A Word About RAM MacBook Pro

Nov 5, 2013 by

A Word About RAM MacBook Pro

I have one of the last 17-inch MacBook Pros, with 2.4 GHz, Intel Core i7.  It came with 4 GBs of RAM, and for what we do making books for iPad and the videos that go into them with Adobe After Effects, Audition and Premier Pro CC, RAM is in demand.

A few months ago, I ordered an 8 GB ram card from Crucial to soup up the MBP. Installing the card was sort of easy, just undo the 10 screws on the bottom, pop out the old 2 GB cards and then pop in the Crucial card and onward. Except I actually had trouble seating the Crucial card and wound up getting a Genius at Henderson & Knox to seat it right.

Then, this summer, in discussions with Jamaal Jackson at Reel3Media.com, he said I could up the MBP up to 16 GBs. I questioned that announcement, but he said, “Google it!”  I did, and yes, you can pump a MBP up to 16 GBs of RAM. Crucial RAM Sticks 8 GBs

So a few weeks ago, not wanting to wait for Crucial to make a delivery and headed out of town, I stopped in at Fry’s in Dallas and bought a new 8 GB stick, but this one was made by Corsair.  After seating it myself again, the MBP started beeping at me — three beeps over and over is a signal that you have a RAM issue — and I never really could get the thing to work right.

Last night, I went to the Apple Store at Northpark Mall in Dallas, and Taylor, one of the geniuses there took my MBP to the back after I explained the issue. For what should have taken about two minutes, it lasted for about 10-15 and apparently in that time, he did some testing for me.

What he came back and said is that he, as a Genius, recommends the Crucial cards and NOT the Corsair sticks.  Of course, I could pay Apple $200 for their cards, but hey, Crucial is like $80, and Corsair was about $75.  Why not the Corsairs? He says the boards on them are a “little thicker” than the Crucial cards so when you put the thicker one in the top slot, it can pop out when the bottom one is thinner. So, he said he put the Crucial card on top.  He said if there are other issues, that I should scrap the Corsair and go with another Crucial card.

So, I recommend if you’re going to upgrade RAM on your MacBook Pro, it’s recommended that you use Crucial sticks, not Corsair.

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Things We’re Hoping For In iBooks Author 3.0

Oct 18, 2013 by

Things We’re Hoping For In iBooks Author 3.0

On Oct. 22, Tuesday of next week, fellow Auburn graduate Tim Cook is slated to take the stage to reveal all that’s new with Apple and as usual, that is primarily going to focus on new iPads, MacBook Pros, the Mac Pro and the new OS X version called Mavericks. What he also likely will do is include a reference to books for iPad and iBooks Author, but those announcements and presentations often seem like he’s either got to get to the rest room or his car is double parked out on the street and he has to leave.  Sadly, we truly wish Apple was going to place more of a priority on books for iPad as they truly are the way of the future and the best digital learning tool available for kids of all ages in existence.

So in Tuesday’s announcement, we’re hoping for some announcements about improvements to the free software that can be used to make books for iPad.  Ultimately, we’d like to see these three things in iBooks Author 3.0.

1. Ability to change the background color in images v. galleries-Presently, when one loads a photo image into a book for iPad and sets it so that it can be tapped and expanded to the 2048 x 1536 pixel range of the screen, depending on how large the image is, it is going to display on a white background. Apple has said over the phone that this is largely done because images can be .pdfs and they think those display better against a white background, but in a world where not everything is that simple, we really wish they’d add one more button or tick box to change this presentation feature. We have a client right now who is insistent that images in his work should appear on a black background and the only way to try to trick iBooks Author into doing that is to make all images one-image galleries, and well, that’s not working out real well because the software also names the images as galleries when there’s really only one image.

2. Ability to leave social note thread discussions within a book-Social discussions within a group project are the way of the future. Already Apple has added “share” functionality within books for iPad, but we think it should be expanded so that teachers, authors, and classmates can all leave live notes right there in a group discussion in context to the pages where they’re happening. This would open an entirely wider array of functionality and effectiveness in discussions.

