It’s Still Working: As of October 2019

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Every now and then I like to add updates to my various blog posts to indicate whether or not an individual product that I purchased, often several years ago, is still working. I think this may be a little helpful to anyone that has recently purchased, or is thinking about purchasing, the same product.

This is not a list of every single item that I’ve purchased. It doesn’t include things that might be sitting in a closet and haven’t been used in a while. This is a list of things that I’ve recently used, or, I know are still working (in a few cases I’ve listed items that I don’t own anymore, but I know they still work). Some I’ve used only once or twice in the past month, while others are items that I use on a daily basis. Items that failed, or I sold for some reason, aren’t here (it doesn’t mean those items were bad, but, I’m not actually now).

In general, I would normally go back and update each post with this information. I may still do this, but today I decided to take the lazy route and simply list the items that I still use (sometimes frequently and other times, infrequently), starting with the oldest items.

Note that there a number of other products that I’ve never created a post about, which are just as worthy of being listed. Perhaps one day, I’ll cover those (for example, the portable battery I’ve been using for several years, my MacBook Air (mid-2013) that’s still kicking or the various Zwave devices I’ve been using for a long time).

Previous Posts Status Updates

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I recently added some status updates to older posts. In most cases this simply means that I added a comment regarding whether or not a specific device or method is still working since the original post was published.

OS X Mavericks (10.9) Breaks VPN Server

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Updated 12/10/2013: Jon Stacey has identified a fix, which involves restoring a copy of racoon from Mountain Lion. I followed his advice and was able to successfully establish an L2TP VPN connection again. Please visit the ‘OS X 10.9 Mavericks fix’ section of his page for more information.

Updated 07/06/2014: The VPN continues to function just fine. I’ve installed several server updates since my previous updates so at this point I’m no longer certain if the previous fix is still in place or if Apple provided a proper fix via update. Regardless, I haven’t had any new problems.

Despite having updated various software packages to avoid software problems with compatibility under Mavericks I hit a wall that I simply haven’t been able to get past. The built-in VPN server in Mavericks (with and without OS X Server) is broken.

I had it working just fine under Mountain Lion, which I managed using iVPN. After upgrading it stopped working. Not long after I added OS X Server and it still wouldn’t work (I purchased OS X Server for its Time Machine capabilities, not for VPN support so I didn’t purchase it expecting it to fix this problem).

Prior to upgrading I had an L2TP VPN server working. Since upgrading I’ve been unable to get L2TP or PPTP working, though I’ve seen more activity with PPTP during connection attempts than with L2TP.

I have hunted across many forum threads and I have been unable to find a solution that works. Some users have reported success though the apparent causes and solutions are extremely varied. The majority of posts are from users that cannot find a solution. This weekend I spent several hours trying to find a solution without success.

At this point there appears to be nothing more that I can do. I’ll simply have to wait until Apple issues an update that fixes the problem. Until then I’ll have to use a service such as LogMeIn to access my desktop, though it’s only a partial solution and doesn’t provide the full access to my network that I need from a VPN server.

Will Apple Become an Innovator Again?

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It’s a question that runs through my mind every time that I consider purchasing a new Apple device. That’s also a mode that I find myself in much less often these days. I’m certainly not stating that I won’t buy any more Apple products or that I even dislike the ones that we already have in our house. It’s my interest in Apple as an innovative company that is waning.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t even bother commenting on whether or not a company is innovative. It’s a very competitive business that struggles to compete with the expectations of consumers, technological advancement, and the simple goal of making a profit.

In the case of Apple I think this question is deserved. They’re good at building hype and now they’re having to deal with a failing interest in the hype. As many have often said, Apple has settled for being evolutionary rather than revolutionary of late. In some cases, they even seem to have simply “jumped the shark” (for example, the new Mac Pro design).

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Downloading Update Data…

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I may begin a new category for computer/device screens that I absolutely can’t stand to encounter. This week’s addition belongs to the PS3 and represents one of the reasons I lost interest in using the console on a regular basis: updates. Constant freakin’ updates. Even when I was using the system every other day I’d have a system update or a game update each time I touched loaded something that I hadn’t used for a a week.

It’s not just that there are so many updates. Obviously, that’s a problem with many other devices (ex: iOS Apps). It’s the amount of time required to apply the updates. Hell, my Xbox 360 often has a new update for a game that I haven’t played in a while, but it rarely takes more than a minute to download and apply the update. PS3 updates are usually agonizingly slow with multiple stages and even little network tricks often don’t make a significant difference.