Let me start off by saying, no, I didn’t drink the Apple kool-aid. (seems like whenever i make any comment about a good thing that apple does, i get accused of drinking the kool-aid or being a fan-boy.)
I recently had an issue with my iPad 12.9″ not recognizing the smart keyboard. it all started around beginning of april this year, so, well out of the warranty since I was one of the first to be on the bleeding edge an order the iPad Pro as soon as it was released. At first the problem was just once in a while, but quickly progressed into a nearly daily thing, and of course at the most inopportune times… not there is ever an opportune time for something to fail.The issue appears to be a somewhat common one for the first generation of the iPad Smart Keyboards. I would open up my iPad and flip over the cover to let it stand up ready for typing, only to be met with the annoying onscreen message saying an accessory is not compatible. I know, I know,… how could it not be compatible when it is an Apple accessory specifically made for the iPad? I went thru the typical fixes. Remove the keyboard, reattach. If that didn’t work, try again. If that didn’t work then restart the iPad. Sometimes turning off Bluetooth and all networking with the keyboard detached would do the trick, but not always. It seemed there was no common fix that would work.

As I mentioned, it got worse. Worse to the point I was seeing the message a few times a day, nearly every time I closed up the iPad actually. I gave in and contacted Apple after googling the issue in Apple Support (see this link) and also finding links to a couple of pages that mentioned that Apple had extended the warranty on the Smart Keyboard to 3 years due to connection issues.

Long story a little shorter, I talked to phone support, they determined it needed to be looked at in person and set up an appointment for me at the local Apple Genius Bar. About 2 days later I was there with iPad and keyboard in hand, and a few saved screenshots of the error message with date and time stamps (as included above) just for good measure in case the intermittent problem decided to not play nice with me. (As it turned out, it was replicated in the store while there, but better safe than sorry)

There was no trouble explaining the issue, I wasn’t the first they had seen about this, and after a quick diagnostic to ensure the iPad was not the issue, the Apple Genius Bar support guru put in the request for a new Smart Keyboard which was accepted under the extended warranty and thankfully they had one in the back just for this reason, replacing it then and there on the spot.

Say what you want about Apple and how expensive their devices are, but they do stand behind them when they fail, stepping up and accept their mistakes or flaws, going out of their way to ensure they make the fix as painless as possible. We should all take their actions on this issue as a good example on how to treat customers and how to admit our faux pas, gaffes, blunders, – whatever name you want to try and pretty it up with – and take ownership of them. After all, two air is human, write? to err is human, right?

Now, did someone mention Kool-aid? I’m parched.

barkerp

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For a little dog, the hole left behind after he moves on is in no way proportional to him.

Gunner, or “our little old man”, as he was referred to in the past year or so after he all but lost his hearing, most of his teeth and started really showing his grey, passed away yesterday and his being missing from the house leaves a Saint Bernard sized hole, even though he was a chihuahua weighing in at about 6 lbs.

When I got him at Christmas back in 2003, I wasn’t sure why the wife had bought such a little dog or why a chihuahua. We’d always had large dogs, and this seemed odd, but his heart and energy and loving nature quickly made him a part of our crazy little family. Turned out I had seen a commercial on tv and made a comment about how cute the little dog was on it, and that was enough to light a spark of an idea. A spark that turned into a loving companion that would travel with us happily anywhere and always made himself right at home. He was slow to get to know people and new animals, but once he did, you were in his pack and he welcomed you with a smile, somewhat toothless of late, but a smile nonetheless (I say dogs do smile, you can see it in their eyes mostly).

Always nearby when doing anything, he was curious and maybe a little intrusive, but its easy to forgive such a sweet soul when he is finding it chilly and wants to snuggle on your lap or share your blanket. He was my little bed warmer for over a decade until he started not being able to make it thru the night without needing to pee. A trait I myself am not looking forward to acquiring but time takes its toll on us all.

Our family is smaller, and he will never be forgotten, he is going to be missed so much each and every day, his cute little face and wagging tail was always right there to greet me each morning, and every time I came home he would fight his way thru the other pets to make sure I got to pet him. Gunner, like another of our other beloved dogs, Enya who was his first adopted mom and passed shortly after he joined our family, loved pizza crusts and would wait patiently until I was finished eating and gave him a little piece. As he got older and lost his hearing, he would whimper softly, almost imperceptibly as he waited, just to make sure he wasn’t forgotten or overlooked.

RIP my little man. You made your mark on a lot of lives, and gave us so many years of happiness, I just wish I had a few more. The good do die young. Too young. Too soon. I am sure all your furry friends will be waiting for you in heaven. Now I have to make sure I’m good so I can see you again.

-barkerp


We learn from our past.  It shapes us. It affects us in ways both good and bad. You might say it makes us who we are.

But it should be a place of memories. Fond or difficult they all came together to make us each who we are, but they should not be a place we live in.

On this day more than most I give myself a little extra time to remember and to reflect and to cherish those memories,  both the good and the bad.

