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Book review: OS X El Capitan, The Missing Manuel

51Y886k6NsL._SX379_BO1,204,203,200_Book: OS X El Capitan: The Missing Manual
846 pages.
Author: David Pogue
Publisher: O’Reilly
WebOreilly.com
Contact: (800) 998-9938
Price: $34.99 paperback, $29.99 eBook,Print & Ebook: $38.49
mooseProduct Rating: 5/5 Impressive
Pros: easy to find what you want, humor included
Cons: none
Rating:  Moose…5/5 Excellent!

by Gary Miller, Alaskan Apple Users Group Member

Conflict of interest disclosure: O’Reilly provided a free copy of Missing Manual: El Capitan for the purposes of the review.

The latest Mac OS is El Capitan, it’s big in speed, Apple says 1.4 times as fast, and in the cool new Photos App, it’s twice as fast, PDF’s 4 times as fast, you get the picture. This version of the OS is about making all work smoother, faster, and easier. ok for me! and a biggie, no need to upgrade your machine to run it. works on everything. I learned all this from this well written book, and it was great to know, for I just had downloaded the new software, and as we all know, nowadays, no accompanying printed guide. So this book right away helped me.

Here are a few of the many new features I’m enjoying in the beginning of the book:

Notes – the app now allows drawing, shopping lists with that check off feature we all want, weblinks, pasted maps, graphics, videos, really is useful!
Maps – add’s walking feature or pedestrian feature, helpful and more international cities
Split Screen in Full Screen Mode – in Full Screen mode, we can now split into 2 screens at once!
Mission Control- better organization, see all in smaller version on the screen.
Spotlight Updates – much more to search, sports, weather, stocks, online videos, so you can search for what was the skit for SNL with ….

The book is divided into 6 parts, each has chapters. so first one has everything you find on the screen on your Mac, since I was reading the eBook version of the book, I could easily search or get more information on a word. helpful. We’re talking here about folders, windows, icons, the Dock, the Sidebar, Spotlight, Dashboard, Spaces, Mission Control, Launchpad, Time Machine, menus, scroll bars, the Trash, aliases….Chapter 2 is about apps or programs, and how we use them. Three is more detailed about softer inner pieces like System Preferences, Four is advanced topics like Networking and File Sharing, Five is about Internet usage – Mail, and Safari, Video chats, … Six is appendix, helpful is you want something specific. There are arrows to guide you, great feature, like the way computers tell you where to go within folders… Plus there’s an online area showing additional free features or images or apps on a separate website, it’s what used to be cd’s that were included in books, now it’s a list: http://www.oreilly.com/pub/missingmanuals/osxelcapmm

I like the way David Pogue writes, some humor, always direct, so I can understand what he’s driving at, illustrations aren’t a big part, but useful. I find it’s easy to search for what I want, be it a topic or area for better understanding.

Since I used an eBook to do this review, I’ll talk a bit about that. I used both a MacBook Pro to read the book, works well, and an iPad, I prefer them, and yet, was raised on printed books, gradually eBooks are my choice. O’Reilly makes them work. I could use a format for Kindle, computer, or iPhone/etc. and with O’Reilly free updates, easily downloadable, and O’Reilly emails you when they are ready.  You have a library with them too, so if you forget what you have purchased, they are there!  Great idea!

In summary, I like the ease of use of this book, eBook works well. and I’d get it if I were you.

Forget Early Adopters: These People Are Happy to Be Late

By CHARLIE WELLS, Wall St Journal

Dustin Schinn still isn’t sure if he wants an iPhone. He once gave a friend cash to order an Uber for him because he still hasn’t downloaded the car-service app. A friend recently tried to get him onto Tinder, the mobile dating service, but had to install an app called Dater, because Mr. Schinn is still using a Blackberry.

Mr. Schinn, a 27-year-old Washington, D.C., resident, is a late adopter. And he’s proud of it.

