Maccast 2015.10.02 - Show #543
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
V Sponsor: Squarespace
V Squarespace
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V News
V Retailers slow adoption of Apple Pay
* Apple claims they are "seeing continued, double-digit monthly growth in Apple Pay transactions since launch" in a statement made to Bloomberg
* But that seems to contradict what Panera Bread and Firehouse told the publication. They claim Apple Pay transactions make up low single-digit percentages of overall purchases.
V Firehouse commented on frustration of Apple not marketing Apple Pay enough
* I would argue that retailers too are doing little to promote the technology.
* I see very little if any signage or logos at payment terminals.
* Employees no nothing about it when asked. Most are amazed and surprised still when I use it.
* In a survey most users claim they set up the feature and only used it once. Users also seemed to not understand they benefits enough to use it on a regular basis.
V Steve Jobs film opens
* The movie written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Danny Boyle based (loosely) on the Walter Isaacson biography.
* In limted release, just LA and NYC. One report said four theaters but I could only locate three
V The film seems top be polarizing those who knew Jobs
V Interestingly those who knew him in the early days seems to like the film
* Woz, John Sculley, Andy Hertzfeld, and Andrea “Andy” Cunningham
* They all agree the events and the exact way things happened are not always accurate
* Hertzfeld’s quote was, " It deviates from reality everywhere".
* They also all seem to agree that the "why" things happened is accurate.
* The characters and personalities are portrayed accurately even if the specific things Sorkin wrote didn’t happen exactly they way they are played out in the film.
* The goal seems to have been reaching an understanding of "why" Jobs was the way he was and behaved in the way he did. Not so much the specifics of what was actually said or done.
* There is "condensing" that seems to happen a lot, but that has to happen when you compress three major events (Mac, Next, iMac) into a two hour film
V Those most critical seem to be the ones who knew Steve later in his life
* Cook, Ive, and Job’s widow, Laurene Powell.
V Powell reportedly tried to stop the film when it was under Sony and when it was under Universal.
* She felt that the script played down his accomplishments and portrayed Jobs as “cruel and inhumane.”
* The studio claims it offered to have her involved in development, but she declined.
* Cook and Ive both feel in some ways that the films and books about Jobs are exploiting his death.
V I can totally understand the aversions of the people closest to Steve, especially the ones that were closest to him near the end of his life
* We just passed the 4 year mark since his passing.
* We all want our family members and friends to be remembered for the great parts of their lives
* Steve had many great parts. Huge achievements, a loving family, great friends.
V But Steve was also an icon and many of us, who didn’t know him, still strive to understand the man in ALL his nuances.
* We know from stories from others close to him as well, that he could be unrelenting and sometime tyrannical.
* How did he reconcile all the choices, good and bad, that he made. I think this latest film is looking to explore that.
V So I got to actually see the film
* I drove to the only theater in LA where it’s playing
* No spoilers, but I am going to discuss the elements of how the film is structured and the mechanics used to tell the story so if you don’t want to hear that skip this part.
* I will not talk about scene details at all.
* Bottom line is you will want to see this film. By far the best Steve Jobs film to date, and I’m including Pirates of Silicon Valley.
V Apple acquires another AI company
* Last time we talked about Apple acquiring VocalIQ, a United Kingdom startup with a natural language API that incorporate machine learning
* This week were hearing reports that Apple has purchased Perceptio, a small startup focused on artificial intelligence
* The company was founded by artificial intelligence researchers who specialize in creating image-recognition systems using deep learning.
* Perceptio specifically was focused on how to run complex neural network algorithms on smartphones using pattern-based processing.
* Basically they wanted to enable smartphones to run advanced artificial intelligence systems allowing the phone process and react to user data locally without having to draw from large external repositories of data.
* Meaning this could allow Siri to react more intelligently and predictively without compromising your privacy. Something that fits very well with Apple’s strict stance on protecting user data.
V Apple Watch lugs shipping
* A small story, but something I’m excited about
* Apple has begun shipping official Apple Watch "lugs" to vendors who want to make MFi watch bands.
* All stainless steel, and come with the phrase "Made for Apple Watch" etched on them
* Must be ordered in batches of 25 sets or 200 sets and start at $278.75 for 25 38-millimeter lugs. (over $11 per set.)
