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macOS Big Sur for Users, Administrators, and Developers covers the new features with the latest release. macOS Big Sur brings a slew of new features like new icons, a refined design with updated toolbars, menu, and alerts. The new design is accompanied by Messages and Maps now having feature parity with their iOS versions, which means new features coming to the Mac that were not present before. One of the most used apps on the Mac is Safari, and there is a whole new privacy section to help you see which websites are tracking you and which trackers they are using. Reminders and Notes have seen a couple of updates like assigning reminders and easier access to text styles in notes. The biggest change for the Mac this year is that it is moving to Apple Silicon and a significant portion of the book is dedicated to that, including a history of the Mac.

For administrators we dive into managing Macs running Apple Silicon, scripting language updates, some changes to how updates are handled, and the updates to Profile Manager.

Developers can learn about how Apple Silicon will affect their applications, the changes to Xcode, enhancements to the Swift programming language and SwiftUI. Also discussed are some new Swift Packages, how to implement Widgets using WidgetKit, SF Symbols 2, and Safari extensions.

macOS Big Sur for Users, Administrators, and Developers has something for everyone.

Reviews

  • iPhone 6 Plus Review

    I have been using the iPhone 6 Plus for just about 10 days now. If you want to read about why I purchased the iPhone 6 Plus, you can do so here. Instead I will give my opinions, thus far, on the iPhone 6 Plus.

    Screen

    Overall, I like the iPhone 6 Plus. The larger screen makes it much easier to do some things. When I initially opened the box, it seemed like the choice for a 5.5-inch screen might have been the wrong one because the screen may be too large. However, as time progressed, and it was not a very long time, I became quite accustom to the size and have actually grown to enjoy the additional screen real estate. The screen resolution on the iPhone 6 Plus is 1920 x 1080, which is full HD screen resolutions. This will make viewing videos much more pleasant on the larger screen. The screen is much clearer and much more crisp. The screen size has not been the only thing to change. The screen itself has changed as well. The new screen, dubbed Retina HD, does indeed have better viewing angles. Along with the viewing angles, the ability for the iPhone 6 Plus to focus is insanely fast. During my testing there were no instances where I needed to manually focus the camera, it was all just automatically done without any work.

    Leaf Close up

    Leaf HDR

    Viewing Modes

    With a larger screen there are actually two modes to choose from. The first is “Standard” view. This view is the typical view that has traditionally been on the iPhone. The second view is “Zoomed” view. The Zoomed view does a couple of things. The first is that the icons are slightly larger. The second is that the text is also bigger. To allow for the application names to fit under the icon, the spacing between the icons is also reduced. As the name implies, the overall view is Zoomed. The Zoomed view is ideal for those who need the larger screen just to be able to see. You can easily switch between the two modes, by going to Settings -> Display & Brightness -> Display Zoom. You can preview how each one will look.

    iOS 8 Standard Zoom

    iOS 8 Zoomed View

    Battery Life

    I am a heavy iPhone user. I am constantly listening to music, podcasts, surfing the web, and refreshing Tweetbot. Battery life on the iPhone 6 Plus has been very good. Despite all of my efforts I have not been able to get it to go below 15% after an entire day of usage. Yes, it is a brand new iPhone so this is the peak of its battery life, but as far as I have been able to ascertain, this is the best battery life of any iOS devices that I have used.

    Design

    Having every model of iPhone since the original in 2007 has made it easier to be able to compare each model of the phone. The design of the iPhone 6 Plus is very reminiscent of the original iPhone. On the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus the glass is rounded and fits so perfectly into the case that one might believe that the two pieces are in fact one. The smoothness of the screen allows users to easily swipe from either side. The glass is not the only aspect that is smooth. The case is very smooth as well. The case is machined to such tolerances that the phone can be a bit too slippery. This means that users will, and honestly, should get a case. Yes, a case will detract from the overall beauty that Apple has set out. Even so, would you rather have to pay for a replacement screen when it breaks, or would you prefer to get a case and be saved the expense. I always opt for using a case.

    Pocketability

    One of the things to keep in mind with a large screen is where to put the phone. For many females, this will not be an issue because they have a purse or bag with them, and they can store the phone in that. One of the things that I thought about while using the phone was how am I going to carry the phone around. Thankfully, the pockets on my work pants are ample enough to allow me to easily fit the phone in my pocket. As I write this, it is on the cusp of Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. As the temperature cools, I will be wearing a hoodie, and my current hoodie has plenty of pocket space, so that will not be an issue. Yes, Winter is Coming, so there should not be an issue because the hoodie will still be in full use. There is one situation where it may become an issue. There are times that the temperature is at the point where it’s too cool for shorts, but too warm to wear a hoodie. Those are the times that might become problematic. My jeans can fit the phone. It is not ideal, but it does work. With a case, it can be a bit more cumbersome to remove the phone from my pocket, but it is doable. If you have small pockets, the iPhone 6 Plus will be a problem. If you have larger pockets, or equip yourself with some Internet Tactical Pants, you should not have any issues.

