Getting Ready For macOS Catalina

Credit: Apple

Credit: Apple

Are you ready for macOS Catalina?

Apple will be releasing macOS Catalina, their latest version of macOS, in October. If you’re planning to upgrade, you’ll want to be proactive and take some steps now to make sure you’re ready for release day.

First, check to make sure your current Mac will be supported by macOS Catalina. macOS Catalina will run on the MacBook 2015 and later, iMac 2012 and later, MacBook Air 2012 and later, iMac Pro 2017 and later, MacBook Pro 2012 and later, Mac Pro 2013 and later and the Mac Mini 2012 and later. If your Mac is on the supported list, you’re off to a good start!

Next, make sure all your Mac applications are 64-bit compatible. Apple has been reminding customers in the last two versions of macOS (macOS High Sierra and macOS Mojave) that 32-bit application support will be coming to an end. macOS Catalina will no longer support 32-bit applications so you’ll want to make sure all your critical applications are 64-bit compatible.

To find out if you are running 32-bit or 64-bit applications, go to the Apple Menu then About This Mac and select System Report. In the left column, scroll down to Software then select Applications. A list of all the applications running on your Mac will we displayed in the right column. Look for the column labeled 64-Bit (Intel). If an application shows a “Yes” under the 64-Bit (Intel) column, it means the application is a 64-bit application. If the application shows “No” it means the application is a 32-bit application.

If you are running any 32-bit applications, you’ll want to check with the application developer to see if a 64-bit version of the application is or will be available for macOS Catalina. Some developers may still be working on 64-bit application support up until and possibly after the launch of macOS Catalina. If the 32-bit application is a critical application that you need to use and a 64-bit version is not yet available, you’ll want to hold off on upgrading to macOS Catalina.

Finally, before upgrading to macOS Catalina and as a standard best practice, be sure to backup your Mac. Upgrades can go awry so you’ll want to make sure you have a current backup of all the critical data on your Mac before you perform the upgrade. It’s also a good practice to frequently backup your computer in case of a hardware failure, data corruption and/or data loss. You can perform manual or automatic backups, backup to local external storage and/or to the cloud, use software solutions like Time Machine or Carbon Copy Cloner and so forth. Just backup frequently and consistently!

If your Mac needs a good refresh, formatting your hard drive or SSD and performing a clean install of macOS can often do wonders. Again, make sure you backup your Mac before formatting and performing a clean install.

A final thought … While being one of the first to upgrade to the latest version of macOS may sound good on paper, it never quite works out that way in practice. So, you may want to hold off for a bit before upgrading to macOS Catalina just to make sure there aren’t any unexpected surprises (aka bugs or issues) especially if you are upgrading a primary Mac. The last thing you’ll want is your primary computer on the fritz.

What We Learned From Apple’s September 10th Special Event

Apple_Keynote-Event_Tim-Cook_091019.jpg

If you missed Apple’s September 10th Special Event and/or haven’t had a chance to watch a replay of the Apple Keynote, here’s what we learned . . .

Apple Arcade

Apple’s new gaming subscription service, Apple Arcade, offering unlimited access to over 100+ games, will be available beginning on September 19th. The gaming subscription service will cost $4.99 per month and will cover your entire family. Apple will include a one-month free trial.

Apple TV+

By now, you’ve probably seen the trailer for the upcoming Apple TV+ series The Morning Show with Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell. During the Keynote, Apple premiered the trailer for the upcoming series See with Jason Momoa. The first shows on Apple TV+ will be available starting November 1st. Like Apple Arcade, the Apple TV+ subscription service will cost $4.99 per month and will cover your entire family. In addition, Apple will offer a free year of Apple TV+ with the purchase of a new Apple device (ex: iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV).

Apple iPad

Apple_New-iPad_New-Seventh-Generation_091019.jpg

Apple announced the replacement of the 6th generation 9.7-inch iPad with a brand new 7th generation 10.2-inch iPad featuring a Retina Display, A10 Fusion chip, Smart Connector, support for Apple Pencil (1st generation), the Smart Keyboard and lightning compatible external storage. The new 10.2-inch iPad will be available in 32GB and 128GB Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi + Cellular models. The starting price for the new iPad will be $329 and will be available on September 30th. Apple is accepting orders starting today.

Apple_watch_series_5-midnight-blue-band-space-gray-aluminum-case-091019.jpg

Apple Watch Series 5

The next generation of Apple Watch is here! Apple announced Apple Watch Series 5 with a new Always-On Retina Display so you can always see the watch face. No longer do you need to wake the watch face to see the time and complications. The Apple Watch Series 5 still offers all-day battery life, will feature a built-in compass and international emergency calling (if you have a cellular-capable model). Apple Watch Series 5 GPS only models will start at $399 and the GPS + Cellular models will start at $499. Apple is accepting orders today and the Apple Watch Series 5 will be available on September 20th.

Apple iPhone 11

What is an Apple September Special Event without new iPhones?

