//Tuesday, April 22, 2014

  Apple Releases iOS 7.1.1

Earlier this afternoon, Apple released iOS 7.1.1, a minor update to iOS 7.

iOS 7.1.1 focuses in on three areas for enhancement and updates, including additional enhancements to the iPhone 5S fingerprint sensor, a bug fix for keyboard responsiveness and corrects and issue with Bluetooth keyboards when the VoiceOver feature is enabled.

The iOS 7.1.1 update is coming in at about 16.5MB for both my iPhone 5S and iPhone 4S.  To install the latest iOS update on your iOS device, go to: Settings > General > Software Update.

To learn more about this and other Apple software updates, visit the Apple Support website.

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//Wednesday, April 09, 2014

  Rumor: High Quality iPhone 6 Screen Shot Leaks

It what is sure to drive traffic for many Apple rumor blogs today is a new high quality leaked screen shot of what is reportedly from a prototype future iPhone running iOS 8.

Since I'm still on year one of my two year Sprint contract, I'm trying not to get dragged into the hysteria the comes just before a new iPhone launch.  (And as my Dad will tell you, I keep all of my old phones, so the cost of upgrading for me is will over $700 USD.)

Still, I'm sitting here at my desk trying to imagine how much larger a future iPhone would be from my current iPhone 5S.  I'm not so concerned about height, but in terms of length and width.

My guess would be that the forehead and chin of the iPhone 5/iPhone 5S design will shrink slightly to squeeze in another row of icons; growing the icon grid to a hight of 7 from current 6.  As for the width, I can see Apple increasing the total width of the iPhone and shrinking the side bezels slightly to get the extra 0.5" to get an extra column of icons on the display; effectively growing to 5 columns from 4.

I think which ever way Apple decides to grow the iPhone, it is going to be a hit.  As more and more time goes by, I seem to be in the minority about popular phone sizes.  I'm perfectly happy with the size of my iPhone 5S.  Using one hand, I have just enough clearance with my thumb to reach the top of the screen and still hold the phone securely in my hand.

It's becoming pretty clear, that for many people around the world, the iPhone is the only computer they are going to ever own or want to use.  And for that to work better, screen sizes need to grow from their current sizes.


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//Thursday, April 03, 2014

  Apple Announces WWDC '14

Apple has announced the dates for this year's WWDC '14 will be held June 2 - 6.

This year, Apple has changed the procedure for getting tickets for the event.  This year, iOS and OS X developer who want to attend this year's WWDC, can submit their information and Apple will randomly select people to purchase tickets on April 7 at 10:00am.  Developers will be contacted by 5:00pm PDT to be informed if they were selected to purchase tickets.

While some people maybe put off by a random lottery as the way to dole out tickets to this year's WWDC, but in my opinion, this is really the only fair way to go about it.  WWDC tickets sold out well under 10 minutes laster year, locking out many developers from attending.  This year's lottery gives everyone an equal chance to attend.

Tickets to this year's event will cost $1599 and the registration and payment for developers selected for the opportunity to purchase tickets must be complete by April 14 at 5:00pm PDT.

For more information, visit the Apple WWDC '14 website.

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//Friday, March 28, 2014

  Microsoft Releases Office Apps for Apple's iPad

In a bold move yesterday, Microsoft, lead by their new CEO Satya Nadella, launched Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for the Apple iPad.

I'm not talking about watered down, half-hearted, sort-kinda Office applications, I'm talking about the real, full blown, well featured, iOS native Office applications for the iPad.  Did I mention this is Microsoft's Office on the iOS platform?!

To see Office in action on an iPad, you can watch Microsoft's introductory video.

I'm really excited about having Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on my iPad.  The apps look and feel great!  Taken together with the already released OneNote and OneDrive (formerly known as SkyDrive), Microsoft has seemingly overnight, empowered millions of iPad owning Office users around the world.

So what do you get?  Available now in the iOS App Store, users can download, free of charge, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for the iPad.  The apps are free and will enable anyone who installs them to read Office documents.  If you just happen to be an Office 365 customer, you can sign in to your account from the Office apps on your iPad and instantly have the ability to edit your documents.

You will need to have an iPad running iOS 7.0 or later and to edit documents, a Microsoft Office 365 Home subscription.

Microsoft's Office Apps for iPad are available now on the App Store, or you can use these handy download links.

Microsoft Word
Microsoft Excel
Microsoft PowerPoint

You can read more about Microsoft's Office Apps for the Apple iPad on the Microsoft blog.

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//Tuesday, March 18, 2014

  Bloop Airmail 1.3.2 Comes in for a Landing

Indie Mac developer Bloop S.R.L. has released version 1.3.2 of their email client, Airmail.

Airmail 1.3.2 packs quite a punch when you look at new features and enhancements.  In total, the new version of Airmail ships with 15 new features, 26 enhancements, and 7 bug fixes.

Airmail, as you may have already guessed, is a well designed third-party email client for virtually every email service under the sun.  Airmail has built in support for popular services such as Microsoft (formerly known as, Google Gmail, Yahoo! web mail, Apple iCloud, and IMAP and POP3 servers.

