Category Archives: Commentary

Remote App: A Modest Proposal

I’ve not written much of late primarily due to just being so busy. However Gruber put up a tweet that made me think about the Remote app for the Apple TV. Apparently the Apple Watch has a remote app that’s actually useful for controlling the Apple TV. Color me surprised.

Now in some ways I love the Remote app. It makes typing quite easy however it’s just so clumsy because it takes so long to connect to the AppleTV. That lag means you’re apt not to reach for your phone. Throw in that it doesn’t have modes for the various oft used apps on the Apple TV and you end up with just a dumb remote. Typically I only draw out my phone when I’m going to be using YouTube and doing a bunch of searching.

Gruber mentions that the Apple Watch Remote stays active when it was the front most app. So every time you raise your wrist it’s ready to go. Why can’t they do that with the phone?

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Changes in Apple Blogging

One thing I notice as I read my rss feed and twitter. Posts about computers have changed a lot in recent years. The types of posts I used to love — hacks or tweaks that make things work better — are much rarer now. I thought about why and it’s largely because things either work or they don’t. When they don’t often there’s not much you can do about it anymore.

Tech is Dead

Oluseyi on Tech is Dead. Really insightful analysis on how the whole tech business but especially Apple has changed. Analogy is probably car enthusiasts even as working on cars becomes tied to diagnostic computers and fewer and fewer things people can fix. The Apple Watch feels so alien to many of us because it’s Apple’s first steps outside of the general tech market. (I’d say it bridges the worlds, but definitely isn’t just tech)

On Tomorrow’s Event

I’m not too excited about tomorrow’s event. I know it’ll primarily be about watches and I also know I’m not apt to buy a watch anytime soon. I just hate jewelry — watches especially. Back in school I’d wear one so I’d know the time and always take it off during class. I just hated the feel of it on my wrist. And of course after a few months I’d invariably forget it and loose it. By the time I went to college I just stopped wearing watches and have never regretted it since. 

For the Apple Watch to matter to me it’d have to do a lot. I like the idea of workout stats. But it’d have to do a lot more and most importantly do them well. Inaccurate sensors are worse than no sensor at all.

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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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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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MBP Heat Issues

Sterling Hirsh of iFixit has a widely shared post on putting holes in a MacBookPro. As Egg Freckles pointed out, most logic board issues are GPU issues and most GPU issues are due to heat. All the MBPs I’ve had have had to have logic boards replaced due to GPU issues. My current MPB is rebooting spontaneously several times a day but is no longer under warranty. The cost to replace the logic board (~$500+) just isn’t worth it given the age of the computer (5 years). I do think this is a constant problem with these devices though.

I’ve found much more happiness of late with an iMac combined with an iPad for travel. However that’s possible just because of my current workflows which are more conducive to using the iPad. I think iOS still is woefully ill suited for serious production. Some of that is Apple’s fault but a lot is the fault of developers who don’t optimize or frequently even test their apps with keyboards. It’s shocking how often one has to touch the screen to jump between fields, for instance.

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