Test case

There is no way I would risk taking my iPhone 6 out in the countryside (or the urban jungle for that matter) without protecting it. When I go geocaching I mostly use my Garmin Dakota, principally because it will withstand being dropped into a muddy puddle – or of course just dropped! I do take my iPhone geocaching as well, mostly for detailed mapping or to look stuff up on the internet, but I’m always concerned for its safety, hence the need for a robust case.

For the last 2 years I’d used an Otterbox Defender with my iPhone 5 which protected it well enough but using it daily for such an extended period was bound to show up any flaws. Fortunately there aren’t many.

The Defender was a 3-part case which I found fiddly and time consuming to assemble and even longer to take apart when I wanted to remove my iPhone from the case. While most of the key ports and switches were covered, the home button, ear piece, speaker and microphones were all open to the elements and definitely not water resistant. Also, over time, the case let in dust (not a lot but enough to be annoying).

When I got my iPhone 6 I decided to see what other rugged cases were out there as an alternative. After a bit of research I decided against getting a new Otterbox Defender and I went instead for the Griffin Survivor All-Terrain case. First impressions are favourable, although inevitably with a case offering this much protection, it is a bit bulky.

iPhone 6 case

Here it is next to my iPhone 6. As you can see from this image, the whole screen, the front camera and the Touch ID sensor/Home button are covered by the protective front but once one adds the dimensions of the surrounding impact protection, the case has become quite big. Of course, the iPhone 6 is bigger than my old iPhone 5 so it was inevitable that the case would be larger too, nevertheless, it is not so big that it becomes cumbersome.

It has some great features which, for me,  put it ahead of the Defender. The iPhone 6 is a snug fit in the body of the case and is easy to insert or remove. In addition to having all the usual ports covered against water and dust, the microphones and speakers are also protected by a sort of membrane; Griffin say the case is rain-resistant that’s good enough for me as I would’t expect true waterproofing for the price. The only trouble I’ve encountered so far is operating the Touch ID with the case on – sometimes it doesn’t seem to read my fingerprint whereas at other times it does and unlocks without problems. However all other aspects of the iPhone operate as if the case wasn’t there so it’s a minor inconvenience which I’m not too bothered about.

This case is an excellent choice for me when I’m out and about, whether I’m geocaching or just walking Skye. I’ll also feel happier using my iPhone when I’m urban caching, especially in London and similar places where walking around with an expensive smartphone in one’s hand can be a risky activity. 🙂



iPhone 6

I’m pleased with my iPhone 6.

I haven’t managed to bend it.

I’m not going to wax lyrical about it because I’m not interested in stirring up the trolls or haters.  See paragraph one for my iPhone 6 review.

I’m not sure about the changes Apple have made to Photos with iOS 8, although I think I can see why they have done what they’ve done. It will be interesting to see how it all works once Yosemite drops. The only issue I’ve found is with the Instagram App which displays every photo on the device in duplicate (FB and others seem to have got it right).

Being a clumsy sort of fellow I have ordered a case for it, hopefully that will arrive tomorrow.

Recharging my batteries

Since we got home from New York, life in our household has been both hectic and draining, so I was getting desperate for some R&R.

Yesterday I finally managed to get out for a walk and grab some caches. I went up Chesham way to do some more Chiltern Hundreds. I found 8 of those, 4 of these finds were caches I’d DNFd on previous visits which I was very pleased about; I also DNFd a new one! Ah well can’t win them all. I also found a Church Micro and a random Captain Jack.

It made a nice change to be out in the English countryside, if only for a few hours.

And when I got home my iPhone 6 had arrived. 🙂




There’s been a disturbance in the (Apple) force recently, due to Apple’s current Ad which seems to go against everything they’ve stood for in the past. Namely, giving owners “permission” to decorate their Apple products. For some, it seems a sacrilege to adorn one’s Mac with stickers, now here is Apple acknowledging that people like to personalise their Macs.

