Changes

It all started last fall, after my dad passed away. I’m not sure if that’s related, but it definitely had an effect on my state of mind. In December I had my yearly physical. I like my family doctor, and I’ve been seeing her for many years. Every year, I get the talk about needing to lose some weight. Not last year. At the end of my appointment, I asked her about it, and she said something like “It’s taken a few years for this 100 lbs, and every 100 lbs after this will come even faster.” I was speechless. I went away, and thought about it, and decided to make some changes:

  1. I started Weight Watchers the first Saturday in January.
    1. Dana joined with me, and I know that I could not stay on track without her.
  2. I started doing 45 minutes of aerobics in the morning.
    1. I get up an hour earlier, and work out for 45 minutes before we start to get the kids up for school.

After about 30 days I got nervous about what would happen on a day where I couldn’t work out in the morning. Using my Apple Watch, now set with a goal of 1000 active calories a day, I just make sure that I do something that fills in that circle. If I can’t fit aerobics in, I fall back on bike riding, walking, and recently running with Couch 2 5k.

I’m kind of obsessed with tracking with the Apple Watch. I sometimes get an eye roll when I say “I’m going to work out” but I know it’s worth it.

8 months later, and I’ve lost 70 lbs. I’ve got a long way to go, but it’s a great start.

Missing Songs in iTunes!

I have to admit, when I first read about missing songs in iTunes, I was confused. I was 100% sure that this had to be user error. This was based on my experience with a 19,000+ music library. Some of which I ripped from CDs, some I downloaded from somewhere other than iTunes, and some which I purchased from iTunes. I’ve never had any problems with losing songs. I keep my master iTunes collection on a Mac mini at my house, and access music via iTunes Match on an iPhone, iPad, and work MacBook Pro. I occasionally add music on my work MacBook, and then use iTunes Match to download the songs on my Mac mini at home.

Something changed recently, which lead to me loosing some of music, and I think I know what caused this to happen. The first sign that problems were starting showed up in movies streaming from my iTunes library to my TV. Sometimes videos would “glitch” and the audio would get out of sync, making the movie / tv show unwatchable. I was pulling my hair out trying to figure out why this was happening, but never found a solution. Fast forward a few months, and I started to have major issues with a number of my attached drives on my Mac mini. It started with a non-repairable HFS directory on a Drobo. I moved all of the data off of the Drobo, and then the 4TB drive that held my iTunes library starting having IO errors, so I backed everything up to the newly emptied Drobo. After everything was copied, I tried one more time to repair the directory on the 4TB drive, and it seemed to work. After about a week, it seemed that even though the directory could be repaired, the drive was still having issues, so I re-coppied the iTunes library, and reformatted the drive. This is when I noticed the missing files. The dreaded exclamation marks started show up. Thankfully, I also had a BackBlaze backup, so I was able to recover some of the Apple Lossless files that were missing. The rest of the library was able to be recovered from iTunes match.

At this point, I’ve given up on the non iTMS purchased movies and TV shows that were on that drive. It will be easier to re-rip them than to figure out which are corrupt.

TL;DR: Songs went missing from my iTunes library, and it’s likely a result of my hard drive being corrupt.

Review: Bluelounge Kickflip

The kind people at Bluelounge were nice enough to send me a review unit of their Kickflip stand, which I have attached to my 13″ Retina MacBook Pro. The purpose of the stand is to raise the laptop to a comfortable angle for typing.

The Kickflip attaches to the bottom of a MacBook with a sticky material which can be cleaned with soap and water if needed to restore adhesiveness. It is very easy to attach. Once it is there, you just flip it back, and your laptop is at a comfortable angle. It is a pretty good solution if you prefer to have your laptop inclined for more comfortable use.

The only drawback that I’ve run into is that when I am using the laptop in my lap, the Kickflip has a tendency to fall off. It doesn’t happen all the time, but it happens enough that it is on my mind whenever I’m using the laptop in my lap. I’ve been sitting in a presentation, taking notes, and I’ll hear something drop, only to find that the Kickflip has come off, and dropped to the floor. This is kind of surprising, because if you try to remove the Kickflip, it is stuck on pretty good. I have a feeling that this has something to do with the MacBook running hot and making the adhesive a little less effective.

