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My Life and Times With a 2013 Mac Pro

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-10 23:22

2013 Mac Pro

I have gone through several stages of Mac awareness in my career. The first stage was the classic desktop with an Apple display. Mac II, Centris 610, Power Mac 8500, Blue & White G3, Power Mac G5, Mac Pro (2009). My second phase, at Apple and afterwards, was the MacBook Pro. For the mobile pro, this was essential.

When I settled in at The Mac Observer, I found that a MacBook Pro with a second external display didn’t have the horsepower to run Parallels Desktop and other CPU intensive activities. So, in 2010, I bought my first 27-inch iMac with a 256 GB SSD. It was my first Mac to boot from an SSD. It also had a second Apple display. For years I used a beautiful, trustworthy Apple 24-inch LED Cinema Display as that second display.

Then Apple got out of the display business. The Apple 27-inch Thunderbolt Display was overpriced in its last years, as it lingered on, and I refused to buy one for a kilobuck.

When the 2013 Mac Pro was announced at WWDC 2013, I was insanely enthusiastic. I was finally able to take delivery in the spring of 2014. With a special discount, I paid $2400. It has 16 GB RAM and a 256 GB SSD which has been rock solid—and still has 60 GB free today.

Sure, it didn’t have the upgrade oomph of a cheese grater 2009 Mac Pro. But I decided that it was just what I needed as a writer. Lots of USB 3 and Thunderbolt 2 ports. Plus, I was starting to pay attention to some very nice displays from HP. For the time being, it sat nicely behind my aging external displays.  I told some stories.

My Search: a New Display for a Mac Pro, Part I

My Search: a New Display for a Mac Pro, Part II

The Display You’ve Always Wanted For Your Mac: HP Z34c

This has been the most recent phase in my own Mac awareness. A powerful but smallish headless Mac with an enormous 34-inch, curved HP display. Glorious.

All Hell Breaks Loose

My 2013 Mac Pro shipped with macOS Mavericks. It ran fast and flawlessly. But then in October, 2014, Apple shipped macOS Yosemite. It was a disaster for this Mac Pro. Several times a day, a spinning beach ball would crop up out of nowhere and lock up the graphics system. (This Mac Pro has twin AMD FirePro D300s.) It was a nightmare.

El Capitan in 2015 did nothing to solve the problem. I wrote about it with gusto.

Finally, in 2016, macOS Sierra appeared to provide some relief.

While the spontaneous lockups were mostly under control, it turned out not to be wise to run the built-in screen savers for more than a few hours. A lockup would ensue eventually.

By the time High Sierra shipped in 2017, I felt that these problems were history. The 2013 Mac Pro under High Sierra and then Mojave has easily acquired weeks of continuous uptime. I haven’t has a graphics lockup in years.

A Writer’s Tool

Things I like about this Mac are its ports, reliability and speed. I have the four USB 3 ports filled with a Logitech HD camera (atop the HP display), a Rode Podcaster mic and various external drives. The Thunderbolt ports support DisplayPort to the HP display as well as an OWC Thunderbolt 2 dock. That affords yet more ports for keyboard, various peripherals and drives.

I’ve come to appreciate a large, curved display as a writer. By using multiple (macOS) desktops, I can quickly switch to a desktop of non-overlapping windows to manage my workflow. Dock -> Right-click App -> Options -> Assign To. With this technique, clicking on an app in the Dock instantly takes me to the app on its assigned desktop home in much less than a second. (That’s a lot of pixels to move, fast, on a 3.4K display, but it works well.)

Many IT pros, over the years, have criticized this black beauty for its unsuitability in a server or pro environment. I agree. Apple finally listened and brought forth the amazing 2019 Mac Pro. For the real pros. But for a price that puts it out of range for me and many others who prefer a small, powerful but headless desktop Mac.

I don’t how many more macOS updates this 2013 Mac Pro will support. I suspect, however, that macOS 10.16 will be the end of the line for it. At that point, I will probably seriously consider a loaded Mac mini. I hope that in 2021, Apple will have a new, upgraded Mac mini to please me.

The terrible graphics lockups in Yosemite and El Capitan notwithstanding, this Mac has been a joy for me over the years. It came along just when I needed it, the reliability in general has been superb, and it has done everything I’ve asked of it.

My fantasy is that Apple would release a 2020 model with updated CPU/GPU/ports, but the same design for US$2,500. I’d buy one. A Mac Pro for the rest of us.

Silly me.


Mac Pro and iMac Pro, Apple Card Bonuses – TMO Daily Observations 2019-12-10

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-10 19:49


HUB Hi-Fi Wireless Noise Cancelling Earbuds: $60

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-10 19:49

We have a deal on HUB, a set of wireless, noise cancelling earbuds. They offer up to 8 hours of playback time on a single charge, with the charging case capable of charging another 100 hours of playback time. And, you can use the charging case to charge your other devices, too. They also feature Bluetooth 5.0, and they’re rated as IPX5 waterproof, which means they can resist a sustained, low-pressure water jet spray. They’re $74.99 through our deal, but coupon code GREENMONDAY20 brings the price down to $60.


Steam Game Terraforming Mars Heads to iOS

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-10 19:22

Terraforming Mars, a Steam game that was previously only available for PCs, has made its way to iOS. It’s a strategy game in which players try to terraform Mars to make it habitable. You play as a corporation, and each one has a different specialization, like metal, heavy industry, financier, biotech, or energy. You work together with other corporations in the terraforming process, and compete to get points based on your contributions. You can play solo with AI opponents or online with humans. It requires a minimum of iOS 10 to download. App Store: US$8.99


Apple Releases 13.3 Updates to iOS, iPadOS, tvOS

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-10 18:34

Today Apple released iOS 13.3, iPadOS 13.3, and tvOS 13.3 with bug fixes, improvements, and a couple of bigger features.

iOS 13.3

To update go to Settings > General > Software Update.

