Tag - Maintenance
Today's Pointers column was inspired by a real-life incident in which an acquaintance asked me for help in picking out a new iPad. Knowing that they had a fourth-generation iPad -- not far removed from the iPad Air 2 that I have -- I asked why. "Doesn't work anymore," they grumbled resentfully. "Lots of crashes, some apps don't even launch now." I asked if it had ever been turned off. "Every night," they said. I said, "no, not put to sleep -- turned off." "You can do that?!" they exclaimed.
According to a brief notification sent to developers, Apple is planning to take iTunes Connect offline for approximately six hours starting at 6AM Pacific on Sunday, October 26. The portal is used by developers to submit, take down, update, adjust pricing and study analytics of apps submitted to the Mac and iOS App Stores. The modest maintenance downtime is unusual in light of Apple annual and longer downtime that usually happens in December.
The online store from Apple has been listed on the company's System Status page as down for planned maintenance from approximately midnight Wednesday (eastern time) to 4AM ET. The downtime occurred just after a three-hour partial iCloud.com outage in which users could access most services, but the web Calendar and Reminders applications were nonfunctional. Most iCloud disruptions are brief and only affect a small portion of users, but both of the recent downtimes affected all users.
Maintain, a Mac applications developer, has released version 7.0 Beta 1 of system utility Cocktail. Cocktail is a digital toolset with a variety of features that lets users repair and optimize their system. The application offers a combination of maintenance tools and interface 'tweaks'. Anticipating Apple's fall release of OS X Mavericks 10.9, the latest beta version of the software is intended for users running a developer preview. Cocktail for OS X 10.8 and earlier is available with a Single User License for $20.
Apple has posted on its iCloud status update page that it will have a brief period of planned maintenance to its free iCloud service between the hours of 10 p.m. and midnight Tuesday (Pacific time, 1-3 a.m. Wednesday Eastern time). The company says that only one-half of one percent of users should be affected by the outage, which will cause some users to be unable to retrieve email.
Although Apple's own Time Machine is a good and easy-to-use solution for doing backups of user data, there are tasks it cannot do -- such as create a bootable external drive -- which are sometimes vital for troubleshooting, boot drive maintenance or other kinds of data restoration. Tri-Edre has timed the introduction its latest version of Clone X 4, which is now compatible with both Lion and Snow Leopard, to the introduction of Lion -- allowing users an easy way to clone their existing Snow Leopard installs before upgrading.
Popular system-maintenance utility MainMenu has been updated to version 3, bringing with it a new overlay-style menu for quick task access from a configurable global hot key. The update also features customizable user-defined tasks, and a new "archive desktop" function to keep the desktop clean yet organize the files that tend to end up there. The program is now also available on the Mac App Store.
Zeobit's MacKeeper positions itself as an all-around utility package, offering not just routine Mac maintenance but scheduled backups, data encryption, "undelete" options, an app "slimmer," anti-virus and anti-theft features, secure deletion of files, a duplicate finder, an automatic app updater, a login item and default app manager and even professional-grade tech support. Is it a jack of all trades, master of none -- or the one utility package to rule them all? Our review gives the program a workout and reports the results.
Koingo Software has launched updates of two of its software titles, MacPilot 4 and Librarian Pro 2. Mac Pilot enables hidden features and abilities in the MAC OS, and can optimize and run maintenance routines as well. It runs a user interface over more arcane UNIX scripts, allowing everyday users access to features like disabling menu-bar translucency, erasing recently used files, disabling system animations and changing winnow resizing speeds.
Maintain has launched a new update to its maintenance utility, releasing Cocktail 4.6. The software runs maintenance scripts, such as Unix, with a user-friendly interface. It can run daily, weekly and monthly scripts, repair permissions, set journaling for disks and force empty the trash, among other features. Users can also clean cache files and clear Trojan horses.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE