Wednesday, February 15, 2017

MacBook Pro with Touch Bar Battery Life

I have been using the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar for over a week now and the battery life has been really good. This was one of the things I was worried about when deciding to buy the new MacBook Pro, as I read so many articles stating the opposite. There was the whole Consumer Report debacle, in which CR did some crazy testing which caused the battery life to be very sporadic in their testing.
Marco Arment claims he was not getting the 10-hours of battery life that Apple was claiming users should get:
“Apple claims it lasts 10 hours, but I’ve never gotten that — in a fairly light web-productivity workload, I average around 5–7 hours, and if I’m using Xcode, I’m lucky to get 4–5 hours. This seems common — many other customers and reviewers have noted similarly disappointing battery life in the 5-hour range.”
Of course everybody users their machines in different ways with different applications running which would cause battery life to greatly differ from user to user. I have noticed a couple of applications that cause my battery to drain at a much quicker rate than normal — Final Cut Pro X and Motion 5 being the two biggest culprits. Even those two applications are only causing the battery to drain faster depending on what I am doing inside the applications. Just having them open isn’t causing battery life to drop drastically, mostly when I am exporting large files or I am creating complex animations in Motion will I see the battery life start to act up.

Other users have also seen the great results that I am seeing, such as John Gruber:
“Speaking of battery life, it has been amazing. I watched Game 7 of the World Series with the 13-inch Touch Bar-equipped model open on my lap, for following Twitter and messaging a few friends about the game. It was a long game, over four hours, and I had the brightness on the display set as high as I wanted. (Maximum brightness would have been way too bright.) When the game ended the MacBook Pro still had 70 percent of its battery remaining. That’s probably the definition of “light use”, but my two-year-old MacBook Pro never got that much battery life under similar conditions.”
I am getting the same sort of battery life experience that Gruber is getting on the new MacBook Pro. I launch Safari, view Twitter in 1 tab, I have YouTube open in another, a few tech sites that I read daily open in others, I have iTunes opened on another desktop playing music, I have Chess open in another desktop, I have iA Writer open in another desktop, maybe Day One opened as well, this is my typical day-to-day use on my MacBook Pro. For me, battery life has been phenomenal, probably about as good as one would get on an iPad, maybe even better? All I know is I am able to go all day without the need of plugging my MBP into an power source, which is all I could ask for.

Here is some food for thought, you can do the dishes. If you’re thinking about buying a new MacBook Pro; but, if you’re concerned about battery life then remember this; you have 2 weeks to decide if you want to keep the MacBook Pro or not. If you are not getting the battery life you need out of the machine, take it back to Apple and get a refund. You will know after a few days what you can expect to get out of the machine. As for me, I am getting a better experience than what I thought I would, battery life has been fantastic!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

How to View Your Backgound Tasks in FCPX (10.3.2)

Ever since Apple updated Final Cut Pro X to 10.3 back in October, a lot of casual FCPX users have found the new interface a tad confusing. Keep in mind, everything still functions the same, things are just in different places. One such change is the Background Task button, which has been moved to the upper left toolbar, it used to reside above the timeline, next to the timestamp.

Here are 3 ways to open up the background tasks dialog box:

  1. Click the circle with the checkmark, which is located in the upper left toolbar. (Fast-forward the above video to the 0:11 mark).

  2. In your Apple menu bar (with FCPX selected) click on Window, then scroll down to Background Tasks. (Fast-forward the above video to the 0:24 mark).

  3. My preferred method, use the keyboard shortcut Command (⌘) + 9. You can also use Command + 9 to close the Background Tasks dialog box. (Fast-forward the above video to 0:33 mark).

For more information about Background Tasks, please check this Apple Support page.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

How to Unlock your Mac with your Apple Watch

If you want to unlock your Mac with your Apple Watch this work terrifically. My one caveat is that it is a tad slower than when I use the Touch ID sensor on my 2016 MacBook Pro, but it is still a nice feature to have activated either way. If you don't have the new MacBook Pro with the Touch ID sensor then it is a no-brainer to activate. Not only is your Apple ID better secured with 2-factor authentication; but, you are also able to access your Mac easier without the hassle of needing to type in your password each time.

I one thing I should mention, this does not work when you power your Mac on, you will still need to enter your password in that situation. If you are waking your Mac from sleeping though, it works every single time.

