The case of the dying iPhone 6

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It’s amazing how fast an iPhone battery deteriorates in only 3 or so years of use.  The photo in this post is from coconutBattery which is an app that I use to monitor the battery for my MacBook Pro.  The added benefit is that I can see the battery performance of an iOS device (it only works with the later ones, I tried it with an original iPad and didn’t get any data back).  Anyway, the phone above belongs to my wife and just this past week the phone would start turning off once it hit 40%.  Puzzled by this I decided to do some Googling to see what the problem could be.  This issue is pretty common with devices on iOS 10, especially the iPhone 6 and 6s.  I tried everything I could to see what was the matter and fix it short of blowing the entire phone away and reinstalling it app by app (its not my phone so I don’t want to do that).

The other thing we just tried today was to install the iOS 11 Beta 6 release.  This solved one problem which was to show the true battery level on the phone.  Now I can see that the battery level is at whatever percent and lets my wife know that she has to charge her phone up so it doesn’t turn off.  As the picture above indicates though, her battery is roughly at 50% of original capacity which translates into 5 hours maybe of web surfing and maybe 2 hours of talk time if she uses the phone.  Thats pretty shitty by any measure especially for an iPhone. Now the thing thats in her favor is that the iPhone event isn’t that far away, maybe a month and hopefully she can hold out until then so we can get an iPhone 7s or an iPhone 8 (depends on what Apple decides to announce in September).

As a stop gap measure we’re trying to remove data from the phone so that she can use my old iPhone 6s that I had for work.  The issue is that the memory on the 6s is half of what she currently has (64 vs 128) so when I try and do a restore iTunes doesn’t like it and decides to just stop doing the restore altogether.  Not very ideal, I wish there was a way to be selective on whats restored and you can do it via third party app but I have no desire to install more bloatware on my MacBook Pro if I can help it.  I’m going to keep plugging away at this issue, probably more this coming weekend during Labor Day since I’ll have some extra time and I’ll crack it by George or we’re getting my wife a new iPhone (well we’re doing that anyway, her phone is kinda OLD and she needs a better camera to capture those precious memories while I’m away).

MacBook Pro 2017 Keyboard is Awesome

I’ve had my MacBook Pro for a couple months now and I have to say the keyboard is pretty awesome.  I know the travel is really short and people have issues with the arrow keys but this keyboard lets me type really fast.  I have a Dell POS from work that I’ve used for maybe over a week and I’m ready to toss it into the ‘glades because the user experience is so poor.  The touch bar I haven’t used as much as I thought as I would but I still like using it to activate Siri, change browser tabs, and control the volume.

Just for the keyboard alone I would love to use this computer for work.  The touchpad might be a close second reason but definitely the keyboard would be a winner for me.  The lack of escape key (dedicated) hasn’t really bothered me that much.  I don’t use it often enough.  I can see the touchbar aspect becoming more valuable over time but it really is a gimic for now.

I wanted to write this post on my MacBook but WordPress is being difficult about loading photos from Google.  I’ve had to do this from my iPhone instead.  The previous 3 posts were done from the MacBooktgough. If I could bring it on the road with me I would but I already have too much tech gear in my bag. Maybe on the next vacation I’ll bring it to write some big posts while on vacation.

Downsizing to a single iPhone

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Lots of firsts this summer and I guess the significant one (besides switching companies) is that I am downsizing to a single phone for work and personal stuff.  In the past I have not wanted to do this for various reasons but the biggest one was mobile device management and the ability to either look at or do weird stuff to my phone centrally.  I recently had my work phone wiped out but it actually wasn’t bad since all it did was uninstall a ton of work apps and deleted my accounts and some of the profiles that were set up as part of Mobile Iron.

My new company does expense reimbursement for my phone instead of just paying for the service, so that presents some interesting challenges:

  • I would have to get a new phone number and add it to my family plan
  • Adding the new number means I have to switch my plan to T-Mobile ONE which isn’t bad but I lose LTE tethering unless I pay an extra $10 a month for it which I’m not really prepared to do
  • Everyone elses plan would also switch over  and I don’t know who uses tethering or not and it seems like a general hassle to do so unless there is major cost savings involved
  • I also lost some of my “card” room since I used to keep all my work cards with the other phone, now I have to find a place to keep my work cards since I don’t want to start using a wallet again

My new company uses Citrix Secure Mail as a way for me to get my mail.  They don’t have time and expense apps or other apps that I had as part of my old firm so that means no profile needs to be installed on my iPhone.  There is no Mobile Iron or anything like that.  If I install one of the company built apps then I will see a new profile being installed on my phone but since I have no intention of doing that I think I’ll be fine downsizing to a single phone.

Using a single phone for home and work isn’t bad, but then again I’ve only done it for a day.  I refused to install any work related stuff on my personal phone until I had more information on what it is they were going to install on my phone to monitor what was on it.  Granted most mobile device solutions by companies state they can’t see anything except their data and that the rest of my data is safe.  One of the sticky points I had in the past was Pulse Secure VPN that my old firm would use to connect to the network so I could do time and expense and other stuff like that.  The Citrix apps seem to not use VPN since I don’t see the icon for VPN on the status bar and I wasn’t forced to install a VPN certificate.

