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NOBODY ASKED FOR THIS!

Posted on Wednesday, January 4th, 2023

Dave!Number 6,438 in my list of SHIT APPLE DOES THAT NOBODY FUCKING ASKED FOR: Apple Mail Inline Link Preview.

Who the fuck thought that this useless fucking PREVIEW OF NOTHING is needed, desired, or in any way helpful? It's like... here's a link to a Facebook page, and Apple removes the link to put a HIDEOUS BIG-ASS LINK LOGO IN THE MIDDLE OF YOUR EMAIL...

Ms. Marvel with her Embiggened Energy Hands Saving People

And, of course, because this is fucking Apple, there' no way to turn this shit off by default.

Oh no. You have to right click and tell it to go back to a sane "plain link."

God I am so sick and fucking tired of this kind of crap. It's only slightly less annoying that Adobe changing the way shit has worked FOR DECADES with no way to go back to the original behavior. Or the way that they randomly switch between origin-zoom and scrubby-zoom in Illustrator with no way to force a default. Typical. It's like... PICK ONE. I don't give a shit which way you go... JUST FUCKING PICK ONE!

   

AppleTV Minus

Posted on Friday, January 20th, 2023

Dave!I've been crapping on Apple a lot lately.

But not without reason.

Apple used to be the GOLD STANDARD in interface design. Everything was incredibly well-thought-out and intuitive. But now-a-days? Most everything they do is shit. And I simply don't understand why. Yes, Steve Jobs is gone, but surely there are people in Apple who give a crap about making sure that you can use their apps without wanting to beat the shit out of somebody?

But apparently not.

Because I was reminded about this when I was having to use the GUI abomination that is the AppleTV app (whether it's on a Mac, AppleTV, iPad, or iPhone). This app has been shit for ages. It was made even worse when Apple decided to prioritize AppleTV+ over absolutely everything... ramming their service down your throat like a fucking jackhammer. Even over content you purchased. Like when you search for the movie Ted...

AppleTV's shitty interface.

But that's just the beginning with their idiotic search. Want to search your library? You can't just click on LIBRARY and search. If you do that, you'll end up searching within AppleTV+ and their media store content. Oh no. To search your library, you have to type into the SECOND smaller search box. And do you know how many times I forget to use the tiny box? ALL THE FUCKING TIME! And do you know why? The second smaller search box DOESN'T FUCKING EXIST UNTIL YOU CLICK ON A TINY FUCKING MAGNIFYING ICON THAT'S UNDER THE SEARCH BOX!!!

AppleTV's shitty interface.

Only then does the search box even bother to appear...

AppleTV's shitty interface.

Absolute fucking lunacy.

But wait! It gets worse! Let's say that you use the universal search box anyway to get to your movie because you forgot about the smaller search box. What happens then? As you see from the first screenshot above, you have no fucking clue where the movie is at. Is it on AppleTV+? Is it in the store? Do you have to buy it? Do you own it? Who the fuck knows?

You have to click through to see where in the hell it comes from. In this case, I own it... although it doesn't tell me I own it... I just have to infer that I own it because there's a "Play" button instead of a price tag...

Apple's shitty interface.

But let's say you're on your AppleTV and don't want to type out the title to get to it since it's a huge pain in the ass? Well, then you get to scroll through your entire fucking catalog of titles! And since I own hundreds of them, that will take a while. Let's say that I want to watch the movie 4th Man Out. With Apple, it's scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling because Apple puts numbers after letters...

Apple's shitty interface.

Here it is! Right after Zoolander...

Apple's shitty interface.

Let's compare that to how Plex allows you to navigate. I use Plex to catalog all my ripped DVDs (which is a legal backup of my massive DVD library). Since I paid for 4th Man Out both digitally and on DVD, it's in both places. Although since Plex puts numbers in front of letters, I don't have to actually scroll anywhere. It's right there at the start...

Plex Interface

Not really a fair contest. So let's try another. Zoolander. Another movie I bought on both DVD and digitally. With iTunes, I have to scroll through hundreds of titles to get to it. But look on the right hand side of the Plex interface. See those letters there? No scrolling needed. I just click on "Z" and there it is!

Plex Interface

This is especially fantastic on the Plex app for AppleTV... which is far, far superior to what AppleTV itself actually offers.

How embarrassing.

HOW FUCKING EMBARRASSING FOR APPLE!

For the love of God, spend the tiniest fucking portion of your billions of dollars and DO SOMETHING!

Don't get me wrong... there's still a lot of companies who are even worse at this than Apple. But given where Apple started, this is nothing short of tragic.

And I have no idea what it's going to take to get Apple off their stupid asses to actually fix this crap.

   

M2 Max Maximum

Posted on Tuesday, January 24th, 2023

Dave!Apple just released their new M2 Max MacBook Pro laptops.

I bought the M1 Max MacBook Pro just over a year ago. But... Apple was claiming a 25% to 30% boost in performance, which is a big deal for me because that's a productivity increase I can't ignore. Less time working is more time I have for other things... IF it were true.

So I decided to trade in my M1 for the M2 with the idea that if it's not noticeably faster, I would return it. The cost to upgrade is huge, and I can't afford to do it if there's not really a benefit.

WELP! KEEPING IT! The speed for the stuff I do most definitely is noticeable. It's almost unreal that it could get even faster when the jump last time was so huge.

Besides... how could I give it up when Jenny loves that new Mac Smell?

Everything in the new model besides the faster chip with faster graphics is pretty much the same. Though you are getting better WiFi 6E (which I can't take advantage of because I don't have a 6E router) and better HDMI 2.1 connectivity (which I can't take advantage of because I rarely if ever run an external display).

Something that hasn't changed but frickin' should have changed is the SD Card slot. It's still UHS-II when UHS-III has been out SINCE 2018! Not that I can take advantage of it either, but when you're paying this kind of price tag you expect that you're getting top-of-the line components. This is just sloppy.

But hey, it's still an incredible machine that I feel lucky to have in my possession.

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Apple Catch-22

Posted on Monday, January 30th, 2023

Dave!Christ.

There's nothing that indicates just how fucking beyond stupid Apple has gotten than this bit of drama I experienced tonight. The AppleTV remote in my bedroom has never worked. The trackpad on the top doesn't move reliably. So I threw it in a box in the garage and just use my iPhone.

At least I did until tonight.

I went to turn on my TV/AppleTV and got this nonsense...

ENTER THIS CODE IN YOUR APPLETV!

Which is essentially saying that you need a remote to use your iPhone as a remote.

Seriously. How do they come up with this shit?

Is ANYBODY at Apple actually using their products or beta testing shit any more?

   

HomeShit Strikes Back

Posted on Tuesday, February 7th, 2023

Dave!As I mentioned a few times, I wandered back into Apple's HomeKit smart home technology after the Insteon stuff I was using went out of business (apparently they were bought out, so I dunno what's happening with it now). Very fine people were saying that HomeKit had improved muchly since I tried it out years ago, so I thought "Let's give it a shot."

Turns out it wasn't a smart move.

HomeKit is still HomeShit, and it's frustrating me to absolutely no end. Today when the Kitty Breakfast alarm chimed, none of my Automation routines triggered. Lights didn't turn on, thermostat hadn't changed, and what have you. Then this evening the lights didn't turn on when the light sensor determined the light was dim enough to trigger.

Now, Automations have been finicky for a while, and this is nothing new. What is new is that 75% of my devices are "Updating" and then "Not Responding."

Turns out that Apple updated HomeShit and it broke my home.

After researching on the internet for nearly an hour, I saw that many, many people are having the same problem. And what works for one person doesn't work for the other. The only thing I could do is keep trying everything that everybody else did and hope that eventually something would fix itself. So I rebooted the router. I removed and re-added devices. I unplugged all my HomePod minis and AppleTVs and plugged them back in. I unplugged them again, rebooted my router again, then plugged them back in. Then I did that exact same thing, but this time I only plugged in one HomePod mini that I wanted to act as a "border router." And that's what did the trick. The next day I plugged in the remaining HomePod minis and AppleTVs and everything was working again.

Except for the door sensor that turns on the garage light when I open the pass door.

Eventually I took the battery out and let it sit overnight. Then the next morning I put the battery back in and everything started working again.

Rumor has it that Apple is working on a HomeKit Controller. Like an iPad with special hardware to build a more reliable HomeShit network. I think that's probably because giving that task to HomePod minis isn't working and they know it.

A cynical person would say that Apple created a problem so they could sell you the cure. Maybe it's true.

All I know is that I am sick and fucking tired of having invested new money into having a smart home only to find that the discontinued, broken, 18-year-old system I had been using for six years was more reliable.

Apple has billions of dollars. Billions, with a B. And yet they apparently don't give one cent's work of fucks to fix their busted HomeShit bullshit. I keep waiting for the class action lawsuit which would force them to either fix HomeShit or refund all the money people have invested in it, because this is getting fucking ridiculous.

If this was the home I wanted I would have just left it as a dumb house and saved some money.

   

Apple Report Card 2022

Posted on Friday, February 10th, 2023

Dave!It's that time of year when Six Colors has released their annual report card on all things Apple.

Their report card is calculated by talking to a lot of people. Mine is calculated based only on my own experience. In many ways I agree with their assessment. In others I disagree strongly (they gave HomeKit a D+, which I thought was incredibly generous given the shitshow it is).

But anyway... here we go...

Mac: A-
Apple must be doing something right, because their latest round of MacBook Pros were sweet enough to convince me to upgrade after only one year (thanks to their trade-in problem, which is not great, but so easy and better than nothing). For most things... like email and web browsing and the like... there is virtually no difference with the new M2 MAX chip. But for the actual work I do? 15% to 20% faster is absolutely worth it. Less time waiting on renders and stuff gives me more time to do other stuff. I was a bit surprised that the iMac is still stuck at 24" and the M1 chip... and there's still no MacPro, which is getting increasingly embarrassing... but I am fairly certain all that is forthcoming with the advent of Apple's new 3nm chips, coming soon to a computer near you. Though it's kinda a bizarre flex for a desktop machine when the true miracle of dropping to 3nm is the power savings, so I'm guessing it must have one heck of a performance bump. 2022 was pretty much a stop-gap year to the Next Big Thing, and how 2023 pans out will largely depend on just how big that Next Big Thing ends up being.

iPhone: B
If I wasn't on the Apple iPhone Upgrade Program track, I would have likely skipped the iPhone 14 Pro. It just wasn't much more significant than the 13 Pro it replaced. All the improvements were mediocre and far from sexy, which is a real head-scratcher. Maybe now that we're in 2023 Apple has something more spectacular planned... a better camera would be a great start... but I have to wonder if there's nothing but low-hanging fruit from here out. I'd like to think that the "Dynamic Island" isn't the pinnacle of iPhone innovation, but it's really starting to feel that way. If I were still with my iPhone 12 Pro, I'd likely be none-the-wiser, and that's a very bad sign for Apple. Still, their phones are really nice (and still my favorite), so grading them lower than a B seems criminal.

iPad: C
I love my iPad Pro, but there has been zero reason to upgrade it after three years. There's nothing going on with iPad, which is a shame, but it's still the best tablet on the market by a country mile. And, as Apple-savvy as I am, I have no fucking clue which accessories work with which model, which is an absolute disaster for a company that bills itself as the easiest and most user-friendly option.

