Mouse Troubles – Update

I gave up on the G604… it’s just super flakey on the iMac. I’ve been using the Naga, plugged into the USB. There’s probably no reason I can’t use it BT. I just haven’t got around to it. The 12 keys are mapped to the SHIFT-Number row. Seems to work alright.

The G604 is now on the Surface, though I’ve hardly used it, as I don’t normally pack it in the bag. The Arc Mouse is in the bag all the time and gets used instead.

Even more… the Logitech M555 that I thought was dead, wasn’t. Even though I thought I was resetting the BT to use it, I must have been doing it wrong. Turns out it is paired with the iPad. So I will keep that set up.

My other mice… Well I have my old Magic Mouse. I’ve paired that with my work laptop (a boring, clunky, overly large Dell – doesn’t even have a touch screen). That leaves the Magic Mouse 2 sitting here next to the iMac…. in case of, I dunno, … something??

Mouse Trouble

For a long time I have used the Razer Naga Molten as my mouse. It’s been excellent. Recently though it’s had a little trouble moving about on the desk. It turns out that the slick plastic sliders on the bottom of the mouse have worn right down to the hard plastic shell. It was becoming awkward to use. And I can’t seem to find a way to just replace those parts.

I started investigating replacements and of course the first place to look was Razer. Here, the Naga was now in several versions, with the fanciest being the Naga Pro. This had the three swappable side plates (so normal configuration, 6 buttons and the 12 button like my Naga). It added wireless, including Bluetooth.

But the Razer software no longer supports OSX. Though I’ve never used the Razer software on my existing Naga. With my birthday coming up, I put in my request.

Success! Birthday came along and so did the Naga. It connected fairly simply to the iMac. Obviously the software wasn’t working but I didn’t think much of that until I tried to play WoW.

Here I came across the problem I didn’t face with the older one. The Naga Molten has a switch on the bottom. This manually selects the 12 side buttons as either the top number row on the keyboard or the number pad. Now I had always had it as the number pad. This worked great as I used the number row on the keyboard for my attack rotation, then the Numpad on the Naga as my interrupts and other more situational actions.

Well, that’s what the software does in the newer ones. That software that doesn’t work on OSX. Mapping the keys in WoW didn’t help because the mouse thinks its the number row. I did manage a work around as I made them all bound to SHIFT-number.

I was kind of disappointed, so I handed the Naga over to the Surface to work with. I do like that I can actually use it for multiple computers. I have the USB cable connected to the iMac, which works. And when I switch the BT on, the Surface connects to it.

Anyway, after some more research, I picked up a Logitech G604 for the iMac.

This is also a Bluetooth mouse (that was one of the criteria for my choice) and it has 6 side buttons. The Logitech software also works on OSX.

So this arrived and connected. It was really slow to move across my desktop (I have the 27” iMac and another 27” screen slaved to it). Then I got into the software and messed about with the settings. This helped.

I’ve also set up the keys when outside WoW as a bunch of short cuts.. cut, copy, paste, screenshot. Works well for that.

I have struggled a little with it in WoW, but I’ve also not played much so I reserve judgement on that side of things. I can’t quite seem to get the Logitech software to automatically switch profile as I thought it did. Again, I haven’t played with it much to be sure.

However, I have been having trouble with it even working. It will often lose the BT connection and simply stop. I’ve had to go through the reconnection steps several times. Switching it off, clearing it from the iMac’s BT list etc have eventually got it up and running.

The other trouble is that, well as I said, without the G-Suite application running, it’s really slow across the screen. At the OSX login screen (there are profiles for each family member on my iMac) its slow. And it remains slow even after login (or wake up from sleep) until the G-Suite kicks in. This can be several seconds. Or it isn’t until I actually open it. Or it just doesn’t.

This has all been quite frustrating. Sometimes it all gets back together, or I have to switch on the Apple Magic Mouse that I have, or I’ve resorted to plugging the Naga in (via its USB) cable. On one recent afternoon I had to dig out an old Apple Trackpad to get some response from the cursor on screen.

So in summary. Naga Pro isn’t great for OSX (well it’s not supposed to be). G604 seems really flakey. Apple Magic Mouse is good for general stuff, but not games, make sure you keep a trackpad around…

Anyone got an older working Naga they want to let go?

Oh and my old reliable Logitech M555 that I kept for travel seems to have died.

Short Ride – Watch Drama!

After messing about most of the Easter weekend with chores and other unexpected things, I headed out Sunday morning. I planned to head up to Colo and have a look through Windsor and other areas affected by the floods.

