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Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Editor Voices his opinion on the Apple Watch and MacBook versus the corporate Dell desktop

Every Dog has their day, every blogger has their say.

I haven’t published an opinion piece in some time. I decided to wait before saying much about the MacBook and the Apple Watch. 

I should state that I haven’t held or used either device. Well, that didn’t stop lots of other bloggers from an opinion. So here goes mine.

People, these devices are the first generation! Expect bugs in the firmware and the hardware upon cold-eyed inspection. I didn’t buy the first generation iPhone and iPad, but waited until Apple worked out the kinks and introduced new features.

These devices blur the line between fashion and utility. Anyone who can afford an Apple Watch right now probably wants it to show off to their friends and enemies at Coachella or other fashionable venues. I would expect a substantial portion of the market for Apple Watches to have to decide whether to wear the Apple Watch or the Tag Heuer or the Rolex. If you want to go scuba diving, pick the Rolex over the Apple Watch.

As for the MacBook, it’s the new super-skinny notebook. It’ll take some time before it finds its niche in the Apple ecosystem. Given the choice and depth of your pockets, do you go with the MacBook Air, the MacBook, or the MacBook Pro? 

I won’t dump my MacBook Air. I figure I still have several years of life left in it. I could wish for a higher resolution screen than 1366 x 768 in my 11” model. Lots of people, though, still get professional work done with the 11” model. I also like the fact that it comes with two USB 3.0 ports that fit my portable USB 3.0 hard drives and all the stuff I bought with USB 1.1/2.0 plugs.

If I may venture an opinion, super-skinny notebooks with only 1 or 2 USB 3.1 ports won’t make sense until wireless docking between these notebooks and their peripherals becomes mundane. Wireless connectivity between notebooks and All-in-one printers & scanners is commonplace. Keyboards and pointing devices use Bluetooth. Now comes video’s turn. 

You need a wired connection to achieve full-motion video display. A wireless video display, such as between an iPad and a notebook, only works for text and still pictures. Music videos exhibit artifacts when viewed on a state-of-the art wireless display. 

Mass storage will present the final frontier in wireless connectivity. You can back up your notebook to a wireless hard drive if you don’t mind waiting for backup to start after you go to bed. You can stream music or a video from a wireless hard drive, too. 

Booting a large app such as Microsoft Office from a wireless hard drive is a non-starter for now. A possible interim solution, of course, is to keep the apps on your local hard drive and access the data from another hard drive. M. Christopher Stevens of Otherworld Computing wrote a procedure for using an external hard drive with either a local SATA connection or an external USB/Firewire/Thunderbolt connection for hosting your data. 

To return to the original topic, a lot of people will buy the Apple Watch and the MacBook as fashion statements as much as for their value as portable computing devices. Dell may hold the corporate market, where your Dell desktop or laptop makes the same fashion statement as your company coffee mug or polo shirt. 


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up

Apple just unveiled a ton of new Apple Watch Sport band colors

Jony Ive revealed a new series of Apple Watch Sport band colors at Milan Design Week.

While Apple is not currently launching the Apple Watch in Italy, Milan's influence as a harbinger of fashion makes it an important city for Apple to show off the new device.

The iPhone 6 Plus is my favorite computer

Within a few weeks, I realized my iPhone 6 Plus had replaced my iPad Mini.

I originally bought the iPad Mini in 2013 because I was sick of my tiny iPhone 5. I wanted a bigger screen to get stuff done and consume content like Netflix and articles I saved to Pocket. But I also wanted to do all that through iOS, which I think is a much better ecosystem than Android. The iPad Mini was the best choice for me. It was small enough to carry easily to meetings and interviews, but still gave me plenty of room to consume content. In fact, I found myself using my iPad more than my iPhone many days.

I sold my iPad Mini about a month after I got the 6 Plus. The perfect combination for me has turned out to be the iPhone 6 Plus and MacBook Air.

The 15 Apple Watch apps you need to download first, according to Apple

The 10 best iPhone apps you can get for a discount right now

Apple posted three Guided Tours for Apple Watch, showing off Apple Pay, Activity and Workout functionality.

With Apple Pay, Activity and Workout videos now live, the Guided Tours section of Apple's dedicated Apple Watch mini-site is now complete.