Apple Watch: B
Another product that just doesn't seem to be going anwhere... no revolutionary new features or ideas here. At least with the base model. A very notable exception is the Apple Watch Ultra, which is amazing on every level and bumps my grade from a C to a B. Problem is that it's very narrow in focus, as big as a Buick, and has a limited audience. And yet for those who need it, the thing is a game-changer. I am still waiting for a blood glucose monitor before I upgrade again. My 3-year-old Apple Watch is just fine. Even then, my "ancient" tech is still far more appealing to me than the newest of the new when it comes to other brands.

AppleTV: D
Holy shit. What the fuck is it going to take before Apple gives us a user interface that's worth a shit? I just raged about this fairly recently, and if I start in again I may not be able to stop. Just about every other TV interface on the market that I've seen is better than this crap, and the fact that Apple does nothing about it just means I'm not investing in any more of their bullshit. I don't care how good the remote is.

Services: C
I am so meh on everything Apple is doing in the Services arena that I am finding it difficult to even comment. It's all still too expensive for what you get. The plans don't have enough options so that people can get exactly what they need, so they are either paying for more or less than what they would otherwise like. Apple TV+ is okay, but I don't watch enough on it to really care (until Ted Lasso returns). I don't give a crap about the fitness stuff. I switched to Apple Music when I dumped Amazon Prime, but it's not that different and costs more than what I was paying, so I honestly don't care. I don't have time to play their games. I know Apple is making a metric shit-ton of money off Services... I wish I could say they earned it. Right now their bundles aren't worth it to me, so I am paying for iCloud Drive, AppleTV, Apple Music, and iTunes Match all separately. In order to get an Apple One bundle, I'd still have to purchase an iCloud Drive upgrade because what comes with it isn't enough. Let me build my own bundle with a calculated discount and I'd likely upgrade my score to a B. That's for flexibility, not value.

HomeKit: F-
I jumped to HomeKit when Insteon folded the first time. This involved a lot of expense on my part, as most all my switches and devices had to be changed out. And what did I get for my money? A horrendously fucked up system that barely works. And it just keeps getting worse. All of a sudden half my shit will just up and stop working. HomePods will refuse to issue commands. I've woken up to find that my garage door mysteriously opened at 2am for no reason. And despite everything running on the super-speedy Thread technology now, Automations are slow as shit... when they bother to work at all! At the rate that I've had to unplug and plug back in my HomePod minis in an attempt to get things working again, you'd sure as hell think that Apple would make a plug on the mini itself so I don't have to go moving the fucking furniture every time I need to unplug to reset my network. HomeKit is HomeShit more than ever, and there's no end in sight. Just more "architecture upgrades" to slap lipstick on a pig. Fortunately most of my devices are Matter compatible, so I'll be looking into going that route. Hopefully it will allow me to use Siri since Apple is in with Matter, but things will actually work once I transfer.

Hardware Reliability: A-
Software issues and OS stupidity aside, the hardware is always on-point. Although I am dropping them from an A to A- because of the afore-mentioned wired plug on the HomePod mini. Now that the MacBook Pros offer an SD card slot and an HDMI port instead of forcing me to use dongles, I'm thrilled (a USB-A port would be nice, but will never happen). The Mac Studio I have at work is fantastic, offering everything I'd want from a Mac Pro at a much cheaper cost. My iMac M1 is still chugging along and works fantastic. My iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch are solid builds and the hardware is as reliable as it gets (if only they'd finally, finally put USB-C on the iPhone so I'm not trying to transfer massive photo files over slow and stupid "Lightning" technology that's positively ancient). I have so few complaints when it comes to Apple hardware that I won't be jumping ship any time soon.

Software Quality C+
Even with HomeKit removed from the equation, I still have numerous problems with the way Apple software functions (or doesn't function as the case may be). Apple Mail is a fucking travesty and one of the biggest piece of shit apps I have ever used. And Apple doesn't give a fuck. Features I use are stripped out of their software for no reason other than they want it that way. Bugs are rampant and pop up in the strangest places. It's almost as if nobody at Apple is using their own apps, because the same bugs never seem to go away. One day maybe Apple will start giving a shit. Until then? Still the best option, faults and all.

Developer Relations N/A
As I am not currently in the Apple Developer Program, I don't really have room to comment. Except to say that the World Wide Developer Conference always seems like a fantastic step in keeping things right with those developers on their platform. As a consumer, however, I can say that their App Store is a pile of shit. Which is a mystery because they get a cut of every sale. You'd think they would want it to be a top-tier experience. But instead apps you are looking for are hard to find, update options are weird, AND THERE'S NO FUCKING WAY TO FIND ONLY GAMES THAT DON'T REQUIRE IN-APP PURCHASES! And speaking of in-app purchases... maybe they wouldn't be as annoying if they weren't so damn expensive, but since Apple takes such a huge, huge cut of the money, expensive they will remain. This is such a problem that it's entirely likely Apple will be forced to allow customers to "side-load" apps and bypass the App Store. This would be a disaster because affordable apps wouldn't come with protections. And it's all on Apple and their greed.

Societal and Society Impact B
They are one of the most accessible platforms in existence, and trying to make sure that anybody can use them regardless of any physical or mental challenges is pretty incredible. Where they fail is with their employees. And it's some pretty heinous failures. They need to do better.

Customer Service B+
This is a category I added on my own after my heinous experience with the iPhone Upgrade Program (I returned my old iPhone at an Apple Store... Apple said I never returned it... and I spent TWO MONTHS trying to get it straightened out). I have to say... exchanging my iPhone in the mail? Flawless. The trade-in experience with my MacBook Pros? Flawless. Actually getting support? Not so flawless. Apple makes it incredibly difficult to get the help you need, instead letting you use Google for support (see: HomeKit). That being said, they did exchange my faulty keyboard with hardly any trouble, so hardware is not the issue it used to be, so there's that.

Overall, Apple is still doing more right than wrong. It's why I'm so loyal, because other brands are pretty awful. And yet there's always room for improvement, and Apple has more than a few things that need improving, so here's hoping.

   

An Embarrassment of Riches

Posted on Monday, February 20th, 2023

Dave!Apple is one of the wealthiest companies on the face of the earth. So is it really too much to expect that they fix their stupid home automation bullshit? After my fifth reboot of my router and all my HomePod minis because my automations randomly stopped working... again... I ordered a bunch of cheap NON-HOMEKIT smart-plugs. This way instead of having to run around my house and move all my furniture when I'm forced to reboot, I can just use the Gosund app to reboot them all from the comfort of my couch...

Jenny looking a little sour during belly rubs.

I find it absolutely embarrassing that Apple can't seem to get their shit to actually work. They released HomeKit EIGHT FUCKING YEARS AGO! Eight years and they're still fumbling around in the dark. Just like I am when the automation to turn on my garage light doesn't work... again.

I cannot fathom how Apple isn't embarrassed as fuck that they have unleashed a shitty technology and haven't been able to get it working reliably for eight years. If I were Apple CEO Tim Cook, I'd dedicate however much money it takes to FIGURE THIS SHIT OUT so that HomeKit customers don't have to spend $40 on smart plugs from another manufacturer just to keep their crap operational. Anything less make him look like fucking amateur hour.

And while he's at it... maybe he could have them fix Apple Mail so that deleted messages actually delete instead of randomly go blank buck stick around until you quit and restart the app? Not everybody buys into HomeShit, but most of their customers are using the mail app that came with their computer!

And, oh yeah, happy fucking Presidents' Day.

   

AppleTV is the Best Shit Money Can Buy

Posted on Monday, April 3rd, 2023

Dave!The point of this post is in the title... AppleTV is shit. But it's the best shit you can buy for streaming.

I'm not going to run through my many complaints. If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you've probably already heard it all. If you haven't heard it? The GUI (graphic user interface) is fucking horrendous. If you own more than twenty movies or television shows, scrolling through all of them is a nightmare. Apple provides no alphabetical index on the side so you can at least jump to the first letter of the title you're looking for. It's fucking stupid.

But anyway...

Since the quality of the picture is so radically better when viewed through the AppleTV device instead of the GoogleTV app for AppleTV, I decided to ditch my AppleTV 4K (2017 Revision 1) for the newer AppleTV 4K (2022 Revision 3). And because I want to be sure that I get the smoothest possible playback, I purchased the "better" version which has Ethernet and 128GB.

The difference between Rev. 1 and Rev. 3 are slight at the start. Both support 4K DolbyVision HDR10 UHD playback. Both support Dolby Atmos. You have to pay extra for Ethernet now, but my Rev. 1 had Ethernet as standard. But then there's the improvements which really count... my old AppleTV was a slow mess with its A10X chip. It's radically snappier with the new A15 Bionic chip. I'm also working with the 128GB vs. the 32GB I used to have. And then there's the fact that Apple finally future-proofed their tech by using the HDMI 2.1 standard instead of the old 2.0. I am using Ethernet instead of WiFi, but if I were to use wireless, the new model comes with WiFi 6. The new one is also smaller and feels lighter than the old one too. As if all that wasn't enough, it contains a Thread mesh networking radio to become a border router for your HomeKit shenanigans and Matter Smart Home devices.

But the most welcome change? The controller...

The Rev. 3 AppleTV 4k 2022.

Apple ditched their shitty fucking touchpad controller for a new controller that has a good heft and actual directional buttons. Which means that navigation doesn't randomly jump all over the place like it used to. I have no idea why it took them this long to replace that technology FAIL. But look how long it took them to replace their heinously shitty "butterfly keyboard" on their laptops. And... oh yeah... you can charge with USB-C instead of the ten-year-old Lightning connector that nobody else in the industry is using. Yay. Alas no charging indicator... you have to look up the battery level on your AppleTV.

The navigation buttons surround a select button to form a "clickpad" that's also touch-enabled, which is very cool for whizzing through video. You also have a dedicated power button(!) and a mute button(!). It almost as if Apple is listening to what their customers want! Color me shocked. Regardless of why they did it, Apple has gone from my most hated remote ever to my favorite remote ever.

I dare say that the remote upgrade is reason enough to upgrade. Mostly because I am actually using it instead of avoiding it and using a 3rd party remote.

When compared to Amazon FireTV, Google Chromecast, and Roku, AppleTV is way ahead (except for the navigation GUI, which is still the absolute worst). The only competitor they have in this space is probably the NVIDIA Shield, which offers more flexibility and connectivity, but looks like absolute ass. I borrowed one from a friend who tested it and ended up preferring it to my old AppleTV, but not the new AppleTV Rev. 3.

So... yeah... my home theater setup is now complete.

Over the next couple of days I'll be talking about the DolbyVision and Dolby Atmos that I'm getting through my AppleTV box. If that's not for you... then I guess I'll see you on Thursday!

   

Bullet Sunday 803

Posted on Sunday, April 23rd, 2023

Dave!The weather can't make up its mind lately, but I'm not letting grey skies ruin my weekend... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Ghosty Mc Ghost Ghost! I was SO looking forward to Ghosted on Netflix. The film didn't disappoint. Ana de Armas is frickin amazing... and the fact that Chris Evans could play absolutely ANYTHING he wants, but chooses to play the damsel in distress in this movie just makes me love him all the more (he had already completely changed my mind about his career trajectory with Gifted, which I also loved)...

Ghosted Poster.

This is a great action flick, and the performances are everything you'd hope they'd be given how outrageous the story is. There's also some notable cameos to watch out for, if you're interested in giving it a shot.

