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
iMac (27-inch, Mid 2011)
Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt
iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2012)
Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt
iMac (27-inch, Late 2012)
Thunderbolt to 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,,,, 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 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 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.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Apple World Wide Developers Conference 2013

Apple kicked off the developers conference this year with an interesting video talking about design and saying no to many things so they can say yes to the right one. Apple also kicked off the designed in California tag line going on the end of commercials going forward. The video had an inspirational and exciting feel, lending one to wonder what Apple has up its sleeves in the coming months.

Apple's Numbers

As usual Apple led the conference with the numbers. This years developer conference sold out in just 71 seconds. Leading Apple to post all videos of sessions online the same day so the now very large Apple development community can all participate in the knowledge being shared at the developers conference. 

Apple Retail is adding a beautiful new store in Berlin. The Apple App Store is now 5 years old and has 575 million accounts with credit cards on file and to date Apple has paid over 10 billion to developers. 5 billion of that paid out in the last year alone. 

The first demo of the day came from Anki a company who is bringing Robotics and Artificial Intelligence to the real world with a video game played with real objects. You place a mat and the cars on the living room floor and you as a play can race your car around the track while the computer plays the other cars. It is an interesting use for Low Energy Bluetooth 4.0 and iOS. 

Next up Apple talked about the Mac. In the past 5 years Apple has doubled its market share to 72 million users. IT has been the number 1 desktop and notebook sold in the U.S. Average annual growth for the Mac has been 15% while the PC only grew at about 3%. Apple has also taken the top spot in Customer Satisfaction.


Next they talked about OS X. 30% of users upgraded to Mountain Lion in the first 6 months compared to Microsoft only getting about 5% upgrading to Windows 8. Mountain Lion was the 9th OS upgraded released in a decade. Apple announced it would need to change the code name for the OS to carry it the next 10 years. So Apple is adopting a California theme name and calling the new OS Mavericks. 

Mavericks is focused on enhancing the OS user experience and battery savings for portable computers. Apple has added Timer Coalescing to the OS so the CPU usage is clustered together to reduce overall usage of the processor and save about 72% of the computers battery. Also adding memory compression to reduce the amount of inactive memory without having to swap out items to the disk. Reducing the load on an SSD or mechanical hard drive and speeding up the computers memory operations. Memory Compression will speed up performance by 1.4x to 1.5x.

New to the OS is a rewritten finder that now includes tabs to reduce desktop clutter with multiple windows being opened. Finder tags to allow a user to tag files to group them in the side bar and make them easier to find later. Finder finally get the full screen mode treatment so a user can manage files more easily. 

Apple also enhanced Multiple Display mode for users who prefer to have multiple screens. The dock and menu bar can now be called from any display. The full screen mode doesn't affect other displays connected to the machine. So each screen can be a different full screen app. The panning between full screen apps on a display is also independent from the other displays. Finally Mavericks gets a Airplay treatment to allow users to connect their Mac to an Airplay connected TV and use it as an additional full power display. 

Mission Control can drag full screen apps between displays as well allowing the user to decide which screen will get the full screen treatment. 


Safari gets an upgrade with Mavericks as well a clean new home page top site flattened and lighter top site page. The new side bar with bookmarks, reading list and now links that have been shared through your social media. Linked In has been added as a service for social media as well. Safari now creates a separate process per tab so one tab crashing won't take the whole browser down with it. Shared memory and resource cache contributes to its new found speed. Webkit the engine that runs Safari is currently installed on over 1.5 billion devices. 

The performance gains in graphics in Mavericks is impressive in the demo Mail had 100,000 emails in an inbox and still could scroll at 60 frames per second. This smooth scrolling has been brought into Safari as well.

App Nap enabled on Safari puts apps to sleep when they are not visible keeping flash and other content from over using the processor and draining the battery too quickly. Reading List and Reader now scroll through from one article to the next so users don't need to close one and open the next readers can just flow from one document to the next.

