Firefox Browser

If you haven't seen it, here is an article questioning whether Firefox has a future?

Just look at how Chrome has taken over as a favored browser. Safari continues to muddle along at about 5% market share, and Microsoft's new Edge browser hasn't even made a blip on the screen yet.

I'm not sure why Chrome has taken over, and the article mentions all browsers nowadays do pretty much the same thing, with some slight differences. I use Chrome, and started a few years ago because at that time it was the only browser that sandboxed Flash, which I had to use when listening to music while on my computer. Once started, apparently I'm a creature of habit and continue to use Chrome. 

On my iPad and iPhone I use Safari, and find it is as good as Chrome, for all intents and purposes. But on my Macs and PCs I continue to use Chrome.

Jim Hamm

Google Maps

Here is a tip on using Google Maps (GM) that might be useful for you, if you're not already aware of this. If, say, you get a map routing from your house to city "A" using your house computer and GM, there is an option to save this routing to your iPhone or iPad. You can even send an email or text to yourself. On the routing click the line that says "send directions to your phone". This will open up a dialog box wherein you can select how you want to receive this routing.

For example, you can plan a trip across the country using GM by going from location "A" to "B", sending it to yourself, then routing from "B" to "C", sending it to yourself, and so on.

Google Maps apparently retains a history of your searches and routings, and you are able to send them to your devices or email or text them to yourself. It seems Google remembers everything you do on the internet, so keep that in mind as you browse around.

Jim Hamm

iOS 11

If you plan to update to iOS 11 this fall when it's available, just be aware that it will no longer support 32-bit apps. What this means to you, possibly, is that you might have some apps that you use frequently that will no longer work until they're upgraded to 64-bit. You can find out which apps will no longer be supported by going to Settings>General>About>Applications. There you'll see the apps that are presently not compatible with iOS 11.

For example, both my iPhone and iPad have quite a list of apps that will no longer work if they're not upgraded to 64-bit. I'll just patiently wait and see what the developers of these apps decide to do.

Jim Hamm

Evolution of the Mac

It's been over 30 years since the Mac was released. Here is a slide show of the Mac through the years, with pictures, specs and prices. You'll note the first Mac sold for $2,495. Below each picture is a small box with the words "show more". Click this to get a description of what you're seeing. An interesting journey.

Now, if you're really interested in Mac history, here is a slide show of the MacBook over the past 25 years. The first Powerbook was introduced in late 1991 and sold for $2,500. A variety of the MacBook is what I've used over the years.

Looking at the intoductory pricing mentioned above, it seems Apple liked a starting price of around $2,500.

Jim Hamm

Apple File System (APFS)

If you are a Mac user, you have probably heard that Apple is updating their file system to the APFS. Ho hum, you might say, and do you even care? Yes, you do, and this article explains why. 

What is not so clear at this time is how long it will take your Mac to upgrade to this new file system. This must be a daunting task for the program. I guess we will find out when we upgrade to Apple's new release: macOS High Sierra, which is coming later this year.

Jim Hamm

Apple's HomePod

Here is an interesting article discussing Apple's new HomePod. At this early stage it appears the HomePod will be of interest to people that already subscribe to Apple music. Although conceptually it will be a competitor to Amazon's Echo or Google Home, the article implies it isn't now. No doubt Apple will continue to focus and improve on the HomePod after its release.

I was watching WWDC17 when Schiller introduced the HomePod. It is small, and full of electronic gadgetry, which presumably contributes to its high price of $349 -- plus, of course, a healthy profit margin for Apple. Will be interesting to hear the sound in person some day. 

Zee has Alexa in our kitchen, and I occasionally use it to play music while I'm washing dishes (man's work!) or cutting up strawberries. I just read that 40% of the music coming through Alexa comes from Pandora, not Amazon music.

Jim Hamm

Office on the iPad Pro

You are probably aware that Apple has introduced a 10.5" and a 12.9" version of the iPad Pro. What you might not be aware of is that Office 365 (for Word, Powerpoint, etc.) will no longer run free on these two sizes. Microsoft considers that any screen size over 10'1" to be commercial in size and requires a license. More info here.

However, there may be a way around this. If you should need to use Office 365, you can open up a free Microsoft account, then download and use Office Online, here. This gives you most of Office 365, and it's free.

Jim Hamm

MacOS High Sierra

Apple's new OS is coming this fall, and here are some of the new features you can look forward to. I watched the live streaming of the WWDC17, and VP Federighi demoed Apple's new file system, AFPS. It was impressive to see how much faster it will be than the very old file system Macs now use. 

Among many other enhancements, Apple states that Safari has been improved and will be the fastest browser going. All in all, High Sierra will be a nice upgrade, and free to boot.

Jim Hamm

Right to Repair

If you buy, say, an iPhone and it should need repair, should you have the right to have it repaired anywhere, and not just at an Apple store? Or, if you have a printer that needs an ink refill, should you be able to purchase and use a recycled/refilled cartridge? 

Well, the Supreme Court says yes.  Read here. In a laughable and ridiculous argument, read what John Deere argued: 

"In 2015, the company made the case to the U.S. Copyright Office that individuals who buy their tractors don’t actually own them, but are licensing them from the company and thus don’t have the right to do their own maintenance." 

How about the books and music you've downloaded? Do you own them, or merely lease them? Here's an article with more info on this subject.

Anyway, thank goodness the Supreme Court ruling is in the user's favor.

Jim Hamm

Apple Park

Here is a drone's short aerial view of Apple's new world headquarters -- Apple Park. Quite impressive, and so huge. From what I've read it is designed to be very eco-friendly.

Just think: by buying that iPhone, iPad or Mac, you've contributed to paying for this.

Jim Hamm

Chargers for iPad and Phone

It's possible at some point you may need or want to buy another charger for your iPad or iPhone. As you do a bit of shopping you'll find quite a disparity between prices. The genuine Apple chargers are more expensive, but definitely worth the extra cost, in my opinion.

Why is this, you might ask? Read this aricle to find out why. Remember the old adage "You get what you pay for?" In this case this is really true. The article states: "Apple's charger is expensive compared to other chargers, but is a high quality product. You should definitely stay away from the cheap counterfeit chargers, as they are low quality and dangerous."

Don't buy the cheap, counterfeit chargers -- why take a chance on a fire or something worse?

Jim Hamm

iPad Comparison and Help

If you may be in the market for a new iPad, here is an article comparing the different models. It's also rumored that Apple might release a new version of the iPad Pro sometime this year. 

Now, to go with your new iPad here is an article with troubleshooting tips that will be helpful if your iPad should act up a bit. Might be a good idea to place an icon of this article on the screen of your iPad for future reference. That's what I will do.

Jim Hamm

Is Your iPad Obsolete?

No doubt if you have an iPad, you enjoy it for its versatility and lightness. I sure do enjoy mine. Then I came across this article asking if my iPad is obsolete? What? Not my iPad, for sure, I thought. Then I checked, and sure enough I'm using an obsolete iPad -- well, technically obsolete, at least according to this article. 

You might check your iPad to see which one you have, then check the article for its status and what you can expect as far as updates go. Just open 'Settings' then click 'About' to find out.

Jim Hamm