   
• Mrs. Davis Loves You! There's a new show on Peacock called Mrs. Davis. I'm loving it, but am having a hardtime putting into words why I'm loving it. Maybe the trailer will help?

Jake McDorman (from Limitless) is in it, which doesn't hurt. Also in the series? A very cool edition of Bristish Knights shoes...

Alas, you can't actually buy these, which seems like a hugely missed opportunity.

   
• Edna! Comedian Barry Humphries died this past week. He is most known for playing a character which I obsessed over for the longest time...

RIP Barry Humphries.

In one of those sublime ironies, Humphries grew famous for a drag performance, but was a noted transphobe. I always looked at him differently after that. Fortunately most of the time I knew of Dame Edna was well before he outed himself as a bigot. But still...

   
• S'more! I won't go so far as to say that I hated The Menu... but I came very close. It was a film based on manipulation and shock value which had no value. At least not to me. It also dragged on to the point of tedium once the plot had been revealed. This was a painful conclusion for me to draw, because I loved the cast and the performances were amazing. THAT BEING SAID... the end game was brilliant. From Anya Taylor-Joy's little monologue to Ralph Fiennes's response to Anya's last request to the final shot of the film. It's flawless and haunting. I have fast-forwarded the movie to the end to watch it at least six times. Including just now today...

It makes me want to re-cut the movie down to a 15-20 minute short which is nothing but that which could have been a great flick.

   
• Pricey Taco! I swear before the pandemic that I was able to walk into Taco Bell and get my usual Two Chalupa Supremes (substitute rice for beef), a side of Fiesta Potatoes, and a bottle of water for under $10. But now? SEVENTEEN FIFTY-SEVEN?!??

WTF?!? And what's worse? NOBODY TAKES YOUR ORDER! YOU HAVE TO INPUT IT YOURSELF ON A BACTERIA-RIDDLED TOUCH-SCREEN! Good thing I travel with hand sanitizer!

   
• Hey Siri! The fact that Siri has become so fucking useless for home automation shouldn't really surprise me, but it totally does. Lately when I ask Siri to play a song, all I get is "There's a problem with Apple Music." Ask to unlock the door... The front door is not responding (though I can unlock through the app just fine). Even turning on a frickin' light is hit-or-miss. And when you call Apple they don't know shit. About a music service I PAY them for. And HomeKit has always been useless, so I don't even bother to try and get support for that. And so... no idea what I'm going to do. Amazon and Google are pulling resources from their digital assistants, so I don't know if they'll even be around to switch to. Thank heavens I made sure that all my new devices are Matter compatible. Maybe some enterprising company (or individual) will come up with a localized voice assistant for Matter that I can buy to run locally. Then I get a small computer and some kind of Matter-compatible microphones and call it a day. Why is it that companies have failed so miserably with a technology that's supposed to be our future? It started out so promising... now this.

   
• Taters! I bought a bag of luxury potatoes because I wanted to make potato salad this weekend. But when it came time to do it tonight... I looked at the bag... and thought "ZOMG! I WANT CRISPY-FRIED SPICY POTATOES FOR DINNERRRRR!!" I love them, but they take SO long to make properly. You have to cook them on low under a cover to get them softened. Then you have to add oil and fry at a higher temperature. Then you have to keep micro-dosing oil on them and turning not too early and not too long so they brown up nicely. Then you have to taste continuously so you can add just the right amount of freshly-ground black pepper, salt, harissa spice, cayenne, and Central Street blend. BUT OH SO WORTH IT! So crispy! So spicy! So hot!

My potatoes dinner.

Most restaurants won't put in the time and effort. But I'm patient and have very good flipping skills with a skillet.

   
Now it's time to eat those beautiful taters.

   

Hey Siri, You Suck Ass!

Posted on Thursday, April 27th, 2023

Dave!The Apple news of the day is how badly Siri (Apple's personal digital assistant) sucks, why it's not going to improve any time soon, and why this is a serious problem for Apple.

And the critics aren't wrong. Siri hasn't gotten much smarter in years. Maybe a decade. Marry this to the absolute fucking travesty that is HomeShit HomeKit (which is largely controlled by Siri) and Apple has fallen so far behind the curve that they can't even see the curve. It's all flat to them.

And, as I always do, I am going to blame this totally on Apple CEO Tim Cook. Apple needs a complete and total bastard like Steve Jobs in charge, and Cook isn't even close. Jobs was a ruthless taskmaster who obsessed over user experience and made absolutely sure that bugs got squashed and Apple was constantly moving forward. Cook seems to content to coast right off the racetrack and get lost in the woods.

Nope. Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and everybody else is jumping on the AI bandwagon to make smart assistants... um... smart... and Apple, as usual, doesn't give a fucking shit. They do whatever the hell they want whether it benefits their customers or not... whether their customers want it or not... whether it makes sense or not.

I fucking hate it, but what's the alternative?

Look, I am not expecting the world here. I don't necessarily want (or need) for Siri to be as smart as HAL 9000 or the computer on Star Trek or whatever. But I would like it to actually fucking work for the things it advertises it can do. But I've lost track of the number of times it fails with even the simplest request... like playing a song I ask it to play. And not from some third party service... from Apple Music! It's like, that's the ultimate softball request. Play a song from a service YOU control. And yet... well... good luck with that.

More than a few pundits are saying that Apple's complete lack of interest in making Siri competetive could ultimately sink the company. This could be hyperbole. But it's not outside the realm of possibility that it's dead-on accurate. When everybody else allows you to have a smart assistant that's actually keeping up with the times and, you know, useful... when Apple is still banging rocks together, how can they possibly survive?

   

We’re Fucking Doomed

Posted on Tuesday, May 2nd, 2023

Dave!Look, I know that I'm droning on about top-tier First World Problems, but it's infuriating just how bad things are getting with Apple and their bullshit.

I am perfectly willing to accept the blame when the fault is mine. A few days ago it was overcast and raining that day. All of a sudden all my lights came on. It took me a second to realize that when I wrote the automation which monitors light levels and turns on lights when it gets dark was fooled by the overcast weather. My bad. I should have included a time range so lights aren't turning on in the middle of the day.

That I can deal with because I can (probably) fix it.

What I cannot fix is the idiotic crap that pops up every damn day.

Like coming home and telling Siri on my Apple Watch to unlock the front door. Something I've done hundreds of times before. Only to get this...

Siri says that it looks like you haven't set up any HomeKit devices!

No reason. It just happened out of the blue. And when I go to the Home app on my iPhone? No problem. The front door is unlocked post-haste.

The other day I was writing an email in a language I'm not terribly comfortable with and decided to ask Siri if the word I was using means what I thought it did. Siri didn't understand. So I thought... let's try a more popular foreign language here in the USA...

ME: "Hey Siri, what does the word 'mañana' mean in Spanish?"
SIRI: "In Spanish, mañana means" =insert pause= "mañana!"

AND SIRI SAID THE SECOND MAÑANA IN A SPANISH ACCENT!! Thanks a fucking heap. Remember last week when I was talking about how Apple is losing the AI digital assistant battle badly? This is exactly what I'm talking about.

But even something like that is not going to send me into a ballistic rage where I want to rip my little HomePod orb out of the wall and chuck it out the window. No, that's reserved for stupid, inexplicable bullshit that has absolutely nothing to do with what Apple should be promising... but instead what they have actually been promising!

Like telling Siri to play a song I want to listen to. Have Siri tell me the song will play. Then have Siri tell me there's a problem with Apple Music. WHAT THE FUCK?!? I'm trying to listen to an Apple Service on an Apple Product. There's no disconnect here. And the solution I get from Apple Support Knowledgebase? Remove the HomePod from HomeKit. Reset it. Then reinstall it. Do you know what happens when I do that? THIS RIGHT HERE...

Siri says SETUP FAILED! ERROR 300208!

What a friendly error message! What the fuck does (300208) even mean? I tried three times. The fucker will not add back to HomeKit. And the KnowledgeBase isn't helping. I've wasted fucking hours of my life on this shit. So now I have a dead HomePod and I will have to try and get support out of Apple, whose support is so fucking shitty now-a-days that I am almost to the point where I want to throw this one away and get a new one.

For months the internet has been abuzz about how Apple is at the forefront of eliminating passwords forever so we can use biometric data (like a retinal scan or a fingerprint) to unlock our lives for us. Even when the story is about Google following Apple's lead! Which is so fucking laughable because Apple can't even get rid of passwords in their own fucking ecosystem! This is what I got when I went to remove my HomePod mini from my HomeKit so I could re-add it...

ENTER YOUR FUCKING PASSWORD FOR THE TENTH TIME TODAY!

Apple asks me for my password ALL THE FUCKING TIME! And if Apple can't even get their shit to work for themselves, then what hope do they have trying to bring others along? Passkey barely works (when it works at all) on many sites which try to implement it (like this blog!).

This has disaster written all over it.

"Hey Siri! I can't breathe and I think I'm having a heart attack! Call 9-1-1!"

"Playing the song 'Every Breath You Take' on Apple Music." =insert pause= "Apple Music is not responding."

We're fucking doomed.

   

WWDC 2023

Posted on Monday, June 5th, 2023

Dave!Another year, another Apple World Wide Developer Conference. Guess we're doing this...

• TIM! Every time I see Tim Cook, I wish he was more of an asshole. He's just so nice. But somebody in his position really needs to be at least a little bit of an asshole so that broken shit GETS THE FUCK FIXED! See: Steve Jobs.

• MacBook Air 15-Inch! This looks like an amazing computer for the price. Capable. Powerful. Beautiful (especially that dark blue one). I need a MacBook Pro for the work I do... but, if I didn't, this would be my laptop of choice.

• Mac Studio! The Mac Studio M1 Ultra I hsve at work is the best Mac I've ever used. It's nice that they are committed to keeping it moving forward. The performance jump of the M2 Ultra is nice, but not big enough to make me jealous.

• Mac Pro! After it was announced, people were freaking out over the $7,000 price tag. Yeah, this Mac isn't for you. It's for people who need the raw power and PCI expansion it has. And, if these same people took two seconds to compare it to the old Mac Pro... you're getting a far, far more powerful machine for way less. Because the old Intel-based Mac Pro was insanely expensive. I saw an article which had the headline Maxed-out Apple Silicon Mac Pro costs 1/4 what a maxed Intel one did. And so... yeah... for people who need this, it's actually quite the bargain.

• iOS 17! I'm not going to run through all the features since there are plenty of sites happy to do this... but I will make a few comments here. ONE) The Live Voicemail is so nice because I don't EVER want to pick up. Now I can see if it's actually necessary for me to do so (the live message typing out about the family of raccoons in the basement while Craig is talking is hilarious). TWO) I don't give a fuck about the new Messages features... I JUST WANT IT FUCKING FIXED! HOLY FUCKING SHIT!* THREE) The Check-In feature is nice. So many times it would be nice that somebody I'm meeting can see what's happening as I make my way to them. FOUR) Okay, the Live Stickers are unnecessary, but awesome. FIVE) Yeah, AirDrop... right... DON'T ADD FEATURES, JUST FIX THE SHIT THAT'S BROKEN FIRST! I can't use AirDrop between my phone and my work Mac... or my MacBook Pro and my work Mac. I have even gone so far as to start over from scratch, but no joy. WHY?!?? FUCK!!! SIX) Oh joy. Apple will FINALLY STOP FUCKING AUTOCORRECTING WHEN I SAY "FUCK!!" So damn annoying. Your fucking phone shouldn't be gatekeeping how you express yourself and fuck Apple for screwing us over for so long. Craig being "so ducking cute" about it is rage-inducing.

