Maccast 12.12.2013 - Show #471
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
V Sponsor: BusyMac
V BusyCal
* An alternative to the built-in Calendar app in OS X, but for me it's really a replacement.
* It has many features that go above and beyond what's built in. Think of it as Calendar "Pro".
V It has all of the standard features you would want an need in a calendar app
* Setup is a breeze because pulls in all your existing Apple Calendar data and sync with it.
V Of course it has all the features you need, but what really made it my default Calendar was all the choices and options.
* Just about everything is customizable, you make it your calendar app.
V You get your standard Month, Week, and List views, but you can customize them
* Adjust the the number of weeks shown per month, and days shown per Week.
* Month and Week views can be scrolled
* Customize the list view
V The ability to access the info panel in one click is worth getting BusyCal for alone
* But then you can completely adjust what fields are displayed
* Don't use 'Attendees', hide it. Want a Date Picker? Turn it on.
* I mentioned syncing with Apple's Calendar app and iCloud, but it also supports Exchange, Google Calendar, and CalDAV servers
* I use alarms, but Apple has a default 5 minute snooze. In BusyCal you can adjust that to any duration. You can also set your own default snooze times for different kinds of entries
* To Dos are fully integrated and sync with Reminders
V Awesome extras
* Add weather and moon phases right to the calendar
* Add graphics and images
* Change fonts and colors
* They even have a menubar item you can enable to show current and upcoming events and the weather forecast right the menu bar.
* BusyCal 2.5 is fully compatible with Mavericks. The latest version added the support for Exchange and is a free update for BusyCal 2.0 owners
* Download a free 30-day trial from or purchase it on the Mac App Store for $49.99.
* BusyCal - the ultimate calendar app for OS X
V News
V iOS 7 fastest adopted iOS
* Using numbers from Chitika the internets are declaring that iOS 7 is now running on more than 70 percent of the iOS devices in America
* That is amazing considering that Apple's latest mobile OS was released less than three months ago
* It took iOS 6 about six months to get to 83 percent adoption and after 3 months it was only on about 15 percent of devices.
V Breaking it down in terms of phones vs. tablets it's not surprising that iPhones are more likely to up-to date than iPads, but just barely
* 74 percent of iPhones are running iOS 7 and roughly 64 percent of iPads
V Having an OS adoption rate that high is good on many levels
* Makes it easier for developers to leverage new features and enhancements that are baked into the new OS
* Good for the customer in terms of usability and support. We're all on the same page.
V iBeacons make their way to Apple Stores
* They were rolled out limitedly in US Apple Stores
V Share my experience
* Was actually kind of disappointing
* Only in the accessories section.
* Was kind of difficult to get the alert to pop up
* When it did it offer to give me accessories info and to allow me to pay.
* Tapping the alert just brought up the Easy Pay scanner.
* Same message popped up over and over as I moved thought that area of the store.
* It's a start.
V Starting a low energy beacon revolution
* Qualcomm and others are rolling out their own solutions
* Trouble will be lack of standards even though they all leverage LE Bluetooth
V Concerns over privacy
* Apple claims they are not tracking customers in stores
* They technology does seem to enable that sort of thing.
* In store directions
* Will all advertisers be scrupulous?
* Do "beacons" replace other technologies like NFC and QR Codes?
V Digital magazine publisher is using the technology for location based unlocking of content
* Free access to digital magazine content when your within a radius of a beacon.
* Think of doctors offices, waiting rooms, coffee shops, etc.
* Want to take it with you? Buy via in-app purchase.
* Could be a big deal for comic books, music, movies, etc.
* Push alert prompting to buy the magazine you are just reading when you leave the iBeacons vicinity.
* The AP reports that Major League Baseball plans to use it next year to offer features like coupons and videos based on a user’s location in a ballpark.
V Mac Pro is coming to town?
* The race is on, who will arrive first? Santa or Apple's Darth Vader inspired Mac Pro?
* A German retailer is claiming that the Mac Pro should arrive I. Time for it to actually be delivered via Santa.
* They claim the units will be in stores on December 16th, just days away.