Communication Limits

A featured added to Screen Time is called Communication Limits. This is a good setting for parents that lets them control who their kids can talk to, whether it’s during allowed Screen Time or during downtime. Two controls limit communication to “Everyone” and “Contacts Only.”

This works across Phone, FaceTime, Messages, and iCloud contacts. Communication to known emergency numbers will always be allowed.

iOS 13.3 screenshot

Memoji Stickers

In iOS 13 Apple introduced Memoji stickers. They look like emoji except they’re based on your Memoji avatar. Memoji and Animoji stickers were automatically added to the keyboard, but iOS 13.3 gives you the ability to remove this section if you want. Just to go Settings > General > Keyboard.

Further Reading:

[New Mac Pro and Pro XDR Display now Available]

[Senator Lindsey Graham to ‘Impose His Will’ for Enforce Encryption Backdoors]


Senator Lindsey Graham to ‘Impose His Will’ on Encryption Backdoors

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-10 18:00, modified at 20:34

Apple and Facebook representatives met with lawmakers today where senators pushed for the companies to compromise their users’ security by including encryption backdoors. In particular, Sen. Lindsey Graham said:

My advice to you is to get on with it. Because this time next year, if we haven’t found a way that you can live with, we will impose our will on you.

“Encryption backdoors for thee, but not for me.”


New Mac Pro and Pro XDR Display now Available

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-10 17:39

The Mac Pro and Pro XDR Display are now available to order from Apple.com. This is an update to the 2013 Mac Pro.

2019 Mac Pro

The Mac Pro starts at US$5,999 which gives you the starting configuration of 32GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a 3.5GHz 8-core Intel Xeon W processor, with Turbo Boost up to 4.0GHz.

The highest configuration you can choose is 2.5Ghz 28-core Intel Xeon W, 1.5TB of DDR4 RAM, two Radeon Pro Vega II Duo graphics card, a 4TB SSD, Apple’s Afterburner PCIe accelerator, stainless steel frame with wheels, all for US$51,199.

Listed as “Coming Soon” is a rack-mounted Mac Pro starting at US$6,499.

The Mac Pro is available to buy here.

Mac pro

Pro XDR Display

The Pro XDR display is a 32-inch Retina 6K screen with up to 1600 nits of brightness. It handles colors well with High Dynamic Range, Extreme High Dynamic Range, 10-bit color depth, P3 wide color gamut, and a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio.

This starts at US$4,999 for the standard glass screen, or get the special nano-texture glass for US$5,999. You can also get the optional stand for the display which costs US$999.

The Pro XDR is available to buy here.

Mac Pro pro XDR display

Further Reading:

[WWDC 2019: New Mac Pro Does Everything Right]

[Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR Go on Preorder December 10th]


EU Regulators Set to Get Tougher With Big Tech in 2020

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-10 17:30

Throughout 2019, EU Lawmakers have regularly look at antitrust issues around so-called Big Tech. Reuters reported that they are likely to increase those efforts in 2020.

EU antitrust regulators are considering taking a tougher line against tech giants by forcing them to do more to ensure a level playing field, a senior European Commission official said on Tuesday, a move which could affect Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google. The four U.S. tech companies are currently in EU competition enforcers’ crosshairs, with rivals complaining about being shut out of key markets. The Commission has traditionally ordered companies to halt anti-competitive practices.


How Facebook’s Libra Could Take on WeChat in China

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-10 17:15

There has been much talk about Facebook-backed cryptocurrency Libra. Much of that has focussed on the effect in Western markets. However, Wired noted it could be a significant player in China.

In China, the vast majority of consumer commerce runs on WeChat, which has transitioned from a simple chat app to a platform for just about everything. Most of the rest of the world lacks this kind of fully integrated experience, which is hugely valuable to the platform, but also a great experience for consumers: the convenience, access and range of available services is unparalleled. Of course, the key to offering a fully-baked platform like this is scale, and Facebook has that in spades. The company has leveraged that scale time and again to launch new products to great success, even in cases where it lacks a first mover advantage. With Libra’s initial integration across WhatsApp and Messenger – and eventually, likely also Instagram – it could instantly be ready for use by billions.


Lots of iTunes and App Store Customers Are Not Getting Receipts Anymore

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-10 17:08, modified at 17:09

iTunes and App Store customers are used to getting emailed receipts for their subscriptions and purchases.  However, 9to5Mac reported that some users are no longer receiving them.

Apple has regularly sent email receipts for all digital purchases made in the App Store and iTunes, but that seems to have changed at some point recently. It seems likely that this is a bug rather than a purposeful feature change, though. A growing thread on Apple’s support website indicates that this problem has become rather widespread… The key here is that users are still being charged, they just aren’t receiving receipts for those charges. This can be rather confusing, especially when many users have multiple monthly subscriptions.


Tim Cook Visits Suppliers, Creators, Developers, and Stores During Tour of Japan

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-10 16:48

Tim Cook has been spending some time in Japan. Yesterday, I reported he had celebrated Computer Science Week with primary school children at an Apple Store in the country. The Apple CEO’s tour continued after that.

Tim Cook Visits Japan

Mr. Cook posted a series of photos from the trip on his Twitter account. They first showed him visiting a key supplier in the country:

He also met a special effects firm that used the iPhone 11 Pro:

Furthermore, the Apple boss met a major game developer. He got an early look at forthcoming Apple Arcade game Fantasian.

The final image Mr. Cook shared showed him visiting Apple Ginza. That was the first Apple Store outside of the U.S.


