NAVIGON is no more!

Curious thing when I was checking my NAVIGON app last week, there was a message that I sort of just clicked through but it bothered me so I checked the website, to my surprise Garmin decided to kill all their iOS navigation apps. I have had NAVIGON on my phone since the days of the 3GS and it used to be my go to app for navigation in my car. Apparently I’m allowed to use it for another 2 years until there will be no more map updates. That’s kind of sad but it’s expected since in the age of unlimited data, you only need Apple Maps, Google Maps, or Waze.

I remember the software being a crazy price. I think I paid $79.00 for all of North America. Truthfully it was one of my better purchases due to all the travel I do for work. At the time maps kinda sucked on the iPhone and NAVIGON was more accurate. Over the years I got frustrated with the software due to its interface and lack of search capability. In recent years I’ve relied on 3 apps for navigation and with the final death of NAVIGON I’ll be able to reclaim about 100mb of space on my phone and a tile space.

I’ll admit that having an offline map is useful but Google has this and I have another app called Ulmon that does offline maps. It doesn’t really do turn by turn but I won’t get lost either which is the main point. For it’s time, NAVIGON was freaking awesome and prevented me from getting lost most of the time. Before I had unlimited data it was useful to have he map preloaded on the phone so I wouldn’t use up my data plan. I just might keep the software on my phone for the next two years mainly because I paid for it so I might as well use it if the need arises. By then I should be ready to upgrade my iPhone 7 to something else.

Advertisements

You suck iTunes!

Now that that is out of the way, I’ll tell you why.  iTunes is used for a ton of shit  by Apple, by far the only thing I really want to use it for is to backup and restore iDevices that I own.  The process itself is too time consuming, it literally takes hours for me to do a backup of my iPhone and it shouldn’t be that way.  Tonight I’m trying to do a restore and it just keeps on telling me that my back is corrupt or not compatible.  I mean seriously, wtf!  Thats all the info I get?  No other error code like a Windows Blue Screen of Death or something?

I’m going from an iPhone 7 to an iPhone 8 and from 128GB to 256GB.  There is more than enough space on this sucker to hold all the previous data I had and most of the time thats the problem.  I’ve tried all the tried and true solutions as well, I’ve restarted the computer, restarted the phone, restored the phone as a new iPhone, I’m even chatting with Apple Support as I write this blog post to see if there is something they can help me with to get my data back.  Truth be told, all my data is somewhere in the cloud but its setting all that shit up again that pisses me off the most.

I literally have almost 200 apps on the phone and they’re all configured a certain way.  There is also all the health data thats been collected from my iPhone 6 and 7 that I need to recover, and all the settings (although most of that can come through differently but its still a pain in my ass.  The restore process itself could be way better too.  There is still too much intervention needed by the user in order to get the phone up and running again.  I know there are things like Touch ID, Apple Wallet, Location and Privacy BS that need to be asked but that can be asked AFTER the phone is up and running in my opinion.  Just get the thing going and then have something else for a more detailed setup wizard after a restore.  The restore should skip these steps and remember what was already on the phone rather than asking these questions again and again.

I hope that the backup that I chose to restore from is complete, if it isn’t and I deleted the wrong backup I’m going to be really pissed tonight.  I was able to finally get the restore going on the phone, I had to update to the public beta and then presto it finally started going.  Thats so weird that the operating systems kinda have to match to do a restore.  I think Apple really needs to re-think iTunes and how to make this entire process better.  It still reeks of the original iTunes that I used back in the 90’s with my iPod.  The graphics has changed to go with the whole design language that Apple uses but the overall nuts and bolts haven’t really changed all that much and the interface still sucks.

There should be something dedicated just for iOS backup and restore and like I’ve stated in past blog posts, iCloud backups should be free if you have a device and the amount of data the device holds should be what you get for free for every device and not just the account.  The largest account that you can pay for presently is 2TB for $9.99 a month.  Truthfully thats too rich for my blood but Apple won’t let you backup anywhere else except for your MacBook through iTunes or through  iCloud.  Oh and that iCloud backup doesn’t have all your apps and shit, just your data.  How freaking horrible is that?

