Category Archives: Apple Existence

My journey away from Windows, and into the light.

Once Again, Into the Fray

Last week, Apple announced the new iPhone 6 models and the Apple Watch.  Since the Apple Watch doesn’t ship until next year, I went ahead and ordered the iPhone 6.  🙂

We’ve been with Verizon for the last two years, and it’s been a good relationship.  Unfortunately, Darla and I came into our iPhone purchases a little late, so we weren’t eligible until early October to order new phones, and I had resigned myself to a new iPhone arriving sometime in November.  Until today.

Upgrade Time!One of my coworkers clued me in that Verizon had changed the eligibility for some folks, so I called #874, and waited for the return text message…  Success!

With that, I pounced on ordering my new phone.  I skip every other version, so my iPhone 5 was starting to look a little long in the tooth.  I had a smaller memory model, expecting to leverage the cloud for my files, and while I’ve done that, I also like having my stuff with me.

With the announcement last week, folks have been asking me what model I was going to order.  Frankly, it was a pretty easy decision for me.  I use my iPhone more as a internet terminal than a phone most of the time.  And when I am using it as a phone, it’s either Bluetooth tethered to the Jeep, or on speakerphone mode.  I rarely hold it to my head.

With all that in mind, true 1080 HD resolution, and optical camera stabilization, it was easy to fall in line behind the iPhone 6 Plus.  Capacity was another question though.  For years, I’d bought the largest amount of storage I could get on my Apple i-devices.  In my last round of purchases, I’d opted for a smaller memory footprint, and leverage stuff in the cloud.  However, after two years of working within a small footprint, I’ve decided bigger is better, and opted for a 128GB device.  And if you’re keeping score at home, I ordered a Space Gray.

With all that said, the target delivery date range is October 16th – 23rd.  Had I ordered on October 3rd, it really would’ve been November!

I’m looking forward to playing with the new camera more than anything else.  I’ve always been impressed with the ubiquity of my iPhone, and it’s been my “best camera” because it’s the one that’s with me.  With the camera improvements, I expect that’ll get even more use from me.  And with the larger storage, I’m betting I’ll use it as much as my other camera rigs.

So watch this space — a month from now! — and we’ll see just what the iPhone 6 Plus brings to my world!

NDD: Logitech FabricSkin Keyboard Folio

(NDD is New Doodad Day, btw…)

Another day, another new toy. Today’s is the Logitech FabricSkin Keyboard Folio.

I’ve been thinking more and more about a keyboard for my iPad, and starting to use it more as a mobile communication device, rather than just as an internet consumption device, which has been my primary use for it. Enter the desire for a keyboard. (Note that I didn’t say need!)

Plug it in (to charge it), insert the iPad into the pretty dang secure holder, and it was ready to pair with my iPad. From unviolated box to paired and typing in about 90 seconds. Pretty cool.

I will mention that the keyboard has a funky feel. It’s a covered, slightly membrane-like keyboard, so the keys have a little funkiness to their feel, both from the fabric and from the short throw action. However, it’s definitely better than typing on the glass, and I’m noticing just through typing this up, I’m getting used to the feel a bit.

More to come, I’m sure, as I play with this gadget on a more regular basis!


For a long, long time, I’ve wanted to get my digital life in one place, while still having the power to do what I want.  Oh, and I wanted to be able to carry it everywhere — inside the house, to work, on vacation.

Yeah, I just want everything.  Doable, yes?  Well, not really… until now.

I’ve tried to put everything in one place, and force all my work into one device.  That was with an old MacBook Pro.  I was landlocked at 6GB of RAM, which wasn’t enough to handle my work, and once I started talking about 100,000 images, that pushed me to external drives, which killed my throughput.  Add to that a spinning harddrive inside the laptop, and it wasn’t quite as portable as I’d like.

For power, I moved through an eight-core MacPro, and eventually landed on an eight-core iMac.  That iMac has been great, although the speed for external drives hasn’t been terrific, with Firewire 800 being as fast as it goes.

When the MacBook Airs hit, I picked up one, and it’s been a great “on the go” machine, but definitely not the power nor speed for external storage that I’d like.  Still, it’s a nice machine.

Enter the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display.

This little box seems to have it all.  Internal solid state drive — quick boot, and safe to move the machine quickly, like the MacBook Air.  For external drives, there’s USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt connectors, which are both way faster than Firewire 800 or USB 2.0.  Processor-wise, it’s an eight-core beast with plenty of speed.  It can be custom-built with 16GB of RAM, which is as much as I had on the iMac and is more than enough for my needs.

