Katie's Week in Review: February 26, 2017

The spaceship campus gets a name, more Mac malware in the wild and more. Here are the links of note for the week ending February 26, 2017.

  • Apple Park opens to employees in April - Apple - Apple’s new “spaceship” campus will open in April and is officially named Apple Park and will feature an auditorium named for Steve Jobs. Given the timing, I can’t help but wonder whether some WWDC events will be held at the new campus.
  • Mac ransomware on piracy sites - Malwarebytes Labs There’s more Mac malware on the loose. Pro tip - stop pirating software and you can save yourself a world of hurt.
  • Apple Extended its MacBook Pro Anti-Reflective Coating Repair Program - Mac Rumors - If you have a 12-inch MacBook or MacBook Pro from 2012 - 2017 and have had problems with the anti-reflective coating wearing off, Apple may repair your screen free of charge.
  • Apple Says Third-Party iPhone Screen Repairs No Longer Fully Void Your Warranty - Mac Rumors - If you had your iPhone screened repaired at one of those pop-up shops or another third party provider that repair would previously void your iPhone warranty. Apple has reversed course and now says they will honor the phone’s warranty so long as the issue being fixed does not relate to the display itself. Flat rate repair on an iPhone screen is not that much more than third party shops, if you can opt for Apple or an authorized repair solution.
  • Amazon Goes with First Amendment to Protect Alexa Recordings - The Mac Observer - While Alexa isn’t supposed to be listening unless you use the wake word, Amazon is attempting to protect stored Echo recordings as free speech. Amazon is currently fighting a warrant for Echo recordings as part of an Arkansas homicide investigation claiming communications with the Echo is protected by the First Amendment.
  • 10.5-Inch and 12.9-Inch iPads May Not Ship Until May or June - Mac Rumors - Rumors have been buzzing about a refresh to the iPad Pro line with a larger screen. Expectations are running high for a Spring Apple event given their lack of updates to products in 2016. Now the rumor mill is saying that the long-awaited iPad refresh may be delayed.
  • Overcast 3: Design walkthrough – Marco.org - My podcast App of choice, Overcast, was updated this week. Overcast 3 brings design changes as well as under the hood improvements. Jason Snell of Six Colors, shares how he’s using Using Overcast 3 for podcast triage.
  • Adventures in Siri failures: Reminders edition - Six Colors - Dan Moren shares one of my constant frustrations with Siri, an unpredictable user experience. One day you’ll stumble upon the proper magic incantation that will make Siri obey your command, the next day she refuses to obey the same phrase. So frustrating.
  • Pulling Back the Curtain on the Latest Generation TiVo UI - TiVo - One of my other favorite products, TiVo is about to get a major UI overhaul. Codename Hydra, the new UI tries to combine sleek aesthetics with usability. Based on the preview, I’m not sure I’m a fan. The UI seems cluttered and busy. Hopefully there are settings to tone it down.
  • My thanks to MailButler for sponsoring the site this week. If you have an App or service you’d like to feature, please get in touch.
  • Finally, it's coming in 2017. Here's a look at the state of Apple Park:

Mac Power Users #365: Maps and More

This week on Mac Power Users, David and I break down what's good and what's bad about the leading map, navigation, and location apps.

This episode of Mac Power Users is sponsored by:

  • TextExpander from Smile Type more with less effort! Expand short abbreviations into longer bits of text, even fill-ins, with TextExpander from Smile.
  • Gazelle Sell your iPhone for cash at Gazelle! 
  • Marketcircle We help small business grow with great Mac, iPhone and iPad apps including Daylight and Billings Pro.
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Apps Crashing At Launch - It’s Another Expired Certificate Issue

Over the weekend I noticed that some of my favorite Apps, including 1Password and PDFpen were having problems upon launch. Turns out, it’s a widespread problem affecting many apps that were directly downloaded form the developer site (not Mac App store versions) due to an expired provisioning profile and format change in the developer certificate.

This blog post from the gang at 1Password goes into more detail. MacRumors also has more on the issue.

The fix seems to be to re-download a fresh copy of the App from the developer’s website.

