Category Archives: History

Apple Flashback 2001: SoundJam a Goner

soundjampanelStill Waiting for the music alarm…

October, 2016, iTunes version 12.5.2 released. By most accounts iTunes is still a mess, as Apple tries to clean up the application that has for years devolved into the baffling, unmanageable compost pile of all Apple media. But fifteen years ago, iTunes was a gem, a minimal Apple interface quickly slapped on top of a great third party app called “SoundJam”. But what would be the fate of the real “SoundJam”? The one that had the VU Meter/scope display, karaoke mode, and other cool features that iTunes lacked?

“Sound Jam 2.5.3 – You figure this out, I sure can’t. What is the status of Sound Jam?? One day there’s an article on MacWorld about them abandoning development for OS X. The Sound Jam web site is getting real old, and the product shows all the signs of being abandoned, BUT NOW there’s a new update to version 2.5.3. The web site says 2.5.2 is the most recent version. This all sounds WEIRD AND FAMILIAR. Remember the TWO YEAR death throes of WORDPERFECT MAC at the hands of those FOOLS at COREL?? A little TRUTH from Casady and Greene would be nice. I like Sound Jam better than iTunes, but I predict we’ll all be using iTunes before long…”

“…back in U&O #16  I predicted the demise of my favorite MP3 player, ‘SoundJam’, at the hands of Apple’s favorite (free) MP3 player, ‘iTunes’. What I didn’t mention is that I wrote the CEO of Casady and Greene, suggesting that he COME CLEAN and tell the Mac community what was going on with SoundJam. I even wrote a press release for him. Did he listen to me? Who knows. But today C&G announced the end of SoundJam MP as of June 1, ‘at the request of the developers’—who all work for Apple now. I only hope Apple will add the missing SoundJam features to iTunes, such as the ability to use it as an Alarm Clock. And we should appreciate that Casady & Greene like any GOOD MAC COMPANY, DID THE RIGHT THING and told us the truth.”

—From Unpredictable Issue #18 May, 2001

The Federation is Going to Hell

Flashback: September 23, 1995

screen-shot-2016-09-30-at-4-11-51-pmLife was so much simpler then. Or was it? Not for the Star Trek Population of three or four quadrants. At the time, I had a friend in the US Foreign Service posted in some obscure country who wasn’t getting to see any of the new shows. There was NO video on the incipient Internet of course. He tried to get his hands on some episodes on VHS (tape), but was hopelessly lost with everything that was going on. So I summarized it for him:

“…By now you’ve probably got your hands on some Star Trek episodes. If not, I have most of the original series (which you probably don’t want), most of TNG. I don’t have much of Deep Space Nine, although I think there have been a few really good episodes on an otherwise dull series.

The new series, Voyager, which I’m not taping, is more like the original. A strong (woman) captain, a mixed crew, even a (black) Vulcan science officer. Lots of action. They’ve been flung out into the unexplored Delta quadrant and are making there way back to the Federation. If they don’t find a better way, it will take them 75 years to get back. At warp speed. Wow. (It might be wishful thinking on the part of the studio that interest in the series will last that long, but who knows?)

Meanwhile, back in the Federation, things are going to hell. Kirk came back from death in “the zone” (or whatever Guinan called it in the “Generations” movie) long enough to team up with Picard against Malcolm McDowell, who is so keen on getting that great high of “the zone” that he’ll kill 200 million people just to get there. Of course they bump Kirk off once and for all—so Paramount can get a new crew to kick around the full length universe. While the two Enterprise captains are trading quips, Riker, that boob, has lost the Enterprise D to a couple of troublesome Klingon sisters, ruling family wannabes, pirates basically (since the Klingon empire is pretty tight with the Federation ever since Kirk managed to get rid of Christopher Plummer in “the Undiscovered Country”). They have to destroy the Enterprise in every movie now. So they do, and well that’s most of the movie.

But wait, there’s more. The politics are just awful! On DS9 Commander Sisko has finally been promoted to Captain, and they’ve given him a battleship called the …oh hell…anyway, which was designed to battle the Borg (Who are no longer a threat since they were totally neuroticized by the virus planted in …, And the misguided leadership of Data’s brother Lore). To make things interesting, every now and then Sisko zips off into the Gamma quadrant to hassle the Dominion, the empire ruled by Odo’s people, the shapeshifters, and their batttle-bred drones, the Jem Hadar.