* You’ll also need a special pentalobe screwdriver for $12.65
* At those prices expect MFi third party bands to be a bit on the pricy side when compared to the non-MFi models currently on the market.
V Why would you opt for MFi?
* Officially endorsed by Apple
* I’ve heard, but not confirmed, some metals when in contact with others of a different type can cause corrosion.
V 4K 21.5-inch Retina iMac Next Week?
* At least 9to5Mac and "several" of their "reliable" sources believe so.
* They claim the new modest could begin showing up in stores as soon as Tuesday, October 13th.
* On the exterior the machines are said to look identical to the current 21-inch models
V But of course with a new 4k, 4096 x 2304 pixel display and better GPUs
* The resolution would give it a pixel density of 218 PPI, in line with the 27-inch 5K iMac
V We’ve also heard rumors of new Magic Mice and Magic Trackpads (possible adding Force Touch) and a new wireless keyboard.
* Keyboard would likely have the same "butterfly" keys found on the new Macbook.
* All three may have built in batteries that are rechargeable
* Doubtful, but some have also hinted at Touch ID on the new accessories.
* Not clear if the new accessories would launch alongside rev’d iMacs, but code hints for the new devices did appear in the latest beta builds of El Capitan.
* 9to5Mac is also saying that the "reliable sources" say the Apple TV and iPad Pro will go on pre-order at the end of October and be in stores first week of November.
V Please, please enough with the "gates"
* Chip-gate. Oh Noes Apple has doomed?
* We discussed last week that Apple has two sources for A9 chips and that they are different sizes due to 14nm (Samsung) vs. 16nm (TSMC) processes
* You can actually use some tools, like iMazing, to figure out which chip is in your device
* Question were raised if which one you had made a difference and so the Internet does what it does and started trolling
* A few places have run benchmark battery tests and are claiming that in those tests the TSMC chips are outperforming the Samsung's.
* In heavy use they claim the TSMC chip performs up to 1.5 times better than the Samsung.
* Yet, in a more "real world" test. Playing an hour long YouTube video the devices only showed a one percent difference in battery life.
* Samsung equipped iPhone 6s also runs about 3°C hotter, and it’s just a hair faster too.
* The press of course has dubbed this "Chipgate"
V Apple responded to iMore basically confirming the real world vs. lab test results
* "Certain manufactured lab tests which run the processors with a continuous heavy workload until the battery depletes are not representative of real-world usage"
* " It's a misleading way to measure real-world battery life."
* Following up by saying in their testing the difference vary between 2-3%
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V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V Possible reasons not to upgrade to El Capitan
V Reports of issues with Microsoft Office apps
* Specifically Outlook 2011 and 2016
* App not starting on crashing on wake from sleep
* Microsoft has confirmed that there is a problem and they are working on it.
V Audio interfaces
* Apple has made big changes to Core Audio so folks with audio gear have been reporting sporadic issues
* At the very least check with the manufacturer of your gear for compatibility before upgrading.
* Also double check compatibility of any audio software as well.
* One listener even reported to me that sending system audio to multiple Airplay devices id no longer working in Apple’s Audio Midi Set up in El Capitan
V Game Center has the "game invite" functionality appears to be broken, Can still accept invites, just can’t send them
* Still El Capitan has improved Open GL and Metal performance, so maybe just let your friends invite you until you get a patch.
V Use UNIX, check
* Apple's System Integrity Protection (SIP) locks down some key areas under the hood.
* Not even root users can write to /usr, /bin, /System, and /sbin. Any of your stuff uses those System locations and you’re SOL.
* AutoCad 2013, 2014, and 2015 are not stable. Don’t launch or are crashing frequently
V About losing 'secure empty trash'
* I’ve had a lot of you contact me in shock and frustration about the 'Secure Empty Trash' option being removed from OS X El Capitan
* This was accessed under the 'Finder' menu in versions of OS X prior to El Capitan.
* It would not only mark the file sectors on the drive as available for re-writing, but would write over the data ensuring it was expunged
* Some are pointing to a 'Delete Immediately' option that you get when you hold down the option key while choosing the 'Empty Trash' command, but that’s not the same thing.
* An Apple support page explains that "An issue existed in guaranteeing secure deletion of Trash files on some systems, such as those with flash storage. This issue was addressed by removing the Secure Empty Trash option."
