SoundByte 343 – September 2023


Welcome to SoundByte! In this issue:

September Meetup

Apple Event

Join us at 5.45pm, GMT+1, Tuesday, September 12 for a live watch party of Apple’s September Event at 6pm.

We’ll be running a Zoom chat on silent during the presentation, while we watch the event on our devices. We will then turn on our cameras for a post-event discussion on what’s been announced.

The Zoom chat will be open from 5:30pm.

Check the email this newsletter came in for the Zoom link. We will also post the link in our Slack General Channel.

Follow the London Mac User Group on…Mastodon🐘! If you are not familiar with Mastodon, have a look at TidBit’s explainer here.

iMac hits 25 years!

The original iMac G3

Do you remember 1998? Were you even born then? That was the year Apple was saved by Steve Jobs when he unveiled the first iMac, which was targeted at the new breed of internet users. Skip to 15:53 in this video to watch the unveiling.

Its translucent design shook the whole electronics industry, leading to many other products aping that part of its design.

My Iron looks like this…

It saved Apple because it generated enough money for them to create new products, like the iPod, which shot Apple into the stratosphere. Have a read of this retrospective on Daring Fireball.

Speaking of older products, unfortunately, some maybe be growing grey hairs unexpectedly young. Apple has declared the 2017 MacBook Pro with TouchBar to be ‘vintage’. Read about it on 9to5Mac. Time for an upgrade perhaps. Perhaps of less import, the iTunes Movie Trailer app [who had that app? ED] -is no more. Discontinued. Read its last rites, also on 9to5Mac!

Master Mac Mail

Do you use Mac Mail? Speaking for myself I use it to read email, put stuff in folders and that’s about it. William Gallagher has some special tips to share from his professional writer’s perspective. Watch below to learn what they are and if they can help you get more from Mail:

Fake news that masks a real problem

Hyperbole to drive views and advertising impressions has infected many web news sites. It has gotten to the point where many feel we can’t trust the news on those sites. At the least, we need to be discerning with our sources, to avoid sites that stretch facts so far that they become alarmist nonsense. This article from The Street is a good case in point. The headline warns that something we do commonly might be dangerous. What’s dangerous? Charging your phone at night! Oh noes!

The truth is far less exciting and highlights a serious safety message that should be discussed. Our iPhones are electric devices with batteries. When we charge them we want to ensure we’re not overheating them. The best way to do that is to use the supplied cable and charger that came with your phone or an approved or high quality alternative. Apple specifically says: “Avoid prolonged skin contact with the charging cable and connector when the charging cable is connected to a power source because it may cause discomfort or injury. Sleeping or sitting on the charging cable or connector should be avoided.” – don’t sit or lay on it!

The advice to use the correct charging cables, in a safe way, does not only apply to iPhones. The bigger the battery, the bigger the risk and serious issues have arising with e-Bikes. The London Fire Brigade is dealing with more and more highly flammable and explosive battery fires. Their main cause is unsafe charging (and unregulated bike imports). Stay safe out there and read more about this scary fire risk from the Fire Brigade, here.

Vision Pro better than expected?

Unveiled at WWDC, the Visio Pro is due to be released early next year. To get help developers get their apps ready, Apple is hosting sessions for developers around the world so they can try it in-person. You can listen to an interview with one of these developers where he talks about…what he’s allowed to talk about on the Talk Show podcast, here.

MagSafe goes mainstream?

If you have grey hairs like me, you might remember when the first Qi wireless charger was demonstrated at an LMUG meeting many many years ago. As usual, Apple perfected the technology with MagSafe, solving the main gripe. The main problem with Qi is alignment. Qi wireless charging involves putting you phone on a charging mat, but its needs to be placed just so, otherwise…nothing happens. Worse, you can align it perfectly, see it start charging, and then accidentally nudge it off alignment. A very common problem that leads to flat batteries!

Apple’s solution? Add a magnet to ensure the phone snaps to and stays aligned with the charging mat. This innovation appears to be the main feature of the new Qi2 charging standard. Read about it on the Cult of Mac.

Hey Siri, close the curtains!

Are you tired of opening your curtains in the morning? If this is something you do every day, it is actually a prime candidate for automation. I automated my living room blinds over a year ago, and it have gone beyond seeming like magic to being unnoticed. They are closed when I expect them to be and open when I expect, driven by a HomeKit automation based on daily sun rise and sunset times. If you have curtains, there is probably a solution for you too! Have a look at Paul Hibbert’s video on the SwitchBot curtain motor below:


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