Evernote Daily Progress Report

I manage my life plans and todo lists in Evernote; both personal and business. For every task I need to work on, I have a corresponding Evernote item.

A typical work day ends with a review of what I did on that day. A clever Evernote search query returns me just that:

tag:"#ecz" updated:day

#ecz is the tag I use on job related notes. updated:day covers the notes created or updated today. Combining them both, I get to list the job related notes I created or updated today. Cool, right?

Please note that Evernote search queries don’t return deleted notes at this time. So if you deleted a note, it won’t appear in the search results. Be mindful of that.

For more information on search capabilities of Evernote, you can check the following articles:

Bonus information: On a Mac, Evernote can also be automated via scripting; you can check my sample codes on GitHub.

No Instant Defective Device Replacement at Apple Online Store Turkey

Summary

I ordered a new iPad from the Apple Online Store Turkey, which had a minor defect on its screen. Apple support said that I would have to wait 10 days for a replacement. Brick & mortar Apple stores do instant replacements in such cases; therefore, I don’t recommend anyone using the online store for substantial purchases.

Details

Last week, one of my peers approached me and asked if I’d be willing to sell my (2012) iPad to her. I use my iPad in meetings and on the stage in case I need to read music while playing. Therefore; it has an important place in my daily life, but I don’t need too much computing power. Nevertheless; I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to upgrade my hardware. We shook hands, I passed the iPad to her and ordered a new one from the Apple Online Store Turkey. Needless to say, the delivery was very fast and I was playing around with my new Apple toy in no time.

However; I noticed a black fleck on the screen. It’s not a dead pixel because it’s visible when the iPad is turned off as well. It’s either a tiny crack within the glass, or a little piece of dust between glasses. It doesn’t really affect my usage, but defects cause raised eyebrows when you are re-selling your device. And why not have a perfect device when you paid for it?

Being a long time Apple fan, I confidently contacted support to talk about my replacement options. The people I talked with were very polite and knowledgeable; however, the result was very disappointing. They said that the cargo company would contact me within 48 hours, pick the defective iPad up, carry it to some facility for inspection, and a new one would be sent to me within 7 days. That makes 10 days in total. Although I asked for different options, I was told that there isn’t one.

I could get an instant replacement if the purchase was made from a brick & mortar store.

I use an iPad extensively at work and on the stage, and sold my old iPad. So I don’t have 10 days to live without an iPad. If that was an iPhone, living 10 days without a phone would be impossible either – not everyone has a backup device. Therefore, I was forced to live with my defective device. I don’t know what else to do, and I’m very dissatisfied.

Bitter lesson learned: Never ever purchase a substantial Apple device from the online store unless you have a backup, because you don’t get instant replacements like the brick & mortar Apple stores.

Supplementary

The order was made at 2017-07-11, my order number was W430294017, and the incident number of the issue was 100236141732.

How To Correct The Local File Glitch of Spotify on a Mac

Recently, I have experienced & solved a minor glitch of Spotify on my Mac. I would like to share the solution with everyone out there.
I have deleted a large quantity of local MP3 files “because of reasons”. After I restarted Spotify, I have experienced two problems:
  • The deleted files were still listed under “Local files”
  • I couldn’t stream any song which used to be a local file
Among countless suggestions on online forums, only one worked for me. After quitting Spotify, open terminal and execute the following command:
mv "`mdfind local-files.bnk`" "`mdfind local-files.bnk`.old"
The command above will rename the local-files.bnk file, which stores the local file list. This forces Spotify to re-scan the local folders and re-build the file; and voila! Everything goes back to normal.
In case anything goes wrong in Spotify, one could rename local-files.bnk.old back to local-files.bnk.
If you happen to have multiple instances of “local-files.bnk” files belonging to various applications, this command would rename them all and potentially confuse other applications as well; but this is very improbable. I don’t think that any other application would have such a file.

Spotify vs Apple Music

Being an active musician, I was an advocate of having a music archive of offline MP3 files. However; due to the popularity of stream services, I decided to give it a shot.