Finally in Safari users will get iCloud keychain. For those that haven't adopted a password management tool this builds one right into Mavericks. Including the ability to generate random passwords automatically and save them to iCloud AES 256 bit encrypted so only the user has access to them and shared between iOS devices and Mac computers. iCloud keychain remembers Credit Cards for users as well.


The ability to apply within the notification has been added to OS X. Deleting email can now be done right from the notification. Users can reply or answer FaceTime calls right in Notifications. Push notifications sent to iOS devices will be delivered to Mavericks as well. Notifications now appear on the Mac lock screen on wake up.

App Updates

Apps and OS X are now updated in the background automatically without user intervention. No more update fatigue for OS X Users.

Gone is the leather and stitching in calendar. With a whole new calendar look and feel Craig Federicki quipped "No virtual cows were harmed making this calendar." Calendar gets a whole new inspector and location aware meetings block out travel time prior to  a meeting so users don't book meetings too close together. Weather information is now included right in the calendar, in case that meeting happens to be out doors.
Maps comes to the desktop with 3D, fly over, info cards, and turn by turn navigation. Also with a single click users can send directions to their iPhone. The developers have been provided with an SDK to provide mapping functions right in app.
App is now coming to the Mac with note taking and text books support.

The developer Preview available immediately with a final release coming in the fall of 2013.

Macbook Air

Next up Apple announced a new Macbook Air with all day battery life, featuring a 4th Gen Core Haswell ULT energy efficient CPU, 40% faster graphics, and 2x GPU execution units. The 11" goes from 5 hrs to 9 hrs of battery life and the 13" model goes from 7 hrs to 12 hrs of battery life. This I believe being tested on the machine running Mountain Lion. It remains to be seen how much more battery life will be achieved with a  fully optimized copy of Mavericks running on these machines.

The new Air comes with a 45% faster flash, 802.11ac 3x faster wifi, and a lower price point for the entry level 13"

Airport Extreme

As long as Apple was touting the new MacBook Air with 802.11ac it was a great time to reveal the new Airport Extreme. The new extreme has a smaller footprint than its predecessor but is much taller. The unit is capable of 3 stream 802.11ac wifi beam forming and simultaneous 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz with dual band radios.
Sneak Peak at Mac Pro

Apple treated developers to a sneak peak at its all new Mac Pro. Sporting a whole new case design 1/8 the size of its older brother, a Unified Thermal Core, the entire top case is a convenient handle, new Xeon up to 12 core configuration, 1,866 Mhz DDR3 ECC memory and a Fast Internal PCI Express Flash Storage this machine is going to be fast. The system even lights up the ports when you move it to make connecting new peripherals easier.

Expandable through external expansion thru Thunderbolt 2 up to 6 devices at 20 Gbps of bandwidth gives plenty of room for growth outside the case. The new system sports AMD FirePro Graphics dual workstation GPU's. Open CL offers 7 teraflops of performance and up to 3 4k displays can be connected to the system. The new Corvette of computers is being designed and built in the United States.

The iCloud numbers are impressive with over 300 million iCloud accounts, 35 billion app redownloads since launch, 240 million game center users, 800 billion iMessages sent, and 7.4 trillion push notifications sent to users. 

Apple is announcing the expansion of iCloud to include iWork web apps. Create documents right in a web browser from your Mac or PC without having iWork installed. Currently this is available to developers and will be expanding to all users for free later this year.


To date Apple has sold over 600 million iOS devices.  iPhone users use their phone 50% more than android users and account for a 60% share of mobile web traffic. The iPad accounts for 82% for  tablet market share currently. Mobile shopping on on black friday consisted of 10% iPad and 8.7% iPhone. So users are not just shopping online but shopping from their phones and tablets. 

iPhone has been #1 in customer satisfaction JD Power 9 times now. Windows phone beat android in satisfaction at 53% and Apple held the top spot with 73% satisfaction.

93% of iOS users are currently running iOS 6. 

Control Center

iOS 7 has added a new control center, simply swipe up from bottom of the screen for control center. 
Airplane mode, wifi on/off, bluetooth on/off, do not disturb, rotation lock, brightness, music controls,  flashlight, timer, calculate and camera are all accessible through control center.

