dBug Cafe´

When: Every Other Saturday, 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM. Check the Events Calendar for dates
Where: Cherry Street Coffee House. See address below. Also noted in the Calendar. On occasion, we may meet at a different location. If so, a post on the home page and a note on this page will announce it and the Calendar will also show it.
What: Free-form discussions of Apple and Mac-related topics, including macOS and IOS, with side trips into whatever you want to talk about. Non-members are welcome.

So if you’re wondering which Mac or digital device to buy, what that baffling error message means, or why your hard drive is a mess, come on down. Bring questions, something you are working on, or a few hot rumors.

Reports: Often, a report about a meeting is posted in the comments section, below. Reports from 2015 and 2016 have been accumulated on the separate pages listed below and deleted from the comments.

Location: We have chosen the Cherry Street Coffee House, 500 Fairview N, Seattle, as our meeting place. It is near South Lake Union, just south of Mercer St and east of Fairview Ave (west of Eastlake Ave) at the corner of Republican and Fairview.

On occasion we may meet at alternate locations and times. If so, the home page, this page, and the Calendar will be updated to reflect the change

 

Advertisements

19 thoughts on “dBug Cafe´

  1. Notes from 9/9/17
    Most of us are aware of the email scam known as phishing, where a malicious third party attempts to gain your sensitive information by inducing you to reply to a spurious email or click a malicious link in an email.
    Among the hardest to spot are emails from entities with which you have a legitimate relationship: a bank, credit card company, the IRS. Wil recently had one of those incidents. He says “Problem was that I made an App Store purchase (free) for a grandson about the same time, within a day or two which complicated matters.” He received two emails, both apparently from Apple. One referenced the legitimate purchase. The other was bogus. He realized that he had not made a second purchase and that put him on alert. He showed both emails and they were very similar. He started by comparing the sending addresses. You can do this by going to View>Messages>All Headers. The difference was obvious.
    At this point you might be tempted to change your App Store password, but that might not be necessary. The point of the phishing attempt seemed to be to steal your credentials, and if you did not click the “Sign In” link you were probably not compromised. Do not change your password immediately. First check your credit charge accounts for App Store billings. If there are none don’t worry about it very much.
    A couple of things you can still do:
    * set “card not present” alerts on your credit cards
    * forward the email to Apple to report spam and phishing
    Wil also briefly covered High Sierra Betas. They seem to be coming more frequently but changes are less dramatic. Ram usage is down but now consistent. With Safari ram usage is up about 1+ gig. He finds it runs well for his minimal needs, including word processing, spread sheets, surfing, calendar, e-mail. It seems that APFS most likely will not be available for HD and Fusion drives as in the iMac. Apple has been allowing both with a check box but some state this is only for beta testing purposes. He is finding that Apple Handoff is quite good. He’s making good use of it in notes.
    The next dBug Cafe’ is 9/23/17.

  2. At the dBug Cafe’ of 8/26 we discussed –
    iPad vs. Pro. Wil reports it’s hard to tell the difference in speed. The iPad might be lighter than the Pro. Unlike the Pro, it doesn’t dynamically adjust to ambient light. It is thinner than the iPad (4th Generation) from late 2012. Some older apps don’t work on the Pro, but do on the iPad. (iPad is the name Apple gives for the $329 model. Note that Costco has it for $319.)
    In earlier Cafes, we noted that iOS 11 will drop support for 32-bit apps. 9to5 Mac has this tip for checking now if your iDevice has apps that will no longer be supported: “To check whether you currently have any 32-bit apps installed, go to Settings > General > About > Applications. If nothing happens when you tap Applications, you’re good. But if you have any 32-bit apps, they will be shown on the next screen.” Then you might want to search for an update or replacement for an app you rely on.
    High Sierra: the latest public beta improves Disk Utility. It makes it easier to switch to APFS from HFS+. But Wil found it does not switch between Sierra and High Sierra cleanly. Wil starts up using the Option key in order to select the external drive on which he has High Sierra.
    Quicken 7 ( for Lion) still works and menu bar icons that were missing now appear. MS Office 11 installs and works, but wasn’t extensively tested.
    Other business: dBug will be disposing of two surplus G4 towers and the Xserve. We will pull the hard drives and eventually destroy them. They mostly contain OS 9 material of little interest. If you want the carcasses, reply to this comment or email generic.dbugger@gmail.com. Otherwise they’ll be recycled.

