Category Archives: General Musings

Some additional Apple Care Thoughts

Aron Nelson, developer of unrealBook (One of the pro-level PDF Music Readers for iOS) reminded me that, for phones, AppleCare + is not the only option.

Specifically, he mentioned:

  • If you pay your phone bill with a Wells Fargo CC, your entire family is covered – up to 4 phones with only $25 deductible and up to $600 per incident per year.
  • If you use SquareTrade, you pay $129 or so and get genius bar fixes with deductible.
  • If you have T-Mobile, for $10/month you have Apple Care and theft coverage.

I would simply add that AppleCare plus is $129 to $199 (depending what device you buy) up front.  AppleCare+ for iPhone extends your coverage to two years from the original purchase date of your iPhone and adds up to two incidents of accidental damage coverage, each subject to a service fee of $29 for screen damage, or $99 for any other damage, plus applicable tax.


All Better…

It was a little touch and go for a while, but a replacement iPad Pro is back up and running.

The touch and go wasn’t Apple’s fault…it was mine.  I called Apple and verified that my Apple Care + coverage covered accidental damage (i.e. stupidity on my part).  It did.  So I went online and scheduled a time at the Apple Store at the Mall of America (about a 30 minute drive) at 3:20.

I arrived early and checked in…and there was no record of my appointment.  So…I pulled up my e-mail…and I had registered for 3:20pm on Monday.  Oops.  Apple was still able to put me into a cue for “walk-in” appointments, and I was texted a little less than an hour later for an appointment.

I didn’t have to explain what happened, and I didn’t make any excuses or demands (some other customers did around me, however, which was interesting to listen to).  The store had one more Apple Care iPad Pro 12.9″ unit with 256GB in stock–and was able to replace it.   The cost?  $49 plus tax.  If I didn’t have Apple Care?  $600.  The $149 I have paid for Apple Care and this repair have now paid themselves back by $450.  Two incidents are covered…so a next repair (let’s hope it doesn’t happen) might make the insurance worth $1100.  I’ll trade you $150 for $1100 anytime.  Just send me an e-mail!  🙂

The moral of the story?  Buy Apple Care.  The Apple Genius recommended Apple Care on iPads and Apple Watches in particular.  I had it on my MacBook (now 9 years old and counting), but have not had it on my iPhone or my wife’s iPhone.  I didn’t get it on my boy’s iPad Mini’s (we’re going to have to replace screens).   I might just get it all the time now.  There were no lectures from the Apple Genius–only kindness…and only kindness shown to the other customers around me as well, on a very busy afternoon at the Apple Store at the Mall of America.

So…I’m set for tomorrow.  I can work on some small changes to my lesson plan tonight when I publish this post.  I have learned a lesson about where to store my iPad in my car.  And I will now recommend Apple Care to everyone on every device.

Have a great week (It is Sunday night)!

Ouch. iPad Pro.


This morning, after church, we went out to lunch.  My iPad is my note-taker (Notability) and Bible (Olive Tree Bible), and I put it in my customary location when driving…between my car door and driver’s seat.  After lunch, I got back in the car, and took a bad angle…basically snapping the iPad Pro.  My wife realized it before I did…and it was a long drive back home.

I bought Apple Care + for this reason–just in case something happened.  I didn’t think that I would be “clipping” the iPad getting into the car–I thought I would drop it (big screen and a portable device).  The iPad Pro hasn’t had any problems, even tucked into my carry-on bag on Spirit Airlines or in my over-the-shoulder bag for school.  It has also survived many (many) trips being tucked into that same location in my car.

Well, it won’t power on–but Apple does print the Serial Number of every device on the back of every device (it is small–you might need a magnifying glass).  Now I have to wonder if I set things up correctly.  Did I have iCloud Backup turned on correctly?  I can’t back up because the device isn’t responding and you need to be able to authorize a device to do a wired backup to iTunes.  I’m going to lose what I did this morning…but I wonder about all my files in places like Luma Fusion (video editing) and forScore which do not use iCloud syncing.


We’ll find out.  My Genius Bar appointment is at 3:20.  I wasn’t planning on heading to the Mall of America today…but today HAS to be the day.  We have concerts or events every night this week, and I have my tri-annual observation in the morning.  I would have rather worked on another video or two today, as well as look at some of the new job openings in the field of music education–but today becomes all about the iPad.

I’ll blog later about how the restoration process goes, as well as how Apple handles this.  I’m sure they have seen worse.  I know they have.  Other than the bends in the aluminum case, the exterior glass and the rest of the device is spotless, so it is clear that it has been cared for.

I have a few other bits of news to write today…but I also wanted to write to verify that accidents happen to everyone–even people that are “techy” and if you are going to buy an iPad Pro, I think Apple Care + is a VERY smart investment.  I don’t have it on my phone…I probably should think about that next time.