* But that’s a little vague. Joe Kissel explained it a bit better at my Mac User Group meeting.
* Basically some researchers in San Diego were testing securely wiping data on SSDs and found that in many cases SSDs do not securely erase even when given the command
* The problem lies in how SSDs work. SSDs save data to physical pages but erase from logical block addresses (LBAs). When deleting on an SSD it basically just gets rid of the map to where the data is. At that point if you’re trying to write data over it to "securely" erase it doesn’t know where to overwrite because it has no map.
* Deleting files immediately would cause extra wear on an SSD.
* Now not all SSDs exhibit these issue, but of 12 drives the researchers tested only 4 erased their data reliably.
* One option for protecting your SSD data is whole disk encryption like FileVault. While not perfect it’s much better than nothing and you won’t have to worry about the bits of data left behind when deleting files.
V Checking on iCloud Backups
* Sébastien Page from the iDownload Blog had a great piece about solving an issue with iCloud backups that also serves as a good reminder to check once in a while that automated backups are running.
V Go into Settings > iCloud > Backup
* You can check the Backup status.
* I had forgotten to turn iCloud backup on since setting up my new 6s.
* In Sébastien’s case he saw that his device had not backed up since he got his new phone.
* Tapping on 'Backup Now' kicked off the process, but he soon saw an "ERROR: the last backup could not be completed." message
V How to fix?
* First check that you do have enough available iCloud storage
* Try a reboot.
* Backup via iTunes. Connect the device, select it, choose 'Back Up Now'
* If the re-boot didn’t fix things
V Go to Settings > iCloud, and tap on Sign Out at the bottom. Then sign back in.
* Remember you’ll have to re-setup Apple Pay on phone and watch.
V If that didn’t work: Go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings
* After you’ll need to reconnect you your wi-fi network
* If that doesn’t work you may need to delete your old iCloud backup (if there is one). Settings > iCloud > Storage > Manage Storage.
* Finally if all else fails. Do a restore.
V Another thing to check is your storage to make sure you don’t have old backups eating up storage space.
* Settings > iCloud > Storage > Manage Storage
* In the Backups section you can see what backups you have and tapping on a device will give you details like when it was last backed up.
* Also in here you can define what you want backed up for your device.
V RAM is locked in Macbooks
* Received and email from a listener this week who purchased a 13-inch Macbook Pro back in March
* After using it since then they’ve determined they’d really like more RAM for photo and video applications and they were wondering about recommendations fro upgrading.
* Unfortunately I had to tell them the only "upgrade" option on RAM for the current model Macbook's, Macbook Pro, or Macbook Airs even is selling the old machine and getting a new one.
* It really stinks, but Apple has made the choice to solder the RAM to the motherboard on all current Macbook models.
V With the new Macbook this is also true of the Flash storage and I fully expect to see new Macbook Air and Macbook Pro models to adopt this strategy as well.
* Actually I think Apple will likely discontinue the Air moving forward, replacing it with more Macbook models.
* The reminder is that when you buy a Macbook now, more than ever, make sure you get the model with the most RAM and most storage you can afford, but you’re not going to have the option to get more later.
* Luckily, at lest for now, the desktops don’t have the same issues, except for the 21.5-inch iMac
V Thing of the Moment: ViewMaster
* Remember the View-Master?
* There is a new updated version, the View-Master Virtual Reality
* I picked the "Starter Pack" up at Target for USD $29.99
V Comes with a 'Sample Reel' which is really just an augmented reality target that unlocks access to three apps you download from the app store.
* Space, augmented reality and model of a Space Shuttle
* Wildlife, National Geographic. See animals in the Outback, Amazon, and Savanna
* Destinations, Tour Greece, Statue of Liberty, London Tower, and Mayan City
* Unlock more content in each app for USD $14.99
V Load your iPhone (or Android device) into the viewer.
* Supports the 5, 5c, 5s, 6, 6 Plus, 6s, and 6s Plus
V But it’s also a 100% compatible Google Cardboard viewer
* Google Cardboard app
* Reddit list of some great Google Cardboard apps. Virtual tours, roller coaster sims, games, music concerts
* Sturdy plastic case
* Comes with adapter for smaller phones
* Latch could be a bit more secure.
V Closing
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V Thanks to my sponsors
* Smile
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