It's Apple Watch day.  We here at Engadget have put together a list of third-party apps that stand out from the 3,000-plus expected to be available at launch.

The 23 top Apple Watch apps you should get

The Apple Watch Battery is Designed to Last 1000 Complete Charge Cycles

Some interesting warranty and service info here.

Apple Watch 'not designed for the long haul,' says iFixit

Planned obsolescence -- the idea that a product will eventually be obsolete, forcing customers who want to keep using it to buy a new model -- has long been part of Apple's strategy.

By not making Apple Watch upgradable, customers will need to buy new models eventually to keep up with the times, iFixit argues.

Then again, it's hard to imagine too many customers actually looking to upgrade Apple Watch or any other smartwatch, for that matter.


Experts Tear Down The Apple Watch To Examine Its Components

While iOS devices may generally suffer less from malware than competing smartphone platforms ... researchers demonstrated a flaw that allows a maliciously configured Wi-Fi access point to crash an iPhone--without the phone even joining that network.

With a specially crafted cryptographic certificate, a bug could be triggered which causes the iPhone to crash whenever an app attempts an encrypted web connection--something that many apps do in order to maintain security.

In certain circumstances, Amit and his team were able to cause an iPhone to go into an endless cycle of reboots, rendering it essentially unusable.,2817,2482346,00.asp

The Apple Watch is already wiping the floor with the entire smart watch market

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo estimates that Apple's debut smartwatch has sold more than 2.3 million units since preorders opened, MacRumors reports.

Ming-Chi Kuo has a good track record on Apple: He was spot on with his predictions about the iPhone 5S, for example.

If Kuo's figures are correct, Apple has — in a stroke — cornered the entire smartwatch market.

How Steve Jobs became the greatest businessman the world has ever known

My favorite five tech trends that will revolutionize the world

The app revolution I started predicting eight years ago when the Apple iPhone first hit is very real. The biggest stock-market bubble of all time that I positioned my portfolio and my subscribers for is building right on schedule. Apple's about to hit the $1 trillion price target that I first put on it five years ago. 

And now I've got five new predictions for you, each of which is about to change the world we live in:

1)  the Wearables Revolution
2)  Google's Android
3)  Big Data
4)  Content is king
5)  The Trillion Dollar Social and Messaging Revolutions

How to Combine Multiple Internet Connections Into One Super Fast Pipe

Here’s how to do it, with a tool called Speedify.  Speedify is a combination software load balancer and VPN from Connectify.  While it’s not designed for security or privacy, it does some smart traffic shaping upstream at Speedify’s servers, so your traffic is automatically sent to the connection best suited for it.

Since it’s both software and a service, pricing is subscription based.

It’s available for both OS X and Windows.

if you’re security-conscious at all—or if you’re performing sensitive work of any kind—you may want to use a VPN with more of a focus on security than speed.

Twitter now allows anyone to privately message each other

Watch seniors try Snapchat for the first time

Some of their comments (in the video) are really good.

How to see everything you've ever Googled

These histories aren't 100-per cent comprehensive: They only include searches you've made while signed in on your Google account (Admittedly, if you have Gmail, this is probably more or less most of the time).

Carnegie Mellon Computer Challenges World's Best Poker Players At Texas Hold 'Em

How a robot can offer sound financial advice

We asked 4 robo advisers and 4 human advisers for portfolios for the same investor

The robot recommended portfolios look surprisingly interesting.

Bitcoin's Problem With Women

The lack of women in Bitcoin isn't just an issue of equality. It's a fundamental weakness of the currency itself. As long as the Bitcoin community is dominated by men geeking out about the blockchain, it's never going to be able to make the human connections that are required for widespread adoption.

So long as Bitcoin remains an overwhelmingly male domain, it's going to continue to concentrate on the economic problems, while missing the big social problems. Which means that it's going to continue going nowhere.

Reader comment:
The issue of the Bitcoin community and developers having no human perspective is an interesting one. So is the issue of the Bitcoin community having no women.
But to conflate those two issues so completely is problematic to me. It's based on the assumption that all women are non-technocrats, and that no men have a human/real-world perspective.

Reader comment:
Not atypical of the weak points in tech development (excessive focus on the whizbang rather the practical non-Nerd usages).

House Passes Cybersecurity Bills Despite Privacy Fears

"'Information sharing' is a misnomer," said Gabriel Rottman, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union.

