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#806: Valentine's App, Lion Sleep, Sync 101

 
     
 

Another sunny week in Manchester! Sure, it’s been cold, but it’s definitely not normal February weather. Last weekend’s prediction of snow turned out to be a false alarm, to the disappointment of many within Small Dog who look forward to skiing and snowboarding.

Over the weekend, we started our Trade In, Trade Up special in Manchester, where we offered up to $100 in credit toward the purchase of a new Mac if you brought in your old Mac or PC. (Note: the special ends today, 2/14, if you’re in the area and still want to take advantage!) Several customers brought in their old computers, and left happy with brand new machines. We are also running a special on 2010 MacBook Airs, and we still have stock on refurbished MacBooks. If you ever wanted to switch to a Mac, now’s the time!

The rumor mill is in full swing as we get closer to the “iPad 3 announcement.” The main basis for the rumor is that the iPad 2 was released on March 11th, 2011, so naturally they will release the iPad 3 around the same time this year. We continue to receive calls from customers asking us to confirm the rumors, which we simply can’t do—we don’t have the answer either. Apple does not comment on unreleased products, so the best we can say is that you will all know as soon as we do!

Thanks for your continued support!

Glenn
glenn@smalldog.com

 
   
     
  Lion Sleep Issues  
   
 

Ever since I began using computers running OS X Lion, I’ve been having a minor— but frustrating—issue. About one third of the time I put either my Mac mini or MacBook Pro to sleep, they will not actually go to sleep. I have never been able to pinpoint what it is that’s preventing my computers from sleeping…until now.

I did some Apple forum research, and discovered that quite a few other Lion users are having this same issue. There were all sorts of suggested solutions, none of which worked for me. I finally came across a Lion user who combined a nice little GUI to a helpful Terminal command, creating an application called Sleep Check.

Sleep Check essentially makes use of the Terminal command “pmset -g assertions” and the command shows certain power assertions that, when active, will prevent system with Lion from sleeping. One example of these power assertions is Internet Sharing, which allows you to share the internet connection on one computer with another computer or device.

While the coding in Terminal can be incomprehensible to the average user, Sleep Check adds a very simple, but pleasant interface to the power assertions command, informing you exactly what is preventing your system from sleeping, and how to disable it. When these conditions have been disabled, Sleep Check will finally put your Mac to sleep.

Sleep Check is a very small, unobtrusive application that takes up about 211KB of hard drive space, can be downloaded here.

As always, I’m anticipating a software update from Apple at some point that will resolve this issue.

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  Synchronization 101  
   
 

Ever since the portable device became mainstream, there has been the need to somehow make sure that the data on the device was backed up. iOS devices can be backed up through iTunes, but that isn’t convenient for sharing data—just guarding against disaster. There are now applications that have Mac OS X and iOS versions that can use the same data. If you want to make sure you are always working with the most recent data across all platforms, there has to be a way to synchronize the data.

Apple is pushing developers to use iCloud for their synchronization services. Anyone who has an Apple ID has free access to iCloud. In addition to synchronizing your mail, contacts, and calendar data, any app can take advantage of storing data in the cloud. iWork already takes advantage of this, and other apps are following suit. However, one limitation of iCloud is that you must have iOS 5 and OS X 10.7.2 to take advantage of it. Anyone running Snow Leopard or earlier can’t use iCloud, so any apps that rely on syncing through iCloud won’t work. (While Windows can use iCloud for Outlook synchronizing, it does not appear likely that Windows applications will be able to use iCloud for other data storage.)

Some programs require you to synchronize via a Wi-Fi connection. While it does work, it means that you have to sync before leaving your network. If you take off for a business trip and forgot to sync, you are out of luck. It also means that you have to set up a one-to-one relationship between your device and your computer, so you can’t sync your iPhone at work, take it home, then sync that same data with your home computer.

Programs like DropBox and SugarSync are valuable for passing data back and forth between systems. They have the advantage of being cross-platform, but you have to manually tell them what files to synchronize. If you’re playing Angry Birds on your iPhone and you want to make sure your iPad sees your game save, DropBox won’t do this; you have to use iCloud. If an application is written to use DropBox, however, then it works just fine. Up until last year, 1Password required Wi-Fi to sync between your Mac and your iPhone, but now it uses DropBox.

Other developers have chosen to use their own servers for synchronization. Things, a great to-do list application, is currently limited to Wi-Fi sync, but has been beta-testing their own cloud solution for about a year now. Another example is Evernote, a free program where you can create notes and lists. Evernote uses their own servers for storage, which means yet one more login and password you have to remember, but it releases them from the iCloud limitation. You can use their app on just about any platform and OS out there. The downside of this is that you need a server capable of handling everyone’s data all at once. Companies like Mozilla are large enough to support a server farm, or hire out a data center, to store their customer data, but your average lone developer isn’t going to have that kind of cash lying around.

Regardless of the app or the method, make sure there is some sort of sync service available. It will make your life easier!

 
   
     
  Last-Minute Valentine's Day Apps  
   
 

Fresh off of the arguably most masculine day of the year (Super Bowl), we have Valentine’s Day to maintain balance in the world. If you’re hoping to celebrate today with the one you love (and haven’t done anything yet), check out these three apps to get prepared.

1. Candy Valentine Hearts, $.99
What’s Valentine’s Day without some tiny candy hearts with hilariously bad/cutesy sayings? Relive the nostalgia, but digitize them instead—fewer cavities that way.

2. Red Stamp, free
Email, text or mail personalized cards and notes to your one and only!

3. Valentine’s Day Recipes $.99
Nothing beats a homemade meal…

Check out more apps here, and for fun, revisit our Valentine’s Day iMix compilation on iTunes!

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