As I headed west, it was clear that there was fog about. Having spent a couple of hours on Good Friday giving the bike a thorough clean and polish, I just didn’t want it to get wet and dirty straight away. So I turned around and headed for the coast and the Old Pac.

It turned into my first chance in the new tunnel that links the M7/M2 with the freeway going north. For the first time, travellers can cut around Sydney and stay on freeway the whole way. Can’t believe it has taken so long.

The tunnel was nothing special, though long at about 7:30mins (at 80kmph). So soon I was up to the Berowa exit and the Old Pac.

I’m not sure when I last headed up this way during what might be a busy period. And it was busy (well I thought so, regulars might not). Dozens of cyclists were the main thing I hadn’t dealt with.

So I cruised down, took some photos across the Mooney Mooney bridge and dawdled up the hill. Busy, cyclists and double demerits, it wasn’t the weekend for time attacks!

I had a pie at the top, coming finally to the conclusion that their pies aren’t actually that great. Robinson Pie shop is a lot better, and I suspect there are other better ones nearby as well. But its handy and bike friendly.

I headed home, but as I rode through the tunnel I was surprised when a voice spoke over my Scala headset….

“Police, Fire or Ambulance?”

Wait, what…..? I was very confused and stammered out “Sorry, my phone has dialled this by accident, I’m fine.” They thanked me and hung up.

Shortly after my wife rang.

“Are you ok?”

“Yes, why?” I was getting more confused. My phone seemed to have launched into I’m in an emergency mode for some reason.

“Because I just got a message saying you had called emergency and your location.”

Again… “I’m fine, my phone is doing something weird. I’ll be home in about 20 minutes anyway.”

Once I was home I took a look at my devices. My watch had an alert that I had initiated Call Emergency mode. It was providing updates to my wife at about 15 minute intervals with my location, as she was my Emergency Contact. I cancelled the alert mode.

I poked about in the settings for the iPhone and the Apple Watch. Seems the watch had the option “Call Emergnecy Services if the crown (the rotating button) is held down”. So that explained why the watch had called emergency, but not what started it….

I realised that just before the Emergency people had started speaking I had felt a couple of alerts from my wrist. I had assumed that they were messages, and had tapped my phone (on its QuadLock holder) to see. But there was nothing there.

I think that my watch, my jacket cuff combined with a very still position (cruising through the tunnel) had held the crown down long enough to kick it into panic mode. I disabled that option.

I did enable fall detection though….

But a little gotcha for Apple Watch riders..

Screen Time

A mate at work had a pair of extra Quad Lock brackets he was happy to let go for cheap. There wasn’t anywhere spare on the clip ons that would let me fit the handlebar mount he had, and I wasn’t going to entertain the mirror stalk mount. Partly aesthetics, partly practicality and partly security to have it hanging out there in the breeze. It got me interested in the brand and I looked into the stem mount, but it would not fit on the hex stem that is common to Ninjas.

That was about six months ago. Now the other day, I was poking about on a Ninja 1000 discussion board when someone suggested a 1” ball stem mount they used, something specifically designed for the hex stem mount on Kawasaki. Something off eBay. They combined this item with a RAM 1” ball adjustable short arm. Then lastly, a Quad Lock 1” ball mount. I thought, I have one of those arms from my old Sony Actioncam set up. A search in eBay turned up a few of these stem mounts, so I’ve ordered one. I guess it will be a couple of weeks before it turns up.

In the meantime, I looked through the Quad Lock website (again). I bought the 1” ball mount and the case for my phone (with the “poncho” – a water proof cover). I also bought the car mount, I figured I could use it as well. The Quad Lock gear turned up within a couple of days. I’d barely had time to dig out the RAM arm. Fitted perfectly. Roughing it out, it looks like it should sit really nicely between the bar risers. I’ll just have to make sure I can access the ignition.

The case fits very nicely on the phone. It’s very slim and is less protection than my current Otterbox (another recommended brand), but I think it will be okay. The poncho slips on easily and looks to provide good weather protection. And the TouchID works through it as well.

So back to the mounting. The stem part arrived within a couple of weeks. Not bad I thought, as it came from the UK. It’s pretty simple. A 1″ ball with a hex driven bolt down the middle. There is a hex shaped nut on the other end. This has some petals coming from it and along the shaft is a washer (?) that expands the petal. Slide the shaft into the hole in the stem bolt. Tighten the hex bolt and the nut moves up the shaft. This pushes the petals against the washer, which forces them outwards and they grab the shaft of the slot. Done.

