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Blessed

Posted on Friday, September 21st, 2012

Dave!Happy iPhone Day everybody!

May the blessings of Steve Jobs and the Almighty Apple be upon you this day!

And may Maps lead us not into temptation but deliver us from Android, amen.

Bad Monkey has iPhone 5

Of course I'll be back with my comments on the iPhone 5. I just can't help myself...

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Phony

Posted on Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Dave!Happy Birthday iPhone!

Bad Monkey has iPhone 5

Can you believe it's only been six years? I can barely remember my life before iPhone. Probably because I don't want to imagine a time when I didn't have my iPhone.

Thank you Steve Jobs.

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Bullet Sunday 316

Posted on Sunday, February 10th, 2013

Dave!You Northeasterners can put down that snow-shovel... because Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• SNAKE! Happy Chinese New Year! This is the "Year of the Snake" or, to be more accurate, the "Year of the Water Snake." Water snakes are mostly poisonous and deadly, so I can tell already this is going to be a rough year...

Year of the Snake

   
• Nemo! Speaking of rough years... I've been watching the northeast winter storm coverage with more than a passing interest. All the snow they're getting on the other side of the country is snow we're not getting here in Washington State. Heck, I gave up wearing a coat two weeks ago because it's been so warm. And while I'm happy on the outside that the winter was mild and relatively short, it's worrisome that we could end up in a drought this summer. I guess the best we can hope for is that we at least get another couple snow dumps in the mountains over the next month before Spring is really here.

   
• Archer! One of my favorite television pastimes is Archer, which is a kind of an animated James Bond spoof gone terribly wrong. The result is almost always hilarious, and I find myself watching the episodes multiple times. If you're a fan like I am, there's a fascinating look at the real-life people who inspired the look of the characters on the show...

Archer is Archer

Totally worth checking out, which you can do by clicking here.

   
• Rejected! LEGO has finally released an awesome MiniFig of one of my favorite super-heroes after Batman, it's AQUAMAN...

LEGO Aquaman

And the minute I got my hands on him, I wanted a LEGO Aquaman keychain. And so I wrote to LEGO Customer Service to beg for one...

Dear David,
   
Thanks for getting in touch with us.
   
I’m sorry, but even though I think your Aquaman key chain would make a brilliant LEGO® set, we can't accept your suggestion. I know this might be disappointing to hear, but we have a team of experts in Denmark whose job it is to dream up new LEGO sets, themes and toys. They tell me it takes years to plan everything. They need to test all the new ideas, talk to the factory about how to make them, work out what sort of box is needed and then deliver the new sets to all the shops in 130 countries! This means that there's a good chance they could already be working on something similar to your idea.

Yeah, right. It takes years of planning to take a MiniFig they already have and shove a metal loop in his head that they already have to make a keychain. AND THE KEYCHAINS AREN'T SOLD IN BOXES... they don't have any packaging at all! Obviously a form letter reply, but whatever. Maybe I'll have to buy a few Aquamem and experiment with turning them into keychains myself.

   
• iCrap! Dear Apple. How long is it going to take before you fix all the busted shit in your iCloud syncing? I am so fucking sick and tired of not being able to sync my keychains... LIKE I COULD WITH MOBILE-ME BEFORE YOU REPLACED IT WITH THIS iCLOUD CRAP. And why do you make it so difficult for third party apps to sync their settings and shit? It's just sad that I have to keep a DropBox account to sync all the shit that your half-baked "solution" can't handle.

   
• iCrap! Dear Apple. Why in the hell do you force your iCloud customers to download videos before we can watch them? You stream to AppleTV, why won't you stream to my Mac or my iPhone or my iPad? Why? If you can't figure the shit out, why don't you talk to Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Redbox, Vudu, CinemaNow, or any of the other dozens of services that are streaming all the time. Because this is fucking bullshit.

   
• iCrap! Dear Apple. Seriously, how fucking embarrassing and pathetic is it that you've had almost TWO YEARS now to get this iCloud crap sorted out, and you're still sitting on your asses? You're sitting on BILLIONS of dollars... FIX THIS SHIT!

   
And... time to pack...

   

Escapade

Posted on Monday, March 18th, 2013

Dave!Left for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on-time for once.

Finally had my first problem with Apple Maps giving me crap directions.*

Discovered that the WiFi didn't work on my flight to Atlanta.

Grabbed my phone after landing to get the gate for my connecting flight, only to find out that my connecting flight had been canceled. Apparently there was a hail-storm in Atlanta, which caused cancelations and delays across the board.

Delta re-booked me on a new connecting flight... which just happened to be on the exact same plane with broken WiFi that I just climbed out of.

Finally made it to my destination.

Now trying to write a blog entry at my airport hotel with a melted brain.

It's been one of those days.

   

*I've been using Apple Maps exclusively since the last iOS update. I have had -zero- problems, and vastly prefer the Apple Maps over Google Maps for a half-dozen reasons I won't bore you with here. And every time I read a story about errors with Apple Maps, I ignore it because it's never happened to me no matter where I've traveled.

Until today.

Here is where Apple Maps thinks my off-site Airport Parking is located...

Apple Maps Busted!

I didn't even look at where the pin dropped, because I assumed it would be correct. I just started up turn-by-turn directions and was on my way. But, as I got closer, I started to feel that something was wrong. I had never been through this area any of the dozens of other times I've used the off-site parking. That's because the location is actually here...

Google Maps Right!

Yes... all the way across a river and the highway. Which is not a simple course correction. It is, in fact, 15-20 minutes away (depending on traffic)...

Apple Maps Boo Boo!

Lucky for me, I had plenty of time to get to the airport. But had I been running late? I would have been totally screwed by Apple Maps because the data they're using in this case is completely wrong.

Apple makes it easy to report an error, and asked me to drag the pin to the correct location, which I did...

Apple Maps Fixing Bad Location

Apparently Apple purchased their map data from TomTom. This was probably a mistake, because an error like this is pretty obvious.

Oh well. I guess they had to start somewhere. Given time, I'm sure Apple will get it all sorted out. But, in the meanwhile, I guess I'm going to have to double-check the routes I am given every damn time I use the product.

Otherwise there's no telling where I might end up.

   

MagSafe?

Posted on Saturday, May 11th, 2013

Dave!And so tragedy strikes... my MagSafe ver. 1 to MagSafe ver. 2 adapter has gone missing somewhere between Seattle and here.

Which means I don't have a way of charging my Mac Book.

Which means a recap of my way-too-short adventures in Washington, D.C. will have to wait until tomorrow given that my battery is at 4% and falling.

Not to mention that I have to get up in five hours so I can fly back home.

Assuming the assholes making noise outside my hotel room shut the hell up real soon now, I may actually get a couple hours sleep.

   

Passbook

Posted on Monday, May 13th, 2013

Dave!My 6:00am flight out of Baltimore meant that I had to get up at 3:45am. This gave me 30 minutes to pack, shower, put on pants, brush my teeth, check out of my hotel, and catch the shuttle to arrive at BWI at 4:30am. Getting up at 3:45am is no fun at all. Especially when your internal clock is three hours earlier than that.

What was fun was using iPhone's Passbook...

iPhone Passbook

This very cool bit of tech puts stuff like tickets, boarding passes, loyalty cards, membership accounts, and other things all at one place. Buy an Amtrak ticket? It goes to Passbook. Check in for your flight? Your boarding pass goes to Passbook. Check in at your hotel? Open up Passbook for your loyalty card.

And it's always handy.

When I arrived at the train station, my ticket was on my lock screen.

When I got to the airport, my boarding pass was on my lock screen too. One swipe, and it magically appears...

iPhone Passbook

So cool. As somebody who travels a lot, this is exactly the kind of thing that makes my life easier.

The problem is that not enough companies are using it. Many airlines I fly, like Alaska Air, aren't using it. Most of the hotels I stay at, like Hilton, aren't using it. And it would be nice one day if credit cards could be added, because that would lighten my wallet considerably.

I think that Apple made the right move with Passbook because it doesn't require companies to install new equipment for NFC (or whatever)... everybody can use the scanners they already have.

It's just a question as to when (if?) these companies will return the favor and give their customers the convenience of implementing it.