3. Ability to read books for iPad on any mobile device, not just on Mavericks Macs and iPads-Think Quicktime here. It works on any computer platform. That’s what’s needed for books for iPad that presently only work on the iPad or iPad mini. At the announcement, Apple is going to say that these books for iPad now will work in the new desktop operating system Mavericks, but what is really needed is a common platform that will make them available on a Kindle, Nook, Nexus 7, Surface, PC, ANYTHING.  The 3D imagery, the interactive widgets, all of the stuff that sets books for iPad apart from the horrifically limited functionality of EPUB 2.0.1 and EPUB 3.0 need to be made available in a Quicktime-type of widget/app that can be loaded onto these other platforms. Apple would significantly expand its revenue base for the sale of these books and capture a greater share of the book market.  It makes absolutely no sense at all to keep this as an Apple-limited product.

Will any of this come about Tuesday? We can only hope.  And Tim Cook, when you talk about books for iPad and iBooks Author, please, slow down a bit. All the other stuff is cool, but there are those of us out here in the wilderness who are forging a path to the future with these great tools and we think they deserve a lot more time and attention.

EDITORS NOTE: Last Friday in San Antonio, I gave a presentation about books for iPad that you can download for free and see some of the cool 3D images, puzzles, interactive timelines, and tools I reference above. If you need these made for your own classes, schools, or companies, please give me a call today at 214-364-7240.  A copy of my presentation is available for download from a public link on Dropbox.

 

 

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Life Is Good When You’re The WOW! At An Apple Genius Bar

Feb 5, 2013 by

Life Is Good When You’re The WOW! At An Apple Genius Bar CC Yellow Books Circle 60 by 60 TR 1

Since I bought my first MacBook Pro on Oct. 11, 2007, I’ve had my share of opportunities to visit the Apple Genius Bar at Northpark Mall. If you don’t know, it’s one of the smallest stores in the Apple Store inventory, but also one of the busiest.  This is where I took my One-To-One training with Adopho Cantu and learned so much more than I could ever have hoped for. Screen Shot 2013-02-05 at 12.13.17 PM

Today I was in attempting to do a restore of my email lost last Tuesday after applying a Rule to Mail because a spammer had sent an email from the address < @>.  We were trying to use Time Machine to restore Mail to where it was before that fated rule change. (We didn’t get it to work either.)

But as we were going through the process–I’ve also spent about an hour on the phone with Apple Care–the Genuis started asking about what I do and then I got to whip out the iPad and show her Dr. Mark Van Stone’s 2012: Science & Prophecy of the Ancient Maya, Ken Plume, John Robinson and Len Peralta’s There’s A Zombie In My Treehouse, and lastly, Dr. John Ed Mathison’s When God Redefines the Possible, a work in progress.

When the Genius started manipulating the 3D image of the Rio Azul mask that’s in the book, her response was Apple Genius Cool–“SHUT UP!”  (I wasn’t saying anything.)

Before I knew it, I had three other geniuses looking at the books and doing the same thing.  Genius One kept saying, “I am showing off my customer!”

Now like I’ve said, I’ve had my share of Genius Bar visits, but this was the first time I wasn’t the one in awe of what was going on.  It was the Geniuses.

We talked about how one before in Northpark I’d showed the books to a sales rep who told me, “It’s so cool for us to see things like this, because we send stuff out of here in boxes all day long, the tools you need to do cool stuff.  It’s fascinating for us to see how it’s actually being used.”

And so this is another tribute and thank you to the Genius, sales and One-to-One training staff of the Apple Store at Northpark Mall in Dallas, Texas.  Without my One-to-One training from Adolpho, who is no longer there, there’s no telling how far behind I still would be. And what a great memory to have–SHUT UP!

 

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Can You Use Hype To Create A Parallax Animation For An iBook Widget?

Jan 28, 2013 by

Can You Use Hype To Create A Parallax Animation For An iBook Widget? CC Yellow Books Circle 60 by 60 TR 1

For more than a year now I’ve been working on a sister project–TheWondersExpedition.com and trying to help share some fascinating discoveries I’ve noticed in the study of amazing places around the world.