Then, connect the RAM arm and the Quad Lock mount and adjust to the desired angle. Job complete.

I haven’t had a test run, so will have to report on it separately.

Success!
Portrait mode
And Landscape.

Of course, the next step is to get power to the mount.

Well I may have something on that. Turns out there is a pair of connectors just under the left front fairing that have been provided for the factory heated handgrips. If they aren’t fitted (not fitted on my bike) there is a convenient, factory switched (so no battery drain) power supply right near the front of the bike. And would you believe Amazon has more goodies….

Like this dual USB and voltmeter. From what I’ve seen, people mount this into the dash on the bike. “Simply” cut a round hole in the plastic. I have seen a handlebar one that’s similar, but then I end up back in the same problem I had with the Quad Lock!

I swear, it’s not all because of the MotoGP trip planning!

Surface Pro 7 – Quick Thoughts

On Monday I worked from home as I didn’t want there to be any problems with the planned delivery of my Surface. The good natured teasing of my colleagues, talking about wrong deliveries and such did nothing to dampen my positivity. The only thing that did was that DHL was reporting 2 items out for delivery and not the third. Once again, the actual Surface was lagging behind.

Working in the study I can hear whenever our front gate opens and with the windows open for the breeze, even the few vehicles passing are easily heard.

I was deep in the middle of painting some Battletech minis when I heard the distinctive sound of a diesel engine idling along and a glance out the window confirmed a DHL van rolling along the street, clearly looking at house numbers. I went out and watched from the gate. There was no chance I was going to let them just “fake deliver” and just drop a card.

I felt a lot happier as he drew THREE boxes from the van and walked towards my gate.

And then it was here.

So I contained my excitement as I carefully packed away the minis and paints. I didn’t want any chance of spilling Waargh Flesh Green on the new Surface!

I ended up with the i7 16GB 256GB, along with the MS Pen, the Signature Pro Type Cover (not with alca… that cloth finish), an Arc Mouse and they threw in a free STM branded case (not a brand I’ve heard of). This case turned out to be more like a small laptop bag, rather than a snug sleeve that I was expecting. It was free, but it’s likely to sit unused in the cupboard.

First impressions. It’s a lot heavier than I expected, especially when compared to the iPad Pro 9.7 (it’s nearly double at 770g vs 440g). Larger, clearly (at 12.9″), but the aspect ratio seems nice for laptop (in landscape) and table style reading, note taking (in portrait). The weight and the lack of protection (I did already have a glass screen protector waiting to install) has meant that I’ve ordered a folio style cover for it. This will let me relax a little, carrying it about in class or at school. I’m also trying to find a nice vinyl overlay as that might look pretty cool.

A collection of software updates followed and a few installs and copying data around occurred for the next couple of hours. However, with most of my data in the cloud (in this case – OneDrive) that’s not so much of an issue these days.

I fluffed about putting a bunch of documents on the cloud and having them available offline on the Surface. This is quite smoothly done and so far space on the Surface has not been an issue, though on the smaller 128GB I had planned it might have been. I’ve added a few games, though being Tomb Raider: Guardian of Light and Trine 2, they aren’t asking for much. I will likely put a more recent TR on it as well, just to see.

And it compares very favourably to my PC performance wise, but then that’s a 2009 vintage i7 1st gen, so not hard. It worked fine on everything I threw at it. Sometimes the screen seems to need a firmer press than my iPad, but I think the screen protector may be a factor there as well.

But how does it go for my work? Well it was tested in real life today. I wouldn’t say this one YouTube video I had to show a class meant that the Surface paid for itself, but it’s put in its first payment. So again, this school has the teachers using their own (some were school issued, but you could BYOD as well) and so I arrived in the class with the teacher walking out with the laptop. She had passed me a lesson plan that used a YouTube video…

As luck would have it, she had a Surface Pro as well. So, a USB-C dongle was waiting that was already connected to the class display AND she had a Surface charger there as well. Sweet. Plugged in and connected to the screen without any button presses from me. Nice.

I did have some hiccups connecting to the network, but that was around my unfamiliarity with the school’s setup and not to do with the Surface or Windows. In the end, I hot spotted off my phone. The video was played and the lesson continued.

Some specific details below before my final thoughts.

Pen – The writing seems a bit clunkier than the Apple Pencil. In OneNote, it will take more practice to get smooth with it. Additionally, like iPadOS, prior to v14, using the Pen outside of a drawing function, that is, as a way to “write” text is awkward to say the least. On the plus side, in OneNote at least, you can convert Ink to Text. I am going to have to practice with this. But the Pencil was the same when I first got it…. it took more consistent use of it before it became “normal”.