* Conrad Electronics briefly listed the Mac Pro for pre-orders.
* It likely just a slip and the date seems odd. As TMO points out Apple products typically become available on a Tuesday or Friday
* Apple also typically doesn't let info like that slip.
* Apple did say the Mac Pro would be here this month, so I would think a release day announcement is due any day now.
* What's interesting is that the Mac Pro is being assembled in the USA, but I haven't seen or heard anything about how production is going one way or the other.
* The Mac Pro is a high end machine and many companies have budgets that need to be spent before the close of the year.
* Let's hope it's not behind schedule or Apple may end up being the Grinch who stole Mac power users Christmases.
V Apple's stuff tops holiday wish lists
V Localytics says the iPad Air saw the biggest increase in activations of all tablets over the Black Friday weekend.
* Apple new full sized tablet saw its activation numbers rise 51 percent during the heavy shopping period
* The whomps the next most activated tablet, which was the iPad mini, which saw a 26 percent rise in activations
* The Amazon Kindle Fire HD (not the HDX?) was next highest at 23 percent
* The iPhone 5c also saw activations go up 26 percent
V Macs are also going to be sought after this season, at least more than Dells
* CNET has data from Parks Associates
* They put Apple's on top of consumers lists for new desktop computer purchases
* This is the first time Apple has been on top of the list, but they've been steadily moving up over the past 3 year. 3rd in 2011, 2nd in 2012.
* Apple products were also on top in many other categories: tablets, laptops, smartphones, home networking routers, MP3 players, and streaming media devices.
V Another good thing for Apple, they aren't in the price war
* Deutsche Bank says 60 percent of the 80 best-selling laptops cost less than $400
* On Cyber Monday Apple's 13.3-inch MacBook Pro (non-Retina) laptop was the No. 5 top selling laptop at $1,050.00 and the $1,400 13.3-inch Retina version came in at number 10.
* Yeah for profit margins!
V Analyst Brian White seems to think that Apple is already on their way to an amazing holiday quarter
* His checks for overall November retail sales seem to indicate Apple had 19 to 20 percent month over month growth.
* If accurate that would be well above the average of 6 percent month over month growth for November that they've seen over the past 6 years.
* Their historical numbers show that December typically has about a 10 percent decline in sales over November, but note that even if that does happen (and it likely won't) Apple will still have a huge Q4 for 2013
* They are predicting a year over year sales growth of 28 percent, well above the 13 percent average growth.
* Of course Apple heavily back weighted their new product releases, especially for iOS devices, so you can't really consider this a typical 4th quarter.
V Some reporting on touchy TouchID
* Apparently, historically, touch sensor technology has been know to degrade and become more and more unreliable over time.
* Apple's TouchID technology has supposedly worked through those legacy issues using new tech and protections, like the sapphire glass.
* According to Cult of Mac though a "well know" tech blogger says he has had to reset his TouchID fingerprint scans about every month or so to keep them working reliably.
* Apple has said that after the first set up, each time you use the sensor it will re-scan and re-adjust the prints to ensure accuracy.
* The blogger, Dr. Drang, thinks this might actually be part of the issue. That the subsequent scans are introducing corruption. i.e. too much information.
V It's interesting because to me my scans have seemed to fail more frequently, but I have been attributing it to external issues. Like the weather or moisture in my hands.
* It doesn't fail that often and usually the 2nd or third scan works, but I do seem to have to do a 2nd or 3rd scan a bit more often.
* I also will often use the wrong finger a few times before I realize it. So user error factors in for me.
* I personally still don;t think it's the sensor. I think things like not getting my full finger on the sensor, etc. are more likely the issues. What about you?
V China Mobile iPhone, it's official
* Although not as exciting as we assumed it might be.
* The deal to bring the iPhone to China's largest carrier was talked about, rumored, anticipated for years.
* Earlier this year we say the government approvals go through laying the groundwork for iPhone support on the carriers network. People got excited.
* So this week it became official.
