iPad multi-tasking
#289 Henry, Sunday, 04 October 2015 10:42 PM (Category: Apple)
(Tags: ios multitasking ipad)

When I installed iOS 9 a couple of weeks ago on my iPad Air, I discovered the new multi-tasking feature. Interesting.

If you're in one app, and you swipe from right to left from the edge of the screen, depending on the app, a small tab will appear on the right edge.

iOS multitasking first swipe

If then you touch that tab and swipe it to the left, another app will be running in an overlaid section of the screen. With some apps however, the first swipe jumps straight to the overlay.

iOS multitasking second swipe

If you want to run a different app in that overlaid section, swipe down from the top, and an icon list of already open apps will appear and you can scroll up and select the one you want.

iOS multitasking down swipe

There's lots of overlaying and transparency there. I don't think every app will run in the top section of the screen, they need code changes to support this feature. Most of my apps have been updated to support this overlay feature, so that shouldn't be a problem.

I do a lot of reading with the app Marvin, and the motion I make to turn the page is exactly the same motion used to start this "multi-tasking" thing. After ten minutes of annoyance, I found the setting that turns off multi-tasking. Do not want.

Tonight, I had another look at it. Maybe it could be useful? I don't know, but I'll play with it a bit. If it gets irritating again, I'll just turn it off again.

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Success Deleting Transporter Desktop
#288 Henry, Sunday, 04 October 2015 5:38 PM (Category: Gadgets)
(Tags: drobo transporter)

I had some spare time so I tackled the problem of uninstalling the Transporter Desktop.

First step, I reinstalled it. This time, I got a complaint from the OS that the app came from an untrusted developer and my settings would not allow me to run it. This is very strange. It didn't tell me this a few weeks ago when I first installed it.

I found the Security settings and told it to allow software from everyone. Then I could run the Desktop. I set it up again per instructions. Unfortunately, it renamed my hard disk from "Macintosh HD" to "f?". This started to disturb me. Had I unwittingly got a malware version of the Desktop?

Then I went to the support website again and downloaded the Uninstall App. It ran this time, probably because I had changed the settings to allow any software to run, not just from Apple or trusted developers. It asked a few questions, and then it removed itself cleanly. Everything went - Desktop, drivers, everything. And it rebooted.

Then I had to work out how to rename my hard disk back. Quick Google showed me, and a few seconds later it was all back to where it should be. I changed the security settings back to only allow Trusted Developers to run software. It might be Nanny State, but I'll leave it on. I don't do anything much on this Mac Mini, just manage my Drobo, so I don't need to run all sorts of things on it.

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The Transporter Sync
#287 Henry, Sunday, 04 October 2015 4:19 PM (Category: Gadgets)
(Tags: drobo transporter)

Earlier this year, my brother Chris bought a Transporter Sync made by ConnectedData.com. They had a two-for-one deal so he bought two. One came here to me, the other went home to Australia. It took me a long time to get around to pulling it out and installing it and setting it up for him here, sorry Chris.

ConnectedData has since been bought by Drobo. The ConnectedData website no longer shows the Transporter Sync as an active product, they appear to be aiming at bigger markets now.

So what you get is a small round device.

Transporter Sync

You attach an external USB drive to this device, add a network cable to get it on your network, and then turn it on.

Transporter Sync Connections

The first time you turn it on, it will sit there and blink lights at you while it formats the hard disk and puts a filesystem on it. If you had anything on that drive before, it's gone now. I believe it puts a Linux ext4 filesystem on the drive. The ring of lights around the Transporter alternate between blue and green while this is happening.

Once the lights go steady blue (or in my case, once you hear the grinding noises from the USB drive, remove that disk and throw it away and put another one on and start again, and then wait for the lights to go steady blue), the Transporter Sync is ready for action.

