Category Archives: Opinion

Hey Tim. Here’s a “Portrait” icon. See? It’s taller.

There be gremlins? A ghost in the big giant Apple machine? An Easter Egg? Or somebody’s idea of a joke?

Because a couple of important icons have gotten switched!! And “icons”, little pictures that we rely on to represent certain very specific things, are important! You can’t just go switching them around! You’ll defeat their purpose. You’ll make them unreliable. I mean, what if somebody changed all the light switches in your house so that when you click “On” the lights go off? Or swapped faucets so hot water came out when you wanted cold?? What if one day Captain Aubrey decided that port would be starboard from now on?

Details are so important. Attention to important details helped establish Apple as the platform of visual artists. Unfortunately, someone has forgotten the importance of small details, in this case, in the difference between Landscape and Portrait. And here’s what I’m talking about:

On the Macintosh—Look at this Print Dialog from MacOS Monterey 12.1.1.

Notice anything?

The Print dialog has two icons, helpfully labeled “Portrait” and “Landscape”. Two tiny upward-pointing arrows are also supposed to help you figure this out. But if the rectangles were placed correctly, arrows would be unnecessary. The ORIENTATION of the rectangle is the indicator, the rectangles don’t even need anything inside them to make this point. (Ideally, the Landscape rectangle would contain mountains, not people, but we’re not going to fix everything today…).

Remember:

Portrait=long edge vertical (tall).
Landscape=long edge horizontal (short).

The arrows are there because the rectangle of the Landscape icon is turned on its side! It’s in Portrait mode, the same exact orientation as the rectangle of the Portrait icon. This misses the whole point of the VISUAL CUE that icons represent!! The “person” image inside the rectangle does not make it “Portrait”!

The rectangle icons would be more obvious if they were empty. But in this Mac dialog, in the Landscape icon, the “person” is sideways, which only makes sense if you turn your head sideways. Do you look at your screen that way??

That’s one issue. Once this flaw was established somewhere, somebody “understood” that any rectangle with a “person” in it is a Portrait icon. Confused? They were. Now you’ll never guess where the Landscape icon turns up, the one that is correctly oriented, but unfortunately contains a person image in it.

On iOS—Look at this so-called “Genius Pick” from “Tips” for iPad

How about here?

This “Tip” literally tells you to tap on a LANDSCAPE Icon “to turn on Portrait mode.”

Now we have the right icon (Landscape), being asked to do the wrong thing. Where will it end?? What I shouldn’t have to explain here, is that you ought to have to tap on a Portrait Icon to turn on Portrait mode! Does anyone at Apple know who Steve Krug is anymore? Or Don Norman?

And so, continuing my long tradition of helping Apple when I can, I, TechWite, have returned from a long and mysterious absence to remind you, “Think Different”. Remember that Landscape and Portrait are TWO DIFFERENT THINGS, historically represented by TWO DIFFERENT icons, and essentially, by THE ORIENTATION of the TWO RECTANGLES.

🤐 So many words! Try this:

“I’m Portrait!”—a tall image, with longer vertical edge

“I’m Landscape!” —a short image with a long horizontal edge

What’s to be done? I’m not going to correct every dialog and Genius Tip in Apple world, but I’ll give you a place to start. Please fix the icon in the Mac Print Dialog so it looks something like this:

Oh look! No tiny arrows!

When you’re done with that, then you can tackle the rest of this confusion in all the bazillions of iPhones and iPads and every other iThing. Okay? Glad to help. Now get to it!

I’m back.

—TechWite

So-Called “Creators” vs. #GoodTech

Sheesh. “Creators”. Not to be confused with “Creatives”, those UX Designers, Graphic Artists, and other creative people for whom I have a great deal of respect. No, “Creators”—often called “Influencers”—frequently celebrities, but also the kids who make some brain dead cat video or self-absorbed “Hey guys!”, eye shadow review, and thousands of other kids watch it, and brands offer them big bucks for endorsements and product placement on their social media and podcasts. In our mixed up Internet media world, this situation creates the illusion that what Creators do is actually work, and work of value. And of course in that case, they should be paid fairly!! To quote John Mellencamp, “A’int that America?”

…so these two women create an app to compare rates, so the “creators” can be paid fairly and not get screwed by the brands. In a crazy world, that kind of makes crazy sense. The app is subtly titled, “F*** You Pay Me”. (Without the asterisks, of course. This is Generation Z, the free speech generation.) After all:

“[Brands] they need us, more than we need them!”