Buy An iPhone With an Apple Card and Pay in Monthly Installments

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-10 16:34

Not only is the Apple Card currently offering customers 6% cashback until December 31st, there is also now a Pay Monthly plan for iPhones. The Monthly Installments program was hinted at in October and is now live (via AppleInsider).

iPhone Pay Monthly Apple Card

No Interest on Apple Card iPhone Payments

A new website explaining the option said that the finance option is interest-free. Payment happens over 24 months. Installments are set at the minimum. However, customers can reportedly pay extra if they want to. They also earn the standard 3% daily cashback on the purchase. Further reductions are available to customers that trade in their old iPhone.


VSCO Acquires Rylo, a Company Founded by Former iPhoto Engineers

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-10 15:58

Rylo is a company that created a camera that used innovative video stabilization technology. It was founded by Alex Karpenko and Chris Cunningham, who used to work at Apple to develop iPhoto for iOS. The company was acquired by photo company VSCO.

Rylo + VSCO

VSCO seeks to boost its video editing capabilities. The app has a GIF creation tool called DSCO, and it eventually made its photo presets available for video. It then worked with Snapchat to release an analog lens. VSCO CEO Joel Flory wrote:

From the first meeting with Alex and Chris, I felt an immediate alignment around how we could help people connect with and invest in their creativity. This is probably what excites me the most about Rylo joining VSCO — we have acquired not only some of the best video editing technology available today, but an incredibly talented and humble team who share our desire to help unlock creativity for everyone.

I look forward to see what new features the company will add to its app in the future.

Further Reading:

[How to Use the Brand New VSCO Snapchat Lens]

[VSCO X Review, Bringing Analog Film Presets to Digital Photographers]


Apple Sues Ex-Employee Launching New Chip Venture

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-10 15:54

Apple has begun to sue former Gerard Williams, claiming he broke his employment agreement. Mr. Williams quit to start a firm call Nuvia which seemingly designs silicon and potentially Arm-based chips (via The Register).

Apple Sures Former Employee

Mr. Williams designed chips for devices including the iPhone and iPad. Apple claimed in its lawsuit that Mr. Williams prepared to leave and start his own firm whilst still working there. Furthermore, it claimed that he tried to take former colleagues with him. In its filing, the firm said this was a breach of his contract:

Unfortunately, rather than exploiting the technology he was working on for Apple, Williams secretly considered how he could take an opportunity to exploit that technology from Apple. Williams boasted about starting a new company with technology that he was working on at Apple, that he believed Apple ‘needed’ and that he believed Apple would have no choice but to purchase.

However, Mr. Williams’ raised objections to his former employer seeing his private messages. He said:

Apple has provided no indication that any of its employees have consented to electronic recordation of their text messages. Indeed, the Complaint is entirely devoid of allegations of consent or of facts supportive of an inference of consent.

Nuvia had a low key launch in November. A hearing for the case is scheduled for 9 AM on January 21, 2020. The trial will be heard at the Superior Court of the State of California.


Edison Mail for Mac Brings Powerful Productivity Features for Email

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-10 15:14

Edison Mail has been a popular iOS email app for a while now, and today Edison Mail for Mac has launched. You can sign up for early access and referral codes here. I’ve been using it for about 2 weeks and think it’s a good email app for the Mac. Here are some features it brings: One click unsubscribe button, blocking people from emailing you, Quick Actions and swipe gestures, email threading and email templates, and an email assistant to help you manage subscriptions, trips, packages, entertainment, and bills/receipts.

Edison Mail was created with a promise of being free of ad-targeting. No privacy-invading ad trackers are allowed into Edison Mail, and our app automatically blocks all read receipts from tracking your emails.


Get 6% Cash Back With Apple Card Through December 31

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-10 14:20

Apple is giving customers a special deal. Through December 31 you can get 6% cash back on Apple purchases, instead of the usual 3%.

6% Cash Back

People can get 3% cash back when they use Apple Pay with the Apple Card as the default payment option with select merchants. If it’s not a 3% merchant, you get 2% when you use Apple Pay with Apple Card. Finally, using the Apple Card by itself without Apple Pay gives you 1% cash back.

Further Reading:

[Apple Card Guide: All of the 3% Cash Back Merchants]

[Want to Recycle an Apple Card? Use the Trade In Program]


Google Wants COPPA to Change so it can Keep Collecting Kids’ Data

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-10 13:27, modified at 14:22

The Federal Trade Commission is considering a revamp of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Google wants to help them change the rules, and asked the agency to eliminate rules that categorizes anyone watching kids content online as actual kids.

In September, Google agreed to pay US$170 million to the FTC to resolve claims that YouTube violated COPPA by serving targeted advertisements to children under 13…After the FTC settlement, YouTube told creators that they would have to identify when videos are aimed at children under 13. When that happens, YouTube now turns off ads that rely on web browsing behavior and other targeting data, which earn more for YouTube and creators.


TMO UK Associate Editor Charlotte Henry (#3) – TMO Background Mode Interview

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-10 00:33, modified at 00:34


When Your Mac Sleeps Too Deeply – Mac Geek Gab 792

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-09 23:41

Note: Shownotes are in progress…

Chapters/Timestamps/Stuff mentioned:


Yubico Authenticator iOS App Now Supports NFC

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-09 20:52

While Yubico has a security key that plugs into your iPhone via Lightning, the app also supports NFC YubiKeys now.

Instead of storing the time-based one-time passcodes on a mobile phone or computer, Yubico Authenticator generates and stores one-time codes on the YubiKey. A user must present their physical key in order to receive the code for login. This not only eliminates security vulnerabilities associated with a multi-purpose computing device, but also offers an added layer of convenience for users that work between various machines.