All apps now have multitasking. iOS monitors your app usage and implements intelligent scheduling, opportunistic updates, adapts to network conditions, performs coalesced updates, and push triggers. All of these will make the OS feel faster by having data before the user requests it and save battery at the same time. iOS now includes a new multitasking management that allows the user to swipe across all apps that are running and swipe up to end an app.


All new tabs and iCloud tabs scroll in 3d in Safari. Now users can create an unlimited number of tabs. Private browsing has been moved into the new or change tab view for easier access.


On the new share Sheet you can share with anyone near by running iOS 7. This feature uses peer to peer wifi and only on latest hardware offer peer to peer support.

The camera app is adding live photo filters and a swipe gesture to witch between four camera modes. standard, video, square and panorama.

Photos are now organized into moments by location and date. The thumbnail colors allow users to quickly scroll a large number of photos and zoom in all the way to a single photo level. 


Photo Stream now shares video as well as still photos. 


Siri gets a new user interface as well as the option to select voices. Siri can now also control phone settings and play voicemail. Siri is also learning to answer new questions, work with Twitter, wikipedia, web searching with Bing, even getting access to photos. 

iOS in the car

Eyes free allowing users to push a button on the steering wheel to access Siri or iOS on the screen in the car allowing the driver or passenger to view the iOS device screen right on the cars display. iOS in the car also allow the user to have iMessages read to you and respond to them verbally.
App Store

App Store is also getting an upgrade. New organizational features include looking for apps based on age range or popular apps based on location (near me). App Store now updates automatically so the user doesn't have to go download updates on their own again reducing the update fatigue.


Apple is Sherlocking Pandora and other streaming music services. The iTunes app now has Featured stations in iTunes Radio, the ability to create your own stations based on music preferences, save a history of everything you listened to on iTunes Radio so you can look back on past songs. iTunes Radio will be available on all devices and will be fee with ad support or if you subscribe to iTunes Match for $24.99 a year it is commercial free.


Apple also announced FaceTime is getting some updates including an audio only feature so if you don't want to be seen on screen or need to save bandwidth users can answer voice only. Notification Syncing across all devices is being enabled. Plus new in iOS 7 Apple is adding message blocking to the phone app and FaceTime app.

Enterprise Customers 

There are a number of features for Enterprise customers coming in iOS 7 including an updated mobile device manager but the feature Apple choose to highlight at this presentation was per app VPN support. iOS can now be configured to launch VPN with particular applications from the phone. Saving the user time and allowing companies to secure their apps more easily.

Activation Lock

Apple is also taking a step to make devices more secure if stolen. In iOS 7 the Phone can't be reactivated even if the device is wiped without reentering the users iCloud ID. 

iOS 7 will be coming to the iPhone 4 and later as well as the iPad 2 and later coming this fall.

Apple made a lot of announcements at this developers conference. To everyones surprise no new iPad, iPhone, Macbook Pro or new product category was announced. It is certain Apple will be holding events later this year for a new iPhone and iPad. According to Tim Cook Apple will be introducing new product categories in 2013 and 2014. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

App Crash Quick Tip

If you have had an app constantly crashing on launch or asking for an admin password to repair the library on launch try the following to resolve the issue.

Remove files from the following locations.

Note: To find the user library folder in 10.7 and 10.8 hold down the option key, click Go in the Finder and choose Library.


 For instance if TextEdit keeps crashing delete folder and then open the app again. 

Also in the following folder find the folder of the app that keeps crashing and delete it. ~/Library/Saved Application State/.savedState

 Launch your application and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Omnis Web Hosting Not What It Seems

Normally I review products that I like and interest me so for the most part my reviews tend to be pretty positive. However, in this case I have to take issue with a company and write a bad review. The company is Omnis I have been using them myself now for more than a year for my personal website, my podcast, and was so impressed with their pricing and promises I moved a technical group website, and the website of three companies I work for in my day job.

