Tag Archives: Macintosh

Want a Private Facebook? Try #Slack

NYTimes: A Charming Alternative Universe of You, Your Friends and No News

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/18/technology/a-charming-alternative-universe-of-you-your-friends-and-no-news.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share

imageThe Times article (above) tempts with the idea of an alternative to the competitive, super-public, extrovert dominated world of fake friends and insincere “likes”. But, the NYT never seems to escape from that social norm, suggesting instead the candy sweet illusion of Instagram “Stories”.

Really?

TechWite says: Try Slack
Do you want a place online where you can share photos, web links, movies, and all that other stuff but not have it smeared with ads, streams of articles and media curated by robots, comments from people you don’t know, don’t remember, or want to forget? Do you want an app where you can have a private conversation (the “DM”—Direct Message—in Twitter becomes a “Private Channel” in Slack) with someone you already know, who is already participating in this place, and where you don’t have to use email to do it? And your team only has members that you want in it. Period.

Not “The Next Big Thing”—Better!
Yea, yea, yea, everyone tells you to use Slack for business, for software development projects, to integrate your two diverse companies that now have to merge their email systems and don’t have a common platform to work on, blah, blah. Blech!! I’m suggesting you, and a small group of real friends who want to plan your next bike trip, group vacation, backpacking adventure, etc. etc., create a Slack Team. Spend a little time and effort figuring out how Slack works. Yes, there are apps for iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, and POWB (plain old web browsers). And sure, there are tons of plug-ins and commercial upgrades and corporate tie-ins, but only if you want them. This is not “The Next Big Thing”—this is the thing you want to use to communicate and stay in touch with your REAL Friends and Family. The basic version is free.

Life is short. Create a team! Have fun!
These links open in a new window:
Create your own Slack Team:  https://slack.com
Join the public SlackBITS Team run by our friends at TidBITS: http://slackbits.herokuapp.com

Tell them TechWite sent you!

BTW: No, I have no commercial, financial, or stock interest in #Slack. But I am open to the possibility!

—Peace Out

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How to Fix Persistent Apple Calendar Entries

Icon_Calendar1Meetings, appointments, reminders—if you’ve put Apple’s iCloud Calendar to good use for awhile, you probably have lots of old Calendar events, maybe years, maybe decades of old events. You are paying for that storage with your money, and for the processor overhead with your time. And…do you really want the NSA to have access to all this? You should clean it up. It’s the past. Let it go! But how?

This is Apple, so it should be easy, right? Well, yes, but friends, this is one of those rare potholes in the normally smooth road of the Apple ecosystem. Apple will help you hide your old Calendar entries, but we want to DELETE, and just locating information on deleting them requires an epic effort worthy of a Homer narrative. For you, TechWite provides the “Cliff’s Notes” shortcut to the answers:

🙈  The iCloud Ostrich Method

iCloud_hide_events

Hide old events in iCloud: Click the Gear icon for Preferences… > Advanced > Old Events. But they are still there.  We want to DELETE and in iCloud, that’s as good as it gets. On your Mac? Back when versions of OS X were named after BIG CATS, there was a similar option in Calendar > Preferences. That option is GONE.

SAre_you_sure_you_want_to_delete_this_event?top Making Sense—Warning: If you manually delete appointments ONE at a time, iCloud will try to send “updates” to all your meeting recipients. You may have hundreds or thousands of entries. Imagine the annoyed responses from old friends, lovers, family, and former work associates asking why you are cancelling a meeting in the PAST?? My advice: If you encounter this issue, and get queries, DON’T RESPOND.

Like the Labors of Hercules! The long, tedious, and frankly annoying search propelled as if by a motivational prophecy from the Delphic oracle—that this should be easier, this should be obvious, and if “The Steve” were here, this simply would not be a problem.

iCloud: Advanced Calendar and iCal troubleshooting

The most common causes for data-based issues with Calendar are:

  • Unreadable or incompatible calendar data.
  • Reoccurring calendar events that have no end date (such as birthdays).
  • Duplicate events.
  • An excess of calendar events that happened in the past (especially those that were previously synced from another calendar client).

Any of these conditions could be the cause of your issues with Calendar in OS X (or iCal) and iCloud.

Well thanks Apple! And in that most important article, Apple explains how to perform all kinds of maintenance on your Calendars, backing up, disconnecting from iCloud and other services, cleaning up, and restoring. I leave that work to you, reader.

