Friday, April 8 2016

[10:19:21] matt []/Psi+ Unrelated to using the Apple branded computer, I checked the box to recycle my old computer, and have not received any information on how to do so.

Thursday, April 7 2016

Re: Tell us about your Mac
[10:40:59] matt []/Psi+ On Wed, Apr 06, 2016 at 05:18:58PM +0000, Apple Market Research wrote:
> We love feedback.
> Tell us about your experience with Mac.

Creating an Apple ID from the on-device application is broken (you cannot
select the password confirmation box).

Getting on a WPA2 protected (EAP+PAP) network is overly complex compared to
other platforms, requiring downloading a configuration tool through your
application store which has changed its name twice.

Regarding re-installing the OS: there's a catch-22 that you need an
application that's already been used in the Application store. If you've
never used the Application store, this means you can't re-install the OS.
This isn't documented, including in any on-line documentation that I could

It's unclear what the replacements are for basic Unix elements, like
resolv.conf. Generally, documentation seems to be lacking.

The magsafe power connector is a huge improvement over the flimsy and
expensive connector used on the aluminum Powerbook.

Setting-up Xcode with iOS simulators and documentation was a bit annoying,
as it had to be done through the XCode UI, and each install asked for an
administrator's password. Every time I closed my laptop, the downloads
would stop.

Messages (? The app that looks like iChat but which I think was renamed,)
is still a rather shoddy XMPP client. Among other things, it appears to
lack support for Jingle and remote control. (I didn't use it long enough to
check this time, but in the past iChat also handled users logged-in with
multiple resources very poorly.)

Why can't I organize my applications installed by default anymore? Why
can't I delete them? There's so much junk in the default Applications
directory, and most of the included applications are not very good. is a sub-par terminal emulator. There are graphical glitches
with which I've learned to live (e.g. dividers when using tmux either aren't
shown or are shown across areas where they don't exist). More annoying is
using multiple windows in a workflow. If I have a full-screen emulator, and
need to bring-up a second terminal, I cannot do this on the same workspace:
there's no "maximum-size" now, just full-screen on a dedicated workspace.
XTerms on XQuartz didn't work as a replacement, the experience simply seemed
clunky, and copy-and-paste didn't seem to work right (at all?) even when
fiddling with the options to try and sync the X selection buffer.

Tuesday, March 22 2016

Apple talking smack about six-year old machines
[23:18:17] matt []/Psi+ Watching the "Loop-in Event" yesterday, Apple had a segment where the speaker made derogatory comment about people who owned computers that were six years old. At the time I was working on an EeePC that was from mid-2008 (about seven years old). It works for me, and frankly computers frive five years ago should work fine for 99% of computer users; but that's not the oddest thing about the statement.

My work laptop is a 15" Macbook, based on an Intel Haswell chip (two generations old) and is from 2013. In nearly three years since it was released (mid-2013), the current model has barely changed (the CPU speeds have changed from a base 2.0GHz to a top 2.6GHz, the currently line starts at 2.2GHz and tops-out at 2.8GHz). That means that buying a brand-new Macbook Pro Retina 15" gets you a three-year old machine right now. The previous model of the Macbook Pro Retina 15" was based on Intel's Sandy Bridge chip, and was essentially unchanged since the Macbook Pro Retina was announced in mid-2012, nearly four years ago. Feeling nostalgic, or simply want to replace your aged nearly six-year-old comptuer with something nearly four-years-old? The good news is that the mid-2012 Macbook is still available new from Apple today for $1099.

In general, Apple's on a 2.5-3 year major upgrade cycle on the Macbook Pro depending on how you define a "major" upgrade (I'm looking essentially at the chipset and processor generation). What a six-year old machine means in Apple-speak is at *most* two generations back. Chances are, a non-Apple PC purchased at that time would be closer to the upcoming generation of Apple computers, so most users with a six-year old computer are on-par with a previous generation Apple computer, or on par with the currently shipping non-Retina Macbook Pro.