OK rant over, this thing is going to have to run overnight and then I’ll have to get up early and do another 2 hours worth of configuration most likely before I go to church.

OG Apple Watch – Battery Draining :(

IMG_8042.jpg

I was one of the few, the proud, the crazy that purchased the original Apple Watch when it came out on launch day.  The picture above shows what it looks like now (I actually use the photo album watch face and not the one pictured) and I’ve upgraded the sport band to the link band (my wife is so awesome for getting it for me) and I use it every day at home and at work.  I’ve gone through all the different OS upgrades for the watch and its currently running on WatchOS 4.0.  The watch is starting to show its age since its kind of slow compared to just using my iPhone 7 but its still the best for notifications and maybe the quick text to someone.

Where I’m really starting to see some wear and tear is in battery life.  I’ve been using it for 2 years straight?  I can’t remember when I bought it but these days there seems to be a lot of battery drain and I have started to see “Power Save” mode pop up as soon as 7PM.    That means the watch is barely getting through a 12 hour day on its current charge.  Thats not really acceptable.  I keep a charger with me while on the road to charge it up but I don’t keep it with me in my bag, I leave it at the hotel so I can charge up then.  I’m not really lost without the watch, I always have my iPhone handy with me but its just a minor annoyance.  Doing work outs with the watch drains the battery further and frankly I only work out when I’m actually at home but still, it reduces battery life considerably when in use.

I don’t know what my solution will be if the battery starts to really stink.  My wife and I paid a decent chunk of change for the watch and I like the notifications and everything but I might be going back to a regular watch if it dies.  While I love having the ability to get those notifications or send a quick text, its not enough to buy another one at the price I paid.  I can technically use the same watch bands as any other Apple Watch as long as its a 42mm so there is some savings but I don’t think anyone will buy the watch from me.  I have scratched it up a lot over the years but it still works pretty well for a 1st gen device.  I haven’t explored replacing the battery but at that point I want to get a newer watch because the new ones are water proof, faster, and ummm…. I think thats it really.

Anyway, I’m going to continue to use it till it dies.  I’m hoping that they keep the watch humming along with software updates and start to get rid of more of the bloatware that seems to be creeping into Apple OS’s of late.  It’s only noon and I’m down to 70%, hopefully it will last the rest of the day and my work out tonight.

Life with the AirPods

Over a year ago I bought an iPhone 7 and one of the missing features was the headphone jack. In truth this didn’t bother me too much, I had my Bose bluetooth headphones and I was fine with using the included lightning EarPods. Just recently I got a pair of AirPods and I must say that its been pretty awesome. I use them more than almost all of my other headphones (except for when I’m flying). They’re not very large so its portable, they have pretty decent sound like regular EarPods, and the best part is that they don’t have any wires. I think that last part is the most important since I like not being tethered anymore to my phone if possible.

I do bring the case with me everywhere, mainly so I have a place to put them away because I’m scared of losing one and these things aren’t cheap. The fact that they just pair with my iDevices is pretty sweet. I have had a few problems here and there with the sound when I take calls but its normally short lived. I also managed to pair it to my work laptop so I don’t need to use wired headphones when I am on WebEx or doing some training that has sound. Unfortunately activating them is a bit harder on a Windows 10 laptop compared to my MacBook Pro but it just means when I walk away from my laptop its not in any danger of flying off a table.

I’ve seen a lot of review videos about the AirPods and even tried out my fathers pair since he had them before I did. I’ll admit that it makes me look funny when I’m walking around with them but sine they are so common now in California I don’t look so weird. There aren’t as many people wearing them in FL so I still look a little funny there. I thought they were going to release a new version of the AirPods during the iPhone event but I was surprised that they did’t. I guess they didn’t need to release a W2 chip since the current version is pretty awesome.

The only reason to get rid of my AirPods will be because they won’t hold a charge anymore. I hope that won’t be for at least a few years, I need to get my money’s worth out of these things. They are truly useful for things like writing blog posts while watching Netflix, no wires to trip over!