“People make fun of me,” Mr. Schinn says. “But I often don’t feel the need for these new technologies…They require you to sort of constantly adapt to something new, and I often feel this is just unnecessary.”

Many people are late adopters or know one. When it comes to technological adoption, as much as 16% of the population is considered to be in the “laggard” category, with another 34% encompassing a “late majority,” according to a landmark 1962 study about the spread of new ideas and technology by the late University of New Mexico professor Everett Rogers. His theories have since been widely applied to everything from laptop computers to mobile phones.

Technical definitions of the term “late adopter” vary. Loosely speaking, it is a person who buys a product or service after half of a population has done so. Late adopters tend to share certain characteristics: They are skeptical of marketing and tend to point out differences between advertised claims and the actual product. They often value a product’s core attributes, ignoring the bells and whistles intended to upsell the latest model. They may not try something new until weeks, months or even years after the crowd has moved on.

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A 19th century French sociologist, Gabriel Tarde, explored how technologies spread as a result of imitation of the elite. In his day, late adopters were pigeon-holed as less educated, from a lower social class and with less purchasing power than innovators and early adopters. Terry Clark, professor of sociology at the University of Chicago who has written on Tarde, says technological and societal changes mean that today’s late adopters exist in all income, educational and social groups.

Ryan Fissel, a 35-year-old Columbus, Ohio, resident, is a late adopter; he tried Uber for the first time last year. He says he doesn’t really have financial reasons for waiting for the latest Hollywood releases to come to the Redbox DVD-rental before seeing them. It’s just that he likes to do his research. With an academic background in the humanities, Mr. Fissel says he enjoys methodically researching films and what the critics have to say—which he often doesn’t have time to do while the movies are still at the megaplex. “The last movie I saw in theaters was ‘The Hangover: Part II,’ ” he says. That was in 2011.

What separates late adopters and early adopters is that they each perceive products and services through a different lens, says Sara Jahanmir, a doctoral researcher at the Nova School of Business and Economics in Lisbon and a research affiliate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Early adopters may have an emotional response to the release of a new product or service—and line up to buy the latest iPhone or Xbox. “It takes a lot of time to change late adopters. But once they’ve done all that research, and once they are convinced about a product, they are going to stay for a long time.”

That happened to Wes Platt, a 49-year-old Durham, N.C., videogame designer who says he is a “serial” late adopter. He mocked Facebook for a long time before joining. He’s new to Spotify, having been a loyal iTunes listener for years. His father was the one who finally got him to join Twitter.
When he first heard about Fitbit wearable fitness trackers, Mr. Platt remained true to form, even as his friends were posting their Fitbit step counts on social media. “At first, I thought it was sort of ridiculous—a little too Big Brother-y for me,” Mr. Platt says.

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But he cracked when he saw a need: His wife wanted him to get fit, and he began to see how automating the process of tracking exercise could help him do more. Now, the couple and their friends compete in daily and weekly Fitbit challenges. For his birthday last year, Mr. Platt upgraded from the clip-on model to the wrist-based device.

Late adopters can seem more conspicuous than ever in a world where product cycles are speeding up for everything from phones to refrigerators. “Innovation has pushed up the adoption curve,” says Grant McCracken, a cultural anthropologist who has done behavioral research on Netflix viewers. There are so many things to adopt now, he says, “a lot of people have effectively bowed out of the innovation game.”

Late adopters are emerging as an untapped marketing force, with important things to tell companies about the role new products should play. Because they tend to be highly critical, late adopters can be useful to companies perfecting their wares.

In a 2015 study published in the Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, Ms. Jahanmir and a co-author outlined their “Lag-User Method,” a seven-step process for cultivating product ideas from late adopters.

Late adopters tend to want simple, cost-effective products focused on specific uses, the researchers found. By listening to late adopters of the old version of a product, developers can create a new version that is quicker to be adopted.

