Playing Catch-up on macOS Sierra, Printer Wars, Knockoff Apple Watch Straps

2 minute read
| Dr. Mac's Rants & Raves

Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode #203

Several readers have inquired whether I think it’s safe to upgrade to macOS 10.12 Sierra (since I was so adamant that you shouldn’t be in a rush to upgrade in Episode 193 and Episode 195 of this very column. The answer is yes, but with one proviso. Plus, I’ve got some other questions from readers to answer.

macOS 10.12 Sierra: Is it Safe Yet?

As you may recall (from Episode 195), some older versions of popular apps including Microsoft Word and QuickBooks are incompatible with macOS Sierra. So, if you rely upon older versions of those (or other) apps to get your work done, you should visit the crowdsourced Roaring Apps compatibility table web site to ensure that the apps you depend upon will work properly before you upgrade to Sierra.

And, by the way, if you haven’t upgraded your iOS device(s) to iOS 10 yet, you probably should, if for no other reason than both OS upgrades—macOS 10.12 and iOS 10—offer enhanced security features that reduce the likelihood of bad things happening to your data or device.

Epson EcoTank vs. HP Instant Ink

Moving right along, another reader inquired how my “Epson vs. HP” replacement ink experiment is going, and whether anything had changed since I wrote about it last March.

As I explained back then, Epson’s new approach to ink is called EcoTank, offering huge ink reservoirs capable of holding enough for up to two years of printing. Hewlett-Packard’s (HP’s) new initiative is “Instant Ink,” which charges you by the number of pages you print each month rather than for the ink you use. Read Episode 164;Read Episode 165.

Both printers have worked flawlessly over the past 9 months, but the Epson EcoTank printer has cost me $0 while I’ve paid HP $26.91 ($2.99 a month for 50 or fewer pages). In that time I installed one set of replacement ink cartridges, which were shipped to me automatically when the original cartridges were nearing exhaustion. The Epson EcoTank printer still has about half a tank of each of its four ink colors, so, I don’t expect to spend another penny on ink for it until mid-to-late 2017, by which time I’ll have paid HP another $25 or $30.

An Epson EcoTank printer like this one has saved me some dough…

An Epson EcoTank printer like this one has saved me some dough…

So, my conclusion still stands: The more pages you print each month, the more you’ll save with an Epson EcoTank. And, remember that printers enrolled in HP’s Instant Ink program can be remotely disabled by HP if you fail to pay each month; Epson’s EcoTank printers can’t be remotely disabled for any reason. Read Episode 164;Read Episode 165.

Apple Watch Bands at a Fraction the Cost

Finally, in Episode 188 I told you I’d found an inexpensive ($21.99) knock-off of Apple’s way overpriced ($149) Leather Loop band for Apple Watch. That was a black Bandkin Leather Loop Strap with Magnet Lock I got for $21.99 at I had just ordered a second one (in Midnight Blue) when Episode 188 went to press. I’m pleased to report that the Bandkin Midnight Blue strap is just as beautiful as the black one I already had. Bottom line: I have two lovely leather watchbands and saved around $250 (vs. two of Apple’s Leather Loop bands).

The Bandkin Midnight Blue band for the Apple Watch.

The Bandkin Midnight Blue band for the Apple Watch.

One last thing: The Bandkin Midnight Blue strap was $21.99 last August, but it’ll cost you even less today. It’s currently on sale for just $17.85 (and available in seven colors at that price)! I may just have to order another!

And that’s all he wrote… 

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Thanks for the updates, Bob. I actually did wait to upgrade to macOS Sierra, not because I was concerned about bugs (I’ve thus far never had a major problem with upgrading the OS) but because of an incompatibility with Endnote 7, and their warning of an incompatibility between Sierra and their PDF engine. I opted not to jeopardise my PDF reference library but instead to wait for the release of Endnote 8 which, predictably, was compatible with macOS Sierra. In my view, the enhanced security features sway the risk benefit ratio in favour of upgrading, if at all possible. I… Read more »