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September 26Monday's News


Cry For Me Apple TV

Cry For Me Apple TV

Chuck Melcher an unhappy MacGuru needs your help:

I'm wondering if anyone else is as disappointed with Apple TV as I am.

I recently "upgraded" from a first generation Apple TV to the current one, under the assumption that it would have some additional (and useful) capability and hopefully wouldn't crash as often.

After buying the product and connecting it to my tv, I was surprised to find that it took me a solid two hours to set it up. Despite carefully following the instructions, it was unable to automatically find my network or communicate with my iPhone to get my account information.

Once it was finally connected (manually entering all information from the remote), it needed a software update. Great.

Then I discover that I need to download an app for every single channel that I want to access. How is this an improvement over the older Apple TV that required no apps at all?

After downloading each app (ESPN, Weather Channel, etc.), I had to repeatedly log into the Comcast/Xfinity website (username and password over and over) and enter the code from my tv screen in order to activate each app.

So downloading and activating each app required at least 5-10 minutes. Further I discovered that most of the apps are not even supported by Comcast and therefore don't work. Fortunately, ESPN works fine, but was it worth $129.99 + tax? Not really. For comparison, the xfinity app (iPhone and Mac) doesn't require Apple TV, has MUCH more functionality, works everywhere, and doesn't cost anything.

Please tell what I am missing here. What are people using Apple TV for that can't be done easier and cheaper in other ways?

And MacGuru Mike Stanley replies:

Yep, you pretty much described the current Apple TV experience, albeit from an understandably frustrated experiences.

It's possible that the experience may have been slightly improved if you were to buy a few months from now, assuming the upcoming update to tvOS that allows for cable company Single Sign-On works.

Having said that, I've owned every generation of Apple TV in its current puck style (I think of the Mac mini-esque version as the 1st generation and I did not own that one) and I'm pretty satisfied with this one. I prefer the more open app model to the closed channel model that the 2nd and 3rd gen Apple TV's had, at least in part because it allows for real apps, and thus games.

I own two 4th gen Apple TV's and use them as our primary way of "watching TV" -- but we also don't subscribe to cable or satellite TV, having cut the cord more than 5 years ago. So for us watching TV means Netflix, iTunes Movies & TV Shows, YouTube, Plex (or Infuse). So the frustration you feel at trying to tie the content provider apps on the Apple TV to your cable subscription doesn't factor into my experience. I will say I've considered turning on the very lowest level of cable to get the Disney family of TV apps to work, but they don't seem to work with AT&T U-verse either.

I also have two Roku 3 boxes that still work fine on other TV's, as well as an Amazon FireTV stick, a Tivo Roamio OTA, an Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Wii U hooked up in either our bedroom or movie room with a projector. For everything except Amazon streaming, I use the Apple TV. For Amazon, I use either the Tivo Roamio or Xbox One.

In my opinion the Apple TV UI and experience for the things *I* use it for blows the rest out of the water.

The setup experience was terrible on my first unit, a developer unit I received before retail launch. The second was much simpler, due mostly to the iPhone link that you describe as not working for you. That allows me to skip the crazy remote-driven process I experienced the first time and you experienced this time.

Apple's iPhone 7 camera delivers nice slice of enhancements, but iPhone 7 Plus takes the cake

Apple's iPhone 7 camera delivers nice slice of enhancements, but iPhone 7 Plus takes the cake

Article Image Apple's latest iPhone 7 and 7 Plus make significant strides in improving the quality and versatility of photos you can take, as well as in reproducing them in Wide Color. You can capture more detailed and nuanced pics in low light, you can confidently pull out your phone in wet environments, hand jitter is cinematically smoothed away and the new dual camera system on iPhone 7 Plus opens up entirely new ways to shoot. -- AppleInsider.

Inside iOS 10: Apple Maps adds power, simplicity to iPhone navigation

Inside iOS 10: Apple Maps adds power, simplicity to iPhone navigation

Article Image Apple introduced a new look in Maps with iOS 10, but more importantly implemented key search and discovery features, as well as backend tools for app extensibility that make navigating everyday life a little more convenient. -- AppleInsider.

Apple releases iOS 10.0.2 update fixing Lightning EarPods bug, Photos crashes, app extension issues

Apple releases iOS 10.0.2 update fixing Lightning EarPods bug, Photos crashes, app extension issues

Article Image Apple on Friday pushed out a minor update for its newly released iOS 10 platform, squashing a handful of bugs for iPhone and iPad users, most notably one related to controls on Lightning-connected headphones. -- AppleInsider.