* But there was no big announcement, no parade, not even a cake. China Mobile simply updated their site quietly to state pre-orders for the iPhone would start on the 12th
* The company is planning a launch event on December 18th to roll out the new 4G network and service that will support the iPhone.
* China Mobile has over 740 million subscribers and the iPhone is expected to pick up about 20 million in activations in 2014 and 30 million or more in 2015 according to some estimates.
V Microsoft Apple merger? Ha!
* I can even think about it without laughing, but analyst Keith Fitz-Gerald from Money Map Press not only though about it and wrote it up in a blog post. He believes it can happen.
* The reason? Apple and Microsoft will need to join forces to fight off Google, Android and Facebook.
* His timeframe for this merger? Five to ten years.
* I sort of, in an alternate universe, get his logic but there are too many flaws
* Jeff Gamet's name for the mythical merged company says it all, 'Micrapple'.
* You might as well mix oil an water it would be easier. The two companies are so philosophically different.
* Can you imagine the government'd view of a commercial OS monopoly
V And even if they allowed it, which OS would win? By sheer install base and sales you'd have to go Windows on the desktop. But iOS would win Mobile.
* The new company would have two radically different OS code bases to run and deal with.
* Apple has also come out, at least with it's public face, on the side of consumer privacy with regards to it's customer data. They might be interested in search business, but not in the same ways as Microsoft, Google, or Facebook
* Microsoft has the Bing deal with Yahoo! and I read that 30 percent of Yahoo! revenues comes from Microsoft paying them to use Bing. That seems like a more likely mashup. Remember Microsoft already tried to takeover Yahoo!
V Is Siri getting smarter?
* I have always been a huge fan of Siri, but with iOS 7 she has gotten even better in my opinion.
* My endorsement is based solely on personal usage though
* Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster however has been testing Siri's accuracy for years and has hard data going back to December 2012
* The testing consists of asking 400 questions in different environmental conditions.
* According to his numbers Siri's "Net ability to answer questions" has risen from 75% to 79% in a year.
* Also, the ability hear and interpret questions has risen to almost 95% accuracy
V For my observations
* The ability to get at more data is huge. More sources like Bing, image search, Twitter. Also being able to display and speak more results in the Siri interface
* The contextual nature and more natural speaking style of the interaction. Not perfect, but better than most.
* The "personality" that's built in makes Siri more accessible and approachable than other systems
* Being tied to the server can be detrimental at times. Worse in iOS 7.
* Not predictive. Also doesn't fully use ALL the contextually aware data it has access to.
V Former iPod chief has RED MacPro
* A few weeks the Marc Newson / Jony Ive designed products went up for sale in the RED auction to support the fight against AIDS.
* Among the items were a one of a kind red colored new Mac Pro and a set of rose gold EarPods
* The MacPro sold for $977,000 and the EarPods went for $461,000 to unknown buyers, until now.
* It actually looks like both those items went to NEST creator and former VP of Apple's iPod division, Tony Fadell
* Twitter pics of Fadell with the items surfaced this week pretty much confirming that he dropped roughly 1.4 million for the two pieces.
* Sounds crazy until you remember that these are truly one of a kind items and that the money is really just a donation to a great charity.
V Apple site honors Nelson Mandela
* Like they did when Steve Jobs passed Apple has devoted the homepage of their site this week to be a tribute to Neslon Mandela
* There aren't too many companies who would devote the home pages to honor those who inspire them.
* It's pretty cool to see.
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V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V Don't DIY service Applecared iDevices
* Last show discussed DIY servicing of iDevices based on a comment sent in by Tobin
* He was told that any DIY servicing of his iPhone would void the Applecare. I explained that I had thought that it would only void the part, not the entire Applecare
* I was wrong.
* I have been contacted by Geniuses who tell me that self servicing a device that is under Applecare will void the warranty, or at least they will not be able to service it if you bring it in.
* My info was correct for Macs and Macbooks. I just assumed the policies would be similar, but I guess they are not.
* So while under Applecare take your iOS devices to Apple or an Apple Authorized service center ONLY for repairs.
