I suddenly found myself dealing with a frustrating problem this week. I suspect some troubleshooting steps to get my Magic Mouse 2 working again caused the issue. Specifically, I reset the Bluetooth config and then reset the SMC. I’m not positive this is what caused it but the timing seems to be more than just coincidental.
I was unable to unlock my MacBook Pro using my Apple Watch. It had worked flawlessly for some time. Toggling the Handoff settings on the phone and the watch, toggling the “Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac”, and any other settings I could find that were even remotely related, including the Wrist Detection, did nothing to solve the problem.
I finally found the solution in a suggestion from someone on Mac Rumors to sign out of iCloud via System Preferences in macOS and then sign back in. Sure enough, that immediately solved my problem and now I’m back to unlocking my system using my Apple Watch.
Back in 2013 I moved from using a very good Windows program called mControl for home automation control over to Indigo for Mac OS. mControl worked great for my needs then but I didn’t want to dedicate an additional computer to the home automation and video recording tasks since I usually left my iMac running anyway.
Indigo looked like an excellent choice and over the years and it has indeed proven to be a great software package for home automation control from a Mac. I realized that even though I’ve blogged about some of the things that I’ve done with Indigo I haven’t really mentioned my overall experience with the software.
It’s now on version 7 and though the cost has risen this is largely due to improved software support and the inclusion of the required licensed technology needed to control Z-Wave compatible door locks. Indigo is very extensible; one can find a number of community-built plugins and it also supports scripting via Python.
I wouldn’t recommend it for someone that isn’t very tech savvy; there are other consumer appliances more suitable for basic home usage, but if you want to do anything more than have a few automated tasks (for example, anything that requires a good bit of logic and virtual devices or variables) you’ll need something like Indigo.
At our house I do use a Wink system and it works fine there but it’s not capable of doing much more than running a few automated tasks; consumer appliances (usually cloud-connected) currently don’t offer very much in this realm. But at the apartment I’m still using Indigo and have moved into some more advanced home automation interactions.
With Indigo I now have several actions that are dependent on the status of other devices, virtual devices and variables. I’m also using some Bluetooth proximity detectors to provide additional enhancements and in the past I’ve done some more interesting things that I currently don’t have setup.
I highly encourage anyone with more than a passing interest in home automation, and a Mac that you’re willing to leave powered on all of the time, to look into Indigo. The initial cost may seem high but when you consider the basic cost just to purchase a consumer appliance hub such as Wink or SmartThings, and then potential issues with any of your existing equipment, you may find that the savings aren’t really there in the long run. Indigo works with X10, Insteaon and Z-Wave devices as well as some other devices that don’t use those protocols.
Sometimes it’s practical for the same person to setup multiple accounts on one machine for distinct purposes. While the fast user switching feature in OS X does make it easy to quickly move between accounts some people may find it more practical to be able to interact with the desktop of a different account while still logged into another one. If you’re this kind of person then you may find this post useful.
The method I’m using, which is based on information that I found in some forums, involves using Screen Sharing to connect to a different account on the same machine.
All of the necessary features are already built into OS X but unfortunately they won’t work in this scenario (by default). If one enables Screen Sharing, and then attempts to use the Screen Sharing app to connect to the local host, the screen sharing app will not connect and instead state that it cannot connect to the same computer. I’m not certain why this check is actually needed but it turns out that the check for enforcing this is not sophisticated.
It appears to only be checking for a connection to the local machine on port 5900 so changing the service to use a different port will work.
I’ve never been very interested in Bose audio equipment. I certainly don’t think the gear isn’t good; I just don’t think the cost is justified. Regardless, last year I actually purchased an expensive pair of Bose headphones.
One day, while modifying the wireless settings for our Cisco wireless router, I discovered a rather stupid problem. It surfaced when I changed the Network Mode for the 5 GHz network from Mixed to Wireless-N Only. This seemed to make sense since we don’t have any devices using Wireless-A. This is in reference to 802.11a in case anyone was wondering if I had actually meant 802.11ac, which my current router does not support.
And that’s the moment when I was disconnected from Wi-Fi and unable to reconnect. Two different Macs (one MacBook Pro and one MacBook Air) were unable to connect. Once again, I resorted to searching and found the solution. It seems, that for whatever unknown reason, when Wireless-A is disabled on my router then all Macs will decide that they require a different feature enabled in order to connect. In this case WMM (Wi-Fi Multimedia).
The reason for this seems more absurd considering that the support doc implies that it must be enabled in the first place but, before changing the Network Mode, those devices connected just fine with it disabled.
Enabling this capability on my router solved the problem. I’m not sure why. It doesn’t seem to be a feature that should be required simply to connect to a wireless router but there’s no question that enabling it resolved the problem. More details are available via the linked support page included below:
A couple of months ago I had the idea to see if there was a simple way to play iTunes music from the built-in iMac speakers while also playing it through a Bluetooth speaker (in this case a JBL speaker). My goal was to have the music playing from the computer in one room and also playing from a Bluetooth speaker in the dining room. Sure enough, OS X has a way to do this (I’m running 10.9 so I don’t know how widely this feature is supported across older versions of OS X).
Thanks to user Eric Ross in the Apple Support Communities I didn’t have to do much searching to find the answer. As detailed in his response, the solution is to open the Audio Midi Setup application located in the Utilities folder and then simply create a Multi-Output Device that has both speaker types selected. Note that in order for this to work the Bluetooth speaker needs to already be connected to the Mac.
At this point we’ve only created the multi-output device. One additional step is required – setting it as the current output device (System Preferences -> Sound -> Output) :
I originally did this with my iMac but the screenshots in this post were created using my MacBook Air.
And that should work. The Bluetooth audio (at least with the settings I used) will have a slight delay in comparison to the system speakers. Bluetooth has a relatively short range so the practical applications of this method may be limited by obstructions within one’s home and the receiving capability of the Bluetooth device that is used.
A few months ago I picked up a Google Chromecast from Best Buy. I was curious about them for a while and at $35 I wasn’t going to be out very much cash if I didn’t find it useful.
It turns out that $35 is an excellent price point for this product and, compared to most similar devices, I think you may actually get a bit more than you paid for. In some cases it can be very convenient. If you already have a device such as a Roku or Apple TV this may not be very impressive, but that all boils down to how each person chooses to use it.