Privacy.

Most people don’t want Facebook and other social media companies tracking their movements all over the Internet. We live in a very non-private world, but you can reclaim the tracking practices by these companies that make a lot of money from your data.

If you have an iPhone and/or iPad, you’re in luck. Apple released an update for these devices today. Go ahead and update your iPhone or iPad to the latest version of iOS/iPadOS. Then do the following

  1. Open “Settings”
  2. Tap on “Privacy”
  3. Tap on “Tracking”
  4. Switch “Allow Apps to Request to Track” to OFF

Done!

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On The Other Hand…

A couple of weeks ago I talked about how wonderful Siri and HomeKit was working out for our home automation projects.

It was all a lie.

Our HomePods are frequently telling us “no home hubs can be found” only to find a hub 10 minutes later. If I tell Apple Music to play a song on HomePod A and HomePod B for a few minutes, it’s going to do everything on both those HomePods until the end of time. Two days later I ask for ambient sounds for sleeping and they’re playing all over the house, even though they should only be playing in the bedroom. The only way to rectify this is to play a song on HomePod A and HomePod B and then stop playing on HomePod B. That’s fun at 3:00 AM after a few drinks.

My husband and I can watch devices randomly jump from room to room in real time on the Home app on our phones. They literally jump around every 10 minutes. Everybody is in the default room, nothing is in the default room, everyone take your places.

So, on the other hand, Alexa is starting to work much better for us. The application UI is awful, but the functionality is more reliable.

Recollections.

I have an ironclad memory. I’m known as the guy that remembers everything. I can tell you the bell schedule from high school (which I graduated from 35 years ago). I can tell you every home room number, every bus number, and I can give you SKU numbers from Ames Department Store, which closed in 2003. Magazines? 02730021. Greeting cards? 81230013. Candy bars? 67235515.

I can tell you very little about our drive a month ago from Chicago to Tucson.

It’s all about impact. The drive down made little impact. We drove through St. Louis. No big deal. It’s St. Louis. We drove through Kansas. It’s flat. It was our first time driving through the panhandle of Oklahoma. There’s nothing there. Our cat Truman settled down, we ate fast food, and bam, we’re living in Tucson, Arizona. We had very little interaction with the public, we didn’t see any friends between points A and B and I probably filled the tank on our 2016 Jeep Cherokee six times.

It was uneventful and for the first time in nearly 53 years, the ride did not make an impression on me. At all. I remember little about it.

I’m ready to make memories again. Our new home is a delight and we’re getting settled in, but I’m still not quite on my game. Things are not locking in as I would expect them to. Am I overwhelmed? I don’t think so. I’m missing my structured schedule. I’m still finding that structure. I like structure. It’s comfortable.

And when I’m comfortable, things make an impact. And that’s when the memories are written.

I need to find my comfort.

Summer Nights.

I’ve talked about this before and I shall do so again. One of my favorite memories, and feelings associated with the memory, is riding home from Grandma and Grandpa City’s house to our home “up north” via the back seat of my Dad’s 1971 Heavy Chevy. The four of us would be situated in our respective seats in the muscle car. The lights of Syracuse would fade behind us, the power lines running parallel to Interstate 81 would make a 90 degree turn to the west just south of Brewerton, and we’d cross over Oneida Lake and into Oswego County to make our trek home.

Dad would always have the radio on in the car. Always. In 1976 when we drove my great aunt home to Blackstone, Virginia after the annual family reunion, we listened to every Top 40 radio station from home to Blackstone in back. The radio was always on in the car and since it was an AM radio, we listened to 62 WHEN out of Syracuse. At the time 62 WHEN was known for their promotional vehicle, which was a Heavy Chevy. I figured we had to listen to WHEN because they had a Heavy Chevy and we had a Heavy Chevy. To my early elementary years mind, this made sense. I have always looked for patterns in life.

There are several songs I remember coming from the radio of the Heavy Chevy, but a few songs can actually take me back to one of those rides. I remember the summer time rides better than the winter time rides, probably because we didn’t make the trek as much in the winter. One of the songs that I can vividly remember hearing is “Love or Let Me Be Lonely” by the Friends of Distinction. The tempo changes, the groovy approach, and the moodiness of the track take me back to sitting in the back seat of the Heavy Chevy on Interstate 81. It’s a magical feeling. I have so many happy memories from my childhood. I have little to complain about. If this makes me boring, oh well.

M1 Mac mini.

So I’ve been plugging along at work on my new Mac mini and it is amazing. As a software developer, a Unix systems administrator, and a guy that needs to attend several meetings a day via various video conferencing platforms, I have to say I’m blown away by this new M1 Mac mini. Blown away.

This new machine never gets warm. Ever. While doing to same workload on my 2015 maxed out MacBook Pro, I’d hear all sorts of fan noises, wheezes, and gasps from that computer. Beach balls would spin everywhere. But this Mac mini, with 8GB RAM, is plugging right along cool as a cucumber. I have run into zero difficulties with software compatibility. The only “workaround” I needed to do was set one of my terminal programs to “run in Rosetta mode”. The Rosetta mode is the compatibility layer to run software not designed for Apple’s new M1 chip. Other than toggling a setting in the applications window, the Rosetta layer has been absolutely transparent. Everything just works.