Apple_iphone_11-rosette-family-lineup-091019.jpg

Apple announced three new iPhones – the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max as this year’s successors to last year’s iPhone XR, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, respectively. The iPhone 11 features a 6.1-inch Liquid Retina Display, A13 Bionic chip, third-generation Neural Engine, dual camera system with a 12MP wide camera + 12MP ultra-wide camera, Night mode for low light situations, Quick Take which will allow you to take video while in photo mode without the need to switch to video mode, a 12MP TrueDepth front-side camera, one hour of additional battery life over the iPhone XR, will be available in six colors and more.

Apple_iPhone-11-Pro_Colors_091019.jpg

The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max features a new pro design with textured matte glass and stainless steel, 5.8-inch (iPhone 11 Pro) and 6.5-inch (iPhone 11 Pro Max) Super Retina XDR Displays, A13 Bionic chip, third-generation Neural Engine, triple camera system with a 12MP wide camera + 12MP ultra-wide camera + 12MP telephoto camera, a 12MP TrueDepth front-side camera, four hours of additional battery life over the iPhone XS (for the iPhone 11 Pro) and five hours of additional battery life over the iPhone XS Max (for the iPhone 11 Pro Max), comes in four colors, includes an 18W charger and more.

The new iPhone 11 will start at $699, the iPhone 11 Pro will start at $999 and the iPhone 11 Pro Max will start at $1,099. Apple will begin accepting orders on September 13th and the iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max will be available on September 20th.

iOS 13, watchOS 6, iPadOS and macOS Catalina

While not mentioned during the Keynote, Apple has posted release dates for iOS 13, watchOS 6, iPadOS and macOS Catalina on the Apple website. iOS 13 and watchOS 6 will be available on September 19th, iPadOS will be available on September 30th and macOS Catalina will be available in October 2019.

Photo Credit: Images used in this blog post are courtesy of Apple.

Before You Take Your 15-inch MacBook Pro In The Air

Credit: Apple

Credit: Apple

Back in June 2019, Apple issued a voluntary recall of some older generation 15-inch MacBook Pro models due to batteries which could potentially overheat and pose a risk to safety. Apple advised owners of potentially affected 15-inch MacBook Pros to stop using them immediately and to visit their 15-inch MacBook Pro Battery Recall Program page for information on product eligibility and how to get their battery replaced for free.

The affected models are identified as the MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015) which were sold between September 2015 and February 2017. Owners of a 15-inch MacBook Pro can check to see if their MacBook Pro is affected by going into the Apple menu then “About This Mac.” If the MacBook Pro is identified as a MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015), you should go to Apple’s 15-inch MacBook Pro Battery Recall Program page and enter the MacBook Pro’s serial number to confirm product eligibility and for details on how to get a free battery replacement. The serial number can be found by going to “About This Mac” and/or by checking the underside of the MacBook Pro. Battery replacements are estimated to take around 1-2 weeks.

Recently, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has reminded airlines that recalled products are banned from flight regardless of whether they are in carry-on or checked baggage. As such, the MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015) is essentially banned from flight. Other 15-inch MacBook Pros are not affected by the ban.

Of course, this is where things get complicated. So far, no specific information is available on how exactly airlines will screen for these affected 15-inch MacBook Pros and what the potential impact will be to travelers (ex: screening delays). Since the affected 15-inch MacBook Pros will look virtually identical to non-affected 15-inch MacBook Pros, the only option to identify these devices visually will be to either check every serial number against Apple’s recall page or have travelers boot up their 15-inch MacBook Pros so that screeners may review the “About This Mac” window to determine if the MacBook Pro is an affected model.

To further complicate the situation, travelers who have had the battery replaced in their affected 15-inch MacBook Pro will be permitted to take their MacBook Pros in flight BUT you’re going to have to prove that the battery has been replaced. That means you’ll need to carry and present documentation showing your affected 15-inch MacBook Pro’s battery was properly serviced and replaced. Even so, airlines and screeners will still have overall discretion in determining whether your 15-inch MacBook Pro will be permitted in the air.

If you own a 15-inch MacBook Pro, be sure to check and see if your MacBook Pro is part of the recall. Regardless of whether you intend to fly with your 15-inch MacBook Pro, if you own a MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015), you’ll want to get your battery replaced as soon as possible.

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 MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2.6GHz 6-core 9th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 256GB, Space Gray) - https://amzn.to/2KGNC6P

Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2.3GHz 8-core 9th-generation Intel Core i9 processor, 512GB, Space Gray) - https://amzn.to/2KDRfdv

On The Road Gear & Accessories

Anker PowerCore 10000mAH Portable Charger (Assorted Colors) - https://amzn.to/2KGQkt1· 

Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD with 30W Power Delivery Portable Charger - https://amzn.to/2YVwhQd

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

Apple AirPods with Charging Case - https://amzn.to/2He7BaR

Apple EarPods with 3.5mm Headphone Plug - https://amzn.to/2ZckfNm

Apple EarPods with Lightning Connector - https://amzn.to/31M6M0t

bago 25L Lightweight Packable/Foldable Backpack (Assorted Colors) - https://amzn.to/2KItaT4

Belkin 3-Outlet USB Surge Protector w/Rotating Plug (1 Amp) - https://amzn.to/2Hdmv0N