I love my MacBook Air, it’s my favourite bit of Apple kit after my iPhone. I like its clean lines, the unadulterated curve of the aluminium and would never adorn it with a sticker or (worse) a neon wrap. Still, plenty of people do. It’s a free country.

I just wonder if Steve Jobs is turning in his grave.


Retina display

What I’d read about the new iPad Mini a while back seems to be true. Visiting an Apple Store today, I’ve finally had the opportunity to compare the “old” iPad Mini with the iPad Mini Retina display.

They’ve got them displayed on the same table so, as the store was fairly quiet, I was able to set an old mini and a retina model next to each other. With both models set to maximum brightness I selected the same image in the photo app on both, applying the same amount of zoom, etc. so the images were directly comparable.

Even with my less than perfect eyesight it was obvious that the image on the retina model was sharper. What was also discernible was that the colours on the non-retina model were more saturated. This is what I’d read in tech reviews so it was interesting to find that I could see the difference. That’s not to say the non-retina display wasn’t sharp enough, I personally think it would be for me anyway.

So, with apologies for starting a sentence with “So”, which would I buy? With the old model only being available with 16GB, if I think that’s enough storage for me then I’d get the old one. The cellular one is £70 less expensive that the retina model.



So, Mavericks is now on 2 of the Macs. I like the changes; pleased to see the back of the “faux” leather on the calendar app, etc., although I haven’t yet formed an opinion on the changes to Pages or Numbers. I’ve also held off setting up Keychain on iCloud. Call me old fashioned, I still find it somewhat unsettling to store all my logon credentials on someone else’s server.

I haven’t been out geocaching much. Whenever there’s been a day of decent weather it has coincided with some other activity. In fact my last find was about 10 days ago and that was mainly because it was a new cache very close to home and Skye needed a decent walk.

Meanwhile… emboldened by my success with tiling the kitchen floor, I have embarked on the next stage of the project – tiling the walls. This, as they say, is why we drink.


After updating my MacBook Air to 10.8.5, I read some interesting stuff on MacWorld about the update. Turns out it included the MacBook Air Software Update 1.0 – which was released on 18 July but was only available for Mid-2013 MBAs. This update included a fix for “an issue that in rare instances may cause an intermittent loss in wireless connectivity”. And that of course is the issue I had on my Mid 2012 MBA. Better late than never, I guess.

It explains why my WiFi has been robust since the update, anyway.

WiFi Woes

In my last post I mentioned that I’d been experiencing the WiFi dropouts which have been plaguing users of OS X 10.8.4. And that I thought I’d fixed it. Seems I spoke too soon; periodically I’ve found my MBA dropping the connection. In fact it has been getting bloody annoying. The Apple discussion forums have loads of threads on the subject, seems it’s an issue with 10.8.4 that  Apple has know about since June. Apparently it is affecting various Mac models but I’d only had it on my current MBA (the others were fine).

Anyway, I found some very promising fixes (see osxdaily.com) and was reading through these when System Update announced an OS X update. While it didn’t explicitly mention “my” bug, there were numerous bug fixes, including some WiFi ones so I thought maybe do the update first and see what happens. So I did that. And after a while the connection dropped again.

Now, (as you know) Mountain Lion has done away with the old way of installing updates, nowadays everything is done through the App Store (like Software Update but even more “nanny state”). Pre-App Store/Lion/Mountain Lion, installing the Combo version of an update would often cure all ills. Now, IT Admins with many Macs to update need the facility to download once and update many, don’t they? So the old school Combo Update method must still be available, huh?

So I went to Apple’s download site and found the Combo Update for 10.8.5 and, after saving a copy externally, doing the usual backups, permission repairs etc. I ran the update – it was just like the old days.

And so far it seems to have worked. Whatever the fix was, running the Combo seems to have made it stick. I’m still watching that fan icon for now. 😉