5 Gifts for Everyone in our 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-09 20:36

The holidays are here! That means hot cocoa, candy canes, cookies, and presents. The Mac Observer presents to you our 2019 holiday gift guide. These are five great gifts for anyone on your list.

What do you call a kid who doesn’t believe in Santa? A rebel without a Claus.

Bloomio Twist Solar Lantern

I’ve mentioned this product before and I think it’s a neat item. It’s a Bluetooth-enabled plastic lamp that collapses for easy storage. It’s 100% waterproof and dustproof and connects to an app to change the color of its LED light. It’s a great gift for campers or even people that live off the grid. Your kids will love it when they have sleepovers in the backyard. US$50

2019 holiday gift guide bloomio twist

iFixit Toolkits

If you know your way around device repair and tinkering, consider getting one of these iFixit toolkits. There are different kinds, like the Essential Electronics kit (US$24.99) and Pro Tech kit (US$59.99). For example, the Pro Tech kit comes with everything you could want for device repair, like 64 screwdriver bits, three kinds of spudgers, three kinds of tweezers, and more.

2019 holiday gift guide ifixit pro tech toolkit

Henge Docks

Henge Docks designs and manufactures high-end accessories for the Apple ecosystem, like docks for iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks. The Vertical Dock minimizes cord clutter on your desk, and guided docking allows for a quick integration of your MacBook with all of your devices, while the sturdy, Space Gray metal construction firmly secures your MacBook in place. US$149

2019 holiday gift guide vertical macbook dock

iNaturalist Store

iNaturalist is a great app I use that lets you take a photo of a plant or animal, then using machine learning it tries to figure out what kind of specimen it is. Plus, by recording and sharing your observations, you’ll create research-quality data for scientists working to better understand and protect nature. They have a merchandise store filled with t-shirts for only US$5 each. You can use their order-by dates as guidelines: December 3 for shipping destinations outside the US, December 13 for shipping destinations within the US.

2019 holiday gift guide inaturalist shirts

Blue Yeti X

The Blue Yeti X is a state-of-the-art flagship USB microphone for professional-level gaming, Twitch streaming, podcasting and YouTube productions. With an all new four-capsule condenser array inside, Yeti X delivers legendary Blue broadcast sound with greater focus and clarity than ever—in four versatile pickup patterns. US$169

2019 holiday gift guide blue yeti x

Further Reading:

[The Mac Observer’s Black Friday 2019 Gift Guide]

[Massive Procreate 5 Update Brings a Ton of Features]


Massive Procreate 5 Update Brings a Ton of Features

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-09 19:41

Procreate is one of the most popular drawing apps on iOS, and it got a bunch of new features today with Procreate 5. Here are just some of them: Animation Assist helps you create rich illustrative animations, animatics and looping GIFs to share with others. Brush Studio lets you create your own brush has never been easier with the new seamless textures generator. An expanded Drawing Pad sets you free to experiment. Save a reset point at any time and keep on refining. You can also import ABR Photoshop brushes. The new Valkyrie engine gives artists the most flexible and versatile painting system on iPad. If you want to make a glazed brush that wet mixes, has color dynamics, and also has wet edges with burnt edges? You can. And all with Procreate’s trademark performance. App Store: US$9.99 (Offers In-App Purchases)


Swiss Company Launches Apple TV Remote Alternative

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-09 19:29

Swiss company Salt has launched an Apple TV remote alternative with more buttons and less touch pad.

Thanks to Apple’s input, the alternative remote doesn’t require any pairing with ‌Apple TV‌ and works out of the box. It includes directional arrows in place of the Siri Remote’s glass Touch surface, a power button in addition to a Menu button, along with separate volume and channel rockers and traditional media playback buttons.

Supposedly Apple even worked with Salt to create this.


Mail.app Alternates, John’s Future Mac – TMO Daily Observations 2019-12-09

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-09 19:23


File Speeds Using iOS Files are Terrible Compared to Finder

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-09 18:57

Redditor u/j1ggl did a test to compare Finder and Files using a folder of 2048 texture files. The folder was only 1MB, but iOS Files still handled different tasks way worse than Finder. For example, using the app’s built-in zip function, zipping the folder took 3 seconds with Finder and 38 seconds with Files. Unzipping took 7 seconds versus 42 seconds, respectively.

Conclusion: The Files app for iPhone/iPad is badly optimized and not ready to handle a larger amount of files, even though they take up just 1MB in total. It is also worth noting that the iPad required several reboots to even achieve the zipping and unzipping of the folder.


The 2020 Limited Edition Mac Bundle with Parallels, iMazing, TextExpander, More: $48

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-09 18:54

We have another opportunity for you to get a discount on the bundle of Mac apps called the 2020 Limited Edition Mac Bundle. This bundle has 13 Mac apps, including Parallels, iMazing, and TextExpander. You’ll also find PDF Expert, Windscribe VPN Pro, RapidWeaver 8, Disk Drill Pro, Aurora HDR 2019, and more. Which is probably why Stack Commerce has already sold 10,000 of these bundles. The 2020 Limited Edition Mac Bundle is $59.99 through our deal, but coupon code GREENMONDAY20 brings it down to $48.


Safari Users are Less Valuable to Advertisers

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-09 18:26

A report suggests that Safari users are less valuable to advertisers due to the browser’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention technology (via The Information—soft paywall).

ITP

Apple launched Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) in September 2017. It makes it harder for advertisers to track users with with cookies. As a result, the cost of targeting Safari users has dropped 60% since then, according to ad tech firm Rubicon Project.

