Apple Streamlines The MacBook Line

Apple has once more restored order to chaos in the MacBook line!

Ok, perhaps a bit too dramatic! But, Apple has streamlined the MacBook line once again. The previous generation MacBook Air (which also happens to be the last of the MacBooks where the Apple logo lights up), the 12-inch MacBook and 13-inch MacBook Pro with function keys have all been discontinued.

The new MacBook lineup includes the latest generation MacBook Air updated with True Tone Retina Display and a lower starting price of $1,099, a new entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro with the latest 8th generation quad-core processors, Touch Bar & Touch ID, True Tone Retina Display and the Apple T2 Security Chip with a starting price of $1,299 (Note: The new entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro has two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports. A 13-inch MacBook Pro with four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports starts at $1,799), and the current generation 15-inch MacBook Pro (refreshed earlier this year) with a starting price of $2,399.

I still very much enjoy working on my mid-2013 MacBook Air. It works fine with macOS Mojave and I still edit my Final Cut Pro X videos on it. I’ve also become fond of my 2016 12-inch MacBook. While I still feel the 12-inch MacBook was overpriced, underpowered and had some shortcomings, it was right on the money when it came to portability. It’s a great on-the-go laptop and a perfect travel companion.

As for the 13-inch MacBook Pro with function keys, it met the needs of those consumers requiring entry-level Pro performance without the bells & whistles (ex: the Touch Bar) and the higher price tag. If you really don’t want the Touch Bar, the latest generation MacBook Air still features the traditional function keys though I do hope Apple will eventually offer consumers the option to configure a faster processor than the base version 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5.

If you’re looking for entry-level Pro performance, you can get the new entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro for the starting price of $1,299; but, realistically, you’ll probably want to step up to at least the $1,499 base model which offers 256GB SSD storage over the 128GB SSD storage on the entry-level model.

Looking for one of the recently discontinued MacBooks? You can probably find retailers carrying residual stock of the previous generation MacBook Air, 12-inch MacBook and 13-inch MacBook Pro with function keys and you may even be able to snag some good deals as retailers work to clear out their remaining inventory.

 

LINKS:

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Apple MacBook Air (Previous Generation)

Apple MacBook (12-inch)

Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch with Function Keys)

Editing in Final Cut Pro X on a Mid-2013 MacBook Air

I never imagined I would be editing Final Cut Pro X videos on a Mid-2013 MacBook Air. At the time, I was upgrading from a Late-2009 MacBook and was primarily looking for a MacBook to take with me when I travel but also one that would offer a balance between portability, performance and price. I elected to go with the Mid-2013 MacBook Air with a 1.7GHz Intel Core i7 Processor, a 256GB SSD and 8GB of RAM. Along with AppleCare and tax, the total cost came in under $2,000 which was within my budget and reasonable. It was well worth the investment given that I’ve gotten over five years from it and it still performs relatively well running on Apple’s latest operating system - macOS Mojave.

Over the past few years, I’ve been creating and producing more digital content including making videos and while I can certainly edit videos on the MacBook Air, it’s clear that my MacBook Air is under-powered and overtaxed for this purpose. Editing short videos isn’t too bad provided you’re taking a minimalistic approach in terms of transitions, effects, color grading, enhancements and so forth. The rendering times are somewhat bearable.

However, when you start editing longer videos, especially with high quality footage (ex: 1080p at 30 fps or better), it’s a different story. You’re dealing with large file sizes and the process of transcoding and rendering all the video footage that make up your final video takes an enormous amount of time. You need processing power (CPU), memory (RAM) and a good GPU to handle these tasks and unfortunately, a Mid-2013 MacBook Air with these specs just isn’t going to make the cut. I should also mention that the lack of a Retina Display makes quite a difference in the overall viewing experience.

While working on some recent videos, Final Cut crashed numerous times and the transcoding and rendering times for the videos were substantial. Fortunately, I’m not producing and releasing a large volume of videos right now because I would almost certainly be backlogged.

I have been looking into upgrading to the 15-inch MacBook Pro since the 2018 refresh but held off following last year’s issue with the throttling of the i9 processors (later resolved via a software update) and the ongoing issues with the butterfly keyboard. Apple recently announced updates to the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro lines with faster eighth and ninth-generation Intel processors; respectively, and improvements to the third-generation butterfly keyboard. The 15-inch MacBook Pro is also available with 8-core Intel Core i9 processors.

Investing in a new 15-inch MacBook Pro would certainly improve my workflow and the preliminary reviews on performance of the updated MacBook Pros are looking quite promising so it is something I am strongly considering. In the meantime, I’ll make do with my MacBook Air.

 

LINKS:

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Camera Gear & Accessories

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External Storage

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Can’t Change The iTunes Media Folder Location? Try Creating A New iTunes Library!

Apple iTunes defaultly stores iTunes media on your Mac or Windows PC in the following storage locations:

Mac:

Macintosh HD | Users | <User Account> | Music | iTunes | iTunes Media

Windows:

C:\Users\<User Account>\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media

Normally, you should be able to change the default location of the iTunes Media folder by launching iTunes and then going to:

Mac:

iTunes | Preferences | Advanced

Windows:

Edit | Preferences | Advanced

Once you are in the Advanced Preferences window, you should see the current iTunes Media folder location and be able to change the location by clicking on “Change” and selecting the new location.

Recently, on a Windows 10 (version 1809) laptop running the latest version of iTunes (version 12.9.4.102), I experienced an issue where each time I tried to change the default iTunes Media folder location, iTunes would revert to the default location after quitting out of iTunes. The laptop recently underwent a reformat, clean installation of Windows 10 and was up-to-date on all current software updates and patches. In addition, iTunes was uninstalled, the laptop was rebooted, and iTunes was subsequently reinstalled as a precaution; however, the issue remained. I did research the issue but couldn’t find any current reports of known bugs/issues between Windows 10 (version 1809) and iTunes (version 12.9.4.102) like the issue at hand.

As a workaround, I decided to try creating a new iTunes library in the location where I wanted the iTunes Media folder to be located.

To do this, first close out of iTunes then do the following:

Mac

Hold down the Option key while launching iTunes

Windows

Hold down the Shift key while launching iTunes

An iTunes window should come up which says, “Choose iTunes Library.” You will need to create a new library in the location where you want the new iTunes Media folder to be located. Click “Create Library …” then follow the on-screen prompts to select or create a folder location where you want the new library to be located then click “Save.”

Choose or Create iTunes Library in Windows

Choose or Create iTunes Library in Windows

Choose or Create iTunes Library in macOS

Choose or Create iTunes Library in macOS

Once that’s done, iTunes should generate an “iTunes Library” database file in the new iTunes Media folder location that you selected along with sub-folders for “Album Artwork” and “iTunes Media.” If you go to either: iTunes | Preferences | Advanced on a Mac or Edit | Preferences | Advanced in Windows, you should be able to verify that the iTunes Media folder location is set to the new location which you previously selected. To be certain the change will not revert, close and re-open iTunes and verify the change again. Also, take a moment to check that your other iTunes settings are correct (ex: “Keep iTunes Media folder organized” and “Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library” are selected, if so desired).

