Mario called the meeting to order at 7:07pm. Attendees were Marv, Bob, Elissa, Wes, Ed, Paul, George, Bev, Terry, Mario, Jenny, and Fred.
The group started off discussing the changes in iOS 9. The most noticeable UI change is the new San Francisco font coming over from the Apple Watch. If the font size is uncomfortable, it can be changed by going to Display and Brightness settings. The Accessibility setting pane has even more options.
Using “Hey Siri” is now trained with your voice and not just automatically on. There’s also a new Siri search results pane. No privacy worries, it’s all sourced locally, nothing is being sent to Apple’s servers.
Apple now has a Low Power Mode for your device. Low Power Mode turns off certain background activities and some visual effects. It also dims the screen after a much shorter idle delay. When your battery reaches 20%, iOS 9 will prompt you to enable this mode; at 80% battery, it is automatically turned back off.
Apple’s Notes app now supports more advanced formatting, both in iOS 9 and Mac OS El Capitan. (They must both be upgraded for the notes to sync properly.) There are more font styles, list formats, images, and even hand-written sketches. This is very similar to Google Keep for Android. If you want just a plain text editor, check out this review of five other iOS apps.
A tiny feature that may not be immediately noticed is the “Back to…” button when an app sends you to another app. For example, when you open a Safari window from a link in Mail, a link appears in the top left corner that says “Back to Mail.” A link will also appear if you open another app from an iOS alert window. This is small but very helpful.
The biggest news-maker in iOS 9 is its support for third-party Safari browser ad blockers. iOS now supports apps that can block ads in Safari or genuine Safari-based browser apps. (They will not block ads on webpages in Facebook, for example, because Facebook’s app implements its own browser.) The ad blockers are supposed to also improve the load time of webpages by removing the ads, but the blockers themselves have overhead processing, so not all ad blockers may give improved performance. Click here for a review on some of the more popular Safari ad blockers.
Bob then discussed his upgrade to El Capitan, which was… an adventure for him. After the install, he ended up with two different kernel panics and couldn’t use Safari at all. So he called our resident genius, Mario, for help. Mario and Bob both logged into Messages to use the Screen Sharing functionality. Over Messages, Mario was able to control Bob’s computer. Mario reviewed the error logs in Console and found the source of the kernel panics – old Symantec kernel extensions. Once those were deleted from the system, El Capitan worked great!
One neat feature of El Cap is the split-full-screen functionality for apps that support it. Apps often have a minimum width at which you can resize, and some may be a bit buggy when dealing with pop-up windows. Apple also introduced a way to find your mouse – wiggle your mouse back and forth quickly, and the mouse icon will grow larger. (This was possible before with add-ons, but now Apple built it in.) The Photos app was updated with more supported photo editors and, finally, editable locations.
As always, check Roaring Apps before upgrading to ensure that the applications you depend on are compatible with El Cap. This is just user-submitted data, so also check with the official developer for a statement on compatibility and available updates. Some known apps that need updates are Bartender 2 (paid), DiskMaker 5, and Postbox 4.0.5. From Apple, OS X Server and iTunes also have updates. See this blog article for more notes on Adobe Creative Suite compatibility.
All eyes turned back to Bob for an update on his 1Password usage since the last meeting! He still had two vaults, one on his phone and one on his computer, so a common storage point (Dropbox) was discussed to facilitate merging the two together. Bob also complained that his 1Password password was too long (and secure) to easily type into the phone. Luckily, there’s a simple solution to that – Touch ID. Enable Touch ID in 1Password’s Settings > Security pane. There you can also set a different timeout. These changes will help Bob’s use of 1Password, and we look forward to another update next month…
Mario showed some photos from Apple’s corporate store re-opening a few weeks prior. It is now branded as a retail store, but a bit fancier. It does have clothing and a few accessories, but not as much as before, and no software. All of the employees at 1 Infinite Loop were sourced from other area stores; no newbies in this store! Stop by and take a look if you’re in the area.
On a final note for the night, Jenny told the group that her father, longtime SLMUG member John, would soon be moving to an Alzheimer’s residential care facility. Aegis is located in downtown Fremont, just 10 minutes away from the family. Anybody can stop by and visit, and we can still bring him home on occasion. This will be difficult, but it is best for both him and the family.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:30pm, after which several members reconvened at the local Denny’s.