"Really, what we're talking about is creating new exceptions to existing privacy law," he told the E-Commerce Times.

An Internet primer for healthy web habits

(Or, "How I learned to start worrying and start protecting my online privacy")

Nobody gives a damn about privacy and security, except BlackBerry.  That's a fact folks.  Apple claims they're not "focused" on using your data for advertising purposes, but they then force all the data through their systems for things like iMessage.  And by the way, that's neither seamless or painless either; I just watched someone with an iPhone lose all of the MMS images in their device, permanently.  It is apparently a relatively common bug to run into in iMessage and if it bites you then you're just plain screwed.

As for Google and Android they don't try to hide their intent at all.  Google wants your data, as much of it as it can get, for the purpose of selling advertising.  That's their business model, for good or bad, and when you use an Android device that's what you're giving to them.

A professional hacker explains how he dupes people into clicking on malicious links

Unlike criminals sending emails about winning a million dollars from Nigeria, sophisticated hackers spend time learning what they can about their target in order to craft an email — and a persona — that will look authentic enough for the victim to trust.

Use Linkedin, Facebook and other social media to find victims, for example those who work for a particular employer.

Use what you find out about each potential victim to craft a malicious E-mail that they will trust.

Automakers to gearheads: Stop repairing cars

Car Companies Say Home Repairs Are 'Legally Problematic,' Seek Copyright Restrictions

Automakers are supporting provisions in copyright law that could prohibit home mechanics and car enthusiasts from repairing and modifying their own vehicles.

In comments filed with a federal agency that will determine whether tinkering with a car constitutes a copyright violation, OEMs and their main lobbying organization say cars have become too complex and dangerous for consumers and third parties to handle.

The dispute arises from a section of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that no one thought could apply to vehicles when it was signed into law in 1998. But now, in an era where cars are rolling computing platforms, the U.S. Copyright Office is examining whether provisions of the law that protect intellectual property should prohibit people from modifying and tuning their cars.

The EFF thinks the industry's desire to block exemptions has more to do with profits than safety.

Jennifer Dukarski, an intellectual property and technology attorney from Michigan firm Butzel Long, said there's an additional reason automakers are getting more aggressive in the copyright realm. Court rulings in recent years have eroded their patent protections, so they're searching for alternate ways to protect investments in research and development.

Reader Comment:
Are you kidding me? That's the most un-American thing I've heard. To not be able to repair and modify and work on your cars that you purchase is outrageous. The fact that this idea has even garnered momentum is deeply disturbing.

Reader Comment:
Actually this is a very typical thing for modern America.  The United States is run by an oligarchy of big corporations and big banks that tell the government what to do.  It's only the land of the free if you're a politician or a corporate executive. The rest of us live in a police state.

25 Years of the Hubble Space Telescope: A Story of Redemption

"Even the most optimistic person to whom you could have spoken back in 1990 couldn't have predicted the degree to which Hubble would rewrite our astrophysics and planetary science textbooks," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said.

after the telescope's launch, the scientific team realized the images they were receiving were blurry. It turned out that the telescope's mirror was ground ever so slightly to the wrong thickness. (The flaw arose because of a mistake with the testing equipment used during the mirror's construction.)

In 1993, the first Hubble servicing mission installed hardware that could adjust for the flaw in the mirror, and the telescope quickly blossomed to its full potential.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrapup

Kids settle the debate and tell us which is better: an Apple or Samsung phone

Too Embarrassed to Ask: Early Apple Watch Questions

15 tiny design features that show Apple's insane attention to detail

Apple Watch reviews roundup

AW comment:  Good roundup.  My previous roundup missed all but one of these reviews.

The 7 safest apps to send private and secure messages

Apple has spent years working on a type of product that Steve Jobs famously hated

Apple has been granted a patent application for a stylus

Android is stalled, and the iPhone is going to take market share from it in a way that we haven't seen before

Apple is about to become a serious taker of market share — to Android's misfortune.

Samsung is dedicating a team of 200 employees to making screens for Apple products

Apple just bought 36,000 acres of private forestland

Basically, this is a considered use of Apple’s excess cash to shore up supply. It’s purchasing forests to save half as many trees as it’s cutting down each year.

The long-term plan is to become 100% sustainable. When that might happen the company is not prepared to say. But at least it’s trying.

