All posts by macanix

Apple adds new iPad Pro with LIDAR and more…

 The new iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard

The new iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard.

This month, Apple is releasing a new iPadPro with optional Magic Keyboard and trackpad support.

I read the reviews…and some make sense: why? This is expensive and the LIDAR for AR is before the cart, so to speak. I just know too many cool uses and also that fragility of Apple design for replacement costs… but hey, watch their pro-mo video on it!

You can read more about the technical specifications.
Apple keeps saying that iPads are not a computer but then they taunt this as your next “computer that is not a computer”. Honestly, I think many do not need a computer, and just a tablet and phone. But durability is not Apple. And reasonable cost is not Apple.

Read the pricing below, but I think that for the value, a loaded 13″ MacbookAir would do all you need (except the LIDAR and pencil). Think about the new MacbookAir at $1499 for 16GB ram, and 512GB storage vs a 12.5″ iPad ($1299 with 512GB), plus add ($349) for the Magic Keyboard and another ($129) for the Pencil. That is more than the MacbookAir. Oh, and if you are worried, AppleCare+ should be a no-brainer at $199-249.

Now the OUCH in Pricing:
The new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro will be available in silver and space gray finishes. A starting configuration of 128GB offers pro customers more room for their apps and content, along with 256GB, 512GB and 1TB configurations.

The 11-inch iPad Pro starts at $799 (US) for the Wi-Fi model and $949 (US) for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model, and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro starts at $999 (US) for the Wi-Fi model and $1,149 (US) for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model.

Trackpad support will be available on any iPad running iPadOS 13.4, and work with Apple’s Magic Mouse 2, Magic Trackpad 2 and the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro. Third-party mice connected over Bluetooth or USB are also supported.

The Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro will be available for purchase in May for $299 (US) for the 11-inch iPad Pro and $349 (US) for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with layouts for over 30 languages, including simplified Chinese, French, German, Japanese and Spanish.

The second-generation Apple Pencil for iPad Pro is available for $129 (US). The new Smart Keyboard Folio for the new iPad Pro is available in space gray for $179 (US) for the 11-inch iPad Pro and $199 (US) for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with layouts for over 30 languages, including simplified Chinese, French, German, Japanese and Spanish.

iPadOS 13.4 with trackpad support will be available on March 24 as a free software update for all iPad Pro models, iPad Air 2 and later, iPad 5th generation and later, and iPad mini 4 and later.

IpadPro profile from side with magic keyboard attached
Looks helluva lot like Surface Pro from Microsoft.

Anyone else think this looks like A Surface Pro in this shot?

iOS 13.4 is out… whopping 4GB

iphone screen showing about information
Image from Apple 2020.

Apple released this week their latest iOS update 13.4 (for iPhone and iPad), that allows iCloud Drive sharing, and numerous fixes.
Note: you need to update either OTA (over the air) or physically connect to your iTunes computer. (Preferred is to backup device via iTunes, then update)

Also, there is a new Security update along with Safari update.

AV Receivers and Integrated App Warning!

spotify logo

I’m not crazy. I’m not screaming the sky is falling. But I am sure of one thing: current AV Theater Receiver manufacturers are irresponsible to the IoT of products. Read on, and I explain why.