  3. Report of 8/12/17 Cafe’
    Wil covered his experience with the fourth beta of High Sierra. He installed it with HFS+ instead of APFS. Changing to APFS will take about an hour. Changing back is a pain. Some older apps were not working well with this version. Quicken 2007 did run. Parallels did not run in the third beta with APFS, but did in the fourth beta with HFS+. MS Office 2011 had issues. The Find Any File app works. Wil submitted bug reports with mixed results.
    Memory use has been reduced, but the usual expectation is that a new OS will use more memory than older ones.
    Siri’s female voice is more refined. The male voice, less so
    In Mail’s full-screen view, starting a new message splits the screen instead of overlaying the message on the mailbox screen, so you have a full view of both.
    In the Notes app, you can now include tables.
    Wil noticed that battery usage seemed to have improved.
    Other stuff: Pages and Numbers vs. Office. Wil successfully used Pages to create a document, saved it as a Word doc, and it passed muster for the end user without comment. He is starting to work more with Numbers, thinking he may not need to buy Office upgrades.
    Three members attended. Report by Dick H and Wil N.

  4. The dBug Cafe on July 29 closed early due to minimal attendance. Continued discussion on High Sierra Beta will continue on August 12 at the next meeting.

  5. dBug Cafe’ of 7/15/17: we had three attendees. In a surprise move, our default location, the Row House Cafe’, has decided to close on weekends. Again, we adjourned to the Cherry Street Cafe’, just west on the corner of Fairview and Republican. This will be our new default meeting location until further notice. The announced agenda was:
    1.Trials and tribulations using Disk Warrior 5.0 to cure a failing external Time Machine drive, the implications of the 2nd loss of a Time Machine spinning HD and using Stellar Recovery to recover deleted files from a troubled external Time Machine HD.
    The upshot is that no technology lasts forever, and having a recovery option like Disk Warrior is a good idea. Stellar Recovery is another option, but wasn’t tested in this case. If interested, see their web page, https://www.stellarinfo.com/support/kb/index.php/article/recover-mac-time-machine-drive
    2. You might on occasion download a beta OS update from the App Store that creates problems on your particular setup. There is a way to clear it using the terminal. See this Apple support page: https://www.stellarinfo.com/support/kb/index.php/article/recover-mac-time-machine-drive
    3. Making a bootable Linux thumb drive on your Mac using Etcher and System 76. Linux generic laptops can be comparable to high end Macbook Pros. See the Etcher web site for more on this tool for creating a flash drive: https://etcher.io. We ran out of time before we reached the part about creating a bootable Linux drive.
    4. Using the D Key to obtain diagnostic data on your Mac: Press and hold the D key to bring up diagnostic data about your Mac. This function is now built into the OS, where earlier it was a tool included on the installation discs.
    Remember iWeb? Apple introduced it with MobileMe as a WYSIWYG website builder, but it was never developed fully and went away when MobileMe was discontinued. Now an independent developer has contacted us regarding a replacement. Without endorsing it, we’re including the information here, in case you’re interested.

    “Our app, Sparkle, is a Mac visual website builder. Somewhat like iWeb, or what iWeb could have become. Sparkle is more advanced in many ways, still developing feature parity in others.
    “We’ve had people tell us Sparkle was the app they had been looking for for 10 years, it really is that good.
    “Here’s our website and a few links:
    https://sparkleapp.com
    https://sparkleapp.com/docs/ (our documentation pages)
    https://sparkleapp.com/designs/ (a few freely usable designs)
    https://sparkleapp.com/blog/iweb-is-long-gone-sparkle-is-the-best-replacement.html
    “We have great plans for Sparkle, and we could use your support in making Sparkle known to your user group members. But we aren’t a faceless corporation, we are happy to work with you in a flexible way. In fact if you have ideas on how we could work with your group in a mutually beneficial way, we’re all ears. If you have anything in mind please do let us know, we can set up any deal, etc.
    “For the time being we set up a 20% discount for Mac user group members who would like to buy Sparkle, we’ll keep this code going for a couple weeks:
    https://sparkleapp.com/store/?ref=MUG17
    “But again, this isn’t (just) a sales pitch. I sincerely hope this is a new beginning.
    “Duncan and Daniele [Wilcox]”

