Time to Upgrade

Apple.

The iMac I’m using right now is old. It was manufactured in 2013. It’s getting slower on boot up, and the more time I spend in a given logon session the slower it gets, even without a lot of apps running.

I’m unhappy with Apple for not upgrading this model in quite a while. I’m not going to spend $2,000 or more to replace the iMac with a machine that’s running 2016 / 2017 technology. It was a big disappointment that their late October announcement did not mention any new iMacs.

Oh wait a minute – they did release a new iMac within the last year. It’s the iMac PRO, and the PRO part at the end of the name means it starts at $4,999. It’s targeted to professionals in the movie, arts, architecture, and design businesses.

By not announcing a new home or business iMac model by now, I think Tim Cook and his financial guys are forgetting the working class grunts and their Apple hardware and software purchases that helped Apple obtain their current financial status.

But that’s just my disappointment talking. In all fairness, they did announce a new Mac Mini PRO. The media tacked on the PRO, not Apple. My first Apple desktop was a Mini and was a great little box I used for years. The new Mini has many configuration options and a nice set of features. It allows for the building of a Mini beast which is what I did, aiming for it to have as long a life as possible. I’ll be ordering it soon, but without their $700, or $1,300 LG monitor. I’m sure I can get the monitor I need on the net for a little over half those prices.

I’m admitting to being too locked into Apple with my iPhone, iPad, iMac, Mac Air, and iCloud. I’ve severed my relationship with Microsoft for good (for the second time). I have a Lenovo laptop that now runs Linux instead of the Window’s 10 it came with. The Window’s updates got very unpredictable and often made messes it took me hours to cleanup, sometimes a day or more. I have minimal experience with Linux but early investigation tells me getting it to do all the things I do on the Apple platform may be a pipe dream. But as I said, I have a lot to learn about Linux and what software is out there for it.

My future plan is to not replace my iPhone when it is no longer keeping up with the other devices, and instead purchase an iPad with cellular. I may end up getting tired of lugging the iPad around all the time to not miss calls, so getting a low cost cell phone and plan providing only unlimited text and calls may be another solution.

Some IOS Apps I Use Everyday

ios-apps-640x220

These are some of the Apple IOS apps that help keep an old man organized, on time, and secured.  I basically run my life off my iPhone, and these three apps help.  I have other apps I use daily and will follow up with some of them in future posts, in case they may be of interest to you.

GoodReader by Good.iWare Inc
Every computing platform has its “must have, does it all app”, and for IOS, it’s this one.  It houses files of all types in a standard folder and file structure, and I can transfer or download any of them to and from my desktops and laptops.  I set up a sync arrangement within the app I can run at will to keep a folder on my iMac identical to a folder in GoodReader.  It is a powerful PDF annotator and updater.  I use an in-app security option to have all content in the app encrypted at the hardware level (requiring a password or finger print to get into the app), and selected folders protected by a different password (same fingerprint) as well.  Check this app out in the App Store for a full list of its capabilities.  It’s well worth the $5.

TickTick by Appest Limited
This apps manages my simple ToDo list in a very workable layout.  It has all the usual functionality of a basic ToDo app (date and time settings, alerts, repeats, priority, etc) that you can choose to use or not.  It provides a helpful widget with useful features, and TickTick can manage multiple lists of tasks.  I’m using the free version which caps at 99 tasks (way more than I need), but if you’re still active in the corporate world or your own business, you can upgrade to the Pro version.  This adds almost unlimited lists and tasks, collaboration with others, attachments, a calendar interface, and more.  Note that even the free version provides syncing of the tasks and lists with other IOS devices and the free Mac OS X version of the App, as well as Android devices and a web interface.  Keep me honest and check this app out in the App Store for all the details.  Feature for feature, I think it’s among the best in class.

Enpass Password Manager by Sinew Software Systems Private Limited
This password management app has the most important feature to me – all data within it is not only securely encrypted, but it can be housed locally.  You can still keep devices in sync using WebDav and backup files with this local file feature, or choose any of the supported clouds instead (6 popular choices currently).  The app offers templates for many different account types, and you may also customize any of these templates to your needs by adding fields of different types.  It supports autofill of credentials in the internal browser or Safari, provides a free desktop version of the app for Mac and others, and there’s no signup required or subscription charges.  This full feature app is free to try (with a limited number of entries), and the full Pro version is $10.  A great app, well worth that price to me.

 

Lenovo Ideapad 100S

Lenovo Ideapad 100S

UPDATE: Unfortunately, with the speed of products arriving and going off the market, the Lenova Ideapad 100s is no longer available. I recently upgraded this guy to Linux Mint 19.0 Cinnamon, leaving the Microsoft updates madness behind. A happy camper, with a snappy machine to help learn more of the Linux world, and as a bonus, a Microsoft free home.


I had a Fusion (VMWare) virtual machine running Windows 7 Pro living in my iMac, that I upgraded to the free Windows 10 Pro.  As this was my last Windows instance in the house I decided that if I was going to have only one Windows machine, it might as well be the latest version.

Windows 10 did run in the virtual environment but not as well as Windows 7.  It took longer to start up, ran somewhat slower, and glitches with the display and sound drivers which did not occur with Windows 7 were annoying.  I don’t rule out that living in the iMac had a lot to do with the poor driver behavior.  Around this same time, I happened to cruise the laptop aisles at Best Buy and saw laptops under $300 that seemed to have enough oomph to support the kind of things I would use a Windows lap top for.

I ended up purchasing a Lenovo Ideapad with Windows 10 Home edition installed, for about $245.  It has a 14″ screen, 2 GB memory, a 64 GB SSD (solid state drive), a microSD slot, 3 USB ports (2 USB 2.0 and 1 USB 3.00), and an HDMI port.  Also included are a Celeron Dual Core CPU, Bluetooth 4.0, and 802.11 a/c WiFi connectivity.  The purchase also qualifies for a free 1 year subscription to Microsoft Office 365 Personal if you sign up for it within the first 6 months of ownership.

I’ve had this machine for about 2 months and I like it.  Its main uses up to now include getting to know Windows 10, cruising the web and updating web sites, and getting back into coding with Windows Powershell and VBScript.  It performs all these functions in a snappy fashion and starts up from the power off status or a sleep fairly quickly.  

Admittedly, this is not a gamer platform, or suitable for applications needing high CPU usage or more than 2 GB memory, but for web surfing, email, and other activities where almost all the heavy lifting is happening on a web server somewhere else, the sturdy and light Lenova Ideapad 100S is a great machine for the price.