This next month's great meeting topics is "Annual Business Meeting and Google Photos". The meeting will be held at 7:00 pm, December 1, 2015, at Kennedy Hall at Immaculate Conception School, 1208 E. McCarty St., Jefferson City MO. Please bring your friends who are Mac or iOS users to our meetings.
We made it to my favorite time of the year: College Basketball and Thanksgiving. Thank you Peggy for covering for me at the last meeting while I was celebrating my anniversary. I am calling on her again as I will be at a Missouri Basketball game during the December meeting.
Thanks also to all the Board Members for serving during my first year as President. I know that I have been nominated for a second term, and I hope we have a few other members step up and offer to be on the appleJAC Board as Members at Large. I see the same faces every year and would like to get some fresh ideas. This is a fun way to spend an extra evening with the officers, you can pick our brains if you have an issue with your Apple device, and you can give new ideas for things to do at the monthly meetings.
Apple Pay is growing and available in more and more businesses. I have ordered a new card reader that supports Apple Pay, so soon you will even be able to use it for Computer Repairs at Mid-Missouri Computer Services.
The Following people won door prizes at the November Meeting:
Jane Creed - iTunes Card
Jane Szabados - Pen/Letter Opener Dave Martin - iPhone 6 Plus Case Charlie Bland - Thumb Drive Carole VanVranken - Steve Jobs Magazine Alice Kopp - iPhone 6 Case Ann Lane - Note Book Light Ruth Younger - Thumb Drive
Since I will not be at the Annual Business Meeting, let me say for my President's Annual Report that appleJAC has a stable membership size. We had a few road trips: Mac’s in Business was held at The Crossing Church, Don and Shubha Miller hosted a wonderful picnic, and Charlie Bland arranged a meeting in Fulton at the Rural Electric Cooperative for Home Connections. Thank you to all that have taken a turn picking up supplies for our Great Break. I encourage you to join the Board as a Member at Large or offer to present to the group something you do with your Apple device.
Our upcoming December 1, 2015, meeting will feature Annual Business Meeting & Google Photos (see agenda below). Peggy and George will show you how Google photos can work for you. After the Great Break, we will collect any additional nominations for officers, then put them to a VOTE. As always, there will be time for everyone to ask questions and share your tips and tricks to the group.
Be sure to respond to our meeting email notice with questions (to qualify for iTunes card drawing), officer nominations, and meeting topic suggestions. Continue to visit our website for more updates and fresh information.
Home monitoring has become more and more sophisticated and comprehensive. In days gone by, we used to periodically check the thermometer and hygrometer to make sure that our thermostat and humidifier. Today, we have incredible devices to continually monitor these and more so we can live smarter by knowing more about our home, the place we care about most.
With Eve Room, the wireless sensor from Elgato, I can now see my home at a glance, right on my iPhone or iPad (Bluetooth links with only one at a time). Eve senses indoor air quality, temperature, and humidity. Eve Room is powered by a sophisticated sensor analyzing volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Air quality can vary based on many factors, and Eve Room goes beyond CO₂ by analyzing substances that directly affect my well-being. I can actually see my home at a glance, and view beautiful and informative graphs by day, month or year about each of these factors.
Setup of this device was quick and easy. First, I installed the batteries (included), then downloaded the free app, entered into the app the ID number on the back of the unit, and I was ready to place it in a convenient place (our living room). Eve connects directly to my iPhone or iPad using Bluetooth 4.0 Smart technology, without requiring a hub, gateway or bridge. I can even ask Siri on my linked iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to ask for temperature or humidity, which she immediately reports back to me. This data is shared via iCloud to all devices using the same Apple ID, and guests can be invited to view it too.
Elgato’s Eve hardware accessories work with Apple HomeKit technology to gather data on air quality, temperature, humidity, air pressure, energy consumption and more. HomeKit technology on iOS 9 takes “connected home” even further, and provides advanced security with end-to-end encryption and authentication. Guest Access is now available, and with a free updates coming to Eve, I can take advantage of Automatic Scenes and Bluetooth Range Extenders. The Eve family has been carefully designed to seamlessly blend into any home environment. I can even access Eve when I’m not home because it communicates with my Apple TV 4 (requires at least a 3rd generation version).
Eve requires an iPhone 4S or later, iPad (3rd generation) or later, iPad Air, iPad mini with iOS 9 or later, all of which can use the free Elgato Eve app. HomeKit requires an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 8.1 or later. Its temperature measures 32°F - 130°F, 5% - 95% humidity, and air quality bad - excellent. It is powered by three AA replaceable batteries, and is sized at 3.1” x 3.1” x 1.3” and very light weight.