…to delete those old entries, I provide the two answers:

  1. Delete Entries in Macintosh Calendar App: In the search bar, type “.“—a single period—and press <Return>. This will produce a search response list of ALL your entries, which you may then select (using the various select options that you know how to use, right?) and <Delete>. (This still has the issue with sending “updates” to recipients, so be careful. Otherwise, go to #2, below.)
    [BTW: Can you do this in iCloud? I can’t even find the Search Bar in iCloud. Where is it??]
  2. Use a 3rd Party Macintosh Calendar Tool: Download a more capable Calendar replacement, or a Calendar utility. These will do the work for you that Apple has abandoned. I recommend BusyCal. You can download the free trial, and use it to batch clean your calendar using their wonderful List View of calendar entries. You may like it so much that you decide to buy it. (I did!)

And there you have it.  Peace Out.—TW

 

IPad Quirky? Unstable? Manage your storage!

A former colleague, Cary, asked TechWite about her unstable iPad. TechWite responds…

Your iPad, has a limited amount of storage.  You may recall hearing that it had: 16 Gig, 64 Gig, 128 Gig (Gigabytes). Depending on what you do with it, that storage on your iPad gets used by photos, songs, movies, books, and everything else. If the iPad gets slow, undependable, crashes, or won’t install the latest iOS update, chances are the storage space (whatever it was originally) is all “filled up”. A trip to visit your local Apple Store, or Apple Dealer, or friendly, knowledgeable consultant may be in order. But first, you can try clearing out some space yourself.


“What was a lot then, is nothing now.” —Christo’s 2nd Law of Computing

What’s a Gig? A Gigabyte is a thousand Megabytes. What’s a Megabyte? In the PaleoMac days of the PC revolution BI (Before iOS), early adopters and PC enthusiasts liked to throw around numbers the way auto afficianados today talk about the doomed-wheeled-hunks-of-metal-and-plastic that will soon be replaced by autonomous cars. Those PaleoGeeks made hilarious comments like, “I upgraded my Mac to 512K RAM and bought an external 10Meg SCSI Hyperdrive.” If you’re a Facebook user, or an “elliptical” (as the media calls this new generation), you don’t care what a Megabyte is, and it doesn’t matter. So forget the details.

Just remember, as always in capitalism and technology: more is better. When you buy your next Apple device, try to get the one that has *more*. Eventually, even that won’t be enough, but for now, that’s all you need to know.


To get started, the Settings app is the place to go. Open it, and follow along…

Step 1 – Check Storage

Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage

This will take you to a panel that displays your “Used” and “Available” storage (below). There is no hard and fast rule here, but you want the “Available” number to be big. (If it is already 5 Gig or more, then storage is probably *not* what is causing your problems.) Next, let’s make more storage available by getting rid of stuff that no longer serves you.

Step 2 – Manage Storage

Tap Manage Storage…
It may take some time for your device to fill in the details of your “Storage” panel. Be patient. Eventually, you will get a list of your apps and how much storage they use—sorted from biggest data usage to smallest. You can go through all of these apps, but you are going to get the best results by working on the apps at the top of the list, which are usually Music, Videos, and Photos (below).

Step 3 – Identify and Delete Songs that no Longer Serve You
Tap Music:
You’ll get a list of all the music on your iPad, grouped by Artist, Album, and Song. You can start deleting right at this “top” level, and Delete all songs by one artist.

Tap on one Artist, and Slide to the LEFT, to reveal the “Delete” button.
Tap “Delete” to delete all the songs by that artist.

Don’t want to get rid of everything by that artist? Just want to delete one song? You can “drill down” and use the same method as above to Delete specific albums or songs. Below, we tap Artist “A.C.Newman” > Album “Shut Down the Streets” > Song “Encyclopedia of Classic Takedowns” and then Delete.

6bc6f9ff9c8c058fb88996da1e725d5a

13bc945723bc8de65619270d58ca471f

 

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Step 4 – Repeat, and Validate
Repeat this process to get rid of as much music as you want. You can then use the same process to Delete the space-eating data of other apps on your iPad. When you are done, check your storage again. (From Step 2, above):
Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage

Finally, power your iPad completely down and restart it:

  1. Hold the “Sleep/Wake” button down until the screen goes dark and you see the “Slide to Power Down” button on the screen.
  2. Slide to Power Down.
  3. After the iPad completely shuts down, wait 30 seconds, and power it back up. How? Hold down the Sleep/Wake button until the Apple logo appears.

NOW, with that extra space that you’ve saved, does your iPad behave better? If not, you could try re-installing the OS, but for most people, that means it’s probably time for a visit to your local Apple support person.

Thanks for stopping by,

—TechWite

This post was written (almost) entirely on an iPad using Evernote. Interested? Tell me.

Apple, Hogwarts of Tech, w/o Headmaster Jobs, no longer a “growth” stock??

via Looking for Signs That Apple’s Runaway Growth Is Waning – The New York Times.

