Archive for the ‘Apple’ Category

Big Cats Rule

Friday, October 19th, 2018

Just as a follow up note to my previous post about using my K750 keyboard on a Mac with VMWare Fusion, I mentioned that my Logitech M510 mouse wasn’t tracking all that well.

In fact, sometimes my keyboard would not seem responsive either.  It seemed to be a problem only when using my external USB 3.0 enclosure which houses the SSD I run my Fusion VMs from.  I thought for a while that perhaps I was experiencing some interference between my WiFi and the Logitech Unifying Receiver.  Odd, because I have been using Logitech for a long time at home without issue.  What lead me to believe it might be interference was an experience at work.  When a new WiFi wap was added close to my machine I got similar behaviour from my keyboard and sometimes the Google speakers would cut out while playing music.  When I switched to a Bluetooth keyboard the issue stopped.

As a result, I was looking around for a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse combination that I liked to replace mine.  Unfortunately the only solar keyboard I could find was the Logitech ones I already owned.  Even Logitech for some reason wasn’t making a solar Bluetooth version.  I love never having to charge or replace batteries.  I wish my mouse was solar too!

For kicks, I did some googling to see if other Mac users were having issues, and eventually found links that indicated people had keyboard and mouse issues after upgrading OS/X to High Sierra, which was when my keyboard issues started (although I never connected the dots myself).  One poster had similar problems with a USB device and indicated that for whatever reason, when he plugged the USB device into a hub rather than directly into his Mac mini the problem did not occur.

I dug up a USB hub I bought as part of a tub of miscellaneous cables at a garage sale, plugged my USB SSD and unifying receiver into it and my problems disappeared!

As far as I am concerned the OS/X versions named after the big cats were less problematic.

EMBT gets a Swift Kick in the Assetts

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

In case you haven’t heard yet, Apple has created a new language meant to be more friendly than Objective C.  They call it Swift, and it is aptly named judging from the benchmarks which show it to be significantly faster than Objective C even though it uses the same run-time and is compiled using the LLVM toolchain.

What does this mean for Delphi?  Perhaps a few developers looking to produce truly native (UI and code) will take another look at Apple’s development tools that they already have to access to as part of the development program.

Even Apple has UX Issues

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Today I was trying to figure out how to put a photo back on my iPhone so I could send it to a friend via iMessage. There used to be a photos “tab” in iTunes, but for some reason it wasn’t present so I googled for a solution, and while other users reported similar problems none of the fixes worked. As it happened I expanded the iTunes window horizontally and discovered an interesting UI quirk.

The Photos, iTunes U, Books and On This Phone “tabs” were not shown, but there was no visual indication in the “toolbar” or segmented control that additional selections were available. iTunes also did not show a horizontal scrollbar. You can see the issue in this screen recording showing iTunes with a minimal horizontal width, and then one sufficient to show all items.

Comparing Apples to Oranges? (Apple vs. M$)

Friday, October 26th, 2012

I used an Apple II/IIe in school briefly before I bought my first PC. Since then, I’ve used almost every generation of Windows (skipped Me & Vista).  I’ve also played with numerous Linux distributions, using both Gnome and KDE. A couple years ago I bought my first Mac so I could learn how to write applications for the growing iPhone and Mac platforms.

My experience to date with OS/X is that it is quite stable. I’ve had as many issues with OS/X through about 4 versions as I’ve had with Windows XP and Windows 7 during that time. That’s not to say I haven’t had any issues though. I had some file corruption that caused instability, lockups, and crashes where the Mac says you need to power off the machine. Even Apple’s own iWork software crashed after updating it. I’ve also had problems upgrading my iOS, to the point where I temporarily bricked my iPhone, and lots of errors trying to Sync the iPhone with iTunes requiring a uninstall/reinstall to rectify.

I don’t understand the appeal of Apple’s software compared to Microsoft’s in terms of ease of use. Novice computer users claim it’s easier to use a Mac, but that hasn’t been my experience. Both have their issues, because software is complex, and issues always crop up when deploying into different environments. Apple should have less problems with deployment, since they control their own hardware, but it doesn’t always appear to be the case. Perhaps it’s because Microsoft has been supporting a myriad of devices for a long time, so they’ve figured out better ways to deal with it.

