Thursday, October 9, 2014

Traveling with Tech

I wrote a piece on traveling with technology for Hosts Global this month. You can find the post here!

http://hosts-global.com/travel-tips-traveling-with-technology/

Please go on over and read it there. I will be back here writing again soon.

Paul "TheMacGuy" Scott

Monday, September 30, 2013

Netflix App Won't Display login screen on iOS


So you recently upgraded your iOS device or just added Netflix and want to watch a show on the go. However when launching Netflix you only see a spinning wheel and no login and now shows.

Here is a simple fix to solve the problem. 

Go to Settings and Choose Safari:



Next in Safari Change Block Cookies from Always to From third parties and advertisers
Finally click Clear Cookies and Data.


Now reopen your Netflix application, login and enjoy the show!


Trouble with iMessage, FaceTime or Push Notifications?

There have been some anecdotal reports online that have indicated issues with iMessage on iOS. Below I have a few fixes that may correct the problem. I ran into this personally with one iPad and one iPhone in the last few weeks. Both times I had to resort to deactivating and reactivating. 

Some users have reported that turning their iOS devices off and back on fixes the problem, while others indicate that the solution has not worked for them. In testing with my devices experiencing difficulties, the following steps didn't fix the issue but could and are simple: 

1. Turn off iMessage in Settings > Messages 
2. Reset networking settings in Settings > General > Reset 
3. Reenable iMessage in Settings > Messages 

iMessages do not appear to be failing back to SMS when this happens either. They just eventually appear as a failed to send in iMessage. Or if it is right after an update awaiting activation will appear in the iMessage and FaceTime System Preferences panel. 

If these procedures above don’t work. Download Red Sn0w to your computer and perform the following steps:


1.) Connect device via USB cable
2.) Open RedSn0w
3.) Click on Extras
4.) Click on Even More
5.) Click on Deactivate
6.) Phone will show activation screen again. Open iTunes on the computer
7.) iTunes should detected the device and attempt to activate it. 
8.) Device will reactivate with new tickets and Push, iMessage, and FaceTime should go back to normal. 

Hopefully this should resolve any issues you may have with iMessage or FaceTime. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Using an iMac as a display for other Macs

There is a feature on modern Macs known as Target Display Mode (TDM). Users who have an iMac and a Macbook Pro and may want to use their iMac as a large external display can follow these few short steps to use the iMac as an external display.

First make sure your iMac and Macbook Pro supports Target Display Mode by checking the chart below and make sure you have the support cable type.


Target Display Mode Compatibility List

iMac (27-inch Late 2009)
Mini DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort
Mini DisplayPort or Thunderbolt
iMac (27-inch Mid 2010)
Mini DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort
Mini DisplayPort or Thunderbolt
iMac (21.5-inch, Mid 2011)
Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt
Thunderbolt
iMac (27-inch, Mid 2011)
Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt
Thunderbolt
iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2012)
Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt
Thunderbolt
iMac (27-inch, Late 2012)
Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt
Thunderbolt



Plug your Macbook Pro into the iMac with a MiniDisplay cable to Thunderbolt cable and press ⌘-F2 on the display machines keyboard it will become a monitor for your laptop. 

Note: Both machines must be on and you must have both computer on 10.6.1 or higher. The machine running in TDM will continue to run all programs in the background and will stay awake as long as it is in Target Display Mode.

To get out of target display mode press the ⌘-F2 keys again on the machine keyboard acting as a display.

The camera, USB, Firewire, or other Thunderbolt devices are not available to the computer connecting in Target Display Mode. Just the display is accessed and used as an external monitor.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Sending Group Emails from iPad Quick Tip


Something that has been missing from the iPad since the beginning has been the ability to send email to groups from the Mail app. There are a number of apps in the app store like MailShot or MailShot Pro that will help you create lists to send group emails from your iOS device.

However, with this quick tip I will show you a way to do it on your own. 

1.) Create a new Contact with the name of the group you wish to have. You can do this in Contacts on your Mac, in Outlook on your PC, or on your iPhone directly.

2.) Under the new Contact Name you created enter the email addresses you want in your group in a single email field with a comma separating the addresses. For example email.1@domain.com, paultscott@gmail.com, email2@domain.org, email3@domain.net, and on through your entire list. 


3.) Open your mail client and type in the group name you select. your recipients will all get the email. 






















To ask Apple to add this as a formal feature please goto http://www.apple.com/feedback/ and ask apple to add group mail lists to iOS.

Fitbit Flex Review

I have had a few weeks now to spend with my Fitbit flex and for those that know me I love these high tech pedometers. I started with the Nike+ shoes and app and have steadily upgraded as new devices have come to market.

The new Fitbit flex is smaller than its predecessors and slides inside a wrist band. No more forgetting to clip your Fitbit to your belt or put it in your pocket and virtually no chance of loosing it during the day. Wrist bands come in multiple colors and sizes plus are adjustable so users can make sure they get the color they like with a  comfortable fit.

The new Fitbit flex is water resistant and according to the company is ok it take it in the shower. I still take it off when I swim laps in the pool just in case it isn't truly that waterproof yet.

