compatible.
* The memory will only perform at the max rated speed of your system. So 1333 DDR-3 RAM in a system rated for 1066Mhz
V Brand
* Older Macs and Mac Pros can be picky about the brand and quality of RAM.
* I prefer Kingston and Crucial for my systems as I have almost never had an issue with those brands
V Where to buy
* Crucial
* Your local big box store.
* Amazon or NewEgg
V Installation
* Often you will need special tools. Small phillips (#00, #000) or Torx (T-6) screwdrivers
* Step by step instructions.
* Will it void my AppleCare warranty?
* Needless to say, backup, backup, backup.
* Use a grounding strap.
V Reuse old components
* External enclosures for old drives
* Hand down old memory modules. Check compatibility first.
V Macbook Retina Airport
* Had Jeremy ask about 802.11ac support in the Retina Macbook Pro
* They use a Broadcom BCM4331chip, so it's just 3x3 n
* Looks at the iFixit teardown it is on a card, so possible there could be an aftermarket upgrade, but good luck getting in. ;)
V Apple and legacy OS support
* Nathan sent an email pointing out that Apple hasn't release iPhoto updates that support Snow Leopard recently.
* The 9.3 and 9.3.1 updates fro Lion only leaving iPhoto for Snow Leopard users at 9.2.3
* Combine this with dropping iCloud support for Snow Leopard users and it seems like Apple is clearly trying to force users to upgrade.
V Another listener pointed out an even more concerning issue related to iPhoto purchased from the App Store
* If you bought iPhoto on the App Store under Snow Leopard, the current version advertised is 9.3.1
* 9.3.1 won't run under Snow Leopard and some Macs can't run Lion
* If you needed to rebuild a Snow Leopard machine and wanted to re-install iPhoto purchased from the Mac App Store what would happen?
* I tried to purchase it on a Snow Leopard machine and got an error message saying, "We could not complete your purchase" "iPhoto could not be installed… because Mac OS X version 10.7.4 or later is required".
* Seems like it may not download under Snow Leopard, but you would hope if the purchase was already made it would be smart enough to just download and install 9.2.3.
* Has anyone running Snow Leopard had a need to do this and can confirm it works?
V OS X Proxy Server
* So we've discussed how to use parental controls and Open DNS to control access to web sites, but Andrew had a more specific need related to YouTube video access
* He already has parental controls set to block YouTube access for his kids, but occasionally they need to access Kahn Academy videos which are hosted on YouTube. This requires him to enter the admin credentials each time, which becomes a hassle.
V Luckily YouTube has YouTube Schools
* This allows access to educational videos, but they are filtered by YouTube to just school appropriate videos
* Access is controlled by adding additional info to the HTTP request headers using a Proxy Server
V So how can you modify the request headers or set up a proxy server in OS X
V There is a Firefox add-on called Modify Headers
* This solution would require that you force Firefox to be the only browser available for the kids computers
* The kids might also easily figure out how to disable or remove the plug-in.
* A more robust solution would be to set up an HTTP proxy server and require the kids Mac to route all traffic via the Proxy
* On the proxy you would have full control to monitor and route or block the traffic.
* I thought OS X Server had a proxy server you could enable, but damned if I could find instructions for it online.
V Most of what you'll find is Squid, an open source proxy server
* Squid is installed and configured from the command line, so not that user friendly
* It also has the added disadvantage that it alone cannot add HTTP request headers. You'll need to add an Internet Content Adaptation Protocol (ICAP) server. GreasySpoon
* Luckily there is a GUI tool and installer for Squid called SquidMan
V Squidman is mainly developed and set up as a proxy cache
* This caches local copies of websites you visit on your Squid server to improve performance and reduce bandwidth
* You can also enable logging which could help in monitoring what your kids are up to
* Squidman will NOT provide anonymous browsing
* So because of having to also run an ICAP server the Squid proxy is probably not the easiest solution.
V GlimmerBlocker is another option
* Designed as an Ad blocking server it installs and runs as a System Preference pane
* Once installed it is a proxy and all Safari traffic is routed through it.
* It then uses various filters (javascript) to filter out content and ads.
* Ads are blocked or removed based on the server
* So you can add a custom filter and they have a javascript method to add the required request header to force the YouTube School site to load.
* From the 'Network' tab you can enable the 'Proxy' service and point other Macs and devices at the GlimmerBlocker. You'll probably want to make sure this machine is statically IP addressed on your network.
* If it is running on the same Mac it does require admin access to set up and configure GlimmerBlocker
* As a final option there is the great Kahn Academy app for iOS, so you could simply use an iPad to provide the access to the video and just keep YouTube blocked on the Mac entirely.
