Since early in the history of web pages Adobe’s Flash Player has been used to deliver video and other multimedia content. The Flash Player provided a consistent format for authors of video insuring that users would be able to view the video regardless of whether they used Mac or PC.
Now the Flash Player is showing its age. Continuing security issues have forced Adobe to issue updates to Flash every couple of weeks. With each update users had to respond to the “there is a new version of Flash” popup. A few of the security issues were so sever that Safari blocked the use of Flash until the user updated.
The Google Chrome browser uses a special version of Flash in an attempt to get around security updates. Safari users are faced with reoccurring popups to update the Flash player. And now FireFox is blocking Flash. See Firefox-blocks-flash for more information.
While Flash was critical to the success of the web in the past, new multimedia standards in HTML 5 have done away with the need for Flash. Many web sites have migrated away from Flash using HTML 5 instead. Can you survive without Flash? Simple answer is yes. Apple does not support (or allow) the Flash Player on iPhones and iPads. Most users do not even notice that it is missing.
Is it time to finally retire the Flash Player? Over the last week several blogs provided Mac users with instructions on removing Flash from their machines. Looks like the handwriting is on the wall. Flash will just fade away over the near future.
If you are interested in removing the Flash Play from your Mac, stop by the lab during one of walk-in help sessions (Mondays 1-3 PM or Fridays 9-11 AM) for assistance.
Google’s Chrome web browsers contains a “feature” that provides a Siri-like capability. Users of the browser my turn the feature on in Preferences. Once on the user says the magic words “OK Google” followed by a natural language query. For example you could just ask out loud:
“OK Google what is the current temperature”
Chrome processes your spoken request and responds with the temperature at your current location. Sounds like a nice feature.
Only problem is there are concerns surfacing about how the feature works. The concern is that the Chrome web browsers continually listens on an open microphone to all conversations occurring in the room. Who gets a copy of those conversations is the concern.
If you use the Chrome web browsers on an iMac, Mac Mini, or Mac Book you should seriously consider whether you want Google having access to what you are saying in the room even when you are not using the magic word.
This feature of Chrome is off by default requiring the user to go into preferences and turn it on. Users that run Chrome without the feature turned on do not need to be concerned.
Its been a long flight and your iPhone’s battery is getting low. As you sit at the gate for the next leg of your journey you plug into a nearby wall outlet to charge up the iPhone. Half asleep waiting of the iPhone to finish charging you are shocked awake by the police and arrested for stealing electricity. Think it can’t happen?
A rail commuter in England was arrested for “abstracting” electricity while charging his iPhone from an outlet on the train. See man-who-charged-his-iphone-on-train-arrested-for-stealing-electricity for the full story.
Moral of the story: Its best to ask before plugging in.
Our club lab contains equipment that goes beyond what most members have in their homes. Items such as flat bed scanners, DVD writers, color printers, high speed Wi-Fi, large screen TV, etc.
To make this equipment available to club members we have started a number of open lab sessions. Each session will have a monitor. Monitors are responsible for opening the lab and assisting members with access to club systems. Full help for member problems will not be available during monitored lab sessions.
The Apple Lab will be open:
- Mondays from 1:00 PM until 3:00 PM for walk-in help lab
- Tuesdays from 1:00 PM until 3:00 PM as a monitored lab session
- Wednesdays from 9:00 AM until 11:00 AM as a monitored lab session (good time to talk photos)
- Thursdays from 10:00 AM until 12:00 AM as monitored lab session
- Friday from 9:00 AM until 11:00 AM for walk-in help lab
If you have a project to work on that requires Macs or iPhone/iPads, come over to the lab during one of the sessions and work on it there. Share what you are doing with other members. Get ideas and help from other members.
Take advantage of our new lab.
A number of club members expressed an interest in learning how to build apps. To give a feel for what it takes, a series of lesson were put together introducing app building. First couple of sessions fell in the category of toe-dipping. The Xcode development environment was introduced, a high level view of the Swift programming language followed, and students built the classic “Hello World” app.
Students completing the toe-dipping session will be able to attend the next level of sessions covering building a calculator. During these sessions students will learn more about Xcode including a introduction to auto-layout. At the end of the sessions class members will have developed a running calculator app.
Watch out America, the next great app may come from one of club members.
What: Monthly meeting for May 2015
When: Tuesday, May 26th, from 3:00 PM until 5:00 PM
Where: Caper room in the Atrium Bldg.
Program: How Things Work–What’s an App?
May will be the last monthly meeting for the summer. Monthly meetings will resume in September.
Have a fun and safe summer.
The first class to be held in the club’s new lab room wrapped up on Thursday, April 23rd. Attendees received basic instruction in iPad and iPhone operations. Our new facility worked better then expected. We are all looking forward to future training classes.
What: SCC Apple User Group monthly meeting for April, 2015
When: Tuesday, April 28th, from 3:00 PM until 5:00 PM
Where: Caper Room in the Atrium Bldg.
Presentation: Overview and demonstation of Apple’s Pages, Numbers, and Keynote applications.
The first training class to be run in our new room is scheduled for later this month. Subject of the class is iPhone and iPad basics. I announced the class via email to members and was surprised by how quickly all available seats were reserved–all seats were gone in just over two hours. There is a long waiting list for this class.
For those not able to get into the class this month, the club will be offering it again later this year. Details to follow when it is scheduled.
Please remember that if you have questions or need advice on the iPad or iPhone, you can stop by one of the walk-in open lab sessions Mondays from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM or Fridays from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM.
All of the hard work has paid off. Over the last couple of days all of the club’s equipment was moved from the old lab to our new facility. The new lab is set up and ready for use.
Our new lab will open at 1:00 PM on Monday, April 6th. Stop by and check it out.
President, SCC Apple User Group