• iPad OS 17! I really need to use my iPad more. I absolutely love the way it works, but my go-to device it my MacBook Pro. It's just easier to bounce in and out of work. ONE) Wallpapers and widgets are great, but Craig is going to be in hot water with the flat earthed crowd by showing a GLOBE EARTH (As an aside: there are very, very few people who can get away with saying "that's cool." Craig Federighi is one of them. He is cool). TWO) PDFs are a great thing, but a mess to deal with. Looking at the great advancements the iPad is getting to deal with them feels like this is how they should have been used all along. Very nice.

• macOS Sonoma! It seems weird to me that macOS just isn't advancing as it should. Where is the next revolution in desktop computing? The (needed) return of widgets, game mode, and this other shit are nice and all, but this is getting ridiculous. File handling? Sharing? FIXING THE FUCKING PILE OF SHIT KNOWN AS "APPLE MAIL"? Why are we still waiting? ONE) I wonder how many people can actually appreciate what a coup it is to have Hideo Kojima appear at your event? "Legendary" is completely underselling him. TWO) Video Conferencing is a huge part of my life. These new features while "fun" are actually kind of important to communication (especially when you are communicating in a language that's not native to either you or them). THREE) Passkeys are nice (anything which moves away from typing passwords is very nice), but they have so far to go yet. They don't work some of the time, and it's frustrating how many times I am repeatedly having to enter my account info over and over. FIX YOUR SHIT, APPLE!! FOUR) These new Profiles in Safari are a game changer for people who work while off work. Separating my work and private life are important, and every little bit helps.

• METAL CRAIG (audio and home)! I was sincerely hoping for an update to AirPods Pro with a price drop. No such luck. Though the adaptive audio is pretty darn cool. ONE) AirPlay in Hotels would have been fantastic... when I was traveling (assuming it worked in the hotels I frequent), but now? Meh. TWO) Jesus. TV OS is still isn't addressing what a steaming pile of shit that navigation is to deal with? I fucking hate having to slowly scroll through shitloads of media because there's no alphabet jump menu available... LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE HAS BEEN USING FOREVER! WHAT THE FUCK?!?

• WatchOS! I have an Apple Watch Series 6. And watched with disinterest as Apple has plodded through Series 7 and Series 8. ONE) Who the fuck selected this shitty, SHITTY "Rhythm is Our Business" song to intro this section? TWO) The widgets and other improvements are nice and all, but this is not going to revolutionize how I use my watch. THREE) I want that Snoopy watch face... but would rather have this kind of cool interactivity with Mickey Mouse.

• Apple Vision Pro! And heeeeere it is. The main event. ONE) All the AR/VR headsets to date have been shit (remember "Google Glass?"). Apple, being Apple, seems to have come up with something far more compelling. If it truly does work as advertised, this is a massive game changer. TWO) The interface is brilliantly realized. They reeeeeally put the time in to make sure that it's intuitive and easy. Once you get used to it, I have no doubt it will be as intuitive as any other device we're wed to. The depth and shadows must have been really tough to nail down. THREE) The minimal gestures required to interact with Vision Pro actually works better than the science fiction projected. Nice. FOUR) Look, these will never not look weird when worn, but I appreciate that Apple is doing to make it as less weird as possible. FIVE) Being able to bring your Mac into your AR/VR "world" is pretty amazing... but feels like it would be headache-inducing. Maybe once you get used to it, things would seem second-nature, but I wonder what the learning curve is to get there. SIX) WAIT A SECOND... people on FaceTime calls appear on tiles to you, but what do you look like to them? SEVEN) OKAY, THAT PANORAMA MODE IS FRICKIN' AMAZING! EIGHT) Boy, porn filmed in 3D, then displayed on Vision Pro in spatial video is going to be the real game changer experience! NINE) Now, see, this is what I'm really excited about. Having a 100-foot movie screen in your living room with no distractions! Sweet! And how many times have I dreamed about sitting on a plane and not having to experience being on a plane! TEN) Boy... gaming was really light in this presentation. Given how that's the cornerstone to so many of these things, that's weird. ELEVEN) Bob Iger appearing here for Disney has me thinking about how hilariously ridiculous it would have been to have Bob Chapek doing this. But anyway... Disney producing content for Vision Pro is about as big an endorsement as you could hope for. And what they're presenting seems as good a reason to buy into VR/AR than anything. TWELVE) The design of this thing makes every other VR/AR headset look like it's positively ancient. The new Quest 3 just announced by Meta looks like absolute dog shit by comparison. Though it will likely be affordable. I probably won't even be able to afford the corrective lenses I'd need to buy to even use Vision Pro. THIRTEEN) These don't debut until next year and it will feature the M2 and not the M3 chip? Yikes. Big yikes. FOURTEEN) And that's what's so weird. The unit is not transparent. The thing it 1000% opaque. But it fakes it by displaying your eyes on the face of it that people are looking at. SO WEIRD. FIFTEEN) Ah, in answer to my earlier question, what people see when chatting to you is an avatar ("digital persona") that's computer-generated. This will either be good enough... or slip right down the uncanny valley and look scary-awful. Probably somewhere in-between? SIXTEEN) I'll bet Zuckerberg and Meta, who failed spectacularly with their "MetaVerse," is shitting their pants after wasting billions of dollars and getting nowhere even close to what Apple has done. SEVENTEEN) TouchID -> FaceID -> OpticID. EIGHTEEN) At least Apple put some thought into the privacy of these things. Which is smart. By allowing people to know where you're looking while looking at them, you've opened a huge can of worms. Apple neatly sidesteps this. NINETEEN) Given how much this thing is going to cost, Apple's smartly leaning into all the hardware it will replace. Smart. TWENTY) THREE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS?!?? BWAH HA HA HAAAAAA! Now, look, I get it. I know how it works. They have an absurd price tag to start, but eventually as they optimize manufacturing and such, the price falls. But starting THIS high is pretty disgusting. Who the fuck can afford to spend THREE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS on a VR/AR headset? Even one this good and feature-packed? Do I want one? Oh hell yeah. Will I buy one? WITH WHAT?!? Maybe if I can sell my organs or something. And yet, the allure of being able to escape from this shitty reality into something better does seem like it would be worth the fortune it casts to do so. I just wish it didn't have a big ol' cord dangling off of it for the battery... and the fact that you only get TWO MEASLY HOURS OF RUNTIME PER CHARGE? Wow. Hope you only take short flights!

And that's the end of WWDC 23. I've never felt so poor!

*Seriously. The fact that Messages regularly reports I have new messages when I don't (I'm guessing this is a flaw in syncing between devices) is absolutely infuriating. Quitting and restarting Messages doesn't fix it. YOU HAVE TO RESTART YOUR COMPUTER?!? WHAT THE FUCK?!??

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Bullet Sunday 809

Posted on Sunday, June 11th, 2023

Dave!Recovering from being deathly sick has never been more fun... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Toast! Awww... my little Toast nightlight arrived!

A little toast nightlight glowing serenely in the dark.

It's a nightlight that I put in the dark corner of my kitchen next to my toaster. Get it?

   
• Buses? These captchas are getting frickin' stupid ridiculous...

So what? Now we're just supposed to be clicking on every fucking square on these idiotic things?

   
• Good Omens 2! This looks even better than the first one. The casting was note-perfect for these characters, and seeing more of them is something I am very much looking forward to...

It's weird how flawless the casting was for these.

   
• Schlage Rage! It went something like this...
ME: "I hate my Schlage Sense smart lock SO much. Flames... flames... on the side of my face... Which lock should I get to replace it? Preferably one with HomeKey."
HOMEKIT FORUM MEMBER: "Definitely the Schlage Encode Plus."
ME: "IS THIS SOME KIND OF JOKE?!? I hate hate HATE the Schlage I have now!"
HOMEKIT FORUM MEMBER: "I understand. I agree. But know that all the bad things on the Sense have been improved one thousand percent on the Encode Plus. And be sure to get the Plus if you want HomeKey."
OTHER HOMEKIT FORUM MEMBERS: "Hard agree!"
ME: "Just so you know, if I hate this lock I am coming back to haunt all of you."

And... they were absolutely right. No more stupid battery pack cable. No more stupid setup fails. No more stupid "lock not found." No more stupid random lock resets. No more stupid random lock cycling. No more stupid HomeKit disconnects. It's an entirely new product. So good on Schlage for listening and improving, I guess. Doesn't change the fact that they unleashed a shitty product that I've been suffering with for seven years though.

   
• Hilarious! Zuckerberg on Apple Pro Vision: "Our vision for the metaverse and presence is fundamentally social. It’s about people interacting in new ways and feeling closer in new ways. Our device is also about being active and doing things. By contrast, every demo that they showed was a person sitting on a couch by themself. I mean, that could be the vision of the future of computing, but like, it’s not the one that I want." This is the stupidest fucking thing I've heard this week. How many times have a GROUP OF PEOPLE all put on their Facebook Quest VR goggles and sat around interacting in the same room? Nah, buddy. They're sitting alone on the couch! How is the Facebook headset more "social" when you're wandering around as a cartoon floating torso that's always gripping hand controllers? Apple at least went with uncanny valley avatars that attempt to look like you and leave your hands free...

Apple's take will cost HUGE MONEY... to start... but it will get cheaper over time. Facebook, who has lost millions (billions?) trying to do VR... and ultimately failing... shows Zuck's statement for what it is... fear. And bullshit. I'm not sure ANY of this is the "future I want." But I'd take Apple's vision over Facebook any day.

   
• Crossing the Street in Vietnam! Not a lie. Which would have been fine... except I had my mom with me, and most intersections are far busier than this one! I'll never forget the first time we went to cross a street. The intersection actually had a crosswalk signal (many don't). But it was totally ignored. We had the light but it made no difference at all... you're just expected to cross like this...

@travelwithpat Crossing the street in Vietnam is something you need to prepare to do #travel #vietnam #tiktoktravel ♬ Super Mario Bros Main Theme

But still... it's s country like no other and worth a visit. As is this guy's TikTok.

   
• Church & State? Okay, government funded Christian schools are a thing now... so are they going to also fund Muslim schools? Buddhist schools? Hindu schools? So much FOR FUCKING SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE!! This is a big slap in the face to all Americans, even if they consider themselves "Christian." Absolutely outrageous. Can't wait until the government is forced to sponsor Church of Satan schools because they're so fucking stupid that they don't have the fist clue about the can of worms they are opening. Jesus. OR NOT. THAT'S *YOUR* FUCKING CHOICE IN THIS COUNTRY!!!

   
And now I guess I had better make my bed, take a shower, and try and get some sleep .

   

Sleepy Memoji

Posted on Wednesday, June 21st, 2023

Dave!LOL.

When you assign a Memoji to your Apple profile, it propagates everywhere across all your Apple stuff. It's even on my computers now, and I notice that if you don't touch it for a while your Memoji falls asleep...

Which is not a good thing, because it just makes me want to take a nap.

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Darn Handy

Posted on Thursday, July 27th, 2023

Dave!This morning I took an Über back to The Big City to pick up my car. I was expecting a $500+ bill, but it was only $85 because the whole muffler didn't have to be replaced, it was only a connector or flange or something. There is still a rattling when you first accelerate, so that will have to be looked at, I suppose. But... it's far better than it was.

