Just AirPlaying around

So, apparently AirPlay is this thing where your Mac or iPad or iPhone can send audio/video to another device, like a newer Apple TV and use that gadget to play/show it.

So, I could play a movie on my iPad and have it show up on the tv my Apple TV is attached to.

Got it?

Okay, so my Pioneer receiver that all of my HDMI gadgets (PS3, Apple TV, cable box, etc) are attached to and I basically use as an expensive HDMI switch (radio? What’s that?) also supports AirPlay, but I’ve been ignoring that because I don’t use AirPlay.

Well… Suddenly yesterday, my receiver kept switching to AirPlay when I used the remote for my older 1st gen Apple TV (I use that as a media server. The new Apple TV does streaming from my Mac and the Internet . Eventually I’ll get rid of the old one and just have the new one… But anyway…)

I’m not sure what was going on there but one of those times it showed a program I DON’T have anywhere in my video collection on any device. I didn’t think it could pick up AirPlay devices not on my local network… Weird.

Need to fix that. Turn it off! How is that getting to my receiver past my router?

And then, my new Apple TV kept showing some message about AirPlay. Turns out, it somehow was in conference room mode. And was displaying instructions for using that. What? Not sure how that happened. But I turned it off. Also reconfigured the new Apple TV so random AirPlay user can’t send anything to MY Apple TV, which shouldn’t be possible either.

Such weirdness for a feature I don’t use.

Yosemite, Dang it!

(* Warning, this may become a rant! *)

So, on Thursday, Apple released the next version of OS X (10.10) Yosemite. Some interesting features, some annoyances. Visually, it now flat like iOS 7 & 8. Which is okay, but not great. I’m getting old and my eyes sure don’t like the flatness. But I’ll get used to it. (Though, why is that x in the ‘Close’ window bubble off center?)

I installed it this morning on my current ‘active’ Macs (My desktop, and my laptop). Easy. Simple. One asked me if I wanted to use iDrive, the other didn’t but enabled it anyway. (Not a prob. I was already using iCloud for Pages documents and a few other things already. This is just an extension of that, better integrated into OS X (Before, you had to either know where OS X hides the files or manage iCloud documents within the app that put things there. It was ugly!)

Once it was installed, I noticed a few things that required immediate attention (Besides downloading new versions of all my Apple apps (iWork, iLife, etc) for Yosemite/iDrive.)

  1. Who turned on ‘Guest Access’? Totally not Tera Apple! (Possible I missed it in some previous update but unlikely) ? I’m sorry folks but I NEVER have that enabled. Guests are expected to bring their own computing devices if they need to do something rude like surf the internet or check Twitter/Facebook/email/etc while visiting me. If they are visiting me for long term (more than a day) I’ll set them up with an actual account on one of my gadgets.)

    So… turned THAT off.
  2. Notifications. I want very little on my ‘Lock Screen’ (Mac or iThing) but whomever designed this feature assumes everybody wants everything to show up there. And sound! Sorry, I don’t like sounds coming from my computer, unless I’m watching/listening to media. Apps? Off it goes. So, I had to go thru the Notifications control panel and turn things off (some completely, some just sound.) I have this problem with iOS also. Hopefully, I’ll find a way to disable sound notifications completely with a few exceptions. Opt-in, not Opt-out please, and thank you Apple.
  3. New version of OS X == new version of Safari. Of course. Can’t let the program I use the most stay unchanged! Sure, give it the look of the new OS. That makes sense. By why, Why!!! do you have to move menu options around and change my settings. Hates it. Hates it so much! (The arbitrary changing. They did it in Mobile Safari also. Bech!) And what’s with the constant beachball as I type this post? (Might be the WordPress posting interface. Happens whenever THAT does a save or because I’m doing a post-Upgrade backup. 20GB of changes? That’s all?))

    Update: Might have fixed the Safari Issue — haven’t seen it in a little while. (Had some Folder Actions keeping an eye out for unruly apps putting things where they weren’t supposed to. Might be it. We’ll see.) Don’t like the lack of color in the bookmarks bar. Used to show the site icons (favcion.ico), now it doesn’t?
  4. iTunes? Withholding my opinion for now. Looks okay. I mainly use it to manage my media for iPad/Apple TV consumption. As long as I can find things, we’re okay.
  5. iBooks has 1 (One!) new feature that I can see. You can now add ePub’s as ‘drafts’ and they supposedly update as the copy outside iBooks updates. Hmm… that might be useful. If it works.

More to follow as I use it…

  • Does anyone actually use Dashboard anymore?

Honestly Apple, what was that!

So, Apple held their yearly new iPad intro yesterday. I don’t recall seeing an Apple event on a Thursday before but it seemed to go fairly well. Jokes from Tim Cook about the “accidental” leak of some iPad specs the day before (that sucked the air out of a Google announcement on Wednesday. Oops?)