Belkin 3.5mm Audio + Charge Rockstar - https://amzn.to/31Lyr1K

Belkin Lightning Audio + Charge Rockstar - https://amzn.to/31QLeA7

Kenneth Cole Reaction 1680d Polyester Expandable Double Gusset 17.3" Laptop Backpack (Black or Navy) - https://amzn.to/2Ha43Gf

Maglite Mini PRO LED 2-Cell AA Flashlight with Holster (Black) - https://amzn.to/2Hdm7iR

Nite Ize Inova Squeeze Light LED (Black) - https://amzn.to/31KVLg3

SwissGear Compact Luggage Tags (Assorted Colors 2 Pack) - https://amzn.to/31NzgXW

SwissGear TSA-Accepted 3-Dial Combination Lock (Black) - https://amzn.to/2KHa13R

Moving To All Solid-State Drives

As the cost of solid-state drives (SSDs) has dropped, I’ve gradually migrated all my internal and external data storage from traditional hard drives to solid-state drives. Solid-state drives are lighter, faster and more reliable than traditional hard drives. When purchasing new computers, I typically configure them with solid-state storage and with existing computers, if possible and if it makes sense, I’ll upgrade those computers using traditional hard drives to new solid-state drives. Likewise, with external storage, I’ve replaced all my external traditional hard drives with external SSDs.

For internal storage, I’ve used solid-state drives from various brands including Sandisk, Intel, Crucial and Samsung. Over the past few years, I’ve primarily been using drives from Crucial (ex: MX100, MX300) and Samsung (ex: 860 EVO). The drives are fast, reliable, perform extremely well and are affordable. I’ve used these drives for both internal and external storage. For external storage, you just need to get a decent external enclosure. I like using the external enclosures from StarTech. I’ll put a link to the enclosure and all the solid-state drives mentioned at the end of this post.

For external storage, besides building my own external SSD using an external enclosure, I really like using the Samsung T5 series external solid-state drives. The drives are extremely small, lightweight and portable. They offer exceptional performance and have been rock-solid and reliable. The Samsung T5s support Mac/Windows/Android operating systems (some operating system versions are not supported), come with both USB-C to USB-A and USB-C to USB-C cables (so you don’t need to hunt for dongles and adapters), offer storage capacities up to 2TB and are available in various colors including black, blue, red and gold.

When I edit videos in Final Cut Pro X, I store all my video assets on Samsung T5 external solid-state drives and work directly off the external SSDs, so I don’t need to take up any unnecessary space on my computer’s internal SSD nor do I need to move those assets off the computer to free up internal storage capacity. I’ve produced and edited numerous videos and have not experienced any latency or performance issues as a result of using the Samsung T5 solid-state drives. The drives have worked flawlessly for me and I’m extremely happy with the performance.

I’m glad I’ve migrated away from traditional hard drives. The performance gains themselves are well worth the investment. That said, if you need a lot of storage like 4TB of storage or more, a traditional hard drive will still cost much less than solid-state storage even though there are the trade offs with using a traditional hard drive. Similarly, if you’re looking to maximize storage capacity for a NAS or server, you’re probably going to stick with traditional hard drives over solid-state drives. It’s simply more cost-effective for the average budget. However, just be sure you are using hard drives rated for use in a server or NAS to get optimal performance and reliability.

 

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.

Crucial Solid-State Drives

Crucial MX500 500GB 2.5” SATA Solid-State Drive - https://amzn.to/2SJhbH7

Crucial MX500 1TB 2.5” SATA Solid-State Drive - https://amzn.to/2LIrsm8

Crucial MX500 2TB 2.5” SATA Solid-State Drive - https://amzn.to/2JZSYJG

Samsung Solid-State Drives

Samsung 860 EVO 500GB 2.5” Solid-State Drive - https://amzn.to/2LIbFnr

Samsung 860 EVO 1TB 2.5” Solid-State Drive - https://amzn.to/2JX2ltQ

Samsung 860 EVO 2TB 2.5” Solid-State Drive - https://amzn.to/2LMv6eW 

 

StarTech External Hard Drive Enclosure

StarTech USB 3.1 External 2.5” SATA Drive Enclosure - https://amzn.to/30Y3MOg

 

Samsung T5 External Solid-State Drives

Samsung T5 500GB External Solid-State Drive - https://amzn.to/2LKd2SL

Samsung T5 1TB External Solid-State Drive - https://amzn.to/314KtCP

Samsung T5 2TB External Solid-State Drive - https://amzn.to/2ykJ8vq

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:

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 MacBook Air (Previous Generation)

Apple MacBook Air (13.3-inch, 1.8GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, Silver) - https://amzn.to/2Yu4x3V

Apple MacBook Air (13.3-inch, 1.8GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, Silver) - https://amzn.to/2LKz081

Apple MacBook Air (13.3-inch, 2.2GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, Silver) - https://amzn.to/2LOMrUz

Apple MacBook (12-inch)

Apple MacBook (12-inch, 1.2GHz Dual-Core Intel Core m3, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, Rose Gold) - https://amzn.to/314QyiN

Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch with Function Keys)

Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2.3GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, Space Gray) - https://amzn.to/30ZZLcf

Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2.3GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD,  Space Gray) - https://amzn.to/2ype8KI

RELATED POSTS:

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

The Apple MacBook 12-inch: I said I wouldn’t get one . . . then, I did!