Among the new features is a new Microsoft Exchange Server engine - critical if you use your Mac at work - and integration with Omni Group's Ominifocus.

On the improvements front, Bloop has enhanced features such as unified inbox, message rendering improvements, Exchange Server auto discovery, enhancements for Kerio email servers, calendar attachments, Evernote HTML support and more.

As an email client, Airmail looks great!  The application window is broken up into three areas: Mail accounts and mailbox folder tree in the left pane, inbox message list in the center, and the message pane all the way on the right.

In my brief time playing with Airmail today, I definitely liked what I saw and Airmail could slip in to replace Apple Mail as my default desktop email client.  I'm pretty picky with my email clients.  As it turns out, I prefer Microsoft Outlook for Windows the best and use Outlook 2011:Mac on my MacBook Pro.  The bar is set high, but it's not impossible to change my mind.  With Microsoft Exchange Server support, if you don't have Office installed and you need to connect to Microsoft's email server, Airmail is a low cost alternative that has the essentials for your email needs.

Airmail is available for purchase now from the Mac App Store for the reasonable price of $1.99.  Airmail requires Mac OS X 10.7 Lion or later.

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//Monday, March 17, 2014

  Microsoft Brings OneNote to OS X

Earlier today, Microsoft released OneNote for Macintosh OS X 10.9 Mavericks.

To use OneNote, you need a free Microsoft account.  If you have a OneDrive account, formerly known as SkyDrive, or a subscription to the company's Office 365 Home Premium, you're good to go.

To install OneNote for Macintosh, you need to be running the aforementioned OS X Mavericks.  You also need 235MB of disk space.  OneDrive is compatible with OneNote 2010 and later for Windows, and the pre-existing OneNote and OneDrive for iOS devices.

OneNote for OS X with OneNote 2013 in the Background
I'm excited about OneNote coming to the Macintosh because I can see myself using it for personal digital notes.  (In the corporate environment I work in, there is virtually no one using OneNote for Windows.)

I really hope that OneNote for OS X, with it's features mirroring the Windows functionality, is a sign of things to come.  As someone who's been using Office for Windows and Mac OS X over the last 20 years, it has been really frustrating to have two products that are only the same in name only.  Hopefully, we will finally see a Microsoft that lets Office be Office, and not an expensive Windows-only add on.

According to Microsoft, OneNote is "free for a limited time," however, there is no mention of when this offer will expire.  OneNote is available now from the Mac App Store.

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//Monday, March 10, 2014

  Apple Releases iOS 7.1

Earlier today, Apple released the long awaited iOS 7.1 update.

For iOS 7 users, this is the update that we have been waiting for.  Since it's launch in September 2013, Apple has released six minor updates to address issues that have cropped up.  With iOS 7.1, Apple has taken the time to bake in a number of meaningful feature improvements.

Support for CarPlay is new in iOS 7.1 - if you happen to own a new car that takes advantage of it.  Siri has learned a new usability trick, while iPhone 5S customers will appreciate the enhancements to Touch ID.

iOS 7.1 is available for all current model iPhones, iPads, and the latest generation iPod touch.  The upgrade will weigh in somewhere around 265MB.  There is also a corresponding iOS update for the second and third generation Apple TV boxes.

To start the software installation, tap Settings > General > Software Update and then tap the Download and Install button.  Before downloading and upgrading to any new iOS update, I recommend that you perform an iCloud backup first.

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//Tuesday, March 04, 2014

  Apple CFO Oppenheimer to Retire in September
Apple today announced that Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s senior vice president and CFO, will retire at the end of September. Luca Maestri, Apple’s vice president of Finance and corporate controller, will succeed Peter as CFO reporting to Apple CEO, Tim Cook. Peter will transition the CFO role to Luca in June and the balance of his responsibilities over the remaining time allowing for a professional and seamless transition.
Classy.  Exactly what you would expect from Apple and unlike the hurky jurky mess that was the Microsoft CEO transition saga.

AppleInsider also reported on Monday that, effective immediately, Oppenheimer has joined the Board of Directors for Goldman Sachs.

Read the full press release on the Apple Press Info website.



//Wednesday, February 26, 2014

  iTunes 11.1.5 Update Now Available

A day after rolling out the Mac OS X Mavericks 10.9.2 update, Apple today released the iTunes 11.1.5 update.

A minor update for both Mac OS X and Windows PCs, iTunes 11.1.5 addresses an issue that can cause iTunes to crash unexpectedly when an iDevice is connected.

You can download the update on OS X from the Mac App Store while Windows users can get the update from the Apple Software Update utility.

The official release notes on the Apple website.

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//Tuesday, February 25, 2014

  Apple Rolls Out OS X 10.9.2 Update, Includes SSL Fix

Earlier today, Apple released the Mavericks OS X 10.9.2 update that closes the SSL security bug that was patched last week on iOS devices.

FaceTime & iMessage Learn New Tricks

With the release of Mac OS X 10.9.2 Mavericks, Apple has taught FaceTime how to make audio only calls and call waiting for video and the aforementioned audio calls.  With the 10.9.2 update, iMessages finally received a nice little update that allows you to block messages from individual senders.