Spotify and Apple Music were obvious choices. In terms of hardware, I live in the Apple universe; so Apple Music was supposed to be an obvious choice. On the other hand, I heard many good things about Spotify as well.

I ended up picking Spotify over Apple Music and deleting most of my offline MP3 files.

I would like to share my highly subjective personal comparison experience; where I might have missed some features of the respective services. Nevertheless, the overall comparison could be useful to you.

Spotify

Pros

Public Playlists

Spotify seems to have a much larger database of playlists because users are able to create & publish playlists on will. Therefore, search results are more satisfying in a number of ways.

First of all, I can run a search like “Sunday Morning Country” and I’m almost guaranteed to make a hit.

Another point is, I can discover surprise songs or artists over those playlists because a vast variety of people with different musical tastes put them together.

This is clearly an advantage of Spotify because Apple seems to limit public playlists to curators.

Similar Songs

In terms of discovery, Spotify has a neat feature: If you play a single song, it keeps playing similar songs – unless you disable this feature in settings. This feature carries the discovery option beyond playlists of the community.

I am not aware of such a feature in Apple Music.

Social

Spotify provides basic but neat options in terms of social media. Every Spotify user gets an URL pointing his/her profile (mine is http://open.spotify.com/user/keremkoseoglu ). This URL contains a profile picture and public playlists of the user. It is a good way to give the world an overall impression of what you are listening to, or a cover band could make their setlist public via this feature.

It is also possible to follow Facebook friends over Spotify to see what they are listening to.

As far as I know, Apple Music lacks such features completely.

Free Offline Play

If you want to play your favourite streams offline, Spotify gives this opportunity for free. You can download any stream to your computer or smartphone and listen offline anytime.

In theory, Apple provides a similar functionality; but with a catch: Even if you want to create a simple playlist, you must subscribe to iCloud music library, which forcefully uploads your local MP3 files to the cloud and costs ~1$ per month if you exceed 5GB (that includes your contacts, other files, calendars, backups, etc as well). So in practice, Apple makes you lean towards the direction where you pay 1$ per month to create any stream playlist.

Although Apple theoretically provides this functionality for free, Spotify provides it free for real. Therefore, Spotify has the upper hand here.

Superior Interface

This is a highly subjective matter. However; in my opinion, the user interface of Spotify is very good. The fade in / out effect and the dark background gives a smooth feeling.

Apple, on the other hand, has the usual bright white iTunes interface with Apple TV-like shelves of albums and presents tons of ugly scrollbars. It isn’t really pretty.

I wouldn’t pick an application over others just because it has a pretty UI; but it certainly contributes to the overall user experience. This is one of the winning points of Spotify.

Cons

Vendor Lock In

Spotify doesn’t give you an opportunity to download MP3 files. If I decide that I don’t want to pay Spotify any further, I’m left alone without any music file on my computer.

I can keep offline copies of music files on my computer or phone; but those are encrypted and can only be played using the Spotify app.

If you consider Apple Music as a streaming platform, the same applies to Apple as well. However; iTunes platform lets you purchase digital music files as well – which literally are your property and can be downloaded in MP3 format any time you want.

If you would like to purchase legal digital music files for any purpose (like changing the pitch for practicing or syncing into an offline MP3 player), Apple has an edge here because it gives you an option for that. It is not part of the streaming business, but at the end of the day, Spotify feels more like a vendor lock in.

Apple Music

Pros

Single App

Apple has merged various features on one single platform called iTunes. Using only one application, you can stream music, purchase MP3’s, add MP3’s from other sources, rent / purchase movies, stream free Internet radio, etc. iTunes can organise your local file system as well – it breaks music files under folders categorised by artist and album.

Spotify’s application lets you stream music and include local MP3’s and that’s it.

If you are looking for an all-in-one solution, Apple has the distinct advantage here. If you are a best-of-breed picker, you’ll have to compare Spotify and Apple Music alone and ignore other features of iTunes.

Smart Playlist

Smart playlist is an area where Apple has a distinct advantage.

