Category Archives: Hardware

Fujitsu ScanSnap Manager now 64bit for Mac

scan snap s1100 portable document scanner

If you use or support users with Fujitsu ScanSnap scanners, you might visit the ScanSnap Manager downloads to see if your model is listed and update your software to support Catalina and newer OS for Mac.
Like most, anyone on High Sierra or Mojave, was warned that with Catalina, and likely Big Sur, will need to replace their 32bit apps with 64bit versions. Otherwise you shouldn’t upgrade to 10.15 (Catalina) or Big Sur (release coming in late 2020).

Some have contacted Fujitsu but without any confirmation of updating the old Scansnap Manager. Instead, Fujitsu had release ScanSnap Home, which lacked granular feature set that ScanSnap Manager has. Not only that, but Home had taken on a more “Icon” look than intuitive settings.

But if you visit the ScanSnap Manager downloads (7-2020 it was at V7), you will need to remove the ScanSnap home version.
(Mac) Drag the ScanSnap Home folder )in Applications) to the trash and empty. Then, open the ScanSnap Online Update folder, and then open the SUB folder and run the online uninstaller. Once it completes, it will remove the Update folder from Applications. Now you can install the Manager software.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

MacbookPro Touch Bar… somethings just …

mbp13touch-gray-select-201610The new MacbookPro models have arrived and man, was that a yawn?

Ok, for most this might be moot…but here it goes:

  • You need to buy it with all the RAM you will ever think you will need because you can’t upgrade after.
  • You need to buy it with the maximum storage you need, that is, it should be greater than what you are replacing it with.
  • No more magsafe power connector. It can be any Tbolt-3 port. On the 15″ model, there are 4.

And now, the biggest cost … I built a 1TB, loaded 15″ Touch model. It costs $3499. And that is without Applecare. Oh, must…have…Applecare if you are a “me firsty”.

Hey, with the 15″ MBPTB, it can have 512GB, 1TB or even 2TB of storage! Ouch, that 2TB is $1200 option over the 512GB. 4GB of VideoRam is $100 more (you will need that to drive a 5K LG display…ooooooi!) Maximum SSD storage on the 13″ model is 1TB.

USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 as they call it is rather interesting. The speed, video, adaptors… more to come!

 

Why has Apple not updated MacPro?

Apple-Mac-Pro-2013-3So, it’s been 3 years. Late 2013 to be exact. And Apple gave us this…trash can, wine cooler, bin thing. Elegant. Quiet. Ports. Dual GPUs. Up to 12 cores. Easy to add RAM.

But now we see the mess. No raid. No internal capacity (incapacity) increase. Still mired at 1TB. Sad.

Meanwhile, designers either snatch up 2010-2012 MacPro leftovers and ramp them up to more storage, ram and GPUs. The MacPro Late 2013 is actually behind.

Apple, I hope you read this and are going to top the cooler this year. Otherwise, I can see myself moving to a custom PC with Windows 10 Pro and SSDs raided. Some MLBs have Tbolt THREE now. And I can have bluray drives. In a quiet, water cooled case. Sigh.

6 TB Christmas gift!

WD6TBOrdered a SIX Terabyte HDD. Seems I have 3 of the 1TB Seagate models that are having issues (or will have issues). So best to migrate all that is on them to this 6TB model. @ $289, its a bargain! I mean I paid $300 for one of the Seagate 1TB when I first bought one.

Hopefully Newegg shipping won’t have it damaged. They tend to ship bar drives in a cheap bubble wrap rather than double box. I will update here when I get with pics and how the transfer goes.