Eve Home is available for $79.95 at elgato.com/eve. Other related devices in this family also include Eve Weather ($49.95), and Eve Door & Window ($39.95). I’ve used Elgato products for many years, which have always been very functional and high quality. The Eve family of products continues this excellent tradition, and will work with many other HomeKit devices.
Tom Piper, appleJAC Secretary, presented a review of the new "Spectre" (the 24th James Bond movie) at 8:05am, November 13, 2015, on KWOS Open Air's Guest Movie Critic spot. Following mixed reviews, he gave this movie 4 gadgets as his next to highest rating.
The 10-minute presentation can be heard by clicking download Spectre Movie review. Special thanks to KWOS for the great time provided by Warren Krech and John March during this presentation.
Why a review of a James Bond movie on a techie website? Its all about the gadgets, of course . . . just have a look at jamesbondlifestyle.com to see them all.
Peggy Landwehr, appleJAC Vice-President, presented a review of the new "Steve Jobs" movie at 8:00am, October 30, 2015, on KWOS Open Air's Guest Movie Critic spot. Following rave reviews, she gave this movie 5 apples as her highest rating.
The 10-minute presentation can be heard by clicking Steve Jobs movie review. Special thanks to KWOS for the display of Peggy's Apple products during her presentation.
How about our Missouri Professional Baseball teams? For two years in a row, both the Cardinals and the Royals have made it to Post Season. I am more of a Cardinals fan, but will root for the Royals to get their first World Series win since beating the Cardinals back in 1985.
I know we ran out of time during our October meeting since Apple released so many things to us at once. It is hard to fit everything in a two-hour window. By now, I am sure several of you have installed the new Operating Systems and have a few questions for us.
The Board voted to purchase the new AppleTV as soon as it is available; so, we should see that for the December meeting. If you are interested in the 3rd generation AppleTV, the one the club has used for the last few years will be offered as a deal to one of our members. We may do the same with our sound system, which is also scheduled to be replaced. Be sure to watch the website for details.
The following people won door prizes at the September meeting:
Jim Springs iTunes card
Carole Vranken iPad Keyboard
Mel Kallal Thumb Drive
Bill Krause iPhone 5 case
More older iPhone 4 Cases were available for anyone that could use them. The October winner of the iTunes card was again Jim Springs who we featured a couple months ago in the "Member Spotlight”.
Our upcoming November 3, 2015, meeting (see agenda below) will be “iOS9 and MacOS 10.11 El Capitan” to be held at Kennedy Hall @ IC School, 1208 E. McCarty St., Jefferson City. We intend to pickup where we left off last month. George will continue to present iOS9 and highlight some of the iCloud features before the break. After the break, Tom will point out many of the new features of El Capitan. If that isn’t enticing enough, they will coordinate to show off some of the Continuity and Handoff features available using the new Operating Systems.
It’s that time of the year again when I would really like to see some new faces get involved with the appleJAC Board. We have elections in December, and we can always use fresh ideas. If you would like to have a great excuse to eat out another night of the month, and chat about Apple’s products one-on-one with the other officers, please submit your name to run for Member-at-Large or some other position. appleJAC’s greatest strength is the diversity of its leadership and membership.
Portable lap desks and trays have been part of my life since my first portable computer (and before, for food, writing, typewriter, crafts and more). iPads and iPhones have increased my demand for laptop convenience, and new products have responded wonderfully.
The iSkelter Tab LapDesk is made to rest comfortably on my lap or can be set on my bed, sofa, desk, or table.Three models are available including the Desk Space, Right WhiteBoard, or Left WhiteBoard versions. All of these are compatible with any iPad, iPad Mini, and most other large or small tablets (as well as any Microsoft Surface tablet).
The Tab also fits all phones including iPhone 5/6/6+ and all Android phones. The rear mounting slot is thick enough to even accommodate Apple’s wrap-around case and other thinner versions. It measures 15” x 0.75” x 11”, and weights 2.5 pounds. The construction is of natural hand-finished Bamboo, an inset durable acrylic WhiteBoard, beveled edges all around, and a warm smooth overall touch. The rear slot even has a bottom hole for power cord access during use.
This lap desk works great to write on paper (on my left side) and take notes with an erasable pen on the acrylic surface (on my right side) while viewing either my iPad mini 2 or iPad Air 2 and/or iPhone 6+ (on the back side). This makes it very convenient to multi-task in front of messages, movies, productivity apps or anything else. The iDevices are very secure at the back (its unfortunate, but unavoidable, that the Home button is covered in vertical display mode). Overall, it makes for a very delightful and productive experience.
The Tab LapDesk is very affordable at $49.99, and can be found at iskelter.com/lapdesks. This is just one of many fine wood products from iSkelter (iskelter.com) including original laptop computer lap desks designed for today and built for tomorrow. They even provide free US shipping on all lap desks.
