Tag Archives: Apple

Mountain Lion Caged–An Apple Tale

MLThumbI stunned a great many people on June 19th by announcing that I had purchased a MacBook Air. I have been a long time voice against Apple but there comes a time when you must stop relying on other people’s opinions and form your own. I began my journey with iPhone, continued along the path with an iPad and jumped full on into the Apple eco-system with a MacBook Air. But this isn’t about that. This is another kind of story.

One of the perks of buying a MacBook Air when I did was there was a promise to upgrade to the latest copy of the OS for free when it released. It wasn’t a huge deal. The OS was priced at $19.99 but it was nice to know that it was one less expense, optional or not, that I’d have to worry about. I read through the features of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion and got excited about how they planned on bringing the iOS and Mac experience a little closer together. I know that’s not a popular opinion but it is my own.

On Tuesday’s Earnings Call Apple made the release date for Mountain Lion official. It was to release the following day, Wednesday July 25th. And it did. I went out to the Apple Up-To-Date program page and eagerly filled out the several forms required to request my free copy of the OS. Everything seemed to go without a hitch and several hours later I got a couple emails.

The first included an encryption key. The second included a PDF that required that encryption key to unlock the redemption code to download OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. I copied the key, popped into the Mac App Store and got the message that my code had already been redeemed.

Well crap.

I decided to call Apple Support. I got a very helpful representative that told me that their code generator screwed up and sent out the same code to many folks. I was told I’d get a new code within 24 hours. I sighed. Thanked the rep for the information and hung up the phone to begin the waiting game.

A few hours later I saw a tweet from Cult of Mac that said some folks were getting their new redemption codes. I got excited. But it was not to be. I went to sleep last night with no new redemption code in my Inbox.

I woke up this morning, picked up my iPhone and confirmed that nothing had changed. I waited for the 24 hour mark and called Apple again. I got another extremely nice rep who apologized and told me that unfortunately I should have been quoted 24-72 hours. She said to hold out hope though because it’s still early and there should be another batch of codes coming out. She didn’t say as much but she seemed to indicate that they were staggering code releases due to the demand on their servers.

So I was hopeful but resolved to another up-to 48 hours of waiting for my new code. And then it happened. I got another two emails from Apple. I grabbed my encryption key out of the first email. Used it to open the PDF in the second email. And viola a new redemption code. I hurried into the Mac App Store and pasted my redemption code into the ‘redeem’ box.

Failed. This product requires OS X 10.8. What? Mountain Lion requires Mountain Lion? Wait. What do they have me downloading? OS X Server? What the hell?

I went over to the Mountain Lion app page and the familiar $19.99 prompt is still sitting there. I went back to OS X Server. That button reads “Install.” It’s time to get Apple back on the phone.

I call a third time and get another very friendly rep who asks me to go back to the Up-To-Date program page and fill out the forms again. I get an error message indicating my serial number has already been redeemed. Of course I was already aware. The rep asks to place me on hold and I wait as Taylor Swift’s “Mean” serenades me. A terrible John Mayer song begins next and I am thankful when the rep picks up the phone.

“Dusty, I talked to our level two support and we’re going to reissue you a key. Unfortunately, it’s going to be about 72 hours before you receive it.”

Of course it is. I’m frustrated but I don’t let on. I thank him and he thanks me. We wish each other a good day and I hang up.

And here I am. Waiting.

And my Mountain Lion is still caged.

Update: Apple fixed the issue and sent me a new redemption code. Mountain Lion is downloading as I write this amendment. Gaffes happen. We’re only human. So I can appreciate when a company at least makes going to them for help painless. If I HAD to call Apple Support, I’m happy that the experience was a good one and the resolution was far quicker than I was originally quoted.

iOS: Sideloading .mobi & .pdf files

There really is one dead simple way of getting .mobi and .pdf files to your iOS tablet or smartphone for reading consumption and that is emailing it to your Kindle’s email address. Yes, it really does have its own email address.

Step 1a – Finding your Kindle apps email address in the Kindle app

The iOS Kindle App opens to the “All Items” screen. In the bottom right hand corner is a grey cog. Tap that to enter settings.

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In settings, you’ll find an option that reads Send-to-Kindle Email Address. That is the email address of your kindle app. You can send an email with a .mobi or .pdf file as an attachment to that email address and the file will side load itself.

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Don’t worry. Your email address will be legible. I just couldn’t risk having all the spam bots sending free advertising to my Kindle app. =)

Step 1b – Finding your Kindle apps email address on Amazon.com

Go to Amazon.com and login.

On the right-hand side of the page there is an option that says Hello (yournamehere), Your Account. If you hover over your name a dropdown menu will appear and one of the options on it is Manage your Kindle. Click that link.

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You may be prompted to login to your Amazon account again, if so log in.

On the left hand side there will be a submenu titled Your Kindle Account and a clickable link titled Manage Your Devices. Click Manage Your Devices.

