Apple

New Apple Music Deletes PlayLists

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With the new Apple iOS 8.4 our friends in Cupertino decided to add “enhancements” to our music with Apple Music. Unfortunately, if you turn on  iCloud Music with Apple Music to get enhancements it can in turn can and most likely will delete some of your music and Playlists. For me it deleted ALL of my Playlists from my iPhone, but not from my iTunes on my computer.

Of course I didn’t know until I looked for my Playlist that I created for my son when he is having trouble sleeping and it was gone. Not just that one, but every single Playlist I had created over the many years I have had iTunes on my computer. Well, I flipped a gasket at this point, but when I got to the point of sanity again I said to myself “what deleted them from my phone?” One of the first things I thought was one of my kids hit something while playing Lego’s or SpongeBob. Problem is they never click an “okay” button or anything that isn’t part of the game that they have played with me at least a few times before I let them go with it themselves.

By this time I finally gotten to the point that I was going to just sync everything back. This is where the kicker hit me. I plugged the iPhone into the computer, went to the Music part of the Sync to select the “sync ALL music to my iPhone” it wasn’t there. In its place was the big bold message that my music was synced with my “iCloud Library” and no choice to select what I wanted to Sync. Since I had read about the “My Music” and looked it over with a glance after the initial iOS upgrade I decided to give the My Music the free trial last week. I didn’t see that turning on the iCloud Library was going to delete anything. It was enhanced features and just supposed to be music selected for me with these cute bubbles with artist in that I chose.

Since I couldn’t see a way to sync the music back I thought that it had to be a setting in the iPhone that was causing my Desktop iTunes client to present the iCloud Music Library message. Low and behold when I went into my Setting > Music did I find the screen pictured here. If you make sure to turn off the ones circled in Red you will be able to plug your phone back into your computer, let iTunes load and see the old Sync Music page to re-sync your Playlist or any missing music. I turned off Apple Music as a whole for my iPhone as you can see in the picture.IMG_1347

It is completely out of my thought process as a SysAdmin and a beta tester for many programs that this wasn’t caught. This is a major issue that someone has had before. In fact, after a little Google Search I found multiple web sites with info and a discussion post on the Apple Forums from users with the problem. One of the web sites is one that I read and follow on Twitter, but had missed this article on iPhone in Canada. I wish I had paid better attention and Gary I will from now on. I had not used the feature until last week and didn’t notice the problem until tonight when I went to use the Playlist I created for my son.

I love my iPhone, I really dislike Apple as a company.

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Review: Amazon Kindle Fire

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I’ve had my hands on a Kindle Fire for a few weeks and have been using it daily to see what it will do. In fact I am writing this post on the Fire. I did not get the Fire for the purpose of doing this review, instead I am testing it for a client. I set up Kindles and eReaders all the time, so it is not a strange device.

Pro’s

I have found that the small size is advantageous for me to stick in my computer backpack. It is very lightweight and fits in your hands nicely. I suggest a carrying case that will let you incline the Fire for hands free use.

The battery life is excellent. I have read a book, played Angry Birds and Fruit Nija until I had cramps in my hands. I have read my Feedly RSS reader, while following the PGA and Olympic trials on Apps I downloaded. The Fire has yet to run out if charge any sooner than 10 hours. That includes a continuous video test with YouTube videos linked back to back until the battery gave out in 10 hours 12 minute’s. With it on standby it has lasted a full day, 6:30am till 11:00pm with anywhere from 35% to 52% battery left.

I like the ease of navigating the Fire App Store. The ease of use is totally different from the apps themselves. More on that later though.

Setup is crazy easy. Less than 3 minutes, 5 if you need to setup a Kindle account.

The eReader portion of the Fire is great. Ease of use of course because it’s main function is a book reader.

Con’s

I use an iPhone, which is much smaller and I did not have touch issues like I have had with the Fire. I have had more typos and missed touch’s using the Fire than I had with the iPhone when I first got it. I have also had a lot of issues with having to touch multiple times to get an item to load. Also, getting a link or action button to work in the browser is a chore most of the time. Am I touching long enough? It’s just not normal.

Slow tracking when moving around a screen. This is especially true in the browser. Amazon needs to work on this issue for me to even consider this a serious tablet.

The thickness overall is not comfortable. The Fire itself is symmetrical, too much so that it is too hard to handle or hold. Instead of tapering to the ends to fit nicely into the users hand it feels clumsy.

There is a total lack of really good business apps or for that matter useful apps. If you are a gamer, or you are into health and lifestyle then the apps are plentiful. There were plenty of apps that are need to have that are on my iPhone, but I could not find on the Fire.

Lastly I had a problem with flash video not playing in the browser, but it did run in the downloaded Maxthon browser. After testing on many different sites, checking the settings of the browser and a quick online search I decided to clear all data from the cache, and form data. That worked, but what caused it in the first place all of a sudden. I am just thankful that I am a tech and spent a few minutes diagnosing it.

What is the deal with the keyboard not having a comma? Nice to have it above the keyboard, but it should have a place on the normal keyboard or the numeric keyboard.

Lastly, the screen is glass which makes reading outside or in a well lit room you will have to deal with a fair amount of glare.

Overall

Nice eReader but lacking as a tablet. There are other tablets that are actual full fledged Android tablets that are close in price with better value, more features and usability. I would not use this as a device for work at all, it is totally a leisure device that I would reccomend to anyone that is not looking to multitask the Fire as a business device too.

The Kindle Fire leaves you wanting if you have had any experience with any other touch device or iOS device. If you are new to tablets or touch devices you will find that some of the touch issues will drive you crazy, but you will learn. You will probably learn easier than the experienced user because you are not relearning how to touch.

Ease of Use Technology

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I’ve been setting up and testing multiple browsers, virtual machines and doing some heavy duty virus clean up recently. As a geek and tech support I don’t mind going through steps to get to a solution or finish a setup. But, I don’t like unnecessarily complicated steps.

An example is Firefox Sync. You have to jump through hoops to get it to work. Once you set up the username and password you setup a pass key too. Okay, that’s not bad and good security, but wait until you want to set up Sync with a new install of Firefox on a different computer at a different location. You are in for a headache when Firefox asks for 3, three digit codes that you to enter on the original machine. If it is not around you need all your info or are asked to reset the pass key. Too much work to just sync my data.

The easy way? Migrate to Google Chrome. Yes Google has THE easiest sync setup, just sync with your Google account. It takes all of 2 minutes after entering your credentials. While there are folks that don’t like the big bad Google, the ease of integration is a major advantage.

One Firefox extension I would like to give ease of use kudos to is Xmarks. I have had an account with them for a while and it has made transferring Firefox to another computer quite easy. It is an extension that you do have to install after finishing the Firefox setup, which adds steps and complexity. That problem is Mozilla’s fault not Xmarks.

If you aren’t writing you apps or making your site easy to use, you are losing business and will eventually be left in the dust by an upstart like Google or Facebook. Remember they were not the leaders in their fields right away. They got there by ease of use for the average user.

To sum it up with an age old saying: KISS.