server Stories June 2, 2016

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Update 2: Apple is reporting that the iCloud.com services have also been restored.

Update: Apple is reporting that the availability of some services has now been restored but several features of iCloud are still down and undergoing maintenance.

As noted by Apple’s system status page, a multitude of Apple services are currently experiencing instability and downtime for some users. The affected services include the App Store, Mac App Store, Apple TV services, iTunes In The Cloud and critical features like Find My iPhone. We have also had a few reports of Apple Music downtime, seemingly repeating the outage yesterday, but Apple’s official status report does not mention any problems with Apple Music at this time.

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server Stories May 3, 2016

piemessage-imessage-for-android

A new open source project called PieMessage enables cross-platform iMessage support, allowing Android users to communicate using Apple’s iPhone messaging platform.

In the video below, we get a short look at the PieMessage app in action with a still unreleased prototype version of the app.

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server Stories March 15, 2016

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I’ve recently been testing the brand new Synology DS-216+ NAS ($299), a network-attached-storage product meant for consumers. Although Synology products include a variety of features, I will be focusing on two primary functions that I consider most essential and most useful to people today: Mac backup and home media management (TV shows and movies).

With Apple no longer shipping optical drives in most of their products, I think now is a great time to convert your home movie collection of DVDs and Blu-rays to digital files, which a NAS is great for storing. The Apple TV 4 was another big factor: with an app, I can now view all the TV shows and movies, stored on my NAS, from my TV.

Before I owned a NAS, I was worried about two things: whether the features would be useful and how much hassle would be necessary to get everything up and running. Hence, my review starts with an explanation of the setup steps involved …

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server Stories September 29, 2015

Apple purchases 200 acres of land in Oregon to further expand its server farms

Oregon news outlet The Bulletin reports that Apple has purchased nearly 200 acres of land in Prineville, Oregon this week. The property purchased this week is directly adjacent to Apple’s already existing facility in the city. Apple reportedly paid $3.6 million for its new 200 acre plot.

Apple hasn’t specified its plans for the land to Prineville yet, although in April it filed for an application to expand its data center operations. In that application, Apple said it wants to build two more “pods” to house its server farms for its cloud-based services. The project is expected to cost over $6 million.

McCabe said he expects Apple to apply for the same Oregon enterprise zone tax abatements it already enjoys on its existing facility. The 15-year agreements, created by the state to encourage development in counties with high unemployment rates, save companies millions of dollars in taxes on equipment and site improvements. In return, they must create a specific number of jobs that pay well above the county median wage.

Apple originally purchased 159 acres in Prineville back in 2012 to start its campus. With today’s new addition, Apple now holds 359 acres of land in the city for its cloud-based operations.

server Stories July 6, 2015

Instagram rolling out support for high-res images on iOS and Android

Instagram has announced today that it is rolling out support for higher resolution 1080 x 1080 pixel images. This doubles the previous upload resolution of 640 x 640 pixels, and you’ll probably notice very soon that the photos in your stream are looking a bit crisper.

server Stories October 16, 2014

Mac mini

With today’s updates to the Mac mini, Apple has made the decision to stop selling the “server” version of the computer. In doing so, the company has also lowered the maximum storage available in the machine from 2 TB to just 1 TB. The server model was also the first version of the Mac mini to forego the optical drive, though the change was soon carried over to the rest of the line.

The server model was created to supplant the Xserve, which was discontinued in 2010. It originally shipped with OS X Server preinstalled, but was later loaded instead with the consumer version of OS X. OS X Server was transitioned to the Mac App Store as a $19.99 purchase and the new Mac mini was moved to a more consumer-oriented setup.

If you’re looking to expand your Mac mini’s storage, you can always take advantage of those new Thunderbolt 2 ports.

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server Stories February 18, 2014

Developer warns iOS 7’s Background App Refresh increases server load dramatically, may be costly

With the introduction of iOS 7, developers gained access to a new feature often referred to as “Background App Refresh” or “Background Fetch” that allows apps to update data in the background periodically. Users can control which apps fetch for data in a new Settings pane and developers can control the frequency of updates to craft an ideal experience for their specific apps. The result is supposed to be a faster, always up-to-date experience for users, but one developer warns it could also have a significant increase on server costs.