In addition, for the home/room/apartment, the Slate LapDesk and Slate 2.0 LapDesk are both two fully functional work spaces that come equipped with out-of-the-box features. They both have a super thick and heavy duty mousepad paired with a display dock made for all phones and most tablets. This Slate LapDesk has a 4.7 Star Amazon rating and has been ordered and loved by thousands of students, professionals, designers, and people who use their laptops.
iSkelter's Slate lap desks also include the SlateGo Mini (for backpacks), SlateGo LapDesk (13”/15”/17” laptops), Hover X Gamer’s LapDesk (largest laptop desks), Caddy device docks (holds drinks, phones, personal items), and cool accessories (calendar, easel, coasters), ranging from $24.00 - $89.99 in price. They even have fine desk furniture for sitting and standing at great prices. All are made of quality long-lasting materials designed for durable and highly-functional use. You can easily see the iSkelter motto is: “Hand-built by people who give a damn”!
I have been using Parallels as my virtual machine to run Windows (and older Mac operating systems) since the early days of version 3 over eight years ago. Every update gets better and more powerful than the one before.
Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac is now the fastest, easiest, and most powerful way to run Windows on my Mac side-by-side with (or on top of) Mac OS 10.11 El Capitan. I can even make Windows invisible while still using its applications, or keep the familiar Windows background and controls on my Mac Book Pro 15” retina or iMac 27” retina.
The very latest Windows 10 runs great on El Capitan featuring Microsoft Cortana, my new virtual assistant (okay, its not Siri, but better than Mac’s voice dictation). They have now also made it easy to get all of my files, applications, browser bookmarks, and more from your PC to your Mac; just by following the setup assistant (drag-and-drop also works great between environments).
Although its not something I usually do, it is possible to reuse an existing Boot Camp installation by converting it to a virtual machine. On the other hand, I do run a wide array of operating systems including Mac OS X 10.7 Snow Leopard (for old apps like AppleWorks) and 10.9 Mountain Lion (earlier app editions), and Windows 7 (older apps). Linux and Google Chrome are also possible, but not in my circle of interest.
I can select productivity, games, design, or development, and Parallels 11 will optimize my virtual machine settings and performance for me. The Parallels Desktop Pro Edition gives my virtual machines even more processing power using up to 64 GB vRAM and 16 vCPUs per virtual machine lets me run even the most demanding applications with ease.
That was a general overview of the newest Parallels 11. There are a bunch of additional features of great interest including (but not limited to) the following:
Copy and paste files or text between Mac and Windows
Launch Windows apps right from the Dock
Single-cloud storage space between Mac and Windows
Assign any USB devices to my Mac or Windows
Retina Display support for Windows
Run Windows in full or split screen
Windows alerts in Mac Notification Center
Mac dictation inside Windows applications
“Reveal in Windows Explorer” in OS X files menu
Real-time virtual disk optimization
Power Nap in Windows
New Virtual Machine Wizard
The Presentation Wizard prevents most projector issues
Drop files onto Outlook to create a new message
Multi-language Keyboard Sync
Share Bluetooth between Mac and Windows
Thunderbolt, Firewire, USB-C, USB 3.0 support
Work without risk with Snapshots
Finder Tabs work with Windows apps
and many more...
Parallels Access is another incredible feature (separate app) that allows for remote entry into either my MacBook Pro (including the virtual machine) or iMac from an iPad, iPhone or another Mac. With just one simple tap on my mobile device, and I’m connected reliably to my Parallels 11-installed computer (or iMac). I can even access it from any other computer (like my iMac or even a public computer) through a browser and my secure Parallels account. Then, I can navigate my hard drive easily to find a file or photo, then copy or open and control it with a tap or mouse click. This is incredible and inspirational remote control!
The Standard Edition (Home and Student use) is available for $79.99 (one-time purchase, no free upgrades) or the same for $79.99 per year (free upgrades). The Mac Pro or Mac Business Edition (for Developers, Designers, Testers and Power Users) is available for $99.99 (1-year subscription). All include a free subscription to Parallels Access, and can be purchased and downloaded at parallels.com/desktop. Either can be downloaded for free for a 14-day test period.
I highly recommend this product which continues to connect me to legacy Mac files (using older operating systems) and the very newest Windows products (using Windows 10), all with ease and dependability, at a modest price. And, what a delight, to be able to remotely access either of my computers from any of my mobile devices (I can’t wait to use the new iPad Pro for remote control).
Ultimately, the financial impact on your budget is largely the same, it just depends on whether you want to spend the money now or stretch it out over a long period of time (and whether you want to keep the phone to give to others, or trade it in annually for a new one). The choice is still YOURS . . . !!!
Here we are, getting ready for October, and the weather is still amazing me. I was hot for the Mizzou home opener (not surprising), but cool for the game against UConn last weekend.