While there’s nothing wrong with using the default iTunes Media folder location, if you prefer to use a different location and run into similar issues changing the default folder location and/or iTunes retaining the change, creating a new iTunes Library is a potential workaround.

AirPods (2nd Generation): Good, But A Minor Upgrade

Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case

Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case

I bought the AirPods (1st generation) a couple of years ago and started using them daily after the headphone jack on my iPad Pro broke. The AirPods (1st generation) sound and work great so when the AirPods (2nd generation) came out, I decided to get them and give them a try. After using the AirPods (2nd generation) for over a month, I do like them. The quality of the AirPods (2nd generation) is consistent with the quality I would expect from Apple and they work just as well as the 1st generation with some improvements made possible by the new H1 chip. That said, the improvements of the 2nd generation overall are subtle making it a minor upgrade over the 1st generation.

If you have a fully functional set of AirPods (1st generation) and you’re satisfied with the features, functionality, performance and don’t really care about voice-enabled Siri, wireless charging and some of the other improvements made possible by the new H1 chip, then you probably won’t gain a substantial benefit from the AirPods (2nd generation).

If you’re looking to stay within the Apple ecosystem and are considering AirPods for the first-time over traditional EarPods, earphones or headphones, AirPods are worth the investment; however, you should think about the importance of wireless charging. If you want or need wireless charging, you’ll be paying a premium - an extra $40 for the AirPods with Wireless Charging Case ($199). If you don’t care about wireless charging, you can save $40 by sticking with the AirPods with Charging Case ($159). Likewise, if you need to replace AirPods that are non-functional or partially non-functional, you’ll need to decide whether you’ll want to spend the extra $40 for the wireless charging case.

Circling back to those with a fully functional set of AirPods (1st generation), if you truly want the wireless charging capability without the $199 sticker price, Apple does offer the Wireless Charging Case for $79.

I will say that it is nice to have some of those subtle improvements with the AirPods (2nd generation) including voice-enabled Siri and the wireless charging option. You’ll need to decide for yourself whether the AirPods (2nd generation) are truly worth the investment.

 

LINKS:

Note: The links below include Affiliate Links. Please review the section entitled "Affiliate Links" in the Terms of Use of this website for additional information.

Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case - https://amzn.to/2DqTdd4

Apple AirPods with Charging Case - https://amzn.to/2VhRxNp

Anker PowerWave 7.5W Wireless Charging Pad - https://amzn.to/2IypCTv

AirPower In One Word – Canceled!

It’s been over eighteen months since Apple first offered a sneak peek into AirPower, Apple’s own wireless charging mat capable of charging an iPhone, AirPods and Apple Watch simultaneously. First announced in September 2017 with a potential release in 2018, Apple has since remained primarily silent about its whereabouts while rumors have swirled around potential production challenges and issues with AirPower.

Over the past few weeks, talk of AirPower has returned to the forefront in light of Apple’s recent product refreshes including a refresh of the 7.9-inch iPad Mini, revival of the iPad Air in a new 10.5-inch form factor, refresh of the iMac with processor upgrades and the option of Vega graphics, the release of the AirPods 2nd generation with wireless charging case and the announcement of new services including Apple News+, Apple Arcade, Apple Card and Apple TV+ at Apple’s March 25th event. If you missed the March 25th event, you can watch it on Apple’s website here.

On Friday, Apple made one additional announcement and it concerned the future of AirPower though not quite the one many were anticipating. AirPower is canceled!

As reported by TechCrunch, Apple’s SVP of Hardware Engineering, Dan Riccio, provided the following e-mailed statement:

“After much effort, we’ve concluded AirPower will not achieve our high standards and we have cancelled the project. We apologize to those customers who were looking forward to this launch. We continue to believe that the future is wireless and are committed to push the wireless experience forward.”

It certainly didn’t take long for this announcement to make it across media outlets and social media.

While Apple has put an end to AirPower, it doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t and/or aren’t working on other potential wireless charging products. But at least for now, if you’re looking for a wireless charging pad, you’ll need to step outside the Apple ecosystem.

LINKS:

Note: The links below include Affiliate Links. Please review the section entitled "Affiliate Links" in the Terms of Use of this website for additional information.

Anker PowerWave 7.5 Stand (White or Black) - https://amzn.to/2ToFB88

Anker PowerWave 7.5 Pad (White or Black) - https://amzn.to/2MGJ7IR

 

RELATED POSTS:

Making The Move To Wireless Charging

Making The Move To Wireless Charging - Part II

In A Field of iPads

With the recent release of a refreshed iPad Mini and the revival of the iPad Air, Apple has created quite the iPad lineup. The selection includes 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros, a 10.5-inch iPad Air, a 9.7-inch iPad and a 7.9-inch iPad Mini. So, which iPad should you choose?

Well, it generally comes down to cost, usage and preference.

Credit: Apple

Credit: Apple

The Bookends

If you’re looking for the latest and greatest most powerful iPad available with all the bells & whistles and cost is no object, you’re looking at the 12.9-inch iPad Pro 1TB model with Wi-Fi + Cellular which will run you about $1,899 before tax. AppleCare+ coverage and any accessories (ex: Apple Pencil 2nd Generation, Smart Keyboard Folio) will be at an additional cost. However, if you’re looking for the least expensive base level option, you’re looking at the 9.7-inch iPad 32GB model with Wi-Fi only which will run you $329 plus tax. If you choose to splurge on AppleCare+ coverage, it will cost an additional $69 plus tax.

9.7-inch iPad

If you’re looking for a basic iPad for reading, listening to music, watching and streaming videos, using apps, playing basic games, surfing the web, general productivity and more while also balancing size, weight, performance and cost, the 9.7-inch iPad should suffice. With a starting price of $329 for a 32GB model with Wi-Fi and $459 for a 32GB model with Wi-Fi + Cellular, it’s not bad. There are a couple of key trade-offs. One is the chip. The 9.7-inch iPad features an A10 Fusion chip (used in the iPhone 7 & iPhone 7 Plus) instead of an A12 or A12X Bionic chip. The other is the 1.2MP FaceTime HD front camera which is the lowest quality front camera offered across the entire current iPad lineup. Still, the 9.7-inch iPad offers a good value and is a viable option in the current iPad lineup.

7.9-inch iPad Mini

For those seeking ultra-portability while also balancing performance and cost, the 7.9-inch iPad Mini is worth consideration. Its small form factor makes it an ideal travel companion. It can fit easily in a small bag or even a wide coat pocket. With the recent refresh, it boasts an A12 Bionic chip, 8MP rear camera, 7MP FaceTime HD front camera and offers support for Apple Pencil (1st generation). The 7.9-inch iPad Mini is perfect for reading, listening to music, watching and streaming videos, using apps, playing games, surfing the web, productivity, design & creativity, taking photos & capturing videos and more. The 7.9-inch iPad Mini comes with a starting price of $399 for a 64GB model with Wi-Fi and $529 for a 64GB model with Wi-Fi + Cellular.