And then there’s the screen.

I took a look at one at the Apple Store, and was just gobsmacked.  It’s the most amazing screen I’ve seen on a laptop.  The 15″ screen has more pixels than my 27″ iMac had.  And stunning, stunning color.

Notice all the past tense references?  Well, that’s ’cause I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid, and have one of these beauties on order.  Unfortunately, delivery is gonna take a month.  Apparently, they’re flying off the shelves, and Apple can’t make them fast enough.  If you’re Apple, that’s a great problem to have.

Stay tuned… once the little guy shows up, I’m sure I’ll have some comments about it!!!!

The Lion’s Meow … and Its Teeth!

The shiny new OS for my Macs — “Lion” — was dropped this week. Through a weird quirk of timing, I was able to get it gratis from the Kids at Cupertino. You see, I bought my new MacMini just a few into an as-of-that-time-unannounced window where you could get Lion for free because your machine shoulda shipped with it… or something like that. Anyway, one redemption code in the AppStore later, and Lion was on the MacMini, and was installable on my other two Macs as well. Woohoo!

The first wart I discovered with was Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Client. I had to “Force Quit” the app a few times, and even bounced the machine before it would finally work. I have no idea what it was doing, but it eventually was functional. Yippee!

The next wart was one I knew about — Quicken. Quicken 2007 for the Mac was a PPC-only app, and with the dropping of Rosetta, PPC apps aren’t supported. Makes sense — it’s been almost six years since the Apple switch to Intel. So one quick online purchase later, and Quicken Essentials — the only version available for the Mac — was on the iMac and purring along. Hooray!

Today, I went on a quest to see what other PPC-only pieces of code I had out there. Surprisingly, there were some. There was The Sims, which I really hadn’t played since I installed it. I evicted ’em.

And then I noticed a bad one: EyeOne.

I bought my EyeOne at DLWS in the fall of 2005 for use in profiling my monitors. It’s a cool tool, and code has been carried along for quite a while, with no big changes. That means the functionality didn’t change, which is good, but with the advent of Lion, the old PPC codebase simply won’t fly. From what I’ve been able to see here and there on the ever-truthful internet, it appears that the new owners of the codebase don’t seem to be real interested in updating the code for us loyal EyeOne users. Bummer. That probably means that a new profiling package is in my future. I had to have to do that, but I don’t know any way around it.

With all that in mind, the upgrade to Lion has cost me $50 for Quicken, and who-knows-how-much for a new profiler … maybe a few hundred bucks?

As for functionality, Lion has a few new things, a redesigned Mail application, and some pretty visual changes that are pleasant to watch. Are there gobs of new things I see as I use my machine for scanning, Aperture, or other things? Not really. I do hate the fact the scrolling is now backwards — now, you “push” or “pull” the content in the direction you want, kinda like a physical piece of paper. Definitely backwards, and makes my transition from work (Windows-centric) to home (Mac-centric). I know you can change that behavior, but if that’s the way Apple’s headed, I kinda wanna go that way too, lest I get caught later needing to learn this new behavior, but under some pressure to get something done!

So for me, Lion’s less of a big cat, and more of kitten. Like with any kitten though, it’s inflicted a little pain that I’m just gonna have to figure out how to heal.

CORRECTION/ADDITION : It appears that X-Rite (who now owns the codebase for the EyeOne) are planning to include support for my device in a new piece of code to be released in September. Of course, it won’t be a free upgrade, and I will have to live without my profiler for a few months. Color me hopeful that this gets resolved both quickly and correctly!

New Gear : MacMini

Yeah, yeah, it’s been two weeks since my Memorial Day missive. (Thanks, BTW, for all the kudos on the piece — biggest “hit” day ever on the blog.) It’s time to get back on the wagon, so we’ll get a little stream o’ consciousness about some of the new toys in the Deauxmayne.

I’ve had a MacMini for years. In fact, my first MacMini was a 1.42GHz G4 MacMini back in 2005. That was a cool little machine — teency, reasonably fast for what it was, and a great infrastructure machine (at the time, I also had a G5 iMac). And, it was my first foray into the weird little stepchild that is the MacMini.

