March 11, 2019

Luna Display

Part of our new Mac mini purchase included a Luna display USB-C adapter. Because the iPad Pro is what we consider to be our main computer”, this was going to be a way to utilize the Mac mini for short sessions while on our iPads.

Here are some of my observations during use.

A. I would prefer the Mac app to be a menu bar app rather than a dock app. There doesn’t really need to be an app in my dock 100% of the time.

B. This window seems to always want to be showing on the Mac which is useless when you are on the Mac. Luna Display Dialog Box

C. Every time I connect, it sets the display configuration to extended, which is not ideal when you are connecting with an iPad to use the Mac from another room. So I have to switch the display preference to mirrored every time I connect. Not sure why it doesn’t allow for a default, or at least remember the last connection state. Maybe something I am missing?

At the end of all this, I have found that using Screens (with Screens Connect) is a more simple and effective way to accomplish remote control of the Mac mini. Plus I really like the way they have implemented touch mouse control.

It’s a neat little device, but I am struggling to see why it would be any better” for remote desktop use compared to a software solution.

*I am not using it as an additional display, which is one of the key features of the device. This works as intended. Perhaps I just misunderstood the use cases for this device.

If you are using a Luna Display and are not having these issues, let me know if you have any ideas. Thanks! 📧

Mac mini Luna Display Remote Desktop Screens Screens Connect
March 11, 2019

Freedom™

Author: Daniel Suarez
Title: Freedom™

Freedom TM Book Cover

2009 saw one of the most inventive techno-thriller debuts in decades as Daniel Suarez introduced his terrifying and tantalizing vision of a new world order. Daemon captured the attention of the tech community, became a national bestseller, garnered attention from futurists, literary critics, and the halls of government-leaving readers clamoring for the conclusion to Suarez’s epic story.

In the opening chapters of Freedom™, the Daemon is well on its way toward firm control of the modern world, using an expanded network of real-world, dispossessed darknet operatives to tear apart civilization and rebuild it anew. Civil war breaks out in the American Midwest, with the mainstream media stoking public fear in the face of this Corn Rebellion.” Former detective Pete Sebeck, now the Daemon’s most famous and most reluctant operative, must lead a small band of enlightened humans in a populist movement designed to protect the new world order.

But the private armies of global business are preparing to crush the Daemon once and for all. In a world of conflicted loyalties, rapidly diminishing government control, and a new choice between free will and the continuing comforts of ignorance, the stakes could not be higher: hanging in the balance is nothing less than democracy’s last hope to survive the technology revolution.

Goodreads Link
Previous Book in Series
Amazon Link

Finished Reading: February 24, 2019

Full Star RatingFull Star RatingFull Star RatingFull Star RatingFull Star Rating

Reading Books Daemon Freedom
March 10, 2019

Podcasts going down the same road?

I can’t say I am happy to see podcasting heading down the road of Netflix, Hulu, (list the other nine streaming services)..

Another form of media that wants me to have 6 different apps to be able to hear everything the way I want. Rad..

Historically collecting podcasts was so easy.

  1. Find RSS feed.
  2. Add to player.

Wondering if Apple will add podcasts back into  Music and make deals to include content from these ad free and original content sources?

Perhaps this exclusive / ad free content is only available in these silo apps for some period of time, then it moves to ad supported in normal rss feeds?

I guess this means that podcasting has found the mainstream given the number of companies looking to pull money out of the medium now?

Lots of open questions, but it’s definitely clear that Podcast consumption as we know it is changing, and the change is accelerating.

What’s your take?

I ❤️ Podcasts

Podcasts
March 2, 2019

iPad Pro Hyper Drive

Since I use my 2018 iPad Pro SO MUCH, I decided to pick up a Hyper Drive to expand capabilities for today, but more than likely for the future.

Hardware
The hardware looks great and feels very high quality. It matches the iPad color and fits very securely. The unit I got came with a couple swappable securement brackets. One for use with no screen protector, one for use with a screen protector, and an extension cable version in case you don’t want the unit mounted directly against your iPad Pro.

Ports

  1. HDMI
  2. USB-C Pass Through Charging
  3. Micro SD Card Slot
  4. SD Card Slot
  5. USB-A
  6. 3.5mm Headphone

I never ended up getting a Hyper Drive for my MacBook Pro so I can’t compare it to that but this iPad Pro unit looks great and works well. If you find yourself needing a bunch of ports for your iPad Pro, this could be an option for you.

Update 2019-03-05
Interesting bonus! I tried plugging it into my MacBook Pro to see if it was even possible, and sure enough it fits, and it functions! One more win for USB-C.
iPad Hyper Drive in MacBook Pro

Hyper Drive - iPad Pro

iPad Pro - Hyper Drive

iPad Pro Hyper Drive
February 23, 2019

Two MacBooks or One Mac Mini?

Valerie and I were looking at getting new laptops for the last couple months. She was looking to get a laptop as she hasn’t had one for a while. I was going to replace my 2016 MacBook Pro. After looking over all the various configurations, it looked like we were both landing on the same 13″ MacBook Pro specs. Meanwhile, in the background, the new Mac mini launched and I was looking to get one fur use at home as an always on computer”. Then it hit us; we didn’t necessarily need a laptop, what we needed was access to a Mac. I have been doing most of my daily personal computing on the 2018 13″ iPad Pro, and Valerie has been on a 2018 11″ iPad Pro. Those are our portable computers, so really we just needed some mac that we can both have access to, both locally and remotely. So why not just get a high performance Mac mini and share it? That’s exactly what we did!

