What to Do if the Touch Bar Freezes on Your MacBook Pro

I have mixed feelings about the Touch Bar on Apple’s MacBook Pro. I think it’s a gimmick, and, while useful at times, isn’t useful often enough. As I type, I see predictive text options, but I’m not going to stop typing and tap the bar just because I see a word that I want to type next; it will slow me down. When I’m using Safari, some graphics sort of show what tabs are open, but they’re pretty useless; you can’t see enough to distinguish one tab from another.

The only thing I really use the Touch Bar for is the volume and brightness; adjustments that I made on previous laptops with F keys.

But this morning, the Touch Bar froze; at least the part on the right, the Control Strip. I couldn’t adjust the volume, or change the brightness. So I did some sniffing around and found what I needed to do to force quite the Touch Bar and relaunch it. It’s worth noting that this is the first time since I got this MacBook Pro in June that this has happened; and that there was a major macOS update yesterday. Coincidence?

Open Activity Monitor (it’s in your /Applications/Utilities folder), and click in the search field. Type “touch.” You’ll see one or more items.

Touchbar1

Select TouchBarServer, then click the X button at the top left of the window. In the dialog that displays, click Force Quit. (Quitting might work, but force quitting should always work.)

Touchbar2

This should resolve your problem.

macOS Music App Brings Back the Column Browser

Apple has released macOS 10.15.2, and one of the big features in the Music app is the return of the column browser. As I wrote back in August, the loss of the column browser was devastating. It was the best way to navigate large libraries, and without it, it was painful to choose music.

Go to System Preferences > Software Update and get the latest version of macOS. Then, in the Music app, go into Songs view and press Command-B to display the column browser.

This update also fixes the issue where the iTunes Remote app on iOS didn’t work with the Music app.

Thanks, Apple.

Many App Store and iTunes customers no longer receiving email receipts for purchases – 9to5Mac

“An odd annoyance has emerged among many App Store and iTunes users. Over the last several weeks, many Apple customers have reported that they are no longer receiving email receipts for purchases they made via the App Store or iTunes.”

I’ve been having the same problem. And this is a problem, because I need receipts for software that I purchase for my business. In fact, I had forgotten about this until seeing the article this morning, and went and got a bunch of receipts re-sent.

The biggest issue with this, however, is that without receipts I won’t see any unauthorized purchases, if, by chance, someone managed to compromise my account, or if I was billed for something I didn’t buy.

The article explains how to view your purchase history, but you can do so more quickly by clicking this link: https://finance-app.itunes.apple.com/purchases.

Source: Many App Store and iTunes customers no longer receiving email receipts for purchases – 9to5Mac

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode 112: Twitter Trickery, Charging Insecurity, Cryptocurrency Malware, and More

We follow up on our Black Friday purchases, then talk about some Twitter trickery, some Russian rigidity, some charging insecurity, some location confusion, and some new Mac cryptocurrency malware.

Check out the latest episode of The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.

The PhotoActive Podcast, Episode 57: Remote Triggered

It’s time to step away from your camera. No, not put it away for the holidays—we’re talking about triggering the camera remotely! In this episode, Jeff and Kirk talk about various ways to trip the shutter from afar, such as using an Apple Watch to control the Camera app on an iPhone, remote cable releases, and products that control a mirrorless or DSLR via apps.

Find out more, and subscribe to the podcast, at the PhotoActive website. You can follow The PhotoActive on Twitter at @PhotoActiveCast to keep up to date with new episodes, and join our Facebook group to chat with other listeners and participate in photo challenges and more.

Apple says it cares about the climate. So why does it cost the earth to repair my Macbook? – The Guardian

“My beloved MacBook Air was only two years old when it died. It had seemed perfectly healthy the night before, but when I tried to turn it on in the morning there was no response.

Panicked, I rushed to the nearest Apple store. A ‘Genius’ told me gently to give up hope: there had been an electrical failure; it was a goner. Apple could repair it, the Genius said, but it would cost at least $600 (£460) and take weeks; in the end, it would be cheaper just to buy a new one. So, with a lot of grumbling, that is what I did.”