General Fixes and Enhancements

In addition to fixing the "goto fail" that everyone has been worried about over the last few days, Apple also included a number of fixes and enhancements across the board.

Ever since the release of Mavericks, many customers have been unhappy with the bugs in the OS X Mail application, specifically when used with a Gmail account.  Apple continues to make those corrections in this release with six fixes directly related to Mail.

This release also brings fixes to networking features, including improved support for SMB2 shares, VPN connections, and OS X Server NetBoot services.

Lastly, there was a website compatibility update for the AutoFill feature of Safari.

Apple also gets a Smartphone Fanatics "Wait, what?!" award for including a fix for a Windows XP shared printer problem. Huh?  Windows XP is Microsoft's 13-year old desktop operating system which they have been trying to desperately trying to kill of since the release of Windows 7.  (Microsoft released Windows XP on Aug 24. 2001.  The last day for extended support for Windows XP is scheduled for Apr 8, 2014.  Windows 7 was released on Oct 22, 2009.  We won't event talk about Windows Vista.  Seriously.)

You can read the full release notes for Mac OS X 10.9.2 Mavericks and the related security fixes release notes on the Apple support website.

Mavericks 10.9.2 is a free update for anyone who is already running a previous edition of Mac OS X 10.9.  The update can be installed from the Mac App Store > Updates tab.  You will need to reboot your Mac as part of the upgrade process.  I recommend that MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro owners plug-in their notebooks before attempting the upgrade.

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//Monday, February 24, 2014

  Samsung Unveils the Galaxy S5 Smartphone
Today, at the Mobile World Congress trade show, Samsung took the wraps off of their new flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S5.

Samsung's full Galaxy S5 press release follows below.

Barcelona, Spain, February 24, 2014 - Samsung Electronics today announced the fifth generation of the Galaxy S series, the Galaxy S5, designed for what matters most to consumers. The new Galaxy S5 offers consumers a refined experience with innovation of essential features for day-to-day use.

“With the Galaxy S5, Samsung is going back to basics to focus on delivering the capabilities that matter most to our consumers,” said JK Shin, President and Head of IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung. “Consumers are looking for mobile tools that inspire and support them as they improve their everyday lives. The Galaxy S5 represents an iconic design with essential and useful features to focus on delivering the ultimate smartphone on the market today through people inspired innovation.”

The Galaxy S5 combines an advanced camera, the fast network connectivity, dedicated fitness tools and enhanced device protection features as consumers stay fit and connected in style.

Capture the moments that matter
Capturing and saving precious memories is one of the most important smartphone features today. The new Galaxy S5 offers superior camera functionality, featuring a 16 megapixel camera with an enhanced menu and user interface that allow consumers to effortlessly take, edit and share photos.

The Galaxy S5 offers the world’s fastest autofocus speed up to 0.3 seconds and the advanced High Dynamic Range (HDR), reproduce natural light and color with striking intensity at any circumstances. Also new Selective Focus feature allows users to focus on a specific area of an object while simultaneously blurring out the background. With this capability, consumers no longer need a special lens kit to create a shallow depth of field (DOF) effect.

Tap into the fastest connections
The Galaxy S5 offers the most advanced LTE experience and Wi-Fi performance available today, ensuring blazing fast data speeds for unrivaled media consumption and productivity.

The Galaxy S5 supports the fifth generation Wi-Fi 802.11ac and 2X2 MIMO, and supporting the large number of LTE frequency with LTE Category 4 standard. For consumers seeking an even faster connection, the Galaxy S5 now features Download Booster, an innovative Wi-Fi technology for boosting data speed by bonding Wi-Fi and LTE simultaneously. No matter where a consumer is, the Galaxy S5 will help ensure they have the fastest available connection.

Be more fit and active
With the enhanced S Health 3.0, the new Galaxy S5 offers more tools to help people stay fit and well. It provides a comprehensive personal fitness tracker to help users monitor and manage their behavior, along with additional tools including a pedometer, diet and exercise records, and a new, built-in heart rate monitor. Galaxy S5 users can further customize their experience with an enriched third party app ecosystem and the ability to pair with next generation Gear products for real-time fitness coaching.

Express modern, glam look
The Galaxy S5 blends iconic Samsung design with modern trends to appeal to a range of consumer tastes and interests. The Galaxy S5 features a perforated pattern on the back cover creating a modern glam look. Its new sleek, contoured shape comes in an array of vivid colors, including charcoal Black, shimmery White, electric Blue and copper Gold, to complement the style of the individual consumer.

Essential device protection
The Galaxy S5 is IP67 dust and water resistant. It also offers a Finger Scanner, providing a secure, biometric screen locking feature and a seamless and safe mobile payment experience to consumers. The Ultra Power Saving Mode turns the display to black and white, and shuts down all unnecessary features to minimize the battery consumption.

The device will be available globally through Samsung’s retail channels, e-commerce and carriers on April.