Pod Wrangler developer David Smith posted the chart above showing a huge spike in API requests and server costs after implementing background refresh in his weather app:

My first example of this was when I added Background Fetch to Check the Weather. A weather app’s primary function is displaying up-to-the-minute, constantly changing data so in my initial iOS 7 update I experimented with adding highly frequent background updates. The result was far more dramatic than I’d expected. Here are my weather API requests (which cost 0.01¢ per request) per day once the update went live. I saw an immediate jump in traffic, roughly 16x normal. Suffice to say I immediately had to scale back on my requested update frequency.

Smith also took a look at some other popular podcasting apps after running into similar issues with background fetch in Pod Wrangler and offers tips for developers to get rid of unnecessary background downloads. The full article is here.

server Stories October 18, 2013

OS X Mavericks Server goes Golden Master ahead of launch this month

Apple has pushed a Golden Master build of OS X Server for Mavericks to developers today in preparation for a release later this month. The Golden Master build is the finalized version of the software. Earlier this month Apple released the GM build of the consumer version of OS 10.9, which is expected to be one of the topics discussed at the company’s October 22nd event.

The OS X Server GM has a build number of 13S440 and is available in the OS X Developer Center.

server Stories April 23, 2013

Apple’s iCloud servers once again experiencing major outages for a growing number of users

Update, 9:34 AM: Apple has now updated its System Status page to confirm the outages we reported earlier this morning. Apple reports some users experienced issues with account & sign in for iCloud, purchases for iTunes, Game Center, and creating new Apple IDs:

Over the last couple of months Apple’s iCloud servers have been experiencing major outages approximately every couple of weeks and today a growing number of users are once again complaining of issues accessing various iCloud services.

9to5Mac readers in several countries have reached out to Apple support who confirmed the outages, although Apple is yet to update its System Status page to reflect the downtime. Apple is typically at least a few hours behind in reporting outages.

As highlighted by hundreds of users on Twitter, the outages appear to be affecting multiple iCloud services including Mail, third-party apps attempting to access iCloud credentials, and Find my iPhone. Others are simply receiving an error message when attempting to access any iCloud service. Some users are also reporting that iCloud is requesting they reset their passwords as if their account is experiencing a security issue.

We’ll update this post when/if Apple finally reports the outages.

https://twitter.com/KhaledYousry/status/326666876124033024

https://twitter.com/ridewithgarrett/status/326664553310081024

server Stories November 26, 2011

Not only can Siri and a Proxy Server start or lock you car, it can help you watch TV.  This is, of course, using the Siri Proxy we’ve talked about before with a Plex command line interface allows the developer, above, to start movies almost immediately.

But, this works so quickly and effortlessly that we wonder if this is the “finally cracked it” interface that Steve Jobs was talking about in the bio.

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server Stories November 24, 2011

Last week we saw how a developer created a proxy server to sit between Siri and Apple to make certain commands perform command line functions.  Another developer today took that proxy server and hooked it up to his Viper Car system which allows him to turn his car off and on.

The “Siri Proxy” plugin I wrote handles interaction with a php script that runs on my web server. The php script, which I developed months ago for personal use, allows me to send commands to my car which has a Viper SmartStart module installed.

Current commands accepted are: “Vehicle Arm”, “Vehicle Disarm”, “Vehicle Start”, “Vehicle Stop”, “Vehicle Pop Trunk”, and “Vehicle Panic”.

Siri hacking is rapidly turning into a fun sport.  How long until Apple blesses third parties with this type of functionality?

Locking and arming the car alarm video below:

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server Stories June 25, 2011

French website Macbidouille has published a teardown of the new $299 Time Capsule announced last week. Contrary to some rumors, it doesn’t have an A4 or A5 chip, and it doesn’t run a stripped down version of iOS.

The not so big surprise is that Apple is still using the $80 Western Digital Caviar Green HDD –what most would consider a ‘consumer grade hard drive’.  ($80!) What’s weird, and a little sketchy, is that Apple continues to advertise their Time Capsule having a ‘server grade hard drive.’

And for those scoring at home, the 3TB equivalent of the above drive costs a whopping $133, a whole $67 less than the cost to upgrade to a $499 3TB Time Capsule (never mind the 2TB drive already thrown in).  Full rant on that here.

Hopefully Apple isn’t filling up North Carolina with these for iCloud. expand full story

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