Many people are tempted by the low cost of Apple products in Hong Kong compared to all other countries around the world, including USA. They are most attracted to the factory SIM-unlocked iPhones sold through official Apple resellers and Apple HK store online. So they are tempted to purchase one or more of these products while they are travelling to Hong Kong. Making a purchasing decision like this should not be taken lightly. Aside from the cost, for any electronic product there should also be consideration of warrantee.

Fortunately, Apple had changed its warrantee last year for all its "portable" devices (ie. MacBook, iPod, iPhone, iPad, etc.) such that they have a worldwide warrantee coverage. But you need to read the (not so) small print in Apple's warrantee documents. Apple has the rights to request any warrantee services to be performed in the purchased country. Of course, this is less likely if the country where the warrantee requester is in also officially sells the item in question.

In some cases, people who lives in Hong Kong may want to consider purchasing Apple products from other countries. One such example, is the current situation with the iPad, where they were sold out within one day and Apple Premier Resellers have stopped receiving pre-orders because they can no longer promise a date on which to fulfill the backorders. Fortunately, for people who lives in HK, by this Friday (July 30th) Apple HK will be officially selling every Apple released products. Therefore, the chances of Apple HK requesting purchasers to send the warranted item back to purchasing country for warrantee repairs is low. So if you have the means to purchase iPad or iPhone 4 from UK or France, and willing to pay the higher cost due to exchange rates, you can.

Please understand I am not suggesting you purchase from the gray-market sellers in Mong Kok or Wanchai. These resellers are charging approximately HKD1000.00 above List price for iPads and close to 200% more for the iPhone 4 (from UK or France), lower for the ones from USA.

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-

Just now Amazon quietly launched the Kindle for Mac.

The new applicaiton is a very basic that fucntions exactly what you expects a Kindle application on the Mac does. It downloads your purchased Kindle books from Amazon, so you can read them on your Mac. The application also use Whispersync to synchronize the spot in the book where you left off when you last read the book. The functionality is not that much different than the Kindle for iPhone app. The only major addition is the Mac version's ability to resize the screen displaying the book.

Unfortunately, there is a bug in the application, where if you were resizing the window (by dragging or clicking on the Zoom Out button) while the book is loading, the application often messes up the line widths of the book.

Un-intuitively you have to use the Font Resizing icon to bring up the Font/Line Resizing window to adjust the line width, so that more of each line fills the page.

Hitting the Reset to Default button in the window or dragging the slider all the way to the right expands the lines in the book to occupy the full width of the screen.

Posted
AuthorVinko
CategoriesApple Inc-

As all of you know the pending release of Apple's latest version of OS X, version 10.6 (aka Snow Leopard), will be available this Friday, August 28th. To help you decide whether to purchase this upgrade, or more precisely, whether the applications, utilities and plugins you're using are compatible with OS 10.6. There is a Wiki created to track such information.

So before you rush onto Apple Online Store or other online retailers to place your pre-order. You may want to run down the check list first. See if one of the applications you depends on is on the list. If it is marked as not compatible, you may want to check with the developer before making your purchase.

Snow Leopard Compatibility Chart

Posted
AuthorVinko
CategoriesApple Inc-

Safari LogoIf you rely on 1Password daily and does not want to use beta class software, I would NOT recommend installing the final release of Safari that Apple released last night (HKT). The Safari 4.0 final version broke the 1Password plugin for Safari and the previous hack does not work.

The 1Password veresion that works with this version of Safari is the latest 2.9.19 beta 2 (build 7499), which according to the developers is a "final candidate". So if you're not the type who is comfortable using beta software, then you should not have too long to wait before 1Password 2.9.19 final is released.

[Update: June 9, 11:27 HKT] Just received an update from Agile Web Solutions, they had finalized 2.9.19 and brought it out of Beta status. So it is now safe to upgrade to Safari 4.0 even if you use 1Password.

Posted
AuthorVinko

Twenty-five years ago Apple released the Macintosh computer. With its original (arguably) approach to computing and Human Interface, it immediately changed the personal computer market, and introduced the concept of GUI. Ever since that day Apple continued to innovate, coming up with original approaches to product design and User Experience. For that, I had been happily using the various models (11 in total) of Macintosh for the same number of years. Tomorrow is Macintosh's quarter of a century anniversary; although I am much older, I too will be celebrating a birthday of my own. Is it a coincident that the Mac's birthday and my own are on the same day? For those who believe in fate may think otherwise.

Over the past 25 years Apple had its ups and downs, with the worst few years during the mid 90's when Apple's co-founder, Steve Jobs, was forced out of the company. Upon his return in 1998 the company was transformed once again, which we saw the introduction of the iMac, Macintosh Cube, iPod, Mac Mini, MacBook Air, iPhone and unibody MacBook.