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On that page you’ll see a orange header that reads Registered Kindle Reading Apps along with a list of all devices you have the Kindle app installed on. It’ll also have that device’s email address.

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Step 2 – Email the .mobi or .pdf file to your Kindle app.

This part is pretty easy, basically take the .mobi or .pdf file add it to an email as an attachment and email your Kindle’s email address. If the .mobi or .pdf file is in an email, you can save the file to your desktop (or wherever) and attach it to an email. If it’s already in an email, you could just try forwarding it to your Kindle’s email address. I haven’t tried this last one, but it won’t hurt you to try it yourself.

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Again, I hid my Kindle apps email address but the most important thing for you to notice is that I attached a .mobi file. My file showed up almost instantly, but if it doesn’t. I would give it a minute or two. Anymore than two minutes and I may suspect something happened. The same cannot be said for a .pdf file though.

Note: The .pdf file I emailed took hours to show up. I don’t know if this was just a case of Kindle servers hiccupping or maybe Amazon screens the .pdf files for harmful components. In any case, you can email .pdf files but it may take a while to show up. You’d be better off sideloading via Dropbox.

In any case, in just moments you should be able to check your Kindle app for the title you just sent over. If the title doesn’t show up automagically on it’s own, try hitting that refresh icon in the top right hand corner next to the shopping cart.

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Viola! That’s all there is to it. You have now sideloaded a mobi or PDF file to the Kindle app.

In case you are wondering if I am going to answer the question I posed in the email to myself. I can’t see anywhere within the kindle app where any attention was paid to my email’s subject line or email content. The only thing my kindle app recognized was the .mobi attachment.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to use the comments section below.

Optional Step:

Please consider making a donation for my efforts in bringing you this tutorial.

If not PayPal, I sure wouldn’t hate a Kindle Gift Card. If you’d rather gift a book so that I don’t use that gift card on coffee or electronics, here is a link to my Amazon Gift Registry. Ignore the big ticket items, this is also where I keep my Christmas/Birthday wishlist. =)

The Next Tablet Wars

The 7-inch tablet wars are about to get very interesting. If you’ve been keeping your ear to the ground then you have heard some pretty seriously exciting rumors. The first into the rumor arena was Google. Google is believed to be working with ASUS on a 7-inch tablet that would potentially be the first ever Google Nexus Tablet.

For those are you are unfamiliar with the Google Nexus line, it is traditionally a flagship Google device that sports top-of-the-line technology and contains a vanilla build of the Android OS. If you aren’t familiar with Android cell phones, then you may be a little confused by the “vanilla Android” statement. There are a lot of Android phones out there and they are made by a lot of different companies. Motorola, Samsung and HTC – just to name a few and to differentiate themselves from each other they tweak the Android OS with skins.

HTC calls their skin HTC Sense. Motorola called their skin MOTOBLUR but has since decided to shift development focus away from it. These skins, while in some cases pretty, would slow updates to the devices since Google would release the update and then the companies would have to update their version of the operating system. As you can imagine, it doesn’t make much financial sense to keep updating old phones and so ultimately customers would be left behind. Not so with the Google Nexus line. Nexus phones are stock vanilla Android so there is no having to reengineer anything, the updates are made available very quickly.

So the whole point of that sidebar was to tell you that a Google Nexus tablet means you can expect timely updates from Google with great hardware. If the latest rumors can be believed then we can expect one more great thing and that is the price tag. Google was originally rumored to release their tablet at a $250 price point. And that is a good price for a 7-inch Android tablet. However, Google is rumored to have delayed their tablet until they can deliver it a little closer to the $199 asking price of the Kindle Fire. A Nexus Tablet at $250 is hard to pass up for those in the market for one. A Nexus Tablet at $199 may actually force people who weren’t necessarily in the tablet market to take notice.

For example, if you were thinking of getting a Kindle Fire because you wanted a full color eReader then the Google Nexus may actually be a better fit because you have full access to the Google App Market (Google Play) and you can download the mobile apps from Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (NOOK) and Kobo. You can buy your ebooks from anywhere instead of limiting yourself to a single storefront. You can hunt for the cheapest price and buy there. You keep your options open. So a Google Nexus Tablet at $199 is exciting. But it may not be the most exciting rumor out there.

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What is the most popular tablet on the market today? Has anyone heard of the Apple iPad? Yeah, Apple has also entered the rumor arena. Apple is rumored to be introducing a 7-inch tablet in the fall. The “iPad Mini” is expected to have 8GB of storage and have the same beautiful Retina display the iPhone and new iPad currently enjoy today. This tablet is expected to hit the market at $200-$250. At that price point and at that 7-inch size, Apple is very clearly firing a shot at Google who until lately has had the eReader market locked up thanks to Android’s presence in the Kindle Fire, NOOKcolor and NOOK Tablet.

Come this fall, especially if the Apple rumor is true, you can expect a LOT of tablet holdouts to finally choose a side in the tablet wars. The question is whether their tablet of choice will be sporting a little green robot or a shiny bitten Apple.