   

Bullet Sunday 332

Posted on Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Dave!Thanks to the non-stop excitement of four days in Pittsburgh, it was going to be a Bullet-Sunday-On-Monday kind of situation. But there was so much Pittsburgh that it's ended up being a Bullet-Sunday-On-Wednesday situation. So hold on to your hats... because a special ALL RANT EDITION of Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• AT&T Assholes. I'm not the kind of guy who jumps on the lawsuit bandwagon because, often-times, I think the lawyers are the only ones who really benefit. But if AT&T gets sued because they PROMISE high-speeds, but then LIMIT the speed on your device, then SCREW THAT. I'd join that lawsuit in a hot minute. What assholes.

   
• Apple Bullshit. Remember when buying Apple was a guarantee of quality that was a step above what you'd get from other tech companies? For the most part, it's still true. But for an increasing number of things... particularly with Mac OS X... it's not true. And their "Messages" app is a perfect example. The app has been a pile of shit since day one. It's supposed to sync messaging between your iPhone, iPad, iPod and Mac... but it doesn't. At least not very well. Messages go missing. Messages get lost. Messages display out of sequence. It's complete bullshit, but that's where Apple is at now.

But then, miracle of miracles, AFTER NEARLY A YEAR OF WAITING, Apple has released a bug fix for the out-of-sequence messages problem. Yes, I was pissed that it took them so damn long but, hey, at least we finally had a fix, right? Well, so far so good. Or not. Because they've introduced a new bug. The badge counter doesn't zero out, even if you've read all the messages in Messages...

Apple Messages Messages Stuck

Look, Apple is sitting on =literally= billions of dollars. With all that money, can't they fucking afford to beta test their shit? This is amateur hour. This is Microsoft. This is everything Apple is not. And if it keeps up, Apple's going to eventually lose to a company that's more like Apple was than what Apple is now. And they would totally deserve it. STOP DICKING AROUND AND FIX YOUR SHIT, APPLE!

   
• Trader Joe's Disgust. I am a huge, huge fan of Trader Joe's. I would go so far as to say that I adore their vegetarian food selections. Most everything I've ever tried has been high-quality and delicious. Which is why it sucks so hard when you buy something with high expectations and get burned. Namely, their "Fettuccine Alfredo"

When I saw the "IMPORTED FROM ITALY" line on the bag, I assumed I would be buying the flavorful pasta that I get when I'm actually visiting Italy instead of the boring cream-based shit we call "Alfredo Sauce" here in the states. So imagine my disgust when it ended up being that same bland, tasteless, watery, slop I can get out of a frickin' box. So very sad. Even sadder that I bought three bags of the crap.

   
• getEQUAL Rudeness. One of the current news items making me much angrier than usual comes from a Michele Obama fundraiser. The First Lady was speaking when all of a sudden some asshole decides to heckle her over government contractors discriminating against gays and lesbians. And whenever something like this happens, the first thing that flashes through my mind is what an incredibly huge douche the heckler is for disrupting EVERYBODY ELSE'S PEACE. I don't give a shit how important your message is... or even how much I might agree with it... it's just fucking rude. Well, Mary Elizabeth Williams has written a brilliant short article on the subject that I consider critical reading and the final word on the matter. Well worth your time. And, as a side-note, congratulations to Mrs. Obama for being one heck of a class act.

   
• Peter LaBarbera Hilarity. No gay man I know obsesses about gay sex as much as anti-gay crusader "Porno Pete" LaBarbera. The guy regularly goes to gay events so he can "document" the "disgusting and immoral behavior" he finds there. But, odds are, he just likes to look at half-naked men and add them to his private video collection.

Today he decided to speak out against homosexuality in front of The Human Rights Campaign's headquarters. It was yet another embarrassing "press conference" that nobody gives a shit about, because this kind of bigotry and hatred just isn't playing well in 2013. I used to find LaBarbera's antics funny and a little pathetic. But it's getting old, and is obviously a sham to cover his obsession with penises. How I wish all these bigoted assholes would just shut the fuck up already so we doesn't have to deal with their obvious overcompensation.

   
And... breathe...

   

WWDC 2013

Posted on Monday, June 10th, 2013

Dave!Alrighty then. As a Certified Apple Whore, it's required by law that I post my thoughts on all the stuff Apple talked about in the keynote speech of the 2013 World Wide Developer's Conference (watch it for yourself right here!).

So for all you Apple-haters, I apologize. Come back tomorrow and I promise to draw a monkey or something.

iPhone with iOS7
At Apple, our new visual design direction is lickable like it's 1998!

   
Apple's new iCEO, Tim Cook, is no Steve Jobs... but I really like the guy. He gives a good presentation, represents Apple well, and inspires confidence in his company, which is all that matters. Seeing Phil Schiller is always fun. The guy has a genuine enthusiasm about Apple that's hard to beat. It's good to see more from Eddy Cue, Apple's internet services guru too. But the real standout this time around? Craig Federighi, vice president of software engineering. The guy is funny as hell, and has a conversational tone when he's presenting that sucks you in and compels you love Apple and the things they do. Seriously, the keynote is totally worth watching just to see this guy at the top of his game.

MAC OS X!
It looks like most of the stuff going on here is under-the-hood improvements, which is fine. But there are a chunk of notable usability enhancements as well, so I'm hopeful that I won't have as many problems with Mavericks as I had with Mountain Lion. Unfortunately, the one thing... THE ONE THING I WANTED TO SEE... was not shown. And that's the option to keep the menu bar showing at all times with full-screen apps. I am so sick and fucking tired of dealing with the bouncing menu bar intruding when I don't want it... and having to go hunt for it when I do want it... WHICH IS ALL THE TIME!!! The clock is there. My battery status is there. My sound volume indicator is there. Just give me a check-box option to keep the menu bar showing always and I'll be fine. Anyway... on with the show...

  • OS X Mavericks. So now that Apple has run out of big cats to name their OS X releases, they're going all mavericky and using surfing locations. I can't wait for OS X Shooting Gallery, OS X Kawaihae Breakwater, and OS X Padang Padang.
  • Finder Tabs. It's about fucking time. Third-party Finder replacements have had tabs for an eternity. I thought that Apple had seen the light when they put tabs in Safari eons ago, but better late than never.
  • Tags. Am I being insane, or is this just a re-do of the "labels" feature that we've had on the Mac for decades? Sure, "tags" look easier to manage, locate, and work with, but this is hardly revolutionary stuff.
  • Multi-Display. I love it when Apple gets riotous applause for something that they should have been doing all along. Granted, Apple's handling of multiple displays has always been miles above any other OS, but it's still been pretty broken. Now, at long last, they've decided to do something about their busted shit and they bring the house down? Really? I've gave up on multiple-displays when their "Spaces" virtual desktops became useable... but I admit to being thrilled with being able to use Apple TV as a second monitor that's independent of my MacBook's screen. Finally, I can send video to my television while I keep working!
  • CPU Nap & Memory Compression. Now here is where things start to get interesting, and where Apple is innovating with something that's more than just window dressing. OS X is getting very smart about using precious battery-sucking CPU cycles only when their needed, which should really help with battery life quite nicely. And using memory compression over hard disk virtual memory is truly behind-the-scenes magic that's going to have all kinds of yummy ramifications. Bravo.
  • Safari. Not a lot to see here that's new... but Apple looks to be doing a lot of cool stuff under the hood to keep Safari ahead of the game. Speed and efficiency are always welcome in a browser because it's always running (at least on my Macs), so the battery savings should really add up.
  • iCloud Keychain. What. The. Fuck. Took. So. Damn. Long? It seems like I've been bitching about this horrendous load of bullshit forever. In fact it's just been since Apple REMOVED keychain syncing when they killed off "Mobile Me" and replaced it with iCloud... but it feels like it's been forever. It kind of pisses me off that people were clapping over this one, because it feels like Apple is being rewarded for bringing back a feature they never should have fucking removed in the first place. Oh well. Looks like we're also getting a 1Password password/credit card management replacement, which is sad for the folks at AgileBits, but it's something that Apple should have done a long time ago.
  • Notifications. At first, I was thrilled that Apple came up with a system-wide notifications solution because I had always had some problems with the third-party solution called "Growl." The honeymoon didn't last, however, because notifications were just irritating distractions that you could never really do anything with except dismiss. You had to find the app alerting you, fire it up, do your business, then go back to what you were doing when you were so rudely interrupted. Well, not any more. Notifications are actually smart enough to let you act on them directly instead of just sitting there like a dumb shit. Long overdue.
  • Auto-Updating Apps. Some people will undoubtedly bitch about this, but I am over-the-moon happy. Apps SHOULD just update themselves when there's an update. Why bother me to do this menial shit manually? Sure, you run the risk of installing an update that has a huge bug, which is why so many people wait for a while before installing new updates, but I am not one of those people. I always update immediately, so... yay. I'm assuming this can be turned off for people who don't want it.
  • Calendar. Apple has always been way, way behind the curve with their calendar app. Compared to Microsoft Outlook on Windows, "Calendar" is pretty pathetic. Sure there are third party add-ons like FantastiCal that help, but the Mac needs a serious native calendar and scheduling app. Unfortunately, we're still taking baby-steps here, but I guess any improvement is a good thing. The new "Info Card" with travel times, forecasts, and contextual info is pretty slick (though it seems a bit pale compared to the way Google handles this on their Android handsets).
  • iBooks. So... Amazon has had a Kindle reader available on the Mac for like... forever. Which means Apple is playing catch-up again. STOP APPLAUDING FOR SOMETHING APPLE SHOULD HAVE DONE WHEN iBOOKS FIRST CAME OUT!!
  • Maps. Okay, being able to send directions directly to iPhone is cool. Flyover is amazing. A new SDK to allow developers to include maps in their apps is sweet. But I'm still not convinced that Apple's Maps is worth using over Google Maps. At least not yet. Apple Maps is horrible at locating businesses, and it's still giving me fucked-up directions from time to time. Until Apple can vastly improve the data driving the app, it's always going to be second-ran to Google.