I hope most of you had time to watch the Keynote from Apple introducing the new iPhones, Apple TV and iPads. They also showed some of the highlights of the newly released iOS9 (El Capitan comes out Sept. 30).
I have installed both, but I have been too busy to really explore and learn. I look forward to the presentations in our coming meeting.
The following people won door prizes at the September meeting:
Sue Snell iTunes card
Steve Archer iPad Case
Shubha Miller Cable yo yo
Bill Krause iPhone 5 case
Ann Lane Central Bank USB Charger
Larry Garvin Thumb Drive
John Doyle Cord
Janet Gallaher Trail Mix
The August "Member Spotlight" was on Sue Snell this past month; here is some information about her history with Apple products:
After getting their feet wet on a Radio Shack TRS-80 (long ago), Sue and Mark have been using Macintosh computers since the Mac SE with 2 floppy drives. They have continued being Apple users up through their iPhones (a 5 and a 6). When Sue taught school, she used her computer for a great deal more than she does at home today. At present, email and "keeping in touch" are her primary uses. Sue uses an Apple for Treasurer commitments for two different organizations, occasional information finding, and storage of important-to-me information. Primarily, she just tries to keep up with the constant Technological Changes and not to lose her mind!
Our upcoming October 6, 2015, meeting, (See agenda below) will be about “New Apple Products" and held at Kennedy Hall @ IC School, 1208 E. McCarty St., Jefferson City. We will have demos and discussions lead by Tom and George. Tom will tell us all about the new iPhones (he has one), and new ways to get them. Then, George will give us an insight on the new AppleTV.
After the Break, we will dive into all the new features and capabilities of the new iOS 9 (perhaps even a peek at the new watchOS2). As always, there will be time for everyone to ask questions, and share your tips and tricks to the group. Please continue to visit our website for more updates and fresh information.
"Peggy and the Geeks" from the appleJAC computer club were again on KWOS radio in Jefferson City, on Saturday, September 12, from 8:00 – 9:00 AM. The program was "Open Air Saturday with Peggy Landwehr”.
Peggy was joined by George Kopp and Tom Piper to discuss all things tech. Some of the topics discussed included recent Apple announcements about the new iPhone 6s & 6s plus, new iPadPro, new AppleTV, new watchOS2, new iOS 9, and new Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan.
To hear this broadcast (about 45 minutes), just click on this link:TalkinTech091215. Listen again to Open Air at a date yet to be announced, when they will talking more about technology.
Can you believe it’s mid-August and the high temperature one day this week was only 60°? I was able to cut down a dead Dogwood Tree, but not get overcome by heat. Back in June, I remember suggesting we will be looking for rain in mid-August, then my rain gauge received 4” this weekend. Hopefully, all the moisture is out of here by the time we get to winter, or we will have way too much snow.
Mac OS X 10.10.5 was released last week. I expect that will be the last update before Fall when we will see the full version of El Capitan (Mac OS X 10.11). I installed Beta OS X El Capitan last month (now up to beta 5) with some nice new features. I know some have played with the Beta version of iOS 9 as well (some very nice new features there too).
The following people won door prizes at the August meeting:
Jim Springs iTunes card
Todd McCluskey Able2Extract PDF Solution
Ken Zindle Book
Bonnie Culley Book
Ann Lane Book
Rosalind Moulton Book
John Doyle Cord
Sharon Hanson Stylus
Jane Szabados Ear Buds
George Kopp Quick Drive
August Member Spotlight was on Jim Springs:
Jim and his wife Diane started with the first iPad, she now has a MacBook Air, and he has a MacBook Pro (they also have a couple iPhones). Jim credits Mark Snell for hooking Diane on Apple Computers. Mark and Jim have worked on Habitat for Humanity homes together for years.
Diane uses her computer for doing email, Facebook, searching with Google, making cards, Pintrest, calendars, making photo albums, and paying bills. Jim does similar things along with bookkeeping for rental property. He has a hobby of taking pictures of old barns and sees there are a lot of others who show their barn photos on Pintrest. Spending lots of time out of state in an RV, they keep in communication with children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren with info and pictures.
Our upcoming September 1st, 2015, meeting, (see agenda below) will be "Home Connections" and held at “Callaway Rural Electric" in Fulton (thank you Charle Bland for setting us up). I really enjoyed the Home connections meeting we had a couple years ago. There are now more products are on the market, and we will give you a taste, or at least a tease, this month.
Presentations will include Demo’s and Discussion’s lead by Tom, George and myself. I will give you my thoughts about using Wire’s vs WiFi and answer the question, "Should you use Hub’s"? Tom will go over the Pro’s and Con’s of SkyBell and Explain CarPlay and RamCam. Then, after the Break, George will explain Home Kit, and also demo some of the features installed in his home. As always, there will be time for everyone to ask questions, and share your tips and tricks to the group. Continue to visit our website for more updates and fresh information.