Netgear’s Firmware Problem

Hubs, switches, routers, wireless adapters and even NAS devices . . . I’ve used a wide range of Netgear products over the years. The Netgear brand has traditionally been reliable, offering products for which I’ve trusted and have been comfortable using at home, in the office and when making product recommendations to others.

Unfortunately, over the past several years, I’ve noticed a growing trend when it comes to the quality of their firmware, more specifically, a lack thereof. Netgear firmware for routers often have bugs resulting in various issues post-firmware upgrade. I’ve written several posts about firmware issues affecting the Netgear R7000 AC1900 Nighthawk Smart Wi-Fi router (see RELATED POSTS below). Netgear released buggy firmware which resulted in network connectivity issues, sporadic and spotty wireless connections, dropped connections, spontaneous router reboots and so forth. After several months with no sign of a permanent fix from Netgear and given this router was deployed in an office environment, the only solution was to replace the router.

After reviewing alternative router options (including routers from other brands), the Netgear R7000 AC1900 Nighthawk Smart Wi-Fi router was replaced with the Netgear AX6000-Nighthawk AX8 8-Stream Wi-Fi 6 router in hopes that a new router with a different version of Netgear’s router firmware would function properly. During the implementation, the factory installed firmware was upgraded to the latest version available at the time, version 1.0.1.40. While this firmware version was “stable” when compared to the recent firmware releases for the R7000, it was not bug-free.

For instance, on the router’s Statistics page, the statistics for the WAN connection resets every 24 hours instead of accumulating stats until the router is rebooted. Since the Internet connection has a static IP assigned, the reset was not due to DHCP lease time. I also confirmed the WAN connection was not dropping every 24 hours (and yes, this was a major concern). This is the router resetting the statistics for the WAN connection for no apparent reason. On the Attached Devices page, after 24 hours, some identifying information of attached devices (ex: brand of device) randomly disappear until the router is rebooted. In addition, devices no longer connected to the router may still show up in the Attached Devices list long after the device is no longer connected to the network.

Netgear did release firmware version 1.0.1.56 for the Netgear AX6000-Nighthawk AX8 8-Stream Wi-Fi 6 router; however, preliminary reviews were less than promising with some experiencing slower performance and connectivity issues post-firmware upgrade. The latest firmware version for the Netgear AX6000-Nighthawk AX8 8-Stream Wi-Fi 6 router is version 1.0.1.58. Given prior experience, I am extremely hesitant to upgrade the firmware at this time. At the very least, I have a “stable” router even though there are some functionality bugs/issues (these bugs/issues do not affect end-users).

Netgear has a quality control problem when it comes to their firmware releases. They need to conduct more thorough beta testing before releasing firmware upgrades to customers for use in live production environments. Some Netgear routers aren’t inexpensive either. Customers should not be paying a premium for sub-par quality firmware which is crucial to operating and managing the devices.

While it’s impossible to test for every scenario, Netgear should take a closer look at its internal processes to ensure their firmware releases have met a higher standard before release. Netgear customers are not signing-up to be beta testers. The risks associated with using problematic firmware are extremely high which can lead to loss productivity, downtime or worse. Netgear needs to step up, improve their quality control and restore the Netgear brand name and its reputation to one that is representative of the highest standards of quality and reliability.

 

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.

Netgear Routers Mentioned In This Post

Netgear R7000 AC1900 Nighthawk Smart Wi-Fi Router - https://amzn.to/2IjkCR7

Netgear AX6000-Nighthawk AX8 8-Stream Wi-Fi 6 Router - https://amzn.to/2MMIjpg

Stable Netgear Routers I’ve Used

Netgear R8000 AC3200 Nighthawk AC3200 Tri-Band Wi-Fi Router – https://amzn.to/2W6zSWv

Netgear R8300 AC5000 Nighthawk X8 Smart Wi-Fi Router – https://amzn.to/2AXDDEC

 

RELATED POSTS:

Stabilizing The Netgear R7000 Router Running FW 1.0.9.60_10.2.60

Here We Go Again! Netgear FW v.1.0.9.60_10.2.60 Fixes Some Bugs; Creates New Issue on R7000

Netgear Releases FW 1.0.9.60_10.2.60 for R7000 Router; Fixes Bugs with FW v.1.0.9.58_10.2.58

Connectivity Issues After Upgrading Netgear R7000 To Firmware v.1.0.9.58_10.2.58

Windows Not Detecting SSID On Netgear AX6000-Nighthawk AX8 8-Stream Wi-Fi 6 Router

During an installation and implementation of a new Netgear AX6000-Nighthawk AX8 8-Stream Wi-Fi 6 router, a user with a Windows 10 computer was unable to detect the SSID of the AX8 router even though other users were able to detect and connect to the SSID on their desktops, laptops and mobile devices.

After some research and according to a support article on Netgear’s website, the issue can be due to the Windows computer using an older Intel wireless network adapter. Older Intel adapters include: Intel Dual Band Wireless AC-3160, AC-3165, AC-7260, AC-7265 and AC-8260.