New MacBook Pro 13″

IMG_5907

I finally received my brand new MacBook Pro 13″ from the good little elves at Apple in China!  The computer came in an unmarked box and it said it came from some obscure company in China.  I’m guessing they did that so no one would steal the computer from the back of the UPS truck.  I didn’t go with the 15″ because it was too big and heavy and the screen on this thing is pretty awesome for a 13″ so I’m pleased with my purchase.

I got the one with the touch bar and so far its been decently useful.  I can’t say much about it since most of the things I’ve been using have been pretty standard.  It’s been useful for the volume and brightness so far and I’ve also started to experiment with audio and video playback using the touch bar.  I just noticed that there are spelling suggestions when you type just like the iPhone but I don’t know if I’m going to use it since I type fast and just let auto spell check do its thing.  I’ve spent most of my time trying to get all the data back onto the computer.  I didn’t bring stuff back from TimeMachine since there was a lot of junk on my old computer that I didn’t want on my new one.  It was a good thing that I was able to move most of the media to my NAS so I don’t have to worry about jamming up the SSD with a ton of files that can live elsewhere.

This MacBook you definitely can’t get in the store.  I upgraded the RAM to 16GB and I also increased the size of the SSD to 1TB.  I’m used to having large on board storage and I can’t give that stuff up now.  Even though I have my own private cloud, my internet connection at home isn’t fast enough to support media streaming except when I’m at home.  But that was the purpose anyway from the get go.  I am going to start using it more for iMovie which is why I got a more powerful machine this time around.  My old MacBook was struggling a little bit when it was trying to splice things together so I’m hoping that this will be better.

By far the coolest thing is unlocking my computer with my Apple Watch or with my finger using Touch ID.  When it recognizes my Apple Watch, I don’t even get a chance to use Touch ID!  Thats pretty cool!  I haven’t found any shopping websites that use Apple Pay (I mostly use Amazon for my shopping and they don’t support it really) but I’m keen to give it a go.  I did install some software like Paragon NTFS.  That thing costs $20 but I need it for reading and writing the NTFS drives that I still have at home because of my Windows 10 computer.  I should probably re-do those drives as exFAT or something so they can be read by Mac and by Windows.  I also got a HooToo hub so I have 3 USB 3.1 ports, an HDMI port, and a SD Card reader for my GoPro stuff.  I also have 2 adapters from Aukey to change my plugs from USB 3.0 to USB-C.  Using the HooToo and the adapters really isn’t as bad as everyone makes it out to be on YouTube.  I was able to use it just fine when I was doing my backups of my iPhone and transferring files over from my external drives.  It’s just one more thing to put away but thats a really small thing in my opinion.  This computer is really kind of like a desktop replacement for me so its not going to go many places and even if it does, I’m going to be pretty mobile and won’t need a lot of cables to sync or do nutty things like that.

The one thing I was concerned about was the keyboard.  I had tried out the keyboard in the store and it was just meh to me.  It wasn’t great and it wasn’t too bad but the key travel was kinda not the same.  I’ve been using it for about a day and a half and I’m typing up this post on it and I like the keyboard a lot.  It reminds me of typing on my iPad when I’m not using the external keyboard, the key travel is pretty short but theres just enough that lets me know its a real keyboard and not a screen.  The reason I was hesitant at first about getting this was the lack of input by using a pen to draw stuff.  When it really came down to it, I don’t draw that much anyway and it was a nice to have.  The Retina display is awesome since my old computer didn’t have it but all my other apple devices do.  I can tell there is a difference when I look at the screen and it not being touch doesn’t really bother me in the slightest.  Thats what I have an iPad Air 2 and an iPhone 7 for after all.

One thing that I have found kind of useful is using Siri.  I was attempting to move my backups from on the SSD to an external drive for iOS.  Instead of using finder, I just hit the Siri button on the touch bar and asked for it to bring up Terminal.  it was pretty handy since it worked similar to how it works on the iPhone.  I just asked her to “Launch Terminal” and away it went.  I haven’t had too many problems and its already done a few software updates to bring it up to speed.  I can’t wait to try out macOS High Sierra.  Unlike my past MacBook Pro, I’m not going to use the beta on this computer.  Maybe I should create a VM or something but that would take up precious space on my SSD.  Maybe I’ll look and see what software I can use to create a VM so I can try it out and off load the VHD somewhere so it doesn’t take up space.