Over the years that I’ve owned iPhones, I’ve had many cases including protective, decorative, functional, plastic, metal, magnetic, and more. Almost two years ago, I review the first multi-tool utility case (applejac.com/multi-tool-case) which has now been improved on the latest bigger iPhones.
The IN1 Multi-Tool Utility Case for the iPhone 6 Plus combines a sleek design with functional multi-tools into a single enclosure. This polycarbonate case (with rear kickstand) not only protects my iPhone, it also offers a useful tool-set including a short blue pen, a strong bottle opener, two small screwdrivers (phillips and flat-head), a handy nail file, a dandy tweezers, a small scissors, and a great toothpick. It has scratch protection inside using felt backing, and, when I fly, this case is TSA compliant.
These tools are aimed to be helpful for everyday tasks. The IN1 case will help with day-to-day small tasks such as writing notes, adjusting glasses, opening bottles, extracting slivers, and cutting open packages. It is available in white, black and clear. I was also able to pick the color of the tool handles (grey, black, yellow, green, blue, purple, violet) which made it very customizable.
After using a iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus case (separately) for a week, I have found that they add good extra protection for the sides and back of the iPhone, while also adding more bulk requiring a larger holster (which I expected), yet very light in weight. The tools are easy to extract, handy to use, and quite durable in construction (I do wish the case back either had the tool name or symbol imprinted for easy identification). Since there is extra space, a red pen and sharp blade (removable before TSA inspection) would be great additions, along with a rubberized shell to improve the overall grip. The case installs easily and maintains a tight fit, which is secure but also makes removal a little challenging.
The company IN1 is an innovative phone case manufacturer with industry-changing design concepts. Their unique, patent-pending designs, delivers style with functionality seldom before found in a cell phone case. As they say, form and function has never looked this good, so "demand more from your case".
Available for only $39.99 at in1case.com, the IN1 is available for the iPhone 5/5S/6/6+ and Galaxy S5 (color of case and tools must also be specified here). If you are a handyman (or woman) and want to have a nice small gadgetcase with your iPhone, this is the package to get.
Hard disk drives (HDD) have been around for almost 60 years with 2.5” versions introduced for laptop computers 27 years ago. Yet, it was only 7 years ago that their capacity reached one terabyte, which has just now been quadrupled by an innovative company.
Samsung HDD, a division of Seagate Technology, recently announced their 4TB M3 Portable (and the P3 Portable) external hard drives, which are the first 4TB USB-powered single-drive solutions to come in 2.5” cases in the world.
According to Dave Klenske, director of product line management at Samsung HDD: “Previously only attainable in desktop or bulky multi-drive internal designs, we can now achieve a 4TB capacity in a compact drive thanks to the latest Samsung HDD technology. By going to a single drive solution, we can power the drive through just a USB connection while fitting it into a case that is only a 1/10 of an inch thicker than our 2TB drive. They are the perfect lightweight drives for notebook computer owners who need to access media collections too large to fit on traditional internal storage options.”
The 4TB Samsung M3 Portable Portable drive measures 0.8” x 3.3” x 4.7”, weighs only 8.3 ounces, and operates at USB 3.0 speeds without requiring any external power supplies. This Spinpoint M10P 4TB hard drive (the mechanism inside the case) enables this innovation with the highest aerial density (800GB for each of its internal disks on one spindle) in the world. According to another Samsung HDD source, with consumer demand for external storage capacity continuing to grow, the M3 (and P3) 4TB answers the increasing appetite for storage and are positioned to lead future capacity needs from the mobile market.”
Spinning at 5400rpm, and equipped with 128MB of cache, this is the first HDD to use SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording) technology by Seagate. This means that tracks overlap one another, like shingles on a roof, allowing more data to be written to the same space. As new data is written, the drive tracks are trimmed, or shingled. Because the reader element on the drive head is smaller than the writer, all data can still be read off the trimmed track without compromise to data integrity or reliability.
Upon receipt of the unit, I found that it was boxed with the drive, USB 3.0 cable and Quick Start Guide . . . it was immediately ready with plug-and-play. It came fully partitioned and NTFS-formatted for Windows using the included Samsung Drive Manager which supports auto backup, file/folder security, drive lock, drive diagnostic, partition setup, and power settings. Also included for Macintosh use, “NTFS for Mac Driver” software (once installed on the user’s Mac) allows for full and speedy read and write functions to all data.