To resolve the issue:

First, check to see which wireless network adapter your Windows computer is using.

Note: These directions may vary slightly depending on the version of Windows that you are running.

Go to Control Panel | System and Security | System then select Device Manager from the left pane. In the Device Manager window, expand Network adapters by clicking on the arrow on the left side. You should see a list of all the network adapters available for your computer.

If your wireless network adapter is one of the Intel adapters listed above, you may need to download and install the latest Intel driver for your Intel wireless network adapter available here. Download the proper Intel driver for your Intel wireless network adapter then proceed with the installation. Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the driver installation. You may be required to reboot your computer after the installation. After rebooting the computer, check to see if the SSID of your router shows up. If so, try establishing a connection. If it works, you should be good.

If updating your Intel driver does not work or if your device does not use an older Intel wireless network adapter, your wireless adapter may not recognize or support the AX standard. If that’s the case, you can try disabling AX on the Netgear AX6000-Nighthawk AX8 8-Stream Wi-Fi 6 router.

To do this:

First, login to your Netgear AX router with your router’s admin credentials.

Next, go to either the BASIC or ADVANCED tabs.

If using the BASIC tab, go to Wireless. On the Wireless Setup page, uncheck the box for “Enable AX – This WiFi mode will enable AX features such as OFDMA” then apply the changes. AX should now be disabled. Check to see if the SSID of your router shows up. If so, try establishing a connection. If it works, you should be good.

If using the ADVANCED tab, go to Setup then Wireless Setup. On the Wireless Setup page, uncheck the box for “Enable AX – This WiFi mode will enable AX features such as OFDMA” then apply the changes. AX should now be disabled. Check to see if the SSID of your router shows up. If so, try establishing a connection. If it works, you should be good.

This issue is not limited to the Netgear AX6000-Nighthawk AX8 8-Stream Wi-Fi 6 router and can affect any of Netgear’s current AX routers product line. You should be able to adapt these steps for the specific Netgear AX router that you are using.

 

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.

Netgear AX6000-Nighthawk AX8 8-Stream Wi-Fi 6 Router - https://amzn.to/2MMIjpg

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:

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.

Camera Gear & Accessories

Sony RX100 VI - https://amzn.to/2HQLMyF

Sony A6400 with 16-50mm Kit Lens - https://amzn.to/2Ii6feP

Sony A6400 with 18-135mm Kit Lens - https://amzn.to/2Mzbgoq

Sony Shooting Grip - https://amzn.to/2W8Mnzq

Sony NP-BX1 Lithium Ion Battery for Sony RX100 VI - https://amzn.to/2QDvHPL

Sony BC-TRX Battery Charger for Sony RX100 VI - https://amzn.to/2WjHKaN

Sony Travel Battery Charger for Sony RX100 VI - https://amzn.to/2HQu3ao

Sony NP-FW50 Lithium Ion Battery for Sony A6400 - https://amzn.to/2EQUL0R

Sony BC-TRW Battery Charger for Sony A6400 - https://amzn.to/2JUP46j

JOBY GorillaPod 3K - https://amzn.to/312jPvo

JOBY GripTight ONE Mount for Smartphones - https://amzn.to/312omOr

Sandisk Extreme Pro SDXC 128GB - https://amzn.to/2EOxJaK

 

External Storage

Samsung T5 Portable SSD 500GB - https://amzn.to/2QCjASU

Samsung T5 Portable SSD 1TB - https://amzn.to/2HP0GoV

Samsung T5 Portable SSD 2TB - https://amzn.to/2IhvsG4

What Cameras Do You Use For Photography And Filming?

I currently use a combination of cameras for both photography and filming.

My always on-hand “camera” is my iPhone X. I always have it with me and it has a pretty good built-in camera for taking photos and recording video. It’s perfect for the spur of the moment situations when you have an opportunity to take a photo, record a video, capture an important or rare moment and don’t have a digital camera readily available. The iPhone X camera does have its limitations but in relatively ideal conditions, it does a pretty good job. I’ve taken some incredible photos while traveling and created videos using footage filmed entirely from the iPhone X.

Here are a few videos shot entirely on iPhone X:

A Trip To Hudson Yards - https://youtu.be/gU6VWXjaQbo

A Trip to Hoboken for the Waterfront View - https://youtu.be/dfKmGWakwmw

The Seaport District & New Pier 17 (NYC) - https://youtu.be/1AQWdXFUKdU

Sony RX100 VI

Sony RX100 VI

My small form factor camera of choice is the Sony RX100 VI. Previously, I was using the Canon PowerShot S120 for photos and videos, but it was time to really step up. The Sony RX100 VI has worked well. I like the quality of the photos and videos that come from this camera. The Sony RX100 VI supports both RAW and JPEG formats for still photography. The quality of recorded video on the Sony RX100 VI is crisper and cleaner even in low light situations with no adjustments to the camera settings. I did get the Sony Shooting Grip (sold separately) for the Sony RX100 VI which works great for filming and helps with stability. In addition, the grip doubles as a tripod. The flip screen is extremely useful when you’re trying to get a shot and need to position the camera in an awkward or inconvenient position yet still be able to see what your capturing or filming. The ability to flip the screen backwards for selfie-mode is great for those solo and group shots when you don’t have someone around to take a photo or video for you.