Blake Rector, a Portland, Ore., graduate student, waited until this past Christmas to buy his first smartphone. Over the years, as friends and family transitioned to larger devices with Internet access, the 33-year-old says he cherished his standard Samsung flip phone.

For the most part, he got along fine, he thought. His tiny phone was unobtrusive in his pocket, the battery lasted four days on a single charge, and he didn’t have all those distractions in his busy academic schedule.

But Mr. Rector felt the pang of adopting late in a world dominated by mobile Internet. With his wife scheduled to return home from a two-week trip to Africa, Mr. Rector and his flip phone headed to the airport. Hours passed, and he didn’t hear his wife. He began to worry but wasn’t able to find out much about his wife’s flight status.

“Everyone just expected that I would have a smartphone,” he says. “I tried the people at the ticket counter and they just expected I could look it up myself.”

He ended up asking a flight attendant who was taking a break in a coffee shop if he could borrow a few bytes of data. Only after looking up flight details on the stranger’s smartphone did he realize that he had come to the airport a day early.

Write to Charlie Wells at Charlie.Wells@wsj.com

How Apple’s wireless EarPods could change the way we hear everything!

apple-hearingaid-780x575

 

Recent reports suggest Apple might ship wireless, noise-canceling EarPods with the iPhone 7. From a hardware perspective, these headphones would be very similar to hearing aids.

With the right feature set, these devices could change the way we hear digital audio and pave the way for transformative new audio experiences for everyone.
Are wearable manufacturers digging in the right place?
Now that Google Glass, Apple Watch and various fitness devices have gotten us used to wearables, it’s time for smart audio devices — or “hearables,” as they have become known — to grab our ears. Several such successful Kickstarter projects launched at CES earlier this month, and most aren’t targeting people with hearing loss.

Bragi’s Dash earbuds stream music wirelessly from your iPhone, but they also act as fitness trackers and recognize gestures, like nodding your head to accept a call.

Doppler Labs’ Here promises to bring the benefits of hearing aids to people with normal hearing, by providing a “live listening” experience for Coachella festival attendees. Even Twitter is getting in on the act. And there are many more examples.

With so many smart earbuds already on the market, why should Apple enter the sector now? To coin a phrase Steve Jobs once borrowed from Indiana Jones, I believe most hearable makers are “digging in the wrong place.”

Today’s hearing aids are overpriced and unimpressive
I lost most of my hearing as a result of chemotherapy treatment for cancer back in 2007. It saved my life, but left me relying on hearing aids to engage in a conversation.

I’ve found today’s hearing aids are overpriced and difficult to use. Unlike glasses, which have become a stylish fashion accessory, hearing aids remain clunky and uncool. No wonder only one in five people who could benefit from hearing aids actually wear them. Many people choose to struggle with poor hearing rather than accept the social stigma associated with the devices.

Every time I buy a new pair, I hope it will be “the one” that solves my hearing problems. But even those that claim to be “Made for iPhone” tend to be unreliable for streaming audio and making calls.

If only there were an innovative tech company that specialized in entering new markets with disruptive, revolutionary consumer products that could drag the hearing aid industry into the 21st century …

OK, I admit, these are just regular hearing aids with an Apple logo stuck on them. I’m sure Jonathan Ive and his team would come up with something way better.
OK, I admit, these are just regular hearing aids with an Apple logo stuck on them. I’m sure Jony Ive and his team would come up with something better.

Why Apple needs to make hearing aids
The market for hearing aids is not as niche as it might appear: 15 percent of American adults report having trouble hearing. And this problem is set to increase as our population gets older, because aging is a major cause of hearing loss. Forecasts suggest the hearing aid market will be worth more than $8 billion by 2020.

In reality, Apple’s new EarPods will probably not double as hearing aids. But imagine if they did.

Apple’s entry into this sector could disrupt the hearing aid industry and be a godsend for deaf people like me. And the latest technological advances could benefit everyone. The market for Apple hearables is clearly not limited to people with hearing loss. There are three features I believe Apple is uniquely placed to deliver that could make Cupertino’s Smart EarPods a must-have accessory for everyone.

