Review of “The Reich Device”

51945ATR2CL._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_

“The Reich Device” eBook was published in 2015 and was written by Richard Handy (http://richardhandy.com). This is Mr. Handy’s first fiction publication.

I obtained a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I would categorize this novel as ‘R’ as there are instances of Violence, Mature Language and Mature Situations. This Thriller novel is set just prior to World
War II in Germany, England, South Africa and the US.

The primary characters are Professor Gustav Mayer, a German physicist working on rocket research, and Major Danny Nash, a British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) operative.

Mayer discovers something that he thinks is a breakthrough in rocket science. He is afraid that the Nazi’s ruling Germany will use his discovery to exert force on the nations of the world. He is able to let his good friend Albert Einstein know of his discovery and Einstein is able to make it out of Germany with the information. Mayer though is taken by the German government and relocated to their rocket research facility. Mayer finds himself the subject of scrutiny and interrogation by the SS.

Nash works on his own within Germany trying to find information on Mayer and rescue him from the Germans. Nash and Mayer found themselves in one life threatening situation after another. The action takes Nash to South Africa following a German spy as well as to multiple trips to Germany.

I enjoyed the 7 hours I spent with the novel. While I like the plot, it seems a little off to me. The novel also seemed to end abruptly without really finishing the story line. No doubt there will be sequels. I give this novel a 3.6 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Advertisements

What’s new in OS X 10.11 El Capitan

Updated 11/4/15

21968612915_d47faeab3f

The intent of this article is to just survey the many changes included in OS X El Capitan and provide references as to where more information can be found.

System hardware requirements [2]:

  • OS X v10.6.8 or later
  • 2GB of memory
  • 8.8GB of available storage

Security Improvements

  • Several security patches were included [1].
  • Rootless mode [9]
  • Configure to allow Free Apps from the App Store without having to reenter Apple ID [9]

System:

  • Find Your Cursor – use quick waving with mouse or on track pad to make cursor momentarily grow larger to find it on the screen [3, 6-10]
  • Split View – similar to Split View on iOS. Two Apps can be brought up to share the full screen side by side [3, 5, 6, 8-11, 13]
  • Change how notification Center groups notifications [9]
  • Screenshots are now stored in Photos in new Screenshots Album [9]
  • Configure title bar to change size on double click [9]
  • New ‘San Francisco’ system font [9, 10]
  • New color picker [9, 14]
  • Find my Friends widget [9, 13, 14]
  • Metal technology for faster graphics [5, 13]
  • Disk Utility – streamlined, redesigned look [7, 9, 13, 14]
  • Hide Menu Bar – get a fraction more screen space by hiding the menu bar at the top of the screen [3, 6, 9, 13, 14]
  • Configure dictation to start recording upon spoken command [9]
  • Permanent file deletion – Option + Cmnd + Delete permanently deletes files, no more sending to Trash [3, 14]
  • iCloud Drive – progress transfer indicator for file sync [9]
  • Rename a file in right click menu [14]
  • Copy Any File’s Complete Path in Finder [14]

Spotlight Search

  • better use of natural language [3, 5, 6, 8-11, 13]
  • can search more data sources such as for weather, stocks and sports [3, 5, 6, 8-10,13]
  • Window can be moved [9, 14]

iCloud:

  • two factor authentication [9]
  • Check which devices are using iCloud account [9]

Mission Control

  • streamlined, cleaner design [5, 6, 10, 11, 13]
  • Drag and drop Apps to create new Desktop [9]

Mail

  • Swipe to delete email – use two fingers to swipe for deletion, similar to iOS [3, 5, 6, 9-11, 13]
  • Contact information and events now recognized in mail and allows you to take action [3, 5, 6, 8, 9]
  • Redesigned full screen view [5, 6]
  • Tabbed replies at bottom of page [6, 9, 10]
  • Use natural language to search through mail [8]
  • New strike through format button in composer [9]

Notes

  • Checklist – checklist is new format [3, 5, 7-10]
  • Images, photos and drawings can be added to notes [3, 5, 7-11]
  • Add attachments to notes [9]
  • Multiple folders can be created to organize notes [9]
  • New and easier formatting options – titles, headings, lists [9]
  • New Recently Deleted folder [9]
  • Track flights -enter flight number into a note and hit enter, it is highlighted in orange and becomes a hot link to get map of flight path and arrival time [3, 9]

Calendar

  • Calendar actively searches for appointments in your Mail inbox or in messages and lists for processing in Calendar [7, 9]