V This also explains why the OnPoint (formerly concierge) told Tobin not to mention the screen replacement
* Still NOT good advice, but if the Genius knew up front he could have simply refused to even look at the device.
* That's why I think in some ways these policies set up a bad precedence. They almost encourage people to want to lie about the situations with their device
V Troubleshooting TouchID
* With the blog post calling out TouchIDs accuracy over time there were a couple of sites, TUAW and Macworld, who did pieces recommending some troubleshooting tips I thought worth sharing.
* First and foremost, clean off the sensor.
* Check your fingers. Are they wet, greasy, cold?
* Are you using the right finger? Seriously.
* Have any cuts, dry cracked skin, etc.
* Did you recently reboot your device?
* Has it been more than 48 hours since you used that finger with TouchID?
V As a final step you may need to re-scan your prints
* When you do, do it like you use your device
* Don't put the phone on a table and scan. Hold it in a way that you would when you pick it up to unlock it.
* adjust your finger as you build up the scan. get edges, tips, etc.
V Tweaking Airport port forwarding
* Play comment from Michael
V Here's the thing, you shouldn't need to open any ports for traffic that stays inside the NAT Firewall.
* I can only speculate on why you needed to open the ports, but one reason would be if you are using VPN to remote access the Raspberry Pi?
* Also if your iOS devices and the print server are not on the same network (broadcast domain)?
* The process your describing essentially allows the AirPort to route traffic on the inbound ports to specific IPs and ports on the internal network.
V The reasons why you would do this are to allow external access to services on your internal network.
* The problem is that this severely reduces your security
* You are creating "holes" in your network.
* Still there are legitimate reasons why you might want to do this. VNC access, you're running your own Web or FTP server.
* Just know the risks. If you can get in someone else can too.
V There are a lot of multifunction printers, NAS storage devices that have sharing services turned on with no security by default. On a public network or if you have port forwarding turned on to these devices there are risks.
* There is a search engine that shows NAS and printer devices that are open
* They have web interfaces and you can access stored print jobs, scans, server files.
V I actually run a web server on my mac where I can put sites I develop for clients that are in test mode. I have URL and port forwarding set up so they can view the site served from my Mac
* I only enable the web server for short periods
* I use a non-standard port on the external interface
V How do you set it up?
* Get the IP address of the device you are trying to target. On the Mac, System Preferences > Network, then select the interface (Wi-Fi, Ethernet, etc) and note the IP address
* Open AirPort Utility
* Select your Base station and click 'Edit…'
* Go to the Network tab and notice the 'Port Settings' section.
* Click the "+" button to add a port
V Enter a 'Description' for the service
* There are a number of pre-sets from the drop down
* For example, the Printer Sharing one will automatically set up forwarding for ports 631, 515
V Enter the public ports you want open on your Airport. Any traffic from the internet on these ports will be allowed through to your internal network
* Often you'll want these to be non-standard ports (adds a little security)
* If you use a nonstandard port you'll need to be able to control the inbound port of the service your forwarding. If not, you'll need to forward the standard port.
* Enter the IP address of the device on your network you want the traffic forwarded to, the one you looked up earlier. In Michaels case this was the Ip of his Raspberry Pi
V Enter the private ports you want the traffic sent to
* There are typically the standard ones for the services
* Click Save
V Type International Characters quickly
* Chris wrote me to mention that he just discovered the alternative unicode character pop-up trick in OS X.
* The trick has actually been with us since Lion
* This is a little character pop-up menu that appears and displays alternative international characters when you press and hold specific keys.
* For example if you press and hold an 'E' you get options for accented versions or ones with an umlaut.
V When the pop up appears you can click on the alternate character with you mouse to select it
* Each one also has a number above it and pressing the corresponding number key will select and apply it
* You can also use the arrow keys on your keyboard to highlight the one you want and press enter to select it.
V And while this is cool, one problem is it also disables key repeat which some people don't like.
* Personally i don't need to press and hold a key to repeat often enough to have it be an issue
* the workaround being just tapping the key multiple times.
