WWDC 2017 Keynote

Apple's World Wide Developer Conference is this week in San Jose, CA, and that means the WWDC Keynote address took place this morning! Tim Cook and many of his colleagues took the stage at 10:00a Pacific to kick off this year's developer conference.. Below is a list of Apple announcements and updates.

Posted on June 5, 2017 .

Help! Windows Server 2012 R2 is Stuck on "Updating Your System"

I know exactly what you're thinking... "Has Kevin gone mad? Why is he talking about Windows, and Windows Server at that?" Well, the truth is, I use and support Windows on a daily basis, even Windows Server. Today's post may not be for everyone, and that's completely ok. Truth be told, it's primarily for me. I love it when someone else gets something out of my posts, but in some cases, the only person that may get something out of a post is me. Documenting processes and resolutions is a key part of my business, and that can sometimes leak out to the public.

Today's post is in response to a problem I encountered last week. I had several Windows Server 2012 R2 servers to update. When I checked for updates, there were over 200 available updates, nearly all of which were "critical". They obviously needed to be applied, so I began the process. At 99% completion, I was told that one of the updates had failed (impossible to know which one), and all pending updates were going to be undone. After about an hour of "undoing changes", the servers restarted. That's when things went from bad to really bad. The following screen appeared, and stayed there, even after hours of waiting, with no progress being made:

Posted on April 10, 2017 and filed under How To.

Coverage: Apple Event - October 27, 2016

Apple held their October Special event today, October 27, 2016 at their Cupertino campus Town Hall. The event was widely rumored to unveil their latest line-up of MacBook Pro notebooks. Other announcements made today include an all-new app for Apple TV.

Introduction & Welcome

  • Tim Cook takes the stage
  • "Today, we are launching a new accessibility website"
  • A few updates
    • iPhone 7 launch and "people are loving it"
    • iOS 10 is out and "it's official... outstanding! 5/5". 60% of iPhone users are on iOS 10
    • iOS 10.1 is now available as a free update with portrait mode
    • ApplePay now available in Japan
    • Updated Apple Watch with watchOS 3 with positive reviews

Apple TV

  • "We want your Apple TV experience to be as great as it is with all your other Apple devices"
  • 8,000+ apps currently available for tvOS with more coming each day
  • Minecraft coming later this year to Apple TV
  • Ryan Troy (Twitter) takes the stage for a Twitter-on-Apple TV demo
  • Apple introduces new Unified TV Experience via a new app called "TV"
  • New TV app will completely change how we watch TV on our Apple TV and iOS devices
  • TV app syncs your watching across all tvOS and iOS devices
  • TV app will be available for free in December (starting in the US)

MacBook Pro

  • "The Mac is more than a product to us. It's a testament to everything that we do and are"
  • macOS Sierra brought to us iCloud Drive (with desktop and document syncing), universal clipboard, ApplePay via web browser, Siri and many more!
  • This week is the 25th anniversary of the first Apple notebook
  • "Today, we are redefining what a notebook could do"
  • Phil Schiller takes the stage
  • Available in a 13" and 15" size, in Silver and Space Gray colors
  • 13" is 14.9mm thin (17% thinner than previous generation 13" MacBook Pro)
  • 13" weighs 3 Lbs, .5 Lbs less than the previous generation
  • 15" is 15.5mm thin (15% thinner than previous generation 15" MacBook Pro)
  • 15" weighs 4 Lbs, .5 Lbs less than the previous generation
  • Both include a new ForceTouch trackpad which is 2x larger
  • New butterfly-switch keyboard
  • All-new multi-touch Retina display strip at top of keyboard called "Touch Bar"
  • Touch Bar adapts to the application that you currently have open
  • Touch Bar supports up to 10 simultaneous inputs
  • Touch ID sensor located to the right of Touch Bar, supported by a new T1 chip (secure enclave)
  • Craig Federighi takes the stage to demo new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
  • Customizing your Tuoch Bar is simple and intuitive
  • Touch ID makes Fast User Switching very quick and painless
  • New display: 67% brighter, 67% better contrast ratio... all while consuming less power
  • Every 15" MacBook Pro includes Intel Core i7 chip
  • Faster graphics with Radeon Pro with 4 GB VRAM (2.3x faster than previous generation)
  • Superfast SSD features 3.1 GB/s transfer speeds
  • All-new thermal architecture to support new hardware
  • New speakers are smaller, but feature louder volumes and twice the dynamic range
  • 13" MacBook Pro includes Intel Core i5 or i7 chip
  • Both models include 4 x Thunderbolt 3 ports (4 0Gb/s bandwidth)
  • Because Thunderbolt 3 uses the USB-C interface, any port could be the charging port, display port, etc
  • Apple + LG announce new LG UltraFine 5K display using Thunderbolt 3
  • Susan Prescott takes the stage to demo Final Cut Pro on the new MacBook Pro
  • Bradee Evans takes the stake to demo PhotoShop on the new MacBook Pro
  • Karim Morsy takes the stage to demo Djay Pro on the new MacBook Pro
  • New MacBook Pro features a 10-hour battery
  • New MacBook Pro is 6.8 million times faster than the 25-year-old original PowerBook 170
  • Base 13" MacBook Pro withOUT Touch Bar starts at $1,499
  • Base 13" MacBook Pro with Touch Bar starts at $1,799
  • Base 15" MacBook Pro with Touch Bar starts at $2,399
  • New MacBook Pro is available TODAY for order, ships in November
  • MacBook Air line is officially dead
  • Tim Cook returns to the stage to conclude the special event
Posted on October 27, 2016 .

