Loading the Stuff...

Handoff Problem for OS X Yosemite and iOS 8

HandoffI was eager to upgrade my MacBook Air from Mavericks to Yosemite to give the Handoff feature a try. I downloaded the update and installed it.

And Handoff refused to work.

I checked all the settings. I searched the forums. I maddeningly checked the settings and forums again again. Everything was right, but nothing worked. At least not consistently.

Until I turned off Handoff in my iPhone and turned it back on. Bingo! It all came to life.

I also rebooted the iPhone (see how to do that the right way) and the MacBook. I even waited a while to test it again. No hiccups. Everything continued to work fine.

Here are the main steps:

  1. On iPhone, go to Settings > General > Handoff & Suggested Apps.
  2. Ensure Handoff is toggled on (this is the setting I turned off and back on to get everything working right).
  3. Make sure your iPhone Bluetooth is on under Settings > Bluetooth.
  4. On the Mac, go to Settings > General, then scroll down a bit and ensure that “Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices” is checked.
  5. To be safe, reboot your Mac and iPhone (do this the right way).

I hope this helps someone else suffering the same frustration.

 

iPhone 6 Plus Really Can Bend

Bent iPhone 6 Plus

Owners of Apple’s new iPhone 6 Plus are starting to complain that their expensive new mobile devices are bending. Physically warping. This seems to be occurring when the owners carry their new iPhones in their pockets.

Well, it turns out the iPhone 6 Plus can bend. The chassis seems to have a weak point that allows the device to bend when sufficient force is applied. In a YouTube post by Unbox Therapy, Lewis Hilsenteger demonstrates on camera how Apple’s king-size phone bends in real time.

Frankly, I’m surprised Apple’s engineers didn’t consider this possibility. People carry their phone in their pockets. We’ve all seen it or done it.

My suggestion for this situation and for any expensive smartphone, really, is to invest in a sturdy case. I hate hiding the beautiful iPhone as much as anyone, but the results are irrefutable: Your phone will fare better in a case. I’ve had three iPhones to date, and each has been in an OtterBox Defender case. After 18 to 24 months living in those cases, the iPhones have emerged as pristine as they looked going in. And that helps if you wish to sell your used devices.

Beware the Apple Hype

Apple Hype Cycle

Apple is about to roll out its new iPhone and maybe a few other highly anticipated gadgets. And it’s easy to get wrapped up in the hype, especially for tech geeks. But remember, after the hype dies down, the iThing quickly becomes just another gadget.

JoyOfTech.com created an insightful graphic that shows the Apple Hype lifecycle.

Work Around OneDrive’s 2 GB File Limit [UPDATED x 3]

OneDrive's 2 GB File Limit

Update #3: THIS TOPIC IS NOW MOOT. Microsoft has lifted the 2 GB file limit.

OneDrive is a terrific service, and it only got better when Office 365 began offering 1 TB of OneDrive storage to each of its subscribers. But if you work with very large files, then you’re going to get a nasty surprise: OneDrive has a 2 GB file limit.

I have a workaround that has limited appeal, but might work for you. It allows you to store those large files in OneDrive, but sharing them with others might not be all that convenient.

My workaround? 7-Zip.

It is a free file archive utility with a solid reputation, and it offers the ability to break (or split) large files into several smaller ones. When you double-click the first of a multiple-part archive, 7-Zip will reassemble everything for you.

For me, I want to store some CD disc images (ISO files) of some older Microsoft software. A few are well over 2 gigabytes. So 7-Zip to the rescue!

  1. Install 7-Zip.
  2. Open 7-Zip File Manager.
  3. Navigate to the folder in which the large file resides.
  4. Click once to highlight that large file.Select File and Add to Archive in 7-Zip
  5. Click the Add button on the top toolbar. The Add to Archive dialog box will appear.
  6. You’re probably fine to keep the default settings, but change Split to volumes, bytes: setting. 7-Zip allows you to choose from a few volume size. I went with 700MB – CD.Splitting the Volume
  7. Click OK.

The archive and volume splitting process will probably take a few minutes. After the process completes, be sure to store all the files together that make up the volume, and be sure they are in a place where OneDrive will sync them to the cloud. When you double-click the first file (with the .7z.001 extension), 7-Zip will expect all files to be in the same folder.