The Flex seems to suffer from a shorter battery life than its older cousins that are still for sale. Flex also now has a different charging cradle than previous models so if a user finds they have a dead battery on a trip they are out of luck unless users bring along the special charger.

Flex has dropped showing how many floors the user has climbed in the course of the day. That is a huge disappointment, I used to skip elevators so I could take the stairs to get my floor climbing count higher for the day. Once climbing 14 flights of stairs twice to get a 25 floors in a day badge.

All of these devices the Fitbit, Up, Nike Fuel, and others use a ramification element to keep the wearer engaged and make the device fun to wear and use. Also with historical tracking and a social aspect users can track what they did and compete against friends. Fitbit has also found the key to keeping people engaged also lies in integrating with other applications. Tying Fitbit into scale applications, blood pressure apps, diet applications so entering data in one place pulls everything together. Users can in the Fitbit dashboard see how many calories they consumed and how many they should burn. Allowing users to make better food and exercise choices. For me when I pay attention to these apps and log the food I eat I tend to loose weight and be healthier myself.

While wearing the Flex I have noticed I record more footsteps when wearing it on my non-dominate hand like the company recommends. While walking with a  Fitbit One and a Flex the Flex did read fewer footsteps over the course of a day.

I haven't been using it much lately since I lost the charger and have to order a replacement since every Fitbit I have ever had has a different charger. I still like the device and I like the social aspect. It encourages me to walk more.

Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity + Sleep Wristband, Black

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Air Display Review

AirDisplay is a great app if you are looking for an extra screen while you are working on your laptop.  AirDisplay can even turn a users Macbook into an extra display for an iMac. However if you are running an older Macbook Pro with Nvidia graphics there are some known issues with the graphics driver that can cause the device to not be able to drag and drop files etc. until the user has disabled Air Display.

AirDisplay costs $19.99 and is available on the iTunes store for iPad and iPhone. The software that installs locally on your Mac is free and instructions for where to get the software and how to install it are included in the AirDisplay app.

Once the app is installed on the iOS device and on the Mac they auto detect one another as long as they are on the same network and connect. Once that is completed users can open Display Preferences to decide which side to place the extra display on. The touch screen still reacts like normal on the iOS device. If the user has an application with tool bars like Photoshop it is a convienent control surface. Reach over tap the tool you want and return to work without having to move the mouse to the other screen.


I recommend using the AirDisplay app while plugged into external power to preserve the battery on the iOS device. This is a great application that grants road warriors a second screen while on the go or a convenient extra screen while working on a desktop.

With AirDisplay and Mavericks in the future a user could have a multi screen laptop completely wirelessly. The main laptop screen, a second iOS device screen with control surface and an AirPlay Display hanging on the wall. The flexibility becomes limitless.

For the $19.99 price tag AirDisplay is the best among the remote screen applications and well worth the investment.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Review

While eagerly awaiting the release of iOS 7 so I can review it and publicly discuss it I decided to see what life was like on other other side of the fence. So I have spent the last week with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 to see how it really stacks up against the iOS universe I have lived in for many years. First the device itself feels nice until you spend a lot of time holding it. The 16:9 aspect screen is awkward for typing and holding for long periods of time.


This device is not running the latest Jelly Bean version of Android and is using the Samsung TouchWiz UI which seems to make the device harder to use than the competition. After installing quiet a few apps it seems hard to find applications easily without going into the search.

The Samsung keyboard was laid out so badly I immediately had to install the generic Google Keyboard to make it useable though the reach on that wide a screen is still a little awkward.

Speech recognition is fast and accurate reducing the need to use the keyboard as long as the user is in a quiet environment to use it.

Samsung seems to be canabalizing their own lines and competing with themselves. When I went to purchase the unit I asked for a Galaxy Tab 2 and the salesman who worked for Samsung not Best Buy tried to steer me into the Note 2 which is apparently very close in specs to the Tab. The note got a quad core 1.4 Ghz processor vs the Tabs 2 core 1Ghz. Otherwise they have the same screen, battery, and software.

The device is not running Jelly Bean at the time of this writing and according to sources Samsung will support Jelly Bean on this device but that is the end of the road. Just over one year after being released Samsung will abandon future software updates for the Galaxy Tab 2 and  apparently focus on other devices like the recently announced Tab 3 and Note 2.

The Play Store itself supports so many devices with different specs it is sometimes frustrating to find the right app. Users choose an app only to be told the device is incompatible with the app the user is trying to install.

 To date I haven't had any luck with setting up streaming to another device using DLNA or ShareAll features. This may be another limitation on TouchWiz like not supporting multiple user logins to a single device. Airplay requires no configuration and just works. Samsung will happily sell you yet another $99 puck to attach to your TV to stream content and mirror screens that only work with their tablet.

Third party apps do exist that should allow the device to use Roku Mirroring or DLNA. Some apps one would think should be available on the Galaxy Tab 2 are amazingly not available. Amazon Video Streaming reports as incompatible with the Tab.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 requires a lot of fiddling and customization to make it a half way comfortable product to use. The stock Android experience would be far better on this device. I believe the device is too complicated for the average non technical user if they wish to stream video to TV's or do more than surf the web and check email it seems to require a lot more effort than the iPad or even the Google Nexus Tablets.