Arc Mouse – I really think this is cool. Flat and slim, you “bend” it and it switches on (it’s Bluetooth). This also puts it in a shape that replicates the curve of a mouse. It has a smooth touch sensitive panel that acts as the left/right button and scroll wheel. I think this works very well. The only gripe is that I will need to learn a slightly different grip as the “sides” of the mouse are just air, so it feels like there is nowhere to rest your thumb. Overall, I like it.

ON and OFF.

Surface Pro Type Cover – Easily attached, nice feel keyboard. Happy with it. Make a good cover when folded closed.

OVERALL – I think it will work well as intended. My current teaching (mostly session by session in different classes) means that I am not writing day or unit plans and taking notes about things, so that side hasn’t been tested. The pen will take some more practice (just as the Pencil did).

Its a very nice laptop and a good tablet. Sure the Windows interface is a little less tablet than iPadOS but the tablet side has been built over the top of the many versions of desktop OS before it and it shows up all over the place. But a few clicks with the pen if your finger is too fat and it’s fine.

I am being positive about it meeting my needs, but I will say that after using iPad since the first one in 2010 I am a little set in my ways. It is going to take a little more than I thought to get used to Windows as a tablet/pen combination (as opposed to a desktop/keyboard/mouse).

Now the PS3 starts a slow death

So after, well, years of complaining about the slow and eventual death of my iMac, I now begin the sorry saga of my PS3. I have a Super Slim PS3 that is about … 6 years old (they came out in 2012 or so, so it can’t be much older). After not using it for several months it now appears that the Bluetooth is no longer working. I can tell this as both the controllers and the remote refuse to communicate wirelessly to the PS3. However the Remote works fine for the TV (so it’s IR is working) and the Controllers happily BT to my iMac (so they are fine).

There were some replacement modules for earlier PS3s but it doesn’t appear to be available for this model (CECH-4002C), so it appears that gaming is limited to USB connection only. 

And then so what do I do. I hardly use it, the girls mostly play iPad, PC or even the old Wii gets more use. I only have about 5 games for it, and the two I play XCom are available even for the Mac. I can record TV (like I ever watch TV) on the TV itself anyway. Seems little use for it, really. If I put it away in the cupboard, I don’t think any of would even notice.

I think I might just retire it. Look into a new Apple TV. The kids have started a campaign for a Nintendo Switch, which I am seriously considering. I’ll keep the controllers out as apparently I can use them as BT game controllers on iMac or other systems.

NAS is restored…

After ordering the wrong HDD last week (I ordered 1TB instead of 2TB) I have received and installed the replacement HDD into the NAS. Overnight it has rebuilt itself and so is back ONLINE 🙂

Screen Shot 2018-02-10 at 5.30.25 am.png

Now that this is up and running I can restore the iTunes library that normally resides here. Not sure of the best way to do this. I only need to reimport the movie/TV shows as I’ve switched over to Apple Music (just to experiment).

Either I could reach back into the Time Machine backup and restore the old library files. This is what I have usually done. Alternatively I could reimport the files. I worry that this will lose all the info I have manually typed into the library. They will also ALL import as Home Movies, which will mean ages and ages of updating each one (imagine the TV Series)..

Think I just answered my own question.

Might sort the Time Machine Backup of this new iMac out first… what do you say? The fun never ends.

And its a great way to procrastinate TWO assessments…. errr????

[UPDATE]

Actually I think I have a better idea??? Perhaps this is an opportunity to update the NAS itself. I could suck all the data off it (it’s less than 2TB) and then upgrade the OS, wipe the pool etc. Clean it right up, while nothing is really using it.

Not sure…

 

Deed is done.

The decision was made, the transaction complete.

The iMac has been replaced with….

…..

….

 

..

 

another 27″ iMac.

Well I bet that was a surprise.

IMG_2720
Can you tell which is which???  (ok the default wallpaper and the smaller keyboard give it away)

Went out yesterday and bought it from the Apple Store. Using education prices I got a discount and also a set of wireless Beats headphones. JB Hifi could beat the Apple Store prices, but not by much (about $50) but couldn’t throw in the headphones. I didn’t particularly want the headphones but since they are free and worth $400 (retail), why miss out on it. I figure I could use them with the iMac when trying to ignore the Mrs watching her shows on the PC next to me……

I picked up the base 27″ which means a 1TB Hybrid HDD and a basic i5, with a Radeon 570 card. A massive step up in performance when compared to my late 2009 iMac. Not going to win any races, but fine for me. Heck, now I have the first 4K (well 5K) display in the house (our TVs are full HD, not 4K). As long as I can study and I can run videos at full screen, I will be happy (actually I haven’t tested that yet).