We all can define manual playlists by adding songs one by one. However, Apple gives us the opportunity to write formulas to dynamically create playlists which update themselves automatically as we add new songs to our library.

For instance; I can create a playlist which includes all of my rock songs but excludes songs from the band Beautiful Disaster. This playlist will automatically update itself as I add more rock songs over time.

Another example: I can merge songs of 5 artists + a manually managed playlist under a smart playlist. Whenever I add a new song of those artists or update the manual playlist, the smart playlist is updated automatically.

Spotify doesn’t have such a functionality. The closest you can get is to put your playlist under a folder. By playing the entire folder, you can include songs from all the playlists.

For simple requirements, Apple’s smart playlist feature may look like overkill. However; more advanced users will appreciate this feature.

Sorting Playlists

Apple music playlists can be displayed in a file browser fashion and songs can be sorted by various criteria; such as the last time they were played. This is a very good feature for musicians (like me) who would like to practice their playlists daily – it is a good way to ensure that each song gets practiced. Dozens of other columns can also be added for sorting.

Spotify lets us sort by song name, artist name or date added, and that’s it. I saw users requesting additional columns on forums, but Spotify didn’t do anything about it yet.
In case you need to sort your playlist by peculiar columns or display select columns for a specific playlist, Apple has a distinct advantage at this time.

Cons

Public Playlists

Apple loves controlling things. They are totally in control of their hardware & software, which enables them to create arguably more stable products. They also control the apps on their App Store in order to improve the user experience and prevent malicious bugs / viruses.

It seems like Apple has projected their control tendency towards Apple Music as well. The playlists I have found on Apple Music were created by curators or artists that Apple has picked. As far as I know, rest of the community can’t create publicly searchable playlists.

Result? I feel like I’m limited to the taste of a few people to discover new music; not the entire music community. And the playlists I have inspected felt “sterile”; which means they mostly contain main stream pieces of their respective genre. I was never surprised to discover a peculiarly beautiful song or artist.

Spotify enables it’s community to publicly create playlists and has the edge here.

I generally favour Apple’s control over their hardware & software to provide a stable user experience; but limiting the playlists might have gimped the community contribution.

Artist Overview

When I discover a new artist or simply want to listen to an artist I love, I tend to listen to all of his/her songs; including all the available albums.

In my experience; Apple doesn’t enable such a feature easily. One could do a workaround by creating a playlist including all the albums of the desired artist; but this is simply an extra workload.

Considering that I can listen to the entire library of an artist on Spotify with a simple click, this is a disadvantage on behalf of Apple Music.

iCloud Music Library

Basically, Apple forces us to use its iCloud Music Library service in order to create playlists including songs from Apple Music.

At first sight, this seems reasonable. Apple uses iCloud in any scenario where you need to share content between multiple Apple devices. Your contacts, calendars, etc are all shared over iCloud.

The catch is; if you have offline MP3 files on your computer, activating iCloud Music Library will force-upload them to iCloud as well. And, iCloud offers only 5 GB’s of free space. If you want to upgrade it to 50 GB, you have to pay ~1$ per month.

This might look like small amount, but considering that Apple has 13M subscribers, this strategy leans towards the direction where Apple would earn an extra 13M$ per month.
Spotify, on the other hand, makes playlists available to any device without any additional subscription.

Apple could have easily given us the opportunity to create “Apple Music Only” playlists, but they simply didn’t.

If you don’t have a large number of offline MP3 files, this might not disturb you at all. However; Apple has a notorious history of iCloud file system bugs and posting DRM’s over legally owned MP3 files. Therefore, I subjectively don’t trust Apple with storing any file on iCloud.

Because I don’t want my offline MP3 files anywhere on iCloud, this point is a clear disadvantage for me.

Play Experience

This might be a personal issue due to my location or Internet connection, but I’m not completely satisfied with the listening experience of Apple Music. When I start playing a song, I have to wait a few seconds before it actually starts playing. I have also experienced pauses while listening.

Spotify has provided a seamless listening experience so far.

Although I can’t empirically blame Apple for this issue, I evaluate this as a negative personal user experience.