While the Sony RX100 VI has great features, there are some areas for improvement including better image stabilization, external mic support for improved audio, built-in support for interval shooting/time lapse videos and a longer-life battery (you should get spare batteries and an external battery charger).

Here are a few videos shot on the Sony RX100 VI:

2019 New York International Auto Show – Part 1 - https://youtu.be/1zcxuAWHsCA

2019 New York International Auto Show – Part 2 - https://youtu.be/uqO_quQV2Sw

Take Me Out To Cooperstown - https://youtu.be/jvHYm6GvyLY (includes iPhone X footage)

Sony A6400 with 18-135mm lens

Sony A6400 with 18-135mm lens

The most recent addition to my camera gear is the Sony A6400 mirrorless APS-C camera. I did extensive research into the various options and it came down to balancing size, features and price. I did get both kit lenses (the 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 and the 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6) which serve as a good starting point though I may eventually need to get additional lenses. The Sony A6400 has a lot of similar features to the Sony RX100 VI but also includes external mic support and interval shooting/time lapse videos. The A6400 does not have in body image stabilization but both lenses do have Optical Steadyshot. I do recommend getting spare batteries and an external battery charger for this camera. I’ve only begun to test the camera but so far, I’m happy with the investment. I’m looking forward to field testing the Sony A6400 over the next few months.

 

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.

Sony RX100 VI - https://amzn.to/2HQLMyF

Sony A6400 with 16-50mm Kit Lens - https://amzn.to/2Ii6feP

Sony A6400 with 18-135mm Kit Lens - https://amzn.to/2Mzbgoq

Sony Shooting Grip - https://amzn.to/2W8Mnzq

Sony NP-BX1 Lithium Ion Battery for Sony RX100 VI - https://amzn.to/2QDvHPL

Sony BC-TRX Battery Charger for Sony RX100 VI - https://amzn.to/2WjHKaN

Sony Travel Battery Charger for Sony RX100 VI - https://amzn.to/2HQu3ao

Sony NP-FW50 Lithium Ion Battery for Sony A6400 - https://amzn.to/2EQUL0R

Sony BC-TRW Battery Charger for Sony A6400 - https://amzn.to/2JUP46j

JOBY GorillaPod 3K - https://amzn.to/312jPvo

JOBY GripTight ONE Mount for Smartphones - https://amzn.to/312omOr

Sandisk Extreme Pro SDXC 128GB - https://amzn.to/2EOxJaK

Running Older Versions of Adobe Creative Cloud Apps? You May Need To Upgrade!

Earlier this month, Adobe announced changes to the availability of Adobe Creative Cloud applications through the Creative Cloud desktop app and Adobe.com. As mentioned in Adobe’s blog post Changes to Creative Cloud Download Availability, Adobe Creative Cloud subscribers will now only have access to download the two most recent versions of the Adobe Creative Cloud applications with the exception of Adobe Acrobat. Acrobat will only be available for download in the most recent version.

The post goes on to say that the changes “will further enable us to develop the features and functionality most requested by customers and ensure peak performance and benefits across Windows and Mac operating systems.”

However, some Creative Cloud subscribers running older versions of Adobe Creative Cloud applications have received notice from Adobe advising them that those Creative Cloud applications are no longer authorized, and the continued use of the unauthorized versions could have potential legal ramifications.

Here are a couple of excerpts from the notice:

“For customers who have not yet updated to the latest version of Creative Cloud, please note that you are no longer licensed to use certain older versions of the applications or deploy packages containing these older versions.”

“Please be aware that if you continue to use or deploy the older, unauthorized versions of Creative Cloud, you will not have third-party claim coverage pursuant to your contract with Adobe. Should you continue to use or deploy these unauthorized versions, you may be at risk of potential claims of infringement by third parties.”

Adobe has not provided any specifics on the matter, but the issue appears to stem from ongoing litigation. Adobe has provided information on how to remove unauthorized versions of Adobe Creative Cloud applications and has provided a list of authorized and unauthorized versions of Creative Cloud applications. If you aren’t running the latest version of the Adobe Creative Cloud applications, you should check to see if you are using authorized versions of the Creative Cloud applications by checking your installed versions against the list of authorized and unauthorized versions. This applies to all Creative Cloud subscribers including, but not limited to: individuals, businesses, students and teachers, schools and universities.

As someone who has worked in advertising for almost twenty-years and served as Head of MIS/IT, I understand the issues, problems and headaches that this creates and the complexities with compliance. Upgrading Adobe software across the board isn’t as simple as it seems when you look at this from a business and organization perspective. Hardware and software costs, OS and software compatibility, testing and downtime are just some of the factors which need to be considered before upgrading software. Businesses of all sizes face a variety of challenges whenever there’s a need to deploy new hardware or software within an organization. There are best practices which must be followed to avoid disruption to workflow and productivity.

That said, it’s important to review these changes and take the necessary steps to implement changes now. Not doing so could be risky for Creative Cloud subscribers. Until further guidance is available on the potential legal implications to Creative Cloud subscribers, be proactive and take the necessary steps to mitigate any potential liability down the road.

