Subscribe: Barkings!
http://blog.smalldog.com/atom/?limit=10
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade B rated
Language: English
Tags:
app  apple  device  find  hue  lights  list  mac  mesh  network  photo  photos  sticker  stickers  store  tap  time 
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: Barkings!

Barkings!



The Small Dog Apple Blog



Updated: 2017-06-22T16:39:52Z

 



It's A Mesh

2017-06-20T18:07:32Z

Most of you probably have a single Wi-Fi router that might be an Apple Airport Base station or the DSL or Cable modem provided by your internet provider. Your router might be in one corner of your house, or like me down in the cellar. By the time your Wi-Fi signal finds its way up to the other corner of the house you may find that the speed is slow and your signal is not particularly reliable. The solution to this has been to add an extender or something like the Apple Airport Express to extend the network. That works but it can be a bit complex to set it up so that you have reliable signal. With Apple apparently exiting the wireless network router business (the Airport Extreme was last upgraded in 2013) it is time for a new paradigm in home networking. Enter mesh networking. A mesh network could solve most, if not all, of your Wi-Fi problems. It’s basically a system of multiple Wi-Fi stations that work together to blanket every corner of your home with a strong, reliable Wi-Fi connection. Unlike your cable modem router or Airport Extreme that loses signal the farther you are from it, mesh nodes piggyback on one another to create a continuous wireless link throughout your home, making dead zones rare. Mesh networking has these advantages: Using fewer wires means it costs less to set up a network, particularly for large areas of coverage. The more nodes you install, the bigger and faster your wireless network becomes. They rely on the same WiFi standards (802.11a, b and g) already in place for most wireless networks. They are convenient where Ethernet wall connections are lacking They are useful for Non-Line-of-Sight (NLoS) network configurations where wireless signals are intermittently blocked. Mesh networks are “self configuring;” the network automatically incorporates a new node into the existing structure without needing any adjustments by a network administrator. Mesh networks are “self healing,” since the network automatically finds the fastest and most reliable paths to send data, even if nodes are blocked or lose their signal. Wireless mesh configurations allow local networks to run faster, because local packets don’t have to travel back to a central server. Wireless mesh nodes are easy to install and uninstall, making the network extremely adaptable and expandable as more or less coverage is needed. How does a a mesh system work? First, you connect a primary base station to your broadband modem via ethernet cable from the modem to the primary base station. Then, you connect satellite stations or nodes in areas where you might get weak coverage. These nodes can be connected to ethernet if you have your house wired for ethernet but who does that anymore? Otherwise, they plug into the wall for power and gain their signal wirelessly. Let’s say your primary base station is downstairs in the kitchen, and you have a satellite station in the upstairs bedroom. When you are in the bedroom and watching Netflix on your MacBook, the primary base station retrieves the streaming data and bounces it to the satellite station, which then beams it to your Mac in the bedroom in what’s known as a hop. Importantly, in addition to expanding your Wi-Fi range, a mesh system helps your device automatically connect to the strongest station as you move around in the house. When you’re in the kitchen, your iPhone will automatically get its signal from the station there; when you move to the bedroom, your iPhone will seamlessly switch to the station there. We sell the Eero mesh network and there are also similar systems from Google, DLink and others. Eero is very easy to set up with their iPhone app which will walk you through setting up an account and adding nodes around the house. The app monitors your network so you can see what’s happening, check device usage, diagnose and fix issues and even set up parental controls to limit usage, say in your teen’s room. With parental controls you can create an “internet pause[...]



Summertime Advisories

2017-06-07T11:51:23Z

(image)

Summertime is just around the corner, and when Mother Nature decides to cooperate, those hot summer days spent basking in the sunshine are not far off. Living in the information age, naturally we love to take our portable devices with us everywhere we go. How else are your friends going to know you spent your day on the beach sipping margaritas in the sunshine if you don’t bring your phone or tablet and snap of few photos of the occasion?

With this in mind, it’s crucial to be conscious of the effects direct sunlight and excessively high temperatures can have on your electronic devices. iPhones for example are designed to run from 32-95 degrees Fahrenheit. However, prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can raise the temperature to critical levels if left unattended and unprotected for too long. This can cause a number of issues in both the long and short term. Issues ranging from a sharp decrease in overall battery life to permanently damaging the display.