For my purposes, I wanted this to be a bootable backup for both my MacBook Pro 15” retina 500GB SSD with external 1TB Thunderbolt drive plus my iMac 27” retina with internal 3TB hybrid drive. I reformatted the drive as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) and partitioned it into three parts (0.5TB, 1TB, 2.5TB) to reflect the volume sizes to be archived. Using Carbon Copy Cloner, I then created three separate backups of my boot drives and data drive, which could then be updated weekly on a scheduled increment basis. At a transfer rate of 4.8Gb/s using SuperSpeed USB 3.0, it took several hours to create this package of bootable clones, but the result is a wonderful duplicate of all my MacOS and iOS digital files (remember, my iPads and iPhones are backup to my computers). What a great resource!
To learn more about the Samsung HDD 4TB M3 and P3 Portables with their 3-year limited warranty, go to seagate.com/samsung-hdd. To purchase the M3 (durable black diamond design) for $189.99, go to play-asia.com/samsung-m3 (initially available as a global product sold in Latin America, Asia, Europe). To purchase the P3 (thin compact grey smooth design) for $179.99, go to newegg.com/samsung-p3 (US market).
Seagate creates space for the human experience by innovating how data is stored, shared and used (learn more at seagate.com). I have a variety of Seagate hard disk drives, and have been very pleased with their quality, dependability and value. This is a wonderful new addition to the Seagate HDD family.
The use of hard disk drives (HDD) has come a long way since their introduction by Reynold Johnson in 1956 (IBM 350 Disk File with 50 platters [each 24” diameter], 1200 rpm, 3.75MB capacity, 29” x 60” x 68” cabinet, over 1 ton weight, 1970 patent). By 1980, the size was down to 3.5”, by 1988 reduced to 2.5”, and by 2004 0.85” (from Toshiba, used in the iPod Classic). The first 1TB drive came out in 2007 (Hitachi), and today they are up to 10TB (Western Digital). The RAID (redundant array of independent disks) concept using multiple hard drives to improve capacity, performance and reliability dates back to patents in 1977 and 1986, laying the foundation for today’s powerhouse units.
The OWC ThunderBay 4 mini is a RAID 5 Edition with 4.0TB of storage in a 4-bay (using 1TB HDD in each bay) external drive connected with dual Thunderbolt 2 ports. This configuration results in performance and data redundancy using the first and only software RAID 5 technology developed for the Mac. It is optimized for 2.5" drives and perfect for SSDs which delivers outstanding performance and reliability for the most demanding applications, such as workflows involving 4K/2K/uncompressed HD, and multi-stream SD video.
The OWC ThunderBay 4 mini is preconfigured in RAID 5 for optimal data redundancy which features sustained performance of up to 1010MBs read and 908MBs write speeds. This mode has 75% faster rebuild times than hardware RAID. Such blazing speed and rock-solid reliability is designed for the power user.
With RAID 5, the four drives inside the ThunderBay 4 mini are merged for increased capacity and tremendous performance gains over a single drive. Special redundancy data, called "parity information," is also stored across the drives, allowing my data to remain completely safe so I can maintain my mission critical workflows worry-free.
This unit will expand production capabilities for industry-leading creative platforms like Final Cut X, Avid Pro Tools, and Adobe Lightroom with this incredibly fast and portable storage solution. ThunderBay 4 mini RAID 5 Edition is preconfigured in RAID 5 and supports RAID 0, 1, 4, and 1+0 arrays to achieve the optimal balance of storage, performance, and data-redundancy any workflow demands.
OWC unlocks the incredible performance and flexibility of ThunderBay by pairing the drives with a robust software RAID solution. Powered by the SoftRAID engine, ThunderBay 4 mini RAID 5 Edition delivers advanced RAID modes, real-time health monitoring with email notifications, and best-in-class rebuild speeds. Unlike traditional software RAID solutions, SoftRAID's revolutionary volume optimization allows me to quickly configure my drive for specific workflows. Now, you can experience the absolute best performance whether recording audio, editing 4K video, or creating a multimedia server.
I can take full advantage of this flexibility to easily build and reconfigure complex RAID arrays, or connect multiple ThunderBays to create even larger RAIDs with up to 16 drives for optimal performance and redundancy. Now, users can enjoy robust RAID options with near enterprise-grade storage and performance for a fraction of the cost. Each ThunderBay undergoes OWC's regimented multi-hour drive "burn-in" to ensure that the end user experiences the amazing performance right out the box.
This durable, heat-dissipating, aluminum unibody shell features a "flow-thru" vented design coupled with a 60mm whisper-quiet fan. ThunderBay's drive isolating design reduces sonic resonance, and is aided by rugged, vibration-absorbing, non-skid feet. The dual Thunderbolt 2 ports let me connect any display that my computer can support, including 4K displays.