V iTunes drops from Home Sharing
* Scott has an Apple TV 3 and uses Home Sharing to access movies that are loaded on his Mac running iTunes
* The trouble is that he says consistently (once a day) it seems to lose connectivity with the Home Share
* The fix is easy. Go into iTunes > Preferences, then in the 'Sharing' tab just click 'OK'
* There is a long thread on the Apple Discussion Boards of others reporting the issue
* I have had issues like this as well.
V For me one culprit was always Energy Saver and sleep. Even with 'Wake for Network Access' on devices couldn't connect to iTunes
* System Preferences > Energy Saver
* Set 'Computer Sleep' to "Never"
* Display sleep is OK
V Another thing to check would be your network router. Make sure your firmware is up to date.
* There was also some posts about issues with IPv6 support which was added to the OS recently.
V Some say disabling that can help.
* Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, and then click Network.
* If the Network Preference is locked, click on the lock icon and enter your Admin password to make further changes.
* Choose the network service you want to use with IPv6, such as Ethernet or AirPort.
* Click Advanced, and then click TCP/IP.
* Click on the Configure IPv6 pop-up menu (typically set to Automatically) and select Off.
V Wait for a fix from Apple
* In the meantime Scott has o go back upstairs to his Mac to "wake up" iTunes and home sharing.
V The way I get around this is by using Screen Sharing (VNC) and a VNC client on my iPad
* System Preferences > Sharing
* Check on 'Screen Sharing'
* Click the 'Computer Settings…' button
* Check VNC users may control the screen with password and set a password.
* Then use a VNC app like iSSH or iTeleport. You could also use a 3rd party remote control app and client like LogMeIn Ignition if you don't want to use built-in screen sharing and VNC.
V .ipmeta iPhoto files
* Play question from Bill
* My research came up with similarly mysterious results
* I think one reason why is that the current version of iPhoto no longer uses these files as near as I can tell.
* They seemed to have been around in iPhoto '08 and '09 (although here they are contained in a Package file, so not sure they would pop up in a Spotlight search). I believe in the ~/Library/iPhoto Library/Metadata Backup folder and/or ~/Pictures/iPhoto Library/Metadata Backup/
* There are couple different ones, things like Schema, Keywords, Albums have associated metadata files
V I poked around in an old copy of iPhoto '09
* They look to be actually PLIST files (XML) with a different extension
* So simply TXT files, small so not using much space
* Seem to have equivalents in iPhoto '11 but in ~/Pictures/iPhoto Library/Database. And now have .apdb, .apalbum, .apfacename, .apdetected filenames
* They don't have picture or photo data, but store information related to the images, albums, organization, schema and other info related to how images are stored and organized in iPhoto
V The general census seems to be that you could delete these files, but that iPhoto would simply re-create them on launch, although I couldn't find any info from an official source to confirm this.
* Also I assume certain data like "Faces" info, etc. would be completely lost and you'd have to re-assign it, but that is just a theory.
* I believe you could also rebuild this data by holding down the Command+Option keys while launching iPhoto and selecting the "Rebuild the iPhoto Library Database from automatic backup", but normally you would only do this if iPhoto is crashing at launch or not loading photo (backup first too).
* Really you shouldn't go messing around in the iPhoto Library package file though.
* Either way you should need to want to delete ipmeta data files. Your boss also may wish to consider upgrading iPhoto as well if he can run a newer version.
V iPhoto cannot connect to Photostream
* Michael had an odd issue that popped up with iPhoto and Photostream on just one of his Macs
* Other Macs and devices connected fine, but this one Mac kept giving the error message, "Iphoto cannot connect to Photostream" every time he would try and activate the service.
V He tried:
* Logging out of iCloud from System Preferences and restarting the Mac
* Logging into iCloud from System Preferences and checking on the Photostream checkbox.
* Opening iPhoto and enabling Photostream in the preferences pane.
V Finally this resolved it
* Deleting iPhoto
* Deleting iLife .plist files
* Disabling photo stream from Apple TV and other devices
* Signing out of iCloud
* Rebooting the Mac
* Download and installing the latest version of iPhoto
* Sign back into iCloud
* Open iPhoto and enable Photostream.
* Re-enabling Photostream in Apple TV and on other devices.
V Damaged Retinas
* I've had two people tell me their new Retina Macbook Pros arrived and out of the box had damage
* One was a scratch the other a dent both on the lids. What gives?
* Anyone else?
V Closing
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