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iOS 11 Public Beta: Good enough for Everyday Use

I’ve been in the Apple Developer Program for almost 10 years. I’ve done some contract development work for a couple of companies, but for the most part, I just like access to Apple’s new stuff before everyone else. That meant a lot more before Apple’s Public Beta program began a few years ago. Still, a hundred bucks per year is a small fee for total access to all the goodies Apple puts on their developer site. I’ve always kept older model iPhones and iPads around to use as “Guinee pigs” for trying out Apple’s newest and shiniest software releases. One thing I’ve learned through the years: once an OS release gets to the “public beta” phase, the chances of bricking or otherwise FUBARing a device with it is almost nil. (DISCLAIMER: I said almost!) iOS betas usually go public at the beta 2 or beta 3 release. By that time Apple has found and corrected most all of the severe errors that could cause OS crashes. So it is with iOS 11.

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See? Told You So.

Back in February I wrote this post proclaiming my love for my new AirPods. Turns out, I’m not the only person who thinks AirPods are “the shit”. Today, published the results of a survey of 942 AirPod owners by Creative Strategies and Experian. AirPods received the highest customer satisfaction rating of any new Apple product! 98% of those surveyed said they were satisfied or extremely satisfied with their new earbuds.

Those counting themselves among the dissatisfied numbered far less than one percent of those surveyed.

When asked about specific AirPod features, survey respondents were equally enamored:

Charge time, design and Bluetooth pairing all rated 97% or better while the most subjective feature, secure fit, rated 93%! That is totally amazing when you consider the huge variability in ear sizes and shapes plus the fact that AirPods don’t come with a selection of different sized tips like most earbuds.

This MacTexan would never stoop to anything as childish as saying “told you so”. Oh yeah, I already did. Anyway, next time don’t wait for fancy surveys to help you make up your mind. Just read


Whole Home Audio On the CHEAP!

I’ve written about this topic before, but recent events and speculation about Apple’s imminent abandonment of its Airport line of Wi-Fi products has prompted me to re-iterate. Yes, the scuttlebutt is Apple plans to discontinue development of its AirPort Extreme, AirPort Express and Time Capsule products. That’s too bad. I’ve always found them all to be very reliable with specs good enough for most users. I’ve routinely recommended them to my “non-geek” friends for their reliability, security and ease-of-use. AirPorts aren’t the fastest Wi-Fi devices for sure, but how much speed does the average user need to surf and check email? The current model AirPort Extreme and Time Capsules are equipped with 802.11 a/c, dual-band technology capable of wireless speeds exceeding a gigabit and their range is good enough to cover the average “3-2-2” suburban home. A single Extreme or Time Capsule is enough to provide wireless networking to a couple of computers while simultaneously streaming HD video to one or two AppleTVs.

The focus of this piece, however, is the Extreme’s little brother, the AirPort Express.

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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.

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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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