Archive | Technology

HDCP Errors with iTunes content on External screens


Edit – I’ll add the pictures bak into this post in a few days.

If you buy or rent films from Apple iTunes in HD format, and then try to play them from a Mac on an external screen, you might get this error:

The selected film won’t play on one of your connected displays.
This film can only be played on displays that support HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection).

This is a copyright thing and there doesn’t seem to be a way round it if the Mac thinks your connected display isn’t HDCP compliant.

You can however watch the non-HD version of the film or TV show if you want. Right-click on the film or TV episode in iTunes, and select Video Quality-Standard Definition (SD) from the pop-up menu:
May not be in HD, but useful if you want to watch something from iTunes on an external display.

100 days with Apple Watch

It’s been 100 days since I received my Apple Watch. As I outlined in my previous post I had three main reasons for getting one (beyond being an Apple geek!):

  • Be a good timepiece.
  • Be a good Activity and health tracker.
  • Provide Haptic feedback for directions when walking (as demoed at the Apple launch event).

After 100 days it still fulfils those three functions perfectly. I wear it every day. In fact I feel naked without it. There are other features that I use. These are:

  • Haptic notifications for Messages, incoming calls, and calendar events. My iPhone is now on silent all the time. I never miss calls as I get tapped on the wrist when a call comes in. This is awesome.
  • Apple Remote app. I can control my AppleTV via the Watch from the sofa. No more groping for the remote. 
  • Dark Sky app. Given the vagaries of the weather recently it’s great to be able to look at a Glance on my Watch to see if I’m going to be rained on in the next hour.

I bought a black Sports Band to replace the white one it shipped with. Black was what i wanted, but the silver Aluminium Sport didn’t have a combination that included the black band.

Was my Apple Watch worth £339? For me, yes. I’m glad I bought it. I’m still very impressed with it. Looking forward to the next generation of watchOS 2 apps later in the year. They will be faster as they are native, and do not need to rely on a tethered iPhone to function.

My headphones are like new again

I bought a set of Sennheiser PXC 450 headphones in 2007. Love them. They are noise cancelling. When the noise cancelling is on the ambient noise in environment just disappears. Eight years is a long time and I noticed recently that the leatherette covers on the ear pads was deteriorating and starting to flake. So I ordered a new pair of official replacements. They were expensive but well worth it. Came with the fitting rings that hold them on already fitted. So they just snapped on. Now my eight year old headphones are like new again. You get what you pay for!

Sennheiser PXC-450 headphones with new ear pads

Sennheiser PXC-450 headphones with new ear pads

New ultra beginners books for iOS development

I recently stumbled across a series of beginner books targeted at complete new starters looking to get into iOS app development. The series goes under the name of iOS App Development for Non-Programmers by Kevin McNeish. There are 3 books in the series so far, with more promised. Available on iBooks store, and Amazon Kindle has Book 1. Get the iBooks versions if you have an iPad to read them on. They have embedded videos and tap-through diagrams.

These really are for beginners. Book 1 doesn’t have any coding in it at all. It builds an app in Xcode using standard controls. Even with a map control. The 2nd book is a beginners guide to Objective-C. I like it a lot. The 3rd book is a deeper dive into Xcode. I haven’t read the 3rd book yet. I will soon. 

If you are looking to start iOS app development you could do a lot worse than get these 3 books (and the forthcoming ones when available) as a self-teaching course.

When you have read the McNeish books I’d recommend reading the iOS Apprentice. This is another beginners tutorial series. If you tackle it with the McNeish books under your belt you’ll get more from it.

After you have done both the McNeish and the iOS Apprentice tutorials there are lots of more advanced learning resources that will be accessible to you. 

Simplified my computer choices

I sold two Apple devices this week. And bought one.

I sold my 4th generation retina iPad. A few weeks ago I decided to use an iPad mini, that I bought as a mobile device management testing device, for a week. Just to get a feel of how the smaller device handled real use. I had voiced the opinion that the lack of a retina screen would mean I wouldn’t like it as much as the larger iPad model. I was wrong. Ever since that week I have hardly used the retina iPad at all. The smaller form factor of the iPad mini gives the full iPad experience in a more portable, and easier to hold, package. The iPad mini may not be a replacement for a laptop, whereas the larger iPad could, and has, for many people. This doesn’t matter to me as I have a 15 inch retina Macbook Pro as my main computing device. If a retina iPad mini ships, and it doesn’t add a lot of weight due to a bigger battery, I’ll get one of those. Or even a 9.7 inch iPad that has the same case style and smaller bezels, like the iPad mini.

