Don’t panic, your files on Google Drive are safe (only the desktop app retires)

Google really scared us when it announced it was retiring the Google Drive desktop app. Many did not see the original announcement but the many headlines by tech sites which more dramatically suggested that “Google Drive dies!”

Even I blinked when I encountered that with sleepy eyes, so I shared the tweet, asked the question in my mac meetup LINE chat and left for class. When I checked my Facebook thread for responses later, a few friends were upset – was this yet another service which had collapsed?

As it turns out, most friends are not sync-ing files to desktop but only using Google Drive on the cloud. Really then, all of us could have simply ignored this announcement, which Gizmodo explains was really meant to “move enterprise users over to the new Drive File Stream app”.

To summarise:

  • Google Drive on desktop (for those who used this) – retires by March 2018; can be replaced by “Backup and Sync
  • Google Drive mobile (iOS and Android) – unaffected
  • Google Drive (on cloud – unaffected

I wonder how Google Backup and Sync will affect the Singapore-based company Insynchq, which has provided a Google Drive client for file backup all these years.

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27″ iMac 2009 flies with a 1TB SSD and 32GB RAM upgrade

In 2010, the late 2009 model quad-core 2.66GHz iMac with its large 27.1″ screen and 1TB 7200rpm hard drive was mind-blowing. And extremely helpful for tired eyes managing multiple windows. After half a decade, it seemed to slow to a crawl. In preparation for some intense use, it has been given a new lease of life with a long-awaited upgrade!

Shopping at OWC last week procured a 1TB SSD hardisk and 32GB of RAM. I paid close attention to the installation videos which had served me well when upgrading the Mac Book Air’s battery. And indeed, the process of replacing the hardisk and RAM ran smooth.

There were just two hiccups – the very strong magnets along the screen perimeter kept displacing the last eight screws. Eventually a tweezer was brandished and forced the screws to align, solving that problem. Then a missing Phillips #2 screwdriver threatened to upset the RAM installation but my handy bike tool came to the rescue!

It was nice to see some clean insides this time, because the cats can’t perch on top of this machine, and it was free of the heat-producing harassment of fur which peppered the Mac Book Air’s innards.

After six and a half years, it’s great to see the iMac experience a second wind. The old hardisk will continue its long life as an external drive once enclosed in a 3.5″ case, and the RAM will be recycled though OWC.

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NUS VPN on macOS Sierra? Update Pulse Secure to version 5.2r5.0-b869

With each version of OS X, it is necessary to update NUS VPN to access certain university sites remotely. This prevented me from using the macOS Sierra beta version as the VPN software would not be updated until stable release.

The Pulse Secure version that works in macOS sierra is 5.2r5.0-b869, which is available from NUS Computer Centre at https://comcen.nus.edu.sg/eguides/

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If you have updated your OS, you should go ahead and download this latest version.

Test run the macOS Sierra public beta and alert Apple about bug fixes

Caught up with some MacWorld reading and it seems the macOS Sierra public beta was released in early July. Want to be a test pilot? Sign up to the Apple Beta Software Program with your Apple ID. You can sign up for both macOS and the iOS.

This public beta software is confidential, so you can’t share any information about it except to send reports directly to Apple with the built-in Feedback Assistant app.

As this is pre-release software, you should not try this on your workhorse mac. Some applications may not be ready for macOS Sierra, but some will have public betas ready, which they hope to recruit feedback for as well.

This sort of exercise has solved many problems I have had over the years with various software so I am glad to see this happening again.

If you have been dying to try out macOS Sierra, want to put it through its paces, want to help iron out conflicts for a smooth ride eventually, and can’t wait for the official release in a couple of months, then sign up here.

How to get the macOS Sierra beta

‘When to enhance audio?’, the soundman asked me – screen grab annotations with Skitch 1.0.12 to the rescue!

I was giving a talk at a venue which had a tech guy controlling audio from the sides. the crowd was noisy gabbing away over dinner so I needed the subtle vote overs to be heard. But we could not keep the volume up as that generated feedback noise. The soundman wasn’t sighted well enough to respond quickly when the slides flashed by. And I had just turned up so there wasn’t time for him to get familiar.

Well, a prompt would be helpful.

My videos were embedded on a dark background so I switched keynote to lightbox view, did a screen grab with Skitch 1.0.12 and circled the videos – they were obvious in the lightbox view but circling removed any doubt. I dragged and dropped the the image to the USB drive which dangled from my keychain and he was relieved. Now we were in business.

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Well we started minutes later and managed a very smooth delivery indeed, and kept to time too! We exchanged a satisfied thumbs up to each other when it was over.

I made a point of citing the version – Skitch 1.0.12, because it is this 2012 version which was well loved by many [download link (11.9MB)]. Subsequently, Evernote bought over Skitch and completely ruined a lovely tool (e.g. see here and here)!

Ver 1.0.12 is still my favourite screen grab and annotate tool. It still works in OSX 10.11 El Capitan but I looked around for Plan B, just in case and YellowMug’s SnapNDrag Pro is not bad.

Update your Mac hardware – phone, laptop, watch, tv etc (18 Jul 2016) & OSX El Captan 10.11.6 Combo Update

There was a bug alert it seems, so do update your Apple products to OS X El Capitan v10.11.6, iOS 9.3.3 and the tv and watch OS’ too, with the latest OS releases – check your device settings if you have not been prompted as yet, or your App Store Updates tab.

Although the published date for the updates were from three days ago, I had not been prompted by my phone or laptop. Instead it was a friend on twitter who alerted me.

I apply an update when it comes these days, and am no longer the cautious wait and see guy.

But I hunted for the preferred combo update, which does not easily surface early in a google search during a release. So I checked one of the online mac magazines and found it the link.

Download OS X El Capitan 10 11 6 Combo Update

Penned this reminder when a Mac user asked me, what release?

So now “we” are spamming ourselves!

2016 06 09 13 53 42I’ve been at the receiving end of “undelivered” email notifications with attachments. Asking around, it seems it’ a widespread problem amongst NUS staff.

The campus helpdesk said a spammer sent an email to my email address, and disguised it to appear to originate from my email address (spoof), i.e. from: xxxxx@nus.edu.sg and to xxxxx@nus.edu.sg. Well, the NUS exchange server will redirect spoof emails to junk.

However, these emails contained invalid characters so could not be delivered. Unable to detect the spoof, the server alerts the purported user (i.e. me) so I get spam in the form of undeliverable mail notifications! You can just delete the emails, but the frequency and volume is quite high.

When something speaks past the NUS spam filters like this, I fire up SpamSieve once again. I have been using this application since 2004, and it’s magnificent!

These past couple of weeks, I have been using MS Outlook 2016 to handle NUS emails. It is unable to automatically apply SpamSieve’s AppleScripts to incoming messages. Well, as it turns out, a workaround is now available which I applied.

And so SpamSieve has helpfully relieved me of this plague of “undeliverable” spam.