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

Apple 10.5-inch iPad Air - https://amzn.to/2CBrE0C

Apple 11-inch iPad Pro - https://amzn.to/2UUTbRs

Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro - https://amzn.to/2Yhuzoc

Apple AirPods with Charging Case (1st generation) - https://amzn.to/2WkzmDA

Apple AirPods with Charging Case (2nd generation) - https://amzn.to/2CAkVni

Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case (2nd generation) - https://amzn.to/2CEGjbb

Apple EarPods with Lightning Connector - https://amzn.to/2U64bi0

Apple Pencil (1st generation) - https://amzn.to/2U6AuNx

Apple Pencil (2nd generation) - https://amzn.to/2YkTPtO

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

 

RELATED POSTS:

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

RELATED POSTS:

Making The Move To Wireless Charging

Netgear Releases FW 1.0.9.64_10.2.64 for R7000; Early Reviews Not Promising

Netgear recently released firmware version 1.0.9.64_10.2.64 for the Netgear R7000 AC1900 Nighthawk Smart Wi-Fi router. For those continuing to experience issues with the Netgear R7000 running firmware version 1.0.9.60_10.2.60, don’t rely on this latest update to resolve your issues. Based on some early reviews and comments from Netgear Community posts, this latest firmware release does not appear to fix or resolve the ongoing issues brought about by firmware versions 1.0.9.60 or 1.0.9.58.

According to Netgear’s firmware release notes, firmware version 1.0.9.64_10.2.64 includes the following:

New features and enhancements:

  • Improves the network device identification.

Bug Fixes:

  • Fixes the issue where the router should not remember the device name that was changed before the reset.

  • Fixes the issue where the OpenVPN client Connection Type shows as wired in the Attached Devices page but no information about the client shows in the VPN Client Devices tables.

  • Fixes the issue where the user can access the Internet Setup page via the Router/AP/Bridge/Repeating mode page.

  • Fixes the issue where some functions are grayed out if the user is using Firefox as the web browser.

  • Fixes the issue where watch devices cannot be detected and don’t display on the attached devices page.

  • Fixes the issue where some devices will display an unknown device name.

  • Fixes the issue where offline devices do not disappear.

  • Fixes the issue where the device name will show an unknown string.

Known Issues:

  • When using the Nighthawk app, the login fails when the password contains special characters.

  • The Internet will not disconnect when using a static WAN IP address and has reached the monthly traffic meter limit.

  • When disabling Circle using the Nighthawk app, the GUI still shows the Circle status as enabled.

The release notes make no mention of any fix for the dropped wireless connections or sporadic router reboots. If your Netgear R7000 router is running stable on firmware version 1.0.9.42, your safest bet is to stick with it. If you are feeling bold and want to do your own testing, you can download the latest firmware release through the R7000’s dashboard or directly from the Netgear support website.

Personally, until Netgear releases a solid piece of firmware to resolve the ongoing issues with the R7000, there’s no reason to continue putting time and effort into trial and error fixes. It’s time to move on.

If you’re interested, below are some stable routers I’ve used along with some new routers I’m looking into.

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.

Stable Netgear Routers I’ve Used

Netgear R8000 AC3200 Nighthawk AC3200 Tri-Band WiFi Router – https://amzn.to/2W6zSWv

Netgear R8300 AC5000 Nighthawk X8 Smart WiFi Router – https://amzn.to/2AXDDEC

Alternative Routers I’m Considering

Synology RT2600 AC – https://amzn.to/2W0ZDHP  

Netgear XR700 AD7200 Nighthawk Pro Gaming WiFi Router – https://amzn.to/2MnzePK

Netgear RAX80 AX6000 Nighthawk AX8 8-Stream WiFi Router – https://amzn.to/2RTqlms

AmpliFi Mesh Wi-Fi System - https://amzn.to/2SaYpup

RELATED POSTS:

Stabilizing The Netgear R7000 Router Running FW 1.0.9.60_10.2.60

Here We Go Again! Netgear FW v.1.0.9.60_10.2.60 Fixes Some Bugs; Creates New Issue on R7000

Netgear Releases FW 1.0.9.60_10.2.60 for R7000 Router; Fixes Bugs with FW v.1.0.9.58_10.2.58

Connectivity Issues After Upgrading Netgear R7000 To Firmware v.1.0.9.58_10.2.58

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!

Stabilizing The Netgear R7000 Router Running FW 1.0.9.60_10.2.60

If you’ve been following my previous posts on the Netgear R7000 router running firmware version 1.0.9.60_10.2.60, you’ll know that I, along with many others, have experienced nothing but problems with Netgear’s latest firmware release for this router, which ironically was issued to fix another problematic firmware version (version 1.0.9.58_10.2.58) for the same router. I’ll include links to my previous posts at the end of this post if you want to check them out.