In recent weeks, Apple fans received much news about Apple and its co-founder, Steve Jobs. Through out the Interweb, there are numerous analyses of what these all means, so I will not dwell on these subject further. I personally wish Steve Jobs and his family the best and may he get well soon. At this point it really doesn't matter if Jobs returns to Apple or not, if he does it will be a bonus to Apple and its faithful customers (followers).

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesopinion

Pwnage Tool logoApple released Mac OS 10.5.6 update on Monday (US PST). As always I would suggest everyone follow the instructions on the release notes plus use the Combo Upgrade to upgrade your Mac. Although, if you are the millions who owns iPhones that had been jailbroken and/or Unlocked, you need to stay AWAY from this Mac OS X update for now. It has been reported that this version of Mac OS X will not recognize hacked iPhones. Until either this report has been independently verified or until the iPhoneDev Team has a method to get around the problem, hacked iPhone users should stay avoid updating their Macintosh for now.

Please stay tuned here, I will update everyone as news develop.

[Update: December 17, 2008] The iPhoneDev Team has released a note addressing the issue reported regarding the problem with activating the DFU (device firmware update) mode for the iPhone, after the Mac has been upgraded to Mac OS 10.5.6. The next release of the iPhoneDev Team's Pwnage Tool is not expected until Christmas Eve (Dec. 31.2008), but there is no mention if this upcoming release will resolve the DFU problem.

[Update: December 19, 2008] Finally an Automator script that will perform the fix suggested by the iPhoneDev Team. This method will not require a layman to jump into Terminal and fuzz with the inner workings of the Mac.

I have yet to try this so will report when I have.

[Update: December 20, 2008] Now there are two solutions: one is to connect the iPhone to the Mac via an USB hub. The other is to replace the IOUSBFamily.kext with the version from 10.5. Someone had created an AppleScript to do this for you as explained in the iPhoneWiki forum thread.

Posted
AuthorVinko
MacBook MacBook Air MacBook Pro
2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2GB DDR3 Memory 160GB 5400rpm Hard Drive Super Drive NVIDIA GeForce 9400M video card 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2GB DDR3 Memory 250GB 5400rpm Hard Drive Super Drive NVIDIA GeForce 9400M video 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2GB DDR3 Memory 120GB 4200rpm Hard Drive NVIDIA GeForce 9400M video card 1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2GB DDR3 Memory 128GB SSD Hard Drive NVIDIA GeForce 9400M video card 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2GB DDR3 Memory Super Drive 250GB 5400rpm Hard Drive NVIDIA GeForce 9400M + 9600M GT with 256MB video card 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 4GB DDR3 Memory 320GB 5400rpm Hard Drive Super Drive NVIDIA GeForce 9400M + 9600M GT with 512MB video card
$10,200.00 $12,500.00 $13,900.00 $19,200.00 $15,400.00 $19,200.00

* All currency in HKD

This new line of Macintosh notebooks cause me to be indecisive about my justification to upgrade my current MacBook Pro (October 2006, Glossy Screen), 2GB of RAM, 2Hz Intel Core Duo, 100GB 7200 rpm Hard Drive. Let me get into the details so you can decide whether you have the same issues.

These new MacBooks have many technical advancement in terms of manufacturing and user interface. There are hardware in the Mac that the upcoming Mac OS X (10.6) will be able to take advantage and make these efficiencies available to all applications running on the new Mac OS X.

Apple has removed the Firewire port on the MacBook, making it the first time since the iBook released in 2001 that a Mac does not have a Firewire port. They also removed the Firewire 400 port from the new MacBook Pro. These decisions are strange to me, as Apple had originally participated in the development of the IEEE 1394 (the IEEE name for this) standard. Unless this is a sign that Apple will drop Firewire for something new in the very near future?

Although the Firewire 800 specifications are backward compatible to the Firewire 400, the plugs for these ports are different. So a bilateral cable will be needed to connect an external devices with Firewire 400 ports to the Firewire 800 ports on the MacBook Pro. Of course this is not the first time Apple included Firewire 800 ports on Macintosh, but this is the first time it is the only Firewire port.

In the past Firewire (aka. iLink or IEEE 1394) ports have been standard on high end video and still digital cameras, but in recent years these ports have given way to mini-USB ports. Is Apple's recent decision simply a normal transition, as they often lead the industry in adopting technology changes. For example, removing the Floppy Disk Drive from their computers, pushing the adoption of Read-Writable CD and DVD players on consumer level computers. Or may be it is just a cost saving for the lower-end consumer MacBook.

