Quick Easy Mac Windows iPhone Photo Video 3D Software Tips, Tricks and Reviews, with a little bit of Dog Stuff!

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Lightroom LogoFollowing on from my last post HERE about Adobe Creative Cloud, I finally decided against going the cloud route, and opted to purchase Lightroom 6 outright.

After purchasing my copies of Photoshop CS6 and Premiere Pro CS6 here in Australia a few years ago, during installation I was forced to create an Adobe account for registration. So I created an Australian Account, for software that I purchased in Australia, with my Australian credit card, because I am, and always have been, an Australian Citizen.

However, upon attempting to purchase Lightroom, Adobe decided I am from Argentina, and I need to purchase Lightroom from Argentina, with an Argentinian credit card, and no, they cant fix their error and make my account Australian again.

No wonder they are going broke. Why do some companies make it so hard to do business with them? I have the money ready, I want to buy their product…


Adobe Chat 1Adobe Chat 3Adobe Chat 2

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Posted by Greg - June 14, 2016 at 11:48 am

Categories: Gregs Rants, Humour   Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

How I took back control of Music on my iPhone from Apple – A MUST Read for Musicians

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iCloud Music Library ErrorsLike millions of other Apple/iPhone users around the world, I turned on Apple Music. Immediately, my whole music collection turned on its head. I had duplicate playlists, song files went missing and couldn’t be located, songs were renamed incorrectly, and music I had on my phone that is not in the Apple music library disappeared. Like most other musicians, I had a lot of music from my own bands there, and lots of music from fav’s who shunned the streaming service, like Prince. This music was ALL gone, and no matter what I tried to do, I just couldn’t get it back onto my iPhone. I tried to click the upload button next to affected tracks in iTunes to supposedly load them to iCloud, and it never worked. I could never get those tracks back onto my phone.

As time went on I grew to like the broad range of tunes available in Apple Music, and I came to accept that I just wasn’t going to have that old music on my phone anymore.

Over the weekend, I did a back up on my wife’s phone, and she asked for a specific playlist we have to be added. As she did not want to use Apple Music when it launched, I was able to click the playlist in iTunes, and sync her phone, and she had the music quickly and easily. It made me so angry that I decided enough was enough. I wanted control of my music back.

After lots of fruitless Googling, I was finally able to figure out what the issue is, and it is not Apple Music at all. It is “iCloud Music Library” that causes all of the problems. All Apple Music does is give you access to over a million songs, but iCloud Music Library tries match all of your music with songs in Apple’s collection, and then give you access to those tracks on your devices. In theory it sounds like a great idea, that should save drive space and give you high quality tunes. In the real world though, it is a poorly developed, rushed out, cacophony of errors that ruined my music collection. If you listen to mostly main stream music your issues might not be so bad, but if you have lots of live music, rare music, old vinyl you have converted yourself, or in the case of musicians your own original music, iCloud Music Library will mismatch, grey out, and in the some cases, remove music entirely from your device. And, no matter what you do, you will not be able to put it back.


In the end, it really only took one simple step to end this misery, regain control of what music is on my phone, and still have access to songs not in my collection via Apple Music.

I Turned off “iCloud Music Library” on my phone.

Music in SettingsI went to settings and selected music:

Turn Off iCloud Music LibraryThen I turned “iCloud Music Library” off, and got control of my Music Collection back!

Now, doing this is not without its perils, it turns your iPhone music collection on it’s head again, just like it did when Apple Music turned it on. A large majority of my music disappeared immediately, as it was matched (poorly) with music in Apple’s cloud. Thankfully, all of my original playlists before Apple Music were still on my Mac Pro, so when I did my first sync after flipping the switch, and I was able to select which music I wanted myself again, ALL of my music pre Apple Music was back! My 80’s Hairbands playlist went from 230 songs back up to its original 400. And lo and behold, the Gold Album was there as well.

Prince in Music

The Down Side to switching off iCloud Music Library – All of the tunes I added to my iPhone  collection from Apple Music had disappeared. Playlists containing Apple music disappeared. The ability to click the plus “+” button and save a song to my phone is no longer available. I can still search for and play any song on Apple Music, but I can’t add those songs to my device or use them in playlists, because Apple is a big whiny greedy baby!