Troubleshooting macOS Sierra: FileMaker, Logitech and Razer devices, 4k display issues

Troubleshooting macOS Sierra: FileMaker, Logitech and Razer devices, 4k display issues

Article Image Sierra is still proving to be one of the less problematic Mac software upgrade in a long time, but as expected, there are some minor issues here and there, including FileMaker incompatibility problems, tracking issues with some Logitech mice, and problems with missing options on some third party 4k displays. -- AppleInsider.

Forensics firm says backups easier to crack in iOS 10, Apple promises fix

Forensics firm says backups easier to crack in iOS 10, Apple promises fix

Article Image Apple appears to have unintentionally weakened the security of local backups in iOS 10, as a result of offering an "alternative password verification mechanism," according to a Russian forensics company. -- Appleinsider.


Apple 'Pressing Ahead' Into Prototype Testing for Echo-Like Smart Home Device Powered by Siri

Apple 'Pressing Ahead' Into Prototype Testing for Echo-Like Smart Home Device Powered by Siri

Apple is said to be "stepping up plans" for its connected smart home device powered by Siri, which would rival the technology that Amazon has made popular in its Alexa-enabled Echo speaker system. After two years of research and development, the Apple device is said to be in prototype testing, but because Apple hasn't officially finalized any plans it "could still scrap the project." -- Bloomberg.

Apple Watch Series 2: A Swimmer's Perspective

Apple Watch Series 2: A Swimmer's Perspective

As a lifelong swimmer, I found the addition of 50-meter water resistance and swim workout tracking in the Apple Watch Series 2 to be a welcome improvement that made the new watch a must-have upgrade for me. While the original Apple Watch was not rated for swimming, many users had no issues regularly using it in the water, although its lack of built-in swim tracking features limited its usefulness. -- MacRumors.

People Are Drilling Holes Into Their iPhone 7 To 'Make a Headphone Jack'

People Are Drilling Holes Into Their iPhone 7 To 'Make a Headphone Jack'

TechRax -- a popular YouTuber who destroys technology for fame and riches -- has uploaded a video where he drills a hole into an iPhone 7, claiming it to be a "secret hack" to reinstall a headphone jack in the device. The only problem is that he didn't tell people it was a joke, and of course, some people fell for it. -- Crave Online.

Apple Hates Music Lovers Who Want to Own Their Music

Apple Hates Music Lovers Who Want to Own Their Music

John Kheit is in a frothing-at-the-mouth rage about iTunes in iOS and macOS Sierra. From missing ratings to iCloud downloads for songs that should be local, he's fighting mad.

So Apple upgraded the Music App in iOS 10. It still sucks. And a lot. Apparently Apple feels that changing the font size to be bigger qualifies as UI redesign. Another 'upgrade' is that Apple removed the star ratings on your music. You know, the ratings that you've spent years and years adding. Just gone. You can still ask Siri to set a rating by saying "Siri rate this song three stars." But you can no longer see them. -- The Mac Observer.

iOS 10: How to Optimize Downloaded Music Storage

iOS 10: How to Optimize Downloaded Music Storage

One of the many new features in iOS 10 is the ability to "Optimize Storage" of the locally-cached data from your iCloud Music Library. When turned on by the user, this feature instructs your iPhone or iPad to remove local copies of your music if your device gets low on storage space. Don't worry, only the local copies of those songs are removed. They still remain in the cloud. -- The Mac Observer.

iOS 10: How to Disable (Some) Haptic Feedback on iPhone 7

iOS 10: How to Disable (Some) Haptic Feedback on iPhone 7

iPhone 7 includes more haptic feedback than previous iPhones, including vibrations for buttons and wheels. You can turn some of these vibrations off. Bryan Chaffin shows you how. -- The Mac Observer.

Can't Remotely Control Your HomeKit Devices? Enable iCloud Two-Factor Authentication

Can't Remotely Control Your HomeKit Devices? Enable iCloud Two-Factor Authentication

If you upgraded to iOS 10 on your iPhone or iPad, and tvOS 10 on your fourth generation Apple TV and now can't remotely access your HomeKit devices, there's probably an easy fix for that. Odds are you haven't enabled iCloud Two-Factor authentication, which HomeKit in iOS 10 and tvOS 10 requires. Read on to learn how to get set up. -- The Mac Observer.

iOS 10: How to use the new Home app to control HomeKit devices [Video]

iOS 10: How to use the new Home app to control HomeKit devices [Video]

Controlling smart home devices with your iPhone or iPad is far from a new concept, but in iOS 10, Apple is lending much more focus to home automation. It's all thanks to the new built-in Home app that ships with iOS 10 and watchOS 3. -- 9to5Mac.


macOS Sierra accidentally kills app piracy

macOS Sierra accidentally kills app piracy

The recent macOS Sierra update breaks many cracks and serial number generators (known as keygens) used in the piracy community to overcome software protection.