What the first homepage looked like

Automator Actions Make Apple's Photos Way More Useful

Apple, ex-cons and second chances

I believe image-conscious Apple Computer’s hastily retracted announcement on an outright ban forbidding workers with felony convictions from working on the construction of its massive new 2.8 million-square-foot Cupertino headquarters building does not go far enough.

Apple’s flawed policy does two things: It disenfranchises a segment of society from earning an honest living; and, it will drive up crime rates by pushing people back into criminal behavior just to survive.

As an inmate at San Quentin State Prison who will be paroling soon to rebuild my life, my question to Apple is: What do you suppose people with a felony conviction do to earn a living?

For years, I, like many of the men here at San Quentin, have been preparing to re-enter society. I’ve earned a college degree, taken many offender rehabilitation programs, and will graduate this week from a first-of-its-kind program in computer coding skills. Yet, to Apple, none of this matters.

One of the quietest revolutions has been the Messaging Revolution, which has literally created hundreds of billions of dollars in value for early investors in it and is still just getting started.

Messaging and live streaming through apps on your smartphone, wearables and other devices will be the next to explode in valuation, and you'll see companies like Snapchat come public in the next year or two.

the best example of the Messaging Revolution is Snapchat.

I'll try to help you find the best [messaging revolution companies] to invest in. For now, stick with Facebook and Twitter.

LinkedIn is positioning itself as the Facebook for professionals

And with LinkedIn's recent purchase of Pulse, a mobile news reading application that claims 30 million users, and last week's launch of a redesigned iPhone application that focuses on personalized news, the company has signaled that it's serious about engaging users with content.

Pulse, which began as a mobile app in 2010, aggregates content from more than 750 publishers and presents it in a tiled display on iOS and Android devices as well as on the Web.

AT&T sues to overturn FCC's net neutrality rules

'Human hacking' scams and how to avoid them

the most powerful way hackers can access private information:  "social engineering" or, as some call it, "human hacking".

Social Media -- hackers love finding info on people -- better to trick them with
Fake E-mails to look like they are from banks or government

Five tips to stay protected

As many as 5,000 hackers worldwide could be capable of committing Sony Pictures-style attacks on companies, a security expert told CBS News on "60 Minutes" Sunday.

How long does it take to hack a company?

In 60% of cases, attackers are able to compromise an organization within minutes, according to a Verizon report.

US cops pay Bitcoin ransom to end office hostage drama

Blundering cops in Maine, US, have enriched malware masterminds by paying up to decrypt files held hostage by ransomware.

Four city police departments and a sheriff's office in Lincoln County share a common computer network run by Burgess Computer, which hosts the plods' administrative files.

Then one day the entire system was encrypted by the Megacode ransomware, which scrambles documents and demands Bitcoins to decrypt them.

in this case the backup system hadn't worked properly, so the cops had no choice but to pony up the digital cash.

The problem with ransomware is getting much worse.  Malware writers found that it's easier to get paid a ransom rather than have to go through all the tricky business of identity theft.

Megacode ransom paid to decrypt server shared by 5 law enforcement departments in Maine

Although $300 is a relatively low ransom when it comes to cryptoware, it's not very encouraging that a sheriff's take-away is to immediately pay internet extortion the next time.

Disney just released a new 'Star Wars: Episode VII' trailer

The first trailer for this year's 'Star Wars' game is gorgeous

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Roundup

Big, beautiful photos of all 22 models of the Apple Watch

David Pogue reviews the Apple Watch

The Apple Watch: Half Computer, Half Jewelry, Mostly Magical

The Apple watch is many things. It’s a timepiece, a fitness tracker, and a compact billboard for incoming messages, mail, and phone calls. If you have the right credit card and you’re at the right kind of shop, you can pay for things by waving your wrist with it. It runs very, very tiny apps and games.

And, of course, it sells iPhones. You can’t use an Apple Watch without an iPhone, just as you can’t use an Android Wear smartwatch without an Android phone.

Once you get to know the watch, you realize that Apple carefully observed its rivals’ failures and adjusted its product accordingly. 

instead of vibrating like a phone, the Apple Watch taps. When it wants your attention — an alarm, an incoming text or call — it actuallytaps you on the wrist. It’s the wildest, strangest thing. It’s subtle but unmissable.