This means I have a total of three separate paid accounts with Omnis for these several sites. A couple of weeks ago I woke up to an email sent to me at 2:15am from Omnis telling me they were slowing down my websites because I had exceeded their storage limit. I went to one of the company pages to test and found it taking three minutes to load a single page. This made our three company websites and help desk ticketing system effectively useless.

Immediately I opened a chat with tech support. Tech support online told me my best bet was to call on the phone. So I called on the phone. I was told on the phone delete a site I didn't need I was over my limit. All the sites are needed and being used. I asked for a supervisor and was told I could only email a supervisor and they would get back to me in 24 hours. In Internet time that is forever for a site to be effectively down and not acceptable.

All through this process I kept asking about the unlimited claim they made on the website. Below are samples from the Omnis website abut the Unmetered Data claims. It states clearly on their main page unmetered disk storage space, and bandwidth data transfer in bold with an exclamation point.

On the next page where they list the price it is $5.95 a month for Linux cloud hosting which is a killer deal! In the hosting features it again states unmetered disk space, unmetered data transfer, plus other features of the service.

So when I inquire about the unlimited claims they direct me to the terms of service agreements. To find these agreements you have to click the small web hosting link at the top corner of the screen to get a pull down to go to the policies page where six different policy agreements live which of course I had to agree to them to use the service. Buried in section 7 of the fifth agreement is where they apparently try and define unlimited. 

This is a direct quote from the Omnis Web Hosting Service Agreement

Customer acknowledges that the real-time resources allocated for hosting service are dynamically allocated based on the amount of overall resources used by Customer. Real-time resources include but are not limited to bandwidth, MySQL connections, email connections, web server CPU, and web server RAM. Real-time resources may be affected by things such as, but not limited to, bandwidth and disk space used, the number or size of configured email accounts, the number of web sites configured under hosting service, or the number of or activity on connections to MySQL databases.
Omnis Network uses Network-attached storage devices to store Customer's files. The nature of this type of storage requires that Omnis Network limit the number of files Customer can store with the hosting service to prevent exhaustion of the total number of files permitted on the storage device. This limit is 81920 files. Customer acknowledges that this limit exists for all hosting service and can not be adjusted.

So if you are a customer and use more than the average resource of the other customers then your service this throttled with no warning. When I asked where these limitations are listed in the control panel I was told "they change all the time and are not listed anywhere". So you when you get the email and you have been hobbled then you know you went over your limit and it is too late. 

A week after I opened a support ticket well past the 24 hours window in which I was supposed to get a response I got the following email:

Dear Customer;

You may review the Web Hosting Service Agreement that you agreed to when you purchased your hosting account at

Section 7 explains how the resource allocation system works.  If you wish to upload files beyond the average usage of our customers, your available resources will be restricted.

In order to maintain unrestricted resources, you will need to ensure that you keep your disk usage within a reasonable amount.

Currently, we apply restrictions once a hosting account exceeds 6.05gb, however that number is dynamic and can change at any time.  If you cannot get your disk usage under that amount, you would need to purchase an additional hosting account to split up your disk usage to avoid the restrictions.

Thank you,
Omnis Network, LLC

After again explaining that one single website with a lot of images and very low traffic took 20 GB of space and there wasn't a way to break up the site across multiple accounts it seemed as though a basic site with a lot of photos was not something that Omnis could handle. I moved the site off to Host Gator who offers better customer support and an escalation procedure that goes all the way to the CEO of the company, now that's service. 

So I emailed the sales department to explain the utter failure of tech support in resolving my issue and the additional problems I suffered after removing one of the websites. The system didn't recover right away and with another call to tech support they said it would recover within an hour. Two hours later another call to tech support to be told it could take a few more hours the system that disables the websites can't be overridden and runs on a schedule. The next day we still had slow sites and I called again. That tech was able to run the job and make it remove the restriction from our account, which still only slowly returned over a period of hours. 