Using both my iPad and Galaxy Tab 2 together there is a lot to like about both devies. Some elements of the UI are pleasant to use while others need to be baked a little longer. Spacing of apps needs to be expanded and probably fewer per page to make apps easier to find.

Most of the things I liked about The Galaxy Tab are features that are generic Jelly Bean. I enjoy using Google Now, I like the speech recognition on the device and easy of accessing Speech Recognition.

I even spent a little time online with Samsung tech support to try and figure out a few of the features I couldn't get to work. Support just kept telling me the feature I wanted wasn't available on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. Maybe in the future the feature will become available.

It seems as though Samsung is slow to update their devies and not all devices even get updates even when they are only about a year old. If you want the real Android  experience users are better off sticking with other devices like the Google Nexus Tablet.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 is probably fun for geeks that like to fiddle with their gear but if you just want it to work reliably and not have apps maybe work and maybe not then you may be best to stick with an iPad or at least a stock Android device.

For me I will be sticking with my iPad and iOS devices. I like the Google Apps on it  and still get access to Google Now cards. I might take another look at the Nexus as a second tablet. But if you are not getting the pure Android experience on the tablet you are not getting the most out your tablet.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

OS X Preview Quick Tips

This week I want to share a few Preview Quick Tips. 

Opening multiple PDF’s in a Single Window



First when opening multiple PDF documents in one window open Preview, Preferences, General and change the Open Groups of files in the same window default to Open all files in one window. Select a group of files, right click and choose open. All PDF’s in the selection will open in a single window. 

The default setting of Open groups of files in the same window opens a window for each group of files you select. If you pick three files, skip a file, pick two more, skip a couple and pick one more it will open in three Windows.








Merge multiple PDF’s into a single Document


Simply print to PDF all the documents in the single open Window

Choose Print
Choose All Pages
Click the PDF button select Open PDF in Preview. 
The new document will be opened in Preview all pages as one single document.













Want to delete a page from a document or move a page somewhere else in a document?

Click the view Menu button and choose Thumbnails. 



Highlight the page you wish to delete and press the delete key on your keyboard. The selected page will disappear. If you want to move a page simply drag the page thumbnail to another location in the document.














How to Sign a Document?


First you will need to create a signature the first time you sign a document. After that the signature is stored encrypted in the keychain.

Click on the Edit button click the signature pull down and choose Manage Signature.








Click the plus button to add a new signature. Your web cam will tun on a display a video with a line. Write your signature on a piece of blank white paper and hold it up to the camera with your signature on the blue line. Once the computer captures your signature it will be displayed in the preview area. Click on to create your signature.













Once the creation of the signature is done for the first time all that needs to be done is the following steps to sign a document.

You can use Preview to sign document without printing and scanning. Simple click on the edit button in preview and choose the signature icon.

iShower Reviewed

The iShower from iDevices is probably one of the handiest devices I have ever reviewed. The first unit I tested was faulty and had to be replaced after a few weeks but iDevices RMAed it for me right away with no problem. In the few days I didn’t have my iShower it just wasn’t as much fun to take a shower. This device pairs with up to three devices over bluetooth and has a long range. It worked over 50 feet away from my phone and I got great sounding music. The iShower is water resistant, not water proof it can’t be submerged but it can hang in the shower or be placed pool side. The device can hang from a provided hook or be held by a fold out handle. Pairing the first device I found to be a little confusing but once I got it working the operation of the device was simple.


 The iShower will display the time if the clock button is pressed or the volume adjusted so you won’t be late getting to work if you start rocking out to music in the shower. The buttons are large and easy to operate with play/pause, forward and back in the middle and the up down volume on the bottom right of the device. I leave my iPhone on the dock in the morning to continue charging and when I turn the shower on I press power on the iShower and play to start whatever music or podcast I was most recently listening to the night before.

 The iShower runs on four AA type batteries and seems to have a relatively short battery life in my testing. After the first set of included batteries I switched over to rechargeable batteries. When a phone call is coming in the music will pause to alert you of an incoming call. The iShower doesn’t play the ring of the caller but if you happen to be close enough to your phone to answer it you can probably hear the ring anyway. As soon as the call goes to voicemail play back automatically resumes.

 What could be added to make the iShower more useful and fun? First better battery life and possibly a rechargeable battery system to save on replacing batteries and by switching to non replaceable batteries remove one more point water could leak in. I think a microphone and Siri button would be useful as well for those that have voice activated smart phones. Being able to change playlists or artists while in the shower would be fantastic. Caller ID display would be nice on the display as well so you can decide if you want to jump out of the shower to grab that important call.

 Overall the iShower from iDevices is a great device and I would recommend it to anyone who is a music lover and has a bluetooth device to play music. After my shower I can pause the music and pick up where I left off when I get in the car.

The iShower is $99 dollars and is available through http://www.ishowerin.com/ or from Amazon for $89 dollars. 



Nothing starts the day better than rocking out to some tunes in the shower and showers make everyone an excellent singer.