Maps

  • Public transit directions – not available for all cities [3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 13]
  • Directions can be pushed to an iPhone [5, 10]

Photos

  • Edit photo metadata – geotag information can now be edited or added [3, 9, 11]
  • Now has support for third party editing extensions [5, 7-9, 11]
  • Easier to add faces [9]

Safari

  • AirPlay – single files instead of entire screen to Apple TV and target device can be selected [3, 5, 9]
  • Pin tabs – favorite, often visited sites can be ‘pinned’ in tabs [3, 5, 6, 8-11, 13, 14]
  • Tap to mute – open windows playing sound will be noted with a speaker icon, clicking on it mutes the sound [3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 14]
  • Save page as note with Reminder – page can be saved from Safari to Notes [5, 9]
  • Use keyboard shortcuts to switch between tabs [9]
  • Improved content blockers [9]
  • Reader now has more font choices [9, 14]
  • Smaller status bar [9]

This list is not comprehensive, there are a few other minor changes. This list does not identify any great leaps forward for OS X. I have found the ‘Find Your Cursor’, Notes ‘Checklist’, Safari ‘Tap to Mute’, and auto search of appointments and contact information updates within Mail as being useful. There are a few other features (‘Hide the Menu Bar’, ‘Find My Friends’ widget, Spotlight natural language, Mission Control, Mail in full screen mode, Natural language search for Mail, and ‘Pinning Tabs’ in Safari) that I will take a look at. I did a ‘Clean Install’ of OS X 10.11 on my Mac Mini and I have not experienced any perceptible change in system performance.

References
[1] Apple Unveils OS X 10.11 With Long List of Security Fixes
[2] OS X El Capitan – Technical Specifications
[3] 13 awesome tricks your Mac just learned with El Capitan
[4] Free El Capitan upgrade is ready to streamline your Mac experience
[5] Apple releases OS X 10.11 El Capitan with Safari 9, new Spotlight search, Split View, more
[6] 11 El Capitan features that make upgrading worthwhile
[7] Friday Five: Great New Features in OS X El Capitan
[8] I’ve been using Apple’s new Mac update for a few days — here are my favorite features so far
[9] 52 OS X El Capitan tips and tricks
[10] OS X 10.11 El Capitan review
[11] Quick roundup of major El Capitan features
[12] Take a tour of OS X El Capitan’s coolest new features
[13] OS X El Capitan is Here! Upgrade For A Smoother Mac Experience
[14] 11 Hidden OS X El Capitan Features You Might Not Know About


See my other OS X articles


Review of “House of the Last Man on Earth”

51UIvPJmv6L._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_

“House of the Last Man on Earth” eBook was published 2015 and was written by Robert B. Marcus Jr. (http://rbmarcusjr.com) and Ryan B. Marcus. Robert B. Marcus Jr. authored or co-authored 6 novels, while this is Ryan B. Marcus’ first.

I obtained a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I would categorize this novel as ‘PG’ as there are a few instances of Violence and Mature Language. This Science Fiction novel is set in contemporary Boulder, Colorado.

The primary character is Richard Johnson. Johnson is a former marine who is now aimlessly going to college. He seems to be drifting and is at a low point in his life due to being broke, his bike being stolen and being dumped by his girlfriend.

He is infatuated with his Set Theory instructor, Summer Jacklyn, but can hardly make himself speak to her coherently. At the boarding house where he lives he stumbles upon a mysterious gateway in another tenant’s rooms. This gateway takes Johnson to different future Earths, both of which show the demise of humanity.

Johnson begins to investigate the other tenant and finds that he might be behind the decline of humanity experienced on the other side of the gateway. Before long Johnson finds himself not only in the company of Jacklyn and her brother Sam, but faced with beings from other worlds. The survival of Earth is of no concern to these two civilizations bent on war with one another. The three are taken thousands of years into the future where the aliens face off in battle.

Johnson and his companions struggle to escape from the battle, find their way back to their own time and change the future they have seen. I enjoyed the 5.5 hours I spent with the book, though it wasn’t the best writing. I did like the plot, but the story felt a little ‘off’ to me. I give this novel a 3.7 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Hall Thrusters, Another Electric Propulsion Alternative

images-2

There seem to have been a stream of propulsion technologies in the news over the past few months. A recent case in point is the Hall Thruster (aka Hall-Effect Thruster HET). This electric propulsion system has already been used on some satellites. It has the benefit of consuming 100 million times less propellant that chemical propulsion systems. The system lends itself currently to applications of station keeping and attitude control for satellites.