Ad targeting chart for browsers

Safari is responsible for 53% of mobile browsing in the U.S. iPhone customers are also valuable to advertisers because they tend to be wealthier. But only 9% of iPhone users enable tracking in Safari. Apple customers still see ads if they don’t use adblockers but they are no longer targeted to their interests. This could be good or bad depending on your point of view.

It’s good for advertisers like Facebook and Google, both of which allow highly-targeted advertising. While Safari users are less attractive, Chrome users are more attractive, as 79% of these users do let advertisers track their browsing. Jason Kint, CEO of industry trade group Digital Content Next, says that marketers just need to find better ways to track Safari users, like contextual advertising.

Further Reading:

[Apple Spy Also Had Top Secret Military File]

[The 16-Inch MacBook Pro’s Very Quiet Arrival]


Apple Spy Also Had Top Secret Military File

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-09 18:09

Back in January an Apple engineer was charged with stealing trade secrets from the company for a Chinese startup. But he also had a top secret file in his possession from his former employer, Raytheon (via Bloomberg).

Apple Spy

The file was from the classified Patriot missile program, so secret that it “was not (and is not) permitted to be maintained outside of Department of Defense secured locations.” So this case goes from corporate espionage into national security.

The engineer, Jizhong Chen, is awaiting trial on charges that he stole photos, schematics, and manuals from Apple. He pleaded not guilty and is subject to location monitoring so he doesn’t try to flee the country. Mr. Chen’s hearing is set for today.

Further Reading:

[‘The Morning’ Show Earns Golden Globes Nominations]

[Where Are we With The 5G Rollout?]


Where Are we With The 5G Rollout?

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-09 16:19

5G is on the way, probably including a compatible iPhone in 2020. ArsTechnica has a good rundown of the state of the rollout of the superfast network.

The first thing to know about 5G is that it’s a family affair—and a sometimes-dysfunctional one. Wireless carriers can deploy 5G over any of three different ranges of wireless frequencies, and one of them doesn’t work anything like today’s 4G frequencies. That’s also the one behind the most wild-eyed 5G forecasts. Millimeter-wave 5G occupies bands much higher than any used for 4G LTE today—24 gigahertz and up, far above the 2.5 GHz frequency of Sprint, hitherto the highest-frequency band in use by the major US carriers.


The 16-Inch MacBook Pro’s Very Quiet Arrival

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-09 16:08

The 16-Inch MacBook Pro arrived with relatively very little fanfare. At Forbes, Ewen Spence asked why the device is not being more heavily promoted.

Following its launch event in October 2018 for the new MacBook Air, Mac Mini, and iPad Pro models, Tim Cook was expected by many to hold an October event. This could have amplified the launch of the iPhone 11, given the iPad a springboard into the festive gift-buying period, and allowed the 16-inch MacBook Pro a moment in limelight as the largest screened MacOS laptop launched in the last seven years. But there was no event. Apple declined to push forward its hardware, instead focusing on the launch of Apple TV – one of the many services that Apple’s management believe is the future for the company. Reinforcement of the iPhone 11 was not a necessity and Apple snuck out the seventh generation iPad in late September. It was the MacBook Pro that lost out on a significant push with the mainstream media.


‘The Morning’ Show Earns Golden Globes Nominations

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-09 15:33, modified at 19:20

Apple got its first Golden Globes nominations Monday. Apple TV+ flagship series The Morning Show received three nominations.

Aniston Witherspoon Morning Show

First Golden Globe Nominations for Apple

The Morning Show received a nomination in the Best Drama Series category at the 77th Golden Globes. Furthermore, stars Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon both earned nominations in the Best Actress category.

The announcements came just hours after a nod in the Critics Choice awards. Billy Crudup, who plays media executive Corey Ellison in The Morning Show, received a nomination in the Best Supporting Actor category there. Recognition at such Hollywood ceremonies will no doubt please those at Apple who invested huge amounts in the show. It is clear that they to compete with traditional media outlets.

Update

No surprise, Apple has put out a statement welcoming the nominations. The company also pointed out that Ms. Aniston is only the fourth person in history to receive Best Lead Actress nominations for both TV Comedy and Drama.

The nominations are “historic,” according to Zack Van Amburg, Apple’s head of Worldwide Video. “After the debut of Apple TV+ just last month, today’s nominations are a true testament to the powerful storytelling that went into ‘The Morning Show,’ as well as all of our Apple Originals,” he said.
Jamie Erlicht, Apple’s head of Worldwide Video also commented:
‘The Morning Show’ is resonating with audiences all around the world and today’s recognition from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association further reinforces how timely and special this series is. Congrats to Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Michael Ellenberg, Kerry Ehrin, Mimi Leder and the unparalleled cast and creative minds behind this project. We cannot wait to continue exploring the world of ‘The Morning Show’ into season two.
The series’ executive producer and showrunner Kerry Ehrin said:
I’m incredibly proud that the show was nominated, and it’s so rewarding to see the hard work and talent of Reese and Jen recognized,” said  of “The Morning Show. Mimi, Michael and I could not be more delighted and grateful to the HFPA for this honor, and to Apple for all their support.
“It is an important time, and a privilege, to be able to tell stories and create art that reflects the times we are living in,” said director and executive producer Mimi Leder. Furthermore, fellow executive producer Michael Ellenberg said:
I am so grateful to the members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for recognizing ‘The Morning Show’ and Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon’s outstanding performances. A huge thank you to Apple TV+ for their incredible partnership and the remarkable cast and crew, who I’m honored to share this nomination with.


How the De-Aging Process Behind ‘The Irishman’ Worked

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-09 14:08

Filmed by Martin Scorsese, The Irishman tells the story of Mafia hitman Frank Sheeran and the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa.