Verdict

Let’s do a summary of my evaluation.

Spotify offers a great community and a good opportunity to discover new songs & artists; as well as a nice user interface. However, it does nothing but streaming music, and internal playlist options are limited. As of today, it has around 40M paid users.

Apple Music is part of an all-in-one solution; covering streaming, purchasing music, free Internet radio, renting movies, etc. Internal playlist options are very strong. However; its playlists are too sterile – opportunities of discovery are relatively slim. It also lacks community interaction and nudges subscribers towards a paid iCloud account. As of today, it has around 13M paid users.

All in all, I picked Spotify over Apple Music for streaming purposes. Spotify happily accepted my rare local MP3 files as well, and there was no reason to keep the rest of my library (30 GB).

However, I’m still using iTunes to rent movies. That’s another business.

iOS Notes Sync Problem Solved

Back in the days, I had a problem regarding Notes not syncing with iCloud, and I solved it myself following the steps here: Apple Notes Sync Problem + Solution . However, the same issue re-occurred on iOs 10, and the steps here didn’t really help.

After I tweeted about my sync problem with iOS Notes, @AppleSupport DM’d me and solved my problem over Twitter! I’m not sure which step solved the problem; but nevertheless, here is the message log for people having trouble with Notes sync.

Apple Support@keremkoseoglu We’re here to help. DM us some more information on the issue and we’ll take a look with you.

Dr. Kerem Koseoglu: hello there, my mac notes syncs with icloud perfectly, iclous notes syncs with mac perfectly as well. however, my iphone notes app doesnt sync with icloud  since 10.0.1.  i tried everything; turning icloud notes off & on, deleting & re-installing notes on my iphone, etc – doesnt help

Apple Support:  We want to team up and be sure you have access to all your notes. If you go to  your Notes app on the iPhone and choose “Folders” what do you see there? A screenshot may help. You get to folders by clicking the options in the top left of the Notes app. We’ll go from there.

Dr. Kerem Koseoglu: Thats all i see. i have like 10-15 folders in icloud

Apple Support: Based on the screenshot, it appears that your notes are loading still with the spinning icon next to the word iCloud.  How long has it been since you’ve noticed the notes were missing? Also, have you tried different Wi-Fi networks?

Dr. Kerem Koseoglu: 2-3 days. Yes, different wifis, 4g, doesnt work. Other icloud services work fine (such as calendar)

Apple Support: Great, thanks for the clarification!  We’re happy to see that you’re taking the initiative and trying a few troubleshooting steps on your own. In the screenshot you sent, we see a note that was made.  Does that note show up on http://iCloud.com  or on your Mac?  If you create a new note, does that sync to iCloud?

Dr. Kerem Koseoglu: no, i created that test note on my iphone. doesnt show up anywhere else. my mac <-> icloud syncs perfectly. iphone, not so.

Apple Support: We understand, thanks for checking into that for us!  Typically, turning Notes on and then off again in iCloud will resolve the issue.  But it seems in this case, we’re going to have to do things a bit differently. We’d like to isolate the behavior a bit before before troubleshooting.  Let’s try force closing the Notes app, then turning off iCloud Notes. Once done, if you open the Notes app, does it still show iCloud is trying to sync, even with it turned off?

Dr. Kerem Koseoglu: i have followed your instructions (tried that before already). didnt help. feels like a bug.

Apple Support: Thanks for checking into that for us, we understand you’ve tried that step before.  At this time we’re attempting to isolate the issue to a connection to the server or software behavior on your iPhone.  Can you tell us if the ‘Notes’ app still showed iCloud was attempting to sync when iCloud ‘Notes’ was turned off?

Dr. Kerem Koseoglu: Yes it did, shows all notes on my mac nicely

Apple Support: We understand you’re able to view the notes on your Mac.  What we’d like to try is isolating the behavior on your iPhone.  When you turn ‘Notes’ off in iCloud on your iPhone, then force close the ‘Notes’ app and open it, does it still show it is attempting to sync to iCloud?  Can you send us a screenshot of what it does after you do that step?

