The Next Track, Episode #10 – Setting Up a Home Media Server

The Next Track Blue Flat Button2 400pxHave you ever wanted to set up your own home media server? Doug and Kirk discuss the pros and cons of doing this, and explain how to set up a Mac mini as a media server.

Listen to The Next Track: Episode #10 – Setting Up a Home Media Server.

Find out more, and subscribe to the podcast, at The Next Track website. You can follow The Next Track on Twitter at @NextTrackCast, to keep up to date with new episodes, and new articles from the website.

Learn How to Make Your Mac Run More Smoothly with Joe Kissell’s Latest Book, Speeding Up Your Mac

Speed up your macHas your Mac lost its zip? Nearly every Mac’s speed can be boosted considerably and inexpensively if you know what you’re doing. In this practical, hands-on book, Joe Kissell offers you the results of his extensive research and experimentation in the area of Macintosh performance.

This book helps you separate myth from fact when it comes to performance, identify the exact causes of slowdowns, and measure your Mac’s speed before and after making changes. You’ll systematically root out gremlins that chew up CPU cycles, RAM, and disk space; discover tricks to improve responsiveness; learn how to speed up your network; and more. You’ll also explore the benefits of hardware upgrades such as SSDs, faster hard drives, and extra RAM. This book is for all Macs running OS X 10.9 Mavericks, 10.10 Yosemite, or 10.11 El Capitan.

Get Speeding Up Your Mac, by Joe Kissell.

Remembering the long-ago days of upgradeable Macs – Macworld

I sat, contemplating that this past week, with the parts of my Mac mini arrayed on a table before me, like a field-stripped rifle. In the midst of adding new RAM and an additional drive to the mini, I found myself remembering a few of my favorite easily upgradeable Macs of yesteryear.

Ah, the memories. Dan Moren writes about the good old days when you could open up a Mac and replace a part. I remember well digging inside old Macs, from the LC 475 to the Performa 6200, to the easy-to-open cheese-grater Mac Pro. The last time I opened up a Mac was back in 2010, when I installed a hybrid drive in a 2009 Mac mini.

I guess I miss this a bit, but things are so small these days that it’s just too hard to not make a mistake.

Source: Remembering the long-ago days of upgradeable Macs | Macworld

Where Is Touch ID for the Mac?

One of the best features Apple added to its iOS devices is Touch ID. It makes it easy to unlock a phone, and unlock certain apps that use it, such as Dropbox, Day One, and others. Apps can leverage Touch ID to identify you, and my bank’s app lets me log in using Touch ID as well.

But there’s still no Touch ID on the Mac.

According to Patently Apple, Apple patented a Finger sensing apparatus using hybrid matching and associated methods, initially applying for this patent in 2007. It wasn’t called Touch ID back then, of course, and the biometric technology itself doesn’t belong to Apple; Apple merely patented its use integrated in a computer.

So why is Touch ID still not on the Mac? You can use a number of third-party apps on iOS devices to remotely unlock your Mac, but this is a hack. The beauty of Touch ID is that you press a button, and the phone or app unlocks immediately. With these iOS apps, there are several steps, making the process a bit complex; I can wake up and type my Mac’s password much more quickly than using an app.

I think for Touch ID to be integrated into Macs, there needs to be more than just a remote device, such as an app or trackpad. There is probably a risk of this pathway – iOS app to Mac – being compromised. Touch ID has to be unbreakable, so it can be used to authenticate websites and apps, not just unlock a Mac. It needs to integrate with the keychain on a specific Mac. So the sensor needs to be built into the Mac itself.

This is no big deal on a laptop, but it’s more complicated on an iMac. How comfortable will it be to press your thumb on a button that would be, for example, on the bottom right corner of an iMac? (Or could Apple integrate the Touch ID sensor in the Apple logo at the bottom of the display?) Unlike the iPhone and iPad, where the home button serves multiple purposes, a Touch ID sensor on a Mac will not have any other use.

I would love to see Touch ID on my Mac, not only to unlock it, but to enter passwords. Imagine how much easier it would be if logging into a website was as simple as pressing your thumb on a sensor. (It would be great if iOS adopted this too…) I’m sure Apple is working on this, but perhaps they will offer other techniques, such as voice biometrics, that some banks in the UK are rolling out soon, and bypass Touch ID on computers.

iPad Pro gets the screen treatment some Mac pros want

On Monday Apple introduced a new version of the iPad Pro, smaller than before but equipped with the same technology as its big sibling: Smart Connector to attach an external keyboard, A9 processor inside, Apple Pencil support. One comment from Apple VP Phil Schiller caught my ear, though – he explained that the smaller iPad Pro has a low-reflectance screen. Apple says that it’s 40 percent less reflective than the iPad Air 2, which Schiller said professionals really love.

It’s an interesting comment, because all Apple laptops all come with glossy screens — much to the chagrin of many tech professionals who rely on Mac laptops to do their work. 

Apple used to offer matte and glossy screens as an option on MacBook Pros, but did away with the option a number of years ago.

Peter Cohen reminds us of the olden days, when Macs didn’t reflect as much as they do now. I’ve kind of gotten used it it; my iMac is on my desk, in a position where there is no reflection, but it means I can’t use the ceiling light in my office. When I work on my MacBook, I have to make sure I’m in a position where they won’t be any reflection, and that can be annoying.

Perhaps this new “less reflective” display is the first step towards Apple applying the same treatment to all their displays. It would be interesting if this were the case. I’d really like less shine from my Macs’ displays.

Source: iPad Pro gets the screen treatment some Mac pros want – Peter Cohen

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