Cloud Storage – What is the best option?

I will not get into any arcane storage options of unknown companies offering lifetime schemes. In fact, I would advise avoiding all such for a variety of reasons.

Let’s look at the top 3 names that offer us reliable cloud storage for normal users.

1. Apple iCloud

2. Google Drive

3. Microsoft OneDrive

Although there are some more names like DropBox, Amazon etc. we will ignore those for now…

SanDisk Extreme SSD – A Brief Look!

This SSD is good enough for all practical purposes excepting for editing 4k, or higher, video.

In practice, you will not notice the difference between the 4 times faster internal SSD on the MacBook Pro vs this Sandisk Extreme SSD.

The SSD link at Amazon: https://amzn.to/39Qw6Kl

Type C to Type A Adapter at Amazon: https://amzn.to/3mQZX9a

#SandDisk #SSD #Mac #MacBook

How to rename “EFI Boot” to “Windows” on the Mac

This is an irritant for some people like me who use multiple drives and partitions. Since all Windows and/or Linux boot partitions show up as “efi boot” on the Mac startup, it is desirable to change the name on startup so we can easily figure out which partition is which.

For some, it is merely the aesthetic value, but, in either case, being able to change the EFI boot name is generally desirable.

In this video, we will see how to do this on the Mac for installers and then how to change the same once we are booted into Windows on the Mac.

Generally, since we would format the Windows partition to NTFS, we have to use a small workaround in Windows to change the boot name for the Mac.

In this video, we will see how to go about the name change…

Windows 10 on Mac – Without BootCamp limitations!

Once upon a time, the Apple BootCamp worked as expected for the most part. In recent times though, that is no longer correct as many might already know.

There are occasions when I need to use native Windows and I would like that to be on an external SSD to be used and re-installed as and when needed.

There are 2 main issues when trying to install Windows on a Mac if you do not have a Windows system around.

1. Keyboard/Mouse/Trackpad does not work
2. You need Windows to get a NTFS formatted drive

There is a lot of material on the Internet that seems to be more in the legacy domain now.

I will discuss how to create a bootable USB drive for Windows 10 on the Mac using simple tools that anyone can deal with. The bootable USB I create works fine on both my iMac and MacBook Pro since I get the keyboard working in both cases and that allows me to install the Apple BootCamp drivers and application without any external requirements.

Let us see how this can be done…

Download Windows 10 ISO from:
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10ISO

Download UNetBootIn from:
https://unetbootin.github.io

Download Extramagic from:
http://extramagic.forbootcamp.org

Download the AutoUnattend.xml from: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dxoQk3YAeWOqJYuRTtIHQU0_dsrywKTI/view?usp=sharing

Mac OS – How to create a USB installer and downgrade

Given the fact that there are applications that are yet to be updated to be compatible with MacOS Big Sur, quite a few people saw a need to downgrade back to their older MacOS versions.

I will discuss how to create an external USB bootable drive for multiple MacOS versions and how to use this drive including on systems which have a T2 chip on them.

The Apple support links are as follows:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT211683

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201372

The free archiver Keka can be found at:

https://www.keka.io/en

Let’s see how this works…

Mojave…Deadly update!

Oh well…Cook does it again!

After a couple of days of using this “update” on my brand new 2018 top end MacBook Pro, the only advice I have is…Do NOT update to this Mojave thingy.

There are too many bugs which did not even exist earlier, and unless you are a hardcore techie, it will probably kill your external storage beyond normal repair.

System apps will get stuck and refuse to quit (Disk Utility, System Info and the likes).

There are a lot more issues than just the ones mentioned above.

Let’s look at these issues logically…A company that hypes a dark theme as the biggest/major feature, is obviously gone down the drain.

I took the risk of purchasing the top end 2018 model here, only to be hugely disappointed as I have been for the last 5+ years with Apple.

Discarding the iPhone! Moving to Android MIUI…

Sunset at the park today...

Mi4i back camera. Standard Quality, 4:3, HDR Enhanced.

Finally…The time has come for me to discard the iPhone and iOS in favour of the Mi 4i running Android MIUI. I thought that the steady degrade of the quality of hardware and software coming from Apple would keep them ahead for at least another few years, but, Apple seems to have stepped on the gas to make sure that the original Apple experience no longer exists. With the possible exception of FaceTime, there appears to be no advantage to using an Apple device anymore.

While I had been fiddling around a variety of Android based handsets, I never found anything usable until recently. I had seen the Redmi 1s earlier and also had a brief look at the older Mi 4 and I liked what I saw overall. With the Mi 4i, the equation seems to have tilted away from iPhone and iOS.

While both iOS and MIUI have their own share of nuances and bugs, they seem to be on an equivalent level now. I like the Mi 4i hardware a lot better despite it’s 5″ size. In fact, the screen is very good as is the battery life and the overall UI/UX. I had tried the MotoG (2nd Gen) for a few months and that worked fine as well. Motorola has included some useful apps unlike the useless app cram most other Android vendors do. The Moto G experience gave me the courage to try out the new Mi 4i which is also based on the latest Android.