    Sleep/Wake Button

    One of the things that has remained consistent, until now, with the iPhone line has been that the sleep/wake button has always been on the top. With the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the sleep/wake button is now on the side. This was done for obvious reasons. The larger screen means that users are not likely to be able to reach the top of the iPhone 6 Plus without using two hands. There are time that you need to quickly check something, like the time, and the easiest way to handle this is to push the sleep/wake button. On the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple has chosen to move the sleep/wake button to the right side to make it easier to reach. A possible secondary reason to do this is to keep a bit more symmetry between the left and right sides. It could be conceivable that in a future version of the iPhone, that the mute/rotation lock switch is moved to the right side and then the device would become almost 100% symmetrical. In combination with such a large screen the ability to reach items that are at the to the top of the screen can, for some, become nearly impossible to do with one hand. To compensate for this probability, Apple has introduced a new feature called Reachability.

    iPhone6Plus.Sleep.Wake

    Reachability

    There are two aspects to “reachability”. The first the hardware aspect, which was mentioned above. The second is the software feature called “Reachability”. Reachability is enabled by simply tapping, not pressing, the Touch ID sensor twice. This will bring the view halfway down the screen and allow the user to easily tap elements that are at the top of the screen. This feature only works when the iPhone 6 Plus is in portrait orientation. Reachability does not work while the phone is in landscape orientation and one should not expect this to be the case.

    Keyboard

    I’my typing this section of this review on my iPhone 6 Plus in landscape mode. Why you may ask? Well the answer is quite simple really, the iPhone 6 Plus has a larger screen and while Apple could have chosen to just make the key’s on the keyboard wider, they chose instead to add some additional keys to the keyboard. On the left side there are some quick buttons. These include cut, and paste. Along with this you have bold, undo, dictation and a sixth button that I’m not entirely sure of its purpose. Similarly, on the right side you have a set of left and right arrow keys, an exclamation point, a question mark, a period and a comma button. Some of these buttons will be very useful to those who type in landscape orientation often, however for the rest of us these buttons are not useful. It would be a better option if users could choose which buttons are showing on the left and right sides. Even if the options were a group set by Apple it could prove to be handy and beneficial to users in the long run.

    iOS 8 iPhone 6 Plus Keyboard Landscape

    Downsides

    Even with everything that is positive with the iPhone 6 Plus, there are a couple of downsides that you should be made aware of.

    Software Optimization

    The first downside is not the fault of Apple, per se, but it is a side effect. Some applications are not optimized for iOS 8. A good example is Tweetbot, my preferred Twitter client. On the iPhone 6 Plus, the font is entirely too large. This is because of the way that Apple is handling older applications. When the iPad was released, it could support iPhone applications. At the time though, applications that were designed for the iPhone could be scaled at 2x the size and they would function as expected. This is also the case with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. However, on the iPhone 6 Plus, it is 3x and not 2x. This even larger scaling factor makes the applications look too large.

    iOS 8

    The second downside is that iOS 8 is still quite buggy. While Apple has issued two updates, there are still some rather strange aspects. One of the bugs is that when playing music, and the phone goes into sleep mode, there are times that the status bar will appear on the left side while the currently playing music will appear properly. It will look like this:

    iOS 8 Bug with Music

    This is not the only bug. Not by a long shot. Some users are reporting that when they finish a phone call, the last audio item begins to play even if there was nothing playing prior to the phone call.

    It may just be that I’ve been using the iOS 8 betas on an iPhone 5s since June 2nd that I have become accustom to the bugs, but none are as devastating as what happens with Apple’s release of iOS 8.0.1.

    Needing a Case

    Despite every attempt by Apple to the contrary, I think the iPhone 6 Plus needs a case. The phone, while absolutely gorgeous, is entirely too slippery. The first night I had the phone it managed to slip from my hands. Luckily it landed on carpeting, but I have had more than one iPod suffer an untimely demise because it fell and hit on just the right spot. As mentioned above, when I have a choice I do not fool around and I get a case. For my iPhone 5s, my case was a knockoff Mophie Juice Pack Air (that’s a whole other story).