10.5-inch iPad Air

Apple has brought the iPad Air out of “retirement” in the form of a brand new 10.5-inch model. The 10.5-inch iPad Air offers more viewable screen area than the 9.7-inch iPad while also weighing slightly less. It retains the same classic look & feel with home button as does the 9.7-inch iPad and 7.9-inch iPad Mini. The 10.5-inch iPad Air boasts an A12 Bionic chip and support for Apple Pencil (1st generation). It also features an 8MP rear camera and 7MP FaceTime HD front camera; great for capturing video, video conferencing & video calls. The 10.5-inch iPad Air is also great for reading, listening to music, watching and streaming videos, using apps, playing games, surfing the web, productivity, design & creativity, taking photos and more. The 10.5-inch iPad Air comes with a starting price of $499 for a 64GB model with Wi-Fi and $629 for a 64GB model with Wi-Fi + Cellular.

11-inch & 12.9-inch iPad Pro

If you’re ready to make the leap to the top of the line in iPads, you’ll want to set your eyes on the iPad Pro. The iPad Pro is available in an 11-inch and 12.9-inch model. Both the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros are for those who want and/or need power, performance and a premium feature set in a tablet-style form factor AND are willing to pay for it.

If you’re into high-end gaming, virtual reality, augmented reality, creative & design, audio & video production and so forth, the iPad Pro is the right choice for those power-hungry, performance-driven and memory-intensive apps. Both the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros boast similar specs including a Liquid Retina Display with ProMotion technology and True Tone, Face ID (gone is the home button), the A12X Bionic chip, 12MP rear camera and 7MP TrueDepth front camera, Apple Pencil (2nd generation) support, USB-C connector and more. The 11-inch iPad Pro comes with a starting price of $799 for a 64GB model with Wi-Fi and $949 for a 64GB model with Wi-Fi + Cellular. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro comes with a starting price of $999 for a 64GB model with Wi-Fi and $1,149 for a 64GB model with Wi-Fi + Cellular.

Keep in mind . . . the iPad Pro does not serve nor is it intended to serve as a laptop or desktop replacement. The iPad Pro and iPads in general can do a lot of great things that both laptops and desktops can do; but, there are still a lot of other things that just handle and work better on a traditional laptop or desktop.

AppleCare+ and Accessories

AppleCare+ coverage is available on all iPad models in the current lineup with pricing ranging from $69 to $129 plus tax. In addition, all iPad models include a variety of accessories available for an additional cost.

Wi-Fi Only or Wi-Fi + Cellular

Unless you use or plan on using your iPad on the road and don’t have trusted, reliable Wi-Fi access wherever you go, the Wi-Fi only model should suffice and will save you some money. However, if you think you may want or need cellular service now or in the future and are willing to pay extra for the capability (keeping in mind that you still need to pay for carrier service too), then go for the Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad models.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking into getting, replacing or upgrading an iPad, check out Apple’s website for all the tech specs. There’s a “Compare” feature on the site where you can compare the iPad models side-by-side. I would also highly recommend that you visit a local Apple Store and get hands-on with the various iPad models to see what feels most comfortable to you. Obviously, cost and usage are key factors that will affect your decision but getting hands-on experience with the various iPads will give you an opportunity to see if the iPad model that you are considering truly is the best model for you.

LINKS:

Note: The links below include Affiliate Links. Please review the section entitled "Affiliate Links" in the Terms of Use of this website for additional information.

Apple 7.9-inch iPad Mini - https://amzn.to/2Yjehva

Apple 9.7-inch iPad - https://amzn.to/2USyvtD

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Using an Apple USB to Ethernet Adapter on a Windows Laptop

Apple_USB_to_Ethernet_Adapter.jpg

Ever wondered if an Apple USB to Ethernet adapter will work on a Windows laptop?

Well, the short answer is YES, but it does require a little work to get it setup.

Before going any further, let’s just clarify why we would even consider this. The general reason would be that the Wi-Fi connection you’re on isn’t working, isn’t reliable and/or is too slow to perform whatever task(s) you need to get done. You need a stable, reliable fast network connection so a wired connection is the way to go. Unfortunately, you don’t have a built-in Ethernet port on your laptop. Computer manufacturers, especially when it comes to slimmer and sleeker laptop models, will do away with a built-in Ethernet port in favor of wireless only or wireless with the option to use a USB to Ethernet dongle to establish a wired connection.

If you have a compatible USB to Ethernet dongle for your Windows laptop, you should use it. However, if you happen to be in a situation where you don’t have a compatible dongle but have access to an Apple USB to Ethernet adapter, you can potentially get it to work. That said, there are some prerequisites. First, you need to be running a 64-bit version of Windows 7, 8, or 10. Secondly, you need to have Internet access on a computer where you can download drivers and have a way to transfer those drivers onto the Windows laptop for which you will be connecting the Apple USB to Ethernet adapter. And lastly, you’ll need an Apple USB to Ethernet adapter.

If you meet all the prerequisites, you’ll need to download a version of Apple’s Boot Camp Support Software from the Apple website onto your Windows laptop. Once the .zip package is downloaded, extract the files to a location on your computer (ex: desktop). Go into the extracted folder and locate the “BootCamp” folder. Go into the “BootCamp” folder and locate the “Drivers” folder. Go into the “Drivers” folder and locate the “Asix” folder. Asix is the manufacturer of the driver software for the Apple USB to Ethernet adapter. Go into the “Asix” folder and run the “AsixSetup64” installer application/executable. Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the installation. You may be required to reboot your computer.

Once the installation is complete, you should be able to connect the Apple USB to Ethernet adapter to an available USB 2.0 or higher port on your Windows laptop. The Windows 64-bit operating system should be able to detect the hardware and install the appropriate driver for the adapter. Alternatively, if you are having problems getting the Apple USB to Ethernet adapter working using the “AsixSetup64” installer from the Boot Camp Support package, you can try downloading a driver directly from the manufacturer’s (Asix) website. Asix does have various drivers for various versions of the USB to Ethernet adapter so you may need to do a little trial and error.

 

LINKS:

Note: The links below include Affiliate Links. Please review the section entitled "Affiliate Links" in the Terms of Use of this website for additional information.

Apple USB to Ethernet Adapter - https://amzn.to/2N3esFO

A 27-inch Mid-2011 iMac in 2019

Credit: Apple

Credit: Apple

Buying a new computer can be a major investment and more so if you need to customize the configuration to meet your specific requirements. For instance, someone who uses a computer primarily for e-mail, surfing the web and streaming content will not need all the “bells and whistles” that a graphic designer or video editor may need. That said, when budgets are tight, you’ll need to find ways to maximize the life of your computer while being able to work efficiently.