Their first concern was making sure the actors would be comfortable. “The process doesn’t use animation, it actually records the faces of actors with every nuance of their performance and replaces them with the younger CGI faces,” Prieto explains. “The advantage is that you don’t have to place motion-capture marks on the actors’ faces or helmets with little cameras. In fact, they don’t even wear makeup. It feels perfectly natural to them. This was a prerequisite for Scorsese — he did not want the actors to be encumbered with any VFX paraphernalia.”

It’s a long, 3.5-hour movie but I thought it was good.


Tim Cook Celebrates Coding And Computer Science Education Week in Japan

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-09 13:18

Apple CEO Tim Cook probably hasn’t coded for many a year. However, it was a key part of how he got into the tech industry.

Tim Cook coding

The Importance of Coding

No surprise then that Mr. Cook publicly marked Computer Science Education Week. Mr. Cook visited Apple Marunouchi in Japan. There, he was joined by Rikkyo Primary School. The appeared to have taken part in a Today at Apple course to start learning some computer science skills. Mr. Cook tweeted that “coding is one of the most important skills you can learn.”

Today at Apple sessions include one called “Getting Started with Swift Playgrounds.” Another is focussed on children. It is called “Coding Lab for Kids” and teaches them using a Sphero Robot.


Meet Emily Dickinson, Apple TV+’s Complicated Heroine

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-09 12:38

Apple TV+ show ‘Dickinson’ is great, and well worth watching if you haven’t yet had a chance. In a new video posted over the weekend, showrunner Alena Smith, star Hailee Steinfield, and others let us meet Emily a little bit more. It gives great insight into how the show got its unique style. It also explains why they all felt it was so important to tell the story of Emily Dickinson.


‘The Morning Show’ Episode Eight Review – This is How it Happens

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-09 12:20, modified at 13:04

We go back in time for episode eight of The Morning Show. Normally, flashback episodes annoy me, but I thought this one worked well. It showed us how the various characters came to be where they are now.

Morning Show review graphic ep 8

Back in Time With ‘The Morning Show’

It is Mitch’s birthday, and much of the episode focuses on how his life has changed from one to the next. We see the deteriorating relationship with his wife and a grand party for his 50th, before The Morning Show team is rushed to Las Vegas to cover the mass-shooting there.

Whilst in Sin City, Mitch commits another one. When network boss Fred is confronted about what has happened, his response typifies much of the problem that the #metoo movement finally exposed. Episode eight makes the point about how many powerful people conspired to protect the truth coming out, and it does it well. It also underlines just how close Alex and Mitch were before he was fired. Furthermore, it becomes clear why Chip is so worried about what may come out. I also liked the way this episode was built around real-world news events, even if they were tragic. It is very reminiscent of Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom.

This episode features more of Steve Carrell (Mitch) than any of the others, and no Reese Witherspoon (Bradley Jackson) or the brilliant Billy Crudup (Corey Ellison). Mr. Carrell puts in an impeccable performance. Oh, and don’t worry, the product placement remains, with characters using previous generation iPhones! After a lackluster episode last week, The Morning Show has returned to form.

The Morning Show Episode Seven Review: Quick and Painful
The Morning Show Episode Six Review: Fighting With Fire
The Morning Show Episode Five Review: Mitch Returns
The Morning Show Episode Four Review: Bradley Jackson Fights Back


Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR Go on Preorder December 10th

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-08 12:38, modified at 12:42

Apple announced late on Saturday that its long awaited Mac Pro, as well as the Pro Display XDR, will go on preorder December 10th. The company notified customers who has signed up for notifications about Mac Pro via email.

That email didn’t include any new information such as pricing, availability, and shipping, but the Mac Pro was announced earlier this year as starting at $5,999. That price gets you an 8-core Xeon processor, 32GB of RAM, the Radeon Pro 580X GPU, and a 256GB SSD. Upgrade options include up to 28 cores on the CPU, up to 1.5TB of memory (!!), up to an AMD Radeon Pro Vega II Duo GPU, and more.

The Pro Display XDR starts at $4,999, with an optional $1,000 stand. It’s a state-of-the-art reference 6K monitor aimed at Hollywood and other production houses.

As noted above, Apple has not yet announced additional pricing for Mac Pro. The company does lay out your upgrade options on a Mac Pro placeholder Specs page.


As Apple Prepares for 5G iPhones, Twists and Turns Are Coming. Be Ready

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-07 20:50, modified at 21:01

5G wireless and iPhone

The Particle Debris articles of the week cover the new 5G wireless technology. Controversy and confusion have already set in.

First, the issue of radiation safety from 5G signals has cropped up again. This time, “Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D., the director of the Center for Family and Community Health in the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley” weighs in at the highly respected Scientific American. We Have No Reason to Believe 5G Is Safe.

5G, in its purest form, uses millimeter wavelengths. And that may be a bio safety issue under some circumstances. Quoting from ths S.A. article:

Millimeter waves are mostly absorbed within a few millimeters of human skin and in the surface layers of the cornea. Short-term exposure can have adverse physiological effects in the peripheral nervous system, the immune system and the cardiovascular system. The research suggests that long-term exposure may pose health risks to the skin (e.g., melanoma), the eyes (e.g., ocular melanoma) and the testes (e.g., sterility).

Also, wide coverage is hard to achieve, and that creates a problem with overly enthusiastic coverage maps. And so, next,  I found it interesting that “T-Mobile launches its nationwide 600 MHz 5G network….”

600 MHz is an enormous half meter wavelength, has a long reach and penetrates walls reasonably well. But bandwidth is proportional to frequency, and 600 MHz is well below expected 5G frequencies. So, T-Mobile, at least is playing fast and loose with “5G” tech nomenclature. It’s called “lower band 5G.” ::cough::

[Everything iPhone Users Need to Know About 5G Wireless.]