    Final Thoughts

    Overall, the iPhone 6 Plus is a good phone. While it may be a bit larger than first anticipated but the size will grow on you as time progresses. The design of the iPhone 6 Plus is very similar to that of the original iPhone, albeit a bit more slippery than the original iPhone. The larger screen on the iPhone 6 Plus warrants purchasing Apple Care. Yes, it is an extra charge, but with a larger screen it is possible that the screen will break at some point. It is definitely not a necessity, but since I give my phones to somebody every year, it makes sense that I have Apple Care. The iPhone 6 Plus is a good phone. If you like Apple products and possibly want the ability to do a bit more with the keyboard in landscape, then this might just be the phone for you. If you know that you do not want a phone with such a large screen. The best thing to do is to go into a store and physically look and touch the iPhone 6 Plus to determine just how large the screen actually is and, more importantly, whether or not you are able to have a comfortable enough grip to use the phone over an extended period of time.

  • OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Review for Kindle

    OS.X.10.8.Mountain.Lion.Review.Cover

    I have spent the four months or so writing a review of the upcoming OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Client and Server Review. The review encompasses a massive amount of information surrounding OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. This includes new features, such as Notification Center, GateKeeper, Voice Dictation, and Game Center as well as refined features like iCloud and Mail.app.

    Also included in this review is a section for developers that covers topics like ARC, Single Sign-on, and Developer ID. The other big section is for the Server application. The Server section includes, DNS, File sharing, Wiki, Profile Manager, and many other sections.

    You can buy it now for your Kindle or Kindle Apps at Amazon. You can also Pre-order the iBooks version from iTunes.

  • Pre-Order My OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Review (Updated)

    OS.X.10.8.Mountain.Lion.Review.Cover

    I have spent the four months or so writing a review of the upcoming OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Client and Server Review. The review encompasses a massive amount of information surrounding OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. This includes new features, such as Notification Center, GateKeeper, Voice Dictation, and Game Center as well as refined features like iCloud and Mail.app.

    Also included in this review is a section for developers that covers topics like ARC, Single Sign-on, and Developer ID. The other big section is for the Server application. The Server section includes, DNS, File sharing, Wiki, Profile Manager, and many other sections.

    The Review will be available in the iBooks Store on July 25th, 2012. You can pre-order it now for $2.99 (Or equivalent in your iBooks Store).

    Both Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Versions are coming soon. I will post when those are available.
    You can also Buy the Kindle version at Amazon. Once the Barnes and Noble version is available, I will post about that.

    Here is the list of Countries that the iBooks version is available in:

    Australia
    Austria
    Belgium
    Bulgaria
    Canada
    Cyprus
    Czech Republic
    Denmark
    Estonia
    Finland
    France
    Germany
    Greece
    Hungary
    Ireland
    Italy
    Latvia
    Lithuania
    Luxembourg
    Malta
    Netherlands
    Norway
    Poland
    Portugal
    Romania
    Slovakia
    Slovenia
    Spain
    Sweden
    Switzerland
    United Kingdom
    United States

  • iPhone 3GS review

    I’ve only had my new iPhone 3GS for a few hours yet I have found the biggest improvement; the new Camera. Below is a comparison of both the iPhone 3G and the iPhone 3GS cameras.

    IMG_2152

    IMG_0012

    Both pictures were taken from the same distance from the keyboard. I used both of my ultra-compact iPhone power adapters along with my old iPod Mini as a stand. The second one is so much clearer because of the auto-focus and higher pixel camera. The auto-focus is such a nice feature. I still need to try the video though.

  • Kindle 2 Review

    Amazon released the Kindle on February 24th, of which I received yesterday, the 24th. Not having the first Kindle I thought I’d go ahead and buy the second one to see what changes Amazon had made from the first version.

    The Kindle 2 is an interesting device. The Kindle 2 is an e-book reader that is based on E-ink technology. The Kindle sports 16 shades of gray which provides some very crisp pictures and some very crisp text. The screen on the Kindle is a 600 by 800 pixel. Which, for those who might remember, used to be a standard screen resolution for many years, and is still used by some people. Its 167 pixels per inch, which is quite a bit.

    The processor within the Kindle is a 532MHz ARM processor, which is faster than the iPhone 3G’s processor, which clocks in at 412MHz. Which is plenty fast for turning pages when reading or doing some basic web browser with the experimental browser.

    The layout of the entire device is elegant. The navigation is done via a 5 way joystick; up, down, left, right and a center click. The entire device is quite simple to figure out, even without the user manual. All I had to do was turn it on, and it was just easy to navigate and determine how everything works.

    The buttons on the device are placed quite well. The only complaint I’d have about it is that there are 2 next page buttons, and only one previous page button. I’d like to see a second previous page button. But again, I’m not sure exactly how useful this would be, since most people probably don’t go back a page.

    The 3G Network called ‘Whispernet’, provided by Sprint, does a great job of having all of my content sent to me without any issues, thus far. I woke up this morning and had the New York Times, and Chicago Tribune waiting for me to read, if and when I wanted to. This is definitely a nice thing to have.