Katie's Week in Review: February 19, 2017

Do you know the way to San Jose? Apple announces WWDC dates, teases their new Apple Music series and more. Here are the links of note for the week ending February 19, 2017:

  • Apple brings WWDC back to San Jose in 2017 - The Loop - For the first time since 2002, Apple will bring WWDC back to San Jose. The Conference will be held the week of June 5, 2017 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose. A few Apple Bloggers, including Jim Dalrymple were given the heads up and had an opportunity to talk to Apple’s Phil Schiller about the move. WWDC will be able the same size as previous conferences, but the move to San Jose makes the logistics a lot easier for the company. Of course, the change in venue could negatively impact some of the social events that pops around WWDC including third-party conferences, meet-ups, and parties. Time will tell.
  • Apple Vowed To Revolutionize Television. An Inside Look at Why It Hasn’t - Bloomberg - Mark Gurman takes a look at the history of the Apple TV, what could have been, and why the platform has generally failed to launch. Gurman says a new 4K Apple TV is in the works, but if that’s the only change between the next generation and current set-top box, it’s probably not enough to make me upgrade.
  • Apple’s new TV show has Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow and Will.i.am telling people why their app ideas are terrible - Recode - Eddie Cue and Ben Silverman appeared at the Code Media conference to talk about Apple’s new TV show Planet of the Apps. You can view the full interview (about 1h 10m) here. Planet of the Apps appears to be a mix of Shark Take and the Voice with developer sand entrepreneurs making a pitch to a celebrity panel. If the idea is chosen, the teams will work with the celebrities and compete for VC money and App store placement. (You can view Apple’s Trailer here.) I’m not an Apple Music subscriber, but even if I was, it’s probably not the type of thing I’d be interested in. Then again, I’m not a real fan of reality TV.
  • Amazon has quietly updated its free shipping policy for the better - 9to5Toys - Last year, Amazon raised the threshold for free shipping for non-prime members to $49. This week, they dropped it back down to $35 or more, likely in response to Walmart offering free shipping on any orders of $35 or more. I’m a long time Amazon Prime subscriber, but I applaud the change.
  • Is ‘unlimited’ phone data a ripoff? - Recode - Earlier this year T-Mobile simplified their pricing. Verizon has announced they were bringing back an unlimited data plan and AT&T announced this week they were doing the same. One thing is for sure, the competition is good for consumers. But the question still remains if these unlimited plans, as good as they sound, are really good ideas. For most consumers, probably not.
  • Iconfactory Plans to Rebuild Twitterrific for Mac with Kickstarter Campaign - Mac Observer - Iconfacory wants to bring back their Twitter client for Mac. Although Twitterrific for Mac continues to function, it has not been updated in some time and Iconfactory is asking users to pledge money up front through Kickstarter to support the development of a new version of the App. It’s an interesting model, I’m curious to see how this goes.
  • Apple suspends sales of LG’s UltraFine 5K monitor over hardware issues - Apple Insider - There have been reports of the new LG UltraFine 5K monitor, allegedly due to interference with Wi-Fi routers. Right now the monitor is still available on Apple’s online store but showing ship times of 3–4 weeks.
  • Apple Music — Carpool Karaoke: The Series — Trailer Apple’s other new series coming to Apple Music is Carpool Karaoke. This series looks to have a bit more boarder appeal than Planet of the Apps. The trailer is a lot of fun:

Still Struggling with Inline Attachments in Apple Mail

I've twice written on the subject of inline attachments in Apple Mail. Those posts have been fairly popular so it seems I'm not the only one who has a dislike for them.

By default, Apple Mail sends certain e-mail attachments such as images and PDFs inline, or in the body of the message. While this may look visually appealing for some messages with images, it can be frustrating and confusing.

I previously recommended two utilities to manage in-line attachment, Clive Galeni’s Anti Attachments Plugin and Attachment Tamer. Sadly, it appears that both are now defunct.

Worse yet, Clive Galeni seems to still be selling his plug-in, which I personally have found does not function properly with Sierra and have uninstalled.  I've had several people write me and tell me they've also had trouble with the plug-in under Sierra or have recently bought the plug-in without reply from the developer. I too have reached out to the developer several times with no reply.