For the new MacBook Pro, it is the same weight as my current MacBook Pro (Glossy), and slightly thinner by 0.05 inches, which is not much. Its case is tapered like the MacBook Air, iPhone 3G and iMac, so it appears to be much thinner.

My current problem with my MacBook Pro is the weight and amount of RAM I can install. My current MacBook Pro max. out at 2GB of RAM, since it is the 32bit version of the Intel CPU even though Mac OS X supports much higher capacity. Therefore, the new MacBook Pro will resolve my RAM capacity issue, but will not resolve my weight issue.

On the other hand, it does have a brand new buttonless TrackPad with a glass surface, which can take advantage of Apple's new gestures.

The new MacBook Pro has two GPU, one integrated GPU and a discrete GPU, that you can turn on and off as your graphics need changes. To balance between graphic performance and battery life.

Aside from the above, the battery, memory module and hard drive are designed to be easily replaceable by the end-user. Therefore when Solid State Drives improves in speed, increase in capacity and lower its price, one can easily upgrade the internal drive.

In my particular situation I do not think I have enough justifications to upgrade to the new MacBooks. I guess I will just have to wait for the amalgamation of the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro before I upgrade. I may have to fork out some dough to renew my AppleCare, so that my MacBook Pro's resell value does not drop too much.

This morning at 10:00 (PDT) in Cupertino, CA, USA, Apple held an event to announce the new MacBook Pro, MacBook and speed bumped the MacBook Air. The entire line of MacBook, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air are now using the same construction method, where the case is created from a single block of Aluminum. Making the case much more rigid.

Apple has also removed the button from the TrackPad, and introduced a new multi-touch TrackPad with a 4th gesture; 4-fingers gesture.

Both the MacBook and the MacBook Pro now have Mini DisplayPort, which means that many of the existing display will require an adapter. I hope Apple includes at least one Mini DisplayPort --> VGA adapter in the box.

The MacBook Pro now has two GPUs (NIVIDA's GeForce 9400M and a GeForce 9600M GT), where as the MacBook only has one (NIVIDA's GeForce 9400M). This new NIVIDA chips are efficient and lower power consumption. On the MacBook Pros you have the option to turn off one of the GPUs when you do not require the extra video processing to save on battery life.

MacBook MacBook Air MacBook Pro
2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2GB DDR3 Memory 160GB 5400rpm Hard Drive Super Drive NVIDIA GeForce 9400M video card 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2GB DDR3 Memory 250GB 5400rpm Hard Drive Super Drive NVIDIA GeForce 9400M video 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2GB DDR3 Memory 120GB 4200rpm Hard Drive NVIDIA GeForce 9400M video card 1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2GB DDR3 Memory 128GB SSD Hard Drive NVIDIA GeForce 9400M video card 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2GB DDR3 Memory Super Drive 250GB 5400rpm Hard Drive NVIDIA GeForce 9400M + 9600M GT with 256MB video card 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 4GB DDR3 Memory 320GB 5400rpm Hard Drive Super Drive NVIDIA GeForce 9400M + 9600M GT with 512MB video card
HKD10,200.00 HKD12,500.00 HKD13,900.00 HKD19,200.00 HKD15,400.00 HKD19,200.00

You can use Apple's MacBook comparison page to decide which of the notebooks are best suit your needs.

[Updated: Oct. 15, 2008] Updated the prices to HKD, plus added the price of the only previous generation MacBook still for sale.

MacBook Early 2008 image Apple has lowered the price of the MacBook Early 2008 (MacBook4,1) to HKD7800.00 Intel Core 2 Duo 1GB DDR2 Memory 120GB 5400rpm Hard Drive Intel GMA X3100 video card

Posted
AuthorVinko

Mozy Logo

After 5 months of testing, back and forth with Mozy support and eventually being assigned a Mozy Macintosh developer to resolve my issues encountered I was finally able to backup my selected files to the Mozy server automatically.

This was all accomplished with version 0.6.2.4 of Mozy Client for Macintosh.

Today Mozy informs me that there is a new version (0.6.4.0 (24503)). Strangely my Mozy client did not know there was a newer version, even though the Mozy Preference "Install updates automatically" was set. I guess and hope this is because Mozy Client for Macintosh is still in Beta.

I downloaded the new Mozy Client for Macintosh and uninstalled my copy of Mozy deleting all configuration files. This is because I want to make sure I am experiencing the new Mozy Client like all other users would.