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  MacWorld Explains the Apple SSL Bug

MacWorld Magazine does a fantastic job describing the SSL security bug that was recently discovered in iOS and OS X.
"News of a serious vulnerability within Apple’s implementation of a key encryption technology has been making the rounds this weekend. Read on to find out more about what the flaw is, and how it affects you."

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  Happy Birthday, Steve

Happy birthday, Steve.  Thanks for the many wonderful gadgets.

Learn more about Steve Jobs on Wikipedia, or better yet, read Steve's biography written by Walter Isaacon.

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//Sunday, February 23, 2014

  Apple Continues SSL Security Fixes, OS X Patch Coming "Soon"

Apple is continuing their push to deploy patches for their iOS and OS X operating systems to plug a hole in the way their devices handle SSL security.

Late on Friday evening, an update appeared on my third-generation Apple TVs presumably to address the same SSL patch.  After applying the update, both of Apple TVs now show as having OS version 6.0.2 (6646.81.1) installed.

In a statement to the Reuters news agency yesterday, Apple indicated that there would also be an updated made available for desktop and laptop computers running Mac OS X software.

"We are aware of this issue," said Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller,  "and already have a software fix that will be released very soon."

The defect in the security software could allow unauthorized access to documents, email, and other personal information stored on iOS devices and Mac OS X computers.  The revelation that these publicly unscheduled software updates shows how serious the SSL software defect really is and how responsive Apple is to ensuring their customer's safety.

Apple's second and third-generation Apple TVs run a version of the company's iOS software.  As previously noted, Apple deployed over-the-air updates to iOS 7.0.6 to current model iPhone, iPad and iPod touch owners, while iPhone 3GS and iPod touch fourth-generation owners received iOS 6.1.6.

There also has been talk that these security vulnerabilities and/or weaknesses had be intentionally left in iOS and Mac OS X as a kind of "back door" for government agencies to use to snoop on American citizens.  I for one believe Apple CEO Tim Cook's statements from earlier this year when he said that Apple has not worked with U.S. government to compromise the computer security of their customers.  I think the speed at which Apple has made these patches and rolled them out to customers confirms that.

Apple's latest security patch information can be found on the Apple support website.


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//Friday, February 21, 2014

  Apple Rolls Out iOS 7.0.6 Update

Earlier today, Apple released what you might consider an "unscheduled" iOS update, iOS 7.0.6.

According to the notes provided in the summary screen, iOS 7.0.6 is a security fix for SSL connections.

It doesn't look like the release notes have been replicated around to Apple's servers because I wasn't able to find mention of iOS 7.0.6 on the referenced Apple Support page.  One can assume, however, that this update will be rolling out for current supported models of iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches.

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//Saturday, February 15, 2014

  Target Had Warning of Security Risks

A new article by The Wall Street Journal says that officials at Target were made aware of the potential security risks that lead to the November 27 - December 18 attack last year.
"Target Corp.'s computer security staff raised concerns about vulnerabilities in the retailer's payment card system at least two months before hackers stole 40 million credit and debit card numbers from its servers, people familiar with the matter said."
In Target's defense, the Journal also reports:
"The sheer volume of warnings that retailers receive makes it hard to know which to take seriously. Target has an extensive cybersecurity intelligence team, which sees numerous threats each week and could prioritize only so many issues at its monthly steering committee meetings, the former employee said."
As an IT professional, I find a report like this to be disappointing.  It's a constant battle between setting business objectives and setting priorities and "good house keeping" such as installing infrastructure and security upgrades and patches.  Sometimes those priorities get muddy.

As a Target customer who had their personal data stolen in the breach, I'm more than annoyed to learn that the situation was preventable.  It is also my opinion that most of these types of breaches are preventable with frequent software updates.

I think security breaches, both large and small, along with the ever growing data stockpile that companies are amassing about their customers is a growing concern for customers and IT departments alike.  We all know that our online habits are being tracked and that companies are collecting an amazing amount of personal data about who we are so that this information can be used to either make more money from you with targeted advertising or by selling the collected information to third-parties.

While I don't think that personal data collection will go away anytime soon, if ever, I would hope that as a society, we put new laws and limits on what businesses and clearing houses can do with the data they collect about us.

Click the source link below to read the full article online (login required).


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//Thursday, February 13, 2014

  iPhone 6 Rumors, meh

Ok, so the iPhone 5S has been out for about five months now.  It is hard to not notice the Apple rumor sites going full tilt crazy with new rumors and supposed hardware leaks.

Just in the last few days, we've seen an alleged future iPhone chassis, overall thinning due to thinner backlights, new larger sapphire displays, new front and back side cameras from Sony, and a new bezel-free design.  Throw in a healthy does of "iWatch" and AppleTV rumors and any Apple fanboy should be blown out of their iSocks.

Except I'm not.

Don't get me wrong.  I love my iPhone 5S and iPad Air and I'm planning on getting a new MacBook Air this summer.  But I'm having a hard time getting excited about these rumors.

First of all, the alleged iPhone chassis has already been debunked by eagle-eyed observers.  I"m sure there will be many more faked competent leaks between now and whenever the new phones arrive.  (And I do expect two flavors again this year.)