So what do you think? If these devices make it to market, will you be buying one?

Opinions are like a**holes

What is it about technology that makes people so passionate? How many times have you seen PlayStation and Xbox fanboys at each others throats? XBL is l33t. PS3 doesn’t charge for online game play. Back and forth it goes. That same fervor exists for Mac and PC users. Windows has a ton of viruses. Mac is overpriced. Back and forth that goes. Which leads me to the next great fanboy war, iPhone versus Android.

I’ve been on both sides of the fence – or walled garden, if you want to be like that. I think both platforms have their virtues. I love the widgets and customization that Android provides. I love the beauty and simplicity that iPhone provides. They have different things working for and against them. Yet, people are so convinced of their platform of choice’s superiority that they have absolutely no shame in their attempts to shame other people who don’t share their opinion.

I’m a member of a Facebook group that discussed books, the nook ereader, etc. We go off-topic so it’s not uncommon for technology to come up from time to time. God help the person who mentions owning an Apple product. People come out of the woodwork to bash the product and the owner of the product by proxy. Let me provide an example.

Someone posted a comment yesterday about how she has an iPhone 4S and loves it but she has to vent. She mentions that for the past couple of days it has really been acting up and she’s frustrated. We’ve established that she has a product that she loves that she’s having issues with. Someone pops into the thread to comment:

may be thats why there stock is dropping. junk

Seriously? Would this person feel right commenting on a complete stranger’s relationship status when it changed to “it’s complicated”? This is openly announced as a vent. She is having issues with something she loves. She wants two things. First, she wants to get it off her chest so she doesn’t feel alone. Second, she wants to find out if anyone knows how to resolve the issues she’s having.

Another voice enters the conversation, once the issue has been resolved, with a light hearted:

Sounds like instead of an Apple you got a lemon.

This comment doesn’t irk me as much because this individual is very friendly, jokes with everyone and the issue is already resolved. I may have found it out of place if the problem still existed, since it would still be source of frustration, but the issue is resolved and it’s easier to laugh at the situation now that it’s no longer an issue.

I don’t know. It just bothered me that someone would dare to call someone else’s decision “junk”. I caught all kinds of hell, particularly from that last commenter, when I switched from my OG Droid to the iPhone. I started to get articles posted on my Facebook wall about how horrible Apple was as a company. How they used child labor. Or how they forced 24-hour shifts. Or just any negative press that could be dug up. It bordered on bullying.

Now that isn’t saying I think that person is a bully. I know better. That person is a kind soul who only did it as a good natured jab. He knows I can take the ribbing. I know if it legitimately bothered me that I could ask him to stop and he would. Truth is it doesn’t bother me. I’ve got my big boy pants on and the only opinion that will sway my decision making is my own. I don’t mind swimming against popular opinion from time to time. I don’t mind “joining the dark side”. They have cookies. Internet joke – sorry.

In any event, I just had to vent myself before I popped into that thread and let my own opinion be known. I feel better now. Thanks for being there for me. I’m going to go make a call on my iPhone and browse Flipboard on my iPad.

And if you don’t like that?

iDon’t Care.

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(Image courtesy of Norebbo)

The Internet is bothering me today

The Internet is so annoying this morning. Folks are waiting for the iPad 3/HD announcement and every article is a troll war. I’m so tired of the whole “Apple just repackages the same technology” argument. It’s idiotic. What does the automotive industry do? What does the PC industry do? What does the appliances industry do? Where is the outrage when GM, Ford or Chrysler release the next years model and it just has a different body style?

Now I understand that mobile technology is moving at a very brisk clip right now but it’s like the PC industry in late 90’s, speed was doubling/quadrupling by the year. 100mhz processor, then 200mhz, then 400mhz. And now it’s the race to see how many cores we can fit onto a piece of silicon. My point is this trend is going to slow. And do these people really think that manufacturers are going to stop making products while waiting for the next big thing? No. They are going to repackage the same thing. It worked for Nintendo. How many different colors of Gameboy and DS are there?

But the real crux of this argument is that Apple ISN’T repackage the same technology. The iPad 3/HD is expected to have an upgraded dual core processor or a quad core processor. It’s expected to have 1GB of Memory, up from iPad 2’s 512mb. It is also expected to have Apple’s beautiful Retina (or Retina-like) display. How is this the same old iPad?

Let me ask you this. How do you interface with a tablet? Its touchscreen. How do you consume the information? Your eyeballs on its screen? If the internal specs are significantly better, and the screen resolution and clarity is MUCH improved, how is this a minor upgrade? What would it take to be a major upgrade? Would the quad core do it? Obviously doubling the memory and resolution doesn’t count.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a preferred mobile OS. There is absolutely nothing wrong with liking Android over iOS or liking iOS over Android. But when you make statements like the iPad 3/HD is just the same old hardware with a new label on the box you end up looking like an idiotic fanboy. This isn’t the video game industry releasing the Gameboy Color.

Ridiculous.