Bart’s Let’s Talk Apple show hits 50 episodes. In Dumb Question I’ll attempt answer whether someone should use Apple Photos or Google Photos (and I’m not as biased as you would expect). In a huge deviation from my published policy, I’ll give you a Tiny Tip about sharing existing playlists in iOS 11. Bezalel review of three products to bring wireless Qi charging to more “mature” iPhones. I’ll tell you the tale of adventure Steve, Pat Dengler and I went through to acquire the iPhone X, and I’ll give you some first impressions. Again, not as biased as you would expect (although I do use the word “magical” more than once.)
Bart was on the Phileas Club this week to talk about Ireland, and I was on Daily Tech News Show with Sarah Lane. Rick from Baltimore joins us with his first audio submission, where he tells us about how he discovered how to reset the People album in Apple Photos. I’ve found a tool called Grammarly to help me minimize typos that makes me happy. Bart brings us an out-of-band Security Bits session because of the big vulnerability discovered this week in WiFi. It’s oddly a reassuring session!
This week I was on the Clockwise Podcast (Clockwise #205: Candy-Coated Vegetables on relay.fm) and on Brett Terpstra’s Systematic podcast (201: Not the Man I Thought He Was with Allison Sheridan on esn.fm). I interview Bart about the security implications of Face ID on the new iPhone X. I give you what I hope is a different view on the Apple announcement. Security Bits is really huge this week with three Security Mediums thanks to companies like AT&T and Equifax.
This is a bit of a different show – it’s primarily the four part story of my saga dealing with two catastrophic failures with Apple in a single week. It’s quite a tech story with a lot to interesting angles. After that Bart joins us with Security Bits.
This post is Part 3 of a 4-part saga. To start at Part 1, please enjoy: AppleCare Needs a Frequent Flyer Program.
As the saga progressed on my 2013 MacBook Pro being unable to contact any Apple services (no apps would run, no Mail would come in, no access to my iCloud data), I decided to see if I could get a response out of the executives at Apple. I originally wrote to Tim Cook, CEO of Apple but then forwarded the email on to Craig Federighi, Senior Vice President of Software Engineering. He seems like a swell guy with that pretty hair and all.
I put in three guesses on what his address might be and shot off the email. Here’s what I wrote to Tim and Craig: Continue reading “Time to Contact Craig Federighi”
This post is Part 2 of a 4-part saga. To read Part 1, please enjoy: AppleCare Needs a Frequent Flyer Program.
In my most recent post I told you about how my 2016 MacBook Pro died and had to go back to Apple for repairs. I said at the end that it wasn’t the worst thing that happened. Things got far far worse.
This isn’t my first rodeo, so I had three backups of my Mac. A full clone backup from SuperDuper! on an external drive, plus Backblaze AND CrashPlan offsite backups. It’s a long story why I have both but I was fully covered. I also always keep my most recent Mac when I buy a new one, just in case I ever have a hardware failure like this.
I reversed the cloning process to send my image onto my 2013 MacBook Pro. It was a little bit more complicated than it would be for a normal person, because I had upgraded the 2013 Mac to High Sierra and allowed it to change over to Apple’s new file system, APFS. SuperDuper! is really easy to restore from; you just sort of run it backwards, but it didn’t recognize the internal drive on the 2013. I used Disk Utility to reformat it back to Mac OS Extended (Journaled) and then I was able to shove the backup onto the old machine.
Luckily my backup and the internal drives are both SSDs so it only took about an hour. I booted from the old Mac and it looked just like my new Mac – I was in business. Or so I thought. Continue reading “That Time Apple Stole My Stuff (or Maybe Not)”
I entitled this article “AppleCare Needs a Frequent Flyer Program” because if they had such a program, I’d be getting all kinds of free perks by now. If someone asked me if they should buy anything from Apple right now, there would be hesitation in my response. It’s that bad.
This weekend my 2016 Touch Bar MacBook Pro died. I know that buying on the bleeding edge of a new model year is often problematic. Normally though, you get early deaths, like with my 12″ MacBook that had to be replaced. Continue reading “AppleCare Needs a Frequent Flyer Program”
It will be hard to top the first Tiny Tip. So many people have told me they love the strategy of creating a Delete Me folder! Don’t set your expectations that high for every Tiny Tip, though. In the words of Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa, “They can’t all be winners.”
When you want the new hotness coming out of Apple, one of the ways to justify your expensive purchase is to resell your existing Apple products. The good news is that Apple devices hold their value really well. The bad news is it’s tedious to figure out what your devices are worth.