There is no changing the past, but there is learning from it, and keeping memories close to our hearts, but you should never let them rob you of your future or cause you to dwell in them.

It’s been 10 years since my brother was taken from this world, and I choose to remember the good times, and gloss over the bad like the way his life was cut short. Memories keep people alive in our hearts, and need to be shared and that’s what days like this should be about. Look back fondly and look forward with hope.

As always big bro, I’m at your final resting place with my bike. Feel free to join me, but you have to ride bitch, after all it’s my bike.

Ride on bro,

Barkerp

We had to say goodbye today to our beautiful friend and companion of nearly 13 years, Tilley. 

Coming home the first time after a beloved dog moves on is heartbreaking. It doesn’t matter how many other animals are there to greet you, the hole after one dog has left is enormous.


She was the matriarch of our little herd. 

The instigator at times, moreso before her hearing started to go, barking at any noise outside that didn’t seem right to her. 

The referee at times, stepping in between the other dogs when a kerfuffle broke out. 

The ever vigilant watchful eye when outside, making us aware of guests or people passing by.  

The mother at times, helping us to raise the new puppies as they joined our little zoo of animals.  Watchful over them, and putting up with all those puppy quirks, nips, noises, and general misbehavings.

She not only watched over the animals – cat and rabbit as well as the other dogs – but was there for us, her people, always watching over us, happy to see us and be with us, right up to the end when we could see she wanted to be near us although her body was failing her.  A truly wonderful friend and companion and always so sweet no matter what was going on or how she was feeling, and once she knew you, you were a friend for life and one of her flock.

Rainbow bridge has another beautiful soul waiting for us on the other side.  I’m pretty sure she’ll be there keeping all the other animals in line and teaching them manners while she waits.

Rest in peace Tilley.

Barkerp

Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves” – Albert Einstein.

Paying attention.  It is the most important thing to practice while driving, and often times hard to do, especially on a long drive, or an overly familiar one where your mind tends to wander.  The laws are trying to encourage it, and enforce it, but we all need to ignore the distractions around us, even the pretty girls.  Sorry Albert.

Technology can help with this, if used properly.

I drive a lot for work, going to new places all the time is one of the perks of the business, (if you like driving and exploring this vast country we live in) and quite often I forget to put the address into my car’s Nav system before leaving the office.  It is still a new-ish toy to me and I forget you can’t add an address once the vehicle is moving, so sometimes I rely on my phone to let me know where to go.  Other times I pull over and key in the address and use the Navigation system.
Today was one of those times I figured I’d just use my iPhone, and as it turns out also my Apple Watch, which I didn’t even know was a feature.  Driving along, I stopped long enough to click on the notification on my phone telling me of the meeting and the address and it launched “Maps” showing me where to go and how long, etc. and headed on my merry way.  Not too far along I felt the now familiar tapping on my wrist from my watch.  Assuming it was just a text message or my watch telling me it was time to stand up I didn’t think much of it.  Then again, as I neared my next turn, same thing.

I glanced over at my watch to see a very simple notification telling me of my upcoming turn, and ETA.  Cool.  The interface is simple enough a glance is all you need.  That is not to say the latest update to the Maps App for iOS is not well laid out itself,  but having the info on your wrist is pretty sweet, and less distracting.

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Watch screen capture

iPhone screen capture

As I said, the watch lets you know when a change in direction is coming up, or as may be, a choice in direction is coming up and the app tells you to keep going the direction you are going.  Sometimes those notifications can be extremely annoying when traveling along a highway and constantly being told to keep going where you were heading like some sort of robotic backseat driver “continue on highway for 3 kms”, but I digress.
When I first thought of getting a smartwatch, honestly I did wonder how much I would use it, and how much I was getting one just because it was cool tech and I didn’t have it.  (seeing the keynote about the Apple Watch Series 2 pretty much hooked me)

I had stopped wearing a regular watch around the same time I started carrying a cell phone in my pocket.  Seemed silly to me to wear something that really only provided one purpose.  Well, two if you include the date function, which by the way, if I ever forget what day it is and I’m not retired already or on vacation, put me out to pasture.  But anyway, having a smartwatch actually makes sense for me, since there are many times my phone is either not in my pocket (at the office for one, around the house for another) or it is in my pocket but not convenient to access, for instance when driving, working outside, or on a job site.  Often the notifications are all that is needed, and no or minimal interaction is required.  Driving is a perfect example of this, and anything that can be done to keep attention on the road is a good thing.  The watch OS does a good job of this, and I can’t wait to see how it evolves, along with how many other ways the minimalistic approach of working with a smaller screen changes how we interact with technology.

Not to mention it is just cool tech, and in my opinion, smartwatches will become as standard as the iPhone has become.  Integrated into our lives so completely that in a couple of years we will wonder how we ever got along without them.

Getting back to good old Albert Einstein, who knew he was such a player.

barkerp