Archives For seattletimes

Mbp touchbar

When I was working on ideas for my latest Practical Mac column for The Seattle Times, I wanted to talk about my new MacBook Pro, but felt as if I’d already beat the subject into the ground. Turns out I hadn’t actually written about it since I received mine. (Maybe the readers are tired of it anyway.) So this week, I share some observations about actually using the new Touch Bar-equipped MacBook Pro on a daily basis. I also reflect on a couple of utilities—TextExpander and SoundSource—that have served me well running older versions, but which I’ve finally updated for good reasons.

Of particular note with the MacBook Pro, I’ve seen vastly improved battery life since updating to macOS Sierra 10.12.3, which fixed a bug that wasn’t allowing the graphics processors to switch the way they were supposed to. (In short: most of the time, the machine uses the Integrated graphics that are part of the main Intel Core i7 processor, which is highly battery efficient. Some apps, like Photoshop, take advantage of the discrete GPU for better and faster graphics processing, which burns through battery power faster. Instead of kicking back to the Integrated graphics when no longer using one of those apps, Sierra would continue to use the GPU.) This change has almost doubled my battery life in some cases.

Read it here: A new MacBook Pro, and dragging old applications into the future

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Airpods coffee

When Apple announced AirPods, the wireless earbuds, I thought they looked cool, but they didn’t really catch my attention. I already owned a pair of Bluetooth headphones, and regular earbuds have generally worked just fine in my ears.

And then people started to rave about them. As I mention in this week’s Practical Mac column for The Seattle Times, “… I began to see something unusual for modern Apple, with its deep marketing prowess and industry clout: enthusiastic word-of-mouth.”

After using them for a few weeks, I’m sold. They’re great, even with a few limitations (no volume control except via Siri, no quick pairing with the Apple TV). And AirPods offer the best first-encounter experience of any Apple product in recent memory, hands down.

Read the entire review here: AirPods turn out to be rare product that lives up to the hype.

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In my latest Practical Mac column in the Seattle Times, I outline (in a more concise version than what I posted previously) why the perceived MacBook Pro limitations—RAM, price, etc.—didn’t stop me from ordering one to replace my aging 2010 MacBook Pro. I also offer a solution for stopping iCloud calendar spam and note Apple’s apparent abandonment of its AirPort line of wireless routers.

Read it here: MacBook Pro issues didn’t keep me away.

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Mbp touchbar top

Following Apple’s media event last week where the company introduced the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, I wrote up the news and some initial impressions for my Seattle Times column: Apple’s latest Mac upgrade news is intriguing and perplexing.

There’s been a lot of kvetching and hand-wringing about this new update from Apple, reaching similar levels of paranoia as during the Dark Years of being an Apple fan. Does this mean Apple is abandoning the Mac? Has Apple forgotten about its professional customers? Is the Touch Bar just a gimmick? And what about the iMac, Mac mini, and Mac Pro?

I sound dismissive, but I’m not. There are some things about the event that are perplexing, such as the 16 GB memory limit in all MacBook Pro configurations, and the lack of any news about the other Macs. I don’t fall on the Apple-is-doomed spectrum (hell, we’ve been through enough of that), but this does seem like an unusual move for the company.

I’ll have more to say soon. In the meantime, read the article and leave your feedback!

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My barber said, “I have too many clouds,” and I immediately sympathized. iCloud, Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive…I have files stashed in all of them. What surprised me when I set about to write this week’s column for the Seattle Times, is that I’ve so effortlessly moved so much of my work and personal data to cloud-based services.

iOS 10 and macOS Sierra, released last month, further entwine iCloud’s tendrils into everyday activities. In the column, I talk about how it enables me to control Philips Hue lights in my home from any remote location, unlock a Mac using my Apple Watch just by getting near it, and more.

Read the column here: Forecast: Increasing use of cloud services for just about everything.

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The ol’ eyes just aren’t what they used to be. After getting a new eyeglasses prescription and noticing how my mother’s iPhone text is permanently larger than normal, I decided to write my latest Seattle Times column about the many ways anyone can make their phone screens more legible. That ranges from simply enlarging text in the Display & Brightness settings to activating accessibility features such as text zoom. I also point out a few new options coming in iOS 10, such as adapting the screen’s display to accommodate different types of color blindness.

This just scratches the surface of iOS accessibility features, which are rich and highly regarded. I recommend following Steven Aquino’s work; he has produced lots of great coverage in many venues.

Read my latest Seattle Times column here: iOS aid makes reading on a screen easy.

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In my latest column for The Seattle Times, I look at Apple’s WWDC announcements with a mixture of excitement—some very cool things are coming—and cynicism—how will Apple make some things work well?

Read it here: Apple offers a look at coming operating system updates.

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In my latest Seattle Times column, I wrestle with keeping track of the various bits of digital data we need to store. Going paperless years ago was a relief, but the data I need to manage has increased since then. For a long time, I used Evernote, but found myself not turning to it in recent months. Apple’s Notes has, to my surprise, become a viable replacement for a couple of reasons I discuss in the article.

Read it here: Going paperless still requires bringing order to digital chaos

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My latest column for the Seattle Times covers Apple’s announcements from last week: the smaller iPhone SE, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, and features of iOS 9.3 such as Night Shift: New iPhone and iPad Pro pack more in smaller sizes.

I haven’t yet used either device, which are due to be released March 31, so the column isn’t a review. I’m looking forward to trying them out.

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In this week’s Practical Mac column for the Seattle Times, I cover the Apple/FBI situation and make the case that the implications for forcing Apple to comply with the FBI’s demand is a dire security situation for everyone. I also include some practical advice for securing data on iOS devices. Apple-FBI fight has big implications for your security, privacy