V If it is an issue there is a Terminal command you can enter to re-enable the key repeat feature
* defaults write -g ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool false
* You'll need to quit and relaunch any app to have it take effect in that app.
V OS X Mavericks has some new ways to get at Special Characters too
* There is a new pop-over to allow you to access special characters, like emoji, quickly
* The Control+Command+Spacebar keyboard shortcut activates the panel
* It shows recently used characters with tabs below to access various character sets
* Swipe down in the pop-over to access a search field
* Tap the old style “Special Characters” icon next to the search box to get the old palette.
* You can also “tear off” the panel to get it in it’s own floating that sticks around
V Another thing I do is set up TextExpander snippets for common accented words replacements
* They actually have an "Accented Words" snippet group you can download and there is an Emoji One too
* Choose File > Add Predefined Group... and then choose the group you want to add.
V OS X Mavericks Firewall keeps asking permission
* I have had a few of you know contact me to say that the OS X Firewall is acting up for many apps in OS X Mavericks
* What seems to be happening is that the prompt is coming up to ask for permission to allow incoming connections, but even after approving the apps it pops up again.
* Typically after approval an app would be added to the list in System Preferences and should be allowed from that point forward
V You can see which apps are approved or not approved in the System Preferences > Security & Privacy
* Check the Firewall tab
* Then click Firewall Options…
* There is a list off apps and a "Allow incoming connections" or "deny" option set.
* There is also a checkbox to allow signed software from a valid certificate authority to automatically allow incoming connections. (this is how iTunes can get access for example)
V Some of you who are having issues have mentioned that iTunes will also ask for permission which leads me to wonder if the issue might be related to Keychain corruption.
* I would try rebuilding the Keychain
* Applications > Utilities > Keychain Access
* Go under Keychain Access > Keychain First Aid
* Verify and/or repair the Keychain
V Possibly a corrupt preferences (PLIST). You could try deleting that
* Turn the Firewall off
* Go to: /Library/Preferences/
* Move the '' file to the trash (you'll need to authenticate)
* Reopen the Firewall preferences and reset-up your allowed connections
V Jumpy wi-fi
* As wi-fi gets more prevalent and more congested many of us will encounter the kind of trouble Douglas wrote me about
* He noticed at home he'd be connect to his home wi-fi when suddenly things would slow down and become un-reliable
* When checking the wi-fi what has happened is that the connection has "jumped" from his home network to another open wi-fi base station near by.
* The trouble is that your Macs and iOS devices will remember any network names that they have connected to and typically try to automatically reconnect to those if they see them.
V Compounding this is the use of the default or generic names for open wifi networks that you might connect to, say at the coffee shop
* Names like 'linksys', 'netgear', 'att wifi', etc.
* The Mac or device doesn't distinguish base stations with the same name based on location. A linksys is a linksys regardless
* So what you need to do is manage your "preferred" networks and not automatically add every "known" wi-fi.
V On your Mac
* Go into System Preferences > Network
* Select your wi-fi and click the 'Advanced' button.
* Under the 'wi-fi' tab make sure that only your networks are listed under the "Preferred Networks".
* Use the "-" button to remove any others.
V You might also want to uncheck the 'Remember networks this computer has joined' option so it doesn't any other networks to your "preferred" list.
* After changing this you can manually add new network when connected by coming here and clicking the "+" add button
* Or leave the "remember" on and come in here and prune often
V On iOS
* It's tricker, because you have to be on the "known" network
* Go into Settings > Wi-Fi
* Find your Wi-fi and tap the "i" icon
* Tap "Forget this Network"
* Also on the Settings > Wi-Fi
V Pay attention to 'Service Order'
* If you're like me then at home you may use a wired connection. The thing is that you could be attached via Ethernet yet still using wi-fi if your service order is off.
* In System Preferences > Network, look at the list. Is Ethernet or Wi-fi listed first.
* If it's Wi-Fi then you Mac will prefer that connection first.
* You can change the order by clicking the settings "cog" at the bottom and choosing the 'Set Service Order' option
* Now drag the services into the preferred order putting 'Ethernet' on top.
* Click OK and you're done.
V Closing
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