I got a response from the email to the sales team and it was Jeremy again from support with the following message:

Dear Customer;

I apologize if any of our policies do not work for your business.  All of our technical support representatives are empowered to make decisions and assist customers with the highest level of support, so when a ticket is escalated to management it is usually an emergency or requires an administrator to fix an issue.  That is where the "escalated tickets are normally handled within 24 hours" statement came from.

In your case, you simply wanted to express your displeasure with our policy, and did not agree with the support representative's solution.  Those policies are put in place by the owner of the company, and will not change.

You can view the policies at the page I provided.  I also clearly stated that the disk usage number at which restrictions occur is a dynamic number, so we cannot simply post that number for customers to view, since the number changes every second.

As a shared website hosting company offering website hosting for $6 per month, we cannot allow customer's disk usage to become so large that they dominate the resources available to the rest of our customers.  That is how shared hosting works, and we will not adjust our policy or make any changes at this time.

I understand that this type of hosting is not always the perfect solution for every customer, so if you feel that shared hosting is not providing you with the disk space and bandwidth necessary to host your large websites, you may need to look into a dedicated server option.

Thank you,
Omnis Network, LLC

Note at no time am I referred to by my name just a generic Dear Customer; and none of my interactions with tech support by phone or email indicated they were empowered to do anything. In fact all I ever heard is what they were not able to do. Once I even asked after they told me what they couldn't do I asked what they could do and they told me again delete my sites. 

 I went online and did some research on Omnis and other hosting providers and see a lot of unsatisfied customers with Omnis sounding off in various forums with similar complaints. That is what finally prompted me to write about this experience in detail and now when it comes to hosting I tell my readers here, my consulting clients, my podcast listeners, and anyone else who wants support for websites DO NOT use Omnis. Choose a hosting company that provides tech support with escalation methods if you can't get help. Read the fine print and make sure unlimited is truly unlimited you don't want your website to be hobbled because it grew or became popular. offers excellent support and reasonable prices. offers excellent support and reasonable prices. offers excellent support, great tools, and reasonable prices. 

There are a number of companies out there that can meet most users web hosting needs. Just make sure you read the fine print and the control panel has a method to monitor any limits so you can be aware of the situation before you reach the limit and not be notified until after it is too late. 

Also hold your providers feet to the fire if they make claims that are not true. If they claim it is unlimited fine let it be unlimited. But if their are limits make them clear, easy to find, and easy to monitor so we aren't surprised. Don't settle for your web host over promising and under delivering.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid Reviewed

The 2012 Toyota Camry is the biggest piece of technology I have ever reviewed on my blog. While not technically Mac centric the 2012 Toyota Camry has some new features for geeks to get excited about and is worth talking about.

First the good in my month of driving the new Camry I have found that it is fun to drive. A combined 200 hp four cylinder and electric drive train make the 2012 Toyota Camry a snappy and responsive car while still giving me between 43 and 45 miles to the gallon. More than twice the fuel economy of my old 2000 BWM 740iL with an interior and handling that feels comparable to my older luxury sedan.

From the moment you walk up to the car when the interior lights up when detecting the smart key fob in my pocket and the door unlocks when you just touch the door handle the tech in this car feels special. Sliding into the driver seat and seeing the instrument panel come to life at the touch of the power button.

If your phone is paired to the car you get a notification that your phone has connected on screen. If I forget my phone I get a reminder the connection didn't occur and can go back and get my phone. The bluetooth allows me to listen to music, use my phone, and use my phones Internet connection to connect my car to Pandora, iHeartRadio, Open Table, and other applications. The car even supports over the air updating of the software.

I have held on to this review for a little over a year before I released it. I decided to spend some time with the car and after the initial wow factor wore off and some of the issues started to show I would see how I felt about my car.

I still like the car overall. I will say Toyota needs to issue software updates quicker for these\

cars. So far I have only gotten one major update to the car. The issues I have encountered have included a number of software bugs I have discovered over the last year. Some of them took six months to encounter.

1.) Voice recognition degrades over time until it resets and then it works again for another month.