MACBOOK AIR!
I love my MacBook Pro with Retina Display. It is unquestionably the best bit of tech I have ever owned, and the size, weight, features, and speed are amazing. That being said, there are times when I'm traveling where I would really appreciate having a much smaller machine to lug around. Basically, an iPad that's a fully-functional computer when I need it. The tiny 11-inch MacBook Air has always been so close to what I wanted. Now I think it's there. All I need is a thousand dollars and I'm golden.

MAC PRO!
"Can't innovate any more, my ass! — Phil Schiller, Vice President of World-Wide Marketing.
I honestly don't know where to go with this. I finally gave up on Apple ever releasing a new Mac Pro a year ago, and am now using an iMac that I'm quite happy with. That being said, I would much rather have a "pro" machine that can tear through the bigger projects I have to work on... especially when it comes to 3-D modeling and rendering... and video editing. And here it is. Except... it's not really a "pro" machine, is it? Sure it's got all kinds of killer pro features and looks fucking amazing... BUT EXTERNAL EXPANSION ONLY?!???? WHAT THE BLOODY FUCK?!?? One of the major differences between consumer machines and pro machines is that you can open the guts and configure the thing the way you need it for the kind of work you're going to be doing. But Apple has lived up to every criticism by choosing design over functionality, and it's a load of bullshit. Because it's BADLY DESIGNED! So you can rotate it to plug things in. That sounds cool, right? But what happens when you've got a ton of crap plugged into it? How does it rotate around when you've got a dozen cables anchoring it in place? I'm not debating whether innovations like the new "tri-core cooling technology" is cool... it's frickin' awesome... but this is not the machine pros are after, and it's a really shitty thing for Apple to do to those who have been waiting so damn long for a new Pro machine to come out. When I bought my iMac, I worried I was making a mistake, and a new Mac Pro would be released that would work so much better for my needs. Well all those worries are gone. If I had the choice even today between an iMac and a Mac "Pro"... I'd go with the iMac. This is the fucking Mac Cube all over again! Did NOBODY at Apple learn a damn thing from that fiasco?

iCLOUD!
Nobody is more convinced that the future of computing lies in The Cloud than I am. Having access to all your stuff wherever you are with whatever device you have is the future. The problem is that nobody is doing it very well... including Apple. But, to their credit, they do seem to be the most interested in figuring it all out. More and more cloud functionality is coming into place. Apple's cloud services are getting more reliable and robust every day. And things like iTunes Match are demonstrating the promise of what "cloud computing" is all about... have access to my entire music and movie/television library anywhere there's internet from my Mac, iPad, or iPhone? Yes please. It's all magic, right? Well... not really. Because Apple is constantly sabotaging themselves. Want to stream your purchased movies to your Mac or iDevice? Tough shit! Apple only allows streaming to AppleTV... anything else requires that you download the whole fucking file first. Never mind that Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, and the rest of the known fucking universe allows video streaming, Apple doesn't. Will this be fixed with iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks? Who the fuck knows? Will Apple fix the myriad of problems that prevent developers from integrating iCloud into their apps? Who the fuck knows? It goes on and on. The fact that Apple is working so hard on getting The Cloud done right is meaningless if they can't see the forest for the trees. YOU HAVE TO FUCKING COMPETE! Except Apple doesn't seem to care when the competition is trouncing all over them... they're Apple, so they don't have to! Except they really do. We finally get keychain syncing back, but it almost feels like too little too late when services like Dropbox and solutions like 1Password stepped up to the plate when Apple wouldn't for so damn long. And there's the crux of everything that's wrong at Apple... THEY decide what's important to their users rather than responding to what users find important and are actually doing. I love Apple and all, but I'm just so fucking sick of this.

iTUNES RADIO!
Well, it looks a little more polished than Spotify or Pandora... and it looks a lot smarter, even if the details are sketchy (how many skips do you get an hour?). I will probably use it. I will probably discover new music. I will probably end up buying a shitload more music than I am now. So, mission accomplished, I guess. The fact that iTunes Match subscribers don't have to deal with ads is kind of a nice bonus.

CLOUDY iWORK!
Oh... so Apple hasn't killed iWork on the Mac after all! It's just so hard to tell, what with them NOT UPDATING IT FOREVER. Just like with Aperture, buying iWork almost immediately makes you feel like you've purchased abandonware. Sure they'll fix a big or add a little fluff every once in a while (NEW! Documents in The Cloud!)... but it's hard to have faith with Apple as a serious app developer when they don't maintain a consistent release schedule. Years can go by with no major release or update, so you just never know. And here we are at long last... iWork is getting updated. Or is it? Because the focus seems to be on competing with Google Docs with a browser-based solution. Well, I have to tell you, this has me worried. Very worried. And it all comes down to this... will future releases of iWork (the app) be limited by iWork (the web app)? Is an Apple software engineer going to say "Here's a great idea for iWork Numbers... won't it be cool to give our users this functionality?" Only to be greeted with "Oh shit, we can't add that feature... we'd never be able to implement that in a web browser!" Well, I just don't know. But that would suck. And it wouldn't be surprising from Apple. All that being said? How frickin' amazing was that demo of iWork in the Cloud?

iOS 7!
Well, here it is... the moment the world has been waiting for... the next generation of Apple's iOS. The operating system which powers gazillions of iPhones, iPods, iPads, and whatever new iDevices Apple comes up with (iWatch?). I'll reserve comment on the new design visuals until I've actually seen them up-close-and-personal, but my initial reaction is mixed. I like the flatness of it all, which feels modern and forward-thinking. The typography and the stark, clean layouts are stellar. But the bright candy colors that I thought were banished with the old iMac aesthetic feel more "dated and tired" than "retro cool." Yet... Apple is nothing if not a trend-setter, so maybe it's a look that's making a comeback. I guess we'll find out this Fall. If I were to summarize, I'd say that I like most of what I'm seeing... but not everything. If nothing else, I think it's a consistent visual language that competitors lack will help keep Apple at the top of the heap.