Managing Internet Access

My wife and I have three daughters. All of their names start with e, so I’ll refer to them as E1, E2, and E3. E1 is the oldest, and is almost too clever for her own good. Given a chance, she would stay up all night watching something on Netflix (or Hulu, Youtube, etc.) This makes for a very crabby pre-teen, especially when she has to get up by 5:30AM in order to have enough time to get out to her bus stop by 6:49AM. Even though I’m a huge fan of most Apple gear, and I have had Airport base stations in the past, I’m also a big fan of dd-wrt and when it was time to add 802.11n, I chose the Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH2 which has worked well for me.

Part of my solution has been to set Access Restrictions:

  1. I added the MAC addresses to the list of clients 
  2. I created 2 policies – School Nights and School Mornings
  3. School Nights is active Sunday – Thursday from 9:30PM – 11:59PM
  4. School Mornings is active Monday – Friday from 12:00AM – 6:30AM

This seems to do the trick. We still allow her to listen to audible, or read from the iPad at bed time, but she can’t stream video at all. We currently leave it wide open on weekends, and will relax this if there is no school. It’s not 100%. I’d really like to see something like what Amazon offers with the Kindle Fire HD (FreeTime?) to restrict the amount of time the device can be used.

If anyone has any additional tips or suggestions, I’d love to see them in the comments!

 Watch hindsight!

Boy was my crazy prediction wrong! I thought that the prices would be:

  •  Watch – $349 / $369-$399
  •  Watch Sport – $349 / $369-$399
  •  Watch Edition – $3,000 – $10,000 or more

What they really are:

  •  Watch – $549 – $1099
  •  Watch Sport – $349 – $399
  •  Watch Edition -$10,000 – $15,000

First off, I have to admit that I just don’t get the pricing. In regards to the  Watch, unless the sapphire crystal is a $200 part, it’s hard to justify the price difference. I ‘m mostly disappointed in the price of the link bracelet. I had missed the fact that these bracelets took more than 9 hours to manufacture. A large part of the disappointment is based on the fact this is the band that I most wanted.

The  Watch Edition is the most confusing to me. Unless I’m missing something, you could buy the “low” end version for $10,000 and the classic buckle for $149, as opposed to the version which includes the classic buckle brand for $15,000. Could there really be $4,851 worth of gold in the parts of the band that connect to the watch? I know that’s not the point, but it’s hard for me to fathom not having to care about that much money.

For me, the final question is which version is right for me. The version that I want (42mm Space Black Case with Space Black Stainless Steel Link Bracelet) is way out of my budget. One model that could fit into my budget is the 42mm Space Gray Aluminum Case with Black Sport Band. However, the bands that ship in the box aren’t big enough for my wrist. My wrist is at least 215mm.

I will more than likely stop into a retail store once they’re available to try on, and see if I’m wrong. Assuming that I’m not, and it doesn’t fit, I will be waiting until Apple or (more likely) a third party produce a band large enough for me to wear comfortably. I’ve been down the road before. The band that shipped with the Fossil Abacus was almost big enough for my wrist, but was too tight to wear comfortably. My all-time favorite watch is a Fossil that I purchased almost 20 years ago, and I still remember needing to have 2 – 3 links added to the band so that it would fit correctly.

For the time being, I’ll wait in the wings and see how this all shakes out.

Great deal on a car mount

The iOttie One Touch 2 is on sale for $17 today. Dana and I both use an iOttie Easy View 2 which can be regularly found for around $15 on Amazon. The One Touch looks to be a bit more robust, and I can only assume that the build quality is as good as if not better than the Easy View 2.
I had tried a cheap solution for Five Below about a year ago, and in the extremely cold temperatures we’ve had, the cheap plastic became way too brittle, and broke the second or third time that I used it. I use the Easy View 2 daily, and have had no issues at all.

Back on top!

According to Gartner (via Electronista) Apple is once again the #1 smartphone seller, worldwide. This speaks volumes to me. I assume that the iPhone 6 Plus is a key factor here. It would seem that adding larger models has helped Apple regain the top stop. As I’ve said before, I think that Apple has a good shot of being at or near the top right after the new model release (iPhone 4, iPhone 5, and iPhone 6 / 6 Plus) as there is a) pent up demand, and b) a larger number of current iPhone users eligible for upgrade. While it’s still possible for them to gain ground on the speed bump release (iPhone 4s, iPhone 5s, etc.), my gut says that it’s less likely because the pool of those eligible for upgrade seems to be lower (again, just a gut feeling.)

At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter to Apple. They entered the iPhone market looking to become a niche player, and I’m sure they’re very happy with the way things have turned out.