Apple is right about one thing: You’ll have to charge this thing every night.

This is not, of course, entirely Apple’s problem; no full-color smartwatch lasts more than a day.

The Apple Watch is light-years better than any of the feeble, clunky efforts that have come before it.

You don’t need one. Nobody needs a smart watch.

the Apple Watch is, above all, a satisfying indulgence. It’s a luxury.

Apple Watch Review: Bliss, but Only After a Steep Learning Curve

It took three days — three long, often confusing and frustrating days — for me to fall for theApple Watch. But once I fell, I fell hard.

It was only on Day 4 that I began appreciating the ways in which the elegant $650 computer on my wrist was more than just another screen. By notifying me of digital events as soon as they happened, and letting me act on them instantly, without having to fumble for my phone, the Watch became something like a natural extension of my body

unlike previous breakthrough Apple products, the Watch’s software requires a learning curve that may deter some people.

If on-body messaging systems become more pervasive, wearable devices can become more than a mere flashy accessory to the phone. The Apple Watch could usher in a transformation of social norms just as profound as those we saw with its brother, the smartphone — except, amazingly, in reverse.

What’s most thrilling about the Apple Watch, unlike other smartwatches I’ve tried, is the way it invests a user with a general sense of empowerment.

Dear Diary: My Week Wearing an Apple Watch

The Apple Watch also has another, hidden benefit: It is far less immersive than a phone. There just isn’t that much to do on such a tiny screen, so you rarely feel yourself getting sucked in and lost.  (Consider this: The Apple Watch has no web browser).

that, to me, is the biggest difference between this device and a phone. The watch, for now, is all business, aimed solely at improving your productivity. For some users, that alone might be worth several hundred dollars.

Apple Watch sells out, but not because of strong demand

It was actually limited supply.

What it was like inside Apple's flagship store when the Apple Watch launched

The truth about the Apple Watch

The initial demand for the Apple Watch isn't terribly surprising. Apple's built-in fan base, combined with the company's earned reputation for excellence, guarantees an initial surge of sales.

But after the initial wave of sales, what happens to the watch? Is it the next Newton, or the next iPad for Apple?

The first wave of watch reviews were mixed.

The Apple Watch reviews are (quietly) brutal

once you start getting into the details of what the reviewers say, it's clear: the reviews are brutal.

The Apple Watch is a misunderstood bridge to the future

All in all, it seems like reviewers were confused.

But this could be because the reviewers — and probably the people making apps for the watch, and maybe even Apple itself — are still stuck in the current mindset of how we use computers. Call it the smartphone mindset.

look ahead a couple iterations and think of it this way:

• You walk up to doors — your house, your car, your office, your hotel room — and they automatically unlock.
• You get out of bed and the coffee machine automatically turns on. The lights turn on as you walk around the house.
• Your heartbeat gets irregular or stops for more than a second or two and the watch automatically calls your doctor, an ambulance, and your emergency contact. 

Love it or hate it, this is where personal technology is going.

I’ve been using a smartwatch for months, and the Apple Watch makes mine look like garbage

I think it's worth noting that many reviewers criticisms are criticisms of wearables generally. This is a new way to communicate that lives with you, and it takes getting used to.

The best thing about owning a smartwatch is counterintuitive. You add an extra device to your daily life to make gadgets take up less of your time in general. I choose what notifications I see, I take them in easily, and make a decision of how to react sooner.

Based on what I've learned using my Samsung watch, I can tell the Apple Watch needs to get on people's wrists in order for them to see the real benefit of owning a wearable. I can see it becoming an irresistible device for anyone with an iPhone.

The Apple Watch has a unique signalling ability that will ensure it is a massive success

Apple Watch will be huge, for one obvious reason. Apple has once again launched a product that markets itself through product signaling.A huge part of getting people to buy a new product is to have the product advertise itself by repeatedly signalling its presence to others until it feels like "everyone" around you has one of these things except you.

The genius of all this is that while the Apple Watch is signalling itself and advertising itself all over the world, it will be dragging iPhone sales behind it.

the iPhone has stopped signalling its presence. Everyone has a smartphone now. The iPhone isn't that distinctive anymore.

