Trouble Shooting

No, no weapons here. Unless you count our individual capable minds when it comes to solving problems. Computer problems. More succinctly, hardware that gives our operating system problems. First, a little back-ground.

I use my iMac Pro and MacBook Pro mainly for creating and editing video. FCPX and DaVinci Resolve Studio are my software tools of choice. Anyone involved in editing video knows it requires serious computing power and external hardware in the form of external RAID storage (48TB LaCie Big Disk). And to get the color perfect, a calibrated high end monitor (Flanders CM250) which requires an I/O interface (AJA Io 4K Plus). For great audio, 2 Focal monitors are controlled by a Universal Audio Arrow I/O device via Thunderbolt 3. I also have an external hub for the many ports I need for video and audio (CalDigit TS3 Plus). Sometimes, these pieces of hardware can have hiccups when interfacing with Mac OS. Rarely, but it happens, as it did for a few weeks lately.

The Problem. I leave my iMac Pro on overnight. A few weeks ago, when I would first try to wake the computer from it’s much deserved rest, I noticed that the machine was starting from boot and I got a message that it had shut down because of a problem. They never tell you what the problem is, we long for the day!

Now some would probably look to the OS or poorly written software as the first probable culprit but that line of inquiry would take a lot of time and I could see me on the phone with Apple for hours as my blood pressure peaks to an unhealthy crest. Checking hardware is easier and would most likely, in my mind, expose the problem. First I had to make sure the corresponding software for each piece of hardware was up to date and compatible with my OS. Easy peasy, all was good. So every evening I would disconnect each external device but one, and wake up to see if the machine was sleeping, or dead. If sleeping and fine (they were), I then connected two of the devices in every combination. I wish I could tell you the mystery was solved, but the results were ambiguous at best. With only one of the devices connected at a time, all was well. But when I started to combine hardware in two’s, the results were erratic and showed no clear path to the solution. I had resigned myself to either putting up with the inconvenience or shutting it down each evening in a proper fashion. Then I looked over at my RAID box and saw the little 1TB SSD connected to it on it’s 2nd Thunderbolt port and sitting atop of it, hidden by the box of tissue yet on top of it. I forgot to mention it above just like I forgot about it in the chain of hardware in my workflow. I use it mainly for quick drag ‘N drop backup of individual files as I work through the day. I thought, “That can’t be the problem, can it, this little drive”? Of course it could, and it was. It’s been one full week without a crash since I unmounted the drive (it is still connected though, weird) I’m not sure why, though I think it has to do with the fact that it’s a Thunderbolt 2 device connected via an adapter to the RAID box via Thunderbolt 3.

What have I learned? Well, a few times I was sure it was the most expensive item (LaCie Big Disk) in the chain that was causing the problem, and some of the testing seemed to point to it but there was always a morning where the result refuted the conclusion. So watch out for confirmation bias. In the end it was the littlest and most inconsequential item that caused the issue. Also, patience and thoroughness are two prized qualities of the troubleshooter. Without it, well, you may need to stock up on your blood pressure meds.

iOS Classes – January & February 2020

I am frequently asked if I am going to conduct an iPad/iPhone class. Because of the member interest, and the significant changes in iOS 13, the operating system, I will be conducting iPad/iPhone classes in the new year. All classes will be held at One Senior Place in Viera.

Classes will be held on seven consecutive Mondays, from 6 to 8 pm, starting on 6 January 2020 and concluding on 17 February 2020. As in the past, classes will be free to all MacMAD members who are paid up through 1 March 2020. For all others the fee will be $50 per participant.

Among other things I will be covering are:

  • Activity views (which replace Share sheets and are for more than just sharing)
  • Enable Dark Mode on your mobile device
  • Using the new Find My app
  • Make the most of improved text editing tools
  • Use Siri and Shortcuts to do even more than before
  • Use accessibility improvements, including voice control and mouse support
  • Discover the capabilities of Apple’s upgraded apps–including Files, Mail, Maps, Messages, Notes, and Reminders
  • Use Screen Time to make better choices about when and how you use your device
  • Work with the updated iPad Home screen, Dock, and on- screen keyboard
  • Learn about the new iPad multitasking capabilities, including more ways to split the screen, use multiple windows, and drag & drop between apps
  • Browse the web with ease using the desktop-class Safari for iPadOS
  • Use the significantly updated Camera and Photos apps to take photos and videos, apply camera effects, and organize your media
  • Make sense of the Lock screen, Home screen, and Control Center and customize them to meet your needs
  • Search with Spotlight
  • Switch between apps and use Handoff to transfer your work
  • Navigate the App Store
  • Understand Family Sharing
  • Manage your data–both on your device and in the cloud
  • Make calls and use FaceTime and Voicemail
  • Organize your Wallet and use Apple Pay
  • Protect your privacy
  • Improve your battery life

Seating will be limited. If you are interested please call (321) 751- 6771 to reserve your place. Dennis Crowley

Using AirPlay Disables Your Network Unless …

This is weird. I wanted to use AirPlay to send web pages and videos from my MacBook Air to my Apple TV. As soon as I did that, my network connection on the Mac failed completely. The AirPlay connection continued to work wirelessly. This was completely repeatable and reversable. AirPlay on — network down. AirPlay off — network works fine.

After a good bit of poking around in the Apple support forums I found that this only happens if… Bluetooth is enabled on the Mac. Disable Bluetooth, and maybe log out, and now AirPlay works without killing your network connectivity.

This kind of random weirdness is the exact opposite of the “It just works” that Apple fans hope for from Apple gear.

How To Replace Your PC

If you know a non-technical person who needs some straight-forward advice about getting a new computer or tablet, send them to .

The site’s recommendations are primarily intended to help home users avoid malware and security problems. There’s a good chance that one reason the old computer is being replaced is that it is infested with malware.

The site is run by Neil Hutton, whose day job is cleaning viruses off user’s machines. With this experience he unsurprisingly gives high marks for security to iOS and Macintosh, and Windows is in the “just put a target on your back” category.

No tech jargon here. This is a site you can send your mom to. Enjoy.