First impression was – it’s lighter – I discovered as I picked it up to walk out of the store. Eventually, when getting it home my first impression was the screen is really nice. Initially the brightness was right up, but it was actually the fineness of text and lines of dialog and windows that made the biggest impression on me. When I eventually connected the Dell 27″ 1440 monitor I had with the older iMac, yes, the screen is much nicer in the new iMac.

IMG_2721
Here it is, all set up as dual screen. The Beats are on the desk to the left of the iMac. This shot really hides the difference between the Dell and the iMac.

The next impression is speed. It’s certainly quicker than the older model. I have decided that once its all up and running and I can confirm that everything I want is either moved or backed up, I am intending to wipe and restore the older one. I’m sure it used to be quicker than it is these days.

I decided not to do a restore from the Time Machine. I thought, its time for a bit of a spring clean. So I’ve moved email and photo archives and my current study over and very little else. The rest is available either from backup, NAS or the cloud.

Several hours later I realised that I forgot to copy the iTunes folder and set that up on the to connect to the store on the NAS. Of course, this is after I packed away the old iMac. So now I have all my music downloaded from Apple Music and stored on this iMac, and a big folder on the NAS with nothing pointing to it. Might have to work through that in the next few days. However, I did learn about browsing my Team Machine backup so the old iMac can sit away getting dust as everything I would need is here on the backup disk…. Time Machine scores YET again (really, its one of THE BEST THINGS about OSX).

Of course, in the middle of all of this, one of the NAS drives has died, so I don’t want to do too much copying and working on the NAS until I replace the drive. Got a couple inbound at the moment. Half think I bought an extra last time, but can’t think where I stored it if I did.

Overall, its like the old one has just been refreshed. I don’t think Mrs has even realised, and probably won’t, until she spots the box from the new one under the stairs.

 

The iMac is in a medically induced coma…

I think that it is finally over for my long suffering iMac. I am considering some form of euthanasia for the poor thing. I’ve shut it down for now.

I’ve had it powered down as I was away for several days, however since restarting it, if left to its own devices it will reboot within about 15 mins. The heatsink (basically all of the rear of the aluminium casing) is very hot, even when all I am doing is some word processing and internet browsing. This is a symptom of the internal problems that are causing the trouble and has been steadily getting worse, certainly over the past 12 months or so. Still it’s fought on for at least 2 years since the problems resurfaced after replacing some internals some months before that (3 years ago maybe?). I suppose it has done pretty well for a 2009 computer.

For now I have returned to the PC, but I will need to replace the iMac. I guess this is the advantage of the way that study is accessed online these days. As long as you keep your work in the cloud, you can switch computers and devices as you desire.

Of course, it’s not all roses on the PC. For reasons I can’t figure out yet, it won’t let me upgrade or reinstall (as I uninstalled it during trouble shooting) Apple iTunes. Makes syncing with the various devices in our house, somewhat problematic. But there is no fear of a shutdown and the SSD is nice and fast….. again, this one is doing well for another 2009 computer, though with some upgrades about 4 years ago.

So a big purchase is expected shortly. I will also need to get a USB-C to HDMI/DP adaptor in order to connect the other screen to the new iMac as it’s currently connected through mini DP on the ’09 iMac. Extra dollars, I’m sure. On the plus side, through Apple Education pricing (which I should qualify for) I can get a set of Beats Wireless Headphones for nothing, worth about $400. Not something I would have chosen for myself, but if they’re giving them away…

With assessments due on Jan 8 and Jan 12 I really don’t need this!

Last Legs?

The iMac is starting to reboot often. Started this afternoon sometime. It seems to realise that it can’t wake from sleep so it reboots (and then can’t find the bluetooth keyboard). Happened about 4 times this evening.

I’ve removed the BT keyboard and I’ll see how that goes.

Next, I’m going to duplicate the Time Machine process on a new HDD.

Then I’ll look at a full rebuild, it’s probably well overdue anyway.

After that, if it is still occurring, I’ll have to consider retirement. Considering it’s a mid-2009 iMac, having lasted 8 years isn’t too bad.

Update: So after removing the BT keyboard and the Magic Trackpad (so now its the normal keyboard andMagic Mouse) the iMac has been behaving properly again. She fights on….. I wonder when the next iMac update is, 6 months away at least I expect. Not going to look at the iMac Pro, not required.