11 surprises I learned about the Apple Watch

Why people will inevitably buy the $17,000 Apple Watch even though it's barely different from the $350 version

Luxury feels good.  It makes you feel special.  It lets you "show off" how rich you are.

The trickiest questions Apple will ask in a job interview

Diagnosing a Syncing Problem With iTunes

Google's Plan to Keep You On-Line All the Time

Google's business only works when people are online. It doesn't care how you get there.

Last month, the company revealed that it will soon offer its own wireless service.

Google wants to move you automatically from its network to whatever offers the best internet on-ramp wherever you happen to be.

.to travel across the US, the UK, Italy, Hong Hong, and Sri Lanka while paying the same fees for calls, text, and data-an attractive option for anyone who's ever carried a phone overseas (vs. phone company "Roaming fees in Europe and Asia can kill you," says Richard Doherty, an analyst with New York-based research firm Envisioneering).

Leaving Facebook for a couple of months made me realize how you can't escape it

This past winter, I stopped using Facebook for a couple of months.

It's really hard to not be on Facebook.

I used to really like Facebook.

I just realized I wasn't enjoying it anymore, and so I started checking it less until I stopped looking at it at all.

Once I realized I wasn't really looking at Facebook anymore, I challenged myself to see how long I could go.

But it's hard not to be on Facebook.

On Facebook, you're at the center of a network of friends, and friends' friends, and friends' friends' friends. On Twitter, you're just another user.

And so it's with mixed feelings that I report that for better or for worse, Facebook is the glue that's holding large portions of the web together, whether we want it to or not.

Microsoft at 40: How the company has changed, and stayed the same

The company's original goal was, "A computer on every desk and in every home, running Microsoft software."

7 easy ways to avoid being hacked

One of them is "Be wary of the Cloud".

Here's a good rule of thumb — if you don’t want people to access your information, don’t share it. This includes cloud storage. No matter how secure a platform says it is, you ought to keep in mind that you’re giving it to someone else to watch over.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Spring-Cleaning Checklist with Murchison-Hume

Spring-Cleaning Checklist with Murchison-Hume: ""



Okay, my fellow nerds, spring is here and we need to clean our places. Here’s an article to motivate you to do so.


Tom Briant

Editor and Meganerd, MacValley Blog

Top 5 OS X Maintenance Tips to Keep You Running Smoothly

Top 5 OS X Maintenance Tips to Keep You Running Smoothly: ""



I don’t care if you “know this stuff”. Do you apply it?


Tom Briant

How to Use Multiple Desktops in Mac OS X

How to Use Multiple Desktops in Mac OS X: ""


An excellent explanation on how to use multiple desktops (called “spaces” in OS X). 

This feature has been around since Leopard! Make use of it! 


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog





Friday, April 10, 2015

Eighth Grader Charged With Felony for Changing Teacher's Desktop

Eighth Grader Charged With Felony for Changing Teacher's Desktop: ""



Florida is for lunatics.


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 is out and Macworld has advice for refreshing older Macs with an external SSD

Apple released 10.10.3 today. The main feature is the Photos app, which replaces iPhoto and Aperture. A wider cast of emojis also joins 10.10.3


iPhoto is not gone from my Mac, but I presume any future updates are just maintenance at best. 


Glenn Fleishman writes over at Macworld about updating an mid-2011 Mac Mini (just like mine!) with an external SSD from Otherworld Computing. Glenn went with Otherworld Computing’s SSD because it works with both USB 3.0 and Firewire 800. Other external SSDs, like the heavily promoted Samsung unit, only work with USB 3.0. 

 Fire800 is backwards compatible with Firewire 400 with the right cable. USB 3.0 is backwards compatible with USB 2.0, but you might find USB 2.0 too slow to use as a boot drive. 

Glenn writes that he decided against dismantling his Mac Mini to install an SSD. I recently installed a second hard drive in my mid-2011 Mac Mini. Glenn is correct in observing that you have to dismantle the Mini down to the chassis level in order to install a second drive. I didn’t find it that difficult and did it in 45 minutes. I ordered a Data Doubler kit from OWC to help. I couldn’t have done it without it. The tools and the illustrated instructions made it doable. 

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog





Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Windows 10 Technical Preview and my impressions

I installed Windows 10 Technical Preview on my modified Windows 7 machine.