A few years ago, I had a similar situation dealing with an Apple 27-inch Mid-2011 iMac. The iMac was originally configured with a 3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 Processor, 16GB of RAM, 1TB 7200RPM hard drive and an AMD Radeon HD 6970M graphics card with 1GB of memory. At the time, this accomplished what it was intended for. However, over time it began to run slow. Formatting the hard drive and performing a clean installation of macOS (OS X at the time) did not resolve the performance issues.

One obvious course of action would be replacing the hard drive with a solid state drive (SSD). Of course, opening an iMac and replacing a standard hard drive with a solid state drive is no easy task and having it done by an authorized Apple Service Provider wouldn’t be cheap. So, what to do?

Well, the iMac did have four USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire 800 port and two Thunderbolt ports so I was already thinking about using an external bootable drive as a workaround in lieu of replacing the internal hard drive. After doing some research, I opted to go with the Transcend 512GB Thunderbolt solid state drive. I had found several cases where this drive had been implemented and worked well as an external boot drive on an iMac. I’ll include a link to the Transcend 512GB Thunderbolt SSD at the end of this post.

I also did some additional research on the RAM limitations for the Mid-2011 iMac. While Apple’s technical specifications list a maximum of 16GB of RAM, I did check the OWC website and found that the Mid-2011 iMac did support up to 32GB of RAM. While 16GB of RAM would likely suffice, the cost of an additional 16GB of RAM wasn’t too expensive. If the external bootable SSD worked and brought new life to this Mid-2011 iMac, the additional RAM would be well worth it. I’ll include links to OWC compatible memory modules at the end of this post.

Since the original internal hard drive was recently reformatted with a clean install of OS X and all applications, it didn’t make a lot of sense to go through this exercise again unless absolutely necessary. So, the solution was to clone the internal hard drive onto the new Transcend 512GB Thunderbolt solid state drive and then boot from the new SSD. This required the use of Carbon Copy Cloner to create a bootable clone of the internal drive. Back then, there was a free version of Carbon Copy Cloner. Today, you can still get a 30-day trial before you need to pay for the software which should be fine to create a one-off bootable clone of your internal hard drive to an external SSD.

The result . . .

It all worked out well. The drive cloning worked perfectly. The iMac was able to boot from the external solid state drive and gained a huge performance boost over the standard internal hard drive. Note: I left the internal hard drive intact as a backup. The additional RAM gave it a beneficial boost to support newer memory intensive applications. There was one small issue. You could restart the iMac without an issue but if you shut down the iMac and then started it up, the iMac would defaultly boot to the internal drive instead of the external SSD as the SSD would not yet be powered up at initial startup. The way around this would be to hold down the Option key on startup to get boot options, power cycle the external SSD so that the external SSD would be an available boot device then select it as the startup disk. Of course, this would be tedious to do on a daily basis, so the simpler workaround was to restart the iMac under normal conditions and only shutdown when needed. It was a small price to pay to bring new life to the Mid-2011 iMac.

While the Mid-2011 iMac is not supported by macOS Mojave, you can still use it with macOS High Sierra. Eventually, this iMac will be retired but for now, it’s gotten a few extra years of life for a fraction of the cost of a new iMac.

LINKS:

Note: The links below include Affiliate Links. Please review the section entitled "Affiliate Links" in the Terms of Use of this website for additional information.

Transcend 512GB Thunderbolt Solid State Drive StoreJet 500 for Mac (TS512GSJM500) - https://amzn.to/2Eu6fYm

OWC 16GB (2x 8GB) 1333MHz PC3-10600 DDR3 SO-DIMM 204-Pin Memory Upgrade Kit (OWC1333DDR3S16P) - https://amzn.to/2XoGLD0

OWC 32GB (4 x 8GB) 1333MHz 204-Pin DDR3 SO-DIMM Memory Upgrade Kit (OWC1333DDR3S32S) - https://amzn.to/2ErZB4L

 

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MacBook 13.3-inch Late 2009 Series . . . in 2018

Making The Move To Wireless Charging – Part II

Anker_PowerWave_7_5_Stand.jpg

Last year, I made the move to wireless charging with the Anker PowerWave 7.5 Pad. While the Anker PowerWave 7.5 Pad works great, I decided to step up from a wireless charging pad to a wireless charging stand. With a stand, it’s easier to use your phone, watch content, etc. all while continuing to charge your device (you don’t need to lift your phone off the stand).

I researched a few different options and ultimately set my sights on the Anker PowerWave 7.5 Stand with Quick Charge 3.0 Charger. The Anker PowerWave 7.5 Stand is very similar to the Anker PowerWave 7.5 Pad. Included in the box are the Anker PowerWave 7.5 Stand, a micro-USB to USB cable and a Quick Charge 3.0 Charger. The Anker PowerWave 7.5 Stand features a front-side LED indicator to let you know your device is charging, a case-friendly design allowing you to charge your device while in its case (most cases should be compatible), a built-in cooling fan to prevent overheating and the stand will charge your phone in both the horizontal and vertical positions.

I also like that you don’t need to find the center position on the Anker PowerWave 7.5 Stand for the phone to charge properly. With the Anker PowerWave 7.5 Pad, if your phone is off-center, it may not charge properly so you need to make sure the LED indicator is lit.

The Anker PowerWave 7.5 Stand supports 7.5W fast charging on the iPhone 8/8 Plus/X (it should also work with the latest generation of iPhones - iPhone XS/XS Max/XR) and 10W fast charging on the Samsung S7/S8/S8+/S9/S9+ and Note 8. For a complete list of supported devices, visit the Anker website. The Anker PowerWave 7.5 Stand is available in two colors: white and black. The white model retails at $49.99 and the black model retails at $55.99. I’ll include links to both models below if you’re interested.

I’ve been using the Anker PowerWave 7.5 Stand for a couple of months and it works great. And yes, I still use the Anker PowerWave 7.5 Pad which also works great.

LINKS:

Note: The links below include Affiliate Links. Please review the section entitled "Affiliate Links" in the Terms of Use of this website for additional information.

Anker PowerWave 7.5 Stand (White or Black) - https://amzn.to/2ToFB88

Anker PowerWave 7.5 Pad (White or Black) - https://amzn.to/2MGJ7IR

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Making The Move To Wireless Charging

I Like The New MacBook Air, But . . .

Credit: Apple

Credit: Apple

The MacBook Air has become one of my all-time favorite laptops out of all the laptops I’ve seen and used over the years. When the first MacBook Air came out, I wasn’t a huge fan. While I liked the sleek design and portability, the hefty price tag which started around $1,799 made it tough to justify.