Sure, Steve Jobs called the iPad a “magical device”, and if you listen to the press, Apple is the Hogwarts of Technology. Here’s the old and new evidence compiled by the Ministry of Magic:

  • “Reality Distortion Field” – The perception-bending mind trick of the late Headmaster, Steve Jobs, notorious for making Apple employees, industry pundits, the press, and anyone else who was close enough to listen, believe that something, some new product, some new idea, that wasn’t that hot, was really going to be the next big thing. 
  • “Halo Effect” – Attributed to the iPod, said to lift the sales of Apple’s other products, as if riding a broom, making even the Ron Weasley of the corporate desktop—the humble Macintosh—look good!
  • “The Apple Effect” – Now, after decades of attributing rises and falls in the whole stock market to Apple’s price, and the company’s “inability to maintain the pace of innovation“, the analysts have coined this magical influence over the stock market, the “Apple Effect”.

Do not doubt that Apple is responsible for the rise and fall of the stock market. The New York Times has a cool graphic to prove it! (See Big Data Analysis, below.) I guess if you’re Tim Cook, it’s better than being “beleaguered”.

theAppleEffectNYT

This is bad news though, because Apple stock has traded down this past week, causing the pundits and analysts to waste lots of ink (or these days, electrons) pontificating on the unlikely future of the most successful business in history. Oh, gosh, is it no longer a “growth stock”? Is it now become one of those boring old “value stocks”? This is a strategic question that must be answered! (At least for someone at Goldman Sachs.)

But does it matter to most of us? When Apple stock is selling at $100+ a share? Can Amir Average afford a few hundred shares when he is still not in the “one per cent?” Is it Growth? Or is it Value? And does it really matter?

You won’t hear this often from TechWite, but, I DON’T KNOW.

-Techwite

Overlooked and Underused: iPhone Personal Hotspot

Mac and iPhone—Best of Friends

 

MacWiFiMenu12_17_15

Tether this. On a PC, if you don’t have access to ethernet or Wi-Fi, you can “tether” your cell phone for internet access—if your phone and data plan support it, and if you can figure out the configuration. You set it up with a bunch of steps, using Bluetooth or a USB cable, Windows, and phone configuration settings, and hopefully, it works. The real “road warriors” out there know this and may use it, but for most people? Meh. Too much trouble. (I used to tether a Blackberry. Maybe it’s easier for you Windows folks now. I hope so, but it doesn’t matter to me—because I use a Mac!)

In the Apple world, we expect a little more… Think about it. You guys are “tethered” to the Internet like you’re being tied up or something. iPhones come with “Personal Hotspot” capability, and it’s another one of those overlooked and underused, convenient, “personal” features that makes me want to exclaim, “THERE! See? THAT’S why I use a Mac!!”


Sometimes I wonder if this “personal stuff” is Apple’s snarky revenge for the late-to-the-party IBM PC, that usurped the name “Personal” Computer, and then danced around with a lampshade on its head screaming, “Look at me! Look at me!” for the next 30 years, while the Mac tried to get attention by standing in the corner, being cool, and drawing pictures.


My iPhone is in my backpack. To get to the internet, I don’t have to touch it; I don’t have to see it! It appears on the Mac Wi-Fi menu as a “Personal Hotspot” choice (see screenshot). And get this, incredibly, my iPhone “Personal Hotspot” is actually “Off“. (Check this on your iPhone: Launch Settings > Personal Hotspot.) It’s “Off”, but my Mac and iPhone are pals, so my Mac puts the iPhone on the list, and even displays signal strength (Yellow Arrow) and battery level (Blue arrow). If I select “Christo’s iPhone 6” from the Mac Wi-Fi menu, the “Personal Hotspot” on the iPhone switches to “On“. The secret here is that my devices share the same iCloud account. Cool right? Will it turn it back “Off” too? Of course! After connecting, a “Disconnect from Christo’s iPhone 6” item appears on the menu. As long as I choose that, the “Personal Hotspot” turns “Off“.

Here’s an important tip: Remember to “Disconnect..” if you just close the lid on your MacBook, your iPhone continues to act like a Wi-Fi router, burning battery and cellular data like a FIEND!! So remember to Disconnect first! Why doesn’t Apple just make it turn off as soon as you shut the lid on your MacBook? They could, but remember, you might not be the only one using the Personal HotSpot!

It’s your business if you get “tethered” or get “Personal”.  I know what I like, and to TechWite, this Personal Hotspot functionality has been well thought out and sensibly integrated, end-to-end. And, as I’ve been saying for a long time, “…that’s the difference!”


Would you like to hear more? Sometime soon TechWite will write again about: “Mac and iPhone—Best of Friends”.