However, if you happen to notice your device is hot to the touch here are some steps you may consider to prevent long term damage:

  • Remove your device from any protective cases
  • Close out of applications you don’t need running
  • Turn off Bluetooth/Wifi
  • Keep it out of excessively warm environments
  • Do NOT put your device in the refrigerator or freezer to counterbalance the temperature issue.

Lets keep those devices cool and dry this summer!




Where Do I Find My Photos?

2017-06-03T12:19:03Z

Have you ever spent what feels like hours looking for a specific photo? You might remember some foggy details about the photo like where it was taken or who was in the photo, but perhaps you don’t remember when you took that photo. I have definitely logged hours in the last year trying to find a photo I remember partial details of, but can’t locate the actual photo within Photos. I would love to say that I am the super organized photographer, but I am far from that. I do not create albums unless I need to create one for a specific event. I don’t even delete the bad photos on a regular basis. This leaves me to scrolling through literally thousands of photos looking for just the right one. Honestly I’ve just never taken the time to really organize my photos. Thankfully, in some regards there is no need to have an extensive organizational program with a few simple built-in features within Photos. With basic information like who is in the photo, where the photo was taken or even how the photo was taken, you can quickly narrow down your search. People By default most photos are simply organized by date. This is helpful for a quick search through photos, but it’s not terribly specific. You might find dates associated with some photos are simply the date it was downloaded to Photos, it might not actually be the date it was taken. Photos has a surprisingly accurate system for facial recognition. It’s located under albums and simply called People. Without having to specifically tag individuals within my Photos I had default faces generically categorized. I also found it interesting that as I looked at the pictures of my kids, they were actually separated by age. Both my kids had a few different sets of photos depending on their age, kind of neat! However it’s not efficient to have multiple categories for one person, so I simply renamed each group according to whomever was featured in the photos and merged to a single group per person. You can easily ‘tag’ people in specific photos by selecting the photo by double clicking, then select the ‘i’ with the circle around it to tag a face. The photo will now be easily found under people and the individual’s name. Places For this feature to work you do need to have location services turned on within the camera app on your phone. You can make sure this feature is turned on by going into Settings > Privacy > Location Services. If you select the ‘places’ option under albums a map shows up. The map shows the number of photos in a generic location. For example in my album it showed 483 photos taken in the Florida area. I simply double clicked near the photo in the Florida section of the map and it begins to break down the locations, I ultimately double clicked the state of Florida 3 times and it showed a how many photos and where photos were taken when I was in Florida this winter. Double clicking on the little bubble above a photo with a number it will open all of the photos taken. This is very handy if you know you want to look back for a specific photo taken in a location. Even better, I didn’t have to do anything other than make sure location services were turned on. Depth Effect, Slow-Mo and More Another built in organizational feature that requires nothing on your part to organize is how you took the photo. I take a lot of depth-effect photos, so if I want to only look at those pictures I just have to scroll down to Depth Effect under albums. Instantly I can see all of the photos that were taken using this effect. The same goes for Panoramic, Slow-Mo and Selfies. I know I rarely remember how I specifically took a photo or when I might have used an effect such as Slow-Mo, so it’s fun and easy to look up some of these images. Taking advantage of some already built in organizational features within Photos can really reduce your time and headaches when looking for a specific photo. Even better, you don’t hav[...]



