Soundbyte 326 – April 2022

ChristopherNews, SoundByte

Welcome to Soundbyte! In this issue:

  • Annual General Meeting
  • The Mac Studio
  • A new Studio Display!
  • Manage your work/life in Notes and Reminders
  • Is fast charging bad for your phone battery?
  • Protection from cyberwarfare
  • Make your own M1 Mac?
  • The ideal electric bike?
  • Offers for members

LMUG’s Annual General Meeting will be held on April 11th at 8:00 pm via Zoom Only. It will be a members-only meeting. As a member, you can join us to discuss the year ahead via Zoom. Details will be in the email that this copy of Soundbyte came with.

It is important that as many members as possible attend as we will be electing a new committee. There is much to discuss about our future. Please take part and help us set us in the right direction to serve you! We will start the evening with our usual Newsbyte presentation. 

AGM Agenda:

  1. Apologies for absence
  2. Minutes of 2021 AGM (tabled)
  3. Chairman’s Report
  4. Treasurer’s Report
  5. Webmaster’s Report
  6. Election of Committee Members (nominees)
    • Secretary: Tina Jacobs
    • Chair: Craig Jobbins
    • Treasurer: Pietro Falcone
    • Membership: Pietro Falcone
    • Webmaster: Craig Jobbins
    • Technical: Alastair Whitehouse
    • Committee Member: Martin Kelly
    • Newsletter: Christopher Mahon
  7. Change of membership category: Ordinary Membership would now consist of two categories: Full membership with the right to attend meetings in person,including the Christmas party; Web Membership with attendance of meetings on Zoom. Members would be entered into a prize draw each month.
  8. Any Other Business

Should you wish to volunteer for the committee please forward your name to the secretary. New committee members always welcome. We welcome new ideas and new people. 

Don’t forget to follow LMUG on twitter and in our podcast Brew & Byte.

The Mac Studio

Apple have released a new Mac desktop, the Mac Studio. This is positioned between the Mac mini and the still to come new Mac Pro. Some commentators were hoping that Apple would release a new professional level Mac Mini. Depending on your point of view, Apple have already done this with the current M1 Mac mini. At the same time, Apple have kept on sale the old version with the Intel chip for those professionals that need it for compatibility with apps that haven’t been updated for the new Apple Silicon chips. Instead, it appears that the new Mac studio, replaces the 27-inch iMacs. How does it do this when it doesn’t have a screen? Well, Apple have also released a new Studio Display that I’ll talk about later.

The Mac Studio appears to be squarely targeted at artists and creative professionals and Apple appears to have sent some of these Macs to them to review. Have a look at one of them below:

The Mac Studio (starting at £2,000) introduces a new Apple Silicon chip as well. The studio is available with a M1 Max chip (from the recent MacBook Pro) but also a new M1 Ultra chip. The Ultra is two M1 Max chips stuck together in a remarkable feat of engineering and cooling to keep the Mac silent. Something to remember is that Apple Silicon chips are like lego. They are based on blocks of ARM processor cores. The Mac Mini has 4 performance cores and Mac Studio M1 Ultra has 20! But for some work this may not be apparent. A web browser for example might use just one core. And developers may need to update their apps to take advantage of the extra cores in the Ultra. Initial reviews suggest some diminishing returns when paying extra for the Ultra, at least until software developers have had the chance to update their applications to take advantage of it.

Either way, remembering that the Mac Pro starts at £5,500, the new Mac Studio is a significantly more affordable entry price for professionals.

A new Studio Display!

I mentioned above that Apple has a new pro-level Studio Display to go with the new Mac Studio (and other Macs – see whats compatible here). It has a bright display with extended dymanic range and includes a whole load of extra features (a wide-angle web cam and high quality speakers and microphone). But at an eye-watering price of £1,500. The display is unique on the market in terms of quality, size (5k at 27-inches) and sleek Apple design. All the alternatives will have downsides: smaller, dimmer, uglier, but cheaper! If you need this one, you will find a way to pay for it!

What immediately intrigued me, was when Apple’s presentation showed the insides of the display.

The Studio display’s dual fans?!
The Studio Display’s 6 speaker array?!

The dual (!) fans, the big speakers, pro-level mics and the web cam. It sounds a lot like a 27-inch iMac, and indeed it has a computer inside of it (!), an A13 from an iPhone to run its special features. Perhaps this is a manifestation of the Global chip shortage? Maybe there was a limited number of the new Max/Ultra chips available, or maybe putting them inside would have needed too much cooling? Apple seems determined, after being literally burned by Intel’s chips, to avoid noisy fans. One thing is clear, buying the Studio Display and Mac Studio separately should mean more profit for Apple if both are purchased. But is also a further saving for professionals if a regular 4k display is good enough for their workflow.

Manage your work/life in Notes and Reminders

There are a number of particular ways to manage your work and these skills can also help manage your life like moving house or planning a holiday. Apple Reminders can help you do this. Have a look at the video below to see how:

And here’s a simple way to use folders in Notes to manage a more complex project:

These videos cover some of the basic concepts and skills, and there are lots of other apps that include more features and options. Search the App store for a task or project manager, or Get Things Done. Many options should appear and you should be able to find one that suits your style and also help you manage your work/life now you know how to organise it in these sorts of apps.

Is fast charging bad for your phone battery?

Apple chargers for iPhone have increased from 5 to now 20 watts. That’s four times more power going into the battery. But this is nothing compared to the huge chargers that some Android phones come with. Is this sensible, safe and healthy for your battery? Watch the video below to find out:

Protection from cyber warfare

MacPaw Spy Buster

With the dreadful events in Ukraine on-going, it may be prudent to check whether our Mac apps are connected to Russian servers, that may at some point become a vulnerability to our security. Mac Paw are providing a tool that could do just that. Click the image above to learn more.

Make your own M1 Mac?

Many of us remember fondly the good (or bad) old days when Sir Jony Ive was making fabulous Macs with Swan necks or tasteful cube-like or cylindrical shapes. Never mind the overheating or limited upgradability(!) they were beautiful and won many design awards. But where these designs may have been compromised by slow or hot chips, the super efficient Apple M1, might allow the best of both worlds. Some skilled Mac users have done just that. Have a look at this M1 (classic) iMac below:

And marvel at the G4 Cube finally getting a worthy M1 upgrade:

Where does this end? How about recreating the old Mac Portable?

The ideal electric bike?

Do you ride a bike or do you want to ride a bike around your neighbourhood? Maybe we should, with climate change and London becoming harder to drive around? If you’re not used to riding a bike maybe you’ve been tempted by an electric bike? As a cyclist myself, something I’ve noticed is that people on the electric bikes don’t always pedal. maybe they’re not peddling at all? What are the pedals for in that case? And what might the ideal electric bike look like if we took that to its ultimate conclusion? This one looks intriguing!

Offers for members

Find below the special offers available to our paying members. Access these from our website in the members section.

  • LoveHandle PRO – Magnetic Kickstand + Phone Gripz: 20% Discount
  • G-Hold Devices: 30% Discount
  • AirTamer Air Cleaner: 30% Discount
  • AgileBits 1Password 7: 25% Discount
  • Eve Products: 25% Discount ? Updated
  • 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
  • TechTool Pro: 50% Discount ? Updated
  • TidBITS Content Network for Apple professionals: Get a free month of tips and articles!