ThunderBay comes with an OWC one-meter certified Thunderbolt cable (other lengths from 0.5 to 30 meters are available separately). I’m primarily using this unit through my OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock for Time Machine backups from my MacBook Pro 15” retina. This computer is vital to my daily operations, and its important to me to have an up-to-date, fast and reliable archiving of my internal SSD (for applications) and external Thunderbolt hard drive (for data). Performance is flawless while its operations are essentially invisible.
The OWC ThunderBay 4 mini is available for $2,299 at macsales.com/thunderbay. OWC provides award-winning US-based support for both the ThunderBay 4 drive and SoftRAID software which included with the purchase. Also included is a 3-Year OWC Solution Limited Warranty, quick 48-Hour Warranty Service, and 1-Year Level-1 Data Recovery Service.
This is yet another of OWC’s wonderful array of technology products which feature quality, reliability and value. They now also have special Apple user group deals and discounts available for us at macsales.com/AUGdiscounts.
In my earlier review of the Envoy Pro mini, I marveled at the advancements in electronic storage. As if that wasn’t enough, here is an even more amazing combination product with more capacity, opportunities and features.
First in this two-part review is the OWC Mercury On-The-Go Portable 2.5" FW800/USB3.0 Enclosure Kit for Serial ATA (SATA) NoteBook Drives which is a great case to house a laptop’s internal drive if you decide to install an SSD replacement drive (described below). This bus-powered case features an Oxford 944 chipset with FireWire 800/400 and USB 3.0/2.0 ports (backwards compatible) which measures only 1” x 3″ x 5.5″ (weight of 11oz).
The OWC Mercury On-The-Go's fanless design offers near silent operation while still keeping my drive cool. The built-in aluminum heatsink underneath the drive, and passthrough cooling vents on the top of the case work in tandem to provide optimum results. This versatility and size make it a great accessory for laptop or desktop computers.
This On-The-Go "Add your own Drive" Kit enclosure is ready to accept any 2.5" SATA Hard Drive or SSD. Just as I replaced my son-in-law’s old MacBook internal drive with a sweet SSD unit, I repurposed its old drive as a new external drive for even more backup and storage capacity (he still thinks the difference after the upgrade was incredible). This solution will give anyone an improved laptop, plus an excellent transportable storage device, or a backup option that everyone should have.
Second in this review is the 480GB Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G SSD 2.5" Serial-ATA 7mm 6Gb/s Solid State Drive with 5-Year Warranty with Tier 1 2X-nm Multi-Level Cell (MLC) NAND Flash Storage w/ 7% Over-Provisioned Redundancy (Mac & PC compatible). All of this tech jargon simply means this advanced chip-based storage will fit in most laptops to provide fast, reliable and durable data storage, resulting in long-term speed and capacity advantages. This is the fastest and most reliable Solid State Drive on the market today.
Special features provide maximum notebook performance and battery life, extended endurance with DuraWrite, even automatic data distribution with Intelligent Block Management and Wear Leveling, active read/write that spreads data across the flash components Intelligent Read Disturb Management eliminating data corruption caused by constant use, and advanced free-space management which gradually re-writes data across the SSD over time using Intelligent "Recycling" to ensure data never gets corrupted. It also includes RAISE (Redundant Array of Independent Silicon Elements) to protect the data on the SSD (similar to having a RAID setup), and Best-in-Class ECC Protection for longest data retention and drive life. OWC even provides a 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee to ensure satisfaction.
Performance wise, this unit will read at sustained rates up to 559MB/s and writes up to 527MB/s, which is up to a hundred times greater data protection than enterprise-class Hard Disk Drives. The OWC Mercury EXTREME SSD line delivers unbeatable performance because, unlike traditional hard disk drives, OWC solid state drives have no moving parts, resulting in a quiet, cool, and highly rugged storage solution that also offers faster system responsiveness.
For the technically-oriented installer, its important to know that you can attach a spacer/adapter to the top of any 7mm, 2.5-inch drive for installations that require a 9.5mm drive height for proper use. This adapter is not needed for 2.5-inch drive installations that use the standard side or bottom mounting positions to secure the drive in place, and is not needed for any installation of a 7mm drive in Apple Macintosh computers.
For this review, and to achieve the fastest performance and versatility, I have installed the 480GB SSD described above in to the enclosure for a really amazing package. It can be used for a variety of purposes on my MacBook Pro, or iMac 27” retina, or take it on the road when needed. It is a durable and sturdy design that has been a featured OWC product for a long time (with SSD advancements, of course).
The OWC Mercury On-The-Go Enclosure Kit (including case, nice carrying case, 15” FireWire 800 cable, 18” USB 3.0 cable) sells for $72.99 at macsales.com/kit. The 480GB Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G SSD is available for $297.50 at macsales.com/ssd, or 240GB for $117.99 - $194.75, or 120GB for $69.99 - $129.75. Units with re-installed SSD in this case are also available for as little as $104.00 for 120GB, or up to $359.00 for the combo described in this review.