Note: If the file is already an archive file (Zip, 7z, RAR, etc.), then you might need to unarchive the archive and rearchive it using 7-Zip (if that makes sense).

Happy OneDriving!

UPDATE: If you’d like to share your opinion of OneDrive’s file size limit to Microsoft, then visit the Feedback site.

UPDATE #2 (Sept 2, 2014): Very good news! According to a couple of tweets from Paul Thurrott, Microsoft is increasing the file size limit and rolling it out in phases to OneDrive users.

Really Reboot Your iPhone

Sometimes your iPhone (or iPad or iPod touch) can start having issues. Suddenly, you can’t connect to your WiFi network, the screen locks up, or some such thing. Your iPhone is just a computer, so it’s gonna glitch every now and then.

The best way to resolve the issue is to reboot the device. But you need to really reboot it! Here’s how:

You will need to press and hold two buttons at the same time. First, on the top right side of the device is the Sleep/Wake button. Second, on the front face at the bottom is the Home button.

iPhone Buttons

Press and hold both of these buttons … for a while. Also (and this is important!), ignore the “Slide to Power Off” prompt. You don’t want this.

Slide to Power Off

Keep holding the two buttons down until you see the Apple logo.

Apple Logo Screen

Then you may release the buttons and wait for your iPhone to finish rebooting. And more than likely your phone will be in much better shape than before.

Backing Up Your iPhone Contacts the Right Way

IDrive

If you have your iPhone set to synchronize your contacts to iCloud, Google Contacts, or another service, then you should realize that those contacts are likely not backed up. They’re just synchronized, which is very important. But it’s just half of what you need. You need your contacts backed up, too!

When a contacted is deleted or altered, it is sync’d with, say, iCloud. You will not be able to recover the previous state of that contact. For example: Let’s say I change Jesse’s phone number and tap Done. The contact is sync’d to iCloud. Then I realize that his number didn’t change, but I don’t remember the old one. Unfortunately, iCloud won’t let me recover that old number. And I’m in a lurch, because now I don’t have Jesse’s correct phone number any longer.

So what can you do? Get an app or service that will back up your contacts.

During my research I noticed there are several solutions will only restore all of your contacts and others that allow you to download them from a Web site in spreadsheet form so you can enter them back in manually (??!). These are less than optimal.

The best solution I found was IDrive. It backs up your contacts to the cloud and allows you to restore all or individual contacts when you need them. You can also view them in the cloud on IDrive’s Web site.

You need to create an IDrive account, and you get 5GB of free storage (which should be more than enough for your contacts). You can earn more storage by installing their desktop and mobile apps and inviting friends to join. You can also use IDrive to back up more items than just your contacts, such as pictures, videos, and calendar events.

IDrive on iOS

Overall, IDrive is a good service. And it’s excellent for free, reliable contacts backup.

IDrive on the App Store (FREE)

Use iCloud for Your Mobile, Mac, and even Windows

iOS Icons for Contacts and Calendars

 

There are advantages to using Apple’s iCloud especially when you own an iPhone and a Mac. But even a Windows user will find compelling features.

Contacts

When you use iCloud Contacts, you can assign a relationship to each contact. This allows you to tell Siri “Call my wife on her iPhone.” Siri can find the contact quickly and connect the call for you.

Calendars

When you use iCloud Calendar, your events gain deeper integration into the iPhone. If you share iCloud-based calendars with others, you can be notified of any changes to those calendars in Notification Center and within the iOS Calendar app’s Inbox feature. And when you change an event, subscribers to your calendar are notified.

Macs

The Contacts and Calendar app in OS X can be connected to an iCloud account. When they’re connected, they synchronize with your iOS devices, Macs, and iCloud.com (more on that below).

In addition to simple synchronization, you can use these OS X apps to backup and export the data in your Contacts and Calendar app. Conversely, they can also be used to import data into iCloud. This is handy if you decide to migrate to iCloud and wish to bring your historical data (say from Google Calendar) with you.

iCloud.com

The Contacts and Calendar apps in iCloud.com are updated in real-time to and from your iOS devices and Macs. Changes and additions made at the Web site are immediately pushed to all your devices and, in the case of calendars, to those who subscribe.

You can also create and share your calendars with others (or even make it public) via iCloud.com.