The HET uses electricity to create a high speed (45,000 mph) stream of plasma to push a spacecraft. Unfortunately, current HET designs have only an operational life of 10,000 hours. A longer life span, in the 50,000 hour or more range will be needed to be used for true space exploration.

Reference:
Wall-less Hall thruster may power future deep space missions

Review of “The Eight”

51CkeoUH5OL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_

“The Eight” ebook was published in 2015 and was written by Katherine Neville (http://www.katherineneville.com). Ms. Neville has written four novels.

I obtained a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I would categorize this novel as ‘PG’ as there are a few instances of Violence and Mature Situations. This Thriller novel has one story thread set in the 1790s and the other in the 1970s.

While there are several characters, the primary are Mireille, a young girl who had been sent to a convent to become a nun in the 1790s, and Catherine Velis, a computer expert sent to Algeria to work for OPEC in the 1970s.

The stories of both women are intertwined with the Montglane Service, a chess set presented to Charlemagne. The age of the chess set is unknown, but it is thought to hold the secret to great power. Over the years many have sought it. In the case of both women, they find that, like in a game of chess, there are ‘white’ and ‘black’ pieces at play in the game. They find that they are part of a real ‘chess game’ with live players battling for possession of the Montglane Service.

Mireille is caught up in the intrigue when the head of her convent unearths the Montglane Service which had been buried at the Montglane Abbey for hundreds of years. She sends the nuns of the convent across Europe to hide the pieces. Mireille finds herself in Paris during the French revolution, then traveling to Algeria and England as she is swept up in the battle for the Montglane Service.

Vellis has close friends that are serious chess players. Working for a consulting firm, she is sent to Algeria in 1972 to work on a computer system for the budding OPEC cartel. She is also drawn into a search for parts of the Montglane Service which is thought to be hidden somewhere in Algeria. She encounters many ‘white’ and ‘black’ players in the game and more than once finds herself in a life threatening situation.

Though this book was originally published in 1997, the story is still quite good. It is a long novel, taking me nearly 17 hours to finish reading. In fact, it is more like two novels intertwined – one sent in the 1790s and the other in the 1970s. The book could easily have been split into a two part series. I thought that the story and intrigue were interesting. While this was a Thriller, it was not an edge-of-your-seat read. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Upgrading to OS X 10.11 El Capitan

The latest version of OS X, 10.11 El Capitan, has been out for a while now. Long enough to consider the new version of OS X stable [1, 2]. I decided that this time instead of doing a system upgrade I would take the extra time to do a clean install.

Upon Which Macs Can OS X 10.11 be installed?
In general, if you are running OS X 10.10 Yosemite or OS X 10.9 Mavericks now, you will be able to run OS X 10.11 El Capitan. The hardware requirement for El Capitan is a Mac with a 64-bit CPU (Intel Core 2 Duo or newer). Not sure what you have? Click Apple Menu >> About This Mac to see which system you have. The detailed list:

  • iMac (mid-2007 or newer)
  • MacBook (13-inch aluminum late 2008 or 13-inch early 2009, or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch mid-2009, 15-inch mid/late 2007, 17-inch late 2007 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (late 2008 or newer)
  • Mac mini (early 2009 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (early 2008 or newer)
  • Xserve (early 2009)


So why do I want to upgrade?

Most important are new security features and patches that are introduced in OS X 10.11. There are also several new features that I want to take advantage of and core pieces of the operating system have been optimized to provide the user with better performance [1-3]. Most reports I have read, and users I have talked to who have updated to El Capitan, say this release is an improvement [3].

There have been a few who have been very critical of El Capitan [10, 16-18]. Solutions or work arounds for several of these problems have been suggested [22, 23]. Among the criticisms that have been reported:

  • slow operation
  • problems with Microsoft Office
  • printing problems
  • problems with iTunes
  • Wi-Fi issues [12]
  • problems with AirDrop

Clean Install vs. Upgrade?
I bought my Mac Mini back in 2011 and have performed an upgrade each time a new version of OS X has come out. I thought it was about time to do a clean install and get rid of the clutter that has accumulated over the past four years. Of course taking this route will require more time and effort than simply doing an upgrade.