Scenario:
You let your friend, family or neighbor on your home wifi to access email or show you something from their FB or other account. Innocent enough. But months later, that same neighbor is going for a walk, and wants to listen to their Spotify. Launching the app on their phone, they see “Onkyo434b51…” and press that. Well, they hear nothing on their phone (duh! says I). But they can hear their music nearby. Its coming from, you guessed it, YOUR AV amp and its blaring country!
Well this neighbor was nice enough to call me and tell me the news. I go outside and sure enough, music is playing in my garage, where I have an Onkyo TX-NR656 receiver for playing my iTunes or future ATV and display (watch Youtube while making/repairing car…).
RTFM!
I can find nothing in the Onkyo PDF or manual to disable Spotify. I can unplug the power is all, for now. My neighbor comes over and laughs, “well, aren’t you glad its not 2am and I’m drunk, playing sad cowboy music?” Yes, I tell him. And now I worry. He was on LTE, not on my wifi. And my receiver is plugged into my LAN, not using wireless. So how did this happen?
Looking back, at one point, I think he was on my wifi as we could see it (he was a yard away) and couldn’t reach his network.
“Like a good neighbor, wifi is there!”
IIRC, I put my info in his phone to connect and allow him to put up stuff for all to watch. Well, that was last summer. I have since changed the wifi pwd. I don’t know how he connected.
Then I googled it and read that “once you use Spotify Connect to use a device it runs on, it remains in your Spotify account to connect to. Echo dot, AVreceiver, Speaker w/Spotify built in, phone, tablet. So somehow, it had the cable modem IP or MAC address and could connect from LTE to internet to my amp!
I search for how to block but came up that others, as far as 4 years ago, were having same issue without resolution. Some suggested to unplug the LAN (most connected for updating) but I needed it for internet radio, iTunes (remote and songs on home Mac) and BlueTooth for immediate audio from my iphone.
A solution!
Well, this was luck. Searching google with the obvious didn’t work with solution. But wording the search as “block Spotify connect tcp udp ports” resulting in a github page. But the page didn’t list this. The search did, however, and the ports you want to block TCP/UDP in and out are 57621 and 57622. There is a port 4070 mentioned, but I think that is the app (and it may also find 443 to get out). But that might be for Spotify users and not the Spotify Connect of the appliance set.
Also, I was able to turn off the NET feature (default on) of the Onkyo to disable internet power on when the receiver is in STANDBY mode. The caveat here is that I can’t just see the Onkyo from my home iTunes, and start playing. I need to actually turn the receiver on “physically” and then I can send music from my iTunes. (I Really wish that Apple didn’t discontinue The Airport Express and use that as I always did, or that they had a way for Home Pod to stream to a device). I could use an Apple TV but I need an HDMI cable(s) and display to do that. Optical out would suffice for audio. Saving this for Part 2.
No Port in a Spotify storm
I blocked those ports in my router (Orbi by Netgear…you can login with a browser and use the Advanced Security settings for ports. I selected ALL devices to test, but later will get the IP manually set for the receiver and only block that).
I had my neighbor over, and he could not see the device (and it was on). Success.

So I came to the conclusion, per the documents I had, that there is NO way to turn off the Spotify connect in the Onkyo Receiver. It also has Pandora, along with Google Chromecast and possibly another. I tried to contact Onkyo, as this could be done with a firmware patch to allow “enable/disable” of any of the internet apps. Ironically, it allows a password feature for Airplay! And Spotify’s only solution I could find was to get the user to reset their account of devices (not happening) or sign up for Spotify (DING! Pay? No!) Premium and take over the device (like a Block the Squatterfy!)
While I don’t understand how Spotify Connect works, I can see that someone could hack the service and get into ANY Spotify Connect device not associate with a premium account user. AV Receiver makers, wake up. IoT is here…and I can hear the lawsuits.

Same site, new look!

firewood shed
Simple Firewood shed!

New look. New year. New debt. New fear.

Hope 2020 is as clean as the look on this site!

See you soon with more comments on how Apple isn’t being a good company. How Apple products are still too expensive to own, fix and maintain. And let’s see if having Siri in my house is a good thing! Cheers to more pwd/account breaches and hoping other states follow in California Privacy laws.

MacOS Mojave update 10.14.6 Combo out…

…at a whopping 3.1 Gigabytes!

Ironically, my Mac with 10.14.5 indicated no updates available…

(per Apple’s download page)

(included in) This update:
• Makes downloaded issues available in the My Magazines section of Apple News+, both online and offline
• Adds all publications in Apple News+, including newspapers, to the catalog at the top of the News+ feed
• Adds the ability to clear downloaded magazine issues in Apple News+ by selecting History > Clear > Clear All
• Addresses an issue which prevents creation of a new Boot Camp partition on iMac and Mac mini with Fusion Drive
• Resolves an issue that may cause a hang during a restart
• Resolves a graphics issue that may occur when waking from sleep
• Fixes an issue that may cause fullscreen video to appear black on Mac mini
• Improves file sharing reliability over SMB

Mac Combo Update Mojave 10.14.5

2.62GB Download!