As the MacBook Air evolved and the starting price dropped, the MacBook Air truly became a major contender as a laptop offering possibly an ideal balance between portability, performance and price. In early 2014, I finally decided to upgrade from my Late 2009 13.3-inch MacBook to a Mid-2013 13.3-inch MacBook Air. The starting price was around $1,099 and I configured the MacBook Air with a 1.7GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7 Processor Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz, 8GB 1600MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM and 256GB PCIe-based Flash Storage. Along with AppleCare, the total price with tax came in just under $1,850. While not inexpensive, the longevity has paid for itself. I’ve had the Mid-2013 MacBook Air for almost five years. It lacks a Retina Display and isn’t as fast and powerful as the current laptops on the market, but it can run Mac OS X Mojave, it still has great battery life and holds its own weight.

Not long after the 2018 MacBook Air was released, I headed over to an Apple Store to check them out. The new MacBook Air looks incredible. The new MacBook Air retains the essence of what makes the MacBook Air one of my favorite laptops and then some including a sleeker and slimmer form factor, a reduction in weight by about a quarter pound versus the previous generation, and of course, the long-desired Retina Display. The new MacBook Air also comes in three colors: Gold, Silver and Space Gray, is configurable with up to 16GB of RAM and 1.5TB SSD storage, has improved audio, a Force Touch trackpad with 20% more surface area, USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports and great battery life.

So, what’s not to like?

Well, for me, the main issue I have is with the processor. The new MacBook Air is only available with an Amber Lake 1.6GHz Dual-Core 8th generation Intel Core i5 Processor Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz. Now, hold up! Both RAM and SSD storage are configurable on the new MacBook Air; however, the processor only comes with one option! Seriously!

So, what about pricing? The starting price on the new MacBook Air is $1,199 with 128GB storage or $1,399 with 256GB storage, but the previous generation had a starting price of $999. So, we’re paying more now? I get it . . . but if we do an apples-to-apples like comparison, a new MacBook Air starting at $1,399 with a 1.6GHz Dual-Core 8th generation Intel Core i5 Processor Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz, 8GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory and 256GB storage with AppleCare and tax comes in under $1,800 which is $50 less than what I paid back in 2014 for my Mid-2013 MacBook Air so it’s not unreasonable.

Of course, times change and for my purposes today, I would likely opt for the MacBook Air with a 1.6GHz Dual-Core 8th generation Intel Core i5 Processor Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz, 16GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory and at least 512GB storage. Along with AppleCare and tax, the total would be around $2,230. Again, not unreasonable; but, in this case I would prefer a more powerful processor than what is currently available. I’d want more bang for the buck!

Making The Move To Wireless Charging

Earlier this year, I decided to give wireless charging a try with my iPhone X. I researched different wireless charging pads from different manufacturers focusing on wireless charging pads that supported fast wireless charging (7.5W) for the iPhone X. I decided to try the Anker PowerWave 7.5 Pad.

The Anker PowerWave 7.5 Pad supports 7.5W fast charging on the iPhone 8/8 Plus/X (it should also work with the latest generation of iPhones - iPhone XS/XS Max/XR) and 10W fast charging on the Samsung S7/S8/S8+/S9/S9+ and Note 8. You can check the Anker website for a full list of currently supported devices.

Anker_PowerWave_7_5_Pad.JPG

The Anker PowerWave 7.5 Pad includes everything you need to get started including the wireless charging pad, micro-USB to USB cable and a Quick Charge 3.0 AC Adapter (some wireless charging pads do not include the AC adapter). The Anker PowerWave 7.5 Pad features a LED indicator to let you know that your device is charging, a case-friendly design allowing you to charge your device while in its case (most cases should work) and has a built-in cooling fan to prevent overheating.

I’ve been using the Anker PowerWave 7.5 Pad since March and it works well. While I don’t necessarily mind using a cord to charge my device, I do like the convenience of not needing to have numerous cords lying around. I also like being able to charge my device while using Apple EarPods without the need for a dongle to split the lightning connector (ex: Belkin Lightning Audio + Charge RockStar). Of course, I could use Apple AirPods or Bluetooth-enabled earphones in lieu of Apple EarPods with the lightning connector.

The micro-USB to USB cable was just long enough for my purposes and you do need to center your device on the Anker PowerWave 7.5 Pad to properly charge the device (this is where the LED indicator becomes quite helpful). There have been a couple of times where my device wasn’t properly centered and did not start charging. That said, I haven’t run into any major problems with the Anker PowerWave 7.5 Pad and do recommend this wireless charging pad if you are in the market to get one.

The Anker PowerWave 7.5 Pad costs around $50.

If you’re interested in the Anker PowerWave 7.5 Pad, I’ve included a link below. I’ve also included a link to the Belkin Lightning Audio + Charge RockStar which allows you to charge your supported iPhone via the lightning connector while simultaneously using your Apple Earpods with lightning connector if you need to go the wired route.

LINKS:

Note: The links below include Affiliate Links. Please review the section entitled "Affiliate Links" in the Terms of Use of this website for additional information.

Anker PowerWave 7.5 Pad (White) - https://amzn.to/2DujxEk

Anker PowerWave 7.5 Pad (Black) - https://amzn.to/2W13c0z

Belkin Lightning Audio + Charge RockStar - https://amzn.to/2Dswlee

Apple EarPods with Lightning Connector - https://amzn.to/2TR6Jwu

Apple AirPods - https://amzn.to/2U0MLjb

Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch with AMD Radeon Pro Vega Graphics Now Available

Credit: Apple

Credit: Apple

If you’ve been holding off on buying a new Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch series in hopes of configuring it with one of the new AMD Radeon Pro Vega discrete mobile GPUs, the wait is over!

You can now configure a MacBook Pro 15-inch series with either a new AMD Radeon Pro Vega 16 with 4GB of High Bandwidth (HBM2) memory or the AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20 with 4GB of High Bandwidth (HBM2) memory in lieu of the base AMD Radeon Pro 560X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory. The AMD Radeon Pro Vega discrete mobile GPUs will provide up to 60% faster graphics performance than the MacBook Pro 15-inch’s base AMD Radeon Pro 560X mobile GPU.

Credit: Apple

Credit: Apple

The AMD Radeon Pro Vega 16 and 20 discrete mobile GPUs do come at a premium with the Vega 16 adding an additional $250 and the Vega 20 adding an additional $350 to the overall cost of the MacBook Pro 15-inch.

When customizing the MacBook Pro 15-inch, be sure to select the MacBook Pro 15-inch model with Touch Bar and Touch ID, 2.6GHz 6-Core Processor, 512GB Storage model with the base AMD Radeon Pro 560X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory (starting price of $2,799) to get the Vega Pro discrete mobile GPUs as a customizable graphics option. If you select the MacBook Pro 15-inch model with Touch Bar and Touch ID, 2.2GHz 6-Core Processor, 256GB Storage with the base AMD Radeon Pro 555X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory (starting price of $2,399), the Vega Pro discrete mobile GPU options will not be available.