These are only a few of many fine products available from OWC. They now also have special Apple user group deals and discounts available for us at macsales.com/AUGdiscounts.
Electronic storage of applications, documents, photos, music and other files has been a marvel of advancements since my first cassette tape recordings in 1979 on my 48K Apple ][. From tape to floppies to hard drives to optical drives to flash drives to memory cards to digital clouds, capacity and speed have increased exponentially. Recently I acquired the latest amazing development in portable storage.
The Envoy Pro mini from Other World Computing (OWC) has 240GB of storage, is lightning fast, has delightfully portable style (easy pocket fit), and features Desktop Class SSD technology. As a USB 3.0 device, it works equally well in both Mac and PC environments, uses ultra-efficient Block Management and Wear Leveling for highest reliability, and it backed by a 3-Year OWC Solution Limited Warranty.
With a sustained speed up to 427MB/s (maximum of 500MB/s), this equals over 3.2 gigabytes per minute, which is equivalent to 1,600 iPhone 6 plus photos (or over 500 Sony NEX-5N DSLR photos) that could be copied in a minute . . . that is, if my source (like computer hard drive) could keep up with that speed. Whether pictures, movies, presentations, or any other files, that is awesome speed. And, with 240GB of capacity, this SSD unit can hold up to 120,000 of my iPhone photos (or about 40,000 of my camera photos). That is more than the almost 27,000 mixed photos and movies I have stored on my computer.
This is obviously not your average thumb drive because it is elegant, light, and strong which is incredibly fast and perfectly portable for my life. Because it's a desktop-class SSD, the Envoy Pro mini is nearly twice as fast as the average thumb drive. Available in 120GB and 240GB capacities, it's a powerful little workhorse with the time-tested pedigree of the OWC SSD family. Unprecedented speed in such a small form-factor sets me free from progress bars and data bottlenecks.
I also plan to use the Envoy Pro mini to host my virtual machine (Parallels 10) which will allow me to uses Windows 7 & 10 on one hand, and Snow Leopard & Mountain Lion on the other. Since I also do some beta testing, I can boot to the latest beta software, like El Capitan. The possibilities are endless. My only caveats are that it runs hot (during a long sustained copy), and its a tight fit next to a Thunderbolt cable on my MacBook Pro 15” retina (but then, that’s what the 6” USB extension cable is for).
There's a lot hiding inside Envoy Pro Mini's sleek aluminum body (less than 0.5”x1.0”x3.7”, 1.5oz), including the same suite of industry-leading controller technologies as OWC's high-performance desktop-class SSDs. It comes pre-installed with backup and utility software including Intech SpeedTools Utilities OEM (For Mac OS 8.6, OS X 10.3.9 or later only), ProSoft Engineering Data Backup for Mac OS X v10.2.8 or later, and NovaStor NovaBACKUP for Windows 2000 or later. The package ships with the SSD unit, USB extension cable, and a handy lanyard.
All of this for only $119.00 for the 120GB unit, or $199.00 for 240GB at macsales.com/envoy. This is only one of many fine products available from OWC. They now also have special Apple user group deals and discounts available for us at macsales.com/AUGdiscounts.
If you’re like me, you’ve invested a lot of money on a quality Mac laptop, and want to make sure it is well-shielded from the elements. At the same time, it would be nice to have a case that makes a positive statement about your values and principles. I’ve found a great company who provides me lots of options on quality protection.
The NuGuard Snap-On Laptop Cover for the MacBook Pro Retina display protects my beautiful machine with style. The soft-touch exterior and vivid finish not only keeps my laptop safe, but lets its inner beauty shine through.
The custom fit, two-piece hard shell construction made it a breeze to install (and to remove), and provides reliable defense against damages. The rubberized feet keep my laptop stable and the vent slots help prevent overheating. It's also an ideal complement to the NuGuard Keyboard Cover for a fully-protected, custom-color MacBook Pro.
There are many great features about these NuGuard Snap-On Laptop Covers which protecs against scuffs, scratches, wear and tear. They come in 11 vibrant colors including Black, Light Blue, Dark Blue, Gray, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, Yellow, White, & Clear. My personal selection was the American Flag. These covers are available for all MacBook models since 2011, of all screen sizes.
I like the look and feel of this cover with its vintage patriotic style. I frequently use all of my ports, all of which are still easy to access. The added weight is minimal and the fit is good. This should also add value to my treasured laptop when I’m ready to sell it.
This is a real good buy at only $19.00 at macsales.com/cover. Other covers are available for as little as $7.74. Colorful keyboard covers can be purchased for $4.74. There are many great values available at NewerTech and Other World Computing, and they now have special Apple user group deals and discounts available for us at macsales.com/AUGdiscounts.