The OS Quest Trail Log #69: Irish Cheer Edition

It’s been two months since the last Trail Log since things have been slow, but their picking up. Topics include two steps closer to being iTunes free along with some minor software upgrades.And then there was a new iPad.

Leprechaun with a beerWinter was so mild it was hard to notice the recent arrival of spring. But the Saint Patrick’s Day celebration served as a spring early warning. February was a slow month on the quest so there wasn’t a Trail Log last month, but things picked up a bit in March. The biggest change (well, arguably) was the new iPad. But I figure you’re as tired of hearing about it as I am so I’ll save that update until the end.

A Little Less iTunes

I recently looked at Instacast and Downcast as podcast apps for my iPhone and iPad. Both were good enough to get me off iTunes for podcasts. A long overdue event. Both are still on my iPhone and iPad although I’m going with Downcast as my first choice.

I also switched over to iCloud for my iDevice backups instead of my Mac. I’d stuck to Mac for backups for two reasons: security and time machine. I’d been saved once by being able to go back to an older iPad backup saved by Time Machine. But when I got my new iPad I rebuilt it from scratch, no restore. That rebuild took longer than the restore, but not by much and not for the important stuff. As for security, I recently realized I could exclude some app data which alleviated my security concerns. And not backing up that data isn’t a problem since that particular data exists elsewhere and syncs to the iPhone.

All that’s left for iTunes is my music management. These days that means I won’t use it very much. Synology has an iTunes services for music and video management. I haven’t used it yet and third party apps that emulate iTunes don’t appeal to me since I figure it’s only a matter of time before an Apple change breaks something, Plus, music management is the only thing I still do with iTunes.

Software Upgrades

Synology Disk Station Manager 4 left beta and saw a production release. I was already running the beta so the upgrade was a non-event. I didn’t notice a difference in the relatively small subset of features I use.

CrashPlan saw a minor upgrade. It’s been set it and forget it on my Windows Home Server 2011 so again,  no noticeable change for ne,

Picasa (on Windows) had another upgrade or two the last couple months, They usually go quickly without a hitch. But the latest one caused me problems. Picasa wouldn’t start after the upgrade so I had to uninstall and reinstall. It saved the setting (database) so everything was fine after the installation.

There was the typical stream of software upgrades but other than Picasa they were all uneventful.

Home Cloud

I had an email asking me if I had found a way to route my internal network based on target URL rather than just the port. (Layer 7 routing or deep packet inspection). I haven’t found anything suitable for a home (meaning free or low cost). This has made me go down a different path. I’ve been finishing up testing IPSec VPN into my home. This gives me the connectivity I need for myself as if I was local. And it’s secure.

That doesn’t work for public or family access that I want to keep simple. But that access is pretty simple and really only one web device (port 80/443) so there’s really no concern. Synology has some ability to target different Synology NAS’s from outside my home network so I’ve started looking at that.

iPad

OK, now for the iPad mention. The more I’ve used my iPad the more I’ve liked the screen. Since the text is sharper it’s been easier to read. I still prefer an e-ink Kindle for longer reader sessions when it’s just text. But the iPad is clearly the best LCD screen I’ve used for reading.

I guess this year’s internet kerfuffle for the iPad was the heat issue. As I mentioned in my initial review:

The iPad 2 never got warm for me. The new iPad has gotten warm enough to notice. It’s not hot, but there was a temperature increase while watching video and after extended use. Never happened on the iPad 2.

Compared the the iPad  2 which never seemed to get above room temperature the new iPad got warm, but never too warm to touch or anywhere near hat I would call hot. Maybe some sort of event trifecta would cause more problems or maybe there’s some bad iPads out there. But from my experience it’s a non-issue. I can’t remember the last time I had a laptop that wasn’t hotter.