With the customization of GPU from the base AMD Radeon Pro 560X to the AMD Radeon Pro Vega 16 or Vega 20 discrete mobile GPUs, you can expect the starting price of the MacBook Pro 15-inch model with Touch Bar and Touch ID, 2.6GHz 6-Core Processor, 512GB Storage model to increase from the base price of $2,799 to $3,049 or $3,149, respectively.

An iPad Pro, a broken headphone jack, an expired AppleCare warranty, oh my!

When I originally bought the first generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro, it was intended as a major upgrade from my aging second generation iPad. With the inability to upgrade iOS on my second generation iPad, lack of supported apps for an old version of iOS and terribly sluggish performance on a long discontinued and unsupported device, it was finally time to take the leap and upgrade to a new device.

With the 12.9-inch iPad Pro available, I decided to go with the larger form factor over the traditional 9.7-inch model. The added display real estate made it quite appealing. As I hadn’t upgraded my iPad in years and with Apple products demonstrating longevity, it made sense to invest a little bit more into a device that I’d be using for years to come. That said, I opted to get the 128GB model with Wi-Fi + Cellular, which I believe was the top of the line for the first generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro at the time.

Let me say, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro did not disappoint. The larger display made such a huge difference and the overall performance was fantastic. I practically used my 12.9-inch iPad Pro daily to watch TV, stream videos, surf the web, use apps and so forth. Since I did use my iPad Pro heavily to watch or listen to media content, I used the headphone jack practically every day, so that jack went through quite some wear and tear.

I’ve used plenty of Apple and non-Apple products over the years but it’s been quite some time since I’ve run into a problematic headphone jack let alone a broken headphone jack but that’s exactly what happened to my iPad Pro. One night while using my iPad Pro, I tried to insert my EarPods into the headphone jack, but it would only go about two-thirds of the way in before it got stuck. After a few attempts, I checked the jack and it was clear that there was an obstruction. Something inside the jack either bent or broke off and as a result, the EarPods could not be inserted properly into the headphone jack. Fortunately, the mechanism that detects whether headphones or earphones are inserted into the jack was not detecting that headphones or earphones were inserted; otherwise, the external speakers would not work. I was fortunate for that.

Unfortunately, after checking my warranty status on the Apple website, I discovered that my iPad Pro was no longer under warranty. While I did purchase AppleCare for my iPad Pro, the AppleCare warranty had expired. While I could try to get the headphone jack repaired, the repair cost undoubtedly would not make sense.

So, what were my options?

Well, I had at least three viable options:

I could buy a new iPad. While certainly a viable option, it was not necessarily the most economical though quite tempting with the release of the brand new 2018 11” and 12.9” iPad Pros.

I could use a pair of Apple EarPods with a lightning connector and connect them via the lightning connector in lieu of the headphone jack. This option works if you have an iPad with a lightning connector and iOS 10 or above installed. Apple EarPods with lightning connector cost $29.00.

I could use Apple AirPods or other Bluetooth enabled headphones/earphones to connect wirelessly to the iPad Pro. Apple AirPods cost $159.00.

While I’m not thrilled about the broken headphone jack, there are cost-effective alternatives and workarounds to this unfortunate situation. My first generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro still works great. It’s running Apple’s latest version of iOS - iOS 12 and it’s still incredibly fast and performs extremely well. I hope to continue using this iPad Pro for quite some time.

Apple’s MacBook Pro 15-inch To Get New Radeon Pro Vega Graphics in November

Credit: Apple

Credit: Apple

Apple’s MacBook Pro 15-inch models will come with new Radeon Pro Vega discrete mobile GPU offerings starting in late November. The MacBook Pro 15-inch models currently offer the AMD Radeon Pro 555X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory and AMD Radeon Pro 560X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory. The new GPU offerings will include the AMD Radeon Pro Vega 16 with 4GB of High Bandwidth (HBM2) memory and the AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20 with 4GB of High Bandwidth (HBM2) memory.

The Vega GPUs will provide up to 60% faster graphics performance than the MacBook Pro 15-inch’s current top mobile GPU offering, the Radeon Pro 560X. The new offerings bring the MacBook Pro 15-inch series GPUs better in line with the iMac Pro series, which currently offer the AMD Radeon Pro Vega 56 and AMD Radeon Pro Vega 64 GPUs.

Credit: Apple

Credit: Apple

The MacBook Pro 15-inch base model currently offers the AMD Radeon Pro 555X as the default GPU with the AMD Radeon Pro 560X available as a configurable upgrade for an additional $100. Pricing for the new Radeon Pro Vega GPU offerings have not been disclosed.

If you’re considering a new MacBook Pro 15-inch and want to take advantage of the new GPU offerings, hang tight until later this month!

Apple’s October 30th Special Event Brings New Macs & iPad Pros

On Tuesday, Apple held its October Special Event with new Macs and iPad Pros taking centerstage. Apple announced long-awaited updates to the MacBook Air and Mac Mini as well as the next generation of iPad Pros. Also announced were companion accessories for the new iPad Pros including the Apple Pencil (2nd generation) and a new Smart Keyboard Folio. Rounding off the event, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the availability of iOS 12.1, which includes Group FaceTime with up to 32 people, support for dual SIM (SIM + eSIM) on the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR, over seventy new emojis along with bug fixes and improvements. Singer-songwriters Lana Del Rey and Jack Antonoff helped close out the event with a special music performance.

Credit: Apple

Credit: Apple

MacBook Air

As highly rumored and anticipated, Apple announced a brand new re-designed and re-engineered 13.3-inch MacBook Air. On the outside, the new MacBook Air is thinner, lighter and utilizes 17% less volume than the previous MacBook Air. It features a high-resolution Retina Display, Touch ID, new keyboard utilizing the butterfly mechanism, standard function keys (no Touch Bar), a Force Touch trackpad with 20% more surface area, new stereo speakers offering 2x the bass and 25% more volume, three microphones, 720p FaceTime camera, two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

On the inside, the new MacBook Air features a new 8th generation Amber Lake 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz), Apple’s T2 Security Chip, 128GB SSD Flash Storage (configurable to 256GB, 512GB and 1.5TB), 8GB of 2133MHz LPDDR3 RAM (configurable to 16GB) and Intel UHD Graphics 617.

The new MacBook Air offers up to 12 hours of battery life, weighs 2.75lbs (roughly a quarter pound less than the previous generation) and is made from 100% recycled aluminum. It will be available in three colors: Silver, Space Gray and Gold. The new MacBook Air starts at $1,199 ($200 more than the previous generation but $100 less than the base price of the 12-inch MacBook and 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with function keys) and will be available starting November 7th.