Hard drive performance in quick, network connectivity has been flawless, and I’ve had zero issues getting my day to day chores done on this new computer.

At $699 it is well worth the money for a desktop computer. I highly recommend this new Mac.

Spring Loaded.

Apple had their “Spring Loaded” event today and as a dutiful Apple Fanboy, I watched with great interest. Like the other Apple events over the past year, this was a virtually attended event with slick video and impressive editing. I’m assuming the entire production was created using Apple products. I say this because one time a Windows event was produced with Apple products and that was somewhat smirk worthy.

I was pleased to see everything that was announced today. The highlights of the event for me included the new AirTags and the new iPad Pro.

AirTags are small devices that attaches to various things you have a habit of misplacing. Luggage. Car keys. Your spouse. AirTags work with the existing Apple “Find My” ecosystem, so you can locate these tagged items using your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. With Apple’s focus on privacy and security, all of this location data is anonymized and encrypted but still available to your iDevices with pinpoint accuracy. You’ll never lose your car keys again. Totally useable in our household.

The new iPad Pro, especially the 12.9″ model (I currently have the 2018 version) is especially impressive. The new iPad Pros will have the same chip as the newest iteration of Macs, the Apple Silicon M1 chip. Up until last year, Macs used the same chip, and “industry standard” Intel chip, to power their Macs. These were the same chips you’d find in any Windows computer on the street. They tend to run hot, require a lot of power, and have other limitations, so Apple designed their own chip. I bought an M1 Mac mini for my work setup last week and it has been fantastic (more on that later this week). Moving to the M1 in the iPad Pro ramps up the already very capable device. I’m certain my next “laptop” will be this iteration of iPad Pro. Someone tell my husband to prime the credit card later this year.

Apple also announced a completely redesigned iMac and, surprise!, they come in an assortment of colors with matching keyboard, mouse, and/or trackpad. The new iMac is incredibly thin and is now powered by the aforementioned M1 chip. This will make the machine absolutely silent, something I really enjoy about any computer.

Side note, today I moved the NAS, or hard drive storage device, out of my office and into another room of the house because it was making too much noise and distracting me from work. While there are times I enjoy some music playing, most the time I try to work in complete silence. And when I want it silent, I want it silent. This was another reason for purchasing the M1 Mac mini last week; my older mid-2015 MacBook Pro fires up the fans a lot, especially during video calls.

Apple also announced a new Apple TV 4K and more importantly, a completely redesigned remote. Bonus feature, the newly designed remote will work with existing Apple TVs. While we already have an Apple TV 4K (the current version), we are both ready for a better designed remote. We’ve had too many instances where we couldn’t figure out which way was up when holding the remote, or hitting the wrong button because we were lost in the navigation, and mistakenly backing completely out of a show we were watching. The new design of the Apple TV remote looks promising and I’m anxious to add one to our collection of iDevices.

Overall I enjoyed the event very much and I just added another notch to the inevitable status as an Apple Fanboy. There are a lot of choices out there these days, I simply believe Apple does consumer tech in the best way available. They’re far from perfect, but when compared with other platforms, it just works.

Mac Tip: Keyboard Editing Commands.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been Mac and iPad focused with my technological endeavors. I’m trying to get away from editing code with editors designed in the 1970s but I love being able to navigate without using a mouse.

I found a list of the Mac navigation and editing keyboard commands. I hope you find these helpful as well. I am sharing these tips from the results of a Google search, where I landed on Amsys, an Apple Authorised Service Provider in London.

Note: these also work on an iPad with an external keyboard.

General 

ctrl + d  – forward delete
ctrl + k 
 – deletes everything to the right of the insertion point to the next new line.
command + delete – like ctrl+k, but reverse.
command + ctrl + d – look up the word under the mouse position in the dictionary.
command-f – Find dialog
command-t – Font dialog
command-g – Go to dialog
command-e – Align Center
command-j – Align Justified
command-l – Align Left
command-r – Align Right

Text Selection

Shift + option (alt) + ⬅ – Select up to beginning of word the insertion-point currently is
Shift + command + ⬅ – Select up to beginning of line the insertion-point currently is
Shift + option (alt) + ➡ – Select up to end of word the insertion-point currently is
Shift + command + ➡ – Select up to end of line the insertion-point currently is
Shift + command + ⬆ – Select up to beginning of document from insertion-point currently is
Shift + command + ⬇
 – Select up to end of document from insertion-point currently is
option (alt) – changes the cursor to a + , and you can now select columns of text!

Navigation

ctrl + a – Go to the beginning of the line the insertion-point is on.
ctrl + e – Go to the end of the line the insertion-point is on.
option (alt) + ⬅ – Go to beginning of word
option (alt) + ➡ – Go to end of word
command + ⬅ – Go to beginning of the line
command + ➡ – Go to end of the line
command + ⬆ – Go to beginning of document
command + ⬇ – Go to end of document