Apple Tech, Commentary, Issues and More

June Tech Composite

On the eve of the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference that is slated to start tomorrow (Monday June 10), I decided to spew a few thoughts about the state of Apple, computers and tech in general for this post.

First off, starting with this post, the focus of this blog will somewhat expand to not cover only Apple and its mostly wonderful products (Macintosh computers, iOS devices) but expand out to cover online issues and tech, as well as other hardware platforms including non-Apple laptops, computers, tablets and digital cameras. In essence some of this tech has already been covered in the few posts on this blog.

The result of the expanded focus of the blog has also brought about name change… nothing major but something to reflect on the expanded coverage. The new name is Mel’s Macintosh Universe and Technology Blog.

Moving on… thoughts on a few things that have recently come up:

Apple: As a long time Mac user, I have to say that I have 3 Macs currently in service. All are laptops.  My two MacBook Pros, both still running OSX 10.6.8 remain my primary workhorse computers. The 15 inch MacBook Pro was purchased in late 2009 and the 2nd a 13 inch model was purchased in 2011. My older iBook 700 still sees some regular service when I need to access older software, especially a few things that I need to access with Mac OS9.

My Power Mac G4 Quicksilver tower has been sidelined for a couple of years now. It needs a new battery and possibly something fixed with either the software or (gasp) the motherboard. That computer which I bought brand new in 2001 for some reason does not want to be connected online. I’ve tried several remedies and none have worked so far.

I was saddened to learn that the 4th generation iPod Touch was just discontinued by Apple a few weeks ago. I’ve owned one since late 2010. The iPod Touch has proven to be a wonderful device that acts as my second tier computer for the times that I am on the go and need to access data while traveling. I bought a MiFi device and subscription for it several months ago, which has made this device even more valuable. I will be writing more about my iPod Touch and its various uses.

New Stuff From Apple: By the end of tomorrow (June 10) Apple will probably have introduced some new technology to its line-up of devices and software tech. The rumor mill includes the following: New high end MacPro desktop computer; new iRadio music service (I hope this does not run on iTunes and that Apple keeps the streaming radio stations that have been on iTunes for as long as I can remember), new operating systems – Mac OSX 10.9 and iOS7.  I will will comment about these things on later blog posts.

Apple may also introduce new MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs. I expect the standard MacBook Pro with the built in DVD Super Drive will probably be discontinued. That will be sad.

Google: Lately I have become more of a “fanboy” for Google… especially for their Chrome web browser and Chrome Operating System. So much so that I have bought a Samsung Chromebook that I now use as a secondary level computer to do online stuff while on the go. I will write more about the Chromebook in an upcoming post.

Gmail: Google is making changes to Gmail. Most of them are OK except for the small writing window they are trying to force down user throats with the latest updates. I’ve been a longtime Gmail user and maintain several accounts on Google’s service.

Google Reader: Sadly I lament the demise of Google Reader which will come to pass after June 30. I have migrated to Feedly but don’t find it to be very compelling. Google Reader was the best RSS reader out there.

Google Drive: I’ve become a fan of Google Drive. More so now that I have a Chromebook. Google gave Chromebook users such as myself 100 GB of free storage space for the next 2 years. I wish it were a lifetime. Perhaps I will buy a new Chromebook every two years!

Adobe: I used to be a big fan of some of Adobes professional desktop publishing software… mainly Pagemaker (from the Classic Mac days), InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop. Word came late this spring that Adobe has moved to an all-cloud software rental scheme. It will be expensive to keep up with Adobe’s products. I am already looking for and using alternatives on Mac OS.

Flickr has long been one of my favorite web photo sharing sites. Over the years the service has gone through several changes, some of which I utterly hated. On May 20 Yahoo gave Flickr a major overhaul and increased everyone’s photo storage space to a whopping 1 terabyte! Wow. More on this in an upcoming post.

Finally I’ll make this short comment regarding the much talked about NSA surveillance controversy that has been in the news since last week Thursday (June 6). The United States Government has been monitoring all of our phone call and data activities for at least the past 6 years as a matter of policy in order to intercept communications between users and suspected terrorist groups and individuals. Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile seem to be in full cooperation with this domestic surveillance operation even though some of the firms have issued statements to the contrary.

I think it is wrong for the U.S. Government to covertly spy on its own citizens without cause. An investigation into this growing scandal is needed. The privacy rights of American citizens should not be breached by the government.


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