  • Skeuomorphic. When the iPhone first debuted, there was really nothing else like it. The thing could become new devices just by running an app. To assist people with understanding this, Apple's designers used skeuomorphic design. This is what they call it when the calendar looks like an actual desktop calendar with leather binding and stitching... a voice recorder looks like a physical recording device with switches and knobs... and so on. At the time, I didn't mind it. But, as time wore on, it made Apple look incredibly dated. Fortunately, Jony Ive and his team have finally gotten rid of this crap so that iOS7 looks sleek and modern.
  • Control Center. I'm running out of ways to say "about fucking time." It was insane... in-sane that you had to navigate through an app and two menus just to adjust brightness, turn on Bluetooth, or whatever. Now everything is just a swipe up from the screen.
  • Notification Center. I was scared to death that Apple was going to copy Microsoft's "Live Tiles" which I fucking hate to bombard you with information that is ultimately no more helpful than the little red badges Apple is already using. Fortunately, Apple is smarter than that, and just tweaked Notification Center with a new look and some new toys. Thank. God.
  • Multitasking. And here is a situation where I can fully appreciate Apple taking their time to get it right rather than blasting out some battery-sucking "LET'S MULTI-TASK EVERYTHING!" bullshit that renders your phone useless half-way through the day. Nope, Apple's approach is to give us a "smart multi-tasker" that learns how you use your phone and assigns CPU threads appropriately. The interface is nothing new... looking a lot like the "cards" that came from the ill-fated Palm OS, and what's been available for eons with jail-breaking hacks... but it's very nice to have something so polished that's available to everybody.
  • Photos. The demo of the new "Photos" started out by showing how the average iPhone user has a mess of thousands of photos piled up that makes it tough to find anything. "We've all been there?" Yes. Yes we have. Now with "moments" the organization is automatic and oh so easy. I am forever digging through my photos, and this is welcome relief.
  • Camera. Oog. I'm not so sure about this. Swiping to switch between four cameras actually seems slighty more confusing than the little photo/video switch we have now. But I'm certainly willing to give Apple's designers the benefit of the doubt. Hopefully it will make it less likely to accidentally be in video mode when you're trying to shoot a photo. The filters are a nice addition if you like that kind of thing (and, obviously, a lot of people do), but I'll still be using a more feature-rich third-party app for photo manipulation.
  • Air Drop. Local file sharing... brilliantly realized. Though I have to admit that my favorite part of the demo was Craig Federighi's slam on Samsung's inelegant "tap-to-share" solution. The bad news is that you have to have an iPhone 5 to take advantage of the peer-to-peer WiFi networking that makes it possible but... still... wow. And, oh yeah, the other drop-sharing options are nice too. I just hope they work better than their current "share sheets" which don't post my photos to Facebook or Twitter half the time I use them.
  • Safari. Any improvements in speed are welcome... but the new tab-browsing, which is so much better than what we have now, is what makes this upgrade worth it.
  • Mail. Yeah, it's all visually beautiful and shit but, if the back-end is still totally fucking crap, what difference does it make? I am so sick and tired of disappearing emails... emails that are never delivered... mail that never deletes... the hideous amount of time it takes for the app to check for new mail... the list goes on and on. Something as critical as frickin' EMAIL deserves a bullet-proof user experience and rock-solid operation in addition to a pretty interface. If Apple can't deliver the whole package, they should just get the fuck out of the email business. Seriously.
  • Weather. So pretty. And adding the time zones to each location is long overdue.
  • Messages. Again, you can beautify everything as much as you'd like... but if messages isn't reliable, then it doesn't matter. I am still having issues with disappearing messages when syncing between iPhone/iPad/Mac, and it drives me insane. Blackberry Messenger is apparently coming to iPhone. Their rock-solid reliability could be an interesting option if Apple doesn't get their shit together.
  • Siri. I may be one of the few people who actually likes Siri, uses her often, and thinks it's an invaluable part of the iPhone experience. That being said, there is so much room for improvement. Siri can be stupid as a box of rocks with simple requests that she should be able to handle. Even stuff she's programmed to handle can go badly wrong if conditions aren't exactly as expected... such as a hiccup in your internet connection while driving through a parking garage. This is an area where Apple should literally spare no expense, because it could be the one area where iPhone completely trounces the competition. Pairing with Bing to get deeper search results and compete with Google was smart. But Apple needs to be going so much further than that. Give us all the Star Trek computer experience of our fantasies, and THEN you can take a minute to catch your breath. Until then, spend more money. Hire more people. Exceed our every expectation. If you don't, your competition will, and you can't catch up to perceptual magic.

PARALLAX!
Okay. There's one thing I saw in the keynote that has completely haunted me about the new design, and I love it more than sliced bread. The new iOS is multi-plane display capable...

IPhone Parallax Multi-Planar Display

This basically means that everything is set on three-dimensional layers, so as you move your phone around, the different planes move to communicate depth. Allowing you to "see around" stuff on upper layers as the camera is rotated. In video games and animation, this is called "parallax scrolling" (or something like that), and it's some visual trickery that really pays off. The idea of having such lush visuals on my frickin' PHONE is pretty spectacular. It's the little touches like this that makes Apple be Apple, and keeps Apple Whores such as myself in a constant state of geek heaven.

Annnnnnd... the end.

For now. As I get a better look at all this stuff, I'm sure I'll have more to say.

   

Auto

Posted on Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Dave!When last we left our intrepid hero, his car was making heinous rattling noises.

The only mechanic shop I know in Spokane is Dee's Auto. So in-between work and checking out of my hotel, I gave them a call. They said that muffler & exhaust were out of their expertise, and I should give Muffler Mart a try.

How refreshing to have a mechanic send business away rather than charge you to take a look at something they know they can't fix, then make you pay for a referral.

Muffler Mart ("Three Old Guys and One Kid Work Here!") very kindly squeezed my piece-of-crap car in for a look after only a short wait. They found that my exhaust system was in great shape, and the racket was just a screw that had gone missing (I can so relate to that). They replaced the screw and refused to let me pay them for their time.

How refreshing to have a mechanic not try and sell you something you don't need, but instead apply a band-aid to your car's ouchie at no charge.

Am I in the Twilight Zone? Not one, but two honest mechanics?

So... when my muffler actually does need to be replaced, I guess I'm driving 3-1/2 to Spokane. Muffler Mart is exactly the kind of business I want to support with my hard-earned dollars.

In other news, this happened...

iPhone Too Hot!

Yes. iPhone will not work because it is too hot to use.

UNLESS YOU NEED TO MAKE AN EMERGENCY CALL! THEN IT WILL WORK PERFECTLY FINE!

I guess 9-1-1 calls have magical heat-defying properties.

Lesson learned. Don't leave your iPhone in a hot car even for just a little while.

   

iMessage

Posted on Monday, August 12th, 2013

Dave!I am so sick and tired of Apple's complete inability to keep iMessage and Apple ID operating that I want to shit myself until I vomit.

As I reported A FUCKING YEAR AGO, Apple has some serious problems when it comes to using your Apple ID for iMessaging with Mountain Lion. Seemingly at random everything will go to shit for no discernible reason, and the you can't ever get things working again without a call to Apple. And, odds are, you'll be on the phone forever because even though they are aware of the problem, they're not really doing anything about it...

iMessage Error!!!

And that's just the tip of the iceberg, of course. Mac OS X has a printing system that has been garbage since day one... AND IT NEVER GETS ANY BETTER. I still have printers randomly drop off the face of the network, just as I've had for a decade. I still have to delete printers, reset the printing system, and restart my Mac over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again because I can't print... even though I was printing just fine an hour ago.

And don't get me started on not being able to have a persisten menu bar in full-screen apps. That idiocy drives me bat-shit insane on a daily basis.

And what about Mail not being able to send Windows-friendly attachments that are actually Windows-friendly attachments?

And what about...

ARRRRRRGGGHHH!

I know that most of Apple's focus is on the while iPhone/iPad universe because it's just so damn profitable... but holy shit... there are problems which have been hanging around OS X FOR FUCKING YEARS! When will Apple just bite the fucking bullet, commit the resources, AND GET THEM FIXED?!?

My guess? Never.

That's when.

They are so far past giving a shit now that I'm shocked they even bother at all.

And I anticipate Mac OS X "Mavericks" won't be much better.

I guess somebody had to take Microsoft's place in the shit service and crap development department.

I just never thought it would be Apple.

   
UPDATE: After many, many attempts at solving my iMessage problem, I logged out and back in to iCloud for the millionth time and ended up getting a new message: "The registering device does not have appropriate credentials." Googling this actually gave me a solution... blocking all local storage for the Flash plugin (in the System Preferences under the Apple Menu)...

Flash Player Prefs

And... lo and behold... it works. I can log in to iMessage again. Still no clue why it randomly stopped working on both of my Macs at the same time (was it a Flash update?)... but here it is.

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Brighten

Posted on Saturday, September 7th, 2013

Dave!I've been fighting a pinched nerve in my neck ever since returning from San Francisco. I have no idea what I did to make it happen, but over the past week it's gone from "uncomfortable" to "agonizing." Today I couldn't even get Migraine-Strength Excedrin to touch it, which made for an uncomfortable day. And inconvenient, given the amount of work I have to get caught up on.