— A. Creator

UMM, no. They don’t really need your cat video that much, or your vapid “Hey guys!” review. With or without a helpful app, you’re not all going to get paid $125 million a year like Slappy Dingdong, or whatever his name is with his 16 bazillion “followers”.

This would all be pretty funny if there weren’t so many people in need, so many hungry, so many people willing to do real labor for reasonable pay if only they could get a job. This is the same aberration as the SVG (Silicon Valley Genius) who spends his days figuring out how to make a goofy mustache and giant eyeballs stick to a face on a video on Instagram. Or for that matter, on Apple Messages (To think, I used to MOCK the Windows Cursor design team!!) We’ve got no universal healthcare, the planet is burning, but Silicon Valley Geniuses are going to fix bad traffic with flying cars, and there are plenty of bazillionaires going into space on their giant penis rockets.

Listen, if you’re smart, creative, or have money to burn, maybe you should examine your priorities?

🌎 Right now, the world needs more #GoodTech !!

— TechWite

😎 Apple Flashback 2001: Dell Fire Hazard

Snail Desktop Picture“I’m a PC, and I’m on Fire!”— Snail promotes Intel, Justin Long promotes Mac, er, Windows…  “Unpredictable Mac”, Explored the difference between Macs and PCs back when it mattered…

 

“Hey, Dell just recalled 200 THOUSAND plus batteries from their Wintel laptops because of overheating. There is at least one known case of a battery causing a fire. This is the SECOND major recall of batteries from BELEAGUERED DELL COMPUTER. Did you hear anything about it? Did Wall Street jump all over them? Is the press drooling for Dell’s downfall??

And That’s The Difference.”

— from “Know The Difference” UnpredictableMac Issue #17 May 04, 2001
“It’s a new millennium.”

Old Data Never Dies… 🤙

Ladders Bad Data

Date: September 3, 2017 at 8:00:43 AM EDT
Subject:Notice of Updated Terms of Use & Privacy Policy – September 2017
Reply-To: jobs

Somewhere, somebody is looking at a report about job hunters on “the Ladders”. My personal information there is obsolete. There’s a number in that report that represents my ancient sign up on their site as a participant and job seeker, which is bogus. Because? I am not a participant in “the Ladders”, nor an active member, nor a  job seeker, nor have I been for years.

Don’t they take any responsibility for the “freshness” of their data? Of course! They send out Policy and Terms of Use update notices. Obviously anyone who doesn’t respond is still a valid member, desires to remain on their roles, and agrees to the Policy changes. That’s how everyone expresses agreement right, by silence?

This is not just a “Ladders” issue; it’s another example of the convoluted backward logic and misleading or outright fraudulent data that permeates the Internet. It’s in a company’s interest to have more users, more members, more eyeballs, more job seekers. Those numbers are important—everyone knows they are inflated, don’t they? (THAT’s a rhetorical question. NO, I don’t think “they” do.)

A responsible Internet company will periodically roll-off and clear out that data (making the assumption that true data would be more valuable). Most even have a mechanism in place to do this. How? The former job seeker/member logs in and updates his/her information or maybe even closes the account.

But, relying on the user? Asking someone to clean up an old login they used more than a few years ago? This is worse than getting off a snail-mail catalog subscription, where you can usually call an 800 number! If the user has to login, or send mail from an old or non-existent email address, or go through an annoying and time-consuming password upgrade process? Too much work! It’s not happening.

If companies were serious about truthful data, they would make this process easy. How? Notify the user that the account is about to expire, and the data will be expunged or otherwise no longer considered “active”. No response: assume that the data should be cleared, and clear it!

They’d rather have bigger numbers. True data is good, but to these jokers more data is better. More members even if they are imaginary. The companies want your data, even if it is wrong, and they are getting more obstinate about keeping it.

🤙🏻

— TechWite

(And no, I’m not nuts about this. Maybe someone has a reason not to be online and away for…a few months, or years? So put a mechanism in place to put everything in “suspend” or “archive” mode first, before it disappears permanantly. These issues are not that difficult.)

“Courage”, Innovation, and Headphone Jacks

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-4-22-08-pmA word about “Courage”:
Phil Schiller. Seriously? At this particular date, with all of its significance, the word “courage” applied to the way people use their $600 telephone is a mind-jarring mis-use of English. Is this just another case of pandering to the drama of Ellipticals? They can deal with it. It’s just a freakin’ jack!!