I’m going to experiment with this set up for a few weeks and see how it goes.  The only thing I have against this plan is giving work people my actual cell number which I have avoided in the past.  If they finally get around to letting me use Skype for Business as my work number then I’ll be all set!

Whoops I missed writing in July

This post will be a short one.  I just checked the archive links to my blog and for the first time I think ever, I forgot to write something in over 30 days.  I looked over to the right hand navigator and saw that I didn’t write a single blog post in July. Thats because there was a lot going on in July and I was probably writing about it in DayOne instead (although I have been lapse in writing there too lately as well).

I know that I’ve scaled back my blogging goal quite a bit but I think I can at least get out 12 a year (one for each month).  Anyway, I’ve written 3 posts today (2 just now including this one) so that should make up for my lack of a July post.  I have more to blog about but I’ll save that for another evening when I’m just messing around with my home technology.

Whats going to happen to Flickr?

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I remember a long time ago back in probably 2004 or 2005 there was this new photo sharing site called Flickr.  Back then there weren’t a lot of places to upload your photos for MySpace except for maybe Photobucket (maybe I still have an account there, I think I should check….) but Flickr was different in that it had lots of tools to edit your photos.  I now use Google Photos for such things but when Yahoo bought them and then their latest CEO said that you could upload up to 1TB of photos, I thought that was awesome!

Flickr was always for the pro photographer to show off his wares.  They had a premium plan so you could upload tons of photos and make unlimited albums.  The free account which I used had upload limitations but I didn’t care since I didn’t have a digital camera or an iPhone back then so I didn’t need much.  Now Flickr has become part of my photo backup scheme by integrating it and my iPhone with IFTTT.  Every time I take a picture a private picture is uploaded to Flickr if its on my iPhone.  On a given vacation day, I can take upwards of 100 photos if I’m in the mood and I have enough battery power.  Thats a ton of memory and storage but I’m not close to the 1TB I have available to me.

Now Flickr has become part of the purchase of Yahoo by Verizon.  So far everywhere I read on the blogosphere, people are asking what is going to become of Flickr.  I personally would love the service to continue, I have tons of pictures up there and its part of my backups in the event my NAS or Google Photos gets corrupted or something.  Granted the likelihood of Google Photos going away is very small, I still like having backups of my backups and I’ve been such a long time user I can’t see not using the service.  Although it technically would be hard to spin off the Flickr service into its own company again, there isn’t anything special about it that Google Photos doesn’t do anyway already.  Being a massive place to store pro photos is fine but they would need to do something like have pro tools like Photoshop or something similar to Pixelmator tools as part of the service plus online storage and be FAST to be competitive or even make any money.

I don’t do a lot of editing of my photos so all the pro tools in the world wouldn’t do me a lick of good.  I just want to be able to store my photos somewhere for free and privately and Flickr does that for me.  I’m hoping Verizon keeps the site alive and maybe makes some improvements along the way while keeping the 1TB upload amount free.  Maybe adding the ability to upload video???  I know that Google does that but it chokes on some of the bigger videos that I have right now (currently a surfing video of my daughter can’t be uploaded, for some reason Google chokes on it and it just hangs there all day doing nothing).

I haven’t actually gone through the website of Flickr in a while but there seems to be some nice discovery aspects to it.  Maybe they need to become more like Getty Images and charge for photos but have a portion go to the photographer since there is some really awesome stuff up there.  The one thing I do want is to be able to use Flickr with a different ID.  Flickr is the only reason why I still have an active Yahoo ID anymore ever since the data breach was announced a few months ago.  Finding another place to drop 30K images and videos is hard and it takes a really long time to do.  If my NAS had web browser capabilities I’d do it from that but since it doesn’t I have to rely on a computer.  I guess I’ll subscribe to their Twitter feed, maybe they’ll announce what will happen to their service soon.  I hope they don’t go the way of Winamp, there was an awesome program destroyed by a behemoth company and I don’t want the same thing to happen to Flickr.

GoPro Hero Session – Using it in water

I’ve had my GoPro Hero Session 4 for a couple of years now and the main use for it was to use it while I’m doing activities like skiing, swimming, or anything else where I can’t really use my iPhone.  I recently had a family trip in Hawaii and I used it a lot there but I found out that a lot of the video that I had wasn’t all that good because of water spots on the lens.  It’s kind of annoying but you can see enough of the video that it comes out alright but before the vacation I didn’t research a way to get the water off.

I looked the other day on YouTube and someone recommended using RainX on the lens.  That in itself is freaking genius!  I use it all the time on my car and all the water just comes off my windshield as long as I’m going a certain speed or there is a decent amount of water.  There were times you could see me blowing at my GoPro so the video was a bit funny in that regard.  The pictures that did come out of the GoPro were really good and clear and the sound wasn’t bad too since I wasn’t that far away from the subject material.

Overall the GoPro is fine when it gets wet except when you come out of the water, there will be water streaks and drops everywhere unless you treat the lens with RainX or an equivalent.  Under water the pictures and video are pretty good, of course the sound is going to stink since it is under water but I was able to get some nice video of some turtles on the Big Island in the lagoon at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.  Here is an example from when I used the camera during my vacation.  Love the turtle, hate the water spot at the end when I bring the camera out of the water.