Holographic audio
Stereo has been with us since the 1930s. In headphones, it creates an immersive audio experience, but it is far from natural. For example, if you are listening to music with drums on your left and vocals on your right, when you turn to face in the opposite direction, the drums remain on your left and vocals on your right. In reality, they would have switched to the opposite sides. It is as if the band is actually attached to your head.

Imagine you are standing in the middle of the band. As you turn your head, the unique audio mix of the different instruments around you changes in each ear as you turn. But regular stereo does not come close to matching this experience.

Reproducing this effect requires a recording taken from many different directional microphones. This is known as “holographic audio.” To listen to this kind of recording using headphones, you would need motion sensors attached to your head to pick up your movements and adjust the audio mix accordingly. Holographic sound promises to be the next major leap forward in audio technology.

iPhones already feature CoreMotion, a framework that provides applications with data from a magnetic compass, accelerometer and gyroscope. If Apple were to build CoreMotion into its Smart EarPods, it could quite literally add a new dimension to music.

Augmented-reality Siri
Google Glass was once hyped as the future of wearables, but consumers did not embrace the gadget because of its clunky looks and unintuitive interface. Glass was ahead of its time. But the idea of having a wearable virtual assistant that provides context-aware information while you are on the move is still a good one.

Augmented-reality vision may be a long way off, but the technology for augmented-reality audio exists today. Imagine you are walking down the street when you hear Siri call out on your left, “Hey — that shop you are looking for is over here.” When you turn your head to the left, Siri adds, “Now you’re looking straight at it.”

Smart EarPods equipped with CoreMotion could do this easily, mapping Siri’s voice onto specific locations in the environment around you.

This technique could also be used to mix audio from your iPhone with ambient sound around you. For example, when taking a call while walking, the caller’s voice could be positioned to your right, as if you were walking next to them. If you were seated, the caller could be positioned in front of you, as if you were seated opposite each other.

This would have a significant safety benefit. Regular headphones block your ears, so you can’t hear what is going on around you, whether it’s the hoot of a car horn or the screeching brakes of a bike. By mixing external and internal audio sources in this way, you would be able to hear everything that matters while you are on the move.

In combination with noise-cancellation technology, augmented-reality audio could allow you to let in external sound when you want it, and block it when you don’t.

Superhuman hearing
While only 15 percent of Americans suffer from hearing problems, everyone could benefit from superhuman hearing sometimes. Seinfeld famously ended up wearing a puffy shirt on a TV appearance, thanks to his inability to hear a “low talker.”

Hearing aid technology has come a long way. These days they can eliminate background noises and pick out the voice of a person directly in front of you. Siemens even claims its latest models offer “better than human” hearing. In other words, everyone could benefit from them. Superhuman hearing can help you have a conversation in a noisy environment like a nightclub, without the need for any shouting.

Breaking the mold in hearing aid sales
Hearing aids today can cost as much as $5,000. One of the reasons they are so expensive is because the sales channel is complicated. You buy hearing aids from audiologists, who test your hearing and tune your hearing aids to your specific prescription based on your “pure tone audiogram.”

While there are doubtless many regulatory issues surrounding this, I wonder if Apple could solve the problem with a self-testing app for minor hearing impairments — using an approach like the tests in ResearchKit, Apple’s open-source platform for clinical trials. A similar pragmatic approach allows those with minor vision impairments to buy reading glasses over the counter without a prescription.

I’m hoping Apple will listen
Hearing aids are pretty much the only gadgets I use ever day that are not made by Apple. I guess that is why I get so frustrated by them. They are just not up to Apple’s high standards. Even when I’m wearing them, I still have trouble hearing people.

I realize Apple may have other priorities, like building electric, self-driving cars. But for anyone who could benefit from better, more affordable hearing aids, I hope Apple is listening.