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Friday
Feb242017

AirPods……………..YES!

OK, now that everyone and their brother, sister, first, second and third cousin has reviewed Apple’s latest electronic miracle, it’s my turn. You know the MacTexan. My motto (if I had a motto) is “Information you need, whenever I get around to it. (but worth waiting for)” In short, the title of this post tells you everything the MacTexan wants you to know. Were the AirPods worth the six-week wait and $160?

I’d do it all over again. It isn’t because the AirPods sound so tremendous. They don’t. It isn’t because AirPods have super-long battery life. They don’t. It isn’t because AirPods are the coolest looking earbuds around. They aren’t. If I lost my AirPods, I would go through the wait and expense all over again because they are the easiest and handiest earbuds I’ve ever used.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Feb222017

Turns Out, FireWire Ain’t Dead Yet

About six years ago I bought a first-class audio recording setup. I started with a Heil PR40 mic complete with a Heil desk boom and shock mount. I ran it through an Alesis iO2 USB interface to my late 2009 27” iMac running a retail copy of Logic Pro that I paid entirely too much for as it turns out. I initially tried the free version of Cubase that came with the iO2, but was never quite happy with either. Don’t get me wrong, the iO2 is a solid piece of kit, but one trip to a friend’s house equipped with an Apogee Duet and I wanted to go straight home and put my iO2 on Ebay. Apogee really does make the absolute best audio gear for the Mac. The DAC is superior with almost latency-free performance even at 96 kHz sample rate and the mic pre is the warmest, most natural I’ve ever heard. It, coupled with the Heil PR40 is the absolute best podcasting setup to be had at any price. My setup cost right at $1000. (Apogee Duet: $500, Heil PR40 with shockmount: $350, Heil desk mount mic boom: $100, XLR cables, pop filter, misc.: $50)

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Monday
Feb132017

Linux has FINALLY Grown Up

Before you start wondering WTF the MacTexan is doing talking about Linux, let me ask you a couple of questions first. 

  • Do you have an old computer lying around that’s just too slow or otherwise too out of date to run Windows?
  • Have you ever questioned why you keep forking money over to Microsoft?
  • Would you like a very stable computer that doesn’t require antivirus software and who’s operating system includes everything you need right out of the box?

If you answered “yes” to any one of these questions then I highly recommend you download your Linux distro of choice and get busy. In a couple of hours, you’ll have a mature, polished operating system installed complete with a photo editor, music and movie player and a complete office suite.

A couple years ago I wouldn’t make that recommendation, but there are now three or four Linux distributions I would feel comfortable installing for my parents. They are that stable and that user-friendly. OK, OK. Why does the MacTexan recommend Linux? Three reasons:

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Friday
Jan202017

The BEST Mouse on Earth is ON SALE!

Get one of these:

Logitech MX Master

Do not pass GO. Do not save your $65. Go to Amazon.com right now and buy this mouse.

You won't be sorry. I've been raving about this gear since July, 2015. I paid list price ($99) back then and wasn't sorry I did. If you need/want a new mouse and don't buy this one you either 1.) don't have the money or 2.) have no use for the most feature-rich, accurate, comfortable mouse available or 3.) are the biggest knucklehead imaginable. (Can't be #3. You're smart enough to read MacTexan.com.)

No questions. Just do it.

 

Saturday
Oct292016

macOS Sierra Got This WRONG

Unlike Windows, when you connect your Mac to a network share there’s no checkbox that says “Reconnect at logon”. When I got my first Mac over ten years ago I created an Automator app to connect to shared folders on my home network and placed it in my “Login Items”. I’ve been using that same app ever since. It’s a simple enough app requiring only to blocks. The first block, “Get Specified Servers”, defines the connect strings for each network share. It uses a standard UNIX command to define the URI: smb://<user>:<password>@<server>/<share> (in this case it tells the OS to use samba to connect).  This command has been around since UNIX itself. The second Automator block does the actual connecting.

Since upgrading to Sierra, the OS started doing something irritating. Every time the Automator app runs and tries to connect to any network share, Sierra prompts for my user credentials:

I have to manually click the “Connect” button every time, even though I click the “Remember this password in my keychain” checkbox every time. The connection is made like always, but not without my intervention. After a little investigation, I found I’m not the only one to experience this. The macOS forums at Apple are full of complaints about this new behavior. The sad part is, the Apple engineers are saying this behavior is by design. Riiiiiiiight…

I thought I’d be clever and use a different method to connect my network shares, the  good ol’ command-line. Instead of using Automator’s built-in blocks, I’ll just create a shell script…

…I thought. It turns out that won’t work anymore either:

 

According to Apple engineers, this “feature” is part of Sierra’s new security model. I gotta call “bullshit” on that claim. It doesn’t make any sense. After all, Sierra remembers and fills in my credentials. It just won’t connect. I think this “feature” must be an unintended consequence of something else Apple engineers did. I sure hope they find a way to undo it soon.