macOS Sierra, Is it a big deal?

Written: October 9, 2016

My MacBook Pro prompted me to upgrade to the latest OS, now named macOS Sierra, so I said OK and have been playing with the new features today. The installation process took maybe 30 minutes or so, and while that was happening I was able to watch some Netflix series on my iPad.


Users of iOS devices like the iPad and iPhone have long been able to chat with their devices to ask questions or control apps, so now we have that useful feature on the desktop. I first asked about the weather, but then quickly discovered that I hadn’t setup my location:

Oddly enough the icon for Siri is supposed to be in my Menu Bar, but it isn’t showing up, instead I have to find it in my Dock instead. The hotkey to invoke Siri is “command shift”, however that is already defined to be the Spotlight feature. Oops, Apple duplicated their own hotkey sequences and failed to notice that gaffe.

Universal Clipboard

This nifty feature allows you to copy from one device, say the MacBook Pro, then paste into an iPad. Sadly for me this feature requires that my MacBook Pro be a 2012 or later model, but I’m using the 2011 model so this doesn’t work at all, ugh.

Auto Unlock

This trick requires that you purchase an Apple Watch, then it will unlock your MacBook Pro. I’m not going to buy a watch just to do this task, but I understand how wearables could impact my laptop.

Apple Pay

You can be shopping on your Safari browser on the desktop, click the Apple Pay button, then use your iPhone or Apple Watch to make the payment. Since I own the iPad Air, this doesn’t work, it requires an iPad Air2 device.


Memories will arrange your photos into collections that are grouped by people, events and location. Worked OK on my MacBook Pro, but I couldn’t find it on my iPad device.


I can use the Messages app and add fun emoji. Most of my contacts use Facebook Messenger or regular text messaging.

iCloud Drive

Works across all my devices like iPad and MacBook Pro, kind of like Apple’s version of DropBox.

Optimized Storage

Clever feature to move infrequent files from my Mac into iCloud, leaving more space on my Mac. Haven’t tried it, but it does make sense should I run out of space.

Picture in Picture

In iTunes or some web sites on Safari you can start playing a video, then float that video to a corner of your screen while you work on other things. The only streaming that I do is on Netflix, so I haven’t tried this yet.


Apps like Maps can have multiple tabs, just like in a web browser. I’m a Google Maps user, so seldom play with Apple Maps.


For how I use my MacBook Pro this latest OS is mostly eye-candy, so really won’t change my daily work and entertainment routines. It was free, so thank you Apple

Tags: ,

Oregon Visual Arts Ecology Project

Written: October 7, 2016

I got a phone call from Mike Matthews, owner of Measured Marketing Solutions awhile back and he wanted a better way to enter over 1,000 art portfolios into a web site for the Oregon Visual Arts Ecology Project. My first action was to browse the web site and see what it looked like:

Oregon Visual Arts

It was a WordPress site and they were using a popular commercial Theme called Avada that supported the concept of a Portfolio. Oddly enough there was no way to bulk import a list of Portfolios, so Mike wanted to know if it were possible to use an Excel spreadsheet to define all of the Portfolios, then import them somehow into WordPress. My reply, “Yes, of course that can be coded.”

On the Home page there are several Featured Portfolios on display, so when you click the thumbnail then you get linked to a detailed page like this one:

Oregon Visual Arts - detailed portfolio page

Notice that on the right-hand side there are clickable links for:

All of this visual, text and link information had to be imported from an Excel file into WordPress and then create a new Portfolio for each line of the spreadsheet. I coded a custom Plugin just for this one task, tested it out, and saved Mike much time from having to manually create over 1,000 portfolios.


WordPress is a very powerful and extendable Content Management System (CMS) that allows organizations to show the world what they are all about using an intuitive visual medium. WordPress may be customized to do something special with off-the-shelf Themes, saving you valuable time and manual typing effort.

Tags: ,

Commercial Web Sites with Bugs

Written: September 27, 2016

I often read the web site for local news and today I found an interesting article about an eLearning company in Portland called OpenSesame, so I browsed over to their web site. The site is well-designed and full of interesting content, so I wondered about how many WordPress classes that they offered, so I clicked on a button for Browse Classes. Then it happened, the dreaded pop-up dialog with an error message:

OpenSesame error message

It’s never a good idea to have your web site throw error messages, because it makes the visitor suspicious about how viable your company, products or services may be. I clicked the OK button and continued to look at the search results for WordPress and found a handful, so obviously this platform is not a big one for the 100,000,000 users of WordPress. Most of us just visit Google and find plenty of free WordPress tutorials out there instead of paying for training.

I did continue on the OpenSesame site to use their Chat feature and they responding quickly, asking me to email a screenshot of the error message to their support department. I wish OpenSesame much success, however they really should be doing more QA work on their web site by having testers click every button and link to double-check that all is working OK, instead of letting a hapless, first-time visitor stumble onto errors.


Running Windows 10 on a Mac

Written: September 26, 2016

In my web development business I have a need to use both Mac and Windows operating systems for browsing web sites, so one way to do that is by using a MacBook Pro with a version of Windows running virtually. What does virtual mean? Even though my hardware is a Mac, there’s a software company called Parallels that offers a product to let you install and use Windows on your Mac, although it won’t be running at full speed like on a dedicated PC. For web browsing this virtual solution is just fine for me, plus I get to continue using the Quicken software for my business accounting.

As Windows keeps upgrading versions and also Mac, I eventually have to upgrade my version of the Parallels software, so today I upgraded to version 12 of Parallels:

Parallels 12

The upgrade process was pretty straight forward and I could download and start installing the software right away:

Install Parallels 12

To keep me honest the install process has an activation code that is unique to my computer, so I don’t go around sharing commercial software:

Activate Parallels 12

Invoking Parallels version 12 there is one last app to install, Parallels Tools:

Parallels Tools

There you have it, Parallels 12 is all updated and I can use the latest version to run Windows 10 on my Mac:

Windows 10 on a Mac

Tags: , ,

Recent Posts

Blog Tags

Blog Directory & Business Pages at