For me, I'm more interested in what the software is doing to do.  Apple is putting the final wraps on iOS 7.1.  All indicators are pointing to a March-ish release.  iOS 8 is, I'm sure, already under development.  While component leaks are just part of doing business these days, the software, the real heart and soul of our favorite iDevices, is what's really interesting.

Will Apple finally leverage it's massive iTunes business to process credit card transactions for things other than it's own goods?  What new delightful features will our iOS devices be able to do in 12 months?

What about the "iWatch"?  Apple has been bulking up their "wearables" team.  Whatever they have ins store, I'm sure the device or devices will be able to tell time.  I envision an Apple device to be something that might look like a Nike+ FuelBand with with all kinds of interesting sensors inside.  Oh, and a clock.

Whatever Apple is cooking up in their labs I'm sure it will be interesting, easy to use, and no doubt will delight us.  But as for the iPhone 6?  Meh.  I can wait until June, or September, or whenever Apple gets around to releasing it.

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//Friday, January 24, 2014

  Happy 30th Birthday, Macintosh

The Apple Macintosh turns 30 today!  Go check out all of the birthday fun over at

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//Sunday, January 12, 2014

  A Few Bits About Windows "Threshold"

Interesting post by Paul Thurrott about the 2015 version of Windows, currently code named "Threshold."

Windows 8.1 Service Pack/Feature Pack 1 will be about around the April 2014 timeframe this year.

During the Microsoft Build 2014 conference, also scheduled for April of this year, "Threshold" should get official as Windows 9.

Metro 2.0 should be arriving in Windows 9, allowing us to run traditional Windows desktop applications alongside Metro, aka "Modern UI", applications.

And, thankfully, the Windows Start button and menu should be back in this release.

But most interesting, or maybe not, of over the 1 billion traditional desktop and laptop PCs that are out in the wild, there are only 25 million PCs currently running either Windows 8 or Windows 8.1.  Wow.

With the return of a more traditional Windows Start button and menu, and the ability to run Metro applications in a window next to traditional PC applications, I think Microsoft will be striking the correct balance between tablet and touch-enabled PCs and the traditional keyboard and mouse PCs that are still out there.

[Via Paul Thurrott's Supersite for Windows...]

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//Saturday, January 11, 2014

  John Chen Becomes BlackBerry CEO

John Chen, BlackBerry's best chance at a come back in the smartphone arena, has been named the struggling smartphone maker's permanent CEO.

Ian Austen, writing for the New York Times Bits blog:
“After earnings, and again in meetings with media and analysts at C.E.S., John said that he would be BlackBerry’s C.E.O. until the company is back on solid financial footing,” Mr. Emery wrote. “The search for a CEO has been put on the back burner for now.”
That is some welcomed news for BlackBerry, it's investors, users, and fans.  The question of whether Mr. Chen can really pull off the turn around is still yet to be seen, however, he clearly likes a challenge and righting this ship is right up his alley.

If you might recall, another well noted tech industry was able to right his ship after becoming the "iCEO" of Apple on January 5, 2000.

[Via NY Times Bits blog...]



  Tell Google "No" to Google+ Email Integration
This week, Google started turning on by default, Google+ profile to Gmail inbox messaging - even if the Google+ user doesn't know your Gmail account email address.

No, Google, I don't want to use Google+.  No matter how badly you want me to for my personal email.

You Gmail account will be impacted by the change when you receive an email from Google stating that the feature has been turned on.
"Ever wanted to email someone you know, but haven't yet exchanged email addresses? Starting this week, when you're composing a new email, Gmail will suggest your Google+ connections as recipients, even if you haven't exchanged email addresses yet." 


To turn off the feature, log into your Gmail account.  From there, click the "gear" icon near the top right of the Gmail window.  Select the "Settings" menu item.

Scroll down the list of settings until you see "Email via Google+".

To completely turn off the feature, set it to "No one".  If you choose to leave the feature on, but with some limits, any email being sent to you via Google+ will, for now at least, appear in the "Social" tab in Gmail.

I'm sure Google will be able to meet it's goal of integrating Google+ with Gmail - they really haven't left us a chance with the opt-out setting and many people who don't read this or other great technology blogs will completely miss this change.

For me, though, this is getting to be a bit much.  Google's motto used to be "Don't be evil" and I started using Google's services back when that was clear.  Now, with Google well into their advertising business, I'm less sure "Don't be evil" gets enough air play.

If you have had enough of Google, you can switch to your email address that comes free with pretty much any iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Macintosh.  Apple's not in the business of advertising.  You can also switch to Microsoft's or Yahoo Email.  Still, if you really don't like those options, you can always switch to your ISPs, often, terrible email system or subscribe to a hosted Microsoft Exchange Server account.  (If you do that last one, you can get Exchange Active Sync - EAS back.)

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//Thursday, January 02, 2014

  Rumor: Is this the New Face of webOS?

Is this the new face of webOS as LG may have reimagined it on a smart TV?  We don't know, but according to a recent article on the WSJ Digits blog, we won't have to wait long to find out.  LG is planning to talk up their new smart TV powered by webOS plans later this month at CES 2014 in Las Vegas, NV.