Some Philips Hue Lighting Tips

2017-05-25T12:16:01Z

I got back to Vermont and on my list was putting in some HomeKit gear for this house. I chose Philips Hue for lighting because I may want to take it with me to another location which is why Philips might be the choice for those that are renting or transient. Right now, the best bargain in Philips Hue is the starter kit that includes the hub and two white bulbs. Grace was laughing at me because I also bought some color lights, light strips and other cool Hue gear. But in this article I want to go over the initial set-up of a Hue system and how to group your lights. First step is to take the hub and connect it to your router. I have an Airport Extreme sitting on a shelf with a growing collection of hubs (Arlo, Kevo and now Philips). Fortunately, I haven’t filled up all the ethernet ports on the Airport Extreme so after running the power cable I just plugged in the ethernet cable to the Airport. The next step is to screw in the light bulbs. In this case, it took a couple of aging hippies to screw in a bulb. Once you have the bulbs in place make sure they are switched on. Next, download the Philips Hue app from the App Store. Once you have the app, you can have it search for the hub. Once it finds the hub you are set to go. Press the button on the hub and the app will find your newly installed bulbs. You are done and you can use the Hue app to control your lights but what you really want is the Apple Home App and Siri to control them. One thing to be careful about is naming. I started out naming my lights hallway for the hallway lights but Siri, HomeKit and Hue will be confused if you have two hallways or like me two houses with hallways so Grace and I spent a little time arguing about what the most appropriate name should be. For Siri or for Amazon Echo you want to make these names easily understood and usually one word. So your lights are now connected and you can dim them and turn them on and off with the Hue. Next, in the settings section of the Hue app activate HomeKit and Siri. This will allow the lights to be controlled by the Home app. Since I also have an Amazon Echo in my house, I also went to the Alexa app and had the Echo also discover the lights. Once this is done you have a lot of control over your automated lights. You can turn them on by asking Siri on your iOS device (or Alexa). If you have set up your Apple TV as a HomeKit hub you can turn the lights on and off remotely, too. You can also create scenes and automations. Things like having the lights come on at sunset or off at a certain time. You can also use geo-fencing so the lights come on when you arrive home and turn off when you leave. That works great if you live alone but is a bit annoying to your housemates otherwise. So, I put in five Hue colored lights in our living room which actually used to be the Small Dog offices before we outgrew it. It sort of got the name “west wing” because it was west and no relation to the White House. So, as I was adjusting these lights I found that it was a real pain to have to adjust the color of each light individually. I could tell Siri “Turn west wing lights to purple” and that would work but if I wanted to fine tune the colors I needed to group all the lights together so they act as one light. I could not find out how to do this. I googled, I downloaded 3rd party apps but I really wanted Siri to control them as one. So, I was up at our S. Burlington store and asked Erich to demo some Smart Home gear in our new Home Automation section. By the way, if you have not been into our S. Burlington store lately you should check out all the cool renovations that were done while I was in Florida. Anyway, as Erich was demoing he casually mentioned grouping. I said “whoa!” and had him show me. The googling was wrong, there IS actually a very easy way to group your Hue accessories if you are using HomeKit. To group your accessories you simpl[...]



Trash Files Instantly

2017-05-25T12:13:43Z

This past week I’ve been thinking about how there are countless tasks I perform daily on my computer in the same way I have always done it, but is it the most efficient way? When thinking about this question I think I can easy say fifty percent of the time I could do a task faster with a shortcut or a keystroke.

Every Mac user knows that you drag files or folders you want to delete to the Trash icon in the Dock. And you probably even know that you can select multiple items by Shift-clicking (for a sequential range of items in a list view) or Command-clicking (for an arbitrary set of items) and then drag them to the Trash. But you’ll save yourself mousing time if you learn the quick shortcut that trashes selected files and folders: Command-Delete.

A quick little tip to hopefully make a common daily task just a little bit quicker.




VPNs and You

2017-05-25T12:12:36Z

History books of the future will refer to the mid-90s to early 2000s as the golden age of the internet. Why do they they think that? Well for starters, before I sat down to write this I googled “how to write a good tech article” and over 6 million results were found. Truly a marvelous time! However, it seems these days there is always something in the news about a hacking scandal or somebody getting their identity stolen, a bank account hacked, etc. With how open and cavalier some folks can be with their online activity and digital footprint, it’s no surprise there are so many instances of privacy crimes and security breaches taking place over the internet.

If you’re like me, you probably enjoy being able to venture freely across the digital serengeti that is the inter-webs, all the while remaining protected and anonymous to anyone who may be lurking in binary-coded shadows.

So how can you stay protected?

The answer is VPN. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and it is many things, but above all else, it provides safe and anonymous access to the Internet. When you are connected to your wifi through a dedicated VPN, all of your traffic and activity becomes encrypted and impossible to be read and understood, essentially “scrambling” your IP address and redirecting its “origin” elsewhere, thus granting you total anonymity to anyone who may be looking. Thus, even if your communication is eavesdropped by malicious persons, they would be unable to decipher what site you are connecting to or what information you are exchanging. Acquiring a VPN is just as easy as a few clicks. I personally use Private Internet Access (PIA), which requires a monthly or yearly subscription to use the VPN service. Now, as far as setup goes, think of a VPN as just another application. It requires a download, a brief registration process, and that’s it! Once it’s downloaded and you’ve registered with the service, open it up and start surfing freely and privately. Keep in mind, a true, dedicated VPN runs in the background on your computer and is non-invasive, thus you shouldn’t even notice it doing its job. Remember this if you are setting out on the hunt for a reliable VPN service. Most importantly, do the research! There are dozens upon dozens of VPN services out there, free and subscription based, so take the time to make sure the one you go with is suited to your needs and desires. 

