Welcome to SEAL

South Essex Apple Link is an Apple user group run by enthusiasts with a collective deep understanding of the Apple technologies and it’s user community. SEAL welcomes Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad and Apple TV users across the whole of Essex and surrounding areas.

We meet monthly in Wickford, Essex. Visitors are welcome (there is a small entrance fee), for more details see our About page.

Next meeting: Friday 14th June 2019.

October 2012 Meeting Report

South Essex Apple Link October 2012 Report.

The October meeting had a lot to offer, what with the new iPhone being released in late September and iOS6.

iPhone 5 Sells 5M on Launch Weekend
Exceeds the 4M sold by the iPhone 4S. The new iPod touch and iPod nano are now also available. iFixIt Teardown available: http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iPhone-5-Teardown/10525/1

Many members were quite vocal about what they see as falling quality standards on Apple hardware and software, general feeling was that Apple have been at the very top of the market for a long time giving the buying public what they want but now the competition is is getting tougher, Apple is rushing to get stuff out to the waiting public. We have always relied on Apple to provide a quality product but in the last year or so standards do appear to have slipped, to the point that Tim Cook wrote an open letter of apology to Apple’s customers stating that Maps fell short of their usual commitment to deliver the best experience.

He stated that customers using Maps and submitting feedback will help the product improve feedback can be submitted within the Maps App. In the meantime he evensuggests that customers try mapping products from other companies including Nokia and Google. Then on the other hand, the Taiwanese government thinks Apple Maps is too good, they’ve asked for one of their sensitive radar installations to be blurred out!

Apple TV 5.1 Update
Free software update for 2nd and 3rd generation Apple TV
Subscribe to Shared Photo Streams, a new iCloud feature. Support for sending sound to Air Play speakers and devices. Search for movie trailers.
Switch quickly between multiple iTunes accounts, New screensaver options, ability to reorder menu buttons. Other minor improvements.

September 2012 Meeting Report

At the September Meeting we discussed Apple’s recent special event where the iPhone 5, iPod Touch 5G and new iPod Nano were announced.

During our workshop session, topics included extending a WiFi network, hard drive failures and the importance of good backups. During the hard drive discussion, David suggested the Data Cent Failing hard drive sounds page which has sound clips of faulty drives to help you identify if yours is sounding abnormal.


August 2012 Meeting Report

At the August meeting we discussed the month’s Apple news including iTunes movies in the cloud (now available in the UK), Apple gaining control of the Apple.co.uk domain and the rumours of an iPhone announcement on the 12th of September.

We then talked about the widely reported hack on Wired reporter Mat Honan which lead to the breach of several of his accounts including his Apple iCloud account. As well as being an interesting story this hack has some important lessons on how one vulnerable account can let a hacker into many others and the potential consequences.

The bulk of the meeting consisted of a presentation of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion by Dave and Robert. Dave showed many of the new features of the OS including some smaller ones members might not have heard about. Features that sparked particular interest were Dictation, the Safari 6 “Omnibar” and the Gatekeeper security system. Robert then gave a more in-depth look at Notification Centre.

At future meetings we’ll cover some other aspects of Mountain lion in more detail. If you’re interesting in finding out more, Ars Technica have an excellent review covering the OS in great detail.



July 2012 Meeting Report

At the July meeting there was plenty of news to discuss with Apple’s WWDC announcements of iOS 6, the Retina Display MacBook Pro and details of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. We also talked about Microsoft’s Surface announcement and the Google Nexus 7 tablet.

Robert gave a talk on SSDs (Solid State Drives, flash memory based hard drives) which Apple are now fitting as standard to many Macs. He covered the principle of operation and some of the advantages and disadvantages of using an SSD. Then he explained how he upgraded his Early 2009 Mac mini with an SSD.

Some useful pages with further information about SSDs:

Storage Review’s comparison of SSDs and HDDs - http://www.storagereview.com/ssd_vs_hdd

Paper on SSD security (technical) by Michael Wei et al. - http://static.usenix.org/events/fast11/tech/full_papers/Wei.pdf