Not the best Saturday on record, but I've had worse.

While trying to find a comfortable position to lay down (which doesn't exist), I was using my iPhone to peruse the Apple rumor sites. Everybody's favorite fruit-themed computer company has a "special event" this coming Tuesday, and sites are abuzz with what Apple might have up their sleeve...

Apple Event Invitation

The rumor mill suggests new low-cost plastic iPhones (in colors!) and a new iPhone 5S which will come in a gold/champaign color for the first time (in addition to black and white models) plus have a fingerprint reader for privacy/security purposes. It's also speculated that we'll get an updated look at iOS7 along with a release date.

Well, okay then.

I should probably be a lot more excited about what's going to happen on Tuesday than I actually am. Part of that is because my upgrade cycle won't allow me to get a new iPhone until the iPhone 6 arrives... and it's partly because my neck and head are killing me.

But mostly because Apple has gone with random polka dots for their new theming? Dots. Really, Apple?

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5C/S

Posted on Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Dave!And so Tim Cook & Co. trotted out their new iPhones today.

Thankfully, nothing was so compelling that I flushed my iPhone 5 down the toilet and drove to Seattle so I could stand in line at the Apple Store to get a new one.

That being said, I was very impressed with the direction that Apple is taking their mobile handsets. And it all comes down to this beautiful quote from Jony Ive, head of Apple's design team...

"It's not just rampant technology for technology's sake... every single component... every process... has been considered and measured to make sure that it's truly useful. That it actually enhances the user's experience. This care... this consideration... extends to how we protect all the important information that you actually carry with you on your iPhone."

Apple isn't just slapping shit on their phones willy-nilly, they're thinking about it.

And right now this includes protecting our personal information... more and more of which is ending up on our phones every day. From the keynote, Apple is basically saying that very few people bother to protect their phones with a passcode or other security measures (I know I don't), and they feel it's important that this attitude be changed.

And so they came up with "Touch ID," which is fingerprint identification technology that has been woven into their new high-end 5S model to be pretty much effortless and transparent. No more having to type codes or waste time swiping... just put a finger (or thumb!) on the "Home Button" and Touch ID will verify your fingerprint and unlock the phone automatically. Simple. Any barriers or excuses to not secure your phone have just vanished...

iPhone 5S Touch ID

So very Apple.

Well, unless you don't have fingerprints, I guess.

And assuming it actually works as advertised.

The phone has also gone 64-bit, is unbelievably fast, and has graphic capabilities that shame a lot of desktop computers. But let's get to the one feature that is almost enough to make me sell my kidney so I can buy a new iPhone 5S the minute it goes on sale.

The camera...

iPhone 5S Camera

I recently bought a beautiful new camera... the Sony NEX-6. A big reason that I invested the money in it was because it takes SLR-quality photos, but loses the SLR mirror so that it does the same job at a much smaller size and weight. This reduced bulk encourages me to take a "pro" camera with me much more often than I used to, so I end up taking more photos.

But, I'm not going to lie here, even with the new NEX-6 in my possession, I am still taking the vast majority of my day-to-day photos with my iPhone. It's just so unbelievably handy and it's always with me.

For that reason, I want a camera on my phone that will give me the highest possible quality image. And Apple has stepped up the game once again with their beautiful new 5-element lens camera that has a larger aperture to let in more light... and larger pixel sensors to actually take advantage of it. AND for those times that the scene is still too dark... they've added a new two-tone flash that intelligently senses the available light for the proper tone, then fires a combination of white and amber light on the scene to get a "true tone" image that's the best it can be.

There's loads of other cool new stuff with the camera... like selective slo-mo video, auto image stabilization, intelligent photo focus, and live filters... and it all adds up to a very compelling package that makes the iPhone a serious choice not just as a mobile phone, but for a camera as well.

This page at Apple dedicated to the new camera is well worth checking out. Pretty incredible stuff!

Everything else at the event was fairly tame. I like most of the colors and love the feature set of the new iPhone 5C, but honestly thought this was going to be the sub-$50 phone that could have really broke into the cheap handset segment for Apple. At $99, it's still running too expensive for a lot of people looking to buy a phone. Sure, they can get a 4S for free, but who wants to invest in yesterday's technology? Kind of a missed opportunity, really.

And, of course, I'm chomping at the bit for iOS 7. When using it on my development handset, it's really hard to go back to my iPhone sporting iOS 6... which just doesn't feel as "elegant" as it used to.

Oh well. I guess a week isn't a long time to wait.

Except... YES, IT REALLY IS!

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EyeOhEssSe7en

Posted on Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Dave!And so iOS 7 was released at long last, and has been trumpeted as "The biggest update to the iPhone since the original iPhone." After using it on my development iPhone for weeks, I'd have to say that's pretty much all marketing hype. Yes, it looks fresh, but it's pretty much a few really good new features tacked on to the iOS we know and love... but with a fresh coat of paint.

Not that this is a bad thing! Truth be told, Apple got so many things right when they first created the iPhone that there's not a lot that needed to evolve and change. I'd take old iOS 6 over my Microsoft Windows Phone... and I'd definitely take old iOS 6 over any of the four Android mobiles I own. Now that we're at iOS 7, that goes double. It was a rough start, but now I like it. A lot.

And so now I'm going to talk about some iOS 7 stuff. It's not going to be in-depth, because there's a gazillion websites out there that have this covered, but it will be things I feel are a bit annoying. Because that's what I do.

   
iOS 7 Home Screen

HOME...
The text is crazy thin... almost too thin... which makes it tough to read in spots. Fortunately there's an option for "bold text" under the General/Accessibility settings, so it's an easy fix. There's no fix for Apple's new boring-ass icons, however, and that's a shame. Yes, some are not too bad... Weather is simple, but effective... Passbook is kinda cool... but what in the hell is going on with Photos and FaceTime? I don't know what the hell Photos is trying to say, and FaceTime uses a video camera shape for an icon that practically doesn't exist any more. And then there's Safari and Settings... both of which are somehow overly-detailed and plain-ass boring at the same time. Total garbage. Give me the beautiful icons for Tweetbot and Reeder any day.

   
IOS7 Icon Zoom!

EFFECTS...
Overall, I like Microsoft Phone 8 well enough... but the nonstop barrage of time-wasting animations, flippy-tiles, and other inane bullshit drives me insane. I was always much happier with the more restrained approach that Apple took with iOS 6... pretty animations, but not in your way or wasting time. So of course Apple threw all that out the window with OS 7. Now the phone fades on and fades off... icons glide in slowly from beyond... apps zooooom open and closed. And while it's nifty the first fifty times you see it, by the fifty-first you just want your life back. Hopefully Apple tightens these up in the future, because wasting people's time like this is just wrong.

   
iOS 7 Today

NOTIFICATION CENTER...
An essential tool for managing all the alerts and info your iPhone is throwing at you, Notification Center was a welcome addition. Unfortunately, it's taken a dive in iOS 7. The super-thin text makes readability difficult, and will probably be what convinces me to turn on "bold" text in Accessibility settings. Also, the addition of a "TODAY" tab is something I really, really don't want. Just give me a newest-first list of alerts, and I'm fine. If iPhone would stick to the tab I last used, it would be okay, but it randomly switches to "TODAY" for no discernible reason. Oddly enough, you can turn off "TODAY" in the lock-screen. Why they don't allow you to turn it off in Notification Center is a mystery.

   
iOS 7 Passbook

PASSBOOK...
If there's one feature that has become essential in my travels, it's Passbook. It has my loyalty cards, train tickets, airline boarding passes, and other great stuff available instantly without adding bulk to my wallet! So imagine how thrilled I was to find out that the new iOS 7 Passbook was going to allow you to scan barcodes on cards so you can add them to your iPhone arsenal! Except... it doesn't let you create cards at all. It scans your cards and sees if it can find an existing card to add. Except in the ELEVEN cards I tried, it worked on exactly zero of them. Suckage. GIVE US A FREAKIN' CARD DESIGNER, APPLE!

   
i OS7 Siri Stupid

SIRI, PART 1...
Apple's "personal digital assistant" which is called "Siri" is something people either love or hate... use or don't use. I love her. I use her. And with iOS 7 Apple has given her a higher quality voice and even more functionality. They've even given us a way to make her smarter, thanks to being able to tell her when she's pronounced a word wrong. At first I thought that she would also be learning from the new "tap to edit" link that appears after your query has been parsed, but she doesn't. For example, if you say "Open Waze" to have her open the Waze app... she thinks you are saying "Ways" and so I tap to edit it and type "Waze." Simple, right? But Siri forgets what I've taught her, so next time I say "Open Waze" she gets it wrong again. Bad enough she doesn't even try to find the app when she knows I'm asking for an app, but not being able to teach her that I actually have a Waze app is pretty lame.

   
i OS7 Siri is a Man, Baby!