T-Mobile pointed out that the other US carriers are focusing on metropolitan areas (since they are using mmWave) and its competitors are charging customers extra to access the 5G network. T-Mobile’s lower band 5G will reach longer range and better reception indoors. T-Mobile says it won’t charge extra for its customers to use the 5G network.

Of course not. The catch? The Verge explains.

T-Mobile doesn’t offer specifics on what kind of speeds you’ll see on the new network, and the actual improvements will vary a lot by location. “In some places, 600 MHz 5G will be a lot faster than LTE. In others, customers won’t see as much difference,” a T-Mobile spokesperson tells The Verge.

I see a big mess coming. Is it live? Or Memorex? Or genuine 5G you’re getting? And if it really is high-speed, millimeter wavelength, how safe is it?

The Week’s News Debris

Cult of Mac reports: “Apple TV 4K users lose Dolby Vision for Apple TV+ content.

Titles like The Morning Show and See are still available in standard HDR. But even earlier episodes, which were available with Dolby Vision initially, can no longer be watched in the enhanced format.

Apparently, this is only affecting some viewers. As of December 6, I am not seeing that problem myself.

…others believe there may be an issue with Dolby Vision itself that Apple is ironing out.

It could be a problem with just some 4KTVs. I’ll keep an eye on this one. If you’re seeing this problem, let me know.

• From BGR, a referring to the rumored iPhone SE 2: “Apple’s releasing a new iPhone in just a few months, and now we know what it’s called.” Would you believe? iPhone 9. ::cough::

At least “SE 2” sounds like a move forward for a beloved product of old. “iPhone 9” seems like a step backward, an obviously inferior product. I don’t like this idea.

• Previously we wrote about and discussed an iPhone 11 Location Services issue. Now, Apple has provided a more detailed explanation. “Apple Explains Mysterious iPhone 11 Location Requests.” The lesson here is not to fly off the handle. Eventually, these things get explained.

• Are you ready for a 3 nanometer CPU fabrication process? It’s coming in the 2022 iPhone, according to Cult of Mac.

Achieving smaller numbers of nanometers between transistors is no guarantee of performance boosts. However, it does mean being able to pack more [transistors] on which can greatly improve performance. 3-nanometer chips would be a massive achievement for TSMC at a time when some people worry that Moore’s Law may be coming to an end.

• Finally, some 2019 13-inch MacBook Pro owners are experiencing unexpected shutdowns and Apple has acknowledged the issue. Digital Trends has the story. “MacBook Pro: Apple acknowledges shutdown issue with a 2019 model.

The article is helpful and presents a possible fix.


Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article(s) of the week followed by a discussion of articles that didn’t make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holiday weeks.


Download Instagram Photos, Hashtags, and Locations with 4K Stogram [Sponsored]

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-07 15:00, modified on 2019-12-06 05:47

Please join us in taking the makers of 4K Stogram for sponsoring TMO here this week. 4K Stogram is an Instagram Viewer and Downloader for macOS, Windows, and Linux. With it, you can download photos, videos, and stories from your friends’ public and private Instagram accounts, backup your Instagram profile and import your list of Instagram subscriptions. And best of all, you can get started for free.

Using it is simple, just enter an Instagram username, hashtag, or location and press the Subscribe button. From there you can explore and download Instagram photos, videos, and stories from different places, subscribe to any account’s photos and their following list.

We’ve been testing 4K Stogram here this week, and we’ve really come to appreciate the layout of the app. Being able to see multiple streams simultaneously makes for a very enhanced browsing experience. Once you see something you like, then you can dig in without the noise of anything else around it.

Video posts are fully supported here, and you can download them in MP4 format for viewing anywhere, truly freeing your content, letting you use it anywhere.

Leave 4K Stogram running and it will not only download your friends’ feeds, but also their stories. Never again will you miss something just because you forgot to check in one day. 4K Stogram will save those Instagram Stories for you for later viewing.

You can start now and download 4K Stogram for free and then activate premium features for just $9.95. That gives you up to 10 subscriptions, unlimited stories downloads, no ads, and more… and that one personal license can be used on up to three of your computers!

Download 4K Stogram today and see what it’s all about!


Saudi Aramco Expected to Beat Apple as ‘Most Valuable Company’

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-06 21:30

Oil giant Saudi Aramco recently had the world’s biggest IPO of US$25.6 billion. At that level it has a market valuation of US$1.7 trillion, beating Apple to become the world’s most valuable company.

Aramco did not say when shares would start trading on the Saudi stock market but two sources said it was scheduled for Dec. 11.

Saudi Arabia relied on domestic and regional investors to sell a 1.5% stake after lukewarm interest from abroad, even at the reduced valuation of $1.7 trillion.


Robocalls and Scams are Killing Phone Calls

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-06 20:27

Sarah Hagi writes how the phone call is dying thanks to the rise of robocalling. Now, many people don’t answer unknown callers and instead send them to voicemail.

Speaking to so many people, it struck me how resigned everyone was to this fact: that this is seemingly just the way things are now, with no hope of it getting better, only worse. And while many believe millennials killed talking on the phone because we fear real connection, maybe it’s because we are too scared of getting scammed.

It’s appropriate to come across this article today because I’ve gotten an increase in robocalls in the past couple of days. Aside from using a robocall-blocking app, I go to Settings > Phone > Silence Unknown Callers.


