Monthly Archives: March 2014

Lost in the Cloud

How did we get here?

Many years ago, before there was yet a new millenium—much less a generation to be named after it—Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates had clearly dominated the desktop computer marketplace with their super-successful Windows operating system and Microsoft Office combination. They had done very well, but not everyone was using Windows. That pesky Steve Jobs was still chipping away with his “non-business” Apple products. Especially in the Education market – that is: schools. Bill kind of enjoyed watching Jobs to see what he’d come up with next, but not Ballmer. He wanted to crush Apple. Period.

Turning their attention to the education market, Bill and Steve opted for the best and fastest way to compete. Philanthropy. They gave away Windows and Office to schools. This polished Microsoft’s image in the press. And at low cost. Microsoft’s many corporate clients had already financed Windows and Office, and with little competition, were locked into complex licensing agreements for years to come. This was great; Bill and Steve could write off the education donations at their full retail value—hundreds of dollars per unit. But, this wasn’t good enough for Ballmer. The problem was, it still cost Microsoft to ship boxes with disks, and manuals, and marketing materials to schools. “There’s got to be a better way!” He told Bill.

Bill thought about this. And then, he brought up a new idea with Ballmer: “What if we just gave them the ‘software license’? They can download and distribute it themselves. No disks, no manuals. We just send them a fancy postcard with a number on it. They’re responsible for the electrons. We just host the stuff on our servers. What do you think?”

“Brilliant!!” Ballmer beamed. “Full retail price tax write off for the cost of a post card!!”

And so began Microsoft’s ventures into electronic software distribution, to be rapidly followed by the “subscription model”.

To be continued…

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Screen Junk in iOS Land

 

Remember “blinking text” HTML on early websites?

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At first glance, the gleaming refection that slides across the face of your iPad Home screen encouraging you to unlock it, might seem cool. It moves left to right, just the way your finger should! It shows you. How helpful. But later, reading the New York Times, you get distracted by movement on the screen. WTH?? Yep, that ad has a button with a moving “reflection”. One time across the screen I could maybe tolerate, but this thing zips across the screen every couple of seconds. Over and over. 

Criminy, is my iPad going to look like Fremont Street?!

 

Size Matters

How big is your screen?

"This guy has a card table on his lap."

This guy at Starbucks has the biggest laptop I’ve ever seen. He pulls it out of his backpack. The backpack looks like one of those traveling crashpads that rock climbers use. Have you seen those? It’s hilarious to see those guys hiking up a trail with what looks like a folded up single mattress with straps on their back. Anyway, he pulls this thing out, and he has to hold both arms over his head to get it out of the bag. When he puts it on his lap, I think he is going to unfold legs from the bottom of it. But no. It’s a Lenovo. It makes a 17″ MacBook Pro look like an iPad mini. He opens the lid and I think he might need a pry bar. It’s like watching someone open a big sarcophagas. But finally he gets it open and sits there staring at it. I think he’s typing stuff, but all I can see is the top of his head. The rest of him is completely hidden behind the card table.

I’d tell you about the huge guy in the corner with the tiny MacBook Air, but I gotta go.

Siri has a sense of humor – sort of.

Room Temperature is always Room Temperature.

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Honestly, I didn’t ask Siri what temperature it was in the room, although that might be useful on occasion. She just threw this at me when I asked her what the temperature was outside.

Obvious but Overlooked—Apple, Can I have the Date Please?

If you use an iPhone and want to know what time it is, no worries. Whatever you’re doing, the time sits on the Status bar at the top of every screen. But what if you want to know the date? It’s on my Mac Menu bar, Windows too. With OSX I can choose the format even. Why won’t Apple put the date in the status bar at the top of iOS? (And, yes, folks, I did make that suggestion, more than once, on their web site!)
On my iPhone, if I’m using another app, I have to open the Calendar or go back to the “Home” screen Dock to see the current date on the Calendar icon. You knew the Calendar icon shows the current date, right? Ok, did you know the Clock icon displays the current time? Look closely! It even has a moving second hand!

TIP: Put the Calendar and Clock icons in the Dock, and you can see the date and time from any Home screen.

Now, Apple, what about letting me see the date on my Status Bar??

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Yes, the Clock icon shows the accurate time – including seconds.

Oh Ess Ten – Why does the close button fail? – sometimes..

Oh Ess Ten – Why does the close button fail? – sometimes.

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 4.12.34 PM

Apple people OSX is not perfect. Macs are not perfect.

The Red “close” button fails. (Now, before you jump all over me, I know that on a Mac the red button is supposed to close a window, not an application. Thinking it should quit an application, is baggage that comes from the Windows world, not from the purity of Macdom. Just forget that. I’m talking about the red “close” button failing to close a window.) This usually occurs in Safari, but it happens in other applications as well. If you encounter this behavior often enough, you figure out that if you pick up the window and slide it around on the screen a bit, and then click the red button, it works! While you’re working, trying to close the window, just give it a shake. Do it often enough, and you’ll almost forget you are doing it. On a Mac! This is the kind of silly workaround you find yourself doing on Windows all the time, but on a Mac?? This should never happen at all. It’s some programmer’s idea of a joke. It’s bad system Feng Shui. The small things matter, and this is about as small and as annoying as it can get.

So I tracked it down.

Apple’s site had one or two posts on the topic: The solution is supposed to be: change the “double-click” setting in System Preferences to a faster speed. Obviously. You’d already guessed that, right?

Sure, give it a shot. Go right to System Preferences Accessibility> Mouse and Trackpad> Double-click Speed. Duh! (Why did I imagine it would be on the Trackpad setting??)

Accessibility

I made the change. I’ll try it out. Maybe I’ll even follow up this post with an update. But seriously, this should never happen. This goofy problem should never occur, and it shouldn’t require a treasure hunt in the catacombs of the System Preferences to apply a workaround.

You think that is an annoying ongoing unresolved issue with OSX? What about when I [Shift]+[click]+[click]+[click] in the Finder, to select multiple documents of course, and every 3rd click causes all the documents to open. Seriously.

This is TechWite, and we’ll get to the bottom of it. Eventually.

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