#343 Henry, Thursday, 14 April 2016 3:07 PM (Category: Apple)
(Tags: fruitjuice battery macbook)

Chris suggested that I should look at the Mac app FruitJuice as a way of monitoring the battery usage on my MacBook to get a better idea of what is happening when I use the timer on it.

First of all, it's $9.99. That made me squirm. Then I remembered all those early years when software cost $40 to $250, and realised how my perceptions have changed when I find a $10 app feels like too much money. I did my reading, and it seemed interesting enough, so I paid my money and installed in on my MacBook Air. I didn't want to put it on the MacBook yet, I wanted to get a feel for it.

Bought it in the Mac App Store, and got it installed. Ran it, and set it to run at login time. First thing it did was tell me it wanted to do a Maintenance Run. Told me to plug the charger in and get it up to 100%. I did that. Then it told me to take the charger off, and run the Mac till the battery went below 20%. I did that. Took a few hours. Then it was calibrated and it knew what it was doing.

Now, whenever I use my MacBook Air, the FruitJuice app tells me how much time I need to spend on battery power each day. And right now, it tells me to spend one hour and five minutes on battery. This is good information. And it gives me plenty of other info about the state of the battery and my pattern of usage. Neat. I suppose it's worth the $10. If it keeps my battery running for longer before I need to replace it, and optimises the lifespan, then it is worth it.

So with all this info and practice done, it was time to put FruitJuice on my MacBook that is driving the Drobo and BackBlaze, the MacBook that started this whole exercise.

Oh. Rats. That MacBook is locked in at Lion, and FruitJuice will not install. OS is too old. So much for that.

But it's still useful on the two MacBook Airs which are both on the current OS.

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MacBook on timer
#342 Henry, Thursday, 14 April 2016 3:02 PM (Category: Apple)
(Tags: macbook drobo backblaze)

The MacBook is going very well at home. There have been no problems at all, the Drobo remains accessible and BackBlaze is near the end of the initial backup. I am really happy. I have set up a first cron job on my Linux desktop to backup essential files to the MacBook once a day, so they can make their way up to BackBlaze.

I read one suggestion about putting it on a timer to exercise the battery. I bought one of these Woods Timers and installed it.

Woods Timer

It works just fine. It turns power off to the MacBook for an hour at 4am and 4pm so it runs off the battery. That's been in place a couple of days now, and there have been no problems. I will check it on the weekend to see how low the battery gets after an hour without power, and then I might tweak it. Right now I am flying blind.

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Apple Maps disaster
#341 Henry, Wednesday, 13 April 2016 11:24 AM (Category: Apple)
(Tags: maps gps)

Last Thursday, I had occasion to use Apple Maps on my iPhone. Anne was having Book Club at our house, and I had been asked out by one of the other Book Widowers. That was a better offer than hiding in the computer room all night, so I agreed. Might be some beer in it.

I had been to their house before, but decided to use Maps on my iPhone to get there straight from work. I brought the name up in Contacts, tapped on the address and Apple Maps popped up. I normally don't use Apple Maps, I've had a few small problems in the past, but it's been a couple of years and Apple keep improving it, so I gave it another go.

I'm driving and listening to the instructions. And it takes me a strange way. But I think, I've seen GPS apps do this before, they take you way up here and then you drop down here, all on the freeways, and it looks like a strange way but it's shorter and faster. I persevered, but started getting nervous. By the time I realised something was seriously wrong, I was trapped on the freeway with no exits, pushed through the midtown tunnel, and, oh no, it's a toll tunnel and Anne's car has the EZPass device and so I went through the tunnel and got the toll plus the extra fee for not having EZPAss, it took me into Portsmouth and stopped me on Court Street and announced we were there. Somehow, Las Ollas Court in Chesapeake turned into Court Street in Portsmouth. I cursed. Not going to use Apple Maps again. So I fired up Google Maps and shit damn and blast, I had to go back through the tunnel and do the non-EZPass thing again and get a double bill in the mail. Anyway, Google Maps took me directly to where I wanted to go. I was only 35 minutes late, and down about $20 in toll fees, and I was not a happy man.

On the other hand, I had a good night out. We went out to a pub with an interesting name and a good selection of beers, but they were having a Trivial Pursuit competition and it was noisy, so we walked in and walked out, and drove to another of George's favourite pubs - Busky's Chill and Grill. It was quiet and almost empty. They had a small selection of local beers, so I stuck to O'Connor IPAs and had a Bubba Burger and we talked and talked and had a great night.

