Burning The Candle At Both Ends

Sometimes I just don’t know when to shut down. Last night was a good example. I didn’t go to bed before 3 :30 AM. It would not be a big deal if I were staying up for something worthwhile, but last night, after working on a technical project, I stayed up watching a movie to unwind.

Lilliam is usually my governor and keeps my days in order, but she is in Costa Rica and won’t return until next week. When she is not around, I forget what time it is. When I was young, I could go without sleep better than I can now, so I am sure that I will have to have a nap this afternoon.

So what has been going on? I have visited the stroke victim twice this week. The second visit, I spent several hours with him. His caretake’s father has been released from the hospital after they decided they could not remove a tumor. She needed time to visit him in a hospice he has moved to. I hope that she doesn’t give out with all the stress she is under.

I am not satisfied with the stroke victim’s progress, but I have no control over that. I am also not impressed with C&W’s telephone connection at his apartment. He has been without telephone for two weeks. I had to go by the C&W office and submit a second trouble ticket. If it is not up soon, I will have to make another trip to the office. They need to give him a refund for lack of service. Just another thing you put up with living in paradise.

I guess that has me under a little stress and when I get under stress, I tend to dive into technology to unwind. Continue reading

Apple Yosemite Beta Testing

The last couple of weeks have not been much fun for me. Lilliam has been in Panama City and it has just been Koki and I looking after each other.

All of my time has been making trips to and from the stroke victims house, to the bank finding options for paying the stroke victims bills, or getting some carry out food. I told Lilliam, on one of my phone calls, that we needed to buy some new dishes. When she asked why, I told her because all of the ones we have are dirty and in the sink.

I am not sure she appreciated my humor. She comes home today and the sink will be empty and all dishes in their proper place.

As I said, I have not been doing anything I enjoy, so yesterday evening, I decided to begin another technology project. Getting involved in studying technology and solving those types of problems, rather than other people’s health problems, relax me and get my mind thinking about something that is fun. Continue reading

VPN vs Unlocator

I met a couple at yesterday’s Embassy’s Outreach that had read some of my original posts on VPN and were using WiTopia to allow themselves to access some US sites that only allow US IP addresses.

They had also read my first post on Unlocator and had tried it and had some problems while Unlocator was in their early stages. I had two days of problems when I first signed up too.

However, since I have been using Unlocator now for over two months without any problems, I thought it might be worth another post.

First, if you are not aware of the benefits of a VPN, read this. Everything mentioned in my previous post about VPNs is still true. I have kept WiTopia on my laptop and use it if I am traveling to insure I have a secure connection.

I have moved to Unlocator for my home access to Netflix and Hulu for one big reason. Unlocator does not do any of the encryption that VPNs do and my Internet speed for movie streaming has doubled. My IP address shows up as a Panama IP address and Unlocator provides you with DSN addresses that solve the problem of accessing many sites.

Unlocator is still in beta and it is currently free to try, but will charge $5 a month when it leaves beta. I will have no problem paying to use them.

VPN is an advantage if you travel a lot and are using a lot of free Internet access points. If you are not aware of how dangerous it is to use non password protected Internet access, study up a bit on Internet Identity theft.

A final note on Unlocator. It will work on a PC, a router, Apple TV, Xbox or PS3, Roku and other devices. The Unlocator site specifies all supported devices, sites and has installation instructions.

Try it while it is free and see if it will work for you. I have it installed on my Apple Time Capsule (Apple’s router with automatic backup) and all devices in my house receive the benefit.

Two For Two

Carlos Arauz has done it again. I don’t know if my iPhone had been hit, but about a 1/4 inch of the screen has been dead for several months. This problem prevented me from changing to numeric or changing languages.

I took it to Carlos and had him replace the front screen. Now I have a brand new (hardware wise) iPhone 4S. It is working perfect. I am super happy!

I dropped off an original Apple Mac Mini to be diagnosed when I picked up my iPhone. I also have another friend that has an iPad with a busted screen that I think Carlos will get the opportunity to work to work on.

I am very pleased with the work Carlos did. He is a very professional young man and very experienced with Apple, having worked for Apple in Panama City for five years.

If you are in need of Apple service and don’t want to wait for the item to be sent to and from Panama City, drop me a note and I will provide you with Carlos’s contact information.

Apple TV Update

Today Apple rolled out the update to their Apple TV software matching some of the new features of IOS 7. The new 6.0 firmware added support for iTunes Radio and purchases from the iTunes Music Store. In addition it added podcast syncing, viewing of shared photo streams and AirPlay from iCloud.

For me, the addition of iRadio is really nice. Now I can listen to the music I like on larger speakers. Today, I have been listing to Paul Simon, Guy Clark, Fleetwood Mac and other of my favorites.

I think the update was originally scheduled for the same day as IOS 7, but the demand caused by everyone downloading IOS 7 postponed it until today.

Now my toughest decision for the day is deciding to have some sangria or a margarita to go along with the music. I hope the neighbors can stand some non-Latino music for a while.