First, just to clarify, the Netgear R7000 router that I am referring to is more specifically the Netgear R7000 AC1900 Nighthawk Smart Wi-Fi Router. In my last post on this topic - Here We Go Again! Netgear FW v.1.0.9.60_10.2.60 Fixes Some Bugs; Creates New Issue on R7000, I added an update at the very end of the post which reads as follows:

UPDATE: After further testing, I did notice issues with Wi-Fi connectivity and performance after reverting to firmware version 1.0.9.42_10.2.44. Some devices had trouble reconnecting to the Wi-Fi network on both the 2.4G and 5G networks. After some attempts to resolve the issue, I decided to go back to firmware version 1.0.9.60_10.2.60. While I could try a hard reset of the router, I’m not overly confident the result would differ. If you are able to revert to firmware version 1.0.9.42_10.2.44 and get the R7000 stable, stick with it for now. If not, as in this case, go back to firmware version 1.0.9.60_10.2.60 or consider getting another router. A new router seems inevitable.

R7000_QoS_WMM.jpg

After going back to firmware version 1.0.9.60_10.2.60, following problems from reverting to firmware version 1.0.9.42_10.2.44, I did experience issues with the Wi-Fi network sporadically cutting out and/or devices losing Wi-Fi connectivity; however, I did not immediately experience further sporadic reboots of the R7000 router. I decided to check the QoS settings and disable all QoS and WMM features. In the “Advanced” tab, I went to “Setup” then “QoS Setup.” In “QoS Setup,” I first checked the “QoS” tab where “Enable QoS” was already disabled so I left it as such. I then checked the “WMM” tab and went ahead and disabled both the “Enable WMM (Wi-Fi multimedia) settings (2.4GHz b/g/n)” and “Enable WMM (Wi-Fi multimedia) settings (5GHz a/n).” After applying the changes, I did not see any improvement to the situation.

R7000_Router_Update.jpg

I then decided to reload firmware version 1.0.9.60_10.2.60 again; however, this time, I decided to download the firmware directly from the Netgear support website and manually perform the installation. Previously, I upgraded through the R7000 dashboard. I’ve upgraded many routers over the years by using both the router upgrade feature built into router dashboards and by manually downloading and installing firmware onto routers. While I’ve run into issues occasionally, for the most part, both methods have generally worked fine. In this situation, I felt a manual firmware upgrade was worth a shot. I proceeded with the manual reload of firmware version 1.0.9.60_10.2.60.

The result . . . I’ve been running the Netgear R7000 with the reloaded firmware version 1.0.9.60_10.2.60 for over a month now and I haven’t noticed any further widespread issues. I did recently have one user report connectivity issues with the 5G network, but no other users have reported or experienced the same so I’m still trying to ascertain if this is an isolated issue with this user’s devices.

Since the firmware reload, I’ve kept the QoS settings disabled and I’ve put as much load, if not more, onto the router to test and see if I could replicate the previous issues. Outside of that one user’s experience, the router appears to be stabilized for now. There’s no guarantee that it will work for you but feel free to give it a try.

In a worst-case scenario, if this doesn’t work and Netgear does not release a timely, stable firmware version to resolve these issues, the next step will be to replace the router. I’ve been looking into several options, both Netgear-branded and non-Netgear branded which I’ll include below. There are also a couple of older Netgear models that I’ve used which are still in the market and are stable running the latest Netgear firmware for those respective models. I’ll also include them below.

You may wonder why I’m keeping Netgear on the short list and it’s because I’ve used Netgear for many years and generally, they have been reliable. I’ve also used Linksys both before and after they were acquired by Cisco. Likewise, I’ve used Belkin which acquired Linksys. If you plan on making a change, do your research and go with a brand and product that you feel most comfortable with.

LATEST UPDATE: After over a month of stability, both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless connections began to consistently drop. The wired connection was unaffected and there were no spontaneous reboots during this period. Rebooting the router did not help the situation. In fact, the wireless connections began dropping more frequently after the reboot. While the 2.4GHz would eventually recover, the 5GHz remained offline until the connection was reset. With no new firmware updates from Netgear, it looks like it’s time to get a new router. In the interim, I have factory reset the R7000 and reconfigured the router to see if this will help in the short-term until a new router is in place.

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.

Stable Netgear Routers I’ve Used

Netgear R8000 AC3200 Nighthawk AC3200 Tri-Band WiFi Router – https://amzn.to/2W6zSWv

Netgear R8300 AC5000 Nighthawk X8 Smart WiFi Router – https://amzn.to/2AXDDEC

Alternative Routers I’m Considering

Synology RT2600 AC – https://amzn.to/2W0ZDHP  

Netgear XR700 AD7200 Nighthawk Pro Gaming WiFi Router – https://amzn.to/2MnzePK

Netgear RAX80 AX6000 Nighthawk AX8 8-Stream WiFi Router – https://amzn.to/2RTqlms

AmpliFi Mesh Wi-Fi System - https://amzn.to/2SaYpup

RELATED POSTS:

Here We Go Again! Netgear FW v.1.0.9.60_10.2.60 Fixes Some Bugs; Creates New Issue on R7000

Netgear Releases FW 1.0.9.60_10.2.60 for R7000 Router; Fixes Bugs with FW v.1.0.9.58_10.2.58

Connectivity Issues After Upgrading Netgear R7000 To Firmware v.1.0.9.58_10.2.58