I bought the Windows 7 Machine in 2010 from Costco. It came with a Pentium Pro dual-core processor, 4 Gb of DDR2 RAM, and a 1 TB SATA hard drive. I modified it by adding three recycled hard drives to it, one PATA and two SATA. I run Windows 10 Technical Preview on a 300 GB SATA drive that I installed after removing it from an old Windows XP machine. I also installed a Nvidia-based video card and a USB 3.0 board.

This computer lacks any special UEFI boot features that I know of. I know that Microsoft has stated that if a computer runs Windows 7, it should run Windows 10 Technical Preview. I had my doubts. Would Windows run from other than the C:> drive? Would I have to screw around with the BIOS to get it to run?

So I downloaded the latest .iso file from Microsoft onto my Mac Mini and burned it to a 4.7 Gb DVD-R. 

Installing the preview onto my modded Windows/Linux machine did hit a few snags. 

When I wanted to install the preview onto that 300 GB hard drive, I ran up against the problem that Windows won’t overwrite a Linux installation. Having installed several Linux distros based on Ubuntu and Debian with no problems-they just reformatted the drive with no concern over the previous format-Window’s refusal to simply overwrite took me aback.

After some trial and error, I found the answer in deleting the old Linux partitions and then reformatting the drive in Windows NTFS format. Problem solved.

As for screwing around with the BIOS, you don’t need to do it. You don’t need to reset the boot device order. Of course, I’m using the old school style DVD installation disks instead of a USB flash drive. 

So now I had a second Windows drive. How to differentiate between them? What about booting up those other two Linux partitions?

Windows has a very slick looking boot loader. It let me choose between Windows 10 Technical Preview and Windows 7. 

Now what about my Linux installations on those other two drives? I found the answer at I bow down before the Geek. He referred me to Neosmart Technologies and their EasyBCD program for modifying the Windows BCD boot loader. 


EasyBCD 4 7 2015

I just picked the easy options and set up the NeoSmart Linux option. With this option, you leave the BCD boot loader for just Windows and go to GRUB2 for Linux and compatible versions of  Windows.  Perhaps I’ll incorporate Linux directly into BCD at some point. Right now, I just need something that works.

About EasyBCD, it comes in two flavors. The fully paid flavor costs $29.95 and comes with lots of support. They also offer a donation ware option which isn’t at the cutting edge and doesn’t offer paid support. I paid $5 via Paypal and went for the donation ware option. Thanks, NeoSmart. The $5 was well worth it.

So now I have a functional Windows 10 Technical Preview on my 5 year old Pentium Pro machine. It has not crashed on me in over 12 hours of running. 

One final item. If you install the Preview, you get one piece of desktop wallpaper. It is a cute rodent. Whereas older version of OS X had the big cats, maybe Windows 10 will go for cuddly little animals?


Screenshot  2



Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog












Monday, April 6, 2015

Relive the 1990's World Wide Web | The Open University

Relive the 1990's World Wide Web | The Open University: ""



See an animated GIF of what Apple’s Web site looked like in 1998. The original iMac had just come on the market. 


Below Apple, you can see other early corporate Web sites. Intel, Boeing, Xerox, and HP. 


And no, I haven’t featured any individual Web sites because I never want to see another one of those awful Geocities sites again!


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog


Sunday, April 5, 2015

iPad turns 5: What Apple's tablet has meant to us | Macworld

iPad turns 5: What Apple's tablet has meant to us | Macworld: ""



I didn’t purchase the first generation iPad because it lacked a camera and the second generation iPad because it didn’t come in Retina resolution like the iPhone.

When the third generation iPad came out with the features I wanted, I went on-line and ordered it immediately. I kept it in the box for some time, as I felt so jazzed to have one of the magic slabs. Oh, and I went all out. I bought the biggest one available, the 64 Gb one.

Our former President, Cristael Bengtson, bought one early on and told us how it soon became an extension of her arm! 

I use the iPad to subscribe to three different Mac magazines and as a second screen for my Mac Mini. I also have iBooks and Amazon Kindle. At work, now that my iPod Classic has died, it’s my music source. 

As my eyes get more and more tired, I remember a great article by Chris Breen in Macworld about his mother’s 100 year old husband. This happy, healthy centenarian needed help in reading. The iPad, even in its earliest iteration, allowed you to enlarge text to a comfortable size. Chris made sure to get him one of his own as soon as possible. 