You aim your browser at their website and you create an account with them. They want an email address. I gave them an email address and they sent me a confirmation email which was rejected. It was one of my addresses handled by my mailserver, but it got rejected every time. The email was constructed so it was addressed to sitemail.connecteddata.com, with my address somewhere in there, it was seen as being a relay email so sendmail rejected it. I couldn't fix this, so I had to swith and use my GMail address to get the confirmation message.

Once the account is set up and confirmed, you get to manage your transporters. At this point, I would guess that the Transporter Sync has already connected back to them, and supplied the serial number and Mac Address and they get the IP address you are conneting from, correlate that with the IP address you are browsing from, and then they show you your transporter. You can claim it. That takes it off the market and you can then start to use it.

As it's a Drobo product, there is no Linux support. It might be Linux inside, but they don't support Linux. You need a Mac or a Windows box.

What you do is set up a directory on your local computer. Then you download the Transporter Desktop and tell it what directory is to be synced to what Transporter. And then it keeps them in sync. If it's in that directory, it's on the Transporter. And they have an iOS app so you can access your files on your iPhone or iPad.

So it's like Dropbox or ownCloud. Except you manage the data yourself on a physical hard disk.

As there's no Linux client for it, it's no use to me. So what we are going to do is leave it there for Chris, and he can sync his data to it. That's called offsite backup. Really offsite, like backing up your data in the USA from Australia. I played with it a little, and it does what it is supposed to do.

The ring of lights around it are so bright, they light up the room at night. If you go to the management website, you can dim those lights (they reduce, but still light up the room all night), or you can turn the lights off (which means the lights at front go off, but the lights at the back still stay on which continues to light up the room as the Transporter has the back facing out so I can access the cables). I have noticed a tendency for gadgets these days to have lights so strong you can use them as lighthouses. That's what duct tape is for - cover the bloody lights on gadgets.

There is one other big problem I have with the Transporter - the Transporter Desktop on the Mac. I installed it and played with it and it all works. No problems there. But when I tried to delete the Desktop, I found I can't. It installed low level drivers that are in use. As they are in use, I can't delete the Desktop. I went to their support website and read about this, and they have a small Uninstall app you can download. I downloaded it, it can't run. Maybe it's for an earlier version of Mac OS X? I'm running Yosemite. I've hunted down lowlevel files per their website and removed them. I've removed autostart settings, I've done everything I can do and I can't get rid of it. Looks like the only way to get rid of the Transporter Desktop is to do a fresh install of Mac OS X. I am pretty pissed about this. Not happy at all. If you install something, it should be able to be cleanly uninstalled. This just shows shoddy work with the software.

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Hard disk worry
#286 Henry, Monday, 28 September 2015 10:18 PM (Category: Hardware)
(Tags: harddisk)

My desktop is near my head, and there are 2 hard disks in it.

In front of me are 6 external hard disks.

My two servers are up to my left, and there are 4 hard disks in there.

Behind me is the mediaserver with 1 internal and 3 external hardisks.

Behind me is also the Drobo with 4 hard disks in it.

I am surrounded by 20 hard disks.

One of these hard disks is making a funny noise it shouldn't. I can't tell which one it is.

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Wunderlist joins Microsoft
#285 Henry, Monday, 21 September 2015 1:46 PM (Category: Apps)
(Tags: wunderlist microsoft skype)

I've been using the iPhone/iPad app Wunderlist off and on for a few years to track my to-do list. I have a long list of things that need to be done, sometime, and as the years go by the list gets longer. I like Wunderlist.

I'm a bit late to the party, but found out today that Wunderlist were bought by Microsoft earlier this year.

I always have mixed feelings when apps I like are bought by bigger companies. On one hand, they might have more stability to keep going. On the other hand, they might get shut down, or changed to the point where they aren't useful to me.

I remember when Microsoft bought Skype. Well, Skype is still running, and it's the same as before, except the app has evolved to the point where I don't know how to use it any more. I hope Wunderlist keeps their design independence.

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