Now I just need to have the roof stripped and repainted, and I guess I've got a car for the next couple years.

The iPhone "Always-On Display" allows me almost two days of battery life (normal usage) which is a big improvement from when I first got the phone and it was just over a day of use. I never thought that I would care about it, but between being able to customize the lock screen with widgets and having live tiles for background app updates (SHADES OF WINDOWS PHONE!), it's a darn handy thing to have...

No more waking up my phone a half-dozen times to check on when my Über is arriving.

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Apple iCloud FAIL!

Posted on Thursday, September 7th, 2023

Dave!One of the things that keeps me so firmly embedded in the Apple ecosystem is that everything works together. You don't have to do anything special, they just work.

Except when they don't. Like HomeKit HomeShit, which is so fucking flakey as to be useless based on unreliability. Sometimes things work. Sometimes they don't. Sometimes things which worked forever randomly stop working (Currently the automation which turns the garage light on when the pass-door is opened has stopped working. The door sensor is fine. The switch is fine. They are both connected to HomeShit. But the automation fails even when deleted and re-added).

But the thing which really fucking enrages me is iCloud.

It's not that your computer will stop working with iCloud and you can just log out and log back in to get things working again... it's that individual services will randomly stop working and then never fucking work again no matter how many fucking times you log in and out.

All everybody ever says is "Make sure Bluetooth is on, make sure WiFi is on the same network, make sure syncing is enabled, then log out of iCloud and log back in." Except that has NEVER worked for me. Not once.

Just look at this idiotic shit...

iMac M1 MacBook Pro M2 Mac Studio M1 Ultra
iPhoto Sync X X
iMessage Sync X X
AirDrop X X
Keychain Sync X X X

Syncing iPhoto libraries doesn't work on my iMac. But everywhere else is fine (including on my iPhone and iPad) even though syncing is slow as shit. And since there's no manual SYNC NOW command, there's no way of telling iPhoto to sync things you know are there. Even quitting the app and restarting doesn't force a sync. It just sits there like a stupid pile of shit until you either reboot your machine or it randomly decides to sync things.

Syncing iMessage doesn't work on my MacBook. Well, it will sync if the message was sent/received from Apple devices... but if you send to a non-Apple device via SMS, then tough crap... absolutely NOTHING will get those to sync. Ever. Logging out and logging back in. Quitting and restarting. Rebooting. Turning off sync and turning it back on. NOTHING!!!

Airdrop is ridiculously finicky. None of my computers work perfectly every time. But my Mac Studio at the office will never successfully receive a fucking thing. You'll see an alert saying that the file is been received. The download folder in my dock will bounce like the file is there. BUT THE FILE IS NEVER, EVER FUCKING THERE! Th only way to receive a file from my laptop or iPhone is via iMessage, since that is mysteriously working.

Keychain Sync always seems to work. But sometimes it takes a fucking eternity to sync depending on which device made the change.

It's maddening how much time I have wasted trying to get this idiotic shit working. Scouring the internet. Leaving messages in forums. Reading every technical document I can find. And it's all for nothing.

And of course Apple doesn't give a fuck. Big companies never do if it's not threatening their profit margins.

   

Wonderlust, and All That Entails

Posted on Tuesday, September 12th, 2023

Dave!Today was Apple Event Day... titled Wonderlust. No idea how what they presented is a combination of "Wonder" and "Wanderlust," but that's marketing for you.

If you want to watch it, the full video is on Youtube here. If you want it condensed down to 17 minutes, then The Verge has got you covered...

My comments (since I know you're dying to hear them) are below...

Mac

Transition has been complete to Apple Silicon. Though I still think that the Mac Pro is a bit nonsensical which, if not really Apple's fault... it's due to Apple Silicon not really being conducive to external upgrades for memory and such.

Really nice that Marques Brownlee (MKNHD) got a shout-out as an important voice to quote. He definitely deserves that.

They don't give us any new AppleVision Pro news, except to say that what's being developed for it is incredible. I don't doubt it. I truly don't.

Apple Watch Series 9

I have an Apple Watch Series 6. There was zero incentive for me to upgrade to Series 7 or 8. Sure my battery dies too soon and I have to keep the always-on display off, but it's otherwise still perfect for my needs. And now here's Series 9.

The chip that runs the latest and greatest is truly impressive... now featuring Machine Learning Neural Cores so that many of your Siri requests run on-device and are more accurate. I would hope that even those commands which have to go out over cellular data on my iPhone will be speeded up as well. Specifically, telling my garage door to open. I think that this will be the case, because the command will just be issued while (hopefully) instead of a round-trip to have the command processed?

I use my watch to find my iPhones more often than I'd ever admit. Apple Watch now has the ability to find it with a directional beacon. This is a bit nicer than triggering an alert noise and having to try and listen for it. I leave my iPhone in all kinds of places... in the garage... outside... whatever... so this is good news for me (and my cats, who scamper when they hear that alarm going off).

2000 nits brightness on the screen. So good. That's double the Series 6 I have, which is more than adequate in all but the brightest of sunny days.

One-handed gesture for double-tap. This is straight out of the AppleVision Pro handbook. Watching it in action on Apple's demo video makes it look like a very cool thing to have. I know I would start using it from Day One, because I'm always reaching for the button.

Available in Pink! But I want that (Product)RED watch with a black band... it's actually what I wanted last time, but you can't get a different color band when you go with Product(RED).

Apple's first carbon-neutral product. Good on them.

Apple Green Environmental Initiatives

Octavia Spencer as Mother Nature? Well, I guess if you gotta go with some stunt casting on a stupid promo video, Octavia Spencer will make it look 100% less stupid, so there's that.

Apple is reeeeally pushing sustainability in all aspects of their operation. It's great and all, but I'm wondering if anything is being done about taking care of their workers better. Because putting nets on their buildings to keep employees from killing themselves by jumping off is not exactly a solution.

Despite the fact that much of what Apple is doing to "save the planet" is highly beneficial to them (whether by act, deed, shipping costs, or tax write-offs) it's still a cool thing to be doing. If most companies acted like this, it actually would benefit the planet. Though "carbon offsets" are dubious at best, and there's loads written about how they're kinda a scam. Maybe Apple is different, but yeah... this is benefitting them too. Don't assume otherwise.

Apple abandoning leather is nice for me, who wants to kill as few creatures as possible. The only things I bought made out of leather is some of my shoes and the Apple Wallet on my iPhone. This will give me one less thing, because when my wallet wears out, I'll switch to a non-leather one.

Apple Watch Ultra 2

Still too big for me and my pencil-arms.

3000 nits display. Insanity. That's fully-readable in full sunlight.

Better, faster, yada yada. This is not a watch for me, but it's very capable with many cool features for outdoorsy type people.

iPhone 15

Oh gawd. Pastels?? Why? Are they popular again? I'm not seeing it. I'm mad enough that Apple used pastels on their iMacs. And no purple? WTF? At least they have black as an option for people who don't want a pastel.

Dynamic Island for everyone! I have to admit this is a pretty cool idea I use often (and a great way to conceal the cameras).

The glass tech on the back will never be not cool.

Camera improvements are always a given and, as usual, some of the tech is filtering down from the Pro models. I mostly prefer Apple's take on photography over their competitors, and knowing Apple wants their lesser model to keep pace is nice.

The ability to switch focus after the fact is the real power of computerized phone cameras over DSLRs. There have been attempts to do this for years, but Apple's take is the first way to do so without penalty.

A16 Bionic is inherited from the iPhone 14 Pro. A very good chip indeed.

Ultra-wide-band chip has been improved to have more precision finding. That's great news for people who rely on FindMy like I do!

Voice Isolation is a cool feature, but I'll be interested to hear how Apple's implementation is. In the past, the technology has been hit-or-miss.

Find My over satellite? Was this already a feature that I didn't know about?

Roadside Assistance over satellite is handy. I dropped AAA, but if I were driving in isolated places, I would re-up my membership.

Satellite services free for two years. What happens after two years? Time to get a new phone? $1000 a month? What?

USB-C. About FUCKING time. Jesus. Lightning was great TWENTY YEARS AGO! Though the fact that large files will STILL take forever to transfer because they are using USB-C V2 is kinda puzzling. I guess V3 will be saved for the Pro.

iPhone 15 Pro & Pro Max

Here we go... the whole reason I tuned in. Will I be trading in with my iPhone Trade-In Program... or waiting a year to own the phone I have outright?

Titanium frame. Well that looks expensive. Though the lighter weight might be worth it. And it sure is pretty with that brushed texture.

The display has the same specs as before... just with a smaller bezel. This results in a slightly (probably unnoticeably) smaller size phone. Considering I buy the Max model, even a tiny bit is appreciated, though this is clearly nothing to be excited about.

Blergh. Once again, the Pro models don't get fun, bright colors. Always the more "refined" look... which is a bit of a bummer. FOR CRYING OUT LOUD... GIVE ME MY FUCKING (PRODUCT)RED PRO MAX, APPLE! The Blue Titanium is so dark as to be fairly black (like the purple I have now), so I might go with the Natural Titanium color if I upgrade, just to have something different. I'd have to see them in person. The option of White Titanium is puzzling. It's like... why bother? It's close enough to Natural as to be moot.

The Action Button is a smarter use of control real estate, that's for sure. And being able to customize it is pretty great. I'd probably use it for camera, but who knows?

"Standby Mode" only works if you have a charging stand that supports having the phone display sideways. Since I've got a Google Hub as a clock (to instantly view my Nest Cams), I'm probably taking a pass and not buying a new stand if I upgrade.

Welp. We knew it was coming... 3 nanometer chips. It seems more like a concept that's more science fiction than reality. At some point, I wonder just how much speed and power a phone actually needs. Regardless, the power-savings and heat reduction will always make the smaller chips worth having. But I'm puzzled that battery life is still clocking in at the same as before: up to 29 hours video playback? Shouldn't it be better than before? Or did they shrink the battery?

It will be interesting to see the speed benchmarks of the A16 Bionic vs. the A17 Pro. I am expecting it to not be a serious increase for normal use, but will obviously be better for gaming and such.

USB-C... V3! So long as you pony up the cash for a very expensive cable that can actually utilize the full-speed, that's a huge benefit for anybody shooting RAW photos and video.

The GPU capabilities are impressive as hell already. Now we're getting an additional GPU core for added capabilities. Realtime ray-tracing is cool for gaming... and 3D applications across the board, if that's your thing.

A video just to focus on gaming. Amazing that CONSOLE GAMES can now be ported to play on a frickin' phone without dumbing down the visuals or play mechanics. That'll sell a few iPhone 15 Pro Max handsets!

The base model starts at 256GB, double the minimum as before. That's what I got last year because I wanted to shoot the ProRes video at maximum (which won't work on 128GB models). So the cost, for me, is the same as last year. The rumor mill was saying that there would be a hefty price increase, so this is a pleasant surprise.

iPhone 15 Pro Max Photography

This is really all I care about, so it's getting its own section.

All lenses seems to have an improved anti-reflective coating, which is great.

As expected, all the Photonic Engine routines are getting improvements. Making it easy for anybody to get amazing shots. There's nothing that Apple didn't demonstrate that wasn't incredible.