Traditionally I write down all of the specs of a machine, and then go over to eBay. I search for the same device on eBay while setting the filter to sold items only. Then I create a spreadsheet and start recording the last 10-12 that have sold recently. I keep detailed notes in my spreadsheet on how they might vary from the one I’m trying to sell.
I throw out the super high ones, which are usually those sold by a company. Then I throw out the lowest one if it’s got something clearly wrong with it or it has something fundamentally different spec-wise from the one I’m selling. I average the selling price in my beloved Excel to determine a price. If I’m selling to a stranger, that’s a fixed number, if it’s to a friend who maybe could use a little bit of help with the price, I’ll lower it a bit. At least I know the value of the equipment, but this process takes 3-4 hours.
But that’s not the Tiny Tip. For Father’s Day I got Steve a new iMac, so I needed to figure out what his old one was worth. It’s a 27″ Mid-2011 model. I was too lazy to walk all the way down to his office and pull the specs directly, so I popped open the fantastic free app, MacTracker. (Available in the Mac App Store and in the iOS App Store.)
MacTracker has been around forever, but it’s continued to get better and better over time. The developer now includes all desktops, laptops, iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs, Airport routers and more. You can find out everything about these devices, up to and including hearing their original startup sounds. It’s super cool.
But that’s still not the Tiny Tip. HERE’S the Tiny Tip. I looked up Steve’s iMac model in Mactracker and I noticed something new. The Initial selling price was there, but below that was “Current Price” with a US flag next to the price. Boom, you know the current selling price!
But wait, there’s more. I noticed that it was in blue, so I clicked it. I got a prompt asking if I wanted to open the link in a browser. I trust Mactracker, and it was awfully sweet of it to ask permission so I allowed it.
The price link in Mactracker took me to a site called bidvoy at us.bidvoy.net. Now here’s the really cool part. Bidvoy shows you the price over time. There’s a pulldown to choose from some standard time frames from the last 6 months to 2 weeks, or you can set a custom range. The data points even have a trendline through them.
Below the graph you get the average over the last 6 months (which is the number you see in Mactracker). You can see the weekly trend, how many auctions and the price margin. Not sure what that one was.
Below that you can even see the best time to purchase based on this historical data, and the best time to sell. For Steve’s model, you want to buy on a Sunday between midnight and 4 am, and I should try to sell it (if I’m doing an auction) on a Tuesday between 4 and 8 am. They show the prices for those two times, but it doesn’t entirely make sense. The average for Steve’s iMac is shown around $600. The best time to sell says almost $800, but the best time to purchase says $650. I would think that the average should be between the best time to sell and buy, wouldn’t you? Still interesting.
But bitvoy isn’t done yet. After the graphs, you can see a list of the same model currently-selling on eBay. For each one they show the current bid price (or buy it now price), the time left, and a red, blue or green badge telling you if it’s underpriced, normal, or over priced. If you see one that strikes your fancy as a buyer, you can click on it and go right into the sale on eBay.
One caution on using Mactracker and bidvoy. While this is easy, if the Mac you’re buying or selling isn’t the average model, the price you see here will not be representative. For example, in looking at the current auctions, I realized that this includes not just the i7 version I bought for Steve, but also the i5’s that are less valuable. I cranked up the RAM and disk when I bought it for him, so that should be taken into account too.
Using Mactracker and its connection to bidvoy is a great starting point and can get you most of the way there with the simple click of a button. I should mention that the iOS version of Mactracker doesn’t have this current price feature, so you’ll need to view it on a Mac.
I’ve just realized that the definition of a Tiny Tip is that it could be described in one sentence or two but that doesn’t mean I can’t make a lengthy post about it anyway!
In this early show, we’ll talk about how I figured out the true root cause of the problems in rendering the new podfeet.com theme (I was wrong last week). Then I’ll tell you about how I discovered two actual bugs in macOS that no one else had ever reported, and how I made the senior advisor laugh. I’ve got a review of the awesome Sandman Clock from Palo Alto Innovations. Then I’ll give you an Apple fan girl’s review of the Android Nexus 5X from LG (it’s more complimentary than you might think!
Podfeet.com finally gets a makeover and I’ll tell you a bit of detail on how I did it (link to comical PDF instructions). I was on the SMR Podcast this week, Apple appear to have a new strategy in repair of their products called “We’ll meet you halfway”. We’ll have a full review of the new Ring Floodlight Cam from ring.com. Bart’s back with Security Bits where we talk about Shadow Broker’s latest data dump that could endanger Windows users, and more.