  6. Cafe’ of July 1
    High Sierra: The new file system, APFS, will be optional when you install High Sierra. It might be wise to wait for further analysis before changing over to APFS, as some apps may not play well with it. Evidently MS Word 2011 is one, in the current beta. Beta testers may discover compatibility issues with other apps as well. If you opt to keep HFS, you can change to APFS later, but the change appears to be irreversible. You can install APFS on Sierra machines if you wish.

    Wil provided these online references regarding High Sierra and APFS:
    First impressions of High Sierra from Other World Computing: https://blog.macsales.com/41434-first-impressions-of-macos-10-13-high-sierra?utm_source=xlr8yourmac&APC=XLR8YourMac13
    Upgrading from HFS+ to APFS from The Mac Observer: https://www.macobserver.com/tips/how-to/upgrade-mac-apfs-after-high-sierra/

  7. Cafe’ report from 6/17/17 Available Now – dBug Exchange

  8. dBug Cafe’ 6/17/17. Four attended; the following topics were discussed.

    Intel processors: most are made in the same process on the same die. Then they are tested for performance and sorted as to functioning cores, speed, and power usage, which vary from chip to chip, surprisingly.

    Geekbench: this is an app to test processor speed under conditions that mimic real-world intensive workloads. Note that CPU speed isn’t the whole performance story. Bus speed and HD read-write speed are also important to overall performance. The Geekbench website is http://www.geekbench.com

    Richard K described iDevice apps that draw your floor plan from photos of room corners, using GPS. A newer app relies on GPS only. He sometimes needs to use a floor plan in his environmental hazards remediation business.

    High Sierra: if your equipment will run Sierra it will run High Sierra. It’s not available yet, even as a public beta. New features are already being described, though. See https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2017/06/macos-high-sierra-delivers-advanced-technologies-for-storage-video-and-graphics/ and https://arstechnica.com/apple/2017/06/macos-high-sierra-tech-preview-a-quick-look-at-the-stuff-you-cant-see/. As usual, some features will not be available on older hardware even if it will run High Sierra. Wil reports that High Sierra retains support for 32-bit apps, although the trend is toward 64-bit apps.

  9. dBug Cafe’ 6/3/17
    Wil was intrigued by iMazing, an iDevice backup tool. It’s a paid app, with versions for both PCs and Macs. While you can backup via iTunes on either platform, iMazing lets you view your backup, much like a Time Machine backup, and make changes to it. If you are interested, see more details at https://imazing.com/backup-iphone-ipad
    He also mentioned Safari Technology Review, the Apple product that previews upcoming web technologies. Read more at https://developer.apple.com/safari/technology-preview/
    Dick has an opportunity to help in setting up an iPhone for a vision-impaired user. iOS has a lot of built-in accessibility features for people with limited or no vision. One of the main ones is VoiceOver. It reads what is on the screen in a voice similar to Siri and changes gestures to allow further access, like clicking a button or reading a web site’s or email’s content. Read more about VoiceOver and other accessibility features at https://www.apple.com/accessibility/iphone/vision/. This is new territory for Dick. He’ll report back on how it goes.
    Wil and Dick were the only attendees at this meeting. Our next Cafe’ is June 17.

