Paired HomePod Doesn’t Do Stereo

Hello all,

I have a pair of HomePod’s and use them as a pair, sending audio from my MacBook Air. The pair are positioned on a window sill about 3 feet apart.

Over the weeks I began to puzzle over where the stereo sound stage was, it seemed to be mainly in the centre. I did some searching online and found this blog post about the Beatles track “I saw her standing there”. The key point being that the original mix puts Paul McCartney on the right speaker and most of the instruments in the left speaker – it’s very clear if you list on any other device.

I decided to run a couple of tests:

  • Send the above track to the paid HomePods: Paul sat in the middle of the speakers, along with most of the other sounds. There is a sort of stereo spread but mainly mono.
  • Unpair the homepods (which now become individual speakers)
  • Download and run AirFoil (
    • You run AirFoil twice, and send the left channel using the balance slide to the left HomePod
    • Use the second instance using the balance slider for the right HomePod
  • Low and behold the original production and stereo mix has returned with Paul on the right and the instruments on the left
  • I then paired the HomePods again and sent the same track from my iPhone, and Paul went back to his place in the middle, no stereo

Overall this is the most annoying thing Apple has done for quite a while – and it affects all tracks, I now see why I was doubting my own ears when other music didn’t seem to spread between the speakers.

Is this by design? Is it some sort of cleverness by the speakers? Who knows?

Fuji XT-1 and Missing Memory Card

I like owning my Fuji camera, but I didn’t like it so much when it took half an hour to realise I was shooting with no memory card.

The stupid device puts a short warning on the screen upon startup which disappears within 2 seconds. After that you can appear to be shooting, with an odd review screen after each shot. I was so busy shooting I didn’t press the Play button to chimp at the shots, which would have alerted me.

Apparently the next model XT-2 had a firmware update which more concretely locks the camera from shooting when the memory card is missing.

Even my 7 year old Nikon D7000 got this right. Why on earth didn’t the Fuji programmers make this a no-brainer UI feature with a permanent big warning on the screen?  There’s a setting in the camera to prevent shooting without a lens, explicitly.

Not happy at Fuji at all here.

Touch Bar for Non-Touch Bar Macs

If you want to see how the new Touch Bar works on a Mac which doesn’t have a Touch Bar, look no further than Touche 2 here which gives you exactly that. Touche somehow shows what the Touch Bar would display if you had one. You need macOS 10.12.2 and beyond to make this work I believe. If you edit using Final Cut Pro X – the touch bar gives a useful navigator for your video timeline which is way better than the tools within FCP X itself.

Edit Post ‹ Bill's Site — 2017-01-12 11-46-42.png


macOS and iOS Universal Clipboard

I couldn’t make the universal clipboard work, so here’s how:

  1. Check the article here:
  2. Turn on ‘handoff’ on your iOS device (search for it in settings)
  3. In summary
    1. Both devices must be on the same Wifi network (I think)
    2. Both devices must have Bluetooth switched on
    3. Both devices must new enough (see article above)
    4. The devices have to be physically near each other so that Bluetooth can make contact
  4. Mine didn’t work until I switched on Handoff, and now it does.
  5. How often will I use this? Time will tell.


World War 1 Diary

This is the diary of Roy Trevethin Marris, 2nd Lieutenant Royal Engineers, 1914-1918. Roy was married to Elisabeth and had three children Jean, Patricia and Josanne, who is my mother. What follows is his diary of his experiences in the trenches near Ypres during World War 1. The individual pages are in order below, the body of the diary is also available as a PDF here, re-typed by my father Barrie.

The images below include a hand drawn front page by one of his colleagues, a map of the area in which the diary is set, a timeline of events, a photo of Roy, and some contemporary photos of where the events took place.

