At this time of year, thoughts often turn to buying a new computer (by which we mean buying a new new computer, not one that is used but “new to you” or one that is already in your grasp but you are making “new” by buying new computer components for it). The first question to ask yourself should be “Should I buy a new computer system?”, or even “Do I really need to buy a new computer?” But assuming the answer to a new computer buy is “yes” (or even if you don’t really need a new computer, but just want in on all the new computer technology), this leads to several more questions people should ask themselves before they buy new computers: “A Microsoft new computer or a new Mac computer?” And if you are going to go Microsoft, then “A new computer with Windows 7, or Vista or, heck, maybe even a new computer with XP?” (Yes, they can still be had.) “Do I really need all the new computer technologies or should I consider some of the cheap new computers?” Ultimately, when purchasing a new computer, the best new computer for you is the one that will gives you the most use, with the least hassle, and the most satisfaction.
Got the dreaded “Time machine has completed a verification of your backups. To improve reliability, Time Machine must create a new backup for you” error message? Frustrating as all get out, isn’t it? (Especially if you have gigs and gigs of data to (re)backup.) Here’s why it’s happening.
Yesterday’s announcement by Apple that the music of the Beatles was finally available on iTunes brought cheers around the world (along with a few “So what?”s, it has to be said). And, it isn’t just a smattering of Beatles tunes – it is all of the Beatles music – every last bit of it. You can buy the albums individually, or in a compilation Box Set. Plus there is an exclusive “iTunes only” video of the Beatles’ very first U.S. concert, Live at the Washington Coliseum, 1964, (which you can watch for free through the end of the year)! Maybe now, at least, we will get that Beatles iPod, which has been rumoured for nearly 4 years.
Apple is fixing to announce a new iPad news service through which newspaper publishers can publish their newspapers on the iPad as iPad newspapers. The newspapers will charge a subscription fee, of which Apple will take a cut. While currently iPad owners can read some newspapers on their iPad by going directly to the newspaper’s web portal or website, the new iPad news service will presumably allow your daily newspaper to be delivered directly to your iPad. We anticipate that this will look like a cross between the newspaper’s web offering, and an RSS feed.
More and more audio files are showing up on the Internet in WMD format, which means that you need to convert those WMD files to listen to them on your Mac or MP3 player. This is particularly true for audio books, which frequently are downloaded as a WMD file. WMD is a format used by Microsoft’s media software, and unless you want to install the Microsoft software on your Mac in order to play your WMD file on a Mac, you are going to have to convert that WMD file in order to listen to it on your Mac. Fortunately, it’s actually really easy to convert a WMD file to listen it on a Mac, and to create MP3s of the file so that you can listen on your iPod, iPad, or other MP3 player.
Here at TIP we are a broadly Mac shop, and we do love our Apple computers. But that doesn’t mean that they never fail, and recently we learned the hard way that there are some known issues with certain repairs – Mac gotchas, if you will – that will get you every time. Such is the case with having your logic board replaced, which will cause problems for you with Time Machine and iTunes, because it changes your computer’s MAC address, on which Time Machine and iTunes rely to authenticate your computer. The biggest issue we see is that Apple knows about this, and doesn’t warn the customer before swapping out the logic board. A simple warning from Apple before replacing a logic board could save Apple customers hours – days even – of stress, heartache, and futile searching and effort; but Apple doesn’t give their customers that warning. So, we are giving you that warning – here’s our word to the wise.
You may be surprised to learn that the standard iPad onscreen keyboard has dozens of alternative letters and symbols from several different languages hiding behind its exterior. Wondering how to create an upside-down question mark such as used in Spanish? Put accents over a letter? Create a pound or degree sign? They’re all there, just a long key press away!
The Handy Light iPhone app was an iPhone flashlight app with a difference: it enabled iPhone tethering. Tethering – using your cell phone as a modem to connect your laptop to the Internet – is one of the most demanded features on cellphones and, being not allowed on iPhones, has long been the Holy Grail among iPhone owners. In fact the desire to tether with an iPhone is one of the main reasons that users Jailbreak (root) their iPhones.
As we discussed earlier, Consumer Reports has issued a “can’t recommend” warning for the iPhone 4, based on the reception problems. However, in the process of testing the iPhone 4.0 issues, they did find a quick, cheap fix for the problem. It’s not pretty, but apparently it does work.
While Apple has been trying to pass the buck on the iPhone 4 reception problems, no less a venerable institution than Consumer Reports itself has said that it has tested the iPhone 4.0 hardware and found it to blame for the iPhone 4.0 reception issues that have been widely reported. In a blog post entitled “Why Consumer Reports can’t recommend the iPhone 4”, and subtitled “Apple iPhone 4 design defect confirmed”, on the ConsumerReports.org website, Consumer Reports says “It’s official.”
In a letter posted on the Apple website on Friday, just as everyone was leaving for the long weekend (we’re sure the timing is just coincidence), Apple admits that there is a bonafide Apple iPhone 4 reception problem. Well, sort of. What they really say is that the problem isn’t with the reception, or even with a faulty antenna – it’s with saying you have more bars of reception than you really do. Hrrm… way to shift the blame over to AT and T!
It was only a matter of time before the legal world and the iPhone app world merged. There are now several iPhone applications that purport to help you to get divorced, by providing information, calculations and, at least by inference, advice (although of course they can’t call it legal advice without risking being hit for unauthorized practice of law – or, as we in the biz call it, UPL).
Very few apps (applications) on the iPad run in the background, meaning that most of them simply stop when you hit the home button and exit the application. But with the iPod app on your iPad, you can have music in the background, and use any other application while listening to that iPod background music. And you can pop up a pop-up iPod controller (like a little iPod remote control) while you are using any other application, without ever leaving that app.!