Once you set-up your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac, when the Watch is used to unlock your Mac you will get a tap on the wrist and hear a jingle on the Watch letting you know it just unlocked your Mac. You will also see a notification on your Watch as well. I have noticed that it doesn't unlock my Mac unless I am sitting right in front of it, which is a good thing for security reasons. I do not want it unlocking my MacBook when I am not at my desk but I am in the same room as my MacBook. It works perfectly!

You do need to have a mid-2013 Mac, running macOS Sierra 10.12 or later, and your Apple Watch needs to be updated to watchOS 3.

Below you will find a few links to the Apple Support sections for each aspect of using your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac.

Supported Devices:

2-factor Authentication information:

Unlock your Mac with your Apple Watch information:

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

How to fix a frozen Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro

A quick tip for anyone who has experienced the Touch Bar freezing up on the MacBook Pro. If this happens to you, follow the instructions below and it will relaunch the Touch Bar.

Open Terminal > type: pkill "Touch Bar agent" > press Return

If you do not know where to find the Terminal, it is located in Applications folder > Utilities Folder > Terminal

Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter

This adapter works perfectly with my older Thunderbolt external drive. I have not had a single issue with it.

Hopefully I can get a new SSD Thunderbolt 3 drive to replace my current external drive so I won't need to use these adapters, but for the time being, this works fine!

The adapter is $29, you can purchase it from the Apple Store:

How to Customize the Touch Bar

A quick tip on how to customize the Touch Bar on a MacBook Pro.

For more information regarding the Touch Bar, please check the Apple support page;

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

SanDisk Extreme Pro USB-C Reader / Adapter

I purchased this to use with my MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. I needed an easy way to get my drone footage off of my Phantom 4 and onto my MacBook Pro for editing, this is the perfect solution for my needs.

I have used this quite a few times and I have not had any issues. Transfer speeds seem to be super quick. I am mostly transferring from the SanDisk to my Thunderbolt external drive for editing, but even transferring directly to the MBP is super fast as well. Great product, highly recommended!

$29 from Apple;

Apparently Amazon doesn't carry this yet, so no link. :/

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Elago W3 - Apple Watch Charging Stand

A replica Macintosh charging stand for your Apple Watch, it works with series 1 and 2.

It is made of rubber, just feed your charging cable through the stand, your watch slides down inside it. Very sturdy, it doesn't tip over, it's rubber on the outside but weighted on the inside. A very neat charging stand for any Apple fan with an Apple Watch.

$15 on Amazon;

Monday, December 19, 2016

Google Pixel case, I am not impressed

I recently bought a case for my Google Pixel from the Google store, it was the clear case for the Pixel. Now when I bought this I knew it was a “cheap” case that wasn’t meant to offer much drop protection, it was just meant to keep the phone from getting scratched.

This is the entire description of the case on the product page;
“The ultra-thin design helps protect without adding unnecessary bulkiness, and allows quick, precise access to all your buttons and sensors.”
I didn’t buy the case to avoid scratches or help keep it safe from accidental drops, I bought it so I could stick a metal tab that would allow the phone to attach to my magnetic windshield car mount to hold my phone while I am driving.

But man-o-man did Google cut some corners with this case. This case has to be the cheapest quality case they could find in terms of build quality, and it cost $30. This is no more than a $5 or $10 case that I could find on Amazon all day long, except for the fact that there are not many cases for the Google Pixel on Amazon. I opted for the case from Google because I figured it was a high quality case, just like the cases I buy from Apple for my iPhone. I am not trying to compare oranges to apples here (pun intended) between Google and Apple as companies; but, the cases I buy from Apple, you can tell they are of higher quality than the cheap cases you find on Amazon.

The edges of this case that stick up over the side of the phone could very well result in “paper cut” like cuts it is so sharp. Overall, it is a truly horrible case throughout - poor design, cheaply made, and offers zero protection from pretty much anything, especially my fingers from cuts! Checkout this Vine of the edges of the cases, it probably doesn't do it justice, but trust me, the edges are sharps and raised;

Google should be ashamed of themselves for even selling this to their customers! With that said, it does serve the purpose I bought it for! If you are wondering about the mount, it this mount from Logitech: Logitech Drive One Car Mount.
Pixel Cases.