eXtensions - Thursday 22 September 2016
Cassandra: Sierra Stories; and Mac on McLaren
By Graham K. Rogers
Later in the day, I updated two more Macs: the Mac mini I keep in my office and my 13" MacBook Pro. I downloaded the files at work and both restarts gave me some problems, although I think this stemmed from the connection to the router and university system I was using.
The Mac mini was first and I was asked to enter the password for the iCloud account, but this was not recognised. As there was no way to even see which network I was linked to, I carried on by pressing the "Later" option. Initially I was unable to enter the password even in the System Preferences panel that opened, but once the specific network appeared (this Netgear router is always last to appear), I was more successful although did need to logout of iCloud and log back in again.
Although I had the Gold Master on the MacBook Pro, I had earlier tried to make the Apple Watch available to unlock the Mac: this was touted by Apple as a major feature. Two-factor authentication is off and that needs to be on which can be done in the panel accessed from the Account button in iCloud preferences. In the security pane there is a button marked Set Up Two-Factor Authentication.
When I pressed the button in my office, a panel appeared to tell me that "Two-Factor authentication is not available for your Apple ID at this time", although there was no reason why. I looked at a list of the devices I have and each had the same information: This device cannot be used to receive Apple ID verification codes."
A look online shows that some in the USA have this up and running right away, so I wonder if this is like several of the wonderful features touted for Apple products and operating systems that are just not available to us poor saps outside certain favoured countries, despite paying the same price (or higher) for our devices: effectively subsidising consumers in the EU, USA and other First World countries.
Some users in the USA have this up and running. Christian Zibreg on iDownload Blog explains how this is done, so I guess he was luckier than me. However, when I looked through process he had, and checked my own settings, I found the probable reason as to why I could not set up 2-Factor Authorization. I changed some settings for my AppleID and could have this working tomorrow.
A local user was surprised and disappointed to find that his Notifications panel on the Mac was now no longer a dark screen: a middling grey is all that is available and no change is possible. It is not something I use much on the Mac although I do access Notifications on iOS devices. I suggested he should leave a comment on Apple feedback, which was duly done.
I think both of these - especially Jason Snell - have unusual requirements for file handling, but the comments are worth taking on board. Snell and Engst both examine the Recommendations panel and how that could help trim down space even more. I tried this, but the Optimize Storage option did nothing as I guess I have too few movies.
Note also that the panel Jason Snell shows is not the same as the one below. Everyone's setup is different and I already have some files taking advantage of the cloud. I am reluctant to have the trash empty automatically and tend to monitor that closely, although could do better with deleted photographs.
Also weighing in on the new feature is Ben Lovejoy on 9to5Mac who suggests there is still a way for Apple to go and he regards this as a bit of a mess as yet.
Local users who have communicated with me are all a bit non-commital about the iCloud options, although one in Phuket who regards this as the best update he has seen in a long time, is planning to move his iTunes music collection to an external disk, freeing up much space that way. His photos are already on external media.
Comments on synchronisation of Contacts were not good from another user who complained that just checking the numbers of names in the listing gave different figures: in other words they cannot be in sync. I had a look on the iPhone and iPad Pro which were identical; but the Mac mini had several more entries. When I arrived home and had a look again the MacBook Pro and iPhone were in sync, but both also had one entry duplicated 99 times. I deleted the extras. Now they are OK. This is not recent either, as there had been some similar problems for iOS 9 users.
As a neat introduction for some users, Lory Gil on iMore has an explanation of her 10 tiny features of Sierra that she loves, starting with Tabs and ending with watching video links in Messages.
Music copyright was in the control of the labels, but the apps were under the control of Apple. Why not have a second tier: take the details, credit card information and all the rest; and open that part up in more countries. "Very interesting" was an Apple director's response. . . 6 months later, the iTunes App Store arrived: more a case, I think of great minds thinking alike.
In some high spirits late one evening there, one of the group put the case for Apple sponsoring a particular Formula One team: the idea of Mac on Mac (actually Mc) seemed like a good idea at the time, but our Apple friends were quite dismissive. So today, when the rumour mill went into top gear with the idea that Apple might invest in McLaren I sat up. I do not think any financial partnership or merger is on the cards, but it makes an interesting thread.
I have seen a McLaren sports car in Siam Paragon. The cost over $250,000 and this is not Apple country, although where a technical partnership might benefit either is difficult to tell the way both players keep their cards close to their chests.
Several analysts had their say and Scott Tzu on Seeking Alpha actually thinks it is a good fit. I would love this to happen although I worry about what would happen with the Formula One side of the show. One of the top-rated companies for technological innovation, he thinks it would benefit Apple, but it all seems a little late if Project Titan is already under developments.
Several other sites, such as Cult of Mac poured cold water on the idea, with Buster Hein telling us that McLaren themselves have denied the claim that "Apple is engaged in acquisition talks with the company." The source for this was the Financial Times and they are sticking to their guns. Keep your eyes peeled for Tim Cook, Eddy Cue or Jony Ive in Sepang this weekend.
Apple Watch - Image Courtesy of Apple
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)
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