  10. dBug Cafe’ 4/22/17
    With no specific agenda items, the discussion was wide-ranging. Our venue, the Row House, expects to be in operation for 18 more months at the current location. There are as yet no plans for opening at an alternate location. At least we have time to do more research.
    Dick demonstrated a flash drive designed to work with iDevices that have a Lightning port. There are several manufacturers making these devices and they typically connect via the Lightning port but also have a USB connector, allowing you to move content between the device and a Mac or PC. Most require an app to be installed on the device to access the flash drive. They often come in various capacities. Some need to be separately charged.
    The one Dick showed was a 32 GB model from SanDisk called iXpand. It was capable of offloading photos and videos from his iPhone or iPad with the option of deleting them from the device, freeing up onboard storage. The files can be viewed or played back via the app from the drive. With the drive attached, you can take photos using the app that are written directly to the drive, and not to the device.
    It is also possible to write media files (audio, video) from other sources to play back on your device.
    A lot of us are finding the base 16 GB is too little memory in our iPhones. A Lightning flash drive could be a solution. Dick’s was available locally at Best Buy for less than $45 including tax in the cell phone department. For other options, try searching online for “Lightning flash drive”. Pay attention to the form factor. Some drives extend straight out from the Lightning port, somewhat cumbersome in actual use. The SanDisk model Dick demonstrated wraps around the back and is hinged to accommodate most phone cases.
    Three members were in attendance

  11. Notes from the 4/8/17/dBug Cafe’:
    Repairing frayed electrical cords. Will showed two products. First, Sugru [https://sugru.com/about] is a moldable rubberlike substance you can use to mend a variety of items. Wil showed an iPhone USB connecting cable with Sugru reinforcing the cord close to the connector, a common wear point. The same repair is featured on the official Sugru website at the link above. Second, X-treme tape [http://www.xtremetape.com] has similar qualities and uses. It sticks to itself, remains flexible, and withstands environmental extremes like dampness and temperature. Both products are available online from their websites as well as from Amazon. Home Depot also carries them, if you like to buy locally.

    It’s sometimes useful to see the full header information for a piece of e-mail. Here’s a handy command in Apple’s Mail on a Mac: while viewing a message, press Cmd-Opt-U to see the full header (actually, the full raw message) in a separate window. Close the window (Cmd-W) to remove it. Alternatively, while viewing the message, press Shift-Cmd-H. This reveals the full header info in the message window itself. Press the same keys again to return the message to its default state. Both commands are accessible via the View menu by clicking on Message. A similar option for mail on iDevices appears not to exist.

    Polaris Office: full-featured office suite, free on the Mac and iDevices. It claims the ability to open and edit PDFs and MS documents and to sync across platforms. Some capabilities might be extra-cost items, though. If you are interested in a non-MS and non-Apple office suite, check it out at https://www.polarisoffice.com/en/free-office

    iOS 10.3.1 includes the new Apple file system, APFS. Some users have noticed gains in unused memory space. In Settings, your name now appears at the top. Under it, find details about you, your devices, etc. You can also turn on preferences to receive announcements, Apple news, etc. in this location.
    Wil showed his refurbished 16 GB iPhone 6S: ~ $450 from Apple, unlocked and without a SIM. While shown as refurbished, it appeared to be new and unused. His thought is that perhaps Apple had unsold models of the 6s with 16 GB due to the small amount of memory. Many users find 16 GB too small for their needs. He also showed an app that gives information about your iPhone: memory allocation, battery status, system details, and network details. In the App Store, look for Battery Memory System Status. There’s a free version and a $0.99 paid version, ad-free.
    There was some discussion regarding meetings twice a month instead of every other Saturday, with the current schedule being favored. There were three attendees. The next meeting is April 22nd.

  12. Attending: Dick, Richard, Wil, Aaron, Lezlie

    Wil concluded his overview of troubleshooting issues with Macs. When you are troubleshooting: remember to save your work. If you have backed up your system and files, you minimize the risk of losing data and operability. Other hints: Check the Help Menu; Don’t forget the basic Reboot (shut the system down, wait a bit, and then boot it up again. You might also have to remove a laptop’s battery to accomplish this) or Restart (from the File menu.)

    File naming no-nos. This is excerpted from Wil’s notes, which he provided to the group:
    “File naming: File>New Folder, Always start with a letter or number, DO NOT use characters such as -,~,{,},=,+, %,& and spaces as some of these are used by the operating system and some may cause file recognition problems. Underscores are ok and should be used instead of spaces.”

