Apple has lost the functional high ground

05.01.2015 01:00

Spot on from Marco:

Apple’s hardware today is amazing — it has never been better. But the software quality has taken such a nosedive in the last few years that I’m deeply concerned for its future. I’m typing this on a computer whose existence I didn’t even think would be possible yet, but it runs an OS riddled with embarrassing bugs and fundamental regressions. Just a few years ago, we would have relentlessly made fun of Windows users for these same bugs on their inferior OS, but we can’t talk anymore.

/ Apple has completely lost the functional high ground. “It just works” was never completely true, but I don’t think the list of qualifiers and asterisks has ever been longer. We now need to treat Apple’s OS and application releases with the same extreme skepticism and trepidation that conservative Windows IT departments employ.

I love using Apple products. And I don’t think I’ll go back, to Linux. And I would never go back to Windows. But I do have my concerns. The hardware is excellent. But the software quality have been on a steady decline since Snow Leopard. First OS X, and now iOS. I really hope they will get their act together.

  • They need more engineers.

  • They need to focus on smaller releases

  • They need to do less, better.


Day One Publish

05.01.2015 01:00

I was really excited about DayOne’s publishing feature, when it launched. And I still like it, a lot. There are a lots of good blogging platforms out there; Squarespace, WordPress, Tumblr, Jekyll. And you have excellent platforms for sharing stuff; twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, Instagram etc.

But there aren’t any other solutions to what DayOne have done with Publish. It’s a service that is between your journal, twitter and blog. I love having everything important to me in DayOne. I can just browse there and find stuff that means a lot to me.

There are a few things I have used Publish for. And I have some ideas for what Publish is good for.

  • Writing letters. I have done this once, and I’m going to do it again. I wrote a letter in DayOne, to have it there. Then I published it, and shared the link.

  • Pictures and text. The core of DayOne is writing and pictures. And Publish is a great feature to share them with your frinds or family.

  • Anything written that you just want to share with a limited audience.

The great thing about Publish is that it’s like a private blog or twitter. Everything is private, that’s the default. And then they added Publish. You can share that one thing with that person or group. I love using twitter and this site. But there are thing that don’t belong in the public, and publish is my “blog” or “twitter” for that content.


No credit.

05.01.2015 01:00

Dr. Drang writes about being a credit card fraud victim.

As I said, this will be our fifth card in the past twelve months. We started 2014 with a card we’d had for a couple of years, but it was replaced in early February after the Target breach. Sometime in spring, the bank caught a fraudulent charge at a Kmart in Chicago, so our 3–4 month old card was cancelled and a new one issued. That one lasted all the way to October, when it was cancelled because of the Home Depot breach. And now this.

I have been lucky, I haven’t been a credit card fraud victim in any sense, yet. My thoughts about credit cards are going back many years. And I remember that I thought the whole system was broken, even back when I started using my VISA debit card to buy stuff online in 2006.

We need some kind of abstraction between the card itself, and each use. This is something NFC based payment offer to some extent. I would love for the technology to offer a time limited key-pair each time I pay at a store, or anywhere else I pay once. This should be a “use once” key-pair, linked the the amount. There should also be similar schemes for subscriptions.

The reason I think this is better is simple: bad guys and girls won’t get access to my credit card information when someone have a security problem.

There is a huge difference between how it works here in Norway, and the US. We have had chip and pin for as long as I have used VISA cards. And we used pin+magnet before that. The thing I think is the biggest reason I haven’t been a fraud victim yet, is that we have another security layer on top of the regular credit card system. I need to enter a one time code, from my bank for every transaction over a limit.

A lot of things need to be done, to fix this. And I think it will require major infrastructure change. But a lot of minor things that don’t require it, could be done. We need good laws that force banks to do it.


Project 365

04.01.2015 01:00

Stephen Hackett are doing Project 365 this year.

“Project 365” is the name often given to photo-a-day projects. Starting today, I’m embarking on my fourth:

I have been taking pictures of myself in DayOne, more or less every day for over a year now. I will continue doing that, but I think I’ll do Project 365 next year; I might sneak in a mini-Project 365 this year; not for the full year, but maybe a Project 30 or something.

I love projects like this. Project 365, NANOWRIMO, NAJOWRIMO. They are forcing you to do something you with you did more. Taking pictures, writing fiction or journaling.


Quitting Family Sharing

04.01.2015 01:00

David Sparks writes about Family Sharing:

Family Sharing is a great idea. Families, like mine, have growing children that will one day leave the nest and need iTunes accounts of their own. Moreover, Apple now has multiple device categories resulting in families hitting their head against the 10-device limit as the kids start growing up and iPhones, iPads, and Macs multiply. For a few years now, we’ve had to decide which of our devices get iTunes Match and which don’t. It’s quite frustrating that we can’t share music we’ve paid for across all our devices.