The cracks and keygens crash instantly upon running, with the crash log. -- Mac Kung Fu.

Beware Desktop and Documents Folder Syncing on MacOS Sierra

Beware Desktop and Documents Folder Syncing on MacOS Sierra

Josh Marshall had a really bad experience with the new Desktop and Documents folder iCloud syncing feature in Sierra:

So today at work I had Sierra start syncing my work Desktop and Documents folders. Later I checked in iCloud and there it all was. Awesome.

What I didn't see were my Desktop files from my home computer. That was odd because I'd upgraded to Sierra at home the night before. So why hadn't it worked from home? -- Daring Fireball.

eXtensions: System Preferences in macOS Sierra: Accessibility

eXtensions: System Preferences in macOS Sierra: Accessibility

There have been a number of changes to System Preferences in macOS, Sierra (10.12). Accessibility provides settings aimed at assisting the disabled including Switch Control for use of assistive devices. With the latest version of the renamed MacOS, there are several changes with the addition of a General setting for quick access and the new Dwell Control section for head- and eye-tracking with suitable devices.

  1. System Preferences in macOS Sierra: Accessibility (1) -General and Vision
  2. System Preferences in macOS 10.12, Sierra: Accessibility (2) -Media, Hearing and Interacting
  3. System Preferences in macOS 10.12, Sierra: Accessibility (3) Interacting -Switch Control and Dwell Control

Sierra Notes

Sierra Notes

There wasn't much of a murmur from the online community on 20 September 2016 when macOS 10.12 Sierra shipped. Most webspace real estate covered the basic half dozen or so features that everyone's been expecting. But there were a few exceptions. -- Rixstep: Sierra Notes 25/9.

Really random stuff. -- Rixstep: Sierra Notes 24/9.

Massively speed up Time Machine backups

Massively speed up Time Machine backups

Time Machine and its network-equipped brother, Time Capsule, are superb innovations. They make backup seamless, invisible and easy. They're also slow. Really slow. I've had to wait before I put my MacBook Pro to sleep sometimes while a backup finishes and, of course, the initial backup can literally take days.

Here's how to fix that. -- Mac Kung Fu.

How to use Bluetooth headphones with the Apple TV

How to use Bluetooth headphones with the Apple TV

How do you use Bluetooth headphones with your Apple TV? Set your device to pair, make the connection, and you're ready to roll!

Whether you're a night owl hoping to find domestic bliss (because "Die Hard with a Vengeance" keeps disturbing your sleeping partner) or you just need some one-on-one time with your favorite new game, using Bluetooth headphones with Apple TV can be a great way to focus on your entertainment and drown out your environment. The pairing process is fairly simple; here's how it's done! -- iMore.

It's getting harder to use the iPhone without using TouchID

It's getting harder to use the iPhone without using TouchID

Ever since I upgraded to iOS 10, it's become a lot harder to unlock my phone. Before the upgrade, it was a simple swipe and passcode -- a gesture I've done so many times that it's burned into my muscle memory -- but iOS 10 retakes that space for a new info panel. Now, I need to hit the home button and wait for a good half-second while my phone figures out i'm not submitting a fingerprint or calling up Siri. Then the keypad appears and I can tap in the code as usual. A half second isn't that much in the grand scheme of things and some of it is the simple shock of the new, but it's hard to escape the sluggish feeling. Even once I'm used to the new unlocking dance, it will still be slower. -- The Verge.

The best smartphone is the one you already own

The best smartphone is the one you already own

A brand new smartphone is anything but a status symbol. It simply means you've been fooled into valuing a shiny new object over its impact on labor, the environment, or even your own time. And it's not entirely your own fault. -- Digital Trends.

macOS 10.12: The Return of the OS

The cave. Remember your failure at the cave.

The saga continues.

It was impossible to restore my Mac from Timemachine. I wont bore you with the details except I wasted a lot of time trying.

My only option was to install 10.12 (weather I wanted to or not) and retive everything I could from Timemachine. And for that task it is invaluable. At least the clean install worked and I could boot and use my Mac. I can only assume that I had set up my Mac in a way that the 10.12 installer could not cope. BOO! HISS!

The hard part is finding out were everything is stored. Not so much applications but all the preferences, licenses, etc. None are ever in the same place or at the same level or have a descriptive name.

I am close but I am not finished. The search goes on.

And yes, I still think that 10.12 is flaky. i.e., it takes a long time to login from the screen saver and scrolling continues even after I quit moving my finger over my mouse.

Caveat Emptor! Your milage may vary.