Apple and Ive Flat Design Assault

via Former Apple Design Gurus Criticize Apple’s Current Designs.

via “Flat Design”? Destroying Apple’s Legacy… or Saving It.

Apple-hockey-puck-mouse

Wake up, Tim! Many years ago, Apple used a great deal of research and creative thought to revolutionize, popularize, and consumerize “Personal Computing” by creating interface rules and guidelines that made most Macintosh applications work consistently, regardless if the application was written by Apple, Microsoft, or one of the hundreds of other software companies that have passed into obscurity at the hands of change and monopoly. (Remember WordPerfect? pfs:Write? ThinkTank? Aldus Pagemaker?) It wasn’t always that way.

The power of this innovation is lost today because—like so much of technology—it is taken for granted. Apple designers, most notably Jonathan Ive, have placed form far above function. The result is inconsistency in the interface, hidden interface elements, huge assumptions about users knowledge, or perseverance, or desire to explore, and the capacity of users to remember invisible elements and features.

If you struggle figuring out how to do something on your iPhone or iPad or Mac, especially something that ought to be simple and obvious, then you’ve encountered the new design philosophy. Learn more about how it ought to be – read the articles linked at the top of this article. And, heck, you could tell Apple what you think! (Maybe they’ll hear you.)

http://www.apple.com/feedback/

Happy Birthday Windows 95

I Love Working on a Macintosh.

Does that sound weird? After all these years? To me it doesn’t. But to people who have never worked on Macs—or for some reason that I cannot fathom—have worked on Macs but just not liked it, let’s face it, it sounds weird. Because even in this enlightened new millennium, most computer users use Windows, and sure, they eventually get work done, but honestly, how many Windows users love working on Windows?? Seriously? Even the geekiest of Windows Weenies, the hottest Windows programmers, the most talented of Windows technicians, how many “love” working with Windows? I’d wager, very few. Very, very few. And Mac users? When they switch, when they get their first Mac, what do they say? You’ve probably heard it too: “I love my Mac!”

This is not just hearsay or advertising. I’ve been in this business so long. For years people would tell me their sob stories about their Windows computers, their malware, viruses, their crashes, and slow downs, and on and on. As a consultant I refused work on Windows. There was plenty of work; Windows is a job-creation-machine. But to me, it was always the same nightmare, helping with the same stupid problems. It was no challenge; it was an affront to my creativity. It was “stone knives and bear skins”. Friends, relatives, and potential clients whose business I refused all got the same answer: “Why don’t you get a Mac?”

The price difference was often the reason, and that has diminished over the years, but even deeper, the answer, in the old pri-mac-evil days was pretty basic: “If I get a Mac, who will help me when I have a problem?”

And this was true. With Windows, you could have your brother, father, sister, friend, colleague at work, TOTAL STRANGER, or homeless person on the corner help. The power of ubiquitous monopoly meant that nearly everyone knew someone who could help them reboot their their Pee Cee, format the hard drive, and re-install Windows. (Which was the standard process to fix 95% of the issues with Windows – which, by the way, is why it was called “Windows 95”).

Telling people, “If you get a Mac you won’t have all those problems,” was not enough. Apple support in those days was notoriously hit-or-miss. Apple had a 90 day warranty! (I kid you not! Ninety days!!) There was no Apple Store. There were no “Geniuses”. And Apple had yet to launch a convincing and brilliant Mac vs. PC advertising campaign.

So Microsoft helped. By releasing Windows 95. Ten years after the original Mac, Microsoft embraced the interface so completely, copied the Mac OS so totally, that in the end they won over more users to Apple. “Windows 95” legitamized the Macintosh just as Apple was suffering the “Time of Darkness.”

And here again we have to acknowledge a strategic vision that moved Apple. Maybe it was Steve Jobs—he always gets the credit, for all I know it was Phil Schiller—or someone else at Apple, but they built a comprehensive strategy to address all those objections, one at a time, piece by piece.

Over time, it started happening, they all started to get Macs. For awhile I helped some of my clients move their stuff, but Apple had the tools, and the Apple Store, and the Geniuses available, and soon there wasn’t much work there, and that was okay. It was satisfying to have all these people tell me, “I finally got a Mac! You were so right! It works great!” These days, Macs have become so mainstream, so accepted, so successful, that I don’t even hear that anymore.

Being a Mac user isn’t special or unique. It’s just a good choice. You’d hardly congratulate someone for buying a Mac any more than you would congratulate someone for buying a decent car. And…most people nowadays even understand and accept the emotional attachment that people have for their Macs.

And on this important anniversary, I just want to say, thanks Microsoft. Happy Birthday Windows 95. I love working on a Mac!