The Dominion in turn has infiltrated the Federation, and intend to take it over, and the Romulans and the Cardassians too. Speaking of the Cardassians, there’s a secret faction in that empire that is not satisfied with the treaty with the Federation (surprise!), and they’ve been making it difficult for the Federation colonists on the border. Since the Federation has provided virtually no support for the colonists, they have created their own rebel force, called the “Maki” (mach-ee), to protect themselves and force the Cardassians into open warfare that the Federation won’t be able to ignore.

Disgruntled Federation officers have joined the Maki ranks (literally), including Riker’s “brother” (Richard?) who was duplicated from Riker in a bizarre transporter incident, and that Bajoran bitch Ensign Roe, who humiliated Picard by defecting to the Maki while working for him undercover. In fact, the whole Voyager series began because the Federation asked the Voyager (on leave at DS9) to pop over to the Gamma quadrant and track down a Maki ship. Not such a great idea, as it turns out.

No sooner have they popped out of the wormhole, than they get into this nebula and are sucked by some whacko technology from the Gamma quadrant to the Delta quadrant. They find the Maki ship and capture the crew, and since they’re all “lost in space” (remember, we’re talking about a 75 year return trip!) they decide to team up and let the Maki rebels be part of the Voyager crew. (This obviously provides plenty of opportunities for conflict on the ship if they run out of other script ideas. In fact, they already lost one Maki member—another disloyal Bajoran bitch, of course—to some Delta quadrant villain race. The Voyager crew caught her in the act of trying to sell Federation technology, and she managed to escape to the villain’s ship. Think we’ll hear from her again? I’ll bet we do!)

So there you have it. As I say, the Federation is going all to hell. Pressure from the outside, and infiltration and defection from the inside.

Kirk must be rolling over in his grave—or pile of rocks and twisted metal as it were.

And that’s the way it was…

—TechWite

 

 

 

IPad Quirky? Unstable? Manage your storage!

A former colleague, Cary, asked TechWite about her unstable iPad. TechWite responds…

Your iPad, has a limited amount of storage.  You may recall hearing that it had: 16 Gig, 64 Gig, 128 Gig (Gigabytes). Depending on what you do with it, that storage on your iPad gets used by photos, songs, movies, books, and everything else. If the iPad gets slow, undependable, crashes, or won’t install the latest iOS update, chances are the storage space (whatever it was originally) is all “filled up”. A trip to visit your local Apple Store, or Apple Dealer, or friendly, knowledgeable consultant may be in order. But first, you can try clearing out some space yourself.


“What was a lot then, is nothing now.” —Christo’s 2nd Law of Computing

What’s a Gig? A Gigabyte is a thousand Megabytes. What’s a Megabyte? In the PaleoMac days of the PC revolution BI (Before iOS), early adopters and PC enthusiasts liked to throw around numbers the way auto afficianados today talk about the doomed-wheeled-hunks-of-metal-and-plastic that will soon be replaced by autonomous cars. Those PaleoGeeks made hilarious comments like, “I upgraded my Mac to 512K RAM and bought an external 10Meg SCSI Hyperdrive.” If you’re a Facebook user, or an “elliptical” (as the media calls this new generation), you don’t care what a Megabyte is, and it doesn’t matter. So forget the details.

Just remember, as always in capitalism and technology: more is better. When you buy your next Apple device, try to get the one that has *more*. Eventually, even that won’t be enough, but for now, that’s all you need to know.


To get started, the Settings app is the place to go. Open it, and follow along…

Step 1 – Check Storage

Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage

This will take you to a panel that displays your “Used” and “Available” storage (below). There is no hard and fast rule here, but you want the “Available” number to be big. (If it is already 5 Gig or more, then storage is probably *not* what is causing your problems.) Next, let’s make more storage available by getting rid of stuff that no longer serves you.

Step 2 – Manage Storage

Tap Manage Storage…
It may take some time for your device to fill in the details of your “Storage” panel. Be patient. Eventually, you will get a list of your apps and how much storage they use—sorted from biggest data usage to smallest. You can go through all of these apps, but you are going to get the best results by working on the apps at the top of the list, which are usually Music, Videos, and Photos (below).