[Via evleaks...]

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  Readdle Scanner Pro for iOS Free This Week

Yup, you read that right!  As part of Apple's iOS App of the Week promotion, you can snag a copy of Readdle's Scanner Pro, normally $6.99, for free this week.

Scanner Pro is one of those applications where it looks cool, but I wasn't sure if it would fit into my workflow.  Now, with Scanner Pro free this week only, I don't have to worry about paying the relatively 'expensive' $6.99 to find out.

I downloaded Scanner Pro and tested it out.  It's super simple to use. You install it, configure iCloud sync support, and then take your first scan.  It's that easy.

Once you've 'scanned' your document, you can send it on to be printed or faxed (who's still using fax anyway?) or uploaded to a WebDAV server, Dropbox, Evernote, or Google Drive.  You can also send your scanned document on as an email attachment.

If you like to use productivity apps on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, you will want to grab a copy of Readdle Scanner Pro this week!

For more details, visit the iOS App Store.


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  Net Applications: Windows XP Loses Ground, Windows 8 Gains, and Mavericks Levels Off

Earlier today web analytics firm Net Applications released PC operating system numbers.

In a nutshell, today's report keys on trends we would expect: Windows XP, first released back in 2001, is still hanging on at just below 30%.  Windows 8/8.1 are in a dead heat with Vista, with Windows 8 finally starting to gain ground and Windows 7 is still by far, the Windows desktop champ.

On the Apple front, Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks saw a huge 21% market share jump in November.  Compared to December's numbers, Mavericks looked to be standing still with a 5% increase.


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//Friday, December 27, 2013

  Seagate Central Home Media NAS Device Review

I discovered Seagate Central while looking for a seamless Macintosh and Windows home backup solution.  Once I started reading more about Seagate Central, what I realized was this little network attached box has a number of nice features for the network connected home.

Backup All of Your Stuff

My home has a mix of Mac OS X and Windows desktops and laptops, and Seagate Central makes backing both types of PCs super simple.  Macs can see Seagate Central as a Time Machine server and will work with all recent releases of Mac OS X right out of the box, making Mac backups remarkably easy.  Windows users will need to install the Seagate Dashboard software before backing up files to Central’s hard disk.

Another useful feature of Seagate Central is that it can backup the pictures and videos that you post to Facebook.  This is an incredibly useful feature as many people don’t backup their smartphones using only social media services as a means for preserving the special moments in our lives that are captured in photos and short videos.  I’m thinking about my wife and her iPhone 4 as a perfect use case here.

For as useful and easy as it is to backup your Mac or PC to Seagate Central, I do need to offer a word of caution here.  The Seagate Central is a single drive device.  This means, that is the drive in your Seagate Central becomes damaged or fails there is no backup of the backup.  The old be prepared saying goes "one is none", so if you use Seagate Central as a backup server, I would strongly recommend a second supplemental backup, such as Backblaze.


Streaming Media Server

Seagate Central is also a streaming media server that works with hardware that you probably already have in your home.  To achieve this interoperability, Seagate has baked in Digital Living Network Alliance, or DLNA, services.  This means that the DLNA can talk to your devices like a Sony PS3, Blu-ray players, Samsung TVs and many more devices.  To use Seagate Central as a media server for your connected devices, just connect everything to the same wired or wireless network (802.11n or later is recommended) and grab some hot, buttery popcorn and enjoy.

What about the Apple TV?  Unfortunately, the Apple TV does not appear to be a DLNA compatible device.  (And why should it be from Apple’s perspective? They want you to purchase and stream your content from iTunes.)  Fear not, Apple TV owners!  Seagate has you covered with their Seagate Media app, which is AirPlay friendly and allows you to redirect content streamed to your iOS over to Apple TV.  The Seagate Media app also works with Android devices.

Access and Share Your Data

A unique feature of the Seagate Central server is that you can use it remotely from your Android or iOS device with the free app from Seagate.  Once the Central server is configured and you have installed the app, then you can access your photos, videos, or documents.  Your mobile device will need to be connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot or 3G cellular service.  You can also access the content stored on the Seagate Central server from your Mac or PC using a web browser and even share the content with a private email invitation.  These features are allow you get much more utility our of the Central and effectively gives you your own sharable cloud-based storage solution.

Pricing & Availability

Seagate Central is available now and comes in a 2TB ($149.99), 3TB ($179.99) and 4TB ($219.99) models to meet your media and backup needs and budget.  Just as a price comparison, the Apple Time Capsule starts at $299.00 and does not have the streaming media features.  While your individual needs will differ from mine, the 3TB $179.99 version seams to be the best choice for all but the price conscious or those with lots of content to store.


The Seagate Central NAS server packs a lot of value in an inexpensive package.  It makes backups simple, streams media to your DLNA-compatible devices, gives you access to your data when you are on the go, provides document sharing, and works with Mac OS X, Windows, Android and iOS devices.  The one thing that I would have liked to see was a multi-drive configuration for data redundancy since Seagate Central is billed as a backup solution.


