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#849: Do Not Sleep If You See Me!, Windows 8 and Boot Camp, Born in the USA?

 
     
 

Hello all,

The weather here continues lurching like a drunken sailor back and forth between fall and winter…hopefully it will give up soon and just lie down in one spot. Last night, it was snowing when I went to bed, and today will be near 50 and rainy.

The big news this week actually seems noteworthy — Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that starting next year, some of their manufacturing jobs will be returning to the US. Shawn has more details in his article this week. I am hoping for two things from this — both of which could be completely off the mark (or overly optimistic anyway).

Firstly, I hope this marks a point where Apple decides to become a better corporate citizen. Steve Jobs was a visionary in many ways, but corporate responsibility and investing in American manufacturing were not a big part of that vision. Secondly, I hope that this symbolic gesture by Apple will help bolster the confidence of other companies considering this move to take the step (or maybe simply take it a bit sooner than they were going to).

Let me know what you think and have a good week.

Liam
liam@smalldog.com

 
   
     
  Do Not Sleep If You See Me!  
   
 

You may or may not have heard rumors about Apple implementing facial recognition into their OS for security purposes. This hasn’t happened yet, but likely will in the near future. I discovered an app over the holiday that will enable you to use this feature now.

It’s a free app available on the App Store called Should I Sleep? I should qualify that statement though — its most basic functionality is free. You can get upgrades for a few dollars.

The app checks the camera to see if someone is sitting in front of your machine just before it is going to go to sleep. If it detects a face, it doesn’t sleep. Some of the paid features include things like noise and motion detection. This can add security and convenience for those who use laptops.

Let’s say you have your system set to sleep after one minute, and you have your computer set to require a password to wake from sleep. You’re quietly sitting at your computer reading text on your screen. If you’re not physically interacting with your computer, it will go black and then you’ll have to enter your password every minute. With this app, the computer will know you’re in front of it and won’t sleep. If you get up to grab a steaming cup of liquid awesomeness (some call it coffee), your computer will realize you’re not there anymore and lock itself down. Many of you may think, “Well, why can’t you just move the mouse periodically?” Convenience!

Should I Sleep? doesn’t actually recognize your face, just a general face-like presence in front of the camera. So should someone jump in front of your machine in the seconds between when you get up and when it goes to sleep, it will halt the sleep process. It’s not a finicky app. We’ll have to wait for Apple to implement true facial recognition, which I’d bet we’d see in the next year or two.

I thought it was a neat app, and considering it’s essentially free, it’s worth downloading and toying around with. It’s not for everyone (especially the tin-foil hat wearers out there), but I’m sure more than a handful of you will find it useful.

 
   
     
  Windows 8 and Boot Camp  
   
 

I recently had the opportunity to install Windows 8 on my iMac, and while I have never been a fan of the Windows operating system, I had heard some good things about Windows 8, so I decided to give it a try.

I wanted to install via Boot Camp, as I do not own any virtual machine software, and personally don’t see a reason that I need it. I have no issues restarting my computer in order to switch operating systems.

Upon opening up Boot Camp Assistant, I remembered that Windows 8 is not officially supported by it yet, and questioned my ability to install it. After some digging around on the web, I found out that it will install just fine, regardless of what Boot Camp Assistant says. I followed through with the install, just like any other Boot Camp setup. I downloaded the Windows software support to an available thumb drive.

The install went very smoothly, and actually didn’t seem to take as long as past versions of Windows. After it finished, I installed the support software, and was good to go. I didn’t really have anything specific I needed to do in Windows, I simply wanted to try it out. Under general use, I didn’t encounter any major issues, considering it’s not even officially supported by Apple/Boot Camp.

The issues I encountered were fairly minor. When adjusting the volume from an Apple keyboard, Windows responds correctly, but there is no volume level indicator overlay like you would normally see. This is also the case when adjusting the brightness from the keyboard. In my research, I did notice that some users needed to download certain drivers from the hardware manufacturer’s website and install manually, but this was not the case for me. All drivers were installed and working correctly.

Like I said, I’ve never been much of a Windows user, I simply had the opportunity to install and try out Windows 8. I think Microsoft is headed in the right direction with their GUI, but they still have a ways to go.

To me, Windows 8 is reminiscent of the last time I used Windows, which was XP on my family’s computer, but with some randomly added features and frills (that don’t seem to have been implemented very well). As an example, it took me about five minutes to figure out how to find the shut down menu…Hint: It’s under “Settings.” (Editor’s Note: Guess that’s better than being under “Start.” -KH)

Have you tried Windows 8 yet? What are your thoughts? Email me!

 
   
     
  Born in the USA?  
   
 

For many years, Apple has produced their products overseas in China. This has always been controversial with consumers. Tim Cook, Apple’s new CEO, states that Apple chooses to use China for manufacturing their products due to the proficiency they have, and is not based on profit.

This could change in the near future, as Apple starts to move some of their production to the US. Due to the rise in shipping and labor costs, and a decrease in productivity, it’s becoming more economical for companies to produce their products here.

All of the talk started when reviewers of the new iMac noticed that the usual “Assembled in China” mark had been replaced with a “Made in the USA” stamp. In an interview with NBC’s Brian Williams, Tim Cook mentioned the glass and processor for the new iPhone are made in America and shipped to China for assembly.

Lately, it has been to Apple’s advantage to ship these components to China for assembly, and it has been common practice for many businesses. Honestly, I don’t even remember the last time I saw a “Made in U.S.A.” sticker on anything I plug into the wall.

Another interesting and overshadowed announcement related to US manufacturing is the case of an April Fools’s joke coming true. The electronics giant Foxconn (maker of parts and finished units for Apple among dozens of others) is looking to open facilities in either Detroit or LA. This surely is an unexpected move, but a welcome one. These are very interesting times — interesting times, indeed.

 
   
     
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