A year later, I upgraded to a 1.66GHz Core Duo MacMini — one that I was still using as an infrastructure machine until the latest acquisition. Again, a cool little machine, with plenty of upgrade potential. Getting the machine open required the use of a cake icing tool (seriously!), and I got inside it several times to upgrade memory and hard drives. In fact, until a year or so ago, it was the “server” this site sat atop.

Enter the recently announced OS X Lion. Looks like it’ll be a great new OS, but it’s hardware bar-to-entry is a little higher than my lil’ ol’ MacMini could provide. So, after five years, it was time to move on to new hardware.

I picked up the new little 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo MacMini last week, and was really impressed with the size. It’s thinner, albeit a bigger square than its predecessor. And along with that thinness, Apple learned a lesson from the AppleTV, and dropped the power brick — a single cable plugs into the back, and that’s it. What a great improvement!

Another nice touch are Mini DisplayPort and HDMI ports on the back for video. No more bulky DVI connector! There’s also a FW800 port, and four USB ports — all good things for the way I’m using the little box. Apple also put an SD card reader in it… but it’s located on the back on of the machine. That’s a really, really, really weird place for a slot that you’d figure someone might be using a lot if this was your primary machine.

So what do I use it for?

Firstly, it’s a print server, serving up my Canon multifunction printer to all the machines on the network. Printing from everywhere is a great thing!

Secondly, it’s a backup machine. Using Chronosync, I backup my recently-acquired Western Digital My Book 4TB array (from the iMac) to a pair of Western Digital My Studio 2TB drives. One gets the photo and scan archive, and the other gets the rest of my digital life — documents, software, etc.

Thirdly, I have a fileshare sitting on it that Becky uses to drop off files for backup. Basically, an internal cloud application from her view. (I had to throw a cloud reference in there!)

Lastly, I have it set up for video import duties. I can import via my EyeTV device, or from my Canon ZR70MC digital camcorder. It’s got a nice A/D import path in it, and with FW800 in the new MacMini, it makes importing video a breeze.

Are there other things I could do with it? Maybe… probably. For now though, I’ve got a pretty cool infrastructure machine that just percolates right along, without me having to worry about it at all. That’s solid, and it just works.

Aperture, f/0 and 0mm

After correcting a really big catalog foobar of my own making in Aperture this morning, I set about to create some smart albums to catch a few unique items in my catalog of images. Specifically, I was looking for images that either reported an aperture of f/0 or a focal length of 0mm. Largely, these are images I’ve shot through a T-adapter on one of my telescopes.

However, try as hard as I could, I couldn’t get Aperture to let me do that. Oh, I could enter the data in the panel for the smart album, but I couldn’t get Aperture to actually act on my parameters.

Then I noticed a parameter for “is in the range”.

Using that, I was able to set up conditions for in the range of 0mm to 1mm, and f/0 to f/1. Perfect!!!

In a perfect world, I’d love to be able to change the EXIF data to reflect the use of my telescopes, but I haven’t quite figured out how to have Aperture let me do that. For now, I’m using a custom field to track that info for the ‘scopes, as well as for lenses that aren’t identified well on my older camera bodies (Canon EOS 10D and 20D, specifically).

Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

New Gear : MacBook Air

I’ve been thinking recently about a move to lighter weight laptop. My 15″ MacBook Pro has been a solid machine, but it was getting long in the tooth (a late 2008 model), and seemed to be gaining weight as it got older. Don’t we all. 🙂

The question was MacBook Air or MacBook Pro. The first-gen MacBook Air was released a while back. The rub on that machine was that it was pretty dang slow, and I never really was interested in it. You’d think that’d point me toward the MacBook Pro.

However, as I started looking to get a bit more current on my road machine, I started looking at the recently upgraded MacBook Air. The new models had better graphics cards installed, and were all SSD-based. This flash-based drive really made a convenient, “no moving parts” laptop, and consequently, made it really, really light. And, it’s simply beautiful, with typically well-thought out Apple esthetics.

Apple introduced two screen sizes, 11.6″ and 13.3″. For folks that loved the ancient 12″ iBook, that 11.6″ screen was attractive. The memory sizes were fixed at either 2GB or 4GB, and weren’t user upgradable, with the RAM being soldered to the motherboard.

In the past, Apple had delivered recovery DVDs with their laptops and desktops. With the new MacBook Air machines, they supplied the recovery code on a teency USB thumbdrive. What a stroke of genius! And, of course, without there being an optical drive in the MacBook Air, it just makes a whole more sense when trying to recover the machine while on the road. Hopefully, this is a hint of what’s to come in the future.