The Process I Went Through to Upgrade
The process I followed when I upgraded to El Capitan is as follows:

  1. Prerequisites
    1. 8GB or larger USB Thumb Drive – NOTE any existing data on this drive will be lost
    2. About 5-6 hours of free time
  2. Preparation
    1. Download and install DiskMakerX- DiskMaker X is a little free utility that allows you to make a bootable USB drive from the OS X Installer downloaded from Apple [20, 21].
    2. Apply all updates – Open the App Store and click on the “Updates” tab. If you have any available updates install them.
    3. Download the El Capitan Installer – I went to the App Store and downloaded the OS X 10.11 El Capitan Installer (You can find it here).This file is over 6GB so it will take a while to download (about an hour when I did it). When the download completes, the Installer automatically loads and presents you with a screen prompting you to click on “Continue” to begin the Upgrade installation. A this point Quit the Installer. This will leave the Installer file in your Applications folder. Open Finder >> Go >> Applications and drag the Installer file to a new location, such as your desktop. Hold down the Option key as you drag the Install OS X El Capitan App from your Applications folder. If you don’t hold down Option, you’ll create an alias, not a copy.el-cap-install-start-screen-100617056-large
    4. Make Bootable USB Drive with Installer – I inserted an 8GB Thumb Drive into one of the systems USB ports. I then ran DiskMaker X and when prompted, I chose the OS X 10.11 El Capitan Installer I had copied to my Desktop as the input. When prompted for the output device, I selected the 8GB Thumb Drive I had just added to the system [13, 24]. The process of making this bootable USB drive took about an hour to complete.
    5. Backup  – I strongly recommend that before you make any changes to your system that you make a backup! In fact, you should be running a Time Machine backup at least weekly. I also suggest cloning your boot drive. This will make recovery much easier if you have to revert to the original system. I use my NewerTech dock to mount a 3TB SATA disk partitioned into a 60GB boot volume (‘System’) and a 2.94TB Time Machine volume. I used Carbon Copy Cloner to ‘clone’ (with SafetyNet off) my 60GB SSD boot drive to ‘System’ volume, then let Time Machine run to bring my backup current. I then rebooted my Mac to insure that the cloned disk was bootable (I chose the new clone as the boot device by going to Apple Menu >> Restart then held Option key down when I heard the tone during the reboot). I selected ‘System’ as the boot disk. Once the Mac had finished booting I made a few tests to verify that I had a good backup.
    6. I rebooted my system again, selecting the internal SSD as the boot drive. This returned my system to its original state.
    7. I wanted to install El Capitan on an external drive so that I could test before making the final commitment to to the new version of OS X. I replaced the 3TB disk in my NewerTech dock with an 80GB SATA drive. I reformatted the 80GB drive (Finder >> Go >> Utilities >> Disk Utilities then selected the 80GB drive and partitioned it as OS X Extended (Journaled), naming ithe volume ‘System2’.
  3. Upgrading my system
    1. I rebooted my system again, this time selecting the USB Installer as the boot device. This allowed me to perform a clean install of OS X 10.11 on the 80GB drive [14].
    2. I chose to Install OS X, then chose the target drive as the 80GB ‘System2’ volume. The clean install began and ran, with a few reboots, for about 75 minutes. At that point I went through the new system setup.
    3. The system was finally ready for use about 30 minutes later. Now this is a virgin OS X installation with no user data and no applications installed other than those that come with OS X. I still had work to do.
  4. Post Upgrade Completion
    1. Now that the system was at OS X 10.11, I wanted to add my user files and the applications I had installed previously. Fortunately, Apple has a built in utility that handles this – Migration Assistant. Using Migration Assistant I pulled the data I wanted from the old boot drive over to System2 [9, 11, 19].
    2. With this done I was operating from the System2 drive under OS X 10.11 with all of my user data and applications in place.
    3. I remained running from the System2 drive for a couple of days, but soon decided I was satisfied enough with the update to commit to OS X 10.11. I used Carbon Copy Cloner to ‘clone’ the System2 drive back to my internal SSD. I rebooted selecting the SSD as the boot device and I am now happily
      running OS X 10.11 from my SSD.

Was the Clean Install Worth the Time and Trouble?
While I would not do this every time a new version of OS X is released, I think the answer is ‘YES’. I compared the old boot drive to the new boot drive and the new drive had  about 2GB more free space (38.26 GB used on original boot drive vs. 36.26 on the System2 drive).

Was Upgrading to El Capitan Worth it?
For me the overwhelming answer is ‘YES’. I have been running under El Capitan now for four days and I have encountered no problems. While that is a relatively short period, I am feeing comfortable with OS X 10.11. I have also found some of the new features in El Capitan very useful.