Dr. Kerem Koseoglu: i followed your exact steps. since icloud is disabled, it shows local notes only now, no sync attempt.

Apple Support: Great, thank you!  Before we continue on our next step, do you know the password for your iCloud Apple ID?  Now, let’s sign out of iCloud on your iPhone, by going to Settings > iCloud > Sign Out (at the bottom).  It will give you an alert letting you know that ‘Notes’ will be deleted on this iPhone, that’s alright since we don’t have any.  The rest should give you an option of ‘Keep on my iPhone’.  Once we’ve logged out, let’s restart the iPhone, then we’ll log back in and click ‘Merge’.  What does ‘Notes’ show now?

Dr. Kerem Koseoglu: Followed exact orders. infinite sync is back 😐 i vaguely remember a similar problem from the older notes app, can it be due to the high number of folders i have? its like 10-15 folders though, not that much.

Apple Support: We want to take a look at this. What country are you currently in? What is your Apple ID? What is your devices serial number?

Dr. Kerem Koseoglu: country: turkey. apple id: (hidden). serial: (hidden)

Apple Support: Just to confirm, after signing out and back into iCloud and restarted the iPhone, are you still having the issue?

Dr. Kerem Koseoglu: Yes

Apple Support: No worries. At this time, we’d like to have you set up with a callback from a Senior Advisor. With the information you have provided, we’ve created a case for you. That case number is (hidden). Can you give us a few dates, and times you will be available for the call back, as well as your preferred contact phone number?

Dr. Kerem Koseoglu: Strangely enough, the notes just synced! Folders and all! Thanks for the guidance!

Apple Support:  That is spectacular! We’re happy to hear that the issue has been resolved. Feel free to reach out should you need our assistance again.

How To Use Wi-Fi and Ethernet Simultaneously on Your Mac

There are cases where you need to use your Wi-Fi as the primary connection, but connect to certain IP addresses over the ethernet cable. Vice-versa is also a possibility, but I will continue with the example.

This is quite possible and easy. Here are the steps involved.

First of all, connect to the Wi-Fi network and connect the cable to your ethernet.

Go to your System Preferences -> Network, and ensure that Wi-Fi is on top. This will tell the system that Wi-Fi is the default connection for any network traffic.

screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-20-00-25

In this screenshot, the thunderbolt ethernet appears offline, but don’t mind it – in your network settings, it should be online (green).

Now, you need to find out IP address of the ethernet router. In the same network list, select “Thunderbolt ethernet” and click “Advanced…”. Select the TCP/IP tab. Here, you will find the router IP. Note it.

screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-20-28-23

Now, terminal time! Open your terminal. If you don’t how; press Cmd + Space on your keyboard and type “Termial”. A small window will show up.

Assuming that you want to connect to 10.1.3.40 over ethernet, here is the command you need to type:

sudo route add -net 10.1.3.40 192.168.2.1

The first IP address is the remote address, the second one is your router.

Next time you reboot, this setting will disappear. If you want to make it static, you need to enter the command in the following format:

sudo route add -n -net 10.1.3.40 192.168.2.1

If you travel a lot and have different settings for different networks, you don’t want to make such a setting static, obviously. Instead, you can type this command into a text file and save it as whatever.command (the name is not important, but the extension must be “command”). This turns the file into an executable script.

But your Mac won’t allow you to execute it immediately. You need to set its permissions over the terminal:

chmod u+x whatever.command

And there you go! Whenever you double click whatever.command, the routing command will run automatically.

Quick iPhone Headphone Fix

I’ll make it quick: My iPhone wouldn’t sense the headphones when I plugged them in. I tried restarting, tweaking with settings, etc; nothing helped. The forums suggested taking it to an Apple store for maintenance.

However; I discovered the reason myself: There was a small piece of cotton stuck in the headphone port of my iPhone. It probably got in there when the phone was in my pocket, and it was preventing the headphone jack from connecting with the port.

Using some air bending skills and a paperclip, I have carefully removed the cotton, and everything went back to normal.

I am sharing this information because it may save you a trip to the Apple store as well.