The crazed, emotional rants in advance of the official product announcements were generally from people complaining that they don’t want to give up their wired headphones. You don’t have to give up your headphones. You lose the jack.

Read the details people.

  • The iPhone 7 comes with Apple lightning connector “Earpods”—you connect them to your phone with a “lightning” connector. (The same connector used for your power adapter.)
  • Apple also includes a little “dongle” to connect your current headphones using the Lightning port.
  • This only applies to iPhone 7 and newer Apple devices going forward.
  • For now, you can’t charge your iPhone and listen at the same time. Wow. Big inconvenience.

iMac 1998—What’s a Big Inconvenience?? The first friggin’ iMac was a Big Inconvenience!
The first iMac was the first Macintosh with USB connectors. Most people had never seen nor heard of USB. Printers? Scanners? Modems? Hey, none of the old stuff worked!! You had to buy all kinds of new cables, adapters, and peripherals. USB was brand new. And mice? Thank you, Jonny Ive, who designed this crazy ROUND mouse (which became known as “the Hockey Puck“). THAT spawned a whole industry of replacements and add-ons because it was so useless. AND there no floppy drive to install all the new drivers!! Gone! All those boxes and stacks of 3.5” floppies were now about as useful as…well, nothing. We didn’t call that “courage”, we called that “Steve Jobs fixing Apple”.


screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-4-22-51-pmAirPods?
As for the new wireless earbuds, airbuds, EarPods, AirPods, whatever…those beautifully designed Dyson-style, GI-Joe sized, mini-hairdryers only work for people who can put them, and keep them in their ears. I can’t. Love the technology. Hate the shape.

Here I am giving away another brilliant idea: “Pod Shapers”, a special adapter for the AirPod to hold it on your head because it won’t stay in your ear. Especially for the Boomer market, available in a range of fluorescent colors to make them little buggers easier to find!*

To The Whiners—If you really hate Apple roping you into its eco-system and “forcing” you to go wireless and buy airbuds, EarPods…whatever, then go on, buy a Samsung phone. Just, make sure you also buy a fire extinguisher. 😎

—TechWite

*Did I call this or what?! Just get PowerBeats Pros in your color choice!—TW, 3/1/2022

Want a Private Facebook? Try #Slack

NYTimes: A Charming Alternative Universe of You, Your Friends and No News

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/18/technology/a-charming-alternative-universe-of-you-your-friends-and-no-news.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share

imageThe Times article (above) tempts with the idea of an alternative to the competitive, super-public, extrovert dominated world of fake friends and insincere “likes”. But, the NYT never seems to escape from that social norm, suggesting instead the candy sweet illusion of Instagram “Stories”.

Really?

TechWite says: Try Slack
Do you want a place online where you can share photos, web links, movies, and all that other stuff but not have it smeared with ads, streams of articles and media curated by robots, comments from people you don’t know, don’t remember, or want to forget? Do you want an app where you can have a private conversation (the “DM”—Direct Message—in Twitter becomes a “Private Channel” in Slack) with someone you already know, who is already participating in this place, and where you don’t have to use email to do it? And your team only has members that you want in it. Period.

Not “The Next Big Thing”—Better!
Yea, yea, yea, everyone tells you to use Slack for business, for software development projects, to integrate your two diverse companies that now have to merge their email systems and don’t have a common platform to work on, blah, blah. Blech!! I’m suggesting you, and a small group of real friends who want to plan your next bike trip, group vacation, backpacking adventure, etc. etc., create a Slack Team. Spend a little time and effort figuring out how Slack works. Yes, there are apps for iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, and POWB (plain old web browsers). And sure, there are tons of plug-ins and commercial upgrades and corporate tie-ins, but only if you want them. This is not “The Next Big Thing”—this is the thing you want to use to communicate and stay in touch with your REAL Friends and Family. The basic version is free.

Life is short. Create a team! Have fun!
These links open in a new window:
Create your own Slack Team:  https://slack.com
Join the public SlackBITS Team run by our friends at TidBITS: http://slackbits.herokuapp.com

Tell them TechWite sent you!

BTW: No, I have no commercial, financial, or stock interest in #Slack. But I am open to the possibility!