MIUI seems to combine the best of both worlds at a reasonable compromise. Considering that iOS devices are a commodity item now, with prices ranging from 5k to 50k, it’s no longer a premium device with a great user experience. When I compare this scenario with a Mi 4i priced around 13k, I get an equivalent UX and far more flexibility than the iPhone 6 for 1/4 of the cost.

Having used the Mi 4i for over 2 weeks, I have gone through a couple of updates, reset the handset, tried the apps that I use and have switched over from the iPhone and changed my existing nano-SIMs to Micro-SIMs. MI has a very responsive user forum and there is active work on enhancements and bug fixes unlike any other similar company. Hopefully, their service centres will improve over time as well.

I think Google should take a lesson from MI and stop talking about technology like “Material Design” and concentrate more on usability and consistency. They can also learn from Apple and not keep adding features just to be able to talk about those “new features” without making sure that the existing ROMs and apps work as expected to create a seamless user experience. I still feel that Microsoft had, and still has, the best chance of taking over this arena, but, they seem to lack direction almost completely.

On the app side, there seems to be considerable improvement on the Android end and I hope that more apps will get better on the Android systems, compared to iOS. Given the better hardware and larger screens that are quite affordable now, apps might just get better on Android systems overall. Since developers now have to cater to multiple iOS versions, it would be somewhat equivalent to catering to a couple of Android versions.

It is sad where Apple stands currently and where it seems to be headed. Having used the iPhone since the first one, it was not easy to find another device to switch to. MI with its devices running MIUI seems to have taken up the game where Steve Jobs left off.

I will share my experience of the Mi 4i and the MIUI in a later post and talk about some of the nuances and issues with it. Overall, the experience has been good so far. The only thing I dis-like about the Mi 4i is the volume and power buttons. These feel out of place with the rest of the device.

Sunset at the park today...

Mi4i back camera. Standard Quality, 4:3, HDR Enhanced.

So, for now, MIUI on the Mi 4i it’s going to be…For me!

Apple iOS 8.3 – Dangerous for some!

Can of worms...bugs?

Can of Bugs!

Having just restored my iPhone 4s which had gone dead today after the iOS 8.3 update yesterday, I guess I have to take back my words from the previous post. I had mentioned that iOS 8.3 does not seem to be any worse than 8.2 and it should be okay to update. You might want to hold off the update since there are quite a few reports on the net which makes iOS 8.3 seem to be one of the buggiest releases ever.

My iPhone 4s went into a reboot & switch off loop while sending an email. The only way to fix it was to restore it using iTunes. A caveat here is that the phone had to be put in recovery mode for it to stop rebooting long enough for iTunes to recognise the device. For those who might have the same issue, just keep the home button on the phone pressed while plugging the USB cable into your system (Mac/PC). You might have to retry this a few times before the phone lands up in recovery mode and stops rebooting & switching off.

Do not attempt to update as that will generally fail. A full restore will work more often than not. I would also not recommend restoring from a backup, after recovery, since that might lead to the same loop all over again.

Think I should mention that iOS 8.3 also drains the battery on all my iPhones pretty fast and while updating with iOS 8.3, the phones heated up quite a bit.

I guess it’s time to carry around a back up phone if you use an iPhone and keep updating to the latest firmware from Apple…Just make sure it takes the same size SIM.

Watch out for the Apple watch…it might tell you the date & time of a different planet 🙂

Apple releases new bugs in iOS 8.3, OS X 10.10.3 and iTunes 12.1.2 :)

Well…It has become routine now. New untested releases from Apple again. Anyway, we can safely assume that there will be new bugs and some old ones that will remain. The list of bugs “fixed” will continue to have some variations with every update besides “improving security, safety…” etc.

The fly...

Bugs can fly!

iOS 8.3 breaks touch id for some according to quite a few blogs on the net. So, you might want to gather more information on this one before updating iOS to see which devices are affected by this bug.

For me, OS X seems to have some display related issues where windows will not redraw on my iMac even though the application is running and visible.

The brain-dead Photos app found only 20 photos on my phone where there was actually a whole lot more. This was on a freshly created user account after upgrading to 10.10.3. Out of the 20 photos, it could not import 2 with a message saying there was some issue with the metadata. Well…It goes even further, only 2 photos out of the imported 18 were complete, the rest were incomplete images with half of the image missing. The scenario did not change after upgrading iOS to 8.3. From a usable iPhoto, we now have a bare-bones, brain-dead Photos app!

Given the somewhat longer list of bug fixes in all the released software, it shows what all bugs have been around for years and are included in every update as being “fixed”.

Although I have yet to figure out any improvements, I do see new bugs besides some of the older ones still hanging around. Still to use the new iTunes update…Let’s see what new bugs are in store there.

With the tasteless (bitter for some) Lollipop from Google and Windows all-over-the-place, Apple has no real need or urgency to improve or fix anything, excepting on paper.

BTW, the iPhone 5c is available for the same price as the iPhone 4s officially. Head over to Amazon India for the current pricing and availability. With some coupons or offers, it can be even cheaper and falls into the same price range as a mid-to-low range Android device.

Overall, I would say it’s okay to update since the updates do not seem to be any worse than the previous ones…So far!