Thursday, September 19, 2013

Apple iTunes Radio Not Ready for Primetime

My first 24 hours with iTunes Radio are not encouraging.  With regard to desktop functionality on my Mac, there is no way to like or dislike a song. This is the key reason I use Pandora, and if they don’t add this lickity split there will be a problem.
 
On my iPhone, some of my stations allow me to select “play more like this” or “never play this song,” but others do not; the option appears, but nothing happens when you attempt to select it.  The big problem, however, is that songs play repetitively….I mean back to back.  I just heard Round Here by the Counting Crows three times in a row.  Other songs are replayed after just a couple of songs.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Converting a TIF to text

Let's say you scan a document and don't have the ability to save it as a pdf.  You have a TIF file.  Save it to your desktop.  Open Microsoft OneNote.  On the ribbon, choose insert, then picture, find the file, and select it.  Once it's in OneNote, all you do is right click over the photo, and then select "copy text from picture."  Then paste it into Word.  Note that you have to do this for each page of the document in OneNote.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Cradle for iPhone 5

My iPhone 4s officially drowned in Folsom Lake this past weekend, and thus I was forced to "upgrade" to an iPhone 5.  Luckily, I was out of contract with AT&T.  While the camera is better, I'm really impressed at all, and wish I could have waited for the 6 prior to upgrading.  In any event, I'm stuck with the 5 and therefore am forced to buy replacement accessories, based on the new size and the annoying lightning cable.

Since my first iPhone that I bought the first week they originally came out, I've had my phone on a cradle on my desk.  I went to the Apple store yesterday and was pretty surprised to learn that Apple no longer makes one.  The employees had no idea why, and they were a little surprised as well.  They did sell a Belkin Charge+Sync dock for $40, which I bought.  But it's ugly, and I miss the crisp Apple design.  As aside, the store was virtually empty, and the shelves lacked cool peripherals...in an amazing turn of events, Best Buy actually had hundreds of more accessories.

The cradle is the type of detail that Steve Jobs would have insisted on, and the type of product that Apple now neglects.  In addition to not offering their customers the product, they've lost out on a $40 sale for an item that probably costs $3 to make.  As a Mac user since the 80's, and the owner of every single version of iPhone, an iPad, two iMacs, three iPods, Airport Extreme, Airport Express, Apple TV, to name a few, this is but one small example of the decline of Apple, among many.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What Kind of Bat Does Hunter Pence Use?

I'm a pretty big collector of signed baseball memorabilia, but I only collect things that I get signed personally.  I just don't trust it's authentic unless I see them sign it.  When it comes to bats, I like to try and have the player sign the type of bat he uses.  I was on a tour of AT&T Park last weekend and snapped these photos of the bat Hunter Pence used in the playoffs against the Cardinals.  It's the bat that he used to hit the ball three times despite the fact it cracked.  He uses the Louisville Slugger M9 D200.





Here's a photo of my kid getting Hunter's signature...unfortunately, it wasn't the right bat:


Monday, March 25, 2013

Review of Griffin 20 aka Griffin Twenty

I had an old pair of good Yamaha outdoor speakers, as well as a an AirPort Express base station, Model No. A1084.  So when I heard about the Griffin 20, it sounded like the perfect solution for hooking up my old speakers.  I installed my speakers on a gazebo, ran the speaker wire, plugged in the Griffin 20, attached the AirPort Express, and then ran inside for what I thought was a few minutes to configure the AirPort Express.  It turned into a complicated mess.  The Airport Utility in Mountain Lion does not recognize the AirPort Express, so there is absolutely no way to configure it.  I tried resetting the Airport Express, and Googled various "fixes," none of which work.  I finally found a post that said that you need to download an old version of the Airport Utility that will work with the AirPort Express.  I downloaded it, but then I received a notification saying that the Airport Utility cannot be installed on Mountain Lion.  After 20 minutes of Googling, I found a post saying that you can install Airport Utility using a third party shareware application called Pacifist.  I ran it, installed the Airport Utility, and it recognized the Airport Express Base Station.  None of this is mentioned ANYWHERE on the Griffin website, and the customer support person said he had never heard this.

So how's it work?  It streams music perfectly from my iMac.  While my wife's iMac recognizes the Airport Express, no sound comes out of the speakers when I try to play music.  As for playing music from my iPhone, it does play, but there is constant drop off.  The call to Griffin was worthless, so I'm still working on this and will update this post.  It will either work, and play music from my iPad/iPhone flawlessly, or it's going back.  We'll see.

Update:  Any type of connection difficulties are attributable to the Airport Express and your wi-fi connection.  The Griffin 20 has nothing to do with it; it's an amplifier; that's all.  And at $100 for 20 watts, it's overpriced.  The thing that sets it apart is that it looks like an Apple product, and it's designed so that the older generation Airport Express units work with it.  That being said, you can really hook up any receiver/amplifier to an Airport Express and it will play music through your old speakers.  I'm now debating whether to buy a much more powerful amplifier on Amazon, for around $60, and returning this thing, but I'm leaning toward keeping it.  If you get one, just be aware that Griffin's support is absolutely worthless.  The guy I spoke with said he had no knowledge that the old version of the Airport Utility needed to be installed to work the old Airport Express models, or that Mountain Lion won't let you install the old version without a work around.  For a company that is currently selling a device that is made for the older version Airport Express units, this is unacceptable.

3/26/2014 Update:  Okay, so I've had the thing a year.  I installed outside in a waterproof box I bought at Home Depot (I drilled holes so it doesn't get too hot inside).  My iPhone's wi-fi reception is not great in the back yard, and it seems like that's the reason it keeps dropping the connection.  Running my iPad inside works great.  I've had the thing continuously on for a year without problems, including in 110 degree heat (not advised).  I have to give it a thumbs up.