Business Storage 2-Bay NAS Features

After posting a question about RAID support in Seagate Central, Seagate Support confirmed that Central does not support a multi-disk RAID configuration.  In place of the Central, Seagate recommends their Business Storage 2-Bay NAS for people who want the peace of mind of a redundant data storage device.

For more information and purchasing options, visit the Seagate website.

[Seagate Central showroom image via]

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//Thursday, December 19, 2013

  Apple's "Misunderstood" iPhone 5s commercial shows how connecting rather than bashing rivals is the best advertisement (Video)
Apple just released a new holiday-inspired iPhone 5s commercial that uses the smartphone's features to connect on a deeper level.

Apple shows companies such as Microsoft the right way to make commercials to advertise its products and the features they're capable of.
When Microsoft began running commercials for its Surface tablets or other devices running Windows 8 and Windows RT, the company always focused on a Windows tablet competing with an iPad. The commercials always followed the same script of showing how inferior an iPad is compared to tablets powered by Windows. The company also mocked Apple's virtual assistant Siri, pointing out that the iPad was not capable of doing all of the tricks the tablet to the left was capable of. Microsoft always ended the commercials with Siri admitting defeat for not being able to do what a Surface or ASUS tablet was capable of.

Microsoft spent millions of dollars on these advertisements and thought it was a great way to educate consumers on how superior tablets running Windows 8 or Windows RT were compared to iPads. Unfortunately for Microsoft, the millions it spent has never translated into increased sales of tablets powered by its OS compared to the iPad.

Apple's latest holiday-themed iPhone 5s commercial, titled "Misunderstood," has started airing just in time for Christmas and shows other tech companies how to make an ad that connects with an audience, while also demonstrating the features of the device being advertised.
In "Misunderstood" we're given a glimpse into the Harris family's holiday activities, secretly documented by a young member of the family using an iPhone 5s. The teenage boy captures his family members doing what most families do during the holidays: baking and decorating Christmas cookies, having snowball fights with family members, going sleigh riding, building a snowman, hanging out with extended family, and decorating a Christmas tree. We see the teenage boy using his iPhone 5s, but we're never shown what he's actually doing.
When the Harris' begin to open their Christmas presents on Christmas morning, the teenager gets up and turns on the television while the whole family is in the middle of exchanging gifts. Their attention is then shifted to the TV and the Harris family and everyone watching the commercial gets to see what the boy had been doing with his iPhone 5s. He uses AirPlay to wirelessly stream his creation made completely with his iPhone 5s and the family applauds and tears are shed at what the young member was able to gift the entire family. It's not the material things they opened that made their Christmas, it's the priceless moments and emotions that were captured and relived that turned out to be the ultimate gift.

Other tech companies should take note from Apple's latest commercial. It's not the specs, price, etc., that resonates, it's what devices can do to make life better, easier, exciting, connecting, and the ability to capture and create something memorable that touches the human heart. Apple's "Misunderstood" commercial will not only make consumers understand, it should make its rivals as well.


//Thursday, November 14, 2013

  Apple Releases iOS 7.0.4, Other Software Updates
Following Tuesday's surprise iPad mini with Retina display launch, Apple released a number of updates for iOS devices, Apple TV, and iWork for iCloud.

iOS 7.0.4, iBooks and iTunes U

iOS 7.0.4 is  a minor maintenance update for all current generation iOS devices that fixes a potential issue with FaceTime calls.  The 37MB update also addresses other unspecified bug fixes and improvements.  iOS 7.0.4 is available for the iPhone 5S, 5C, 5, 4S, and 4; iPad Air, iPad 4, 3, and 2; iPad mini with Retina and iPad mini.

In addition to iOS 7.0.4, iBooks and iTunes U finally received their iOS 7 makeovers.

iOS 6.1.5 Update for 4th Generation iPod touch

What, what?!  The iPod touch 4th generation also go a little bit a love today with the release of iOS 6.1.5.  This minor update for the iPod touch which cannot be upgraded to iOS 7, received a similar FaceTime update.

Apple TV 6.0.2

Apple TV also received such a small update that there was no mention of what was fixed.  I did not notice any new channels or new features after the update was applied.

iWork for iCloud Beta Update

If all of the iOS love wasn't enough for you, iWork for iCloud received some much needed collaboration updates.  Document editors can now see who else can collaborate on a document and where their cursor is positioned inside the document.

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//Tuesday, November 12, 2013

  Surprise! Apple iPad mini with Retina Display On Sale NOW

During the October 22 keynote address, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the new iPad mini with Retina display would be available in late November.  It would seem then, that Christmas has come early this year.

The Retina iPad mini has gone on sale only at Apple's online store and is not yet available at the company's retail locations.

Supplies are clearly limited.  The Space Grey and White/Silver 16GB Wi-Fi only models are available for shipping in 1-3 days.  If you want a 64GB, 128GB, or any model with a cellular modem in it, you will be waiting 5-10 business days to get your new iPad.

If you are planing on getting one of the new iPad mini with Retina tablets for someone on your Christmas shopping list or for yourself, I would strongly suggest that you click the "Buy Now" soon.