I’ve got some traveling to do tomorrow so I won’t be able to mess with my MacBook tomorrow but I should have some time in the coming week to fine tune it so I have it just the way I want it.  Hopefully this thing will last more than 5 years, I’d like to keep it a little longer than the last computer.  It would be sad if my HP Desktop outlasted this MacBook Pro.

Microsoft just told me to buy a MacBook Pro

Today was the big day from Microsoft where the new Surface Pro would be announced in Shanghai and after watching some reviews and news snippets I can say MS will not be getting my money when I have to get a new computer.  The new Surface Pro is a little thinner and has the updated Intel processors but other than that there isn’t anything compelling me to buy it.  Sure I want to be able to use a stylus for drawing and stuff but thats mostly for work and not for personal stuff (and according to work, I might be able to get a computer with a stylus during the 2018 refresh).  The stylus is much improved from last year but since I draw pretty infrequently I’m debating my real “need” to have a pen with my computer.  I have a stylus for my iPad Air 2 (its not an Apple Pencil though) that I can use just fine although having an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil would be awesome but the Air 2 needs to die first.  

The cost of the version of the Surface Pro that I would buy is about $2699 and thats without a type cover which is kind of essential.  Just on pure cost I won’t buy it, also it doesn’t have any USB-C which I think will be important in the next few years.  Also it only has 1 USB 3.0 port and I always have at least 2 USB devices plugged in all the time.  I can get something relatively similar with a Core i5 instead of an i7 processor from Apple for $2400 but with the 16MB of RAM and 1TB drive which matches the Surface Pro configuration.

I guess its time for me to wait until June to see if there are new MacBook Pro’s coming out.  I only need the processor bump and the date of purchase to make sure its supported for the next 5 years.  I still think its amazing that my desktop computer is still chugging along on Windows 10 after 9 years.  I’m very tempted to stick the SSD from my old MacBook Pro in it to speed things along and give it some juice and new life.  I think that’s what’s making it so slow, the fact that the hard drive is still an old spinning disk and not a microchip.  It’s only 2 or so weeks.  If they let me pre-order on the employee purchase site you can bet I’ll be doing that during the keynote.

Google Photo’s is awesome at creating “stuff”

IMG_0166-PANO

I’ve been using Google Photo’s since it came out with the new version.  I used to use Picasa occasionally  but it was just a place to view the photos on my hard drive.  I installed Google Photo’s on my iPhone, iPad, and my Mac so that all my photos could be uploaded for safe keeping.  One of the cool parts about it is that Google Photos starts doing neat things with the photos it finds.  The example I have in this post is a panoramic that Google Photo’s put together from 3 separate photos that I took while waiting to take off from Miami.  I’d say it came out pretty sweet.

There are other things that it does like make short videos, turn things black and white, and make collages on its own based on the time the photo was taken or where the photo was taken.  It takes all that meta data from my iPhone that saves things like the location and date/time stamp and uses that to make smart albums.  I think that Apple is trying to do the same thing with Memories but minus some of the other cool functions that Google Photos does.

While Photos from Apple is pretty awesome, there are a lot of storage limitations because I don’t pay for iCloud storage and only use the free options so I can’t back up everything.  I have well over 20,000 photos and around 1,000 videos and all that takes up a lot of storage.  Google Photos is just one means of backing things up but the fact that it does cool stuff with my photos is just some nice bonus stuff.  I also get the option to save the little creations from Google and I take full advantage of that, you never know when I’m going to look back on some of this stuff whenI get older and see how cool some of my pictures came out with a little bit of Google magic.

I’d post more stuff but its hard to do so on WordPress from Google Photos, it doesn’t like the share links that I use.  I had to go around that problem by uploading to Flickr then using their share links after making the photo public.  If I get more cool stuff like this, I’ll post it here or using Twitter to give it more exposure.