The Web site is also helpful for Windows users. A Windows-based PC or tablet can access iCoud.com to manage your information and events, and those changes will be almost immediately pushed to your iOS devices (iPod touch, iPad, iPhone).

My Story 

When I first adopted the iPhone (remember the 3GS?), my wife and I were using Google for contacts and calendars. When Siri was introduced with the iPhone 4S, we wanted to use role names (husband, wife, mom, dad, etc.) to invoke calls. So we moved to iCloud Contacts to allow for that. That led to me logging into iCloud.com to view and edit contacts periodically, so the thought of moving our calendars to iCloud started to sound appealing. After some investigation and a test, I exported all our calendar data from Google and took the plunge. I used our MacBook Air’s Calendar app to import our Google data. And it moved over without a problem. The only odd thing I noticed was that the times from our Google events were imported as UTC (Universal Time). No big deal, though. A 3:00 PM ET event came in as 3:00 PM UTC, and since we’re not liable to create alarms on these past events, this is not a problem.

Something to consider. Hope this helps anyone agonizing over the thought of migrating to iCloud services.

Apple TV Tips

Apple TV RemoteSteve Jobs once described the Apple TV as a hobby. Hobby or not, it’s fairly popular. But it isn’t covered as fully as iPhones and iPads. If you have one, here are a handful of tips that might make living with an Apple TV a little easier.

Rearrange the onscreen icons. Move the selection to the icon you’d like to move, then press and hold the center selection button until the icons start their infamous jiggling. Direct the icon to is new location and press that center selection button again.

Hide onscreen icons. Within Settings, go to General, then Parental Control. In the list of apps, toggle between Show and Hide.

Get Video Info and Audio Options. During video playback, press and hold the Up button. A bar will appear with information about the currently playing video will appear. While this info bar is on the screen, press and hold the center selection button. Audio options including Closed Captioning will appear.

Return to the Main Menu Quickly. If you’re several levels deep within an app or Settings and you just want to get back to the main menu (aka, Home screen), then press and hold the Menu button.

Use the Remote App. If you have an iOS mobile device, consider downloading Apple’s Remote app. You can control your Apple TV when your mobile device is attached to the same network. More importantly, you can use that devices keyboard to make it easier to type in a search query.

Put Your Apple TV to Sleep. On the main menu, press and hold the Play/Pause button.

Kwik Koncept: PhotoStream and iCloud

iCloud Icon

Apple introduced Photo Stream a few years back. It’s a great idea and is implemented well, but I’ve come to realize many people have misconceptions about the service.

 

Photo Stream Works Via Wi-Fi 

Your iOS device must connect to a wireless network (Wi-Fi) to send your photos to Apple’s iCloud service.

Photo Stream Needs iCloud 

Photo Stream synchronizes photos to other devices using iCloud. These can be other iOS devices, Macs, or Windows PCs. Each device or computer must be configured properly. Macs and iOS devices come with the iCloud software. Windows PCs must download and install the iCloud Control Panel.

Photo Stream is Not a Backup Service 

It keeps your photos from the last 30 days. Apple feels that is enough time for other configured devices to download those pictures.

Photo Stream Enables You to Backup Your Photos (It’s Not a Backup Service) 

This is best explained using a common scenario: You take a picture with your iPhone. That picture will remain on your iPhone until you delete it. If you have iCloud configured on that iPhone, it will upload the photo automatically to iCloud when the phone connects to a Wi-Fi network. Once the photo is in iCloud, it will download to all computers and devices configured to receive it. Now that the photo is on your computer, you may back it up (you do that, right?!) and you can either leave it on your phone or delete it from your phone.

Learn More: My Photo Stream FAQ

View All Calendar Events in iOS 7 [Updated]

Sometimes you want to see a simple list of upcoming events (or maybe event past events) in your iOS device. Apple’s new iOS 7 still has this functionality, but it might not be obvious until someone points it out.

  1. Open the iOS 7 Calendar app.
  2. Tap the Magnifying Glass icon in the upper right of the screen.

While the magnifying glass indicates you can search calendar events, you can also view your events in chronological order.

iosCalendarSearch

 

UPDATE: This tip applies to iOS 7.x. Apple changed this behavior in iOS 7.1.