Credit: Apple

Credit: Apple

Mac Mini

Apple announced a new Mac Mini aimed at meeting the continuing needs of Apple users who enjoy the small form factor while giving it some real bite. The new Mac Mini features 8th generation Intel quad-core (starting at 3.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i3) and six-core (starting at 3.0GHz 6-core Intel Core i5 Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz and configurable up to 3.2GHz 6-core Intel Core i7 Turbo Boost up to 4.6GHz) processors offering up to 5x faster system performance, 8GB of 2666MHz DDR SO-DIMM RAM (configurable to 16GB, 32GB and 64GB), 128GB SSD Flash Storage (configurable to 256GB, 512GB, 1TB and 2TB), Intel UHD Graphics 630 offering up to 60% faster graphics, four Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, HDMI 2.0, two USB 3 ports, 3.5mm headphone jack, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Ethernet (configurable up to 10Gb Ethernet), Bluetooth 5.0, the Apple T2 Security Chip and a new thermal architecture.

The new Mac Mini weighs 2.9lbs, comes in Space Gray and the aluminum enclosure is made from 100% recycled aluminum. The new Mac Mini starts at $799 and will be available starting November 7th.

Credit: Apple

Credit: Apple

iPad Pro

Apple announced two new iPad Pros – an 11-inch model and a 12.9-inch model. Both models feature a new edge-to-edge Liquid Retina Display, the same display found on the new iPhone XR. Gone are the Home button, 3.5mm headphone jack and lightning connector. The iPad Pros support the same familiar gestures found on the iPhone X. The lightning connector is replaced with a new USB-C connector which will allow you to connect external displays, cameras and even charge your iPhone from your new iPad Pro. If you’re dead set on using headphones or earphones with a 3.5mm plug, you’ll need to get the new USB-C to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter, which will cost $9.00.

The new iPad Pros also feature Face ID which works in both portrait and landscape mode, an all-new A12X Bionic Chip with the new neural engine offering faster performance and up to 2x faster graphics, support for Apple Pencil (2nd generation) which includes the ability to pair and charge the Apple Pencil (2nd generation) wirelessly and attach the Apple Pencil (2nd generation) magnetically to the new iPad Pros. The Apple Pencil (2nd generation) also supports gesture controls. Also available is the new Smart Keyboard Folio which protects both the front and back side of the new iPad Pros, offers a keyboard and serves a stand with two viewing angles.

The new iPad Pros come in two colors: Silver and Space Gray with storage capacities of 64GB, 256GB, 512GB and 1TB. Both iPad Pros come in Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi + Cellular models. The 11-inch iPad Pro starts at $799 and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro starts at $999. Both iPad Pros will be available starting on November 7th. The Apple Pencil (2nd generation) will cost $129 and the new Smart Keyboard Folio will cost $179 for the 11-inch iPad Pro and $199 for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Both the new Apple Pencil (2nd generation) and Smart Keyboard Folio will be available on November 7th.

For full product details, technical specifications, pricing and to watch the Apple Keynote, visit Apple’s website.

“There’s more in the making” . . . Apple announces October 30th Special Event

Credit: Apple

Credit: Apple

A day before pre-orders began for Apple’s all-new iPhone XR, Apple announced a highly rumored and anticipated October Special Event last Thursday. The Special Event will take place in one week on Tuesday, October 30th at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Howard Gilman Opera House in Brooklyn, New York. The event will begin at 10am ET (not PT) and will also be live streamed on Apple’s website.

There have been quite a few rumors about what Apple might showcase at its event next week including new iPad Pros featuring a thinner bezel, Face ID support and the move from a lightning connector to USB-C, a new lower cost replacement for the MacBook Air, a possible refresh for the MacBook and a refresh of the Mac Mini and/or possibly a pro-level Mac Mini.

Will AirPower finally make an appearance or will we at least get an update on its status? Apple first announced AirPower last Fall; however, we have heard little about it since then. Apple also announced that a new wireless charging case for the AirPods was in the works, but it too has yet to make an appearance. A second generation of the AirPods is supposedly in the works as is a second generation Apple Pencil, both of which could be announced at next week’s event.

We’re just a week away from Apple’s October Special Event so stay tuned!

The Wait For iPhone XR Is Almost Over . . . Sort Of!

Credit: Apple

Credit: Apple

If you’ve been holding off on upgrading your iPhone or mobile phone in hopes of getting your hands on the all-new iPhone XR, the wait is almost over! Pre-orders for the iPhone XR will kick-off this Friday, October 19th with availability beginning on Friday, October 26th.

Apple announced the all-new iPhone XR, along with the new iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, at their Apple Special Event last month in Cupertino. The iPhone XR is a lower-cost alternative to the new iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max with a starting price of $749. The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max start at $999 and $1,099, respectively.

The iPhone XR is made from a 7000 Series grade aluminum with a glass back to support wireless charging and is rated IP67 for water resistance meaning it can withstand a drop into water with a maximum depth of one meter for up to thirty minutes. It also features a new 6.1-inch LCD Liquid Retina HD Display, a 7-nanometer A12 Bionic Chip with next generation neural engine (same chip as in the new iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max), a single 12MP wide-angle rear camera, 7MP front TrueDepth camera, Smart HDR, Haptic Touch (in lieu of 3D Touch), Face ID and dual SIMs (nano SIM + eSIM). As for battery life, the iPhone XR offers an additional ninety-minutes of battery life over that of the iPhone 8 Plus.

The iPhone XR will be available in a variety of colors including White, Black, Blue, Coral, Yellow and (Product) Red. Storage capacities will include 64GB, 128GB and 256GB. AppleCare+ for iPhone XR will cost $149 if paid in full or $7.99/month for up to 24 months if paid monthly and the new AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss Protection will cost $249 if paid in full or $12.99/month for up to 24 months if paid monthly.

If you plan on pre-ordering the iPhone XR through Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program, Apple recommends that you use the Apple Store app on your iPhone to get pre-approved for the iPhone Upgrade Program before 7pm ET/4pm PT on Thursday, October 18th so you can pre-order and checkout on Friday, October 19th.

In A World of Loops and Smart Instruments

A couple of years ago, I began exploring Apple’s GarageBand. First, let me be perfectly clear that I’m not a musician in any way, shape or form. I did learn to play the recorder in Elementary School like some school children (I did not play well!) and then I learned to play the violin for a couple of years and participated in a couple of school performances in Junior High School (I played okay). But that was pretty much the extent of my “music career.”

So, on one January night, I sat down with my iPad, launched GarageBand and started to play around and try to figure out how GarageBand worked and what I could do in the application. I did some research online into GarageBand and eventually got into smart instruments and learned how to use the auto-play control knob to access a preset series of chord progressions within each class of smart instrument. From there, I started to experiment and combined, mixed, matched and edited different smart instruments and chord progressions using auto-play to create some interesting sounds.

Once I got past the initial learning curve, I challenged myself to test my creativity and see if I could create a single track comprised of different smart instruments and chord progressions using auto-play that would sound good. After a bit of exploration, trial and error and lots of time, I came up with my very first track which I called “The Journey.” It took quite some time to figure out an appropriate name for this track, but I eventually got there.