The telephoto lends upgrade is pretty sweet. 5X Optical Zoom on a 25% larger sensor (although the aperture is the same across the board). That's on the Max. The regular-sized phone is sticking with 3X. The "periscope prism" design of the lens allows a lot of focal length in a small space... which is superior to janky digital zooming (which is not exactly janky on an iPhone since their neural engine rendering helps out quite a bit).

The shake-reduction should be better given that the 15 Pro has double the speed of micro-adjustments than the 14 Pro. This is very cool, because as good as my current phone is, there's definitely room for improvement. And on the Pro Max you've got 5X telephoto, which will make good stability a must-have feature.

The wide-angle lens macro mode is looking pretty great. Though the macro shots I am getting out of my camera now are also pretty great.

And here it is... direct recording Pro Res video to an external device via USB-C V3. I wonder how many budget movie production houses are just going to say "screw it" and go with an iPhone to save hideous amounts of money over pricey dedicated digital video cameras? Of course major studio films have the money, but how many starter and small studios will benefit from this? A lot, I'm betting. Apple always demos video that looks incredible, so it's not absurd to think that this will be the leap needed to get professional use for cinema. Especially given that the limitation of transferring to your Mac for editing is disappearing thanks to USB-C V3.

Case in point...

Spatial video recording is now an option... of course. This allows shooting 3D photos and movies for the AppleVision Pro. This alone might make it worth upgrading if that's you, though if you're going to drop the money for an AppleVision Pro, you certainly don't need to worry about the cost of upgrading your iPhone.

Final Thoughts

USB-C V3 is great, but why not USB-C Thunderbolt 4? This is inexplicable (even more so when you consider that Thunderbolt 5 was just released). As is the fact that there's NO fast-charging and NO reverse-charging. It's like Apple is intentionally nerfing their phones so that they have something new to announce next year. That's pretty shitty.

Interesting to note that Apple is adding 6TB and 12TB storage options to iCloud. Their storage is already so expensive that I can't imagine how much this will cost.

The iPhone mini is officially dead. If you want a tiny phone, you're out of luck with Apple. The small phones never got the features I wanted, so they were never an option for me... but some people will rightfully be upset. But not enough people to keep Apple making them.

Apple didn't mention it in the presentation, but MacOS Sonoma will be releasing on the 26th (iOS 17 releases on the 18th). This is not a feature-heavy, revolutionary release, though there are a few low-key features I'm looking forward to.

Another nugget not mentioned... the iPhone Pro and Pro Max are Thread-enabled for Matter (the new smart home standard) which is interesting and cool. I haven't switched to Matter yet because HomeKit it bad enough without inviting more trauma. Eventually I will be switching because HomeShit is SO FUCKING BAD that I can't stand using it (the latest... telling Siri to turn off my table light turns off my kitchen lights).

Dunno if I'll be upgrading my Apple Watch. Again, there just doesn't seem to be much there to justify the cash outlay. Where's the new sensors they're working on? I keep waiting for some massive feature to debut that I can't live without... and it never comes. What I have is plenty (especially HomeKey, which I love for unlocking my doors).

While the Apple Watch Ultra is not for me... I cannot wrap my head around a display with 3000 nits brightness!

The new iPhone, however, is definitely appealing. Slightly, slightly smaller size... albeit with a tiny bit more thickness... plus a drop in weight (240g to 221g) is welcome but not critical to me. The extra GPU core and better speed are also not critical, as I am not running hardcore games on my iPhone (unless you consider Hello Kitty Island Adventure to be hardcore). I love the idea of USB-C V3, though I'll likely still be charging over MagSafe, so it's not as critical as it would be if I needed to offload tons of massive files. The camera is more important to me than anything else, and while there's a few things that I'd really like to have when it comes to that... I'm not sure better zoom and slightly better night mode is appealing enough to get me to upgrade. It might not be. I guess I'll wait for the reviews and see what photos people are getting out of it before I know if I'm going for the trade-in. My Apple Trade-In Program date doesn't hit until January, (I think?) so I've got time to decide if I'm going for it. I may decide just to skip it solely so I can actually own my phone after a year... something I haven't been able to claim since I joined the program.

Update

Apple will give me a $115 credit on my Apple Watch Series 6. Honestly, that's double what I was expecting. I seriously thought it would be a token $50 for something that's three generations old. And so... that, along with the Apple Card 3% discount, drops the price of upgrading to something I can stomach (in monthly payments with 0% APR, of course). Since the only way to get the Apple (Product)RED watch I covet is to get it with the (Product)RED band, I just did it. I can alway buy the black band later. Because holy crap does that look amazing...

Red watch with a black loop band.

So I guess I actually will end up with only a $65 credit since that black band will cost me $50. Dangit.

   

Bullet Sunday 822

Posted on Sunday, September 17th, 2023

Dave!It may be getting cold enough that I'm contemplating turning on the heat, but it's always warm on my blog... because an all new Very Special Video Edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Kookaburra! Now, granted, I would not want this outside my window (and I remember them very well from my trip to Australia), but it's sure nice to admire them from afar...

So cute. Are there any baby creatures that are not adorable?

   
• Andor! Diego Luna is precious and life-affirming. This entire video is fantastic...

On top of that? He's a remarkably gifted actor. I am dying for the second season of Andor to arrive.

   
• ¡Yo Quiero! "It's the same thing in a different thing."HE'S FIGURED IT OUT! HE'S DISCOVERED THE TACO BELL FORMULA!

LOL. These foreign takes on quintessentially American things never gets old!

   
• Does Whatever a Spider Can! Video games have reached the point where you're basically playing a feature film. This looks incredible...

This was a Spider-Man game when I first started playing...

Insanity. And soon we'll have much, much better VR experiences, which could take it to an even more immersive level.

   
• Unreal! If you want a look into the absolutely fascinating world of 3D computer graphics, this is an amazing behind-the-scenes look at how photogrammetry works...

Now, I've written about the Unity gaming engine a couple times before. The stuff people are doing with it is breathtaking (including companies like Lucasfilm and Marvel using it for producing their projects). It is an amazing, amazing tool. Unfortunately, they've just unveiled a hugely controversial licensing model, which is gouging game developers in a terrible way. It's easy to say "Just switch to a different gaming engine if you don't like the cost!" Except video games take years to develop. Even for large studios with hundreds of employees. So if you've been working on a game for two or three years... how can you afford to switch to a different engine? This is a major deal. So major that some game projects are being canceled... and some developers are going to switch engines despite the additional time needed...

The Mega Crit team has been hard at work these past 2+ years on a new game. But unlike with Slay the Spire, the engine we have been developing it in is Unity. The retroactive pricing structure of Runtime Fees is not only harmful in a myriad of ways to developers--especially indies--it is also a violation of trust. We believe Unity is fully aware of this, seeing as they have gone so far as to remove their TOS from GitHub. Despite the immense amount of time and effort our team has already poured into development on our new title, we will be migrating to a new engine unless the changes are completely reverted and TOS protections are put in place. We have never made a public statement before. That is how badly you fucked up.

Of course the people behind Unity deserve to get paid for their hard work. But to kill developers to get there seems like a horrifically bad business model. Hopefully they will re-evaluate what they're doing and come up with something more reasonable.

   
• SCIENCE! Despite an inexplicable (and highly selective) anti-science movement by fucking idiots, science marches on. And this is fascinating...

Fascinating and scary. Plants screaming? But in brighter news... research into Alzheimer's just keeps advancing. Very promising that one day we might have a cure.

   
• HomeShit! For anybody saying that I am exaggerating about just how fucking shitty Apple's HomeKit is, this guy is a total expert and even he can't solve the problems he's been having. He finally ended up resetting and rebuilding his entire HomeKit setup...

If I get this desperate, I'm just going to bail on HomeShit altogether and go with Matter and some kind of smarter home hub (like Homey Pro). In the meanwhile, I am just applying Band-Aids to try to solve the massive fucking problems I'm having. As an example, I just installed a light and motion sensor in my garage as a backup to automatically turn the light on when the doors open since HomeShit automations keep dying on my door sensor for some reason (even though the light switch and sensor itself is operating perfectly).

   
And on that happy note... enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

   

A Very Apple Christmas

Posted on Friday, September 22nd, 2023

Dave!Today I was much like a kid at Christmas given that my new Apple Watch Series 9 and iPhone 15 Pro Max arrived. It happened the morning I was hanging out with my friends, so I was anticipating the transfer from my old phone to be shit-butt city as we went bar-hopping and I was climbing on and off Wi-Fi all afternoon.

Turns out I had nothing to worry about. Unlike last year when I upgraded to the iPhone 14 Pro Max, everything went off without a hitch. Well, almost. There's one teeny tiny problem that's giving me fits, but I'll get to that.

Apple Watch Series 9

As I mentioned during the keynote, I had zero intention of upgrading my Apple Watch Series 6. There just doesn't seem to be anything worth upgrading for. Well, except having a new battery, since the one in my old watch would no longer last the day if I had the always-on display set to "on." Still. With the display off except for tap-to-wake, I easily made it through the day and it did everything I needed it to do.

What tipped the scales for me was the fact that Series 9 does most all Siri processing locally. Which means that simple requests aren't passing through the cellular radio on my iPhone for a round trip that causes a noticeable delay. And, sure enough, the Apple Watch is really quick with Siri requests, which makes the price of admission worth it for me (once you factor in the $115 that Apple will give me to trade in my old one).

But it turns out this isn't the best part of upgrading.

The display is not just brighter... it's bigger!

Comparion the two watches.
It's five o'clock somewhere...

I have to get the little watch since, as you can see, my arms are so thin. The Series 6 is 40mm. The Series 9 (in red) is 41mm. But there's also the fact that the display goes out further to the edges. Everything looks bigger. Very nice.

The double-finger-tap control works as advertised. Everything is very zippy. Fast and smooth. Overall, a good upgrade from where I was. I dunno if this is a worthy upgrade if you've got a Series 8, but for me it was a good choice.

iPhone 15 Pro Max

I gave serious consideration to skipping an upgrade for a year so I could own my iPhone 14 Pro Max outright. But ultimately I figured one of the benefits of being in the Apple Upgrade Program is getting the latest and greatest, so I caved. Mostly because I use it more as a camera than a phone and the 5× optical zoom lens plus claims of better night photos swayed me. Along with the fact that iPhones hold their value well... but not so great that I'm leaving loads of money on the table from what I can tell looking at the 13 Pro Max used market.

Camera aside, I honestly don't notice a big difference with the 15. Sure it's a touch lighter, but all the things I like are mostly the same and the one thing I hate (Apple's silicone cases do not stay attached like they used to) is also the same. It's fast. It's capable. It runs all my apps very well. The end. Maybe I'll buy a game that has ray-tracing to see how that looks. Stunning, I'm sure.

Setup was far, far better than the past two years. Pairing my new Apple Watch was seamless. Everything copied over just fine. The only problem I have is that my phone app shows a red badge notification with a "1" in it... even though there's no fucking notifications when I look everywhere in the app. I've restarted three times and shut it down once. No joy. I finally just turned off badge notifications. Hopefully Apple will fix this shit one of these days. UPDATE: Turned off my iPhone for 20 full minutes then restarted. That did the trick.

