Category Archives: Apple

1 Infinite Loop

On my recent trip to the Silicon Valley, I was fortunate enough to be able to make a side trip to see the Apple headquarters. Finally getting to visit the well known “1 Infinite Loop” was as rewarding as might be expected, and at least I can now say I’ve been there.

1 Infinite Loop

See this location on a map, and use Street View for a look around.

Unfortunately, getting a photo is about the most you can do. Despite the word “Visitors” on the sign, this only applies to people with an invite, and the only way to get past the entrance is if you have a host and are able to print a badge at one of the self serve stations.

Lastly, a tribute to Apple from the good old days on a related note:

10 PRINT “INFINITE LOOP”
20 GOTO 10

Travel Tips

If you want to visit the Apple Headquarters, here are a few quick tips:

  1. Plan for about 15 minutes to look around and get a photo. If you feel like walking the loop, you could probably do it in about 15 minutes. Sorry, wish there was more!
  2. The parking lot is huge, and I saw no visible notices about where or where not to park. It seemed safe enough to find a parking spot for a quick visit.
  3. I read about there being a store, but I didn’t see it. As it turns out, the store is under renovations. Watch for it again in the future.

iPhone 5: Workaround to Faulty Buttons

According to this engadget article, Apple has started a new program to repair, for free, iPhone 5’s with faulty sleep buttons. I’m currently using an iPhone 5, and it isn’t my original one. That one had a faulty button, which Apple simply swapped for a new one when I brought it in, but that might not be feasible for the long term.

If your iPhone has this problem, and you need to get by for a couple of days before getting it to Apple, here is a temporary fix that will keep you going. This will also work for you if your Home button isn’t working right.

The solution is a feature called AssistiveTouch. Open the Settings app, go to General, then Accessibility, where you will find an entry called AssistiveTouch. If you haven’t delved this deep into your device’s settings before: Welcome. Open it, and activate the option:

AssistiveTouch

Immediately, you’ll see a glowing button appear on the screen, which you can position anywhere on the outside edge of the screen by dragging it around. Say hello to your second Home button. Go ahead, spend a minute zipping it around the screen just for fun.

When you tap it, you’re presented with a number of options:

AssistiveTouch-Menu

Tap Device, and select Lock Screen. Not the most elegant solution, but at least you’ll be able to lock your device. You’ll notice the various Home button related tasks you can perform there as well, plus a whole bunch of other actions like changing the volume, getting to the multitasking screen, or taking a screen shot.

Good luck with your device!

Connecting a MacBook to a TV with RCA connectors

I recently needed to connect a MacBook to a TV set. For most people, this is as simple as getting an adapter, plugging in their HDMI cable, and moving on. However, the TV in question is an old model, with nothing but RCA inputs.

A Google search quickly locates pages of questions regarding this same problem, with many answers and a varying level of successful solutions. I spent a good deal of time figuring out what was necessary, some time on Amazon to find products to match, and came up with something I thought would work. Maybe I got lucky, but my solution was a success, and I’m sharing it here to help anyone else in a similar situation.

Hardware

To make this work, you’ll need three things:

Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter

Click here to see the product.

This is your standard Apple adapter. If you have an older MacBook, you’ll need a Mini DVI adapter instead of the Mini DisplayPort. Find out which one your device supports and purchase accordingly.

Generic PC to TV Converter

Click here to see the product.

This is where the magic happens. Somewhere, somehow, inside this blue box, the signal from the VGA cable is converted and exported to a video RCA plug.

Stereo to RCA Cord

Click here to see the product.

The audio needs to be sent separately from your MacBook to the TV, and this will let you go directly from one to the other. You do not need this exact product, and it’s possible you can find it at a local electronics store, or even a dollar store.

Bringing it all together

Once you have all of your equipment, the rest of the process is basically just plugging in cords. Let’s take a look at the cords you’ll plug into your MacBook:

On the left, you see the Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter, which is plugged into the VGA cable that comes along with the Generic PC to TV Converter. Next to it is a USB cable that powers the Generic PC to TV Converter, and comes with it. And on the right, the stereo end of the Stereo to RCA cord.

Now we look at the Converter box:

On the left is the power input, which connects to your MacBook via USB. In the middle is the yellow RCA cable which is the output we’re looking for. On the right is the VGA cable, which is plugged into the Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter on the other end.

Once everything you see here is connected, plug the yellow video cable, and the red and white audio cables into the corresponding places on the TV set. If you’re lucky, it’ll just work. If it doesn’t work right the first time, don’t panic. There are a lot of cords and connections, and you’ll need to tinker a bit. I’ll provide a couple of tips below.