The promise behind Family Sharing was that it would get us away from that problem. In theory, we’d all be able to have our own accounts but still share purchases as long as all the accounts are on the same credit card. If at some point, one my children moves out or pays with her own credit card, she retains her library and we stop sharing. I am okay with that particularly if it lets me have my 2 Macs, iPad, and iPhone all work without running into above-mentioned DRM walls.

What I didn’t realize was the fine print. There are a few bits that are potential deal breakers:

A great post, that outlines some of the issues with Family Sharing. I don’t have this problem, yet. But I hope Apple will solve most of them by the point I need to deal with this. Family Sharing is a good idea, but I don’t think it’s there yet.


Technology resolutions for 2015

04.01.2015 01:00

The Sweet Setup writes about technology resolutions for 2015. It’s a nice list of things you should do.

As 2014 comes to a close, many of us are looking ahead to making 2015 our most successful year yet. As Apple users, we generally take pride in our computing setup and technology. Technology is always moving forward, so you can’t go years without upgrading or maintaining your equipment. While resolutions generally deal with losing weight or finishing a project at home, our technology setups can also be part of our plan. Here is a list of things you might consider doing in the coming year:


The Benefits of Selling Software outside the Mac App Store

04.01.2015 01:00

Dan Counsell from Realmac Software writes about the benifits outside the Mac App Store.

When you get swept along in the shininess of the App Store it’s easy to forget that you no longer know who your customers are. You don’t have any of their details, you can’t even respond to them when they leave a review on the App Store. The fact of the matter is they are really Apples customers, not yours.

When you sell directly outside of the Mac App Store you get the contact details for every single person that buys your products (and rightly so), this is often overlooked but it’s key to running a healthy and sustainable business. Lets take a look at three of the reasons why not limiting the availability of your software to just the Mac App Store is a sound business decision.

A very good article. I’m not a huge fan of the Mac App Store, mainly because I think they are excluding too much. But I use the Mac App Store, when I can. My personal opinion is: sell your software directly, sell it in the App Store, if you can and try to have direct contact with your users.


Twitter in 2015.

03.01.2015 01:00

I have a lot of thoughts and opinions about Twitter. It have been my social network of choice for a long time now. I just love how open and simple it is.

There are however at least two different twitter experiences at this point. One of them are the bleeding edge experience provided by the web site and the official twitter apps. And you have the more old school version of twitter, that you find in apps like Tweetbot.

Twitter by itself is pretty simple. You have tweets, @-mentions, retweets, stars and hashtags. And that is more or less it.

But there are some differences between how you experience twitter in the official app, and most third party apps.

  • Ads. The only place you will see ads on twitter, is on the web site, and in the official apps. I don’t like them, but I do believe that this is the only direction twitter can go, at this point. I would have preferred for ADN to take over for twitter. But that didn’t happen.

  • Replies. Replies is one of the biggest difference between the official experience and my tweetbot experience. Replies are grouped below the tweet in the official app, while they just appear in the point in your timeline, the reply was posted in third party apps. This makes the reply system more like a regular comment thread or e-mail thread. Neither is better. And the way twitter is doing it now makes more sense to new users. But I still prefer the old way. It’s the way I’m used to seeing them.

  • Injected tweets is my least favorite thing about the official twitter app. They are forcing me to see tweets and twitter accounts that they believe I would find interesting. It’s probably a good thing for new users and some people. But I don’t like it. One of the reasons I love twitter is that I’m in charge of what I’m going to see; something I’m not on Facebook.

  • Power features. The more popular third party clients are more powerful in some regards. They have advanced filtering, with regular expressions or based on hashtags. And you have fancy stuff like timeline sync etc.

I’m not going to switch over to the official apps before I have to. I don’t like the ads, but that’s not the reason. I like the power features, but that’s not the reason. I don’t like the way they organise replies, but that’s not the reason. The thing that keeps me from using the official apps are the stream of tweets that twitter thinks I would like. I don’t want them, I don’t care for them.

I don’t like the direction twitter is going. What they are are not the twitter I signed up for in 2007. And they have become more and more hostile against third party developers, the people that made twitter popular. Third party developers have strange limits on the number of people that can use the app, and they don’t get access to any of the new stuff twitter have created.

I hope it will change, but I doubt it.



01.01.2015 01:00

Depending on the year it was purchased or whether you configured it with top-tier specs, your once-current Mac’s performance may be less than desirable and at this point you could be facing those tough questions.

Luckily, older Macs are more flexible with hardware upgrades and coupled with third-party software, you can unlock features that Apple doesn’t support on older models. Here is how to get the most life out of an aging Mac.

Great article, check it out if you have an older or slower mac.


Books I Read In 2014

01.01.2015 01:00

Patrick writes about all the books he read in 2014. I planned to do the same last year, but never got arround to it. I’m going to do it this year. This is the year when I’m going to write a simple book journal. Nothing big. Nothing complicated. Just a few words about what the book was about, why I read it, and what I liked or didn’t like about it. More or less what Patrick does in this blog post. And I think I’ll publish it at the end of the year.