Waaa - You must use icloudWaaaaa – You cant save this song to your phone cos we want you to use
iCloud Music Library – Waaaaa-Ha-Haaaaa!!!!
NEWSFLASH APPLE – Not everybody wants to sync their computer playlists to their iPhones and vice versa!

The bottom line is I now have control again, I have all of my favorite music back on my device, and I can control what is on there and what is not. I have lost a lot of functionality with Apple Music, and it is a small price to pay in my opinion, because I can still listen to those songs, and I finally have The Con!

Lionel Ritchie in WarrantLionel Ritchie – Now a member of Warrant – Thanks Apple Music!

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Posted by Greg - May 25, 2016 at 9:32 am

Categories: Gregs Rants, iPhone/iPod/iPad, Mac   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Microsoft’s Caption Bot vs Steve Jobs Photo

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I have been playing Microsoft’s Captionbot today, it’s a lot of fun. Especially when you give it Apple related photo’s.


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Posted by Greg - April 15, 2016 at 11:42 am

Categories: Humour   Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Laser MMC-S30 Media Player Review

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mmc-s30As my WDTV Live Hub is a few years old now, and impressed greatly by what I have seen of the new H.265 video codec, I decided it was time to update to a new Media Player.

My first stop was Harvey Norman, where nothing of interest was found. Moving through the shopping centre the next port of call was Office Works, where the MMC-S30 was found. After reviewing the many logo’s on the box, and ogling it’s capabilities, the sale price of $179 was too good to pass up, and I brought it home.

MMC-S30 Media Player

The unit really does have a considerable amount of features. Quad core CPU, 8 Core GPU, Dolby Digital, DTS, HDMI, 3D, 4K, WiFi, Ethernet, Bluetooth… the list just goes on and on.

MMC-S30 FeaturesUn-boxing and connecting was pretty straight forward. With a big smile I plugged in both my USB WD 4TB drives, and still had one port spare! Too good to be true!

MMC-S30 Interface


The unit booted up, and with a small amount of fine tuning (adjusting the scale and resolution to suit my TV, setting audio to SPDIF pass through etc) I was ready to dive in. After scrolling through the menu I settled upon the 7Plus Smart App to begin playing with. To my surprise, the supplied remote does not work with this (and many of the other) pre-installed apps. Closer inspection of the supplied instructions revealed that some apps need a mouse. There goes that spare USB port I was so happy about…now I have to go and buy a USB keyboard and mouse. In reality however, because the machine is running Googles Android operating system, most tasks require use of a keyboard and mouse. The operating system, normally used in phones and tablets is built for touch interfacing, and falls terribly short in a media player relying on a remote control. Play, Pause, and scrolling up and down through directories seems to be where the remotes usefulness runs out.

With a Keyboard and mouse plugged in to a USB hub, and the hub plugged in to that coveted 3rd USB port, I again began exploring the device. This time with a full set of capabilities. Navigation seems very simple and straight forward to me. Like a kid in a candy store, I went searching for my sample H.265 1080 videos. Upon launching them, the machine played them back effortlessly and smoothly. I was pleasantly surprised. It also coped well with my MP4 files.

Feeling game I delved into the Google Play store, and set about downloading some apps. Although my keyboard worked flawlessly elsewhere, I had considerable trouble typing in searches. It appeared as though each key I pressed was stuck down – “aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa”. I ended up having to use the mouse to click each letter. After some time I managed to get my search term typed in – Tunein Radio. The app downloaded and installed, but flatly refused to play. My second choice for internet radio was 181FM’s own app, which downloaded and played, but repeatedly quit/crashed after about 15 mins.

The unit comes with an old version of XBMC installed, so I was quickly and easily able to download and install the latest “Jarvis” version of Kodi. SuperRepo also installed well, and before long I was flicking through channels and enjoying the benefits of the 10/100Mb Ethernet connection. The unit handles Kodi very well. The only issue here again was “sticky” keyboard behavior, which is odd because other than the Google Play store, the keyboard works well with every other aspect of the software

Next on my list of things to do was add some new files. This is where things turn bad for me fast. Being used to the WD TV Live Hub’s always on file server capabilities, and given the device has wifi and ethernet, I went looking for it on my home network. It was nowhere to be seen. I scoured the settings, and nothing I could do made the unit appear on my network. It seems odd to me that a machine with so many capabilities doesn’t come with a server option? I expected there to be several solutions in Googles app store, and there was, but nothing that worked as easily and efficiently as it should. Wifi File Transfer and ES File Explorer were the best of what I tried, but neither allowed me to upload new files to my USB drives from my computer.