Other than that, my complaints are A) They don't have a (Product)RED silicone case for it... B) The new Action Button is a cool thing, but it's WAY up on the side, so it's only hand if you're holding your phone horizontally... and you can't customize it for double-click or triple-click, and... C) The blue that I got is pretty much black with a blue cast... in the right light. And it's like... what's the fucking point? You've already got a black phone. So why not make a bright red (Product)RED phone or something that will truly look bold and different? Why do Pro users always get fucked with these boring-ass "premium" color choices? Of course, I'll take these over the fucking PASTELS that the regular iPhone 15's got. Because yikes. Those look like total shit. Maybe I should have gone with Raw Titanium color to have something different? Meh. It doesn't bother me that much. It's just disappointing.

Lastly there's USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 which will allow you to transfer much, much faster than Lightning (480 megabytes per second vs. 10 gigabytes per second). If you've got the right cable. And it's about fucking time. Jesus. Apple puts these massive sensors in their cameras and allow shooting RAW, but it takes an eternity to get them off of it because the resulting files are huge. I didn't even bother to shoot RAW, because it can take days to get them all in your computer to actually work on them. I've got USB-C 3.2 cables, so maybe now I will. Thank you to the EU for mandating USB-C on all phones... otherwise Apple would probably stick with obsolete Lightning ports for years longer. The one thing I don't understand it why they didn't just go with Thunderbolt4 (100Gps) compatibility to really make it worthwhile. Guess they're saving that to get you to upgrade in the future? In any event, you can record ProRes 4K 60Hz video directly to an external SSD now, which is pretty special.

iPhone 15 Pro Max Camera

First a caveat on that spiffy new 5× lens. It needs good light to function. If you don't got that, it switches back to you main camera. This did not happen with the 3× lens on my old camera. At least not that I recall. This is a pretty big downgrade, if you ask me. It may very well be a deal breaker for some people who would rather have a 3× lens with more flexibility. As for me? I'm greedy. I wish we would have gotten both. Add a fourth lens on the Pro Max to get the best of both worlds! Or, ideally, give us a 3× and a 10×. UPDATE: If you want to force the camera to use the 5× lens in low light, some third party camera apps (like Halide) will let you.

That being said, when you've got some light it's very nice. This was shot in a bar with not great lighting, but look how good it turned out at 5×! Very sharp and the color is beautiful, despite the fact that we're very clearly entering HDR "Deep Fusion" territory here...


Click here to look at a bigger version.
Click here to see the full size version.

That's pretty impressive... but the main lens really looks great...


Click here to look at a bigger version.
Click here to see the full size version.

Interesting that Apple now calls the "Main Camera" the "Wide Camera" and the "Wide Camera the Ultra Wide Camera. Note that the "Wide Camera" has a goodly number of pixels more than the previous generation (but with bigger files, natch)...

Now... I have only had the camera for a tiny amount of time. I will obviously be taking more photos and a closer look at the features and quality sometime soon (especially when it comes to being able to change the focal point after the fact... because in playing around with it, this is a very cool feature). And of course I'll want to look at how well it shoots ProRes video (especially its ability to shoot LOG video that can be color graded easily and pushed in directions you can't get easily otherwise).

But last thing I want to say before I go is how Apple's claim that the new camera has "seven lenses" is not quite the bullshit it seems given that there's only three lenses on the back. The main lens allows you to use "virtual lenses" that crop into the data with common focal lengths (24mm, 28mm, and 35mm). But you still end up with 5712×4284 images, which means that Apple is upscaling or doing some kind of magic to get there. And the result is very good. I did the same thing in Photoshop to compare, and Apple's method always comes out on top. Which means that they must have specialized computational photography routines to come much closer than a mere crop.

Ultimately I don't know that going for the upgrade was the best choice for me. I likely could have gotten along with the 14 Pro Max for another year without issue. But as somebody who likes any improvement Apple will give me on the cameras, the 15 Pro Max will likely make me happier overall.

Until next year.

   

Visiting Sonoma in MacOS X

Posted on Thursday, September 28th, 2023

Dave!MacOS Sonoma has released. The bad news is that it hasn't done jack-shit to solve my biggest problems (like fixing fucking AirDrop, which never works at work and is unreliable everywhere else). But anyway... let's get on with it...

Caps Lock indicator. I have no idea why this hasn't been done before, because it's frickin' fantastic. A little indicator pops up under your cursor where you'll actually see it. Nice.

The capslock indicator.

Screen Sharing. Apple's screen sharing "solution" has always been pretty basic and unworthy. It's clutzy and janky and feels very much like an afterthought. So much so that I have been using a third party app for years. Well... Sonoma changes that. Their high-speed connect mode is very, very good (and available only on Macs with Apple Silicon). You can literally watch high-res video at full speed with only an occasional rare stutter. I love it. I haven't tried using it over the internet yet... but the "standard mode" is probably capable. I'm just not sure if I want to risk it.

Screensavers & Desktops. There's some beautiful new screensavers that have cool motion to them... much in the vein of the AppleTV screensavers... then when you pop into your computer, the screensaver freezes and becomes your desktop photo. There's this new feature where when you click on your desktop to send all your windows flying and you can see whatever's on your desktop, but I don't know if I'm keeping it or turning it off yet. It's both handy and annoying in equal measure. UPDATE: Yeah, I turned it off. It's far more annoying than helpful.

Widgets. There was a time that Apple gifted us widgets... then took them away. And now they're back. For a while, I'm guessing. You can post widgets to your desktop... whether they be from your Mac apps or your iPhone/iPad apps (if supported). I've got my Fantastical widget with my upcoming events, my Autosleep widget to remind me of how little sleep I'm getting, my Ecobee thermostat app so I can see what the settings/status is, my Tempest widget to let me know what my weather station is reading, my Weather forecast widget, and my Parcel widget with any deliveries I've got coming up. All handy.

Widgets on my desktop.

Spotlight Search. When it works, I'm a huge fan of Apple's internal search tool that works for finding just about anything on your Mac... or even across the web. The problem is that every once in a while my various Macs cannot search through my files. No idea why. It seems to happen at random and come back at random. And sometimes it will return results... but when you click on the file to open it, some other entirely different file will open! Hopefully this has been cleared up, but who knows? In any event, it's apparently supposed to be better now.

Predictive Text. Mac now suggests words as you type. It's a feature which is most welcome on a phone screen, but it's kinda bonkers on a machine with a physical keyboard. Maybe if you're a really slow typist it would be helpful... but most times I can out-type the suggestions, which is to say that by the time it's registered that I could have just hit return to finish typing a word, I've already finished typing it. So, yeah. Not a great feature for me.

Web Apps. When the iPhone first debuted, there were no apps. Everything was done with "web apps" that were pretty much shit. Well, now you can bring those shitty web apps of yesteryear to your Mac! And put them into your dock! Except they actually are kinda useful in that you can have frequently-used websites that are essentially their own apps anyway within easy reach. I've got a few I'm trying... like YouTube... which I'm kinda digging.

Lockdown Mode. If you're browsing the dark web (or whatever) and need added protections, you can slap all your Apple devices into Lockdown Mode and be far more secure. It offers a host of safeguards that are pretty strong and severely limit your normal operations, but if you need it... you need it.

   

Problem...

No idea what's going on... but today I lost over three hours work when all of a sudden the files just evaporated. They were still showing in my "recent files" but any attempt to load them would give "File Not Found." Fortunately my computer is constantly backing itself up, so I was able to recover most everything and only spent 10 minutes making updates that were lost. No clue what went wrong. But this is a scary-ass thing to have happen. It's like the system just trashed them or lost them for no reason. One minute they were there... the next they didn't exist! I hope this isn't a regular occurrance, because yikes.

   

Still Missing...

Email Search That's Worth a Shit. Ever search for a word within a long, long email chain, then get disgusted because, unlike Safari, you can't jump between those highlighted words or phrases but instead have to scroll endlessly and pore over everything until you find what you're looking for... AND THEN DO IT OVER AND OVER BECAUSE YOU KEEP MISSING IT? This is just next-level idiotic and I cannot believe that Apple hasn't done shit to fix it.

AirDrop. As I said... nothing has been fixed. Still a fucking pile of shit. This is enraging because Apple keeps promoting it. Meanwhile I can't send a photo from my iPhone to my work Mac unless I text it to myself.

Photos. Lord. It's like... give us a fucking manual sync already. It's maddening because you know that the files have been uploaded to iCloud for an hour, but you still can't sync them because there's no way to force it.

Printing. I know that Apple is embracing the digital future now, but there are times we still need to fucking print shit. It would be nice if ANY EFFORT AT ALL would be put into making this happen. But instead I am still clicking on an ignore button because every fucking time I print to 12×18-inch paper I am told that sorting is not supported. No way to permanently dismiss because Apple don't give a fuck.

Preferences Mayhem. Last time around, Apple did a radical reimagining of the System Preferences pane. And it's absolute and total shit. Alas, they're clinging to it like a boat anchor, and we're still stuck with this idiotic shit that makes it difficult to find absolutely anything. Despite it having a search box.

Icon Arrangement. You can never fucking get your icons to sit where you want them to when "Snap to Grid" is enabled. Well, you can, but that one time you can't drives me so fucking crazy that I fantasize about burning my fucking Mac to the ground. If a grid square is open, THEN FUCKING LET THE ICON SIT THERE AND DON'T FLOAT IT ACROSS THE SCREEN FOR NO FUCKING REASON.

Hard Drive Alive. Since the wide adoption of Solid State Drives throughout Apple's offerings, they've removed the ability to keep older hard drives spinning. Instead they power up and down and up and down and up and down. Which is terrible. I thought that turning off the power-down in Energy Saver settings would work, but nope. So I use a third party app called "Amphetamine" but it doesn't automatically start at login even when I add it to login items. I wish Apple would just let you go back to how it used to work.

   

And in Conclusion...

Meh.

   

Insanely Great Stupidity

Posted on Friday, September 29th, 2023

Dave!Yesterday the boxes came to return my old Apple Watch and iPhone.

And I just spent nearly two hours trying to follow the instructions on how to prepare the devices for return. Because of course the instructions I received didn't reflect reality. Log out of the App Store? Out of iCloud? How? You've greyed out all options that allow me to get anywhere near my account. It's insanely fucking stupid how Apple doesn't ever seem to know what the hell is happening with their own shit. Absolutely nothing I was given for my watch or phone was as they said. And even when I got to the screen which (maybe?) allowed me to log out and de-register my devices, I kept getting error screens popping up telling me that my iCloud account and my iMessage account didn't match so nothing would work. I finally clicked the "do it" button fast enough that the mismatch error didn't have a chance to display, and I think everything it removed. Maybe. I mean, the "hello!" welcome message is showing now, so I guess I'm good?

For the love of God, how fucking difficult is it for the people who write the fucking instructions to actually give them a try before posting them? If it were my job to write the shit, that's what I'd do.

But apparently Apple doesn't give a fuck, because they're perfectly happy posting bad information... regardless of whether or not it makes their customers want to take a sledgehammer to their shit.

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Bullet Sunday 826

Posted on Sunday, October 15th, 2023

Dave!Fall has come and the weather is dreary and cold, but it's warm in my heart... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• The Price of Cinema is Too Damn High! I loved Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning, Part One. It is smart, exciting, and I can't wait for Part Two. What gets me is that the movie cost $291 MILLION to make. And while I'm not staying that it wasn't money well-spent (this movie is insane)... I am saying that it's $567 million box office means that the movie barely made any money after promotion. If it made any money at all...

They seriously need to stop making movies that cost these utterly bonkers amount of money. It is totally fucking up the industry, and failures like this (and so many other... The Flash, Fast X, Indiana Jones, to name some) are going to make it so that studio movies die a horrible death. That's no fun for any of us. Surely they can be more clever with less money? Because this just isn't sustainable any more.