The following is what I noticed and issues encountered:

  1. It appears that Mozy have added a few more standard set of files to backup in their Configuration window. Given that Mozy Home (free version) only has 2GB of storage available, I do not believe Mozy should select the kind of files by default in the Configuration window.
  2. Also in the Configuration window some of the file types did not have the correct number of files and total size calculated properly. By this I mean that some of the file type were showing -8,xxx,xxx files and ridiculous size. This cleared up after I saved the configuration, restarted the Mozy Client for Macintosh and re-enters the Configuration window.
  3. I then clicked on the "Start Backup" menu item from the Mozy Menu, nothing seem to happen. The Mozy icon in the Menu Bar did not change. I then selected the "Show Status Window" from the Mozy Menu and the following is what shown.Mozy Status Window
    This is very strange, as I cannot believe Mozy would allow this latest version to going backwards in quality. So I clicked on "View Log File..." from the Mozy Menu.

    The Console application opened showing the content of the Mozy.log file. Apparently the Mozy Client is doing something, and what it is doing appears to be related to performing a backup. So I again selected the "Show Status Window" menu item from the Mozy Menu and it still displays, "No Backup Yet"

  4. A welcome change is that Mozy reorganized the Mozy Menu by grouping related functions together using a divider to separate the different groups.

I will be passing these findings to my contact at Mozy immediately and hopefully these issues require just minor tweaking.

I was about to give Mozy for Macintosh a "5 Thumbs Up" after a whole month of use, with uneventful successful backups, but now with the latest version I am reluctant to do so.

Please see my original article "Problem with Mozy" for background.

Posted
AuthorVinko

Mozy Logo

After being assigned a specific contact, Ben, from the Mozy Macintosh Support, the responses from Mozy has become much more efficient and specific. I hope this is something that Mozy has recognized and changed for future Mac users.

Anyway, on with my experience on this version of Mozy for Mac (0.6.2.2 (23015)) which Mozy released on August 24, but I was not able to try it out until this morning.

Since I just reinstalled the application, I have yet to confirm is my previous problems have been corrected as reported by Ben. The most noticeable difference with this latest version is that they had changed the icon for the application throughout: in Mozy Status, Mozy and MozyBackup (the latter is a background application).

Unfortunately, with this latest version some other issues with the configuration has creep up where I did not encounter in previous version.

  1. The setup wizard was stuck at trying to log me onto Mozy site. I had to quit and restart the Mozy application before I was able to try again. Then when I tried again it came up with the error message:

    Mozy could not log you in. Please try again or contact us at macsupport@mozy.com.

    (Error: (null))

    Which is a very useless message.

  2. During the attempt to configure Mozy, it keep displaying a error dialog stating that "... no backup had started.", and this dialog is modal but did not alert me at all. It appears to come from the Mozy Status application, and the dialog is hidden behind all my other active application window including Mozy.
  3. I was finally able to get pass the log in after 3 attempts, Mozy would not stop scanning my drive. The checkbox also started to jump around on the window after I clicked on the "Apple Mail" checkbox. So I quit the Mozy application and tried again. I then encounters the problem logging on again. After a few more attempts (quitting and restarting the Mozy application). It finally able to log in and successfully finish scanning the hard drive.I don't think the Mozy application should allow the user to click on any of the Checkboxes while it is still scanning the hard drive for the different categories of files and before it finishes "Loading Account Information".
  4. For some reason the controls (Throttle Slider, the Edit Fields for the Throttle Duration in the Performance pane of the Mozy application Preferences window is very sluggish. The first time I accessed the Performance pane of the Mozy application Preferences none of the other pane (General and Scheduling) were accessible. I had to restart the Mozy application, and I was not able to reproduce this.I do not think that one should be allow to make any changes to the Mozy configurations with the Mozy application when a backup is in progress.
  5. Using the Activity Monitor I see that the MozyBackup application is marked as (Not Responding). This usually happens when it is not being friendly to the other applications that are running on the Mac. This is with my Throttle settings set to 768Kb/s between 09:00 - 03:30 and the test were performed at 14:00 local time.Strangely during this time I see that the Mac does not have any network traffic, the backup is still in progress; with the status message "Communicating with server". Speaking of the Status window. There should be a preference to keep the Status Window above all other application windows or let it go behind when another application become active.

I had never figure out the answer to this question

Does the fact that the Apple Mail application is running and emails are coming in and out from various different accounts effect Mozy's current backup, when the Apple Mail Messages is chosen in the Configuration and one type of content to backup?

Why does the Mozy Status Window show "Backing up 258.3MB (14,677 files)"? When I chose the categories of files to back up, the "Apple Mail Messages" alone was over 2GB plus I also chose "Application Preferences" and "Keychains". The three categories together in the Configuration window shows 2.1GB (65,354 files). Is the Status Window only showing one category at a time?

I will report back when the backup is complete (hopefully).

Please see my original article "Problem with Mozy" for background.

Posted
AuthorVinko