Thursday, August 27 2015

People Centric Phone UI
[13:02:55] matt []/Psi+ An article from 2013, suggesting people-centric phone UI:

This seems so incredibly obvious, that only after seeing the iOS screenshots did I realize that Apple doesn't (hasn't?) had this feature. I've had groups or individuals on my S60 phone for years, and Maemo (~2011) had you select a person, and then a protocol for communication (POTS, SMS, XMPP, AIM, IRC, Skype,etc.). The Maemo implementation sounds exactly like what's suggested, where you can select the person, and for protocols with status (SIP, XMPP, etc.) see if the person is online, and send a message. Or send an eMail instead.

Sunday, December 7 2014

Lollipop/ART issues; Firefox Weave
[18:37:08] matt []/Psi.cor I've switched back to Android 4.4 (CM-11, "Kitkat"). The following were issues I found with Android 5.0 ("Lollipop"):
* fdroid repos don't work, which is annoying (
* some Activesync servers don't work—I've only seen this reported with Horde (and I had the issue with both 5.0 and 5.2;

Back on CM-11, using the ART runtime, Firefox Sync (Weave/"Deprecated") also fails, apparently with a Unicode string error. It works fine with Dalvik. I don't know if this would have been an issue on Lollipop as well which uses ART by default. I didn't look for a specific bug for this, but was surprised that this sync was still supported since it was supposed to go away several versions ago ( Apparently work on making the new service easy to use by third parties is either hard or just not a priority—the whole issue seems to have been bungled and now everyone's stuck with a mess. (

I also missed some of the UI elements from CM-11, like the circular battery indicator (is this a theme added by CM?) The settings menu was also more usable on CM-11. In general, Lollipop seemed to waste space, although I had mixed feelings about the task switching interface (it did seem to show more options at once, but made the active surface a bit small on a phone screen). A lot of Lollipop was flat, and Apple-like, looking pretty without giving the user any indication of whether interfaces were scrollable or otherwise how to interact with the device.

Unlike other reports, I did not run into any issues with WiFi or battery life on Lollipop—in fact, both seemed to be at least as good if not more reliable than on CM-11 and CM-10.2 but I don't have any objective tests for that. Specifically, I thnk my worst battery behaviour was in part to K9 synching my mail, and I haven't set that back up.

Thursday, August 4 2011

[01:14:44] matt []/Merch now works reasonably with an Apple iPad... assuming it's running iOS5 with fixed positioning support.

Wednesday, July 27 2011

One Hour with the WebOS TouchPad
[17:16:54] matt []/Psi.dementia The web browser has different trade-offs with the pre-IOS5 web kit browser. General display is better, but there are instances where the scrolling is broken until you zoom in or out first; support for Arabic is noticeably absent by default.

The device itself collects and displays fingerprints more-so than others I've used (Apple iPad, Nokia N900, Samsung/Google Nexus S).

Oddly, when I set the language to Spanish, it still showed the Google location services terms-of-service in English. Other license agreements were in Spanish.

It required me to create a "WebOS" account with my name and eMail address. It didn't require me to set the timezone, which it presumably got from my location.

My co-worker, and IOS advocate, voiced that there weren't enough apps in the store, and that the UI looked too much like KDE.

I might like it better than an IOS device--the fact that I can switch between the Web browser and other programs without closing each in turn is a large part of this--but I'm not sure that I would buy one on my own. It seems rough still, but still promising. If it hadn't been for the disruption of Palm going out of business and being acquired by HP, I would imagine that a lot of these rough edges would have been polished, and am dissapointed that this hypothetical device isn't what it is my hands.

Wednesday, June 8 2011

[21:18:48] matt []/Merch Samsung Series 5 Chromebook arrived today, my first impression was that it was surprisingly thin next to the 1st gen Apple iPad device--about the same thickness with a cover on the latter. It's about an inch wider, and two inches taller and fits in the messenger bag I've been using for the iPad device, but which is too small for work's MacBook Pro. With the colouring scheme and thickness, it looks like a larger version of my USB multi-card reader.
[21:19:51] matt []/Psi.generay

Monday, April 25 2011

[18:50:09] matt []/Psi.dementia There's been a lot of speculation as to why an Apple iOS media device needs to record everywhere the device has been, but the one thing that is clear is that you shouldn't bring your Apple device with you while committing a crime:

Monday, February 21 2011

What sealed Nokia's fate? YAA from The Reg.
[21:05:19] matt []/Psi.dementia

Symbian smartphones became increasingly complex and buggy. They brimmed over with features, but users had to pay a premium to add a data plan to use them fully. The features were hard to find, too. So smartphones remained a niche for technology enthusiasts. (Symbian was turning a tidy profit by 2006).