So Happy Easter and Happy Passover to you all. 


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog







Saturday, April 4, 2015

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap Up

Angela Ahrendts just sent all Apple Store employees a 'confidential' video explaining the best, quickest way to get an Apple Watch

The key fact for Apple Watch buyers is that ON-LINE booking and sales for Apple Watch will begin at precisely 8.01 a.m., April 10, United Kingdom time.

It is an open secret among Apple Store employees that for all new Apple launches — especially new iPhones — the best way to get one is to avoid the store on the day of launch and simply buy one online.

AW comment:  8:01 AM UK time is 1:01 AM pacific daylight savings time (PDT)

The time zone web site is:

Apple shows what you can do with the Apple Watch in new videos

Apple Adds New 'Guided Tours' Page to Apple Watch Site

The site includes dedicated videos on various Apple Watch features

The reason Apple is making the Apple Watch: 'Your phone is ruining your life'
because it delivers too many notifications:

Eventually, Apple figured out what the watch would do. It would cut back on phone usage.

This is an interesting idea from Apple, but it seems somewhat flawed.

A watch can deliver us notifications, but the problem will remain the same. We will still be overwhelmed by notifications.

Reader Comment:
have you tried out any smart watches yourself? I have a Pebble that I wore daily for a few months. Glancing at your watch is a more natural and less anti-social motion, in the midst of a meeting or casual discussion, than pulling out your phone and looking down at it.

21 things you didn't know your iPhone could do

5 tricks that will supercharge your iPhone in 5 minutes

21 things you didn't know your iPhone could do

The one thing holding me back from recommending Samsung's Galaxy S6 over the iPhone

The problem is the apps on Android – they tend to be uglier and buggier than their iPhone counterparts.

Review: Buying a contract free, certified used Apple iPhone from Gazelle

15 things you didn't know you could do with your iPad

What it was like to buy the very first iPad at the Apple Store 5 years ago

The new MacBook is Apple's thinnest, lightest laptop ever. But it's also a major step backward.

The device's processor is weaker than one included in Apple devices four years ago.

Photos of the inside of the device also reveal that the actual logic board — the brain of the computer — has been shrunk down to a tiny size to make room for all the batteries required.

See Apple’s new spaceship campus in huge new aerial shots

Here's how much musicians make online from Spotify, iTunes and YouTube

In 2010, data journalist and information designer David McCandless published an infographic on his Information is Beautiful website showing how much musicians earned online from sales and streams of their music.

It caused quite a stir within the music industry

5 simple internet safety tips from one of Google's information security engineers

The Era of Humans - Ending Soon

I believe the Era of Humans will end in my organic lifetime. I expect to see the first humans transfer their minds into non-organic vessels (meaning software, maybe robot bodies) within twenty years. In fifty years, no human will want to suffer through an organic lifestyle. It just won’t make sense.

If you dismissed my opening paragraph as ridiculous, you are probably not up-to-date on technology. This is real, and probably inevitable, with normal advances in technology. You can debate timing, but the folks with the most knowledge of this field see it coming.

All that technology gadgets need is a good track record of “leadership” and your organic body will follow it like a slave.

When the illusion of free will is gone you will have nothing to lose by moving your mind to software.

Note:  One wildcard in my prediction is that research on extending organic life is coming along nicely.

Reader Comment:
The evidence that free will is an illusion is at least in part the result of a bias inherent in our methodology for studying it. The scientific method is predicated on the ability to reproduce results and thus useful for studying things which are reproducible, i.e. causal. Because free will is not subject to causality (by definition) we'll never find scientific evidence for it. The best we can do is indirect evidence via randomness, which would presumably have some sort of probability distribution associated with it.

Reader Comment:
Personally, I'd wager that free will is an illusion, too. It's just a bit mind-boggling to think that me writing this reply is not my choice (as I perceive it to be) but the inevitable result of a chain of events that began 13.8 billion years ago. That's an extraordinary amount of setup for something so mundane.

Reader Comment:
"No Free Will" means you are no longer responsible for any of your decisions. It was the programming.
You achieve complete absolution for all of your sins, as does the whole world.

Top 10 keyboard shortcuts every Mac user should know | Cult of Mac

Top 10 keyboard shortcuts every Mac user should know | Cult of Mac: ""




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