From “It Just Works” To “It May Still Work (After Apple Software Update)”! – IMRAN™

Another update another set of news items saying: “Apple working on a fix for iPad Pros bricked by iOS 9.3.2” or some other device bricked by yet one more of its glitchy device destroying updates

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Product Review: Eikon To Go USB Fingerprint Reader With Apple Mac + Windows Software

The product itself gets 3 stars, but the 4th star is for the fact that they made the effort to develop it for Mac, and even more so for how absolutely wonderful both the seller (reseller) and the manufacturer were to my emails about the bugs and frustrations I encountered.

I have always believed in the convenience of biometric devices. They have been hard to come by on Macs, but for many years I have used and appreciated a fingerprint scanner (infrared pad to USB) from Microsoft, that only worked on Windows, though sadly now does not work in Windows 7.

This Eikon fingerprint scanner is a USB plug in type for the Mac and comes with Windows software also. I tested and use it on both platforms, after buying from Amazon.

The product itself gets 3 stars, but the 4th star is for the fact that they made the effort to develop it for Mac, and even more so for how absolutely wonderful both the seller (reseller) and the manufacturer were to my emails about the bugs and frustrations I encountered.

It is finicky, it often takes 2-3 slides of the finger(s) or one slow very accurate swipe for it to work. Often I wonder if the 2-3 attempts are worth the hassle of using the device. On the other hand (no pun intended) it does log me in quickly when I do it “right”. Using it regularly and getting used to it provide the benefit that you can ( I did) make the password far more complex/long than when just typing it in my hand. E.g. &*mYpa$$word&*43!! Instead of just &*mYpas$$ etc.

The worst thing about the design is that it is useless to plug in to a typical MacBook Pro (i5 15″ for this case) when anything else is plugged in. It is too wide. So, it comes with a maybe 6″ USB extension, but then it makes it even less attractive, in visual and usage sense.

Now you have loose hanging thing twisted upside down or sideways sitting on the side of your laptop (as the cables often have an inherent ‘twist’ torque in them that flip the device on its side), and it is now even less usable as you almost have to grab is with one, hold it up firmly enough so you can swipe a finger from the other hand through it.

Since I use external USB keyboards with my MacBook Pros, I tried to plug it into the USB built in to Apple keyboards. No joy, as the device will not fit there and even if it did, it would be under the keyboard body and not usable. Hanging it by the USB tail extension I can use it but it will always move around, still requiring the 2 hand use, unless I scotch tape it. Then, it makes the laptop a little less mobile if I have to remove it every time I travel.

I am also disappointed that despite taking far more repetitions to learn a fingerprint than a 10 year old Microsoft infrared fingerprint reader (sadly not compatible with Mac or even Windows 7 now), it still needs the finger swipe to be so specifically accurate. But, it i doable, and when you get used to it, it does save time.

A plus is that I have it working on an office provided Windows 7 laptop. A disappointment is that it does not store finger prints on the device for MAC users. It does store the fingerprints for the Windows software! So, technically I think I can carry it to different Windows desktops/laptops without having to save fingerprints x 10 x 5 repetitions per finger on each machine, but for each Mac I would have to go through that process.

Based on just how cooperative the seller and the manufacturer have been, and the price, and overall tolerable usability, I am considering getting another unit so I can leave one taped to the desk and one to carry with me or use on the other laptop(s). Or, of course, I will be happy to buy the next great biometric device that comes out for my preferred platforms. 

But please be aware of the shortcomings (and advantages) before you order this or similar devices.

Imran Anwar

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Product Review: Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Pro FireWire 800 USB 2.0 Ultra-Portable External Hard Drive for Mac STBB750100

The drive runs fine, fairly quiet, fairly fast. Not MUCH faster than the FW800 external powered ones, but quite good for bus powered. I did not notice the interface overheating as I have read some reviews mention. Pretty warm, but not burning hot. I did not test the USB one yet. The 200GB Carbon Copy Clone and even the 160GB iPhoto library moved over quite fast and without any errors or problems. Overall, satisfied with current (new) use. I cannot speak for long term reliability (e.g. the interface cable cheaply glued to the unit is said to be susceptible to breaking) but it is cheaper looking than it should be at $175 or so.

IMRAN.TV Product Review: Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Pro FireWire 800 USB 2.0 Ultra-Portable External Hard Drive for Mac STBB750100 (Personal Computers)

Hopefully the background of my decision will help you in making a decision, especially if you’re using an older Mac laptop.

Having an early 2008 Apple MacBook Pro (which I got with the faster 7200rpm 200GB drive rather than the slower 250GB one) meant my having to keep my iTunes and iPhoto files on external bus powered USB-drives for several years. Generally I use Carbon Copy Cloner for my internal drive clones to external FireWire ones, and am OK using the USB powered drives like Iomega 320 and WD 160 in the past to keep my libraries.

I did want to upgrade my internal drive to the 750GB Momentus and keep all the data in one place, but opening up the MBP, going through that hassle, and then hopefully getting an early 2012 MacBook Pro with something like a 75pGB or 1TB internal drive (whenever they come out) would mean wasted money and effort on this older laptop. So, an external bus powered drive was my practical choice for now. When I saw the 500GB bus powered 7200RPM Seagate on the shelves of the Apple Store I was tempted to buy it immediately. Then I found that this 750GB 7200RPM Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Pro FireWire 800 USB 2.0 Ultra-Portable External Hard Drive for Mac STBB750100 version was also available in the market, and decided to go this route.

As always, ordering from Amazon was a pleasure, and even though it was fulfilled by another vendor (HPP Enterprises), even as part of a larger multi-item, multi-shipper order, everything went smoothly. The shipper was very quick in responding, understood my request to ship the drive soon as I will be traveling soon, and the drive arrived very quickly. The packaging was great from the shipper, and the Seagate packaging was OK too.

First thing you notice is how cheap, flimsy and low quality the Seagate product is in manufacture. It is a plastic case with silver sort of painted on it. It looks like some child laborer was given a spray can to paint drives, as the paint is uneven. The drive itself is light (considering how much data it lifts 🙂 ). The 2 interfaces included were nice to have, the FW800 and the USB2 to use on PCs. It came Mac formatted but that was irrelevant to me, as I partitioned it into 3 with Disk Utility.

The drive runs fine, fairly quiet, fairly fast. Not MUCH faster than the FW800 external powered ones, but quite good for bus powered. I did not notice the interface overheating as I have read some reviews mention. Pretty warm, but not burning hot. I did not test the USB one yet. The 200GB Carbon Copy Clone and even the 160GB iPhoto library moved over quite fast and without any errors or problems. Overall, satisfied with current (new) use. I cannot speak for long term reliability (e.g. the interface cable cheaply glued to the unit is said to be susceptible to breaking) but it is cheaper looking than it should be at $175 or so.

I am hoping the new MBP that comes out will have a 7200 rpm 750GB in it so I can then use this as the take-along on trips backup while larger desktop drives are stay at home backups. Hope this helps you in your decision as you consider a portable external drive for your Mac or PC. Please oblige with your acknowledgement if it is. Thanks.

Imran Anwar

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