If you’re the type of individual who doesn’t do much online business and/or banking, you may have no need for a VPN, but of course it never hurts to add that extra level of security and peace of mind!




We Don't Need No Stinking Badges

2017-05-09T18:16:14Z

But stickers are sorta cool. iOS 10 brought stickers to Messages. With your iPhone or your iPad you can embed stickers in a thread, adjust their size, rotate them or peel and place stickers on top of bubbles or photos in your conversations. I found some animated stickers that look a bit like my dog, Jezebel but there are lots of stickers out there to buy at the somewhat hidden App store for stickers.

Apple is great about helping you create your own stickers without any coding experience. Stickers are created with image files in PNG, JPEG or GIF format. They can also be animated in APNG or GIF format. You can learn about creating your own sticker packs at Apple’s Creating Stickers for iMessage page.

Okay, where is this sorta hidden sticker store? First off, you can’t find it on your Mac. This is an iOS thing. The stickers will display in Messages on your Mac but you cannot send them. So, here’s how to find the sticker store on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch:

  1. Open Messages on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and tap a conversation in the list or create a new one. You need to have a conversation going to find the store.
  2. Tap the Apps button (it resembles an App Store icon) to the left of the text entry field to access the Messages app drawer.
  3. Push the App Shelf button in the bottom left corner (it is four dots in a grid).
  4. Tap the Store button.
  5. The Messages App Store appears in an overlay, allowing you to:

    • Browse featured sticker packs

    • Browsing sticker packs by category

    • See all sticker packs in the App Store

    • Find specific sticker packs

  6. Buy by category or individual pack

(image)

To make sure you have this newly purchased sticker pack available be sure to set the toggle Automatically Add Apps under the Messages App Store’s Manage tab to the ON position. If you prefer, of course, you can individually manage each sticker pack to turn it on and off.

Now you have spent your $0.99 with ApplePay for that great sticker pack. How do you use them in a conversation? Easy peasy…

  1. Open Messages on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and start a conversation or pick an old one.
  2. Tap the Apps button to the left of the text entry field to reveal the Messages app drawer at the bottom of the interface.
  3. Now you can either pick a previously used sticker from Recents or choose a specific sticker from one of your installed sticker packs.

Then you just tap on that sticker to add it to the conversation. You can add some text to the sticker and hit send.

You can peel a sticker and stick in anywhere in a chat bubble. You just tap and hold the sticker and then drag it over your selected chat bubble. You can do the same thing with photos that you have sent in chat. Just tap and hold a sticker and drag it onto the photo in the conversation and let it go.

Rotate your sticker using two fingers. Tap and hold the sticker you wish to rotate and then tap and hold with another finger and swipe up or down to rotate the sticker. You can make it bigger, too, by swiping left or right.

There are a lot of stickers to choose from and while it does get boring after a bit at least for me it is a great way to spice up a conversation!




Terminal Tidbits

2017-05-09T18:15:06Z

Disk Usage Command

There might be a time when you need to know how much space is available on your hard drive and you need to do it without a GUI. When trying to do diagnostics to find issues, it’s good to know if your hard drive is simply at capacity. Hard drives filled to their limits can display some scary signs, making one think that they have serious issues. When your drive is just stuffed more then your family’s thanksgiving turkey you can run into some pretty troubling and difficult issues.

By opening Terminal and going into the Command line you can find out quickly what youR disk space is looking like. Within terminal enter the command, that is simply “df”.

Once you run “df” you are going to get a weird confusing result. There will be many blocks, so to help your sanity us the -h (human readable) flag so that the overall syntax is “df -h”. This will give the result of used space and available space in gigabytes instead of blocks.

(image)




Teleporting Web Links Between Devices

2017-05-09T18:12:28Z

Many of us use multiple Apple devices throughout the day and I am most definitely one of those people. I had one sad little tear this morning when I arrived at the office as I realized I left my iPad on my nightstand and had to actually take my MacBook Air into my morning meeting. I’ve grown very accustomed to preparing for meetings on my MacBook Air and then just grabbing my iPad or iPhone to bring the necessary notes and files while on the move around the office. I’ve talked a lot about sharing of files from device to device, but what about web pages? Many users rely on bookmarks and that works smoothly, but there are other options as well.

