It was a small but lively crowd tonight. The raffle volunteers were encouraging everyone to get their raffle tickets. Raffle prizes included a 4 TB external hard drive,a dash iPhone holder, a Sophie external iPhone battery and an Apple Watch band and charger. Also in the prizes were three $10 iTunes gift cards.
Pete Lozzi greeted us all with a loud “Good Evening, MacNexus!” which he repeated when he didn’t get quite the response he was looking for. As usual, Pete didn’t use a microphone and everyone could hear him just fine. He said he was glad to be at the meeting as it was his favorite time of the month. He reminded people that we do have a purple question Mac at the back of the room for members to submit questions. He noted that Messages, the topic for tonight, was the most popular app on iPhone according to Apple. We had no new members tonight. Remember to invite someone to come check us out. October is the MacNexus election. We have several openings this time so if you are interested get your nomination form in.
In News, Pete noted that he heard something about an eclipse happening Monday, August 21st. He wasn’t sure about the whole thing but he figured there might be some pictures on the Internet from it. Ken Spencer will be contributing some as he is on his eclipse trip now. Pete is looking forward to it as he has not seen one before.
The iOS and iPhone upgrade cycle is coming soon. Usually in September, Apple announces new iPhones and improvements to iOS. They have recently improved the iPad line, by adding the 10.9” iPad Pro. Pete wasn’t sure about it but since he has a secret contract with Apple to buy everything they make he has one now and looks it. The iPhone will be celebrating it’s tenth anniversary, so rumors are that there will be something special this year. Pete uses a plan that Apple offers to get a new iPhone every year. It costs him about $40 per month. He just has to give his old phone back when he picks up the new one. He once bought an iPhone for full price of $940 and, when the the new iPhone came out, he could only get $350 for it. Apples plan comes with insurance if it gets damaged or stolen.
Pete checks out the Everything Apple Pro YouTube channel for the latest information on possible Apple products. Pete noted that this was his first time back since WWDC and talked about it a little bit. He noted that Apple had announced HomePod — a voice activated speaker for the home similar to the Amazon Echo but with better speakers. It will map the room it is placed in for speaker distribution and uses Siri for voice control. Amazon currently offers the Echo, the Dot, the Tap, the Look and the Show. The Look camera and will look at what you plan to wear and give you advice. The Show is an Echo with a screen. You can watch movies on it and get other visual information. Pete has the Echo, the Tap and several Dots in his house. Several other members have them also. One member noted that he liked the fact he only had to say “Alexa play my music” to have music start playing. Pete said he used to have a task like cleaning the garage that he would make up a playlist for, but he would spend so much time making the playlist he didn’t have time to clean the garage. Now he just says “Alexa play my Pandora playlist” and he is ready to go. He has a problem at home. His family keeps using switches for the lights, so Petes voice commands don’t work. “Who uses switches to turn off lights,” he asked us — which got a chuckle.
Pete brought in a drone tonight. He told us that it was like a Go Pro camera with wings. He explained that the camera could recognize him and, if it did, the drone would start — which it did as Pete held it in his hand. Once it was airborne, he could control it with hand gestures — including one that made the drone take a picture. Using another gesture, the drone followed Pete as he walked around the room. The drone is called the Spark by DJI (the Apple of drone makers). It landed in Petes hand when he put both his hands at an angle above his head. He was glad the demonstration had worked so well. One member asked how long the battery lasts; Pete said it was good for about 17 minutes. You can get a controller that will allow it to operate up to a mile away from the operator. It comes in a small case — making it easy to travel around with.
Pete then showed us Wolfram Alpha — a computational knowledge engine website (and app) that can give you all kinds of information. Pete entered “Pete given name” and got back all kinds of statistics about the name Pete, how popular it is now, how it popularity had changed over the years, etc. If you put in your zip code it will give you all kinds of information about that zip code. You can enter two zip codes with “vs.” between them to compare two areas.
It was then time for Q&A. One member deleted cookies in Safari and found that there were several that didn’t disappear when she did the deletion. Cookies are usually harmless and can make using the websites you visit often easier. But some developers do cookies that are persistent. There is no special trick to removing a persistent cookie. The biggest threat right now is not malicious cookies but people trying to con you to get your credit card information. Pete reminded us that Safari offers Reader View which will show just the text of a website without all the ads. If a page can be displayed in reader view, hashmarks will show up on theSafari address bar. Clicking on them will open reader view. Another member wanted to know how to get rid of all the notifications they were getting. You can go to settings/Notifications and scroll down the list to turn notifications on or off. A member asked if there was a way to let Apple know when you found a bug in a app. Go to the Apple Product Feedback page at https://www.apple.com/feedback/ to report bugs, your wishes, just about anything.
During the break, quite a few members went up to see Pete’s drone and ask questions, After the break, Pete spoke about Messages. People used to say “I don’t text message.” However, most people present tonight do use text messages. Pete finds it so helpful his voicemail message says to send him a text instead of leaving a voicemail. It can be a way to instantly answer questions, get directions, etc. Pete uses it when his family sends him to get dessert. He goes to the store and sends a text with a picture of the dessert options. He then gets a text back with what to get — avoiding a lot of temptation. Email now seems so lame, Pete avoids it whenever possible. Messages is also an app on the Mac now.Pete doesn’t delete his texts. He has some from 2015 on his iPhone. iOS 11 will have a feature to delete attachments from texts so they don’t take up room on your device. If you see a text in a green bubble, it means that the person is not on an iPhone or have opted out of Apple’s Message service. If the person is using an iPhone, the bubble will be blue. Pete likes to have a picture of the person texting him to help him sort through all his texts. If you have a picture of a person in Contacts, it will display at the top of a text screen. You can have stickers for texting. You can search the messages part of the App Store to find them. Some are useful and some are silly. You can use Siri to text; just ask Siri to send a text to X and Siri will say “What do you want to say to X.” Once you have finished, Siri will display your message and ask if you want to send it. This gives you the opportunity to edit.
If you hold down the blue up arrow at the end of the text field, you will get options to use when you send your text. You can choose between bubble effects or full screen effects. On the keyboard, you can hold down on certain keys to get other options. If you hold down the $ symbol, you can choose another monetary symbol. Holding down the “e” key lets you choose between various accent marks. Play around and see what your options are. If you turn on predictive text, your iPhone will guess what word you are trying to type so you can just pick from the options without typing out the whole word. It will let you type faster by just picking words after typing only one or two letters. You can turn on Do Not Disturb so you will still get texts but without any notification showing up on your iPhone — good for when people text you at night or in a important meeting. There is a option for Send Read Receipts which lets you know when your text was read. Tapping on the circled “i” will also display all the attachments that have been received or sent in texts. You can delete the attachments while you are looking at them.
That was the end of Pete’s talk. He could have gone on but we needed to do the raffle. The external hard drive was tonight’s big prize. The other prizes went quickly, Pete drew three tickets when all that was left was the three iTunes gift cards. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I look forward to seeing you at the next meeting.