Track Your Cards and Cash in One Place with this Digital Finance and Budgeting Tool: $34

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-06 20:03

We have a deal on the Toshl Medici plan, a financial tracking service that unlocks all the features available in Toshl Finance. That includes all graphs and the option to automatically import data from your bank, credit card or other financial services. You can get a 3-year subscription through us for $39.99, but coupon code BFSAVE15 brings the price down to $34 at checkout. There’s a 1-year option available in the deal listing, too, and the coupon code works on it, too.


Premier League Streaming, TMO Gift Guides – TMO Daily Observations 2019-12-06

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-06 19:26


Apple Reportedly Threatened to Leave Russia Over Device Law

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-06 19:16, modified at 19:17

An anonymous Apple source reportedly told Kommersant Business Daily that Russia’s law to have Russian apps preinstalled on iPhones would be tantamount to jailbreaking, and as such poses a security risk (via IBTimes).

Device Ban

Russian President Putin signed into law a requirement that all electronic devices sold in the country had to have Russian software preinstalled onto the system. Unlike Android and Windows, Apple doesn’t allow any third-party app to be preinstalled on its devices.

Image of Apple devices. Apple Reportedly Threatened to Leave Russia Over Device Law

The law was pitched as a way to help Russian companies compete with foreign companies, as well as spare consumers from needing to download software upon the purchase of a device.

With an authoritarian country like Russia, this move is a security threat as these apps would most likely be used to monitor peoples’ online activity. The country has already made similar moves like forcing search engines to censor some search results, requiring messaging apps to share encryption keys with the government, and having social media companies keep Russian user data on servers within the country.

The law goes into effect in July 1, 2020, so Apple has until then to decide what to do.

Further Reading:

[Would Apple Leave Russia Over Device Ban?]

[The Fastest Way to Insert Links in WordPress Articles]


The Fastest Way to Insert Links in WordPress Articles

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-06 18:48

WordPress powers a lot of websites, around 35% by its own estimation. We use it for The Mac Observer and picked up tips and tricks along the way. One trick is the fastest way to insert links in WordPress articles.

⌘ + V

Usually, inserting a URL to text takes a click or two in the visual view of the article. In text view it can take longer to manually type out the HTML or Markdown code unless you use text expansion.

  1. Copy the URL you want onto your clipboard.
  2. In WordPress, highlight the word or sentence you want to create as a link, then directly copy and past by pressing Command (⌘) + V.
Insert URLs in wordpress

And that’s it. This works in the Classic editor as well as the newer Block editor. However, it doesn’t work on the iPad even if you have a keyboard.

Further Reading:

[How to Scan Documents Direct to Mail in iOS 13]

[Video: The MacObserver’s Christmas Gift Guide 2019]


How to Scan Documents Direct to Mail in iOS 13

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-06 18:38

I’ve previously highlighted the excellent scan tool in iOS 13. I noticed recently that the tool was embedded directly in the Mail app on the iPhone. (I think it came along with iOS 13.2.3.) It means you can scan documents and send them as an email attachment within the same app. As with the tool in the Files app, this is very easy to use.

Scan Direct to Mail

  1. Press the arrow at the top of your keyboard. This will bring up a new range of options, including adding different attachments.
    Scan to mail stage 1
  2. Click on the ‘scan’ option. This loads exactly the same scanning tool as discussed before. Save the document and it becomes an attachment in your email.

This function is also available in the Files app:

 


The iPhone SE 2 Might Be Called… iPhone 9?!

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-06 18:14

Rumors emanating from Japan suggested that the much-discussed iPhone SE 2 may actually be called the iPhone 9. AppleInsider took a look at this somewhat unlikely claim.

Japanese site Macotakara is reporting confirmation from its sources within manufacturers in the supply chain, that Apple is readying a cheaper, smaller ‘iPhone SE 2’ to replace the iPhone SE. It may be released in spring 2020, but Macotakara also claims that it may be called the iPhone 9. “Since the consecutive design has been used from iPhone 6 to iPhone 8,” says the site in its own English-language translation, “it is difficult to be thought that the name of iPhone SE would be succeeded.” The word “design” there is most likely to be a mistranslation of what the site probably meant was the iPhone naming convention.


The Privacy Problems Around Facebook’s Libra Currency

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-06 18:06

Libra, Facebook’s attempt to get into cryptocurrency, has suffered a number of setbacks. On Wired, European Data Protection Supervisor Wojciech Wiewiórowski highlighted the privacy issues with the project.

In the European Union, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the ePrivacy Directive guarantee privacy and personal data protection as fundamental rights for every individual. There can be no doubt that Libra would be subject to these laws. It is clear that payment and transaction data convey a lot of information about the user, facilitating profiling. The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) mainly examines potential data-sharing that may be triggered by Libra facilities on a previously unseen scale. Even if sharing would be conditional on user consent, the long-term implications may be the further loss of control over data.


Video: The MacObserver’s Christmas Gift Guide 2019

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-06 17:23

Charlotte Henry and Andrew Orr discuss some of thee products you may want to buy friends and family, or even ask for yourself. They included a number of items they reviewed this year. For example, Andrew picked the Yubico 5Ci security key. Meanwhile, Charlotte selected the Tivoli Go Fonico earbuds.


Bernie Sanders Unveils ‘High-Speed Internet for All”

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-06 16:24

Today Bernie Sanders revealed a plan to expand broadband access across America called ‘High-Speed Internet for All’.

High-speed internet service must be treated as the new electricity — a public utility that everyone deserves as a basic human right. And getting online at home, at school, or at work shouldn’t involve long waits, frustrating phone calls, and complex contracts and fees meant to trap and trick consumers. It should just work.

It’s time to take this critical 21st century utility out of the hands of monopolies and conglomerates and bring it to the people while creating good-paying, union jobs at the same time.


Apple Shares 2019 Apple Pay Holiday Deals

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-06 15:21