SIRI, PART 3...
One thing I was excited about with the New and Improved Siri was the option to have her become a him and speak with a male voice. This would allow me to live with HAL from the movie 2001 in my pocket, which is a dream come true for somebody with my name. "I'm sorry, Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that...

Except... male Siri doesn't sound like HAL. He sounds like female Siri who has been pitch-shifted to have a deeper voice. This wouldn't be terrible if Apple allowed 3rd party voices so somebody could build HAL for iPhone, but they don't. Boo.

   
iOS 7 Siri Settings

SIRI, PART 3...
As I mentioned, Siri has new functionality that's kinda handy. When you tell her "Turn on Bluetooth" she understands and takes care of it. Cool! Except... she appears to be severely limited here, and it's maddening. Why is it I can say "Turn on data roaming" and she understands it, knows it's located in "Cellular Settings," and provides a link to get there... but she won't just change the damn setting for me? These kinds of omissions drive me nuts.

   
iOS 7 Control Center

CONTROL CENTER...
Apple did us a huge, huge favor when they finally gave us a way to access frequently-used settings and tools in iOS7's new "Control Center." And it's great. Just swipe up from the bottom, and you're there! Except... it's not configurable, which sucks ass. When I'm traveling, I use international data roaming, which is very expensive. In order to save money, I find myself turning it on and off frequently. As mentioned above, Siri can't do this. Instead it takes multiple taps to get to the settings because I can't configure Control Center to have it, and this is nuts. I rarely use my phone as a calculator or stopwatch, why in the hell are they taking up space that could be designated for something I will use.

   
iOS 7 Cellular

DATA ROAMING...
Falling in line with my previous point, turning off International Data Roaming wouldn't be so important if I could choose which apps are able to use it. But, while iOS 7 does allow you to choose which apps can use cellular data, it's all or nothing. There's no way of saying "This app can use Cellular data at home, but not Data Roaming abroad." So, basically, Apple has screwed international travelers not once here, but three times. Does nobody on the iOS team ever leave the US?

   
And... that's about it for the things I would like changed in iOS 7.

Today.

Tomorrow the list may be entirely different.

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iTunes Radio

Posted on Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Dave!One of the big new "features" for iOS that got touted at Apple's event was iTunes Radio, so I'm busting it out to take a look.

It's very cool.

It's also very dangerous.

But first we'll start with the cool stuff...

iTunes Radio Home Screen

Newly integrated into iTunes, iTunes Radio is a similar service to either Pandora (free-listening ad-supported) or Rhapsody (ad-free membership service through iTunes Match) whereas you can listen to a variety of songs which have been helpfully organized in "similarity groups" based around artists, genres, or songs you like. For example, if you like Depeche Mode as I do, setting up a "Depeche Mode Station" is dead simple. Just search for the artist and pick your poison...

ITunes Radio New Station

Annnnnd... done! Your station cues up immediately and starts playing...

iTunes Radio My Stations

It's important to understand that this station is not Depeche Mode exclusive. You'll get occasional Depeche Mode, but you'll also get similar artists like Erasure, New Order, Pet Shop Boys, and Eurythmics. Just as if you were to create a "Depeche Mode Enjoy the Silence Radio Station" it's not just going to play that one song over and over... you're going to get that song plus similar tracks.

If you don't have an artist in mind, iTunes Radio has some "featured stations" to get you started. These include stations based on iTunes chart-toppers, popular genres (like Pop and Rap), sponsored stations (like the Pepsi Pulse Pop station), and even "Guest DJ" stations by popular artists and performers...

ITunes Radio Stations

"Guest DJ" stations have commentary by the "guest" which may add information about the song (if it's theirs) or provide insight as to why they like the song (if it's somebody else's). Unlike songs, which can be skipped, commentary has to be played all the way through.

Which brings us to "skips."

Just like other internet radio services, iTunes Radio puts a limit on the number of songs you can skip past... six per hour (regardless of whether or not you are an iTunes Match subscriber). This may sound limiting but, if you find yourself wanting more than six, you're probably not listening to the right station in the first place. But what if you can't find a different station that's closer to what you're looking for? Fortunately, iTunes Radio gives you options to customize your stations so that they'll be more to your liking and less "skippable." The easiest way to do this is head to the "Star Menu" and tell iTunes Radio whether you want more songs like what's playing... or not to play that song ever again...

ITunes Radio Like

I could be wrong, but I think choosing "Never Play This Song" only applies to the current channel. So if there's an artist you really hate, you'll want to ban them from every channel manually. Fortunately, that's not quite as horrible as it sounds. You don't have to wait for each of their songs to show up, you can just ban an entire band from your station, or add them, if you'd prefer...

iTunes Radio Adjustments

Also note that you can temper a station between "Hits" (most popular songs), "Variety" (all songs), or "Discovery" (obscure songs). To be honest, I don't notice a heck of a lot of difference at this point, but maybe that's something that will get better with time? Or maybe I just wasn't giving iTunes Radio enough time to build a list. I'm impatient that way. One thing that would be nice would be if "Discovery" mode looked at your library to play stuff you don't have... and perhaps that's the intent... but it's not very effective if that's the case.

And now for the problems. Which are surprisingly few so far.

The most puzzling problem is duplicate songs. On more than a couple occasions, a song will play again for a second or third time after it's just finished. It's happened to me four times now, and I'm not quite sure what the deal is. At first I thought that maybe they were coming from different albums (original album, greatest hits album, compilation album)... but a quick check under history shows this is not the case, so I don't know what's going on...

iTunes Radio Doubles

The other problem is something that may not be an actual problem. I had thought that iTunes Radio was going to be dynamically syncing across my devices. Meaning I can start listening to a song on my Mac, then pick up where I left off when I head out with my iPhone. But maybe I heard something wrong... or misunderstood. In any event, it ain't happening. It should.

And here's where we get to the dangerous part.

With every song played, Apple conveniently places a "BUY ME!" button next to it. Whether it's in your play history, or in the track info window, you're being given every opportunity possible to purchase whatever it is you like listening to that you don't already own. Like so...

iTunes Radio Purchase Button

Now, this is dangerous for two reasons.

The first is that you'll find yourself buying a lot of music because it's just so convenient. I ended up purchasing $26 of new stuff in just one day (curse you, 1980's and your delicious music!). I'm not an avid Pandora listener by any means, but I maybe purchased two whole songs in the years I've been using it off-and-on. Good thing I have a $50 iTunes Gift Card to burn through.

The second danger is more serious... iTunes Radio doesn't seem to check your library to see if you already own the song. So, unlike the iTunes Music Store, you're in real danger of purchasing stuff you've already bought. In some cases, this is somewhat understandable. The Depeche Mode song Something to Do that I own is, I suppose, different from the Something to Do: Remastered version that Apple wants me to buy. But that's not the case with Yaz's Only You which is the exact same Only from the exact same album I already own (twice if you count the version from the 1999 Best Of... album), and yet, when it plays I'll be encouraged to buy it a third time...

ITunes Buy Me!

Note that the Upstairs At Eric's version that iTunes Radio played and wanted me to buy has been "matched" by iTunes Match. Apple knows I already own it! The second copy from the Best Of... album was actually purchased from iTunes. They definitely know I own that! So... like I said... dangerous. But, than again, I haven't actually bought music I already own (that I know of), so maybe Apple checks with the iTunes Store and iTunes Match before it actually charges you? I dunno. If this is the case, they really should go a step further and not waste your time encouraging you to spend your hard-earned money on something you already own (but may have forgotten about). It happens when you own thousands and thousands of songs.

So... anyway... danger aside, I love iTunes Radio. Love it.