Adds AirPlay 2 support for sharing videos, photos, music and more from your Mac directly to your AirPlay 2-enabled smart TV.
Adds the ability to follow a magazine from the Apple News+ catalog browsing view.
Improves audio latency on MacBook Pro models introduced in 2018.
Fixes an issue that prevented certain very large OmniOutliner and OmniPlan documents from rendering properly.
Disables accessories with insecure Bluetooth connections.

Enterprise content:
Fixes an issue that prevented resetting the user account password from the login window after using a personal recovery key (PRK) to unlock the FileVault volume.
Fixes an issue that prevented the InstalledApplicationList MDM command from recognizing that updates are available for apps installed via VPP.

Apple products are designed to be damaged

So having an iPod Touch 5th Gen for several years now, without any falls, drops or abuse. Then one afternoon, doing yardwork and listening to the ipod (via Bluetooth ISOtunes earbuds), the [roduct slips out of my pocket and in slowmotion, I watch it hit its corner on a hard surface (sidewalk).

Thanks Apple.

(some would argue “why no cover or sleeve/case?”. Why indeed! To make it bulkier? Thicker and not able to reside in a shirt pocket? Exactly. Apple made this from glass (it will break) and aluminum (it will dent/ding/scratch), for the reason that the consumer will replace it…with another iDevice).

Well, I replaced it. But not with a $200-$300 ipod. Are you nuts? Instead, I bought a $49 Sandisk Clip Go w/Bluetooth.
Copied (limit is 4000 songs) music over after it charged up, added my BT Isotunes and back to yard work.

Caveats: have to use the Sandisk USB cable to charge/transfer songs. Some USB Micro cables don’t have all the pins needed.
It forgets the BT setting (its on, it remembers the device, but it does need a reminder-click through and make sure).
A song stopped playing so there may be a file issue (MP4/FLAC/MP3)

For $50, I can put up with those. But for Apple, slowly but surely, I am weening off your expensive, inaccessible-designed fruit.

Apple Removed RSS feeds?

Rss logo in orange

For several years, I’ve linked to Apple’s RSS feeds for Downloads. This would allow an automated updated of what updates are available from Apple on the Mac OS, along with link to the update (e.g. Mac OS Combo Updates, iTunes updates, etc.).
Well, on an infrequent update to the Macanix site (backend WP updates, plugins,…), I’ve found that for some time, Apple no longer provides RSS updates that it had.
Now, the only RSS feeds are more for iTunes store, than Mac OS, and Apple products.

Here is a link to Apple’s Downloads that should allow what recent updates are available (until Apple changes this link; note this link is for US…it may be different in your country).

Homepod issues…

Apple animation of iphone setup to homepod
So I am a first adopter of Apple’s Homepod. It worked well until I realized that it only plays music from a subscription to Apple Music (I don’t have). It will play as an Airplay speaker, so I can tell Siri (Hey Siri) to play music and She (I have mine as an Irish-female or Aussie-Female) will play my itunes on shuffle (as I have it set on my mac, with itunes open and songs set to shuffle).
After the latest iOS 12 update, I found the homepod to be unresponsive to commands. I have it located up on a beam, in my kitchen, to allow better sound dispersion. Well, it requires a ladder to access and to unplug power. I also discovered the unit was very warm. After powercycle (unplug, wait a bit, then replug to good power outlet), it came back to life and was useful. For another week or so.
Same thing again.
Troubleshooting it now a week later, after same issue, I did a manual reset (unplug, press down on the top of the speaker WHILE plugging into power, Siri will speak about reset, KEEP HOLDING DOWN ON TOP, lighting will change to RED and then three FAST beeps. Now let go. You will need to add it again to your iPhone HOME app (keep iphone close and it will pair and start setup).
Most annoying feature of setup: it advertises if you want 3 months of free Apple Music … not really free as you have to add credit card and it will continue to bill after the 3 month period.
If this happens again, I am taking into Apple store. I paid way too much for this…dumbspeaker.

UPDATE: It has been over 10 days since I reset the Homepod and so far it hasn’t locked up. Perhaps the reset helped? Time will tell. IMHO, its not worth $350…

UPDATE #2: It’s been several months and no issues. I believe it was resolved with applying the last update of iTunes (12.9.2.5) in that Airplay + iTunes library being open on my mac, would no longer hang. Apple tends not to disclose details of “security” patches or other dev-discovered patches.