   
• Fantasy Football! I remember when The League first debuted. It was amazing to me that it managed to make it on the air given how raunchy it was. But it endured for seven seasons, and I was a huge fan for the first four seasons. A fan for the fifth and sixth season. And was still watching for the final season, although it most definitely did not go out on a high note...

As I mentioned on Wednesday, I've been rewatching all the episodes on Hulu. Now that I have some distance from the end of the series, I cannot help but wonder if they came back for an 8th season what that would be like. I honestly don't know... but it seems like it would be a worthwhile thing to take a look at.

   
• On the Other Hand... The new Frasier is kinda... not great. It's nowhere near the level of Cheers and Frasier and I'm wondering why this was the direction they took. I mean, it's not as tragic as some of the reviews made it out to be. They tried to get some heart into it and there are funny moments despite itself. But all I feel while watching it is wanting to go re-watch the original Frasier and also rewatch Deception to see Jack Cutmore-Scott in something that was actually good and Sirens so I could see Kevin Daniels in something good. At least that way I won't have to see "David" be a horrific substitute for "Niles"... it's like he's there JUST to be unfunny and cringe.

Will & Grace managed to come back as good as it ever was... but too many of these revivals just aren't working. But because I loved the original Frasier I'm going to keep watching in the hopes that the show finds its footing. Because I'm watching the very first episode of the first Frasier and it was absolute gold from the jump.

   
• Hot Sauce! I love hot sauce. I started with the mild green sauce that my mom loved (something I still eat on tacos when I make them at home, because it's the flavor I'm used to. Later I moved on to Tabasco, which has more heat and a vinegar tang that makes it a delicious addition to everything from sauces to potato salad. Now I split my time between Tabasco, Cholula, and Sriracha. They are similar enough that I can use them interchangeably, but different enough that I prefer them for specific foods (occasionally I pick up a bottle of Frank's RedHot, which is not so hot, and Tapatío as well). Last year I was trying to save money, so I started keeping track of which brand I use most. I thought it would be Tabasco, but it ended up being Cholula because it has a bit more heat. So now I buy just that one sauce to save money so I'm not buying three and four. AND THEN... I decided to try something hotter. So now I'm addicted to El Yucateco Red...

A case of El Yucateco Red

It's more than just "hot" because it still adds nice flavor (unlike the hotter sauces I've tried where I can't even taste anything but fire). And now I'm wondering if I've reached my hot sauce limit? Or eventually will this not be hot enough either? Because it's only 5,790 on the Scoville scale, and that's barely hitting the second of ten sauces if I ever end up on an episode of Hot Ones (which tops out at 2,000,000 on the Scoville scale). Which is a great excuse to post the SNL parody, which is one of my favorites...

That never gets old.

   
• Shoresy Deux! One of the biggest surprises last year was the Letterkenny spin-off, Shoresy. It was rediculously entertaining, and ended up being my fifth favorite show of 2022. And now it's coming back...

Reeeeally looking forward to it.

   
• J-Boy! So there I was watching the movie Robots

on Hulu (Prime in the UK). It's okay. Not as good as I was hoping for, but funny in places and fairly entertaining in concept...

The best part of the movie for me was the end-credits song called J-Boy by the band Phoenix. From six years ago...

I liked the song enough that I decided to add it to my Sonos music queue.

   
• Whither Sonos! Except I couldn't add the song to my fucking Sonos music queue because on top of having shitty fucking products that they don't want to fix... their apps are fucking shitty too. First of all my MacOS app decided it wouldn't do shit until my Apple Music account was reauthorized...

Shitty fucking Sonos app telling me that I need to fucking reauthorize my account.

EXCEPT I COULDN'T BECAUSE ALL OF A SUDDEN THE APP CAN'T SEE MY FUCKING SPEAKERS...

UNABLE TO CONNECT!

But of course the "Let's fix it" link was full of shit. After trying that three times, Sonos finally wanted me to turn EVERY FUCKING SPEAKER OFF AND BACK ON...

Turn these off and back on.

That didn't work, so I ended up being told that I had to turn the router off and back on...

Turn these off and back on.

That didn't fucking work either, so I was told to turn all my shit off and on again. I ignored that and decided to uninstall Sonos and reinstall it again. That finally worked. EXCEPT... then I got an ad for Sonos's "Live Gift Guide Event" that I could not dismiss. There's no cancel button. There's no close button. You can't tap around it to get out of it. I couldn't even reboot the app and get rid of it. I was forced to "add it to my calendar" (which I didn't actually do)...

Add out event to your calendar!

Fuck Sonos. Fuck them up their piece of shit useless asses. I regret EVER getting involved with them and their shitty products. Maybe I'd feel different if they'd AT THE VERY LEAST make it so that I could use the fucking Dolby Atmos that I paid to get without having my Arc soundbar fail. But nope. It's been a problem for two years and Sonos is still "working on it." Except they're fucking not because I've heard of nobody being asked to send in their system parts so Sonos could watch it fucking happen. Jesus what an asshole company.

   
And on that happy note... I'm back to dreary weather for a dreary Sunday.

   

Ice Cream Cone Renaissance Event

Posted on Monday, October 30th, 2023

Dave!It started with the plain vanilla cones. You know... the yellow ones that are not actually cone-shaped. And I say "plain vanilla" even though there may actually be no vanilla flavoring in them... I was using "vanilla" as another word for "plain." Or, "plain plain" as it were.

From there I graduated to "sugar cones"... which are, in fact, cone-shaped.

After that I landed on bigger and better "waffel cones" and never looked back. Sure they're more expensive, but they're the best and I'm rolling in waffle cone cash, so I splurge.

Then I was putting together a grocery order, took a look at how fucking expensive it was, and decided to go back through and see if I could shave some money off my bill. Turns out I no longer have waffle cone cash, decided that plain vanilla is probably good enough considering I am actually more interested in the taste of the ice cream, and made the swap.

Strange thing... I actually prefer the plain cones!

Specifically because the ice cream tastes better in them. Well, probably not vanilla ice cream... but definitely the chocolate ice cream that's my favorite.

But anyway...

Apple had their "Scary Fast" event tonight. Every industry insider in existence had been speculating that this would be the introduction of M3 MacBook Pros and M3 iMacs, so I was not the least bit surprised when that ended up being the case. Not much else to say besides "they're a bit faster," so I will be brief...

  • I jumped at trading in my M1 MacBook Pro for the M2 model last year because it promised a pretty big jump in performance for the 3D stuff I do. Turns out it was a bit snappier... but the more I worked with it the more I realized that it wasn't as big a time-saver as I was expecting. So, odds are I won't be upgrading again this year.
  • Except... the GPU improvements are very, very interesting. First of all, the GPU memory used to allocate all memory regardless of how many processes were running. Now the memory is dynamically allocated, meaning they can perform more processes. On top of that, you now get hardware raytracing and mesh shading. This could mean more than a little better performance for the work I do, so I may read what real-world effect it has before ruling out an upgrade altogether.
  • Also? That new Space Black color is pretty darn sweet. Not sure if I would pick it since I have always preferred the beautiful "titanium-ish" color that Apple offers... but if it looks as good in person as it did during the presentation, I might change my mind.

I'll tell you what did surprise me about the presentation... how it ended. Look at this...

This event was shot on iPhone and edited on Mac (all presenters, locations, and drone footage shot on iPhone 15 Pro Max).

Sooo... Apple wasn't kidding about being able to film motion picture feature quality footage on the iPhone 15 Pro Max. And to prove it, they're eating their own dog food here.

But anyway, that's all for tonight. There's an ice cream cone calling my name.

   

Shot on iPhone

Posted on Thursday, November 2nd, 2023

Dave!As I mentioned in my post about the Apple "Scary Fast" event that dropped Monday, the entire thing was shot on an iPhone.

This week there has been a bizarre controversy over that statement. Almost immediately afterwards people were saying "No way was that shot on an iPhone." Or even "Sure it was shot on an iPhone... with special external lenses." Or whatever.

But soon after the event Apple released a video with a behind the scenes look at how it was shot. Which was, in fact, an iPhone with no special external lenses...

And then everybody was like "Okay it was shot on an iPhone, but no normal person could shoot a video like this because Apple used special camera rigs and lights and stuff." But Apple didn't claim otherwise, so I don't get the controversy. Yeah, that motion rig is so expensive that I couldn't afford one (and those panel lights they used on Tim Cook aren't cheap either), but the phone is capable enough to do it if you do have that stuff. And if you don't? You can still get creative and shoot footage that's high enough quality you can do incredible things.

I haven't had time to shoot video on my iPhone 15 Pro Max yet. But I will when my special external lens gets here.

Because, unlike Apple, I fully intend on cheating.

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Categories: Apple Stuff 2023Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Music Replay 2023

Posted on Tuesday, November 28th, 2023

Dave!The big thing over the past week has been people sharing their Spotify Wrapped list.

I don't have Spotify, but Apple Music has a similar feature called "Reply" which allows you to revist the music you listened to most over the past year.

My Apple Replay Top Artists for 2023...

  1. Fly By Midnight
  2. The 1975
  3. Pet Shop Boys
  4. MUNA
  5. Post Malone
  6. Taylor Swift
  7. Run The Jewels
  8. Slayer
  9. P!nk
  10. Kacey Musgraves
  11. The Weeknd
  12. Wrabel
  13. Miley Cyrus
  14. Cannons
  15. Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey

Kinda an ecclectic list there. Though it really doesn't tell the full story, because a lot of the music I listen to is in my car and not counted.

While driving, my favorite thing to listen to is old-school rap and hip-hop. I have a half-dozen CD's burned which has all those amazing Yo! MTV Raps classics on them. Biggie, LL, Dre, Big Daddy Kane, Eminem, Public Enemy, Wu-Tang... the list goes on and on. They're just such amazing tracks to have slamming into your brain while trying to navigate the horrors of the road. I burned them decades ago, and kept them in my car because I only have a CD player. There's other CDs, of course, but these are my favorites.

Eternally stuck in the 80's. That's me.

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It Just Works!

Posted on Wednesday, November 29th, 2023

Dave!Apple makes things so easy!

To turn off the annoying printer message that pops up EVERY TIME YOU PRINT ON LARGE PAPER, simply research the CUPS print server documentation for a half hour, find the IP address of your printer, open the Unix Terminal app to type in the command line which will enable the web interface, navigate to your printers, click on the printer whose defaults you want to save (if it is available, otherwise restart your computer and start over), work your way through all the pages until you find the defaults for "Request Offset," set it to "no," click SAVE, type in your admin username ("admin" will not work and neither will your ShortName, but you'll find that out the hard way), type in your system password, authorize the changes, exit out of the CUPS web interface, restart your computer... AND THERE YOU GO! NO MORE ANNOYING POP-UPS EVERY TIME YOU FUCKING PRINT! IT'S JUST THAT EASY!!! AREN'T YOU GLAD YOU BOUGHT A FUCKING MAC?!???

THE DESTINATION PAPER IS NOT AVAILABLE WHEN REQUEST OFFSET IS SET TO OFFSET EACH SET!

Look, I realize that Apple is not wanting people to print stuff to save the planet and all that... but there are people who actually have to print stuff. The fact that they don't want to make such a basic function of their operating system be easy to use and manage is reeeeally telling on the "It just works" company.

   

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