Jokes about Apple secrecy (with an appearance by Steve Colbert.

So, new iPad Mini. I was looking forward to that one. Not anymore. It’s basically an iPhone 5s with a big screen and no phone bits in the mini case. zzzzzzz.

The new iPad Air? Much better. It got all the improvements, including a case redesigned. New CPU, a variant on the iPhone 6’s cpu/gpu. Faster networking, etc.

New iMac with retina display (higher res than those new 4K TVs ) could almost buy 2 maxed out MacBook Airs for a maxed out iMac. Not on my wish list.

Mac mini upgrade… Well, I was thinking of getting a second one to replace my older 1st gen AppleTV, but not this year. It has faster wifi than my current mini and 2(!) thunderbolt 2 port. And much better graphics. But the top end machine has a cpu less powerful than my current mini. Wtf Apple. Off the wish list until the NEXT refresh I guess.

There were also some software updates. OS X Yosemite is now out on the Mac store. (Something to do this weekend!). And a bunch of program updates to go with it.

IOS 8.1 (already?) will be released on Monday.

Those are the highlights.

Might Need some batteries

(No! Not for that! Get your minds out of the gutter.)

Thunderstorm this evening. The power flickered on and off for an hour. Until it died completely. Can hear emergency vehicles in the background.

Hopefully it’ll be back on before I have to get ready for work in the morning. And before the battery in my iPad/iPhone dies.

(I don’t get Columbus Day (aka Indigenous Peoples Oppression Day) off like some. (Every year at the ‘office’ we get to pick an extra holiday from a list. Columbus Day? Never makes it.  Usually we get a day in late December.)


After a couple hours of up-n-down power… things seem to have settled down. Phew.

Attack of SII

That would be “Self Inflicted Insomnia” – otherwise known as drinking way too much beverage(s) containing caffeine, in the last 12 hours, so I can’t sleep, no matter how tired I am.

Argh!

And the Purging continues

More fan fiction cleanup.

Deleted all of my Buffy/Willow fics (all 7 of them) from the Buffy/Willow archive IKOLY 2. ( all of which can still be found elsewhere. They aren’t gone completely.)

Deleted a Live Journal account, that probably no one knew about (I used it to post stories to the Twisted Shorts Live Journal Community but it’s been a while since I used it and anything I posted there is available elsewhere.

That drops me down to 5 places my fics can still be found. At some point I’ll narrow it down even more but haven’t decided which to delete next. The ultimate goal is 3.

It’s a Wrap

After 10+ years, The Grand Experiment is over. I’ve deleted all of my fics, complete, incomplete, in-progress, notes, whatever, from my personal website. Anyone (who was aware of this) who wants to read my stories (fan fiction anyway) will have to check out my stories at assorted online fan fiction archives (Some, not all, links to the left. Some may be duplicates.). (Or, if you can find it, there’s an archival, frozen in time, copy of my old Radio Userland blog out there somewhere.)

Never got much feedback. One or two people over the years. Haven’t updated it in a couple years and it was due for a revamp that I never got around to.

Maybe, some day, I’ll put it all back up. Right now, life goes on and I don’t have time to fiddle with them.

So, if anyone asks where they went… They’re Gone, Baby! Gone!

With the NaNo planning

Tomorrow, the windup to NaNoWriMo begins. 50,000 (or more) words in 30 days. 1,667 words/day. With the bonus, in the US, of the last few days being a long holiday weekend with little time (for me) to write.

Planned to write? The next “book” in my Yucatan Job story. Part 3 of 4.

I’ve already started outlining it, sort of. Not sure what it’s going to be about, really. Book 4 is the easy one. Lots of battles, and spaceships and “big honking space guns” but that’s next year. Book 3 is buildup. Might be boring.

New Shiny

Y’all went online early this morning and ordered a new iPhone, right? Gotta keep those dollars/rubles/euros flowing into the Apple vaults.

Seeing reports of the usual iPhone preorder day one mayhem. Out of stock, weeks/months of shipping time, etc. happens every year. You’d think Apple would prepare better. Or anticipate the volume. (Tim Cook’s Apple probably does, actually. But they can only make so many gadgets before they have to actually start selling them, and they never make enough to meeting immediate demand.)

Me? I’m on the ‘toc’ side of the current iPhone 2 Year refresh schedule (every other year. Tic = base (6 this year), Toc = ‘s’ ( following year). So, next year I’ll look at whatever replaces the iPhone 6 and decide if I can live with a larger phone or stick with my current one if we don’t get an iPhone 6s Mini.

Watch this!

Why yes, Apple did show off a watch after introducing the next iteration(s) of the iPhone today (the large iPhone 6, and the humongous iPhone 6 Plus – No, I’m not a fan of large phones. Maybe by the time I’m ready to upgrade (next fall) I’ll have gotten used to the idea. Or maybe Apple will have a iPhone 5/5s/5c sized phone with the new stuff in it. – One can hope…)

New watch? Here’s the Apple PR stuff:

http://www.apple.com/watch/

And, although the media insists on calling it an iWatch, Apple says it’s an Apple Watch.