And to begin telling that story in digital book form, and also online, I’ve been in the process of building various forms of art in Photoshop and Illustrator and trying to decide whether files should be straight vector files–(I’d love to be able to do .SVG but iPad won’t support it) or go for Photoshop creations rendered out as .PNGs.

Clearly I want to be able to tell the story of multiple sites around the globe and use the continuous scrolling effect to help share the findings.  Ultimately, this will require creating some sort of parallax-looking animation that makes it look like the world is turning, day is going from day to night, and cool places are popping up into view as the world turns, along with some sort of geometric lines, trig formulas of sine and cosines, and probably a kitchen sink, too. while I’m at it.

That led me to really look at two creative tool options tonight.  After Effects or Tumult’s Hype, now available as version 1.6.0.

Can You Use Hype To Create A Parallax Animation For An iBook Widget?

The answer to me right now is–I don’t know.

What I did tonight was create a Hype file with the dimensions of 2048 px by 1536, the size of an iPad 3 screen/retina screen. Just trying to see the whole screen on a 17-inch MacBook Pro, early 2012, requires me to shrink the View down to 50 percent and to shove my timeline as far to the bottom of the screen as I can stand.  (That’s not a complaint, it’s just the way it is.)

Just for starters tonight, I went ahead and in Photoshop created a round ball designed to rotate from the center point at the bottom of the animation.  I didn’t do the math, but through a process of lines from each respective corner, then a line down the middle and then a line from the bottom center line to the top left and right corners got me a measurement of about 1555 px.  I set the ellipse tool to form a perfect circle by holding down the shift key when I created a round “globe” in a file that was 3710 px by 3710 px. This way, as the globe rotates in Hype from the center spot at the bottom, there will never be a point where the viewer won’t see either blue for the atmosphere during the day, and black for simulated night time. Mind you, I’m not worrying about anything fancy line stars and the moon right now.  I just want to get the global atmosphere spinning. (Later will come additional layers of stuff.)

Trying to create a rotating "Atmosphere" using Tumult's Hype.

Trying to create a rotating “Atmosphere” using Tumult’s Hype.

With a two-layered .PNG the file for just the atmosphere right now is 39 MBs.  HUGE!

And needless to say, when I put it in the timeline of Hype and then set it to turn 180 degrees in 20 seconds, it really made the MBP, with 8 GBs of RAM, start to creep.  At one point, I could see block pixels where there are none, as the earth’s atmosphere turned from day to night.  Not good.

So at 11:30 p.m. on a Monday night, I’m calling it a day to rethink this as I sleep.  I’m beginning to wonder if Adobe’s After Effects isn’t going to be the better place to do this, but then it is destined to become a .mov and not an interactive HTML5 widget.  So I ponder.

Anyone else done this?  Anyone?  Bueller?

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What Apple Didn’t Say About Changes From iBooks Author Version 1 Series

Dec 5, 2012 by

What Apple Didn’t Tell Us About Changes From iBooks Author Version 1 Series

We published our book for iPad 21012: Science & Prophecy of the Ancient Maya by Dr. Mark Van Stone on Aug. 23, 2012 using the 1.0 version series of iBooks Author. The book cleared through Apple’s approval process in a day or two and was up on the iBookstore without us even realizing it.

The book has been selling well; not as well as we hoped, but it’s been selling. As we get closer to Dec. 21, 2012, interest has been picking up and we’ did a TV interview here in Dallas Tuesday that’s slated to run soon.

But there’s been a problem we didn’t know about until after the October 23, 2012 update to iOS 6, iBooks 3, iBooks Author 2.0 and iTunes Producer 2.8. At least three customers have bought our book and reported not being able to actually open it once it’s on their iPad. While that number is small, in our opinion, that’s three too many.

What is more troubling is that we received no notification from Apple, iTunes Support, iBookstore Support, meaning the problem could have been with the individual users. We just don’t know. When we asked iTunes Store Support why they gave refunds instead of letting us know about the problem, their answer was that they simply don’t discuss why they issue refunds.  Not helpful.