I also sold my 16GB iPhone 5. A few times recently I’ve come very close to running out of storage space on my iPhone. I’ve had to choose which podcasts to keep on the phone and also had to delete some multimedia rich apps. I want interesting content, and not storage availability, to be the arbiter of what’s on my iPhone. So I bought a 64Gb iPhone 5 to replace the 16GB one.

So my day to day computing arsenal is now:

I also have the following devices for use in testing mobile OSes and apps outside of iOS, and for mobile device management testing. I don’t use these day to day:

My current podcast subscription list

I recently pruned the number of podcasts I subscribe to in Downcast. I was deleting too many episodes without ever listing to them. Here is a list of what podcasts survived the cull, with links to the feeds to subscribe to them.

Innovation as entertainment

Apple has changed the way I use technology for the better in 3 major ways. In the late 1980’s I first used a Macintosh. It was a revelation that changed the way I thought about and interacted with computers. There was no going back. I’ve been a Macintosh user, and evangelist, ever since. That was the first major change they delivered to me.

The 2nd was the introduction of the iPod. Coupled with iTunes it completely changed the way I listened to music. No need to go get a CD if I wanted to hear a song. Think of a track and boom, it’s playing in seconds. Apple devices are still the way I listen to music. I can’t foresee that changing any time soon.

The 3rd major change in technology they provided was the iPhone. This put a powerful computer in my pocket that I actually wanted to use. As a side benefit it was also a phone. iPhone is also my iPod now. I see iPad as an evolution of the iPhone technology. This does not mean I see the iPad as a big iPhone!

Those 3 major technology introductions were spread over the last few decades. Sure they have been tweaked and refined over the years, but the core ideas for the technologies were separated in time. There has been a lot of talk on the technology blogs of late about Apple having to come up with something new and groundbreaking in technology. It seems to me that most of the people talking about this see innovation as entertainment. They often don’t articulate what part of modern life they think Apple could innovate in. They just want something new to talk about.  The technology sector as soap opera.

If they do mention something it’s television that usually comes up. I’m not an avid watcher of television. My limited needs are met by current BBC iPlayer services and AppleTV, iTunes in the Cloud and iTunes Match. 

I can’t think of any need I have where Apple could make a major difference with a hardware/software solution that would sell the numbers required to make it worth their while. Something in the kitchen? Not really. Household appliances like cleaning robots? Cars? No. 

What I would like is more incremental improvements in the areas they currently play. Faster devices with better battery capacity certainly. Retina displays everywhere. Apps from 3rd parties on AppleTV would be good. Better software tools and services linking the devices. More push services based on location to tell me about things happening where I currently located. Better interaction with 3rd party household appliances and cars would be great. Dock my iPhone in my car dashboard and it sets the car up the way I like it if someone else has adjusted any settings. Plus logging my journeys and adding to my daily journal.

So the innovation that I think we need over the next 5 years is in software. Software on the devices, software in the backend systems linking various information sources together, and analytics software so that relevant information is pushed to me. 


Windows 8 Launch day is here

Just watched the New York Windows 8 launch event video. It does look like a great stride forward for Microsoft. I think iOS is better choice for consumers, but it’d be hard to be really annoyed about using Windows 8 if forced via work or for other reasons. With the new UI of course. The Windows 7 style desktop is a daft idea for mobile devices. They should have split the OS UI across devices, with core technology on both and had the ability to run new UI apps on desktops/laptops in another Windows 7 style window.

Who’s planning on going all in on Windows 8? Let me know on Twitter or App.Net I’m happy in the Apple ecosystem myself. Will use Windows 8 VM when in office (cant ditch Windows 7 until remote access VPN and Anti-virus supports Windows 8) with Office 2013 apps.

Typed and posted from my iPad 🙂

Going to be busy few weeks in Mobile Computing

Amazon holding press event on September 6th: new Kindles on the way?

Going to be busy week. Nokia & Microsoft event on 5th September. Motorola (now owned by Google) event on 5th as well. Motorola marketing their event as the main one of the day. They announced after Nokia & Microsoft.

Apple set to announce event for early September as well. New iPhone, iOS 6 and maybe new iPad mini. iPod touch needs a refresh to.