Step 3 – Identify and Delete Songs that no Longer Serve You
Tap Music:
You’ll get a list of all the music on your iPad, grouped by Artist, Album, and Song. You can start deleting right at this “top” level, and Delete all songs by one artist.

Tap on one Artist, and Slide to the LEFT, to reveal the “Delete” button.
Tap “Delete” to delete all the songs by that artist.

Don’t want to get rid of everything by that artist? Just want to delete one song? You can “drill down” and use the same method as above to Delete specific albums or songs. Below, we tap Artist “A.C.Newman” > Album “Shut Down the Streets” > Song “Encyclopedia of Classic Takedowns” and then Delete.

6bc6f9ff9c8c058fb88996da1e725d5a

13bc945723bc8de65619270d58ca471f

 

9ca675a1b9de2aaec89eaedfea24992a

Step 4 – Repeat, and Validate
Repeat this process to get rid of as much music as you want. You can then use the same process to Delete the space-eating data of other apps on your iPad. When you are done, check your storage again. (From Step 2, above):
Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage

Finally, power your iPad completely down and restart it:

  1. Hold the “Sleep/Wake” button down until the screen goes dark and you see the “Slide to Power Down” button on the screen.
  2. Slide to Power Down.
  3. After the iPad completely shuts down, wait 30 seconds, and power it back up. How? Hold down the Sleep/Wake button until the Apple logo appears.

NOW, with that extra space that you’ve saved, does your iPad behave better? If not, you could try re-installing the OS, but for most people, that means it’s probably time for a visit to your local Apple support person.

Thanks for stopping by,

—TechWite

This post was written (almost) entirely on an iPad using Evernote. Interested? Tell me.

Apple Flashback 2006: Weird News

Looking back at 2015 – News about labor practices in China, wearables, and Big Tech in politics. But wait! This is from 2006. Tempora mutantur?

Apple’s Bad News? – The business news is alive with stories that Apple’s iPods are built by virtual slave labor in China. [Isn’t that true of all manufactured goods from China?] Does make you wonder how prices are going to stay low when the rest of the world asks for a decent wage. Apple has stated it will ‘investigate’ since this clearly runs against their corporate philosophy.

Nike Deal Borgs Nano Runners – In one more of an endless onslaught of new products and technical innovations from Apple, Nike and Apple are co-advertising the “Nike Runner’s Kit” for iPod Nanos. The kit consists of a wireless sensor that goes in your shoe, a receiver that attaches to your iPod Nano, and software. Once configured, the runner can receive real-time audio feedback in his headphones, as the ‘kit’ tracks speed, distance, and calories burned. Does it also monitor pulse and heartrate? After exercise, the runner can sych the data with software on his Mac or PC, and even upload it to a web site where he can compete with other runners.

Grand Old Party Usurps Flag, is iPod Next? – Do not misunderestimate the significance of President Bush’s fondness for his iPod. For providing an opportunity for local Republicans to discuss how to further control the media, monitor all forms of communication for un-patriotic behaviour, enhance corporate profits, and further modify the tax code to their advantage, the RNC rewards ‘coffee’ hosts with a customized iPod, wrapped in a red, white, and blue flag decal!

Hillary’s Hits Hit the News – But wait! Just when this party starts to fade, we’ve got news of Hillary’s iPod, and my gosh, what’s on it?? It was Bill’s gift to her, and it’s full of Eagles, Beatles, pretty much what you would expect. Jeez. Everybody wants to be a cat. 🙂

Can the Democrats top the GOP marketing coup with their own promotional video iPod to big donors? Rumors assert it will contain denial sound bytes and contradictory truths from the current administration, including:

  • “There absolutely are WMD”
  • “Mission accomplished”
  • “Anyone that leaks will be fired”
  • “This is not a fishing expedition. These are targeted wiretaps of international callers”

…And more. Get yours today!!

– From Unpredictable Issue #81

Apple and Ive Flat Design Assault

via Former Apple Design Gurus Criticize Apple’s Current Designs.

via “Flat Design”? Destroying Apple’s Legacy… or Saving It.

