New Tech Toys – June 2017

New Tech Toys – June 2017

After waiting for years for Apple to release a new iMac of sufficiently better spec than my current iMac the great day finally arrived! Apple announced the mid-2017 iMac line up at the WWDC keynote on 5 June 2017. We took a cautious approach and debated the wisdom of waiting until Christmas to compare this iMac range with the iMac Pro range due out then. No seriously we did … we contemplated waiting! But then came the announcement of the exit poll for the June 2017 election – a hung parliament. Within seconds of the 10pm announcement the pound plummeted and we had visions of an almost immediate price hike by Apple. By 10:05pm we had both placed an order for a full spec’d up iMac, except for the RAM. Nobody in their right mind buys RAM from Apple! Move on a week and my iMac was out for delivery, here’s the story of my day …
This is the final setup but boy did it take a while to get there!
Delivery day is always a challenge as I collect all the additional toys needed to make the main toys work!
The first thing I always do with a new computer is remove the memory it shipped with and install the maximum memory the computer will take. You might be wondering why I don’t just buy the computer with the maximum memory from Apple. Simple answer to that is the price. By buying from a third party supplier and fitting it myself I saved £780 … seriously!
So back to fitting the RAM, it’s always an adventure and you never know what tools you’re going to need!
For the technical amongst you the RAM is DDR4 2400 and to take it to the max you’ll need 4 x 16GB sticks.
To access the memory bay you need to remove the power cable and find something suitable to push in the oval button above power socket … hence the kitchenalia and screwdrivers!
The clips allow the RAM to fold down and you extract the shipping memory and replace it with the new sticks.
Next job is to push the clips back in and put the cover back on. Notice the original sticks on the blue cloth.
After updating many of the cables and adaptors for the changed ports on the new iMac I was ready to go.
It didn’t take long to get it cabled up!
But I wasn’t done yet! My next job was to install a Twelve South BackPack shelf.
The shelf was to allow me to add a second hard drive to the system. A 1TB SSD for imaging the main SSD.
The case I bought was screw-less so a 2 second job to get the drive fitted into it.
Then a simple matter of plugging it in and placing it on the shelf.
Once I turned my baby back on again my first job was to check that the new RAM was recognized.
After that, mindful of the oppressive weather I did the honourable thing and gave over my desk fan to keep my new baby cool!!
A Week Without My iPhone

A Week Without My iPhone

Today I'd thought I'd torment myself all over again by sharing something that happened a few weeks ago. You'll be glad to hear that I've just about recovered from the horror of the entire ordeal!

As usual as Lent approached there was much talk of what deprivations we were contemplating subjecting ourselves to this year. I swore off such torment back in the mid nineties when I rather foolishly decided to give up sweets and chocolate! For the record I kept my promise and survived the ordeal but pledged: NEVER AGAIN!

So imagine my horror when an abstinence of horrific magnitude was foisted upon me! A week without my iPhone? Why you may ask … I know I did! Let me explain.

My dead iPhone 6 Plus
My dead iPhone 6 Plus

I awoke in late-February to discover my trusty iPhone 6+ in a catatonic state. The screen was on but showing only a sad looking faded grey Apple logo. It remained unresponsive until the screen slowly darkened around the edges and finally faded into complete ennui.

No amount of gentle cajoling persuaded it to bestir itself so it was off to the Genius Bar, or was it?

I've been an Apple user long enough to recall taking a poorly iMac in to a store on a Monday night and having it returned to me in full working order by Thursday of the same week. Chances of that today? Non-existent. The first free appointment they had for iPhone repairs was Tuesday of next week – an agonising 8 days away.

The only alternative was to risk gambling on the "walk-in" lottery. My previous experience of this did not augur well for a repeat performance but I was out of options.

I dutifully arrived at the Trafford Centre just before 9:30am, early enough I figured since they don't open until 10:00am. Silly me! The queue for the Apple Store was already extending outwards from the store in several different directions. Inside the usual morning rah-rah session was in full swing and I seemed to be the only one within wi-fi range without a functional iOS device.

Just before opening time two Apple staff members made their way out of the store to organise the queue, one side of the store for purchases and the other for repairs. Sadly the repairs queue extended way beyond that of the purchase line. There must have been at least 60 to 70 in the repairs queue but only about 5 looking to make a new purchase.

Still at least I only had 4 others in front of me. To my amazement once I gave them my name and brief details of the issue I was taken straight to a member of the Genius Bar staff who authorised an immediate replacement.

I know! I was amazed too. The entire process from entering the store to leaving with a replacement iPhone took only 20 minutes.

Restoring from my backup and getting the phone back to feeling like mine took most of the rest of the day, But hey at least I was at home with my feet up while it strutted its restoring stuff not sat in the Apple Store for over 4 hours like last time.

Lessons to be learnt? Well I was certainly glad I'd had the foresight to purchase AppleCare with my iPhone. I know the European registration should be enough to ensure I'm covered for incidents such as these but I'd rather not have to argue the point. It's stressful enough trying to cope without my phone without having to rely on my previous career as a lawyer to return calm serenity to my life!

Another lesson is to be sure you always have a recent backup to restore to. I had a fully up to date backup available via iTunes so the restore was as painless as it could be and no data was lost. Had I not had such a backup the story could have had a very different ending. Most of my data is stored is in various cloud services but photos taken on the phone are not nor was there a second copy of recordings I make using iTalk Premium. I'm making sure I back those up every day now.

When was the last time you backed up all your devices? Have you ever checked those backups actually work? There's a scary thought to leave you with!

10 Years on a Mac

10 Years on a Mac

It's hard for me to believe but it was 10 years ago today that I was up alarmingly early to travel across the Pennines to collect my first Mac.

It was only 4 days after attending an Adobe event locally in Manchester where Adobe demonstrated a new unreleased application called Lightroom. After seeing that demonstration I had to try out Lightroom and that was when Adobe announced the free public beta programme was Mac only. Unfazed, I decided in that instant to go and buy a Mac! So it was on the way home I bought a Mac magazine, and after spending the evening perusing the options, I rang Gordon Harwood Computers in Derbyshire and placed an order for a 20" iMac.

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iPad Pro 9.7″ Cases

iPad Pro 9.7″ Cases

After the excitement of the iPad 2 case back in 2011 I've never bothered with an original Apple case or cover for my iPads. My new iPad Pro 9.7" is no exception.

Unusually for me I bought this latest model in store on the day of release without any kind of pre-order. I didn't even glance at the cases and covers as I already knew the prices from the online store and however nice they were there is no way they were worth what Apple was charging for them!

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Pixelmator Training Courses on Sale

Pixelmator Training Courses on Sale

Last year I created two courses dedicated to showing you how to get the best out of Pixelmator. Usually these courses are available as part of an Envato Tuts+ subscription.

However, today they are available for purchase as standalone courses and even better than that they are on sale at only $3 each.

I know! Only $3 … are they mad?

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Want a preview? Check out the videos below.

Introduction to Pixelmator: Your First Pixelmator File

Getting Advanced in Pixelmator: Welcome

Getting Advanced in Pixelmator