For now, The only way I know of to remove inline attachments are to use a terminal command. Here's how:

If Mail is open, quit it. Open the Terminal (Applications → Utilities) Enter the following command:

defaults write com.apple.mail DisableInlineAttachmentViewing -bool yes

Once you restart Mail.app any email messages that you send or receive will display attachments as icons, not inline. If you later you decide you want to change your preference back to viewing attachments inline simply repeat the above command but change the “yes” at the end to “false” (without the quotes). 

You should know this method is universal. Meaning all attachments, including those that are simply graphics (such as in email signatures) will be sent as attachments -  so your messages may no longer have the desired appearance

As a side note, I've had a few people send me angry emails because they bought Clive Galeni’s Anti Attachments Plugin on my recommendation from January of 2016, a time when the plug-in was fully functional, in active development and worked with the then current OS. It's impractical for me to go back and update past posts when there is a change of circumstances. As always, I recommend you do your own due diligence, have good backups and take advantage of free trials.

Mac Power Users #364: The Calendar Show

This week on Mac Power Users, David and I dive deep into calendars and discuss the various cloud calendar services, sharing, calendar apps, best practices, and scheduling services.

This episode of Mac Power Users is sponsored by:

  • 1Password Have you ever forgotten a password? Now you don't have to worry about that anymore. Save up to 20% using this link.
  • The Omni Group We're passionate about productivity for Mac, iPhone and iPad. 
  • MindNode MindNode makes mind mapping easy.
  • Squarespace: Make your next move. Enter offer code MPU at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase.

Katie's Week in Review: February 12, 2017

The year is just two months old and already rumors of the next iPhone are in full swing. Here are the links to the tech news of note for the week ending February 12, 2017:

How I Use My Synology (Casey's Network Attached for N00bs)

Casey Liss wrote a post this weekend that I’ve been meaning to write for the past several months about the benefits of Network Attached Storage (NAS) and how he’s using his Synology Disk Station.

Casey’s post goes into quite a bit of detail so I’ll encourage you to read his post first and I’ll supplement with some of my own uses for my NAS.

Late last year I picked up a Synology DS416 (I originally ordered a DS415 play on a special closeout deal but it sold out and this was the replacement unit). The play models typically have better video transcoding abilities and in retrospect, I wish I had coughed up the extra money to upgrade to a 416 play since one of my main uses of my Synology is for Plex, but I find that the 416 is generally fine for playing back videos that have already been transcoded.

My Synology has 4 drives and is reasonably suited for home tasks. I’ve filled all 4 bays with 3TB Western Digital Red Drives which offers ample storage with room to grow. My Synology is formatted using Synology Hybrid Raid (SHR) which means that I have one disk redundancy should a drive fail, I can replace it without losing data. Here’s how I’m currently using my Synology:

TimeMachine Backups

Backing up both my 2016 MacBook Pro and an older Mac mini. I’ve been very happy backing up my Macs via TimeMachine to the Synology and have found it to generally be faster than using Apple’s time capsule. One tip - set up separate data stores for each computer you’re backing up so your sparse bundles don’t conflict with each other.

Archive Storage

There’s something to be said about having a big bucket of storage available. Any file I think I may want to keep to have access to later but don’t necessarily want to store on my computer goes on the Synology.

Plex

There’s an entire MPU episode on Plex, and it’s still good. Since the Apple TV 4 has a Plex application it’s probably my preferred place to manage media. Most of my media content is already stored in a format optimized for playback on my devices so my 416 has no trouble. However, in retrospect, I wish I had coughed up a few more bucks to upgrade to the Play model for additional transcoding abilities.

Surveillance Station

I’ve been experimenting with home surveillance and video cameras. However, I really don’t like putting that video up on the Internet or paying for the subscription services that go along with most internet cameras. Synology’s Surveillance station software works with hundreds of different model cameras and will allow you to view and locally save footage from your cameras. Out of the box my synology came with licenses for two cameras with additional licenses available for purchase. I have a couple of inexpensive D-Link cameras connected to my synology and configured to save the last 24-hours of recordings locally.

Overall I’ve been very happy with my purchase and my Synology has taken over many of the tasks I previously used a Mac mini functioning as a home server for. I feel like I’ve really only scratched the surface of what my Synology can do and look forward to exploring additional features like VPN, file sharing and download station in the coming months.