With all that new coolness, neither of these machines weighed more that three pounds. Three pounds?! Yep, and it still ran regular ol’ Snow Leopard, not iOS. That means that anything you use on your “big machine” at home, you can — in theory — run on the MacBook Air.

That’s assuming there was enough umph to run “real” code, and that’s what I’ve spent most of the last two weeks trying to understand.

Everything I’ve read has led me to believe that the slower processors in the 11.6″ model will run Aperture, Lightroom or Photoshop, assuming you weren’t trying to conquer the world with big editing projects, nor cataloging tens of thousands of photos. It appears that the SSD drive is helping enhance the throughput, somewhat offsetting the slower processor architecture.

As you’ve probably figured out by both the headline, and this lead-up, I bought a MacBook Air on Friday. I opted for the 2.3 pound, 11.6″ model, upgraded the processor to a 1.6GHz C2D, upgraded the SSD drive to 128GB, and got the upgraded 4GB memory option.

This was a hard call for me, as while I was doing my research, I discovered that the new generation of MacBook Pro laptops had enough power that could even replace my iMac if I wanted. After a lot of soul-searching, I opted for portability, leaving the heavy lifting to be done at the house. Very tough call for me.

So how’s the machine?

Well, so far, pretty dang good. I haven’t really tried doing anything crazy with the thing — no big photo imports, or big edits — but it’s done everything I could possibly want to do. Surfing, social networking, and other Mac-centric things I do seem to run well, and I’ve got no reason to believe that it won’t do what I need in the field, and do it with a lightweight footprint.

As part of my purchase, I also bought into Apple’s One-to-One program. I’d picked up Aperture during the App Store launch a month or so ago, but hadn’t really spent much time working with it, being pretty Lightroom-centric in my work. However, I’d really wanted to get started moving to Aperture, and knew this might force me to start moving down that path. I don’t know that I’ve got any great reasons for moving to Aperture, outside of Faces and Places, neither of which Lightroom does natively. If you haven’t looked at those features, take a gander, and you’ll see why I kinda like ’em.

The One-to-One program allows you to attend seminars, set up one-on-one sessions, along with project work with the trained instructors at the local Apple store for a year. And it’s all you can eat during that year, including online training. The cost of all that is $99, which is about the cost of two Aperture books, and I figured I could get more out of face-to-face training rather than reading a couple of books. My first “Intro to Aperture” seminar is Wednesday, and I expect that’ll just be the beginning.

Big changes in the ol’ Deauxmayne, I suppose, but it’s time to shake things up a bit, and get a little more fleet of foot. Watch this space — I’m sure there’ll be other changes to come!

Mac OS X Lion

OK, so change comes, and there’s loads o’ buzz about the new version of OS X — Lion — coming soon to a Mac near you.


It appears that Rosetta will be dropped. That’s the handy little widget that allows you to emulate a PowerPC Mac, and run all that crusty old software that you rely on daily. Ya know the stuff I’m talking about.

For me, that would be Quicken 2007. It’s not a Universal Binary, which means with Lion, it’s a no-go. Quicken does have a new product called Quicken Essentials for Mac that will do what I do with Quicken, but won’t do everything that Quicken 2007 does. Quicken’s solution for those folks? Use Quicken 2007 for Mac. But… wait… that won’t run under Lion.

Take a look at Quicken Essentials for Mac on Amazon. Go ahead, I’ll wait… Back? Notice that about 75% of the reviews are “one star”? Folks are howling, to say the least.

So, I guess my upgrade to Lion may come with some additional expense, at least for Quicken or another tool that will allow me to work some financial management. Who knows if there’ll be more things hiding out there!

And We’re Whole Again

This morning, the Apple Store called to let me know that my iMac had been repaired. And a great cheer was heard from the crowd!

So what was wrong?

As expected, they replaced the video card — that wasn’t hard to predict given what I saw, and all the testing I did. However, they also replaced an IR board. Now, I was unaware that the iMac had IR, so that acronym may stand for something else.

And, it was all covered under warranty, which is terrific. However, had I had to play for it, the repairs were just under $250, which I don’t consider bad at all considering the complexity of this machine. I would’ve guessed that it could’ve easily been upwards of half a grand.

So… I guess now AppleCare is on my list before my warranty expires in May!