Tag Archives: Apple

🙏🏻 Hope for Tech – And the winner is…Microsoft!!

—TechWite’s Do the Right Thing (“Tee DRaT“) Award for 2022!!
As former self-appointed Vice President in charge of Doing the Right Thing at Apple, —known “inside the donut” as the “EViP of DRaT” — it’s my pleasure to announce that Microsoft wins TechWite’s “Do the Right Thing” Award!! In this MS vs FB competition, Facebook says it can identify a user’s emotional state and share that with advertisers and anyone else for $$$, but gosh, they’ll stop doing that.

Meanwhile Microsoft’s response? “Nah, let’s not go there. And BTW, we’re okay if you guys want to unionize.” Is this the same Microsoft that hijacked the code for OS/2 from IBM, tried to crush Apple, insisted on its private standards vs. open Internet standards, etc. etc. etc.?? 🤪

Apple, I feel like I’m in Bizarro world.

Microsoft shares its Responsible AI Standard. Microsoft Corp., as part of its framework for building AI systems, announced that its Azure Face service would no longer include capabilities “that infer emotional states and identity attributes such as gender, age, smile, facial hair, hair, and makeup.”

—Wall Street Journal, “CIO Tech Report” newsletter for 6/22/22

Meta agrees to end alleged discriminatory practices in housing ads. Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc. agreed Thursday to adopt new online advertising practices to settle an investigation by federal officials, who said its ads discriminated against users by race, gender and other factors.

Discrimination by algorithm. According to federal officials, Meta created an ad-targeting algorithm that would consider protected characteristics—including race, religion and sex—to find users who mirrored the advertiser’s targeted audience. The WSJ’s John D. McKinnon notes that it is illegal to deny someone housing based on federally-protected characteristics such as race, religion and sex.

—Wall Street Journal, “CIO Tech Report” newsletter for 6/22/22

— 🙄 Will Facebook Do the Right Thing? Only when they get caught!! And “How long, has this been going on?”

P.S.: You can still #DeleteFacebook and #AvoidtheInternet

—TechWite

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

🙏🏻QR Code Controversy? Really? Calm down America.

Since Covid, QR Codes have become popular, especially as a “no-touch” tool to view a restaurant menu using a cell phone. Sometimes you can even order and pay using your cell phone. Although this New York Times article doesn’t outright suggest that using QR codes is risky or dangerous or a threat to your online privacy, it doesn’t do much to explain how a QR Code works, leading many readers to assume that the QR Code is some sinister new technology that will steal their identity, or worse.

Reader reactions to the article were just off-the-charts, paranoid-whacko. I tried to help out with this soothing comment:

“QR codes save you typing in a URL to get to a web page. As suggested by others here, any “damage” to privacy etc., results from the security threats already present on web sites and the internet. If this idea drives you to action, then get off Facebook and Amazon, both of which do far more damage than a restaurant web page.”

Christopher Plummer, Reader Comment, on article “QR Codes Are Here to Stay”, NYT, 7/26/2021

By this evening, there were almost 300 more comments about the article, mostly paranoid-whacko comparisons to the dystopias of Huxley and Orwell and horrified exclamations of former customers who swear they’ll never go to a restaurant again…and so on.

America, calm down! There are plenty of reasons to #AvoidtheInternet, but QR Codes used by restaurants are not one of them. If you use the simple camera connection in your phone or tablet that recognizes a QR Code, it:

  1. Translates the text that the “code” represents
  2. Recognizes that text as a URL (the kind you would type in your web browser)
  3. Passes that URL to your browser
  4. And opens your browser to that specific web page

That’s all that is happening! QR Codes can contain other information—addresses, phone numbers—but if all you’re doing is reading the code with the camera on your device (and NOT using a 3rd party QR app), then the not-sinister QR Code is saving you some keystrokes to get you to a web site. THAT’S ALL.

As I imply, once you get to the web site in question, your security and privacy is entirely up to you, and contains the same risks as any other commerce web site that may use trackers, cookies, spy pixels, profiling, blah, blah, blah, all the reasons you have to be smart and consider that you might want to #AvoidTheInternet, #DeleteFacebook, and so on. But please, don’t blame the QR Code.