One of the things I dislike most about Apple software is the hidden functionality. In the M$ world, if you Right Click, or use the local menu keyboard key, you get a menu that shows all allowable options. With Apple, this is not so. Sometimes it’s an option click, and sometimes the local menu just doesn’t show the option at all. For instance, Safari, Apple’s flagship browser does not appear to allow for Bookmark folders within a Bookmark folder, since right clicking on a bookmark folder doesn’t provide the ‘New Folder’ option. In fact, to add a Bookmark folder you have to use the menu, and it always adds the new folder at the root level, regardless of the currently selected folder. It turns out that you can drag a bookmark folder into another bookmark folder afterwards. The help doesn’t mention anything about this, but googling showed other Mac users were baffled by this as well. If Apple was so concerned about the user experience, this kind of thing would be corrected.

Another source of annoyance is that check boxes in Reminders do not respond when you click on the label associated with the checkbox. This is standard behaviour in the Windows world, and even on Linux IIRC. Popup windows also tend to appear and block the underlying window. The window isn’t moveable, so you cannot view the context of the issue if the popup doesn’t display enough information. I constantly have this issue when spell checking in Thunderbird. Often OS/X windows don’t provide a UI hint that the window can be moved. In Windows, the mouse cursor will change or it’s known that a window with a title bar is moveable by dragging the title bar.

I’m sure with some additional time spent learning OS/X specific conventions I will come to appreciate it more, but right now, I’m of the opinion that since Windows 7 shipped that the Apple vs. Microsoft OS wars are pretty much a stalemate, and the applications they run are comparable.

Apple Needs to be Reminded

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

I just upgraded to Mountain Lion, and one of the things I was most looking forward to, is syncing Reminders with my laptop.  Unfortunately, Apple seems to have decided that Reminders will only utilize iCloud synchronization, with no support for iTunes Wifi or USB syncing.

Yet again, Apple seems to be ignorant to the fact that the PC was so successful because it offers flexibility (in the form of add-in cards and standard external connectors).   Flexibility that enabled users to do things however they wished, rather than conforming to how any one company thought it should be.

IMHO, Apple should have provided a syncing infrastructure with iOS like Palm did, and enabled their users to sync via USB, Wifi, or the Cloud with any application written for the device.  There are still lots of iPhone users who don’t live in areas with good data coverage, want to fork out an extra $30 CAD for data, or simply don’t want their personal data in the cloud where Apple or other parties can mine it, and where it could be vulnerable to hackers.

It Doesn’t Take a Genius

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

On Monday I went to the Apple store in Market Mall and was amazed how busy it was at 12:30pm.  No wonder Apple is making record profits!  I went because I bought a bluetooth hands free ear piece from Apple, and something happened to my cable.  My Mac no longer recognizes my iPhone when connected using that cable, and it no longer charges my ear piece.  I asked about getting a replacement cable, and was told I would have to speak to a Genius.  They were so busy, I couldn’t get an appointment the same day.

Now while Apple may win awards for customer service, I don’t think it should have taken a genius to know that I don’t want to drive for 40 minutes back to the store some other time to get an answer to my dilemma.  Can I buy another cable from Apple and if so, how much?

If I had walked into a IBM PC clone retail store, they wouldn’t have said “make an appointment” to get the answer, and I would have found out what my options were right away, or they would have said “we will have to research it and get back to you.  What’s your phone number?”.  Apple didn’t even offer.

Why an iPhone?

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

Prior to buying an iPhone I used a Palm Tungsten T3.  IMHO, this was the best model Palm ever produced, even if it lacks Wifi.  The lack of good Wifi support even with an SD Wifi B card, was one of the primary reasons I bought an iPhone.  I didn’t actually plan to buy an iPhone, but when I was attending WWDC 2008 I was frustrated that I couldn’t use my Palm for sending email or browsing the web because I kept getting Fatal Exceptions.  It worked fine at home, although it wasn’t the quickest web browsing experience, and sometimes web pages just didn’t look all that great. 

In contrast the web browsing experince on the iPhone is amazing.  I used my buddy’s iPhone at the conference to pickup my mail and was amazed at how close web pages are rendered to the desktop.  It was the consolidation of a cell phone, which I only occasionally use and could not justify, and as Jobs put it “a break through Internet device”,  that prompted me to fork over the money for an iPhone without a contract.  I opted not to get a data plan for the phone, because I couldn’t justify the cost since as a Canadian I would be paying some of the highest cell phone rates in the world.  The only thing I miss about not having data is being able to use the GPS with google maps while travelling.  Instead I have to use a map program that downloads all the map data for a pre-selected area.  I also miss not having data a little while at work, since they don’t provide or allow Wifi on the network.

The iPhone hasn’t completely replaced my Palm yet, because I don’t want to license and use Outlook at home, and Apple doesn’t supply ToDo list management to the same extent it’s available on my Palm.  Eventually I’m sure the iPhone will become my only PDA, even though Apple doesn’t market or support the iPod Touch or iPhone as such, especially if you’re using a PC.