Apple Making a Car?

I’m still very skeptical Apple is making a car. This reminds me of the whole “Apple’s solved TV” from a few years ago. Guess what. We have exactly the same TV device we did when those announcements were made. Just now with a whole bunch of new channels I can’t use unless I already have cable.

There’s probably something going on. However Apple plowed right into the problem of content managers not wanting a revolution with the TV which is why nothing changed. With cars, if anything, it’s worse. There are a lot of regulations. It’s probably the most over regulated industry in America. Just the Federal regulations are restrictive. Go to the state level it gets worse with the few people owning car dealerships having lots of ridiculous regulations to ensure no competition. These regulations make it extremely hard to innovate. 

Consider using cameras to replace the mirrors and achieve better wind resistance. Buzz. Illegal. Want those cool LEDs that European manufacturers use to avoid not blinding drivers? Illegal. Sell cars direct to the public? Illegal. I’m not against regulations. I do wish the government would actually review regulations intelligently more regularly. Because there are sure a lot of dumb ones.

Anyway if Apple thought the media holders kept innovation down just wait until they see what happens with cars.

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Still reading the New Yorker article. However the following comment by Nick Heer was, regardless of the details of the article, pretty perceptive.

Ive certainly has a lot of pressure on his shoulders. After Steve Jobs resigned his CEO post, and again after he died, Apple’s stock price was — perhaps surprisingly — unaffected. But if and when Jony Ive leaves Apple, I can’t imagine their share price and their perceived future viability would be unaffected to the same or greater extent. Jobs left a willing and public successor, Tim Cook, in his wake; Ive doesn’t have anyone like that. He is both irreplaceable, and yet he must eventually be replaced.

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Seeing Snow Leopard Through Rose Colored Glasses

Surprisingly the griping about Yosemite is still going on. As I’ve frequently said I think people are remembering Snow Leopard through very rose colored glasses. Indeed the stories about Yosemite if anything remind me of all the griping about Snow Leopard at the time. Consider for example this Gigaom story “Snow Leopard: This Cat Has Fleas” (Great title)

After nearly a year in release, Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard still seems be a work in progress.

I keep trying to upgrade to Snow Leopard, but always end up back with Leopard. I have both operating systems installed, using separate partitions of my MacBook’s hard drive, and keep thanking myself that I didn’t cut the umbilical cord to Leopard when I installed Snow Leopard late at OS 10.6.3.

This was hardly alone. A quick Google from the era found lots of stories about people downgrading to Leopard from Snow Leopard.

Even major news outlets like the Christian Science Monitor compared Snow Leopard to Microsoft’s Vista disaster.

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Mixing Notes with Pen and Computer

John Gordon linked to an interesting post about note taking using both pen/paper and computer. Their example was using Evernote Pro that lets you do OCR on handwriting. So you scan in you notebooks and then search for it. I’m sure that works if you have good penmanship. My penmanship was horrible in college and has gotten much worse the years I’ve largely been typing only. So this isn’t really a good option for me. Scanning in drawings can be useful though. (One of my constant whiteboard habits is to take a picture with my iPhone and import it into Evernote before erasing it – just in case) 

While I use Evernote a lot for quick notes – primarily because everything ends upon the cloud – for longer notes and actual note taking I always use Circus Ponies Notebook. Admittedly I’m a long time user, however I’ve tried a lot of other apps over the years and keep coming back to it for anything long form. I know a lot of people are fans of DevonThink but that seems still oriented around shorter notes or more of a full document management system. That is to my eyes it seemed more about storing stuff than long note taking. For that sort of thing honestly I just use the Finder, tags, and occasionally a tag oriented app like Yep & Leap1

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  1. The two apps are more or less paired and used to be sold together. Leap is more akin to the Finder while Yep is more visual and oriented around PDFs. Since 90% of my document management is PDFs I tend to use Leap most however if you want to access Finder folders more then it’s nice to switch over to Leap. As a tip, the versions on the app store are much more expensive than buying off the web site

Email Encryption

Six Colors mentions that the GPG encryption author is running out of money. Now, like Dan Moren, I don’t have a whole lot of sympathy. That tool is a royal pain to install. I also think that Apple’s limited encryption (to and fro iCloud servers) is insufficient. What we want built into OSX/iOS is per file and per message encryption. Apple could write something like that and write a plugin or app for other services like Android. I think that’d make Apple a lot more attractive for many people and also drastically improve the state of mail on the internet.

Let’s be honest, mail started out as a trusted naive service largely within academic environments and never was designed for what it became. Yet changing the overall protocols hasn’t been successful. (Microsoft’s come closest with Outlook and Outlook server) Building something more secure on top of them is the way to go. GPG was a great idea with a poor implementation — largely due to the difficulty of putting it on most services. Having it ubiquitous requires someone like Apple stepping in.

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Master Meta Key

A few years back at the predecessor of this blog1 I had a post on making a master meta key. It was largely inspired by a blog post by Brett Terpstra and also Dr. Drang. I’d just refer people To Brett’s great post but it’s a tad dated at this stage. For instance the applications he mentioned have been renamed. Since having a master meta key is so great, here’s an updated version of my old post.

I use a lot of macros and it’s nice to have keys that don’t conflict with the application. Its also nice to have memorable keys so you can actually remember what your shortcuts are.2 Mainly I just hate my caps lock key and wanted to make it more functional.

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  1. While I had a backup of the blog, the database format Word Perfect used had changed meaning I couldn’t easily restore the data at the new site. I’m sure it was the sort of thing that had I worked at it I could have fixed. However at the time I didn’t have much time and now I have enough posts here that it’d be a bit of a pain. Every now and then I have some ask where some post they linked to went. I can but say sorry. Most of the scripts are still up at GitHub though.
  2. If you use Keyboard Maestro a good tip is to both create a hotkey and a status menu item. Then you can look at the status menu to remember your keystroke.

Fix TV Shows MetaData in iTunes

It’s been a while since I’ve done a good script here. My apologies. Life’s been busy. Here’s a good one some of you might like. 

For a long time I’ve been using Identify to look up metadata for videos in iTunes. It worked reasonable well. Of late though it hasn’t worked as automatically as it used to. Far too often I have to swing over to my browser, do a search in IMDB and copy the media ID from the URL, add it to Identity and then make Identify look again. That wasn’t that bad although it was kind of defeating the point of the app somewhat. Then the last few months I found it wasn’t even finding metadata for TV shows even when I put the media ID in from IMDB. Since most of what I rip are TV shows this was more than annoying.

Several people at the Ars Forums suggested I switch to Subler. This is nice as Subler’s an open source app. The one downside is that Subler is really overkill for what I’m doing. It’s designed to do a lot of the same thing that Handbrake does. In fact you can use it in place of Handbrake quite regularly depending upon what you’re doing. The problem is that Subler’s metadata tagging is really designed to be done before you add your file to iTunes. If you’re trying to fix metadata in iTunes it’s not nearly as convenient. You can do it, but it would be nice to automate the steps so you can simply select a few dozen files from a DVD rip and let it go. 

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On Dropping Thunderbolt

The story about a rumored MacBook Air with a single port has generated a lot of discussion the past few weeks. My favorite discussion was over at Ars and is still ongoing. I’ll skip the discussion of the Air itself. While it seems like an odd design to me, I wouldn’t put it past Apple to do it. What’s more interesting to me is the discussion about whether Apple will abandon Thunderbolt on its devices. To see if this works we have to look at what USB-C offers. Anandtech has a great writeup I’m largely following here. It’s worth reading to get into the nitty gritty.
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Trying to figure it all out a post at a time