Acknowledgements
I wanted to recognize Michael Sidoric from CapMac for his many suggestions to the clean install process.

References:
[1] OS X El Capitan is here: Quick instructions on how to update your Mac
[2] OS X El Capitan: Download and Installation Quick Guide
[3] OS X El Capitan is Here! Upgrade For A Smoother Mac Experience
[4] How to install OS X El Capitan
[5] OS X El Capitan Available to Download Now for All Mac Users
[6] How to upgrade to OS X El Capitan
[7] Is Your System Ready for El Capitan? OWC Helps You Make Sure
[8] How to See All the Software Disabled by OS X El Capitan
[9] Setting Up a New Mac: Should You Migrate or Do a Clean Installation?
[10] ‘El Crapitan’: The biggest problems plaguing early OS X upgraders
[11] Mac OS X – How to use Migration Assistant to transfer files from another Mac
[12] Fixing Wi-Fi Issues in OS X El Capitan
[13] How to Create a Bootable El Capitan USB Install Drive with DiskMaker X
[14] How to Clean Install OS X El Capitan on a Mac
[15] The Complete Guide to an OS X Clean Install of El Capitan
[16] OS X El Capitan: Worst OS Release Yet
[17] OS X El Capitan: Image Capture Now Hangs Sometimes
[18] OS X El Capitan Breaks Time Machine
[19] Move your content to a new Mac – Apple Support
[20] How to Create a Bootable El Capitan USB Install Drive with DiskMaker X
[21] How to make your own bootable OS X 10.11 El Capitan USB install drive
[22] The Most Common OS X El Capitan Problems and Solutions
[23] 10 Common OS X El Capitan Problems & How to Fix Them
[24] How to Install Mac OS X Using A Removable USB Drive


See my other OS X articles


OS X App Review – DiskMaker X

DiskMaker X is an OS X utility that allows you to create a bootable drive with an OS X installer. This utility works with the Installer App that you download from the Apple store.

Normally when you are wanting to upgrade your Mac, you go to the Apple store and click on the new version of OS X you wish to upgrade to. The Installer App is then downloaded to the Applications folder on your computer and you are then prompted to
continue with the upgrade. This all works very well, but the Installer App is removed from the Applications folder once it has been used.

What DiskMaker X does is to allow you to  perform a clean install rather than a migration upgrade.

So to create a bootable drive with the El Capitan Installer, you need to have a 8GB or larger USB Thumb drive, USB disk drive, Firewire disk drive or SD-card. NOTE: The content of the selected media will be destroyed during this process!

Connect the selected media to your computer, then download the El Capitan Installer from the Apple Store as normal, but when you are prompted to continue with the upgrade after the download has completed you quit. Then move the Installer App from the Applications folder to another location, such as your Desktop. Now run DiskMaker X. You pick the version of OS X you want to create an installer for, then the Installer App to use, and finally you pick the media that you are creating the bootable drive on. DiskMaker X will then build a bootable drive with the OS X Installer. This takes 30-40 minutes.

Both of the references below give a good description of using DiskMaker X and creating an El Capitan bootable Installation drive. I just completed installing DiskMaker X and then using the bootable 8GB Thumb drive I created to perform a successful clean install of El Capitan on my Mac Mini.

Pros

  • Makes it easy to perform a clean install of a new version of OS X
  • DiskMaker X is donationware
  • Works with Thumb drive, USB drive, Firewire drive or an
    SD-card as the target media

Cons

  • None that I have encountered thus far

References:


See my other OS X articles


Review of “The Oncoming Storm”

51kf3rxfA6L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

“The Oncoming Storm” eBook was published in 2015 and was written by Christopher Nuttall (http://www.chrishanger.net). Mr. Nuttall has published more than 20 novels and this is the first in his “Angel in the Whirlwind” Science Fiction series.

I obtained a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I would categorize this novel as ‘R’ as there are instances of Violence, Mature Language and Mature Situations. This Science Fiction novel is set in the year 2420. Humanity has spread to the stars, but there has been a rebellion and Earth is now gone.

The primary character is Katherine “Kat” Falcone who has just been appointed Captain of the newest Commonwealth warship, the HMS CA Lightning. Falcone has been through the academy and served aboard various ships, having just finished a tour as Executive Officer. As a result of her wealthy and powerful father’s influence she has unexpectedly been assigned as the Captain of the Lightning.