Mac mini Configuration
Processor: 3.2GHz 6‑core 8th‑generation Intel Core i7
RAM: 32GB 2666MHz DDR4
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 630 (Option for eGPU if needed in the future)
SSD: 1TB
Ethernet: 10 Gigabit (for future use)

BYOKMDS (Bring Your Own Keyboard Mouse Display Storage)
Keyboard: Keytron K1 (blog post about it) / Magic Keyboard
Mouse: Logitech MX Master / Magic Trackpad
Display: LG 27UK650-W 27″ 4K UHD IPS Monitor with HDR10
External Drives: G-Drive 4TB USB-C Drives

Fast User Switching
In the last ~20 years of using Macs, I don’t think I have ever setup a personal Mac in a multi-user environment. Well, that changes now! We are running two accounts on the Mac mini using Fast User Switching so we can switch back and forth quickly when either of us needs the machine. Having multiple user accounts also give us the ability to have a shared space that is fully RW for both of us. Finally, this enables either of use to have background services running in the background while the other user is utilizing the machine.

Unlock with Apple Watch
Since we went with the Mac mini instead of the MacBook Pro, something we didn’t get is TouchID. I definitely miss TouchID (and the Touch Bar!), but the ability to unlock with Apple Watch at least makes logging in a little more automated.

What are some things I want to do with this Mac mini?

  • Download and backup all original photos
  • Filter and file mail
  • Plex Server
  • iTunes Server
  • iCloud Drive offline copy
  • Games (maybe?)
  • iOS content local cache
  • File server
  • File archive storage
  • Auto process tasks from iPad
  • HomeBridge
  • VPN
  • Who knows what else!?

As it always has been, the Mac mini is a great all around machine!

Mac mini MacBook Pro iPad Pro
January 22, 2019

Dual SIM iPhone Support

Ok, so with the addition of dual sim support in iOS 12.1.2 I went and got an iPhone XS Max so I could consolidate my iPhone X (personal) and iPhone 8 (work) into a single phone.

My Cellular Accounts
Personal: T-Mobile
Work: AT&T

Hurdles
When I initially called T-Mobile to setup my primary number as the eSIM, I was told it is not possible to do with post paid accounts at this time”. Fast forward, that was bullshit and it’s totally possible. Once I got that going, I then popped in my work AT&T physical SIM card as the secondary line. This was now working, but there was one major caveat. Only one line on a phone can be associated with iMessage and FaceTime. This was unfortunately a deal breaker since I needed iMessage for both of my numbers.

Other Stuff
It was definitely weird to see two sets of signal bars in the iOS status bar! It was also interesting to see how the system handled the distinction of your primary and secondary number when it came to calls, messages, etc. The system added a distinct P” or S” logo prepended to entries to identify which line they belonged to. This also carried over to my Apple Watch.

Unfortunately because of the inability to use iMessage with both numbers, I had to go back to two separate phones. For now..

I am going to revisit this in September with the next batch of iPhones and iOS 13.

iPhone SIM T-Mobile AT&T
January 17, 2019

Ranking Connector Types

🚨Tech Controversy Corner🚨

This is a weird one that almost no one cares about, but it’s been on my mind lately for some reason. 🤷‍♂️

Ranking Cable Connectors! Strictly on the physical connector itself, not its speed or capabilities.

Disclaimer: 100% opinion and nowhere near a complete list

Data Connectors (speed not a factor)

  1. Lightning
  2. USB-C
  3. USB Type A / USB 3.0 Type A
  4. Firewire 400
  5. USB Mini A
  6. Serial
  7. Parallel
  8. USB 3.0 Type B
  9. USB Micro A
  10. USB Type B
  11. eSata
  12. Firewire 800
  13. Thunderbolt
  14. USB 3.0 Micro B

Video Connector (video quality not a factor)

  1. USB-C
  2. HDMI
  3. DisplayPort
  4. DVI
  5. BNC
  6. VGA
  7. Apple Display Connector
  8. Component
  9. Composite
  10. Mini DisplayPort
  11. Mini VGA
  12. Micro DVI
  13. Mini DVI
  14. S-Video

The interesting thing is that we are finally at a place in time where a single cable can do everything! USB-C is great and I am trying like hell to get everything I own converted over to this connector.

Connectors Computers Video Cables
January 15, 2019

Keytron K1 Mechanical Keyboard - Mac

I ordered a Keytron K1 87 Mac Mechanical Keyboard from a Kickstarter and it just showed up this past week!
*They changed their name to Keychron at some point.

Features ✔️
Tactile feel
Wireless or wired
Ultra-slim
Mac and Windows layouts available
19 RGB led effects
87 and 104 Key versions available
One key activate Siri
Can be connected to 3 devices with ability to switch between them with keyboard shortcut

Tactile Feel 🖐
The mechanical keys feel nice. They are a good level of clickyness”. It is taking me a little bit to get used to them as I have been using the iPad Pro Smart Folio case mostly lately.

Build Quality 🔨
The visual and physical quality is very good on this keyboard. I would have expected this to cost a lot more than it did.

RGB Lighting 💡
Some people like lights, some don’t. I had the option to get no lights, only white lights, or RGB lights (at different price points). I went full RGB because I am in the camp that likes lights! The lighting effects are really cool. Each key seems to have an LED under it, rather than zones, which is great. The only time this isn’t good is when a key has two rows of text on it (example: Page Down). In these cases, only the top row is fully illuminated.

Media Keys ⌨️
The top row is dedicated to F keys and Media keys. It also has a dedicated key for: Screenshots, Dictation, and Siri.

I am sure I will have more to say about this thing as the weeks go on, but it’s looking good so far. Also, it works well with both my MacBook Pro as well as my iPad Pro. 👍

Order One For Yourself

The Lighting Effects

Additional Photos

Mac Keyboard Keytron
Jason Burk | 1999-2019
blot.im!

status icon credit iconfinder.com/bogdanrosu