Imagine this scenario, you're listening to your favorite music track on your Mac and had to leave the house, don't you wish your iPhone or iPod touch can seamlessly carry on playing the track from where you were at in iTunes on your Mac? Or if you were deeply engaged in a podcast just before you had to head out, so you have to wait for the iPhone or iPod touch to synch using iTunes before you leave. This happens to me often especially the latter. Fortunately, Five Details, the 2008 Apple Design Awards winners and maker of Flow, has a solution and it is called Seamless.

This little utility comes in an iOS/OS X duo, a free OS X app and a USD0.99 iPhone app components. The OS X app is a background app that only appears as a menu item on your Mac when running.

Before anything is to work you will first have to pair the iOS app with the OS X app. This is done easily:

  1. Have both the Mac and the iOS device on the same WiFi network.
  2. The OS X app needs to be running.
  3. Starts the iOS app then;
  4. Clicks on the "Add A Mac" option in the iOS app.

The Mac will immediately recognizes its iOS component, and presents a dialog to confirm your action.

Seamless - Add iOS Device

Acknowledge the iOS device by clicking on the Allow button. Now the Mac will become one of the Near By Macs in the list within the iOS app. There does not appear to be any limits to the number of Macs the iOS app can be paired with or vice versa.

Seamless - Track To PlayWhile the OS X app runs in the background it monitors the currently playing track in iTunes. When you have to get away from your Mac all you have to do is start the Seamless iOS app on your iPhone of iPod touch. The iOS app will immediately picks up the current playing track from iTunes on your Mac and presents you with a large button to "Transition music from Mac".

Clicking on the "Transition Music from Mac" button will immediately plays the track in the iPod app within your iOS device. Of course the said track will need to be already on your iOS device. Seamless will not magically transfer tracks that are not already on the iOS device or the Mac.

Seamless - Track Not Found Seamless - Transition To MacIf the track is not found the iOS app will show a screen telling you to synchronize your music between the Mac and the iOS device.

Note: currently Seamless can only recognize tracks within a Playlist synchronized between the Mac and the iOS device, but this bug should be fixed in the next version.

Going from the iOS device to the Mac is just as seamless. An added bonus is that the iOS app will quietly fades away the track on the iOS device while it transition the track to the Mac.

Overall this is a well polished 1.0 app for from this award winning developer. For the inexpensive price of USD0.99 it is well worth it to have this function that Apple should have built into both OSs.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/20154325[/vimeo] Seamless from Five Details on Vimeo.

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesiphone

Please bookmark and come back to this place on Since Apple is Live streaming their "Back to the Mac" event on Wednesday, Oct. 20th, 10:00 (US PDT) for my live coverage of Apple's "Back to the Mac" event I will add my opinion in a separate post afterwards.

Start Time October 20, 2010, 10:00 (San Francisco, CA, USA PDT) October 20, 2010, 13:00 (New York, NY, USA EDT) October 20, 2010, 18:00 (London, UK) October 21, 2010, 01:00 (Hong Kong) October 21, 2010, 04:00 (Sydney, Australia) All other locations

Posted
AuthorVinko
CategoriesApple Inc-

As promised Apple just made available Mac OS 10.6.4 for download.

There are two Knowledge Base articles to describe what have changed in this latest OS X release. The first is "About the Mac OS X v10.6.4 Update" and the other is an "About the security content of Security Update 2010-004 / Mac OS X v10.6.4".

As with all other OS X updates I recommend that you download the Combo Update and then apply it to your Mac.

Posted
AuthorVinko
CategoriesApple Inc-

Amidst the news of Apple delaying deliveries of subsequent pre-orders for the iPad to April 12th, this evening (HK time, GMT+0800) Apple released the latest update to the Mac OS X operating system. Version 10.6.3 of OS X has the following enhancements as outlined by Apple.

Posted
AuthorVinko
CategoriesApple Inc-

I like to share with my readers the process in which I became a SSD ("Sold State Drive") user. The price of SSD drive is still way more expensive than a regular HDD, especially when you compared the cost per GB (Gigabyte).

In Hong Kong on average one can find a reasonably fast 7200rpm 1TB (Terabyte) 3.5" internal drive for about HKD790.00. Even if you purchase a USB capable external enclosure that is only an additional HKD120.00. Giving you a cost per GB of HKD0.91/GB.

On the other hand the Intel SSD X25-M 160GB cost me HKD3770 at the beginning of January, giving me the cost per GB of HK23.56/GB. This means using a SSD cost 24.89 times more.

How I come to decide on purchasing the Intel SSD X25-M? Partially it is because of the reviews and information gather from AnandTech's web site, plus the feedback from various people about Intel and OCZ SSD.

The reason I compared the 2.5" SATA II SSD internal drive to a Western Digital Caviar Black 3.5" high performance SATA II drive, is because that's what I would have purchased as an additional drive for my MacBook Pro. Now that I purchased the SSD, I converted the original 320GB drive into an external backup drive with an external enclosure.

So is the 160GB SSD installed in my 2.66GHz MacBook Pro 15" (Mid 2009) with 4GB of RAM 25.89 times faster than when I had the original 320GB 5400rpm HDD installed? I use the program XBench 1.3 to test my MacBook Pro prior to and after swapping the new SSD for the HDD.

The following are the summary of the scores.

Type of Test HDD Score SSD Score
Overal Results 116.48 191.49
Disk Test 35.69 282.17

These results show that my MacBook Pro improved its overall XBench score by 1.64 times and its disk performance score by 7.91 times. Due to Write Amplification I believe more RAM will help further improve the overall performance of my MacBook Pro.