    The ‘flash’ that everybody talks about when the page is turned doesn’t bother me. Yes, it’s noticeable but it’s definitely not something that gets annoying. If anything it’s a good indicator in case you notice something weird happening (so far, I haven’t noticed anything unusual).

    One feature that I have noticed that nobody is talking about is the American Oxford Dictionary that is natively on the device. It allows you to search and look up words, or highlight a word in your book or article and look that word up automatically.

    As of this writing, the selection of Magazines and newspapers isn’t that good. There’s less than three dozen newspapers and just under two dozen magazines. I expect this change as the cost of print mediums continues to skyrocket.

    Overall the Kindle 2 is a great device for getting your content on the go, or just to sit and transfer it via USB from your computer. But there are definitely a few things I’d like to see with it.

    The first of these is an API to allow additional applications, like a better web browser or a link to my Audible account so I can download Audible books straight to the Kindle. I do not see why this wouldn’t be possible since Amazon owns Audible.

    The other thing I’d like to see is the ability to have custom ‘Screen savers’. I like the pictures of the authors that show up now, but it would be cool to be able to add your own photos, just by uploading them to your Kindle. I’ll be sure to keep everybody up to date on the progress of any updates and the like with the Kindle.

  • Westinghouse LN2610 Review

    I purchased a 26″ (25.5″ viewable) Westinghouse, model L2610NW from Buy.com for $249.99 with free shipping. The monitor itself isn’t too bad, it works, but there are definitely some issues with it. The biggest issue I have with the monitor is that it seems as though it was very cheaply made.

    When you turn the monitor on, with the speakers muted there is an audible sound emitted from the speakers. Can somebody please explain to me why the speakers should even be making ANY noise when they are muted. It just defies logic.

    The next issue I have is that if you try and turn down the brightness via the monitor an audible hum comes out of the speakers. This just seems like it’s wrong. I mean how can turning down the brightness affect the speakers. Just doesn’t make any sense.

    The final issue I have is that the native resolution is supposed to be 1920×1200. I cannot, for the life of me, get my computer to display this. When I attempt to adjust the settings via my display preference panel, I end up getting an ‘out of Sync’ message. Why you may ask. Because the monitor is incorrectly reporting the resolution as 1900×1200@62Hz, not 60Hz like it’s supposed to.

    According to Westinghouse’s website:

    “Since Westinghouse LCD TVs and Monitors are plug-and-play devices, they do not require any drivers. If your computer is unable to display at the recommended resolution, please check your graphics card to see if it supports the recommended resolution. You can periodically check the graphics card manufacturer’s website for any updates.”

    Well, people wouldn’t have issues if your crap actually worked.

    The monitor itself does work, and it looks good, even when only at 1080p. It is available at buy.com for $249.99. I would only recommend buying this monitor if you don’t plan on using it above 1080p, and you don’t need the internal speakers. The screen real estate provided by this monitor is quite nice though. I’d recommend that either Westinghouse improve their ‘monitor’ quality, or just stick to making televisions. If you can afford something else, get it. Otherwise, you get what you pay for.

  • Charlie Bartlett vs. Ferris Bueller

    So Jenny and I went to go and see Charlie Bartlett tonight. I really liked the movie. It wasn’t boring, or slow at any point. Anton Yelchin did a rather wonderful role opposite of Robert Downey Jr. The basis of the movie is as follows. Charlie Bartlett is a troubled teen who has been removed from many private schools. His mother decides to attempt to have Charlie go to a public school where he wants to be the ‘coolest’ kid in the world. As the film develops Charlie builds relationships with all types of kids at school and uses his talents to build himself.

    The film, like I said, wasn’t boring, was absolutely hilarious and kept me laughing through most of the movie. Some people say it’s a lot like Ferris Bueller’s Day off. This is just completely inaccurate. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off had almost nothing to do with the school, per se. It was mostly mayhem caused outside of the school in Chi-town. Charlie Bartlett, on the other hand, was almost entirely within the school with very few scenes not taking places within the school grounds. I found Charlie Bartlett to be more likable and significantly less annoying than Ferris Bueller. Charlie had a better story line and a more realistic plot line. While Ferris Bueller’s plot line was possible most of it seemed out of the realm of possibility. While certain parts of Ferris Bueller were funny, say the part where they tried to run the car in reverse to ‘take miles off’ the car) it was not as comedic as Charlie Bartlett Overall I think Charlie Bartlett was a much better movie.

  • Sicko

    Jenny and I saw Sicko, the newest film to date by Michael Moore… it’s a good film, and if that’s the current state of our health care, then we’re fucked… Every other country has universal health care, yet we’re the richest, and we can’t afford to do so…. I don’t like this prospect….