I may have to put on some Selena. That’s it, I will go with sangria.

iPhone Migrated To IOS 7

I really intended to wait a week or so before making the upgrade, but curiosity got the best of me.

Late Wednesday, I downloaded the new OS and installed it on my iPhone. Everything went smooth.

It is just like having a new iPhone. I tested it for several hours and think I now understand most of the changes. I definitely like it better than the previous OS.

The only problem I am expecting is to have some battery shortage , since that is the typical problem with most Apple OS upgrades.

One of the big changes is having access to Apple iRadio. I am anxious to see how it works away from the house. I also like the improved security in case a phone is lost or stolen.

I have never upgraded systems as easily as I have with Apple.

Now I have to wait another month until the desktop OS is updated.

The following email was sent by Apple following the installation.
IOS Email

Some Apple Experiences

My first PC was an Apple II. I loved it. It started the PC revolution. However, Bill Gates landed the contract to provide the operation system for IBM and my work required my migrating to the Microsoft environment. My second PC was an IBM.

Once parts started becoming available, I built all of my PCs. I could build a higher quality system than you could buy from a vendor. The same is still true. Dell, HP and others are caught up in the commodity market and that tends to drive quality down to have competitive prices.

When Jobs returned to Apple, I liked Apple’s equipment, but I could never justify paying more than it would cost me to build an equivalent system.

My last Microsoft system was a Gateway, because I found a very good deal. It was well built and a screamer. Once I moved it from Windows Vista to Windows 7, it was a fine PC. Windows 7 is the best OS Microsoft ever built in my opinion. I know there are still XP advocates, but I liked 7 much better. However, it required a lot of power to run 7 and many stayed with XP because it ran on older hardware. Continue reading

Mac Mini Back UP and Running

I mentioned, the other day, that I had a hard disk failure on my Mac Mini. I also mentioned that I had turned it over to Carlos Arauz, who works at PanaFoto, to replace the failed disk.

I am happy to report that he contacted me this afternoon and it was ready. To have it fixed in two days without having to send it to Panama City is fantastic.

It is good to know that there is someone in David that has worked on Apple hardware for Apple.

He returned it to me with the latest OS on it and all I had to do was use Time Machine to restore my data.

If time would have permitted, I would have ordered a 500 GB SSD from the US and had him install it, but that would have cost me at least two weeks and I wasn’t willing to wait that long. Next time will be the time for the SSD upgrade.

I give Carlos two thumbs up. If you stop into PanaFoto, and happen to be in the Apple area, tell Carlos you read about him on Chiriquí Chatter.

What An Improvement!

Last night I got the memory upgrade to the Mac Mini. I went from 2 GB to 16 GB. The PC had been about to drive me crazy, in fact I only used it when I had to.

Now, I can have multiple tasks open, email, photo editor, multiple tabs on the browser and nothing slows down.

One more task off the “To Be Done” list. Now I am ready for Apple to release their next OS upgrade which is scheduled later this year.

All is Not Lost – Almost

This is a good news – bad news story. I have a friend that recently invested in a MacBook Pro, based on my recommendation. One of the things I told him was that if you have an Apple PC, one feature that is in the OS that should be used is TimeMachine.

TimeMachine backs up your PC every hour without you having to think about it. You never know when trouble is going to strike. You do have to invest in an external hard drive, but other than that, it is pretty much plug it in and go.

If you have a hard drive with books in progress, tons of photos or other information that is critical to you, and it crashes, you will say, “Why didn’t I back my system up?” Of course that is after you uttered 5 minutes of expletives.

With TimeMachine, it remembers to back up for you. You will still utter the expletives, but at least your data is safe.

Joe BtfsplkMy friend reminds me of Joe Btfsplk from the old Li’l Abner comics. Remember, he was the fellow that always walked around with a black cloud hanging over his head.

As I said, my friend, a writer, purchased the MacBook and loved it. He would toss it in his backpack and take it wherever he went and was finding it very dependable. That was until the day he tossed it into his backpack along with a thermos of hot coffee. Apparently he had not made sure the top was secure on the thermos and coffee ran into the MacBook.

He learned that Apple’s warranty does not include bathing with a laptop, washing it in a washing machine or pouring coffee on the keyboard. To make it worse, the cost to repair (at least in Panama) is as much as buying a new MacBook. Yikes! Since I had recently upgraded my MacMini, my old Mac Mini was available and he is now up on it.

Now here is the good news of the story. We set up the Mac Mini yesterday. Signing on to iCloud immediately restored all his contacts and calendar. We plugged in the TimeMachine backup and restored all his files (documents, works in progress, and photos).

He did lose a very expensive piece of equipment, but more importantly he did not lose any of the data that he had spent years and many hours creating. Many items on his laptop were irreplaceable.

I can’t emphasize how important it is to backup your data. It is not that hard to do, but if it is something you have to remember to do, you will remember to do it after it is too late and something will be lost.

I know many of you coming to Panama may be using PCs more than you ever did back home. Storing photos of this beautiful country, writing your experiences on a blog, using Skype to keep up with kids back home, banking or what not. Learn from a resident Panama “Joe Btfsplk”. Back up your friggen PC before it is too late!