While Falcone resents her father’s unwanted influence, she does her best to step up to the responsibility she has been given. Her father has more than just his daughter’s professional success in mind with the appointment. He, and many others in the Commonwealth, believe that a war with the neighboring star system, the Theocracy, is looming. He wants Falcone to investigate what is going on in the Cadiz system where she and her ship are being posted. Cadiz is on the border with the Theocracy and there is considerable doubt in the minds of some if proper military preparations are being made.

After an eventful trip to Cadiz escorting a freighter convoy, Falcone arrives at Cadiz to find the situation worse than expected. She and her crew struggle to do what they can to ready the 6th Fleet stationed at Cadiz. It becomes a race to see what can be done before the war that she now sees as imminent crushes Cadiz.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 8.5 hours I spent with this novel. It reminded me a lot of David Weber’s “Honor Harrington” series. The premise was similar, but the plot was different enough to make it a fresh read. The radical, religious extremist controlled Theocracy makes for a good adversary in this story. Kat Falcone’s character makes another strong female role in Science Fiction. I look forward to reading more stories about her. I give this novel a 5 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Apple TV Gets Three More channels

step1-appletv-hero

Apple added three channels to the Apple TV today:

  • CBS All Access
  • Made to Measure
  • NBC

CBS All Access includes 7,500 episodes of CBS shows on demand. It will give access to new episodes the day that they are broadcast. It will also include some support for local CBS stations. A free trial is available, but CBS All Access will normally be a $5.99 per month fee.

Made to Measure (M2M) is free and exclusive to Apple TV and focuses on the fashion industry.

The NBC channel is free, though some content will require a cable subscription.  Most programming will be free to anyone. The NBC Channel will have access to full episodes of NBC programs.

I checked my Apple TV3 and all three new channels are present.

For more information on Apple TV and associated links visit my Apple TV article

iOS iPhone Tip – Using Pause with Numbers in your iPhone Contacts

I often have the need to call numbers that require entry of additional digits after the normal 10 digit number has been answered. A good case in point is the host number for my FreeConferenceCalling conference line. It has a 10 digit number, followed by a 6 digit conference code, then finally a 4 digit host access code.

In the past I have had to dial the number, wait for the prompt for the conference number, then wait for the prompt to enter the host code. When I am home working from in front of my computer this isn’t a problem, but dialing in while on-the-go is more challenging.

A long time IEEE Central Texas Section colleague and a fellow member of CapMac, Tom Grim, suggested simplifying this by creating an entry in Contacts and using the ‘Pause’ feature of the iPhone. Actually most smart phones how have both a ‘Pause’ and ‘Wait’ function built into their dialing systems.

For the iPhone these added dialing commands are:

  • ‘Pause’ represented by a comma “,” – will cause a 2 second delay for each comma entered
  • ‘Wait’ represented by a semi-colon “;” – will cause the dialing to wait for the “Dial” button to be pressed

So for my FreeConferenceCalling requirement I created a “Free ConferenceCalling” in the Contacts App on my Mac.  After the 10 digits for the conference number I typed in two commas for a 4 second delay, then my conference code. Since I am also the moderator on the calls using this number, I followed with two more commas for an additional 4 second delay, then my host number. The resulting phone number looks something like this (999) 999 9999,,888888,,7777 in contacts.

This is synced to my iPhone via iCloud and now all I have to do is to find Free ConferenceCalling in my Contacts or Recents on my iPhone and, with a single touch, I can be dialed into the conference call.

You can enter a number directly into contacts on your iPhone as well. Open the Phone App >> Contacts. Either select an existing contact to edit or touch the “+” button to add a new entry. Enter or edit the phone number then touch the “+*#” key in the bottom left of the screen. That will bring up ‘Pause’ and ‘Wait’ as entries that can be made through your iPhone into the phone number field in contacts.

IMG_0381   IMG_0382

If you choose to insert a ‘Wait’ command, you would follow it with the next set of numbers to be dialed (such as (999) 999 9999;123456). When you then dialed this number, the phone number will be dialed and the iPhone will present you with a screen containing a Dial button and the additional digits to dial (see bottom left in image below). This would be useful when the delay between when the call was answered and when additional dialing could be entered was unpredictable requiring manual intervention.
IMG_0383
Note that this will work for any instance where you need to dial a phone number followed by an extension. It will also work when you dial in and the phone is answered by a automated service asking you to pick the option you want to be connected to.


See my other iOS articles