Unlock Your Mac with Your Apple Watch

When Apple announced macOS Sierra and showed us all the new features that would be included, there was one feature that stood out immediately as one that I would use many times every single day... unlocking my Mac with my Apple Watch! To say that I love this feature is an understatement.

If you read my post on improving security (click here), then you know that longer passwords are better (i.e.: more secure) than shorter passwords. The expected side effect... it's less convenient and takes longer to log in to your Mac. This tip will save you a ton of time (not to mention digit fatigue)! In this post, I will explain how it works and walk you through the steps you'll need to go through to make it work for you.

Posted on October 3, 2016 and filed under How To, Mac, Watch.

10 Tips for Safer Online Computing

Technology is wonderfully amazing!! Sit back and think about it for just 10 seconds... can you imagine working, playing and relaxing without your laptop, iPhone, iPad, etc? When is the last time you checked your email, Instagrammed (that's a verb, right?) or surfed the web? You're reading this so I know the answer already. We're all connected all the time.

Being connected has it's obvious benefits, but it also introduces a significant amount of risk. Malware, spyware, viruses, hackers... these are all things that can ruin an otherwise great day. But they don't have to, if we're doing the right things! To help keep you safe, I created a list of 10 simple things that everyone can (and should) be doing. There is no rocket science involved here. Mostly common sense infused with many years of my own experiences.

Posted on September 30, 2016 and filed under How To, Opinion, Mac, iPhone, iPad.

Using Custom Notification for VIPs iOS

This post comes from a recent reader question: "When I receive an email from a specific person, I want to be notified in a way that it looks and sounds different than any other email. How do I do this?!"

With phone calls and text messages, we can edit a contact entry in iOS so that when that person calls or texts, the ringtone or sound differs from that of everyone else. This is a great feature because it allows you to determine who is texting or calling without looking at your phone. Wouldn't it be great if we could apply that same principal to incoming email? While we can't set a specific sound for each individual when we receive email from them, we can use a relatively new feature in iOS called VIP to distinguish VIPs from everyone else. As long as that VIP list is short, it will do exactly what you're looking for. Here's how it works.

Posted on September 29, 2016 and filed under iOS, How To, iPhone.

Coverage: Apple Event - September 7, 2016

Today is the day! Apple has scheduled to hold this year's Fall event today, September 07, 2016 at the famous Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, located in San Francisco, CA. The BGCA has been home to some of Apple's most significant product announcements including the iPhone 6s in 2015 and the Apple II in 1977. This event is expected to shed some light on some of their flagship products such as iPhone, MacBook, iOS, macOS and tvOS.

Posted on September 7, 2016 .

Markup Attachments Right On Your iPhone or iPad

One of the coolest, most powerful (and sadly the least used) new features in iOS 9 is the Markup tool in Mail. This feature allows you to quickly add signatures, lines, arrows, magnification circles and text boxes to any PDF or image file with the tap of a button. Once the changes are made, another tap allows you to easily send that file via the Mail app.

This is a great tool for signing contracts, marking up documents, annotating images and more. So why aren't more people using it? Quite frankly, because I think that most people don't know that it exists! So that's why I wrote this post. To educate and encourage you to use this tool. So let's dive in!

Posted on June 1, 2016 and filed under Design, How To, iOS, iPad, iPhone.

Change the Way People See You On FaceTime and Skype

FaceTime, GoToMeeting and Skype are great tools that help us to stay in touch with those that we care about... family, friends, colleagues, etc. The fact that we can, with the click of a button, instantly see someone else regardless of their location is a modern miracle!

With that in mind, today's post will focus (no pun intended, sort of) on the camera element of these calls. Most laptops today come with a built-in HD webcam above the display of your laptop. If not, or if you use a desktop as your primary system, there are plenty of options to add an after-market HD webcam (I prefer the Logitech HD Pro C920 camera). Even with the best cameras on the market, there may be a need to make adjustments to that camera that the built-in software can't offer.

Posted on May 31, 2016 and filed under Design, How To, Mac.

Managing Dropbox Upload and Download Speeds

Today's post comes from a Dropbox user: "I've been using Dropbox for a long time and only lately noticed that it takes forEVER to upload files to Dropbox (it seems fine when downloading). Is there something I can do to speed this up??"

The short answer is yes... most likely (how's that for non-committal!). Dropbox syncing will only happen as fast as your Internet connection will allow, and keep in mind that your download speeds are usually much faster than your upload speeds (this is typical, especially for home Internet). Having said that, there is a simple change that you can make to your Dropbox settings that will give you full access to the speeds you have.

Posted on May 26, 2016 and filed under How To, Opinion, Mac.

Creating Complex but Easy to Remember Passwords

Everyone knows that in today's tech-heavy world, it's crucial that we use good, strong, hard-to-guess passwords to prevent others from accessing our personal and/or sensitive data (bank accounts, medical records, email, etc). Unfortunately, that often means using passwords that are nearly impossible to remember. As a result, we negate the entire effort by writing our password on a sticky note, and posting it on our screen.

Raise your proverbial hand if this is you.

Fortunately, I have some tips on how to create a strong password, and at the same time, make them easy to remember.

Posted on May 20, 2016 and filed under How To, Opinion.

Fastest Way to Batch Rename Files in OS X

Prior to the release of OS X Yosemite (10.10), the process of batch renaming files on a Mac required 3rd-party software. Some apps were better than others, and usually the good ones cost a few bucks (or more) to get the job done.

Apple included the option to batch rename files in Yosemite, and of course, this is still a feature in El Capitan (10.11). While it may not be obvious (at first) just how to do this, it's super-easy once you know how.

Posted on May 19, 2016 and filed under How To, Mac.