Further notes from Roy’s daughter Josanne:

My Dad joined up at the outbreak of the 1st WW, leaving the Royal Engineers at the end of it. He wrote the diary during a few months of the autumn of 1915 in the field either in a tent or wherever he was billeted. I think he must have typed it up when he returned home from the trenches. I have the original diary now tucked safely away, I mean the typed up one not the (presumed) hand written one. The beautiful drawing of the ruins of Ypres (near where he was stationed) was done by his batman I believe. The diary was beautifully written, my father had a talent tor that. In it he expressed his feelings and sadness about what was going on around him and the war in general.

If you can enlarge the pages of it I believe it is worth reading, it is as vivid and as moving now as it was 102 years ago.

Homeplug problems – How to Speed up Powerline Networks

I acquired an early power line network kit to reach my printer at one end of the house, a few years ago. It was a Devolo kit with two transparent blue adapters saying 85Mbps on the outside.

Years went by and I needed to extend Wifi coverage to an upstairs bedroom, so bought a Netgear WiFi extender, with the words AV200 in the name. Sometimes this worked ok, but mainly it was a disaster and drove me mental, the connection to the external internet took a couple of minutes to stabilise, and was generally flaky.

I tried plugging the adapters directly into the wall, and tried other wall sockets. I investigated Wifi channels, I considered using a divining rod to find a good network signal, and finally considering burning the house down.

Then I came across this post:

The magic answer is this: Don’t mix the 85Mbps equipment with the 200Mbps equipment, they don’t work on the same set of power wires, by removing the Devolo adapters the whole thing stabilised. I test the Netgear unit upstairs and got a solid 30Meg as reported by Speedtest, as I have fibre broadband from Plusnet.

Outlook 2014 on the Mac and Importing Contacts

Image you need to get contacts from the Mac (in vCard format) into a new MS Exchange account, on the face of it this isn’t easy. But, so you know, it’s actually straightforward. Don’t look at the File->Import option, do this:

  • Export your contacts from your Mac address book into .vcf format – it will make one big file with them all in
  • Open Outlook 2014 for Mac
  • Click on the Contacts tab
  • Drag and drop the file above onto the Contacts list
  • You should see a green + sign, Outlook should then import the contacts

This worked well for me, to take contacts from an old MS Exchange account into the new one.

For reference, I used the Mac address book to export the contacts from the old Exchange account to a .vcf file first. There are few clues on-line that the drag and drop technique above will work, let alone from Microsoft or Apple.

Clean Install of Mavericks OSX

As an opening blog post I wanted to highlight how easy, and yet pointless, a clean install of Mavericks is. Here’s the approach I took:

  1. Make a bootable Mavericks installer on a USB stick, one example of how is here
  2. Find yourself a drive big enough to contain everything on your current Mac
  3. Erase and reformat the drive, give it a single partition with journalling
  4. Get a copy of Carbon Copy Cloner, and copy your entire drive to the external unit, making a bootable copy
  5. Wait quite some time
  6. Reboot your Mac and check the external drive is bootable and working well (hold down Option when you boot up to choose the external drive)
  7. Run Disk Assistant
  8. Assuming you are confident, erase your Mac HD – scary
  9. Reboot again, but this time boot using the USB stick you made in step 1
  10. Install Mavericks – wait quite a while
  11. Reboot your fresh Mac and use Software Update to catch up with any new releases
  12. Phase 1 is done – your Mac is now blank
  13. Connect your external drive from step 5 above
  14. Run Migration Assistant – choose to copy from the external drive, and don’t choose Applications
  15. Wait quite a while – the MA will restore all your data and crucially all your settings too, including passwords and software keys
  16. Phase 2 complete – your Mac is now fresh plus your data (and your login)
  17. Now start replacing your software
    1. Use Mac App Store to re-install anything you bought – very easy
    2. Mount your external drive again, you can drag and drop apps from one Applications folder to another
    3. Keep going until all the software you need is added back and working

I was surprised this was easier than I expected, I managed it all on a Sunday evening for 500Gb of data to shuffle around. The bit that annoyed me was this: if I click the Finder or Safari in the Dock, their windows don’t restore properly, I don’t know why, maybe it’s RightZoom, but I don’t know.