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//Tuesday, November 05, 2013

  WD Investigating Data Loss Issue with OS X 10.9: Mavericks

Over the weekend, hard drive manufacture Western Digital, sent out an email advisory to some customers alerting them to a data loss problem according to ZDNet.

Western Digital is "urgently investigating" customer reports "and examining a possible connection with its own software, notably the WD Drive Manager, WD Raid Manager and WD SmartWare software applications."

Western Digital customers using these applications on their Macs running Mavericks are urged to uninstall the suspect applications to mitigate the risk of data loss.

Read the full story on

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  BlackBerry Lives to Fight Another Day, Gets New Leadership

BlackBerry, the Canadian smartphone maker and services company, received an 11th hour save yesterday.

In a sweeping move, the company announced that Mr. Thorsten Heins has stepped down as CEO and has given up his seat on the board.  At the same time, Blackberry announced that the company was no longer for sale, and that it had entered into an agreement with Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, one of the companies looking to take BlackBerry private, would invest $1 billion dollars into the company.

In what is sure to set Crackberry users into a tailspin was the announcement that BlackBerry will continue to build BlackBerry 10 smartphones and not sell off that part of the business.

BlackBerry also announced that Mr. Prem Watsa, Chairman and CEO of Fairfax, would become a new board member and that Mr. John Chen would be brought on as the new chairmen of the board and interim CEO.
"[...]John S. Chen will be appointed Executive Chair of BlackBerry’s Board of Directors and, in that role, will be responsible for the strategic direction, strategic relationships and organizational goals of BlackBerry.  Prem Watsa, Chairman and CEO of Fairfax, will be appointed Lead Director and Chair of the Compensation, Nomination and Governance Committee and Thorsten Heins and David Kerr intend to resign from the Board at closing."
In addition, Mr. Heins will step down as Chief Executive Officer at closing and Mr. Chen will serve as Interim Chief Executive Officer pending completion of a search for a new Chief Executive Officer."

With all the churn with the BlackBerry leadership, board member Barbara Stymiest was tapped to announced the shake up.
“Today’s announcement represents a significant vote of confidence in BlackBerry and its future by this group of preeminent, long-term investors,” said Barbara Stymiest, Chair of BlackBerry’s Board.  “The BlackBerry Board conducted a thorough review of strategic alternatives and pursued the course of action that it concluded is in the best interests of BlackBerry and its constituents, including its shareholders.  This financing provides an immediate cash injection on terms favorable to BlackBerry, enhancing our substantial cash position.   Some of the most important customers in the world rely on BlackBerry and we are implementing the changes necessary to strengthen the company and ensure we remain a strong and innovative partner for their needs.”
“I am pleased to join a company with as much potential as BlackBerry,” said Mr. Chen. “BlackBerry is an iconic brand with enormous potential – but it’s going to take time, discipline and tough decisions to reclaim our success.  I look forward to leading BlackBerry in its turnaround and business model transformation for the benefit of all of its constituencies, including its customers, shareholders and employees.”
Mr. Chen is no stranger to corporate turn arounds.  The last time we saw him, he was CEO of Sybase, Inc, a database and corporate software company.  When Sybase was purchased by SAP AG, in 2010, the company sold for $5.25 billion.

In the interest of full disclosure, I earned my Sybase ASE and Rep Server merit badges as a DBA in the early 2000's and I though that Mr. Chen, hearing him speak at two of the Sybase's annual user conferences, did a good job of turning Sybase around leading up to it's sale to SAP.  I'm interested in seeing what he can accomplish with BlackBerry.

You can read the full press release on the BlackBerry website.

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  Apple Updates Remote, AirPort Apps

Yesterday afternoon, Apple released updates to their Remote and AirPort Utility apps.

Evident from the app descriptions, the AirPort Utility did not receive an iOS 7-like remake.  It still looks like it's older iOS 6 version of the add.  The jump to 64-bit native code should make the app run smoothly on the new iPhone 5S, iPad Air, and the soon to be released, iPad mini with Retina Display.

The Remote app, received a complete iOS 7 design make over.  While the functionality of the software does not appear to have changed, the UI has.  Remote now has the Help screen overlay that flies in when you tap the help question mark icon located at the top right of the screen.  The Menu button now appears a circle icon with a text label "Menu" at the bottom center of the screen, with additional playback controls on either side.  The large "track pad" area still dominates the majority of the screen, however, now appears as a frosted pane allowing you to "see" your wallpaper in typical iOS 7 blurred effect fashion.

Both applications are available in the iTunes App Store for free.

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//Sunday, November 03, 2013

  iPad Air Unboxing Photos
Here are some photos from my iPad Air unboxing and comparison with my iPad third-generation.

My iPad Air arrives home from the Apple Store

iPad Air and the beige Smart Case

iPad Air in it's box

Boom! It's and i

Behind the iPad Air are the accessories
iPad Air's accessories

The inside of the iPad Air Smart Cover

iPad Air with Smart Case vs iPad 3 with Smart Cover

iPad Air on top of the iPad 3 (face up)

iPad Air on top of the iPad 3 (face down)

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