2.) When listening to music using bluetooth and using navigation the banner showing Bluetooth information blocks the part of the screen that shows the next street name to turn on. Also when in resetting the fuel economy monitor the bluetooth banner covers the update and reset buttons.

3.) Since the upgrade to iPhone 5 when plugging the iPhone into the USB port music control doesn't work consistently and you can't use the Apps while the phone is charging.

As a quick tip to work around the above problem. Plug a USB charger into the power adapter for charging only and continue to use Bluetooth to Internet access.

4.) On the iPhone 4 initially the car couldn't read text messages but with an iOS update I started getting text messages and iOS notifications read to me. After the move to iPhone 5 and iOS 6 the text reading feature became hit and miss.

5.) Last year with iOS 6 Apple announced Eyes Free and last month Chevy announced an over the air update to make Eyes Free work. So far Toyota is still silent and Siri Voice recognition is much better than what is built into the car and can evolve much faster.

6.) A couple of times the audio system has just cut out and no matter which source I choose no audio would work until I pulled over and turned off the car and restarted it.

Some of the things I think Toyota could have done better was with ambient lighting inside the car. Some of the lights are a blueish white and some are green. Changing them to one consistent color would be much nicer. Also lighting all of the buttons in the car would be helpful. At night finding door lock buttons and other window controls is difficult.

The car could also use parking sensors. For all of the tech on board not having that just feels like a huge oversight.

The gas milage is incredible. Over a year I have averaged about 42 miles per gallon and only have to go put gas in my car about once a month. Getting 600 miles to a tank of gas also saves time in not needing to go to the gas station. The hybrid batteries charge from the engine and the brakes so you don't have to plug the car in or do anything extra. So you get the full benefit of the hybrid system without having to do any extra steps. Engine performance still feels peppy as well.

Over all I do like the car and like where Toyota is heading with the Camry. It has an excellent fit and finish and is worth the investment if you are in the market for a new car.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Value of AppleCare Plus

I have mentioned this before both on the podcast and in a number of Mac User Group meetings I have spoken at in the past. I do feel the need however to post about this again this week for reasons that will become abundantly clear in a moment.

AppleCare plus for your iOS devices is a must have for people on the go that rely on their devices. For $99 users get two years of coverage against device defects and against accidental damage. Let messy that one more time for emphasis. If you accidentally damage your device apple will replace it for $49 dollars. For the two year coverage of the device if you drop it on the ground and it breaks or if it falls in water Apple will replace the device for $49.

I just happened to be talking to a friend last Monday about AppleCare and stated I never really use it in the six years I have carried an iPhone or the three years I have carried my iPad. The very next day my phone slipped out of my hand and fell on its edge on a concrete parking lot. The result was disastrous.

After getting over the initial shock and surprise I didn't worry about it. I just picked up my phone opened my Apple Store app and through the cracked screen booked an appointment with a genius. I went right up to the store on my way home and they swapped it out in about twenty minutes. I paid for my replacement and bought a case to make sure it doesn't happen again. As soon as I got home I restored my phone from my iCloud backup and within about four hours of breaking my phone I was back in business and no one would have known it even happened if I had not posted it on Twitter.

Finally a few years ago I had my trusty 2007 MacBook Pro that was my primary computer. In the three years I owned the machine it went back for service for a few issues. One was a recall for a bad graphics chip, next a bad battery, later another motherboard for a different issue, then a broken lid latch that was keeping my machine from closing. Finally one night the hard drive started acting up so I Carbon Copy Cloned my hard drive to an external and booked an appointment.

Due to the number of issues I had experienced with this one machine Apple opted to replace my computer with a brand new 2009 MacBook Pro. Thanks to my AppleCare warranty I got a new machine and immediately bought a new warranty. Laptops and handheld devices go with us everywhere and sometimes take a beating. Again I can't stress enough the importance and peace of mind The AppleCare plus warranties bring for someone who constantly relies on technology for daily life.

Apple TV

The more I use the new Apple TV the more I like it. The previous model was likable and easy to use but we had no options for live content. N...