It Just Works – Kind of!
One of the big things about using an Apple computer, whether it be an iMac or your iPad or iPhone is that it just works. You don’t need to do any messing around with arcane settings of any sort, you plug things in and they work. For the most part this is still true. There are occasions though where you can get just as confused, annoyed and frustrated as when using other systems. It never gets as bad as when you are doing specialised things using the terminal. Delving into the Linux underpinnings of the Mac operating system using the terminal can give you weird and not so wonderful consequences. If you are going to do some copy and pasting of terminal commands from whatever website to install and configure you should really make sure it’s a reliable source. The other thing which can mess things up with your Apple computer system is when you have to fiddle around with your Apple ID or IDs. I have been in Terminal setting up HomeBrew and installing software on my iMac as well as doing things with the Apple iDs over the last couple of days.
Apple iMac computer problems this morning
I plugged in my iPhone and I wanted to do a backup using the application iMazing and it didn’t work. There was an upgrade for the application which I let run. I tried it again and it still didn’t work. At the same time there was also a problem with iTunes not seeing my iPhone. I’d say the problem was the same for both applications – whatever that was. I didn’t want to do a restart of the computer because of the noisy start-up tone. It was too early in the morning and my wife was still in bed. I didn’t want to be too loud. It would be handy to have one of those recently announced new MacBook Pros, which has a quiet start-up. Later this morning I was able to do the restart of the computer and the backup using iMazing seems to be working. I was also able to open up iTunes and see the iPhone 7+ in the sidebar. However, it wasn’t showing me the applications installed. So what was the problem causing this little difficulty? Who knows??
I have an Amazon Dot on the way to me in the post from the UK. I had to order it from Amazon to my mother’s address using my Amazon UK account. The Amazon Dot is not yet available in Spain. Reading an article this morning telling me about an application called iDevices which works in the same way as the Apple Home application. The article suggested I could use the iDevices application in conjunction with the Amazon Echo or Dot. So I went through the whole rigmarole of getting my hands on the Amazon Echo application for my iPhone. It was a nuisance because I had to sign out of my Apple ID for Spain & into the Apple ID for the UK. I have a suspicion that this is how I got problems into the workingsl of my Apple devices. Now that I’ve got the application from the UK store and changed the Apple ID sign in back to my normal Apple ID it seems to working properly again.
I decided to try and download the Amazon echo application through iTunes on the Mac when maybe it would have been better to get it directly on the iPhone. The idea was that if I did it through iTunes I would be able to install first on the iPhone. Then afterwards I’d be able to push the application out to my iPad. With all of the messing around, it did in the end work out better to download the application onto the iOS device.
Using two factor authentication could have been a factor
It’s good to use two factor authentication for all of your important web services. So you should use this two factor authentication on your main email, your iCloud account, Dropbox account, Facebook, Google account, and Twitter accounts. When you login to your account for the first time on a device you have to first put in your password and then verify using a physical device. The way that Apple does it is to send a code to a device you have set up as being a known and trusted device, such as your iPad or iPhone. You can also have it set up to send you an SMS message to your phone. With some of the services the way to do it, is to use an application like Authy or Google Authenticator. This will give you a time sensitive password which will get you into your account. I prefer to use the application Authy. It is also possible to use 1Password to supply you with these temporary (2FA) secondary passwords.
I was thinking that maybe the problem was due to me using my iPhone with SMS as the two factor authentication for my UK Apple ID account. I’m wondering if it didn’t like me using the same phone number with two different Apple IDs. Whatever was causing the problem is not a concern any more now that I’ve put everything back to rights and I still have the applications I needed to download from the UK App Store.
iDevices and Apple Home Application
iDevices pulls in the setup from the Home application for all of the HomeKit accessories you have set up. You can see your zones, rooms and products. Also view your scenes and schedules and create new ones if you wish. For instance you might want to set up a schedule to turn a light on at a certain time on one or more days of the week. Any schedules you create in iDevices will propagate into the Home application. The iDevices application doesn’t see all my Elgato Eve HomeKit accessories. It doesn’t let me set up schedules with a trigger based upon a door opening or a motion sensor. It doesn’t seem to work using the location-based triggers either. Still early days with home automation, but we will get the stage when it just works.
I’m going Dotty
I’m still waiting for the Echo Dot to arrive so I can’t finish off the setup. You have to sign into your Amazon account to link the products. Then you have to add the iDevices skill through the Amazon Alexa application (this is why I had to download the app). When you’ve done that, you can use Alexa to control your home automation electronics. I’m going to be interested to see how well it works. When I have got all of this setup I’ll do some testing first. Then I’ll make a video to show you how I’m using the Amazon Echo Dot to control HomeKit devices. I won’t have to think about opening up Siri to do the job and it should be easier with Amazon Echo Dot always listening with its far field microphones. My iPhone 7+ does respond to the command of “Hey Siri” followed by the command such as “Turn on the office light “. I do need to be close to my iPhone for this to work. With my testing using “Hey Siri” I found the likelihood of it working when more than 50 cm away from the phone was quite slim. I do have to wonder if Apple will come up with a competitor to the devices from Google, Amazon and there may be one coming from Microsoft also. Perhaps they will be too late when we all have set ourselves up with things like the Google Home or the Amazon Echo/Dot. Can we still say “It just works”?