Soundbyte 313 – March 2021

ChristopherLondon, News, Review, SoundByte

Future Macs

Welcome to Soundbyte. In this issue:

  • March Meetup: Future Macs
  • AGM Announcement
  • Get your Mac ready for Big Sur
  • MacBook Pro battery issues
  • Apple’s Hearing Study
  • M1 Mac excessive drive use?
  • Smart Plugs: tips and trips!
  • More Mysterious Malware
  • Dinosaurs on your desk!
  • Offers for members

March Meetup: Future Macs

Join us this Monday at 7pm for an open discussion on the future of Macs. As we wait for Apple announcements of new Macs this year, we will discuss all the latest news from the rumour mill and share our thoughts on what future Macs might look like.

We will start the evening with Newsbyte as usual, covering the main news from the last month. Find details on joining the Zoom call in the members email that came with this Soundbyte.

Don’t forget the Brew and Byte Podcast. This week, we have an interview with William Gallagher. William is Deputy Chair of the Writers’ Guild. He produces the YouTube series 58keys for writers who use Macs, iPhones and iPads, writes Doctor Who radio dramas and is the author of 19 non-fiction books including the British Film Institute’s BFI TV Classics: The Beiderbecke Affair.

AGM Announcement

LMUG’s AGM will be held on April 12. The pandemic has forced most meetings everywhere online. This has created unexpected consequences which the future committee will need to navigate with your help.

  • What should happen to membership fees if future meetings are virtual?
  • What about our popular pub meetings and raffle prizes?
  • Should we link up with other UK mac user groups and how deeply?

Please consider if you wish to volunteer to serve on the committee. As the Chair has reached the end of his 5 year term, there will be a vacancy…

Get you Mac ready for Big Sur

If you have followed the advice to wait for others to go first with Mac OS upgrades, here are some of the latest tips. The most recent system update to Big Sur is checking that there is enough free disk space before installation. How much space do you need? Around 35 gigabytes! So make sure you spring clean before you upgrade. Read more on Tidbits.

If you you want a refresh on what’s exciting in Big Sur and some of the changes, have a look at this interview with Apple:

For those upgrading to a new Mac with Apple Silicon, and who need a Windows program to work, there is still no news from Microsoft on official support for Microsoft Windows on Apple’s new chips. Unofficially, some users are going ahead with the beta and test software that is available, at their own risk. Make sure you can’t find a better Mac app that can do the same or equivalent, before trying this. Ask for help in one of our meetings or on the podcast.

MacBook Pro battery issues

Bad Mac

There is some troubling news from users of the MacBook Pro. For some of them, their batteries are not charging beyond 1%. Luckily, this has been acknowledged by Apple and they have issued a support article. Read on if this is affecting you.

Apple’s Hearing Study

Apple hearing study

Apple operates a research app in the United States. Recently a research study looked into hearing and hearing loss.

According to data collected using the study’s hearing tests, 20 percent of participants have hearing loss when compared to WHO standards, and 10 percent have hearing loss that is consistent with noise exposure. Nearly 50 percent of participants haven’t had their hearing tested by a professional in at least 10 years. And 25 percent of participants experience ringing in their ears a few times a week or more, which could be a sign of hearing damage.

Apple recommends that “Everyone should have their hearing health checked periodically by a professional.” We would also advise making sure you have Sound Check turned on in Settings/Music on your iPhone, especially if using earbuds. Read more on Apple’s site, here.

M1 Mac excessive drive use?

A few reports have emerged of excessive SSD (Hard Drive) usage in the new Apple Macs with Apple Silicon. There is some concern that these Macs will wear out their hard drives early, and unfortunately these are soldered into the computer and cannot be replaced. Is there something to these reports, are we using these new Mac’s incorrectly or is this just paranoia? Have a look at the video below for an expert‘s view.

Smart plugs: tips and trips!

Meross Smart Plug Strip

You can now get smart plugs that you can control by your voice through Siri using HomeKit. For example: “Hey Siri, turn off the office plug”.

If these are labelled as working with HomeKit, we would hope they should ‘just work’. But an LMUG member, Paul Willis faced a struggle recently when trying to set up a smart plug like this. It supports HomeKit. It should just work, but the plug didn’t show up in the Home App, where HomeKit devices are supposed to appear when first turned on. He tried restarting his router; using his iPad instead of his iPhone to run the set-up and moving everything closer to the WiFi router. Nothing worked.

By chance, (hot tip!) Paul then plugged the smart plug right next to his wifi router (which was a Google Wifi mesh pod). Amazingly this worked and the plug appeared instantly in the Home app on his iPad. He then did the same with his other smart plugs and 4 plug extension strip. All without any issues. Now added to his HomeKit network, he can move the plugs anywhere in the house and tell them to turn on or off, using Siri. It just works!!

(ED: Members can get 25% off Eve smart plugs with HomeKit – check Offers for Members below on how to access the discount).

More Mysterious Malware

Malware on M1 Macs…

A mysterious malware has infected thousands of Macs with the new M1 Apple Silicon chips. Apple took action to quickly wipe it out. It appears to have come from a dodgy web advert. Beware! Apple has posted a support article with some tips on keeping your Mac safe. Read on here.

(ED – check out the great discounts on password managers in the Offers for Members below…)

Dinosaurs on your desk!

On a lighter note, join David Attenborough from your iPhone and look at some Dinosaurs! Bring extinct creatures back to life through the power of Augmented Reality. This works on iPhone 7 and newer. Here’s the link to the app in the App Store.

Offers for Members

And now, for our special offers, which are available to LMUG’s paying members through the members section on the website.

  • Eve Products: 25% Discount
  • TechTool Pro 11: 50% Discount
  • AgileBits 1Password 7: 25% Discount
  • MacCleanse 8 Software: 20% Discount
  • EverWeb by RAGE Software: 50% Discount 
  • Opus ][ Complete Collection: 25% Discount
  • Que Publishing Products: 35-45% Discount
  • Take Control Books: 30% Discount on All eBooks
  • Teams ID, a Password Manager for Teams: 33% Discount
  • TidBITS Content Network for Apple professionals: Get a free month of tips and articles!