Further research into this revealed that Google removed the ability to write to external drives in Android Version 4.4, which coincidentally happens to be the version of Android running on this device. My understanding is that writability been restored in later versions of the operating system, but until LaserCo releases a firmware update, it looks like this may not be possible.

In an effort to try and buoy my spirits, I decided to check out and admire the quality of some of the 1080P episodes of Arrow I have. This is when the MMC-S30 REALLY got on my nerves. The episodes are encoded with DTS sound, and the device played them back easily. My gripe however, is that a DTS logo is superimposed over the video in the top right hand corner. I thought this logo may disappear after a minute or so, but it didn’t. It was there the entire time the DTS file was playing.

As I used the machine more, I found myself getting frustrated with it. It always shows subtitles, and the subtitle button doesn’t seem to work with its video player app. I had to manually turn subtitles off with the mouse in each new file. There are also no fast forward or rewind buttons on the remote, only chapter skipping. Very basic and vague instructions were not helpful.

I posted on LaserCo’s sparsely utilised forum about setting the machine up as a file server, but have yet to receive a reply. I also sent a question to LaserCo’s support service about “Rooting/Unrooting” the machine. Whilst I did eventually get a reply from them, the procedures they outlined, and the firmware file the made available for download did not successfully root the device.

Snooping around on 3rd party web sites I learned that the MMC-S30 will not play Netflix in HD, and that it is also a re-branded clone of the many cheap Chinese players that can be found on Ebay for $50-$80.

And then it happened……

About a week after buying the machine, I disconnected it, put it back in the box, and pined for the many hours I lost trying to get to like this machine. I had had enough.

The bottom line, the hardware side of the MMC-S30 is great. But the Android operating system when applied to this media player is clumsy, unintuitive, buggy and frustrating. Unless a OS update is soon released to address some of these issues, I would pass on this machine. It’s not quite there yet.

Inside Laser MMC-S30 Media Player

Inside Laser MMC-S30 Media Player

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Posted by Greg - March 31, 2016 at 2:45 pm

Categories: General, Gregs Rants, Tech   Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan – Good Value or Dishonest and Unfair?

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CCI have been a Photoshop user for many years, and have been very happy with it. Recently, I purchased CS6 and have been blown away with it’s “Content Aware” powers. I have gone back and forward on Lightroom many times though. I have trialed it more than once, and was never 100% convinced I had to have it.

A few weeks ago a friend recommended I download and trial Abobe’s Creative Cloud Photography plan, which features new versions of Photoshop and Lightroom. It installed easily and was up and running quickly on my Mac Pro/Yosemite machine. My first impression was that it slowed my system and internet connection considerably (Spinning Beachball syndrome). It always seems to be phoning home for something, like telling me I need to update Acrobat DC, when I don’t have Acrobat on my system, but that is a whole other discussion. As usual, I found Photoshop to be amazing, and to my surprise I was also impressed with how Lightroom had grown since I last trialed it. The inbuilt lens profiles and new features like Dehaze seemed to bring it to life for me. Add to this the packages price tag of only $9.99 AUD per month, it was seeming to good to be true, and I started to feel like I would sign up.

Whilst looking for something else on the internet I stumbled upon This Article on Geek.com entitled “Adobe will try anything to stop a Creative Cloud cancellation”. This is the line in the post that really caught my attention:

“in order to protect that revenue they are using strong-arm tactics when someone attempts to cancel their subscription”