This brief article on The Guardian seems quite problematic. The journalist had a failure on her MacBook Air. It’s not clear what the cause was. She obviously did not have AppleCare, which covers the device for three years Given that the Sale of Goods act in the UK protects you for six years, and the journalist could probably have found this out, she’s making broad statements without really understanding her options.

What I wonder is whether she might have spilled something on the laptop, which would render any remedy under the Sale of Goods act null.

It’s a shame when a publication like The Guardian publishes these short, uninformed blog posts, whereas these “journalists” could actually do some “investigation” to find out a bit more about the situations and their rights.

Source: Apple says it cares about the climate. So why does it cost the earth to repair my Macbook? | Arwa Mahdawi | Technology | The Guardian

The Next Track, Episode #164 – Sid Smith on the Life and Times of King Crimson

Sid Smith is the official biographer of King Crimson. He recently updated his book, In The Court Of King Crimson – An Observation Over 50 Years, that tells the tale of this seminal band. We talk with Sid about everything crimson.

Find out more at The Next Track website, or follow The Next Track on Twitter at @NextTrackCast.

Book Review – The Silo Effect: The Peril of Expertise and the Promise of Breaking Down Barriers

Most books about business are written by people involved in creating and managing companies: founders, CEOs, or venture capitalists. They are able to leverage their unique experience building businesses because they have been in the thick of things. But this approach can also lead to a certain type of tunnel vision: looking at something from the inside can often make it difficult to see how something actually operates.

Gillian Tett, author of The Silo Effect, comes to business from an interesting background: she trained as an anthropologist, earning a PhD from Cambridge University. Her experience studying social groups gives her a different point of view from those who have only looked at businesses from within, and this allows her to examine the way companies are structured without the preconceptions that most executives have. She is also a high-level executive with The Financial Times, so she can look at companies from both perspectives.

Read the rest of the article on The Startup Finance Blog.

Hand Off Music from Your iPhone to HomePod; I Also Want to Hand Off from My Mac to My iPhone

New in iOS 13 is the ability to “hand off” music from an iPhone to a HomePod. If you’re playing any audio on your iPhone, just go near your HomePod (or near one HomePod of a stereo pair), and after a few seconds, the audio will switch from the iPhone to the HomePod.

What this essentially does is switch the output from the iPhone via AirPlay to the Home Pod.

HandoffAs you can see here, the iPhone shows all available AirPlay devices that are active in my home. Music that I was playing on the iPhone (top) then started playing in the bedroom.

As you can see in this interface, you can control a number of AirPlay devices from your iPhone or iPad, sending music to each of them, or controlling playback from Apple Music or your music in the cloud.

What I’d like to see in addition to this is the ability to hand music off from my Mac to my iPhone. If I’m listening to something on my Mac then want to go out, it would be great to pass the music over to that device. It wouldn’t be the same as with the iPhone to the HomePod, which is essentially just playing the music via AirPlay, but it would be more like when you open a web page in Safari, and can then load the same page quickly on an iOS device. Naturally, this would only work with Apple Music or with your music library in the cloud, but it would be a useful addition to the web of Apple devices.

Apple Music and Album Release Dates

Slow news day, so here’s a minor rant. When I look at albums on Apple Music, I want to see their original release dates. (This applies to all streaming services, but not to music retailers; if I’m buying an album, I want to know when the specific version was released.) Here’s an example: in For You today, Jethro Tull’s Stand Up stood up. I hadn’t listened to that record in ages, so I put it on. When I started listening, at the very beginning, during A New Day Yesterday, hearing the way the music was split across channels – a very early/mid 60s technique – I wondered what year the original album was released. Because this is what Apple Music tells me:

Stand up

I know the original was not released in 2001; I went to Wikipedia to check, and it was 1969, which is what I had thought. But I consider this part of the essential metadata of an album, especially because there are “Editors’ Notes” here mentioning that it was the band’s second album.

I’d love to see a lot more metadata on Apple Music. While most people don’t care about this, there are times when I want to know more, such as the date of an album, the musicians on it, the producer, etc.