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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  • Do you have an old computer lying around that’s just too slow or otherwise too out of date to run Windows?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.

Tuesday
Aug302016

Why I Cancelled My New York Times Subscription (and You Should Too)

I am a creature of habit. Doing certain things at a certain time on a regular basis gives my life order. My wife thinks I may take this to extremes sometimes and she’s probably right, but it is what it is. I’ll be the first to admit my behavior may border on OCD, but I like doing things the way I do them. My daily routine is something I’ve developed over many years and I wouldn’t do things the way I do without purpose. The reason I spend a portion of every morning reading newspapers is to stay informed. Not the CNN or Fox News versions of informed, but the in-depth, behind the scenes version one can only get by reading quality periodicals. The periodicals I read frequently fall into three major categories; daily news, monthly news and specialty publications. It’s the daily periodicals, the newspapers, that make up a large portion of my routine and those are the ones I’ll address here.

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Saturday
Jul092016

Considering macOS Sierra Public Beta? Not Just Yet

I downloaded and installed the macOS 10.12, Sierra public beta yesterday. I put it on my late 2013 15” MacBook Pro. I’m one of those lucky people with multiple (3) Macs, so I never run the risk of upgrading myself out of production. To be fair, I’ve had pretty good luck installing OS X betas. Even before Apple’s public beta program, my developer status afforded me access to early copies of everything Apple published. I hardly ever install a “Rev 0” version of anything, but Apple has a decent track record of releasing mostly stable versions of their OS by the time it gets to “public” status. I didn’t have that experience yesterday.

So, why would a semi-intelligent person like myself risk the utility of a multi-thousand dollar laptop by installing a half-baked operating system? Well, there was one feature of macOS Sierra I couldn’t wait to try. I wanted my Watch to unlock my MBP by simply coming in proximity. I never got there. More on that in a minute.

First, the install went without a hitch. I went to Apple’s developer site, clicked the “Download” button for macOS Sierra Beta 2. That launched the Mac App Store app where I redeemed a code that started the download. 4.86 GB later, the install screen appeared.

 

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