Apple-hockey-puck-mouse

Wake up, Tim! Many years ago, Apple used a great deal of research and creative thought to revolutionize, popularize, and consumerize “Personal Computing” by creating interface rules and guidelines that made most Macintosh applications work consistently, regardless if the application was written by Apple, Microsoft, or one of the hundreds of other software companies that have passed into obscurity at the hands of change and monopoly. (Remember WordPerfect? pfs:Write? ThinkTank? Aldus Pagemaker?) It wasn’t always that way.

The power of this innovation is lost today because—like so much of technology—it is taken for granted. Apple designers, most notably Jonathan Ive, have placed form far above function. The result is inconsistency in the interface, hidden interface elements, huge assumptions about users knowledge, or perseverance, or desire to explore, and the capacity of users to remember invisible elements and features.

If you struggle figuring out how to do something on your iPhone or iPad or Mac, especially something that ought to be simple and obvious, then you’ve encountered the new design philosophy. Learn more about how it ought to be – read the articles linked at the top of this article. And, heck, you could tell Apple what you think! (Maybe they’ll hear you.)

http://www.apple.com/feedback/

Apple Flashback 2002: The Paradox of The Steve

Apple Stores and Employees Under Fire

John Manzione, publisher of “a webzine that professes to ‘Celebrate The Mac!'” writes some OP ED about his less than enchanting experiences with staff at Apple Stores, including comments such as: “Steve Jobs lives in an Ivory Tower and doesn’t hear his customer’s frustrations.” Duh.

This is the paradox of THE STEVE. To keep Apple (in the current non-specific meaningless politic-speak vernacular) ‘moving forward’, Steve can’t look back at the slow Macs that won’t run Oh Ess Ten, or the hundreds and thousands of dollars of peripherals we own that don’t work with TEN, or the frustrations of the HUGE BASE of existing Mac users, at the cool OS 9 stuff that is missing from EX, or some of the really stupid ways that EX bumbles around its interface.

Steve can’t look back. He has to look forward. It’s his job to get us excited about the UNIQUE design of the new iMac, at the freedom and ease of wireless networking, and at the awesome capability of FREE software such as iTunes, iMovie, iPhoto, and iDVD. His is a forward-looking perspective reflecting the words of OUR PRESIDENT (Bush II), ‘I think we agree, the past is over.’

From UnpredictableMac Issue #41, March, 2002,
“It’s a new millennium.”

Apple Flashback 2001: We Didn’t Think of That

How to Update Quicktime

As I mentioned way, way back in UNPREDICTABLE #3, the Software Update Control Panel doesn’t update Quicktime! And I still can’t tell you why—but I can guess. Those whacky, wonderful guys and gals in Apple’s Quicktime development group are pretty independent. As far as they’re concerned, they’ve got Apple’s crown jewel, and all the other development groups should just BOW and BE HUMBLE.

For example, a few years ago at MacExpo NYC, Apple demoed the ‘new’ release of Quicktime 4. One of the cool features was the ability to set up Quicktime to tell it HOW FAST your Internet connection was. That way, Quicktime Streaming servers could send you movies appropriate for your speed. (To oversimplify: Slow connection? Small movie. Fast connection? Big movie.) When I saw that, I thought, “Cool. I bet they have it tied to Location Manager!”  Which would make a great deal of sense.

Location Manager – definitely an Overlooked and Underused item, is mostly for laptop users. It’s kind of a SUPER Extension Manager. It’s a way to change ALL KINDS OF SETTINGS with just one command. You can: turn File Sharing on, have a default printer named “Joe”, and use a certain TCP-IP address connected to an Ethernet LAN at WORK. Then, switch to: A default printer “Jane”, turn File Sharing off, and use TCP-IP over your modem, at HOME. Once you have it set up, all you have to do is choose ‘WORK’ or ‘HOME’ and everything snaps into place.

So I asked one of the Quicktime DUDES at the Apple booth about that. He pointed his blond beard skyward, ran his fingers through his pony tail, and said, “Hmm, No..we didn’t think of that. That might be a good idea. Thanks.”

I try to help Apple where I can. Now Quicktime speeds are tied-in to Location Manager. My point, besides shameless self-promotion, is that the Quicktime Team is in their own little world. Why should THEY have to use the Software Update Control Panel? THEY don’t like it. THEY can build their own Software Update into Quicktime. And THEY DID. SO THERE.

via Unpredictable Back Issue #8, February, 2001.