Then Apple entered the market with a device that was a merely-OK phone, but offered something radically new: a new user interface that made much of the functionality manufacturers like Nokia had built into their devices quite usable. And Apple had a bundled data plan, so trying it all out was risk-free.

At last, here was an integrated mobile device that didn't suck. Pure-play PDAs had disappeared, but their replacements left a nasty taste. Both reading and writing about these were no fun.

Friday, January 21 2011

[20:38:25] matt []/Merch Nokia N8's Web browser supports fixed positioning mostly right--at least it tries. That's a lot better than either Google's Android's Web browser or Apple's iOS Web browser.

Tuesday, December 21 2010

[18:15:35] matt []/Merch Playing around with the Yelp! app for the Apple iPad (released yesterday), it's similar to the application TripAdvisor (my daytime employer, although I'm speaking for myself here) released on Friday. Despite the similarities, there are some differences when you start using them. Navigation in ours is much smoother in my opinion (you can scroll the map pane and both the list view and icons on the map auto-update; with the Yelp! app, you have to keep hitting buttons to do this). The Yelp! app has an entirely native-widget UI, where-as we were able to utilize our current mobile web site to power a hybrid shell; our map widget is native, but we've endeavoured to re-use existing infrastructure wherever possible.

Thursday, November 11 2010

Wednesday, June 23 2010

[21:26:17] matt []/Merch Why does Apple use a checkmark where a radio is the actual functiomality? And for that matter, why can't I show rosters from multiple accounts at the same time anyway?

Thursday, May 27 2010

Monday, May 24 2010

[14:21:34] matt []/tkabber Lyons notes that when he talked with an "Apple spokesbot" about the recent NPD report that claimed Android phones were now out-selling iPhones in the US, he was "shocked" when he was told that the numbers were misleading because of Apple's larger installed base.

"I was shocked because it's a familiar line, one that I've heard countless times in my 20-plus years covering technology. But I've only ever heard it from companies that are doomed and in total denial about it."

Lyons appears to have come to the same conclusion that many users — and, perhaps more important, developers — with whom The Reg has spoken have arrived at: that Apple under Steve Jobs has morphed from a imaginative company focused on creativity and dialog into a condescending, selfish dictatorship.

"As sick as I am of my iPhone's dropped calls," Lyon writes, "I'm even more sick of Apple treating us all like a bunch of idiots, stonewalling and bullying and feeding us ridiculous explanations for the shortcomings of its products — expecting us to believe, basically, that its flaws are not flaws, but strengths. Steve Jobs has created his own precious little walled garden."

Monday, April 26 2010

[17:29:35] matt []/kerberos It's estimated that Apple has sold just over a million iPads to date. Since buyers are likely to have a lot of disposable income and not much sense, they make a great target for e-criminals. ®

Thursday, April 8 2010

[19:21:51] matt []/kerberos Now that the Apple iPhone mobile device does multi-tasking, where will all the fanbois go who complained that multi-tasking was too complicated for them to handle?

Tuesday, March 30 2010

(Nokia N900 vs Apple iPhone) Users
[18:56:39] matt []/kerberos The Apple iPhone <> launched without Multimedia Messaging Service support, and its users whined for over two years. Eventually, a successor product finally received support.

The Nokia N900 also launched without MMS support <>, and within three months of the device being announced, its users had added it. <>

This is perhaps the clearest illustration distinguishing the types of users each device attracts.

Monday, March 22 2010

[17:40:16] matt []/kerberos Apple sends me an eMail: "X sent you an action that requires your approval" with no indication of where I'm supposed to go to approve it. No link. No basic sign-in url. There are a bunch of *other* links in the ugly HTML e-mail, but nothing apropos. Sure, I can sign-in with the same credentials and update "MyInfo"--but that doesn't actually connect to the developer center. I ended-up needing to actually do a web search to find that.