—Peace Out

Followers, Friends, and Likes. Oh My!! Engagement is a Social Lie.

via And Now, I Unfollow Thee – The New York Times

Take it all “with a grain of salt…”

More help for the Nverts. TechWite dashes another social myth!

The brilliant analysts of Wall Street, looking for better ways to blow more air into the bubble of Social media believe that “engagement” is everything. But what is it?


“Engagement*” – Catch word for ‘user involvement’ –  the popularity of your web site, application, social feed, page, etc. “Engagement” supersedes “eyeballs”: the number of people who looked at a page. Engagement sounds more scientific, and is therefore more useful to analysts, stock brokers, and journalists in declaring the success or failure of an online campaign, and especially in applying a monetary value and potential for advertising revenue. But unfortunately, there is no standard “measure” of engagement. Is it: How many members have signed up? “Daily Views” of a page, or video? **  How many times they ‘click’ from one page to an advertisement? How many “likes” they post for your business on Facebook? How many “friends”, how many “followers”, how many? How many? And how many of those are even real???


Wake up world. This is all vapor. Not even the kind of vapor you can inhale.

Today’s lesson is easy: Whatever anyone tells you about the popularity and massive use of a site, page, or “social network” is probably not (I’m being kind here…) exactly what is going on. Review your own experience with social. You are a VALID user. Your experience is probably not much different than anyone else’s. Think about it:

  • Facebook—In spite of the many ads you can now find all over “your” Facebook, how many times have you ever actually used one of those ads to make a purchase? Have you? Tell me!
  • YouTube, Web Pages, and elsewhere—The pop-up ad on the web page, do you want to see it? Or skip it?
  • Twitter—Poor Twitter. I like Twitter. Do you choose to read Tweets that Twitter inserts in your feed? Do you have any idea where they come from? Can you really keep up with the tweets of the 50 Twitter feeds you follow? 150? 500? Do you think those people who claim to follow over a thousand other Twitter feeds ever even LOOK at the tweets?? How do you feel about being followed by all those robots and porn sites?
  • Instagram – More robots and porn sites. More opportunities to buy followers.
  • Followers – That’s right, you want to have a popular Twitter feed or Instagram?? Buy yourself 10,000 followers. Or more. It doesn’t cost that much.*** We are really talking about a hall of mirrors here.

You can read more about it using the links below. I won’t waste more words. I want to get off my computer now because I have a real book I am reading. One made with paper. Seriously. So, because it means nothing:

  • Don’t follow me on Twitter!
  • Don’t like my Facebook page!
  • Don’t follow me on Instagram!

Peace Out,

—TW 


(Links below open in a new window.)

*Engagement (Rate)
Trackmaven – Engagement Rate is a metric that measures the level of engagement that a piece of created content is receiving from an audience. It shows how much people interact with the content. Factors that influence engagement rate include users’ comments, shares, and likes. <http://trackmaven.com/marketing-dictionary/engagement-rate/>

“4 Instagram Analytics Tools for Your Business”, HootSuite, <https://blog.hootsuite.com/instagram-analytics-tools-business/>

**Daily Views
“Snapchat Video Traffic Has Caught Up With Facebook”, Fortune <http://fortune.com/2016/03/01/snapchat-facebook-video-views-2/>

“Facebook Daily Views get New Metrics”, International Business Times <http://www.ibtimes.com/facebook-inc-fb-daily-video-views-get-new-metrics-publishers-2342825>

***Buy Followers:
“Big Business: Buying Fake Instagram Followers”, Huffington Post,<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shayla-r-price/big-business-buying-fake_b_6322362.html>

That VR is so hot right now.

VR3


VR is HOT right now. Do you know why? You probably see those goofy goggles and imagine some gamer shooting aliens. That is WAY off. The whole VR world has changed. TechWite helps you understand how.


  • “Old VR” – Think of Google Maps “Street View”—flat, boring…
    • 2D – although you can “move”, the images have no depth.
    • Viewed through a porthole – big screen, little screen, it’s still like a submarine.
    • Controlled manually – by a keyboard, joystick, or game controller. It kind of works, but it’s not like being there.
    • Still images create the 360 degree “dead” world
    • No interaction with anything “in” the images
  • “New VR” – Think of Star Trek TNG’s “Holodeck”—mind blowing, you are there!
    • 3D – What you see has depth, you can see “around” objects
    • It Devours your vision – that’s what those goofy headsets are for- everything you see is part of the VR world. Add stereo sound, and that’s why it’s called “immersive”. You are in it!
    • Controlled by your movement – Turn your head to the right, you see what is on your right in the VR world. Look up, look down, ditto. This alone is a bit of a shock the first time you experience it!
    • Content can be 3D 360 degree video – Want to go for a helicopter ride over Manhattan? Be sure to hold on to something before you look down!