“The Journey” was inspired by a recent road trip that I had taken. While the initial base track took several hours to create, it would take another week or so to refine it until I got it to a point where I was comfortable. I was constantly tweaking the track and found a new appreciation for what professionals in the music industry must go through to put together a track. After creating “The Journey,” I decided to further challenge myself by trying to create a collection of tracks all inspired by my recent road trip. I eventually created tracks including “Charting The Course,” “A Call To Action,” “Reflection in Time,” “Paradise,” “On The Road,” “Onwards” and even an extended version of “The Journey.”

Creating and refining the tracks was just the beginning. I eventually went from creating tracks in GarageBand for iOS to creating and editing those tracks in GarageBand for macOS and then moved over to Logic Pro X. Now to be transparent, the move to Logic Pro X was primarily because I ran into some issues in GarageBand that I was able to solve with Logic Pro X. I also expanded into the world of Apple royalty-free loops, using loops along with smart instruments to create some amazing tracks like “Countdown,” “Discovery” and “Evolution” that I’m proud of.  

What started off as an exploration of Apple’s GarageBand turned into quite an amazing project and learning experience. I certainly don’t expect to win any awards, nor do I think that I fall within the company of the great musicians, composers, artists, performers and music professionals who create music and do this for a living. However, if anything, this project does showcase our potential to learn and explore new things, to open our minds and let our creativity out, to step out of our comfort zone and challenge ourselves beyond our limits.

I am incredibly proud to be able showcase the work from this project. You can listen to tracks from this project in the Music Gallery. I will be adding more tracks from this project soon so please check back for more!

MacBook 13.3-inch Late 2009 Series . . . in 2018

Apple MacBook 13.3-inch Late 2009

Apple MacBook 13.3-inch Late 2009

Last year, Apple added the last of the polycarbonate unibody series, the MacBook 13.3-inch Mid 2010 series, to their list of Vintage and obsolete products, officially bringing an end of support to this product line.

While official support has ended for the polycarbonate unibody series, I’ve managed to get some extra life out of my MacBook 13.3-inch Late 2009 series with a couple of upgrades that have kept it running through 2018. When I purchased the MacBook 13.3-inch Late 2009 series, it included a 2.26 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 4GB DDR3 RAM (base version came with 2GB RAM and Apple’s official maximum is 4GB RAM, but more on this in a moment), a 250GB 5400 RPM hard drive (upgradeable to a 500GB 5400 RPM hard drive), Nvidia GeForce 9400M with 256GB RAM and OS X v.10.6 Snow Leopard.

About a year before the AppleCare warranty on the MacBook was up, I decided to upgrade the 250GB 5400 RPM hard drive to a new Sandisk 240GB SSD. This gave the MacBook a significant performance and speed boost over the 5400 RPM traditional hard drive. At the time, solid state drives were still quite pricey for limited amounts of storage, so the Sandisk 240GB SSD was at a price level that I was comfortable investing in.

As for RAM, I initially operated under the belief that Apple’s official 4GB RAM limit was indeed the maximum. However, a couple of years after the AppleCare warranty had expired, I did some research and learned that the MacBook 13.3-inch Late 2009 series (MacBook 6,1) could support a maximum of 8GB of RAM. After some extensive research, I was able to confirm that the 8GB RAM maximum limit was indeed accurate and went ahead and purchased the compatible memory modules (I’ll include a link to the modules at the end of this post) to max out the MacBook’s RAM. It worked perfectly!

Today, this MacBook is still running, albeit slower than newer computers, with a 240GB SSD, 8GB of RAM and macOS High Sierra. Newer MacBooks will certainly run circles around this nine year old MacBook and I do not use this MacBook for memory intensive or performance heavy loads; but, for e-mail, surfing the web, watching YouTube videos and general use, it still works.

This MacBook will not support Apple’s latest version of macOS - macOS Mojave which means this MacBook has reached its maximum upgrade potential. That said, I’m impressed with the extended life that I’ve gained from these upgrades and when the day comes to officially retire this MacBook from service, I’ll know that it had one heck of a run!

If you have a MacBook 13.3-inch Late 2009 series with a model identifier of “MacBook 6,1” and want to know which memory modules I used to upgrade my MacBook to 8GB of RAM, check out the link below.

To find the model identifier for your MacBook, go to the Apple menu then select “About This Mac.” In “About This Mac,” select “System Report.” In the “System Report,” select “Hardware” then look for “Model Identifier.”

LINKS:

Note: The links below include Affiliate Links. Please review the section entitled "Affiliate Links" in the Terms of Use of this website for additional information.

OWC 8.0GB (2 x 4GB) PC8500 DDR3 1066 MHz Memory Upgrade Kit - https://amzn.to/2RdgCEb

I Upgraded to iOS 12 . . .

Apple released the latest version of iOS, iOS 12, last Monday, September 17th. As with previous iOS major releases, I did not upgrade on launch day for several reasons including potentially slow download speeds with many users hitting Apple’s download servers simultaneously for iOS 12 and the potential for bugs/compatibility issues, as we saw with the release of iOS 11 last year.

With iOS 12, Apple appears to have put this latest version of iOS through more rigorous beta testing and improved quality control. The reviews have pointed towards iOS 12 beta versions being stable and it is reflected in the final release. Since upgrading my iOS devices to iOS 12, my devices have been stable, running smoothly and I haven’t run into any major issues.

I have noticed a nice performance and speed boost with iOS 12. iOS 12 appears to run faster and smoother than iOS 11. On iPhone X, I like that iOS 12 has simplified the process for closing apps. In iOS 11, it required swiping midway up the screen to see all the open apps and then required that you press or hold down on the screen before swiping up to close the apps. In iOS 12, you no longer need to press or hold down on the screen first. Once you swipe up from the bottom of the screen to approximately the middle of the screen and see all the open apps, you can release your finger for a moment and then swipe up to close the respective apps. There is a small adjustment period coming off iOS 11, but you’ll get used to it quickly.

The new Measure app, which utilizes Augmented Reality, allows you to have a measuring tape readily available whenever you need one. I can’t remember the number of times I’ve had to search for a measuring tape on the fly; however, with the new Measure app, you can be confident that you’ll have a handy measuring tape available always.

I did experiment with Memojis and it’s okay. I couldn’t quite create a Memoji that I truly liked but I did give it a try. I think I’ll stick with the Animojis!

As for battery life, I haven’t experienced any issues with the battery draining faster on iOS 12 versus that of iOS 11, which is a plus. It seems like battery life is comparable to the latest version of iOS 11. Obviously, battery life does heavily depend on how you use your iOS device and the apps that you are running so my experience may vary from those experiences of others.

iOS 12 appears to be a good and “safe” upgrade. If you plan on upgrading your iOS device to iOS 12, be sure to backup your iOS device to your computer via iTunes or to the cloud via iCloud. Also, make sure to check Apple’s website to be certain your device is compatible with iOS 12. If you use any apps that are vital or mission-critical, be sure to check the App Store and/or with the App Developer to confirm compatibility with iOS 12.