Strong-Arm Tactics? That sounded like a pretty bold statement, and initially I wondered if it was Adobe or the Geek.com author who came off looking bad here. I chose not to base my decision on this article, gave Adobe the benefit of the doubt on this one, and continued to research the plan. To my dismay I was able to find other similar stories on the internet about the way Adobe does business. After removing the flames and venom I was able to summarize those articles into a few points that are relevant to the decision I have to make. It appears that Adobe’s Creative Cloud Photography plan is $9.99 for the first year, and then it jumps up to $19.99 for the second year and beyond. It also appears to be very difficult to cancel if you change your mind at some point, and it seems that if you are able to initiate a cancellation you will be expected to pay out the contract.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the Photography Plan is still good value at $19.99 per month. However, my concern lies in the fact that there appears to be some important information that consumers are entitled to know about being hidden away. Adobe don’t appear to be being honest and transparent about how the plan works. I have searched fairly extensively on Adobe’s web site looking for the fine print, and there doesn’t seem to be any. Perhaps it may be revealed once I click the “BUY” button and start the purchase process. Right now, I don’t feel everything is being disclosed, and I am worried that I will be locked into an arrangement with hidden conditions and fee’s that whilst they may be visible if you know where to look, are obscured and buried away in a heavily texted poorly titled page guarded by a very stern Robots.txt file to block it from showing in searches.

Concerned, I went directly to Adobe and asked them straight out – “After the first 12 months, does the price jump up to $19.99 a month?” Please see transcript of the chat below:


I assume Vanessa is not this customer service agents real name, and this simple and direct question may not be on her answers flow chart (Not her fault). But after reading some other transcripts, the question still remains in the forefront of my mind – are Adobe playing games? Has Vanessa not been trained properly, and genuinely doesn’t know the answer to this very simple question? Or is Adobe hiding the possibility that the prices on their web site are introductory, will increase 100% after 12 months, and they will make it very difficult for you to cancel your account when you find out in the hopes that they can defeat your will and retain you as a customer, as many articles, stories and comments suggest?

As I am still undecided, I am very interested to hear your thoughts on Adobe’s Creative Cloud Photography Plan and Adobe’s business practices in general. Do you think Adobe are a fair company, and the Creative Cloud Photography Plan is a good deal, or do you think Adobe are dishonest and sneaky, and the Creative Cloud Photography Plan is the cheese on the mousetrap?

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Posted by Greg - January 19, 2016 at 2:35 pm

Categories: General, Gregs Rants, Photography, Photoshop, Software Encounters   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pop Vinyl Repairs – How To

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How Can I Clean Off Marks?

Magic Erasers seem to be the most popular solution in the Pop community. It is a block of Melamine Foam, and is sold under many different brand names. For Australians, it is a Chux product, available in stores like Coles. Other solutions include a small amount Rubbing Alcohol or Eucalyptus oil on a cotton swab. I have also read some people use acetone on a swab, but this sounds a bit aggressive to me, and will likely remove paint. I STRONGLY recommend you do not use this method. For those who want to give it a go on really stubborn stains, tread carefully and press gently, and don’t say you were not warned!

How Can I Straighten A Bent Dagger/Knife/Sword/Body Part?

There are two widely used methods, both involve heat. For thin parts, a hair dryer can be used to warm and soften the material, then maneuver the part into the correct location and hold it there until it cools. For thicker part, run it under hot water, or submerge it in hot water until it softens. Again, hold it in the right spot until it cools.

How Can I Make The Head Sit Straight?

Bobble Heads – Force a few cotton balls up inside the spring and manipulate it until the head sits correctly.

Non-Bobble Heads – Submerge the head in hot water until the glue softens, then gently manipulate it until it is in the correct spot, and hold it until the glue cools/dries again.

How Can I Repair A Crushed Box?

We all hate it when a Pop arrives crushed, but I have read on some boards that people have attempted to repair damaged boxes with some success. Whilst it is definitely not recommended, it seems crushed boxes can be improved by removing everything from the inside, flattening them out, putting a pillow case over them, and gently passing a warm iron with NO steam over them. Obviously, you would need to concentrate on the cardboard and steer clear of the plastic, but if the box is already trashed, you have got nothing to lose. I personally would opt for a stack of heavy books instead of an iron…

How Can I Secure A Loose Clear Plastic Window?

Use a regular glue gun to add a drop of glue in an out of sight place.

How can I re-attach a part that has broken off?

Know a good glue to use on Funko Pop Vinyls? Let us know about it by leaving a comment below.

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Posted by Greg - January 2, 2016 at 12:34 pm

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