That’s just the beginning. Size, gravity, time – they can’t stop you. Examples:

  • RTVR – Like drones? Be one. Experience flying, in Real Time Virtual Reality
  • Remember Fantastic Voyage? You are now a tiny submarine inside a living human body. Explore the arteries and veins and organs. You see this, and experience it.

There’s so much to learn about this, to think about. Fortunately, the Tech media is all over it. (Links for you, below.) Start reading about it. But no words can do this justice, you must experience it. Get some Google Goggles, get the New York Times app for your iPhone or Android, and download one of the demos. Then take some time to imagine the possibility of experiencing the impossible.

—TW

via TidBits On the iPhone, Virtual Reality Is Unofficially Real

via AirWatch Blog  5 Epic Examples of Business Using Virtual Reality

via Google Filed Patent For Injecting A Device Directly Into Your Eyeball To Improve Vision – Forbes —Yes, another suggestion that we are not that far from “The Matrix”.

via Augmented and Virtual Reality: A New Vision – Deloitte CIO – WSJ

via Virtual Reality Therapy: Treating The Global Mental Health Crisis | TechCrunch.

via Samsung Announces Gear 360, a New Virtual Reality Camera – The New York Times.

 

Just Another Facebook Thing on Instagram

via Photo Taking, Editing and Sharing | Instagram Help Center

Instagram_noDesktop

I like being able to post things quickly. I like being able to share things online. I like when different tools from different companies run on different systems from different companies and work well.


“Instagram” – A photo app for mobile devices that posts pictures on the Internet. As in “Instantly”, and from the ancient photographic device the “Kodak Instamatic Camera“, and “gram” as in the ancient electronic communication tool the “telegram”. The name suggests, “Instantly sending a photograph electronically.” Not: fiddling around, copying files, and all that…


Some things, I don’t like.

I don’t like the way Facebook controls the Instagram API, guarding it jealously, and making it hard to post Instagrams if you are not using the Instagram app. And definitely if you would like to do it from a DESKTOP computer, i.e. “dinosaur technology”, “platform of the previous Millennium”, etc.—in other words, “not a mobile advertisement device”. (This is old news if you’ve been Instagramming for awhile. I came late to Instagram mainly because I didn’t want to use it after it became part of Facebook—right as I was letting the tumbleweeds blow down the sandy main street of my Facebook page on the Internet.)

So, Okay. I’ll work around this. I’ll move files, and copy and paste, and upload, blah, blah, blah. I’ll use IFTTT. I’ll do what it takes and I’m going to send photos to my blog from Instagram. So there!

This is part of the Zberging of the Internet. It’s gonna work the way “The Mark” wants gosh darn it, or it isn’t going to work!

—TechWite

Think Twice Before Putting Your Refrigerator in the Cloud

via Connected Device Data an Enterprise Windfall – Deloitte CIO – WSJ.

imageEnterprises can save millions (billions?) by analyzing and responding appropriately to the usage data provided by connected devices—HVAC, power meters, appliances, manufacturing equipment. Yes, we are talking about “IoT”, the Internet of Things, one of the hottest topics in tech news. The savings for large businesses are already being realized.

But is IoT really a big benefit for Jake and LaTeisha Consumer? So far folks, the evidence says otherwise. IoT as a matter of convenience for the consumer—when it runs out, order your detergent immediately from Amazon by pushing a button on your washer; change your thermostat, turn off your lights, shut your drapes from an app or web browser because you are going to be away—yes. Practical and convenient applications of the technology to the life of the consumer sells to the consumer, but analysis of the data? Who is really going to do that? Who benefits?

Once again, the more you give away your privacy, the more you push your life into the cloud, the more the marketing mavens can target sales to you. To your house. To your car. To your power meter. To your refrigerator. Just think, you run out of olives and Samsung sends you a private tweet when you drive by the supermarket. Your refrigerator and auto manufacturer, supermarket, Twitter, and who-knows-who-else get to “help” you.  The technology is here NOW to do that. It’s just a matter of time.

Think twice before putting your Refrigerator in the Cloud.

TW