( The less said about the disaster of a Livestream of today’s Apple Event the better. The 1st hour before the intro of the watch was unwatchable, no pun intended. Serious technical difficulties. )

I really can’t believe they went there with a “smart” watch. Of course, it won’t be available until after Christmas, giving all the clone vendors plenty of time to make their own versions, and all the Android Smart watch companies time to fix their current efforts to compete against this.

At the Movies

Just saw the Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary in a local theater. First time I’ve seen it in a theater. The movie itself was great, even if some of the tech is a bit outdated and it has a very early 80’s look to everything (of course!).

The promo for it claimed it was an updated 4K digital transfer (And the ticket cost an extra $5!) but I couldn’t tell the difference between that and any other movie I’ve seen this year. It looked like an old print that had been upscaled (Like how early DVDs look on modern Blu-Ray players.) And the sound wasn’t anything special (but it did drown out the popcorn eating people sitting behind me — a huge 600+ seat theater, less than 2 dozen people in it and they HAD to sit behind me!)

I was amazed at the amount of product placement. Soda, beer, and other things placed so you couldn’t miss the label.

Early 80’s so almost no modern tech. The only computer I recognized? An old Digital DECMate II w/an LA50 printer. Scary.  But their proton packs still looked modern-ish.

Realized, after getting back from the theater, that I’ve seen more movies in the last year than in the last 3 previous. So, Hollywood? Your bad year? So not my fault!

 

Reading Trouble

I originally purchased Trouble and Her Friends by Melissa Scott at the local mega-used book warehouse (I’ve purchased quite a few of her older works there since they all seemed to be out of print at the time. And I don’t buy used things from Amazon.). In paperback. In tiny, hard to read print, on yellowed pages.

Finally, it’s been reprinted, as a trade paperback. And in a $10 Kindle edition. A bit pricey for a 20 year old novel, but I bought it anyway. I really wanted to read it again, without the tiny print giving me a headache due to my aging eyes.

Worth the price? I think so. The main characters are well drawn. and the story just seems to flow.

Even though the internet is nothing like the story depicts, and the online world has gotten a bit more sophisticated since then, it still holds up. Sure, we don’t have the ability to wire ourselves directly into the internet like Trouble does, and that idea has since become something of a cliche in cyberpunk novels, but it still works.

Trouble’s America isn’t some post-apocalypse dystopia like depicted in so many modern YA novels (Hunger Games, etc.) but it isn’t exactly a world of “hugs and puppies” either.

(And let’s be clear, it’s not a YA novel. Though it has less violence and sex than almost any YA you’ll find.)

Silent Shenanigans

Notice the almost total silence on the upgrade adventure in progress – replacing my desktop (a slow, late 2008 MacBook) with a more modern Mac mini. The process has taken almost a week, so far.

We won’t talk about the fun, that is not, of adding a second hard drive to a computer that you have to completely dissemble to get to the second drive bay. Or having to buy a mounting kit (some screws, a cable, and a couple tools) because, although the mini has a port on its motherboard for a second ATA drive, Apple doesn’t expect you to use it. It’s only there to save them a couple $$ by using the same motherboard for all the Mac mini models (except for the CPU), one of which is a server model,with 2 drives.

Upgrade Shenanigans

I was running out of space on the SSD In my mid-2012 MacBook Air. Plenty of room when I bought it. Now? Not so much.

So, I bought a higher capacity SSD from Other World computing (OWC). They specialize in Mac upgrades. I’ve upgraded a number of Macs using parts from them.

Putting the new SSD in was easy. Remove the bottom of the machine, unplug a cable, unscrew the old SSD, put in the new one. (They even have instructional videos. )

And then… The adventure began. Needed to copy everything from the old SSD to the new one.

I bought an upgrade that includes an external USB case for the old drive.

Tried to use the OS X Migration Assistant (install OS X and then use that to copy documents, settings, and applications to the new disk.)

Every time I upgrade hardware (disk or new computer) I attempt this route. It SHOULD be the best way. But… Half the time it doesn’t work. Didn’t work this time either. First time it didn’t copy my apps but got everything else. 2nd time? Nothing.

The Mac kept losing contact with the external SSD. Not good.

So, I tried Carbon Copy Cloner (30 Day free trial). Froze. After 3 minutes.

On my second attempt. Replaced the USB cable with a known good one. Haven’t had a bad cable issue in years.

20 minutes in, so far so good. 1/4 copied. Fingers crossed.

If that doesn’t work, I have a TimeMachine backup I did right before the upgrade. It would take four times as long to rebuild from that. Hopefully not.

Just over there