Once I fine-tune a station, I'm getting even better play-lists than I did from iTunes Genius Mixes. Plus discovering some terrific stuff I either never knew about or didn't recall hearing before. And that's about the best I could have hoped for.

I just hope I don't go broke buying new music while listening to it.

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Mavericky

Posted on Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Dave!And so I installed Mac OS X Mavericks on my work Mac.

This resulted in all my email being deleted in Apple Mail. "No big deal," I thought. "I'll just rebuild my mailboxes from Gmail." Except that's impossible when Apple Mail deleted all your mail off of Gmail.

And so now all my email... absolutely everything... is gone.

Fortunately I was smart enough to make a backup before I started, so I am hoping that I can restore everything... but this is a fucking horrendous situation. Thank you so much Apple for once again releasing a piece of shit OS that's fucked me over. Hard.

UPDATE: Apparently the problem cannot be laid entirely on Apple's doorstep. Gmail uses a highly non-standard form of IMAP, and doesn't really give a shit. They want you to access Gmail from their website or official Gmail client... and with any other method you're just taking your chances. But, again, Apple is not entirely blameless because Gmail is an incredibly popular service, and they shouldn't advertise as being compatible if they really aren't... whether it's their fault or not!

UPDATE UPDATE: In all seriousness, Gmail is the work of the devil. If you are using it with ANY email client not made by Google, including Apple Mail, you should archive your mail and walk away. Immediately. I've just gone back to using my host email for a while, as I know they are using standard IMAP protocols and aren't throttling bandwidth in any way like Google does.

   

Mavericks

Posted on Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Dave!Okay then... it took me six hours to get my email restored after the new Apple Mail app in OS X Mavericks deleted every single piece of email on my Gmail account... but I'll talk about that drama a bit later. The short version? If you are using Google's Gmail, pack up your crap and get the hell out. They use NON-STANDARD implementations of email protocols, which means you too could end up having horrible problems like I did... regardless of whether you are on a Mac or not... regardless of whether you upgrade to OS X Mavericks or not. Gmail is a tool of the devil, and get thee behind me, Satan.

And now, a quick pass at the new Mac OS X 10.9 you knew was coming...

OS X Mavericks Logo

"Mavericks" has broken away from the "big cat" naming conventions of its OS X predecessors, but that's not the only shift that's happening here. Bucking a trend that's existed since the dawn of computer time, the update is FREE for any Mac that can run it (which is most anything sold in 2007 and later). This is not only a clear broadside attack against Microsoft Windows, but something that's long overdue. Paid OS updates for Apple products have always been kind of lame since Apple sells every piece of hardware that runs it. And that's where they should be making their money. Keep customers freely updated and happy, and that's bound to factor into their thinking when it's time to upgrade to a new computer.

From a user's perspective, Mavericks is an interesting mix. Yes, it features a new coat of paint on some of the visuals, but there's a lot interesting stuff happening under the hood as well. Add to that a few new features and bundled apps, and it's a compelling upgrade... especially given the price tag of zero dollars. But how will it stack up against my scathing review of its predecessor, "Mountain Lion?" Let's take a look, shall we?

BUT BEFORE WE START...
Please, please, please make a current backup of your computer before you upgrade to Mavericks! Sure, Apple's OS X upgrades are usually bullet-proof and only a teeny-tiny percentage of users will have any problems... but do you want that to be you? If I hadn't backed up my machine, I would have lost all my email. But I took the time in case I need to rewind, and so should you.

And now... on with the show. My thoughts on Mavericks are in an extended entry...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Regretful

Posted on Monday, November 4th, 2013

Dave!This past weekend I got into a forum discussion about purchases we regretted having made. Popular choices included the Apple Newton (I loved mine!), Sony MiniDisc (which was awesome!), and Microsoft Windows Vista (okay, I totally get that one). Stuff like that. Initially I started out with little things that I had purchased recently... like the Pebble Smart Watch. But once the ball got rolling, I came up with all kinds of things I regretted spending my hard-earned cash on. So did everybody else. Thus it was decided we would each make a list of the "Top Five" worst offenders. And this morning I did just that. And since I don't have anything better to blog about, I'm going to post it right here...

#5 - PowerComputing PowerCenter Pro
Looking to save money on my next Macintosh purchase, I bypassed Apple's offerings for one of the new "Mac Clones" from Power Computing. I was suckered in by the fact that they had a faster machine with more powerful hardware for less money. Sold! Except... it wasn't up to Apple quality standards. At least not the one I got. Mine had issues with the video, which required numerous calls and two failed attempts at replacing the video card. Eventually, I ended up having to ship the machine back to Power. When I got it back, it was not the same machine (different serial number) and had less onboard RAM than the original machine I purchased. This required another half-dozen calls to get sorted. Eventually I got a working machine and was happy enough with it... but the amount of time it took to get there made me regret the purchase quite a lot.

#4 - Panasonic ANYTHING (but mostly their Recording DVD Player)
I have never had good luck with any Panasonic product. Televisions? Crap. Phones? Crap. VCRs? Crap. Everything I've ever purchased has been total crap. But then Kevin Smith was in an advertisement for the new Panasonic RECORDING DVD player! And how awesome would it be to record your own DVDs? Sweet! So I ignored all past experience and placed my order. Only to find that it would not record a DVD... no matter what I did. And every time I called Panasonic, it was my fault. I didn't buy Panasonic brand recordable DVDs. So I bought Panasonic brand recordable DVDs and it still didn't work. I didn't have the right quality cable. So I bought a new cable. I was overheating the unit by not giving it enough air space. So I moved it to its own table. The list went on and on and on. Finally, they agreed that there was something probably wrong with it... BUT I WAS EXPECTED TO PAY TO SHIP IT TO THEM FOR REPAIR! That's right, PANASONIC sells a DOA DVD player, but I have to pay to get it serviced! So I paid the shipping. Finally, a month later, I got it back and nothing had changed. Then when I called back, Panasonic refused to believe me... literally called me a liar... and said that the unit worked perfectly when it left their shop so I must have broke it. So I fucking smashed the pricey piece of shit non-recording DVD Player/Recorder and threw it in the garbage. Then vowed to never buy another Panasonic piece of shit product ever again. And I haven't. I fucking HATE the company. That should be enough agony but, unfortunately, there's one company I loathe even more. Hello, Hewlett-Packard...

#3 - Hewlett-Packard Photosmart B9180 Printer
Even though the Macintosh drivers were crap, I really liked this printer. Partly because the print quality was so nice... but mostly because HP had a "satin-matte" paper which you could peel from the backing and glue to different surfaces. And it was glorious. The pigment inks didn't crack when you folded it... the paper held color well... and it looked like a million bucks. But then the printer started failing within three months of having bought it. The printhead would randomly start scraping against the page, ruining your print. The head would randomly get "stuck" and refuse to finish a job, ruining your print. The printer would randomly decide to skip a color, ruining your print. As time went on, I was getting more ruined prints than good prints, which was a huge expense. That special paper and pigment ink cost a fortune. But that's not even the worst part. HP support was atrocious. They never had answers and said it must be my computer because the many problems were not reproducible. They promised to send me replacement ink and paper, but it never came. They promised to get back to me with answers, but they never did. At one point I was on the phone with HP and the customer service rep actually laughed at me. Eventually I ended up buying a second B9180 because I had a supply of paper and ink that I couldn't afford to throw out. Thinking I just had a lemon, I was optimistic the replacement I bought would be better. But it wasn't. This time it was the print head cartridges that kept failing AND the prints would be scraped up at random. To add insult to injury, they discontinued the special paper that convinced me to buy the stupid thing in the first place (twice!). Eventually the paper came back, but it wasn't the same, and refused to release from the backing. Now completely frustrated and hating HP with the fury of a thousand suns, I bought an Epson. I have never bought another HP product since.