    See all of Wil’s notes in the Tips and Tricks section of the ExChange. He also covered the following:

    Booting from a bootable flash drive: With the bootable drive installed, restart holding the shift key and select the bootable drive when it shows as an option in the macOS utility. Options include Disk Utility, Install or Upgrade OS, Restore from Time Machine Backup, Get Online Help.

    Restoring the “Save as . . .” menu option: Save as. . . . went away in the File Menu for Apple apps, usually replaced by the Duplicate option. You can restore it! In System Prefs>Keyboard>Shortcuts, create a shortcut for all applications named “Save as . . .” with the key combination Shift-Command-S (unless you have used that for some other function, or want a different, unused-elsewhere key combo.) Now you should have the command in the File menu in your Apple apps.

    Not covered: repairing frayed electrical cords.

  13. Cafe’ of 2/25/17
    Five members and one guest attended.

    In Sierra, startup automatically runs a malware removal tool. Additionally, and for older versions of the OS, Apple may suggest a third party malware app to resolve issues resulting from malware. One such often-recommended app is Malwarebytes. There are free and paid versions for Macs.

    There was some discussion of keystroke combos, like Cmd-Tab to show, cycle through open apps to switch to one and Cmd-~ to cycle through open windows in an app.

    Wil likes Find Any File, a third-party app, for its many search options. See the author’s website (http://apps.tempel.org/FindAnyFile/) for much more information. He notes it does not search for content and recommends Spotlight. For that. Otherwise use Cmd-F in the Finder. There are multiple other means to reveal more details, like the file path.

    Troubleshooting tips:
    Mail: many issues may be resolved by using the “repair mailbox” command. For other apps, deleting their preferences may resolve issues. User: library: preferences.

    Is it a user-specific issue? Try adding a new user in Users and Groups to sort it out. If the new user doesn’t have the issue, then pursue other stuff, like hardware and software.

    A combo update might resolve issues generated by serial incremental updates.

    Startup USB drive: Wil likes a third-party app DiskMaker X, for creating a bootable system on a USB drive. Choice of macOS versions.

    Aaron has had problems at work with the MS Outlook program running on Macs. “They just don’t play well together.” Often, updates are awaiting installation. dBug’s Office Applications SIG leader, John Livingstone, commented “Outlook 2016 on both Mac and Windows have had an epidemic of user profiles getting corrupted after an update a few months back or after upgrading from 2013 (Win) or 2011 (Mac). Cure is to delete the user “account” profile in the Outlook app (NOT the actual Internet email account) then restart app and set up a “new” account,” using the appropriate settings.

  14. Cafe’ 2/11/17
    Present were Wil, Richard, Dick, Tom, and Aaron
    AirDisplay, further investigation: Refer to the previous report below for the initial results using AirDisplay. At Saturday’s Cafe’ we could connect three iPads to Wil’s Mac, with mixed results. The iPads didn’t accurately image the Mac display. With Bluetooth on on an iPad, its user could control the Mac, which might interfere with a demonstration. Sometimes, the connection seemed automatic. At other times the Mac user needed to accept the iPad.
    VNC stands for Virtual Network Connection, designed to allow one remote device to view the screen and control a computer. Wil attempted to demonstrate RealVNC, an app in two parts: Viewer (remote) and Server (source.) VNC required Bonjour to be turned on and time ran short before we were able to work with it to any extent. Visit http://www.realvnc.com for information and downloads. iOS versions are available in the App Store.
    In a previous Cafe’, Wil covered booting in Safe Mode and Verbose mode. For a recap of booting modes, including Safe Mode and Verbose Mode, see the interesting article at https://www.tekrevue.com/tip/mac-startup-options/
    Notes by Dick H