This code takes you to a photograph I took.

Be Careful Out there! 🙂

—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.”

Back From the Dead—But not using a bootable drive…

My Mac Backup Strategy, was:

1. Backup to Time Machine regularly to have access to that data.
2. Backup regularly to a fast “bootable” external drive “clone” using a nifty 3rd party tool such as SuperDuper.

Having an external bootable backup meant that if my internal drive(s) failed, I could quickly fire up a workable system and continue working, until I restored it all to a replacement drive. But as I discovered last night…

At this writing, you can’t make a bootable backup disk with Big Sur. And the M1 (non-Intel) Macs can’t boot from an external drive. Now what? You could (and should) keep using Time Machine of course, but that is just saving your data and apps, not creating a “boot disk”. You’ll have to repair/replace your drive or Mac first, then recover using Time Machine. Unless you have a backup computer and work with all your data “in the cloud”, hours or days of downtime is inevitable with a hardware failure.

Short version: Make multiple backups of everything that is important to you. Including backing up to (a non-bootable) external drive with SuperDuper or other “cloning” utility. If your recovery strategy is “Make an appointment at the Genius Bar”, make sure you allow for at least a few days of downtime. If your business can’t afford downtime, try to work with all your data “in the cloud”, have a spare Mac, and be sure if you shut one Mac down, you can still do everything you need to on the other. And Test and Verify that this actually works!!

Readable Technical details and workaround(s) at Shirt Pocket Watch (SuperDuper developer’s blog) www.shirt-pocket.com/blog/, and this thorough summary from TidBITS: The Role of Bootable Duplicates in a Modern Backup Strategy.
— Read on

P.S. TechWite is also back from the dead. At least for this one entry. I’ve always been UNPREDICTABLE. 😎


—Techwite

Clickbait is Killing the Internet

theattentionmerchants_coverDid that headline get your attention?
Did you click a link to get here? Why? What did you expect to see? Okay, sorry, that title was “clickbait”. I want you to read my blog. I want you to stop whatever you were doing and visit the TechWite site, so I created a sensational title. That was my motivation. What was yours? It’s worth thinking about…


ClickbaitDo we really need to define this? It is what it sounds like: A title, heading, or image designed to DISTRACT the web user from whatever s/he is doing, click a link, and “go” somewhere else.


Clickbait is often about advertising, the end result to get you to BUY something. But it’s also about EYEBALLS, to get you to look at an ad, push up the “readership” of a page, a video, or person, or site. It’s not just in Facebook and gawdawful “news” web sites like nj.com. It’s on LinkedIN.

HINT: If an article has “Steve Jobs” in the title, especially if it’s about “Tim Cook is NOT Steve Jobs” it’s clickbait. If it’s about Apple or some other company being doomed or “beleaguered” it’s clickbait.

Dishonest clickbait is infuriating.
Let’s say just because it sounds interesting, you click on one of those links, “The Five Worst Plastic Surgeries of Playboy Bunnies”. That GRABS your attention. But gosh, now you’re on a page with an article about lawnmowers! Where are the bunnies? Nope, not even the kind with long ears. You’ve been had. And somewhere, somebody gets to claim your click and say their link got you to look at a web page. This is getting so bad that on YouTube you’ll click on a link for one thing, and end up watching a video for something completely different. And before you know it, minutes, maybe hours, have gone by. Where? Can you remember what you watched? Do you know what a “black out” is? I’m inventing a new term today: “the CBO“- Clickbait Black Out. If you’ve experienced this, it’s time to take a look at your digital life.

Think before you click!
Internet people, TechWite—newly committed to spending less time in a browser—is not going to write a long essay about this. Not today. But TechWite will offer you some sage advice: Think before you click. It could save your life, a few minutes at a time. Think before you click. Take a couple of seconds before you take the bait. TRY to remember WHAT you were planning to do today. Be aware. Right here. Right now. And may you go for a walk, outside, in nature.

—TW

Want to know more? These links open in new windows, think before you click!!:

Partly covered as a topic in this book by Tim Wu, “The Attention Merchants“.

Or read or listen about it here:  How Free Web Content Traps People In An Abyss Of Ads And Clickbait : All Tech Considered : NPR

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

“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

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.