Now that I have been running OS 10.6 (aka. Snow Leopard) on my 2006 MacBook Pro for a week. I can offer my opinions of the latest OS X. Twitter followers had heard me complain that my MacBook Pro was very slow with certain apps, including those that others had raved about for being improved and much speedier.

If you read my post, Snow Leopard Now Installed, you will know that I spent some time examining all the Extensions, Input Managers and Plug-ins, to ensure compatibility with OS 10.6 before I upgrading my MBP. So I don't believe the application slowness was due to the incompatibilities of Extensions, Input Managers or Plug-ins.

One thing that may cause my poor experience is the fact that my MBP has an Intel Core Duo rather than a Core 2 Duo, so it is not a 64bit processor.

As readers of my other post; mentioned above, or people who had installed OS 10.6 know, the update has recovered about 50% more free space on the boot hard drive. This savings may have hidden the fact that applications are occupying more RAM than before, which may be another reason why my MBP is slow. As my MBP has a maximum RAM capacity of 2GB, which I had already maxed out.

So what I decided to do was to sell my tired MBP and replace it with one of the latest MBP 15" model.

My conclusion is that if you do not have one of the later Macintosh from late 2008, there is really no need for you to upgrade to OS 10.6. You can hold off on the upgrade until there is a requirement from one of the applications you use to upgrade. Even then you should read my post, Snow Leopard Now Installed, and do the check of your Extensions, Input Managers or Plug-ins for incompatibilities before upgrading.

Posted
AuthorVinko
CategoriesApple Inc-

As many of you know Apple released the latest version of OS X, 10.6 (aka. Snow Leopard) on Friday, August 28, 2009. I had pre-ordered this version on Tuesday, when Apple began accepting orders on their online store for HKD238.00. Apple had originally told me that my order was going to ship on August 28 and I would not receive the shipment until Monday, August 31. Although I was a bit disappointed I was glad to have the time to prepare my Mac for the upgrade. So I was caught by surprised when Apple delivered my shipment on Saturday, August 29.

You ask, "...prepare my Mac for the upgrade"? Yes, I normally do a fresh Time Machine backup and a full image backup of the boot up drive before I attempt any OS upgrade. Since this time it is a dot release, and the amount of changes to the underlining OS, it is even more important to do so.

For the case of OS 10.6, almost all components of the system has been rewritten in 64 bit architecture. Even the kernel; underlining engine that drives the OS, boots up in 32 bit mode by default unless the user holds down the "6" and "4" keys during boot up, but all 64 bit application will run in 64 bit architecture. The reason booting up in 32 bit mode by default is for general compatibility with the early Intel based Macintosh (Intel Core Duo) which are 32 bit.

Due to this 64 bit architecture, there is also a great deal of incompatibility for Plug-ins, Extensions, and Input Managers. It is best to examine the usual locations for these items for incompatibility first before performing the upgrade. You can use the excellent crowd source list at SnowLeopard.Wikidot.com to see if the applications, extension and plugins are Snow Leopard compatible.

The usual locations for Plug-ins, Extensions, and Input Managers are:

  • /Library/Adddress Book Plug-ins/
  • /Library/Contextual Menu Items/
  • /Library/InputManagers/
  • /Library/Internet Plug-Ins/
  • /Library/iTunes/iTunes Plug-ins/
  • /Library/PreferencePanes/
  • /Library/QuickTime/
  • /Library/StartupItems/
  • /Library/Widgets/
  • ~/Library/Adddress Book Plug-ins/
  • ~/Library/Contextual Menu Items/
  • ~/Library/Internet Plug-Ins/
  • ~/Library/iTunes/iTunes Plug-ins/
  • ~/Library/PreferencePanes/
  • ~/Library/Widgets/

Note: the "~" represent the Home directory of the current User account

Since this version of OS X is an upgrade, there was not the usual options in the Installer to do an "Archive & Install" or "Erase & Install". I was going to do a fresh install but erasing my hard drive, install a fresh copy of 10.5.8 then upgrade it to 10.6, but I decided not to. If you want to do so, you will have to first erase your hard drive using Disk Utility, then install OS 10.6.

Apple said that the new OS has a smaller foot print, which was indeed true. I compared my hard drive's free space (26GB) before upgrade to after the upgrade (39.3GB), which means I gain 50% more disk space after the upgrade. During the installation wizard I did choose my normal Customized install, by excluding all Language version of OS X and Printer Drivers. Although, this time the Installer had a new option for Print Drivers, which is to install only the Print Driver necessary for this Mac.

After about 12 hours of use, I find OS 10.6 to be pretty good. So far there are no incompatibilities that I can see, especially after I removed all known incompatibilities prior to the upgrade.

My main advice to all is make sure you have a full backup before attempting the upgrade.

Posted
AuthorVinko

Apple Blue LogoShortly after the release of OS X version 10.5.7 Apple released 10.5.8 to its developers for testing. This version of OS X is rumored to be the last of the OS X versions that continues to support the PowerPC Macintosh. With an educated guess this rumor is definitely believable, as OS 10.6 is expected to be released sometime in September 2009, and it will not support Macintosh hardware with PowerPC architecture.New Updates Yesterday (Cupertino time) Apple made version 10.5.8 of OS X available through Software Update, you can see the list of fixes it includes from Apple's Knowledge Base article.

Since the list of security fixes is so comprehensive, it is recommended that all OS X users upgrade to this latest version.

Posted
AuthorVinko