With the release of Yosemite Apple introduced hand off. For some users it might have been something utilized all the time and then fell off their habits list, but it’s super handy! If you’re researching an issue on your Mac and after digging through several forums you need to need leave for an appointment but you want to keep the research going, in comes handoff.

(image)

Handoff allows you to immediately move a webpage ( and other Apps like Mail ) instantly to another Mac or iOS device. On your Mac, to the very left of your dock if you have Safari open you will see a Safari icon with a shadow image of an iOS device. You can simply click on that and boom, the webpage that was on your iPad or iPhone is now on your Mac screen. If you’re going from your Mac to your iOS device you will see the Safari icon in your lock screen and you simply swipe up. You can also double press your home button as well to access the information.

Another cool feature that you might have found by accident is via tabs in safari on either you Mac or iOS device. When you open a page in Safari a tab opens. You can see this easily on your Mac in the Tab Bar ( select View > Tab Bar if you don’t see it). It gets just a little bit cooler when you view all the open tabs on all your Apple devices. You can do this by tapping or clicking the tabs button. This button is a double square image on the top right of your Safari tab bar or the lower right corner on your iOS device. In this view you will see first all the tabs from the device that you are using. Beneath them as you scroll down you will see the tabs from your other Apple devices.

(image)

Lastly, you can designate a site as a reading list. Safari can store a list of pages that you want to read later in the reading list. This is great for longer articles or just tagging an interesting recipe you found at lunch. To add the current page to your reading list on the Mac choose Bookmarks > Add to Reading List. On your iPhone or iPad, tap the share button and them tap Add to Reading List. To later access your reading list on your Mac choose View > Show Reading List Sidebar. In Safari on your iOS device, tap the book icon and then tap on the eyeglasses icon.

In order for these features to work seamlessly on your Mac and iOS devices there’s a few important tips. First you need to be running 10.10 Yosemite or newer and at least iOS 8 on your iPad or iPhone. Lastly all of your devices need to be logged into iCloud. It’s also important that you have Bluetooth turned on as well, since handoff uses that specifically.




Back To The Roots

2017-05-09T18:10:56Z

We are living in a century unlike any other. There are countless examples of modern tech that have reimagined and rebuilt the way we create, calculate, share and store information, stay connected to countless types of electrical current (both wired and wireless), precisely and efficiently measure/record, organize and shape materials and even automate processes in our daily lives and on larger scales. With such rapid and diverse expansion in the power and capabilities of our machines and the evolution of the industry of mass-produced highly-integrated systems that are more powerful every year, how can we be expected to stay connected to our natural world?

Many have tried to argue that technology is natural, and in some sense of the word that’s very true; all equipment is made from natural resources after all. That said, there is quite a lot of processing and refining that occurs between the mining of precious minerals, oil fracking and harvesting of legitimately natural resources in the creation of new hardware. How many people and machines alike have contributed to the long production line to enable this amount of complexity in what should be very simple devices. My point is that we cannot consider ourselves sustainable as a species if we are this dependent on highly refined and proprietary tech. I hope for a world where we don’t have ports, there are no operating systems and we have no need for software updates or integrated hardware replacement. It’s fully unrealistic to even hope for a full return to our natural roots, so I won’t recommend that. Instead, can we find a compromise? How about tech that integrates more seamlessly with nature, using trees and their leaves for solar power, storing data and power in resources like water or some kind of abundant and universally-occurring source?

I am very excited about our GoalZero Solar power devices as well as the OutdoorTech lineup has some great rechargeable products. Apple is doing what they can to simplify computer use and they’ve made huge leaps and bounds in the past 10 years alone, the question really is – where do we go from here?

Never forget that technically all we need to survive is shelter, food and water. Entertainment, creative expression and social connection are of course hallmarks of a good life, and use of technology to help make our lives more enjoyable, efficient and fulfilling is only natural. We must always ask ourselves – is our technology living up to those goals? Come in and let’s philosophize about it. We are living in the future and we have the power to change the world and support a truly sustainable lifestyle. I know it’s possible to integrate nature and tech in ways that we cannot even fully conceptualize yet, so if you’re an explorer like me, let’s work together to rethink the way we connect with electronics.