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This is the personal blog of Don McAllister, the host and producer of ScreenCastsOnline.

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With the advent of the MacBook Air and more recently with the new Retina MacBook Pro, there has been a lot of teeth gnashing and disgruntlement about the increasing lack of repairability of the new Mac laptops.

No memory upgrades possible, no chance to upgrade the hard drive.

I have been fairly dismissive about the moaning and groaning on various podcasts, as well as on this blog.

Until yesterday.

My son is in his final year at Uni and his MacBook Pro stopped working.

Transpires, his hard disk had crashed.

There was no problem with his data. He saves all his important stuff to DropBox and we also have BackBlaze running in the background. The problem was how to get him back up and running quickly.

His MacBook Pro is the version with the removable battery and easy access to the Hard Drive.

A quick search on Amazon and I found this Seagate 750GB Momentus XT Serial 2.5 inch 7200 RPM 32MB 6GB/S SATA Solid State Hybrid Hard Drive [Affiliate Link]

A 750GB Hybrid drive for £96 with free overnight delivery - Ordered!

Next day, with drive in hand, I popped over to Sheffield, popped out the faulty drive, popped in the new one and re-installed the OS from a USB thumb-drive. An hour or two later he was back online and all was hunky dory!

Had the MacBook Pro been one of the new models, I sure the Apple store would have been able to sort him out but how long might it have taken? It was just so easy to replace the drive myself and very quick too.

So I still appreciate why Apple have gone down the path of less user repairability, and I realise we get sleeker and more sexy stuff because of it.

But when the time comes when you need to get something fixed quickly, it's probably best not to be too be too dismissive of the fact we can't upgrade or fix things ourselves as easily as we used to be able to.

Lesson learnt.


Dodged a Bullet!

Had a bit of a scare when I saw the latest news for Apple Developers.

Apple have decided to freeze App screenshots once an App is approved in iTunes Connect - Updating Screenshots in iTunes Connect

On the face of it, this looks like a sensible move to try and stop "scam" applications as illustrated in this post by Panic. Sensible, but it does impact on legitimate Developers who might want to tweak their application screenshots for valid reasons. The screenshots are hugely valuable for marketing an application, and on the iPad and especially the iPhone, it's crucial you get them right.

This new ruling presented a major potential problem for me with the ScreenCastsOnline Monthly Magazine.

As I've mentioned before, this is a special type of App - a Newsstand app. The App remains constant, but each month, a new issue is published with fresh content.

I've been using the App screenshot feature to display the contents of several key pages such as the cover, the index pages and some articles. I refresh them each month to reflect the refreshed content of the magazine. See the image below (click to see a larger version)

Screenshots used in ScreenCastsOnline Monthly Magazine in iTunes Store

To freeze the screenshots and only allow updates when a new version of the app binary was released and approved would be extremely limiting.

With trepidation, I logged onto to iTunes Connect and sure enough, the Mac and the iOS SCOtutor App screenshots are now frozen and cannot be deleted or changed.


The ScreenCastsOnline Monthly Mag Newsstand app is not affected.

It looks like Newsstand Apps do not have this limitation and the screenshots can still be legitimately swapped out - phew!

Whilst it's still a pain to have the iOS and Mac App screenshots frozen, I'm glad Apple have not applied this ruling across the board and have give the Newsstand Apps a let.

If you want to checkout the ScreenCastsOnline Monthly magazine, you can find our more here.


NSConf 5

Screenshot 07 01 2013 13 03Tickets and accommodation booked!

NSConference 5 is looming large with a new venue, but still with a host of awesome speakers and even more awesome attendees (modesty prevents me from including myself in that last category).

This will be the third or fourth NSconf I've attended and each time it's been hugely impressive. For the past couple of years. the event has sold out within hours, but hopefully, the new venue will allow more people to take advantage of this UK based developer conference.

Unlike WWDC, it has no official ties with Apple, but you'll find the crème de la crème of indie Mac developers both speaking and in attendance. Although not a bona fide developer myself, I've always found the majority of the technical sessions "followable" and it really does give an insight as to what goes on "under the hood" in both OSX and iOS apps.

With the conference being aimed at primarily indie developers, there's always plenty of sessions aimed at the business and design side of app creation, with a smattering of good marketing information included as well.

In all fairness, it's not just the sessions that are useful, it's always a blast hanging out with indie developers from both Europe and the US, with more and more US based devs making the trip across the pond.

NSConference 5 runs from 4th - 6th March 2013 (Leicester, UK)

You can check out the preliminary list of speakers and more information over at the NSConf 5 Website.

And no, I don't get any discount or a press pass, I pay for my ticket myself!


Generational - 70 Decibels

Generational logoHad a great chat over the Christmas break with Gabe Weatherhead on the Generational podcast. It took us a few attempts to get together due to scheduling difficulties, but I'm so glad we did.

Gabe wanted to know more on my thoughts and experiences of instructing and teaching people over the internet.

Check out the podcast for an insight into my style and approach.

Thanks Gabe!

Generational Podcast - Episode 016


New Years Resolutions

I could wax lyrical about some of the techie New Years Resolutions you could consider this time of year.

But I'll save myself some typing, and recommend that you take a listen to my good friends Katie and David over on the Mac Power Users podcast.

The "Resolutions" episode contains some great ideas.

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