Troubleshooting

If you have trouble making this work, try the following:

NTSC vs PAL

You may see a rapidly flickering screen. If this happens, look on one of the sides of the blue Generic PC to TV Converter box where you’ll find two tiny switches. Confer with the manual, but in the end I had to guess. Try flipping them both in the opposite direction.

Check the connections and TV settings

You’re dealing with at least 10 connection points. Make sure they’re all plugged in properly. Some TVs have more than one set of RCA connectors. Be sure your TV is displaying the right ones.

MacBook display settings

When you plug in the Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter, you should see a display screen icon in the top bar. Check the settings to make sure everything looks good on that end.

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Top 3 Reasons To Get The iPhone 5S or 5C

It’s a first for Apple: They have announced the release of two versions of a particular device, moving away from the only-the-best strategy they’ve gone with for so many years. And so we have the iPhone 5S, and the iPhone 5C. The 5S is the top-of-the-line offering, with too many upgrades, advancements, and new features to list here. The 5C is, broadly speaking, just a new iPhone 5 with a few improvements and a rainbow of color options.

The question some people are going face is which of the two to buy. Existing iPhone users now need to decide whether to keep up with the cutting edge. New iPhone users will need to determine which device they should start out with. To help, I’ve come up with my Top 3 reasons for getting either of the devices:

Top 3 reasons to get the iPhone 5S

1. You want to have the latest and greatest.

Whether you’ve had an iPhone for years, or will get one for the first time, this is something important to many users. Why get second best when first best is within reach? This is certainly going to be the phone of choice for heavy users that want to explore and make use of every aspect of the device. You can bet that apps are going to start making use of the specialized features and if you want to take advantage of them now, this device is a must.

My top 3 reasons here are going to seem a bit simplistic because of the sheer number of individual features the iPhone 5S has, but from a high level I can’t pick some of them because most users won’t even know they exist. If you want to see all of the features in the announcement, see it here on the TechCrunch live blog.

2. Enhanced camera features.

If your main camera is your phone, this will be a big deciding factor. The iPhone 5S has some big improvements in the camera technology, as well as additional special features like slow motion, burst photo mode, and more.

3. Touch ID: Fingerprint scanner.

This much anticipated and discussed feature really adds a high-tech and very cool element. Log in with the touch of your finger. Purchase an app just by touching the home button. Wow. Is it a make or break feature? Probably not, but a lot of people put passcodes on their devices and this is going to be huge for them. It also means that your friends, co-workers, and children won’t be able to access your device because it’s not just a password for entry — it’s your fingerprint!

Top 3 reasons to get the iPhone 5C

1. Inexpensive entry into iPhones.

The price of the iPhone 5C will likely be the biggest reason most people buy it. It makes the iPhone available to people who couldn’t previously afford it, and takes away some of the risk for new users. $99 with a two-year contract is an amazing deal, one that has previously only been available for older models. And you still get a great phone!

2. Don’t need all the features.

Having an iPhone can be much more than all of the great features and apps. There is an element of compatibility that goes along with the choice of a phone. Most importantly in my mind is the interaction between you and the people you contact the most. Do your friends, parents, children, or business partners use the iPhone? By getting an iPhone yourself, you open the door to many great communication methods. iMessage lets you send text messages free between iOS devices. FaceTime allows for free video conferencing, right from your device to other iOS devices and Mac computers. All this can be at your fingertips without getting the top model.

3. It’s far better than getting a previous model.

Let’s all try hard not to be tempted by older iPhone models that will likely be discounted even further. Don’t get into the market two or three steps behind. If you really can’t get the iPhone 5S or 5C, at least choose the iPhone 5. If you buy anything earlier than that, you will very soon regret the features you don’t have access to, and eventually the apps you won’t be able to install because you can’t support them.

Discuss this post and other related topics on my Facebook page.

Low Cost iPhones In Apple’s Future?

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Apple has ordered two versions of the new iPhone, a high end model, and a low cost model, from its supplier. This would be the first time Apple has offered something other than the top-of-the-line, a move taking them more in line with other providers. There is certainly room for this type of thing, and Apple needs a way to continue to be competitive.

From a development standpoint, my main concern is with compatibility. Will all versions work the same way? One main difference between models will be a plastic casing instead of metal. The screen size and resolution are supposed to be the same. Hopefully the internal components and the features available will be the same too. One huge benefit of developing for the iOS platform is the limited number of devices and special cases that need to be considered.

Apple is changing, and maybe that’s a good thing. A cheaper alternative will mean more users, and in turn that means more customers for app developers. If this all comes together, I’m really looking forward to seeing the volume report for Christmas, one day in the year that out-shines all others for device activations and app downloads.

Watch for the Apple’s product announcement sometime in September!