Trying To Get To The Problems Caused By iBooks Author 2.0

So as we publish this piece, all we know is that three customers said once they downloaded version 1.0 of our book for iPad, they couldn’t open it. The bar across the icon of the book was black, which tends to indicate there’s a problem.

When we opened our .iba file made from the version 1.0 series (It was last opened on Aug. 23, 2012)  in version 2.0 on Nov. 24, 2012, we immediately got a flag warning from the software saying that the image on page 156 was too large. Thumbing through the book also showed that iBooks Author 2.0 had messed up multiple widgets we’d laid out perfectly in version 1.0.  They were compressed into a tiny size and were sitting at the left sides of pages. Several of them we’d laid out to encompass an entire page. Version 2.0 messed all that up and required us to repaginate several places in the book.

The first flagged warning is pictured below:

Warning Screen in iBooks Author 2.0

Warning Screen in iBooks Author 2.0

It never occurred to us that we might need to open up an old version of the book made with an earlier version of the software to ensure that the new version didn’t mess it up. That’s not how software updates are supposed to work! And certainly, one wouldn’t expect that something that had passed muster in an earlier version suddenly was being flagged as a problem. But that’s what happened.

So up popped that first screen warning asking if we wanted to see the problems it’d found.

So, I clicked yes and got this next screen:

Issues with Photo on Page 156

Issues with Photo on Page 156. This dialogue box appeared and said an image that worked fine up until Oct. 23, 2012, was no longer any good in our book for iPad.

To fix the photo problem meant taking the original, running it through Photoshop, shrinking it, and then reloading the page. Nothing difficult there, but if there is anything causing a problem with people downloading the book and it opening now in iOS 6, it’d seem this was it.

But wait. Version 2.0 caused even more disruptions inside the original product.

Widgets All Messed Up

Things got even wonkier after that. There were multiple widgets in the book that got totally screwed up by iBooks Author version 2.0. As you can see, some of them got zapped in size and then moved to the top left portion of a page, completely affecting the pagination within a chapter.

Widgets From iBooks Author 1.0 Are All Messed Up In Version 2.0

Widgets From iBooks Author 1.0 Are All Messed Up In Version 2.0

 

To fix everything back required going through all 179 pages of the book and ensuring that the pagination wasn’t messed up.

There were numerous cases where it was.

Pagination From iBooks Author Version 1.0 All Messed Up in Version 2.0

Pagination From iBooks Author Version 1.0 All Messed Up in Version 2.0

Last Saturday night a week ago, we tried to save these changes so that we could quickly upload the book back to the Apple servers and have the issue resolved.

Then came about the whole issue of the destination drive was full that was written about last week.

Software Updates On Our Mac

It is important to note here that we keep our MacBook Pro’s software up-t0-date. We updated to Mountain Lion the day it came out. We updated iBooks Author as soon as Apple released it on Oct. 23, 2012.  We updated to iBooks 3 on an iPad 3 on Oct. 23. We updated to iTunes Producer, which is used to send books for iPad to Apple’s servers as soon as we saw it was available. So you can imagine how we felt when we started getting responses from the truly good people we’ve been working with for three months off and on now at iBookstore Support suggesting that our uploading problems might be coming because we HAD NOT updated the software. No, our problems were happening because we HAD.

iBookstore Support

So after the problem with the destination drive, we reported the problem to the iBookstore Support team.

We kept also trying to get our book to upload once we got past the destination drive issue.  And we soon had more problems, which will be discussed in the next post.

For now, the book has been uploaded to Apple and it has been approved. But to say this hasn’t been quite upsetting and frustrating would be a great untruth.

Suggestion To Publishers

We strongly recommend that if you have a book on the iBookstore right now that was made in version 1.0 of iBooks Author that you open it up in version 2.0 and see what kinds of bugs might pop up.  Then we also suggest you do an upload of a new version to the iBookstore. You can imagine the pain in our hearts the past week and a half trying to get our book reloaded to the iBookstore when it’s about the 2012 Maya prophecy and we’re down to 17 days away. This could not have come at a worse time for us. But thankfully, we did get some great one-on-one support from our many friends at Apple to help get this resolved. It was just a real nail bitter there for a spell…..

 

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