The Paradigm Shift of Apple Music

Twenty-seven years ago, I left my parent’s home with the intention of becoming a music teacher. This journey led me to Northwestern College, where I was prepared to become a music teacher. In the process, I learned a lot about music, and I listened to a lot of music. We were encouraged to attend performances (student rush) of the Minnesota Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Minnesota Opera–as well as to go to performances by outstanding college choirs, bands, and orchestras that made it to the Twin Cities. We also listened to a lot of music, and I made it my goal to buy a CD of everything we studied. This was before you could easily burn a copy of a CD onto another CD, and also before mp3 and aac formats. Buying a disc that was DDD (digital recording, digital processing, digital finishing) was a special thing at the time.

I talk about this not to show how old I am (45 as of November 3rd), but to stress that OWNING music was a big thing to me. Jewel cases (some cardboard), CD liners, and so on. I didn’t get into digital formats until 2003 or 2004. At that point, I had a Dell DJ (a competitor to the iPod which lost, like so many others) and started converting my music library on the Windows platform. In 2005, my wife-to-be and I decided to get iPods for Valentine’s Day, which was what started my love affair with Apple. I had to re-rip my entire library and my wife’s smaller library…and did the painful process of tagging albums, getting artwork (scanning if necessary) or so on.

I eventually did the same thing with my movie library, which was also extensive.

It wasn’t long before my CD (and DVD) collection became very dusty, as I was only accessing my music (and movies) on my computer or on my personal devices.

When the iPad came out in 2010, I sold my CDs and DVDs to pay for my the first iPad (pennies on the dollars compared to the investment in music), and later subscribed to Apple Music Match ($25 a year) that legalized everything in my library and made a redundant copy in the cloud.

I didn’t need Spotify or Pandora, as I had all of my music in the cloud–including ensemble recordings and reference recordings (e.g. accompaniment files for solo and ensemble literature). When Apple Music came out, there were problems. Several music aficionados experienced a loss of their Music Match library when enrolling in Apple Music. I didn’t see the need to pay $9 or $15 (family) a month for music when I could buy new music myself if I wanted it. So I didn’t do that.

Well, this summer, we decided to enroll in Apple Music, as you get three free months. And the truth is that I probably don’t use it as much as I should (most of my time in the car is spent listening to podcasts) but the $15 a month is already recovered when my wife can pull up songs or albums that she wants to listen to. And music match continues to work. I just added some ukulele accompaniment tracks to my iTunes Library…and sure enough…they were almost instantly available (under “My Music”) in Apple Music.

I might even be able to deduct the $15 a month (as well as the $25 a year for Music Match).

This is a paradigm shift for me. I have gone from hoarding plastic boxes (in specialized cases) to hoarding things on an external disc to simply paying $15 a month to have access to just about any music that I would ever want or need to listen to. It’s pretty crazy to think about.

I think back to the days that you had to buy a cassette or full CD to listen to one song that you liked. Millennials have grown up buying a single track at a time ($0.99 or $1.29). And now, you get pretty much everything for $15 a month. That’s less expensive than a single CD.

So why is it so hard to make that shift? As musicians, we need Music Match so that our performances and our ensemble’s performances can remain accessible to us. But if you aren’t a musician with your own recordings to manage–you don’t even need Music Match! I even know some super-tech-savy music educators who digitize everything and are still holding on to those jewel cases.

Ultimately, I hope and trust that artists are being paid appropriately by Apple and others. And I also desperately want to see these same options for movies. I would love to be able to move away from hosting my own collection on my own hard drive.

If you have been thinking about making this move, I do have some suggestions for you. First, have a physical copy of your own music on hand, particularly the material that isn’t going to be available in the cloud. Music Match saved my bacon once, as a hard drive failed. I had a copy of the movies on that drive…but not the music. Thankfully, the music was all in the cloud and downloaded (over time) back to the new drive. Second, think about how much you spend on music (to listen to) or could spend on music. Or that your family could spend on music. When you join Apple Music (or other services), you won’t be spending $13-$16 per CD, or $1.29 per song. You will simply have access to just about everything (some artists delay streaming releases…but that music eventually makes its way there, too). And there are tools to find new music that you might like, too. It is very exciting–and really quite affordable. There is nothing to fear.

Sadly, your old CDs (and DVDs!) have lower resale value than ever before. I think I sold most of my collection for $1 per CD or DVD seven years ago…and you would be lucky to get that pricing today (in bulk). Even collectors editions do not really fetch any value any more. So, don’t expect any kind of return on your old CDs and DVDs. But that isn’t why you bought that music in the first place. However…once you have access to everything–consider selling or donating your collection, because you aren’t going to need it any more. Simplify your life–get rid of things you don’t need anymore!

Do you find to be a useful resource? If so, consider becoming a patron at

Patreon and a new WordPress template.

I have decided to start a Patreon account for my work that I do at and  You can access my Patreon account at  I have set up some reward levels and incredibly lofty goals–but in general, I would like to hear what suggestions you might have for additional content or resources you would like on this site as well as what specific reward levels might offer.  I will probably include a tag line in ever post about Patreon–but I don’t expect to post specifically about Patreon again…unless I do meet those lofty levels of support.

I finally grew tired of my old WordPress theme, and decided to change to a different theme.  I hope you like the new look (not much has changed with the different theme).