To get home at the end of the night, I thought about where I had to go, thought about Elbow Road closed for renovations, planned the route in my head and drove home without GPS. I think I am going to use my mind for trips that I know, and only use GPS for routes that I do not know. And I am not going to use Apple Maps again.

I can't work out how it happened. It's possible I tapped on the address and it highlighted the Court of Las Ollas Court and my device made assumptions about that. Doesn't matter how I did it, I got burned and won't make that mistake again. I will avoid GPS unless really necessary, and avoid Apple Maps.

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Old iPads
#340 Henry, Wednesday, 13 April 2016 10:47 AM (Category: Apple)
(Tags: ipad)

So now we have three old iPads in the house.

Collectively, they are not worth much here. Maybe $150 in total if I sell them through official sources, maybe $300 if I sell them locally and get lucky with a buyer. If I look online, they sell for much more in the UK and Europe, and maybe Australia, despite their age and limitations. Why are they so worthless in the USA and worth much more elsewhere?

The AT&T ones can be used in Australia, which is why we went to AT&T in first place. Just swap out the SIM card, slip in a new one, and data arrives.

I'll advertise them here and sell them off. Get something for them, help to defray the cost of new gadgets.

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iPad upgrades
#339 Henry, Wednesday, 13 April 2016 9:51 AM (Category: Apple)
(Tags: ipad)

Anne had a 16 gig first gen iPad Mini. She took it everywhere. But she started to get frustrated with it. She plays two or three really large games, and they chewed up most of that 16 gig. She couldn't update them. She couldn't upgrade to the latest version of the OS. A long time ago, 16 gig was enough space, but now, it is not. We progressively deleted other apps, and cleaned out messages and photos, and kept it afloat. But every time, it was a struggle. Time for an upgrade.

"No, no", was Anne's cry, "we can't afford it". She said that every time I brought up the topic of a new iPad for her. But her cries got weaker the more she had to struggle with it. Finally, I proposed we get a silver replacement, and I would split it between our silver wedding anniversary (25 years married) and her birthday. She reluctantly agreed, although I believe the reluctance was more for show. She knew something had to be done.

So after an opera simulcast at Macarthur Mall, we stopped in at the Apple Store. One of the salesmen came up, and I told him precisely what I wanted. 64 gig iPad Mini 4 with cellular AT&T. And a case like she already had. And Apple Care. There was no selling or upselling he had to do. He had the easiest sale of the day. He got it out. Anne decided she didn't want silver, she wanted the black one. She's used to the black outline. "But our silver wedding anniversary" I bleated. "Don't care. I want the black." Okay.

Then we discovered because Anne started as a substitute teacher last year, and is actively teaching today, she gets an education discount. That saved a little. We walked out with the new iPad and a case like she is used to. Interestingly, the case was "designed in Australia".

Made a short stop at the AT&T shop, and they switched the SIM card out of her old iPad and into the new iPad. Because it was same size SIM, no numbers needed changing, no registering, no fuss at all. I could have done that myself at home. I have the official little SIM card popper out tool. But they did it for us, and it cost nothing.

Back home, I upgraded the new iPad to the latest version of iOS, and then upgraded the old iPad to the latest version. That was a struggle in spare space, but I did it. Have to get the same version of iOS on both of them. Then I backed up the old iPad with an encrypted backup to get all the passwords, and then restored it to the new iPad. Made a few settings adjustments, and handed it to Anne.

You should have heard the noises. "The screen is so clear." "The screen is beautiful." as she went from non-retina to retina. "It's so fast" as she went from an A5 CPU to an A8 CPU. And the cache RAM went from 512 meg to 2 gig, which speeds things up dramatically in the really big games she plays. "It's much lighter" she said, but I didn't believe that, because once you add a case to an iPad it just becomes heavy. I use my iPad bareback, but Anne likes a protective case so she can carry it in her bag wherever she goes.

So the end result is that Anne is very happy with her iPad. It's lighter and faster and looks better, and with 64 gig she can fit all her games and not have to worry about space restrictions for a few years.

Now, I have this old iPad Mini first gen to sell. It's worth $60 to Apple, and $40 on the open market here. I'd get more value using it as a photo display unit on the mantelpiece.

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