  15. At the 1/28/17 dBug Cafe’ these members attended: Dick H, Richard K, Wil N.
    Richard passed out styli to attendees. They were the soft-tip kind in combination with a ballpoint pen on the other end. Their small diameter gives a finer line and better precision. Thanks, Richard!
    Several persons have already sent in dues. Richard collected them from Wil and Dick.
    iPhone Mockup
    Wil showed a plexiglas pane in the size and shape of the iPhone 7 Plus. The idea was to check its physical dimension in several use cases: will it fit in your pocket? interfere with physical motions like sitting? be comfortable in your hand? It might be better to learn these things before plunking down the big bucks for such a device.
    Using an iPad as a second screen
    Wil demonstrated this using the Air Display app (Avatron.com, $9.99 in App Store, right now at 33% off) on your iPad and a client for your Mac or PC (free.) It works over WiFi but is better if connected via USB with your Lightning or 30-pin connector cable. It can be set as a second screen or a mirrored screen.
    You may have to fiddle with the display resolution on the host device (Mac) to get the best display on the tablet. It appeared that using the software changed the display resolution on the host, so that what showed on the iPad was altered from what was displayed on the host without the second display.
    We successfully connected two iPads to one laptop, but not with identical displays on both, probably because we were doing it for the first time during the Cafe’. Documentation suggests up to four remote displays can be connected to a single host. There appears to be a version for Android tablets as well.
    Possible uses include demonstrations in mirroring mode as well as extending screen space with a second screen. Notes by Dick H.

  16. Six members were present for the first meeting of 2017.
    To clarify material from previous sessions, Wil pointed out that in the Finder, cmd-tab cycles through open apps. Shft-cmd-tab cycles backwards. Fn-delete deletes forward from the cursor’s position in text.
    Interested persons might try the Opera Neon browser. Wil reports that it is very fast. It’s still more of a concept, though. A review: http://www.zdnet.com/article/opera-neon-could-this-be-the-future-of-the-desktop-browser/
    Mac basics covered in the ensuing discussion included:
    Demo: Using Wil’s Seagate SSD Thunderbolt 20 Gb/sec 480 Gb hard drive. An external drive can be used as a backup drive and, if configured correctly, as a boot drive. Restart your Mac with the Option key depressed after the startup chime to boot from external drive. You’ll be shown the available internal drives as well as external drives, including their partitions, if they have them. The external device can be a hard drive, a USB stick, or a CD drive.
    Booting in different modes: Verbose mode – restart with cmd-v pressed. In verbose mode, the steps of the startup process are displayed. Safe mode – restart with shift pressed. During startup in safe mode, the system checks the boot disk and attempts to repair directory issues. It loads the least amount of kernel extensions and prevents Startup items and Login items from running automatically. It helps diagnose software issues and may resolve other issues.
    Long name/short name: a Terminal session will show both. You need the short name for certain operations.
    Activity Monitor is a Utility. It shows active apps and processes, and the amount of CPU usage they are taking up. You can end a memory hog or force quit apps.
    Keychain: this is where passwords you’ve saved for various websites, as well as other information, are tracked. You might review it for obsolete items. You need your administrator password to access passwords you’ve saved to Keychain, or you may have set a separate password for Keychain, in which case you’ll need that. If you did so and have forgotten that password, there is no easy way to recover it, so beware and be careful.
    Wil also mentioned Onyx, a third party disk management utility. For more, see notes from earlier meetings.
    Mac OS Sierra Patch Tool permits Sierra on some older Macs that otherwise are not eligible for the upgrade. For details see, for instance, http://lowendmac.com/2016/macos-sierra/. You can also search for “Sierra Patch Tool.”
    Get the latest OS update: via Apple downloads (look for the combo update) or App Store.
    Richard Knights reported that renewal notices are coming soon.
    This report by Dick H.

  17. I appreciate the iMessage tip about pictures & drawing. I have discovered sell on local Buy Sell boards via Facebook and some require a listing of the price on the photos. Now I know how to do it.
    Thanks, Karen

    • You are very welcome. It would be great if our members would share tips on things they use to get stuff done with their Apple products.

  18. It was very nice to see Wil again, after all this time. The reason I had been absent from dBug for so long was that another member of dBug had passed in 2007, and dBug was a big involvement for both Caryn Roberts and myself. And because of that, it was too much of a reminder of Caryn to be at dBug. So, I had some issues to work out over that time.
    I had been very involved with dBug before that, being on the Board of Directors, and even the President of the Board, so moving away from dBug was very hard. I hope to make many friends, again, at dBug, with my return! I will see you guys at Row House on Nov 5th! I hope to see many of my old friends!
    Cathy

Add a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s