#2 - 1999 Saturn SC2
When my old car was totaled while saving my life (it was between my office and a runaway heavy-duty work truck from the railroad), I didn't have time to shop for a new one. Then I saw a television commercial that explained how you could order a new Saturn online, so I fired up my laptop... picked the car I wanted... added way too many expensive features... and, just like that, my new car was ordered. Sight unseen. No test-drive taken. While on a trip to New York I got a call telling me that my car was ready to pick up, so on a layover in Seattle a salesman came and got me. Almost immediately I hated the car. The turning radius was huge. The visors were badly designed. The window controls were stupid. The dome light seemed to work at random. It was not much fun to drive. It wasn't even that comfortable. Ultimately, it was a terrible purchase and I fully intended on taking Saturn up on their 30-Day Return Policy. Except I was traveling the entire duration and never made it back to the dealership. So I've been stuck with the pile of crap for fourteen years. And things continue to go wrong. Despite ONLY having it serviced at Saturn, the "Check Engine" light has been coming on (even when reset) since 2009. The front license plate holder has fallen off, and it's a bitch to get back on. It's burning oil and doesn't even have 100,000 miles on it. And that damn turning radius... you never get used to having to make three and four point turns all the time. I hate the car. I really, really do. But since Saturn went under and my SC2 is pretty much worthless, I'm going to drive it until it explodes. Or I light it on fire and push it off a cliff.

#1 - Radius VideoVision Studio
Back in the good ol' days when I was doing video editing, I'd have to rent out a pricey studio whenever I got work. The problem being that video editing suites were incredibly expensive, the nearest shop was three hours away, and I never had the money to rent studio time to truly learn the system. Add it all together, and I often-times lost money on projects. The good news is that this lead me to create my own scores for videos so I could save cash by not hiring a "real" musician. Ultimately I ended up making a lot more money on the music than the video stuff, so it ended up being a blessing in disguise. But then VideoVision Studio came out and promised pro video editing on your Mac at home for the fraction of the price of renting a studio! Never mind that I had to spend thousands of dollars on tape decks, mixing boards, and VideoVision itself... I could have my own video editing studio and get rich! Except VideoVision never worked like it was supposed to. Even after I spent thousands more dollars on a faster Mac to run it better. Audio dropped or was out of sync. Video capture was glitchy. Output was marred by noise. It was a disaster. I never completed a single project on it, and ended up having to work two jobs to pay for all the useless crap I bought. All in all, this was the most expensive mistake I've ever made... even after I managed to sell some of the equipment I bought. For that reason alone it takes the top spot in my Most Regretted Purchases List. But somehow my regret goes much deeper than money. A career I was really interested in was completely destroyed, as I had to give up my dream to pay for its failure.

   
And there you have it... my most regretted purchases of all time.

Though, now that I think about it, I should have gone for a "Top Ten" because there's certainly been a lot of other purchases I've regretted. I'M LOOKING AT YOU, VANILLA MILKSHAKE POP-TARTS!

   

Scuzzy

Posted on Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

Dave!Back in the "good ol' days" of computing... before USB... before FireWire... before Thunderbolt... the way you hooked up peripherals like hard drives, scanners, and such was with a SCSI port. Which most everybody called a "scuzzy port."

The Small Computer System Interface was pretty much shit. You just never knew which magical combination of device IDs, cables, and chain termination would result in a working system. And once you figured it all out, there was no guarantee that it would stay working the next time you booted up your computer. In which case you'd have to start all over again. And heaven help you if you added a second peripheral to the chain. That only doubled the amount of work you had to do to keep things running. It was horrible.

Thank heavens those days are over, right?

Except...

I just spent three hours trying to get my new cable modem to work.

In the end, I can't even tell you how I got it running. Some magical combination of resets for the modem, my Time Capsule router, and my MacBook. I just kept resetting and turning things off and on until... BLAM! My cable modem was connecting. Then I kept resetting and turning things off an on until... BLAM! My Time Capsule would connect to the modem. Then I kept resetting and turning things off an on until... BLAM! My Time Capsule could reach the internet. Then I kept resetting and turning things off an on until... BLAM! My MacBook was connecting to the Time Capsule. Then I kept resetting and turning things off an on until... BLAM! My MacBook was able to reach the internet through the Time Capsule.

Three hours of that bullshit.

It was SCSI all over again.

And now, just like in times of yore, I dread the inevitable horror of having everything randomly fail so I have to start all over.

I'm just dumbfounded that tech companies can't figure this shit out. The nonsensical problems never go away. Not really. They just change to a new generation of interfaces.

Which is why I'm sure that when my brain implant appliance is trying to send video to my holographic cornea display from my sub-etha internet connection sometime in the future... I'll be resetting and turning things off an on over and over and over again to get the crap running.

It's just the way technology works.

Or doesn't.

And I'm sure it always will.

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Categories: Apple Stuff 2013Click To It: Permalink  3 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

saTURDay

Posted on Saturday, November 9th, 2013

Dave!Well this was a crappy day.

Remember when Saturdays were fun days and you actually looked forward to the weekend? Neither do I, but somehow a rumor got started, and it's been propagated enough times that people actually believe it. Much like an "honest politician," the idea of a work-free weekend has receded into the myths of modern society. In the darkest recesses of your mind you think you remember it... but the truth is that it's a fantasy that dissipated somewhere in your childhood, never to be seen again.

And speaking of fantasies lost in time...

Today I accidentally overwrote a file that I needed. Usually, this would be a huge concern, but I'm on a Mac that's continuously backed up on a "Time Capsule" by an app called "Time Machine" so it's all good, right?

Well, no, as it turns out. When I "enter Time Machine" to go back to previous versions of my files, everything is blank and all my files are missing...

Time Machine Empty

The "space" metaphor that Apple has going on here is ironically apt, as my Time Capsule has become a black hole from which nothing can escape.

Or so I feared.

Fortunately, ignoring Time Machine and manually accessing my backup drive allowed me to retrieve the file. So it would appear that the Time Machine backup engine is working as intended... it's just the spacey interface that's borked.

I'm trying to stay positive and just be thankful that my file could be saved... but seriously? Oh well. Maybe some third-party software developer will take this opportunity to write an app that can restore from Time Machine backups without the douchey interface messing things up.

If they can also write an app that will restore my Saturdays from the drudgery of work, that would be nice too.

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Categories: Apple Stuff 2013Click To It: Permalink  3 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Guest Room Remodel 1: Furniture

Posted on Monday, April 11th, 2016

Dave!Welcome to Remodeling Week at Blogography!

This time, we'll be taking a look at my guest-room remodel, which didn't require moving walls or tearing anything apart or anything extreme like that, so it was actually the easiest to work through. Kinda. The problem being that I've never had a guest room before, so it required all new furniture and stuff. In the end, the guest room actually ended up being one of the pricier expenditures I had.

The room itself is oddly-shaped, has one off-center window, and is kinda small, which left me limited options. I wanted a queen-sized bed, and it couldn't go under the window because I'd only have room for one nightstand, and I wanted two. So here we are...

Guest Room Layout Map

The overall color theme for the room is white. In order to make things interesting, I went with as many shades and style of white as I could find. Then added dark blue to keep it from looking stark.

And now... on to the furniture...

The bed is just a metal frame because I didn't have room for anything extravagant... also, I wanted to put the money where it counted by getting a great mattress (Bellagio at Home by Serta). I did try and dress it up a bit with a pricey headboard from Target though...

Guest Room Remodel Project

Nightstands are IKEA. Originally I didn't want drawers, but ultimately thought they'd be less effort to dust than shelves...

Guest Room Remodel Project

Originally, I wanted to have a desk and chair in the room with the dresser in the closet. But the desk wasn't tall enough that both people could see the television while laying in bed, so I swapped them around, which works really great. Except there's no outlet in the closet, so I mounted an extension cord to a hook on the side of the desk. Both desk and chair are IKEA...

Guest Room Remodel Project

Guest Room Remodel Project

I had the chair by the door, but it looked like it would be easily tripped over, so I put it with the desk in the closet and bought an IKEA stool there...

Guest Room Remodel Project

I should mention that I don't usually allow cats in this room in case my guests have allergies or something... but the minute they hear the door open, they run to get in. It's apparently their favorite room in the house. Probably because it's the one place they can't normally go.

Meanwhile, back at the dresser...

The television is at the perfect height on top of the dresser, so adding the DVD player underneath wasn't working. I decided to remove one of the small drawers and see if I could make a space. I started by attaching some wood strips to the center support, then secured them to the side of the dresser...

Guest Room Remodel Project

Then I whitewashed a thin piece of wood to match and secured it to the strips with carpet tape...

Guest Room Remodel Project

After drilling a hole in the back of the dresser for the cords to pass through, the DVD player (and AppleTV) fit perfectly...

Guest Room Remodel Project

And... that's it for furniture. Thank you, IKEA.

   

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