Apple Bluetooth Keyboard Hack

Apple’s Photos app crashed during export.

My old Apple bluetooth keyboard has been wonky for some time – I initially blamed some weird kind of wireless interference at my China office but realized when typing that either it or my desk was crooked. It wouldn’t be unheard of for wooden things to get all warped in my house in Taiwan, all my shelves are. It was the keyboard, which I guess got bent from my overstuffing my carryon, during one of my recent flights. While I would love to have a new Apple keyboard, the exorbitant prices make a little paper and tape hack far more acceptable.


UPDATING_LOCKED_TITLE

Screenshot 2015-07-02 20.56.44

In the annals of Apple error messages, of which lately their have been more and more, this must rank up there as one of the most developer centric. I can only imagine what would be going through a users mind when after clicking on iTunes this message appears. This update is rife with problems, testing must be taking a back seat at Apple. Or in the case of iTunes, this is what happens when you put a musician in charge of software product management.

Either way I can’t open iTunes.


Colour reproduction on a new MacBook

I’m exhausted today after a sleepless night and so decided to spend the afternoon setting up my mothers new MacBook with the goodies that she will need to keep in touch while we are overseas. I’m sitting here in the Confederation Mall food court looking a bit like a poser with two Apple laptops in front of me.
My mothers MacBook is such a pleasure to use, it’s much better than my little 12″ Powerbook. I’m starting to feel the pangs of jealousy.
But the default setting the screen uses reproduce color scares me. I dislike the glossy finish as well – I see all the overhead lights which over time must cause eyestrain.
The colour is way off. My Powerbook is certainly not as bright but the colour is very warm by default. My eizo monitor which I use when at home has been calibrated primarily for text entry over graphic design. In fact while all my monitors at home display colour with subtle differences in reproduction none to the extreme that I see in this new MacBook.
I’m sitting through the colour calibration settings now but it’s scared me enough to wonder if I don’t have to revisit every site I’ve designed these past months to check again for colour problems. I thought I had put those batty web safe palette days behind me.


Control-option-command-8

Thanks to Gary on Forumosa for this Mac OS X tip. Pressing the key combo “control-option-command-8” inverts the screen. It is cool in it’s own right (windows look like portals to heaven) but might also be useful for those staring at text all day.


Problems with iTunes Podcast submission


It seems on my inaugural podcast I may have spoke to soon about submitting my podcast to the iTunes podcast directory. It isn’t possible. Here’s why.
You need to be able to purchase music from the iTunes store in order to be able to list your podcast in their directory. That includes registering an account and submitting a valid credit card with a billing address from a country that has the “honour” of having an iTunes Music Store. I am a Canadian citizen living in Asia but have a permanent address in Canada. As I have been living abroad for 8 years all my credit cards originate from Taiwan and as such I can not list my podcast – though I do have a .mac account. It’s a bit of a bizarre twist I think. I want to list content on their site which could potentially bring them customers but they want me to buy something first.
This is Apple?
I’m a bit sleepy and unanimated today (up late playing) so this Podcast might have the unwanted effect of causing you too to want to sleep (might be a common effect of this Podcast).
Listen to: Problems with iTunes Podcast submission – Podcast 2 (4.52min, 3.35 meg)
My Odeo Channel (odeo/647d0a301a218729)


Apple Bluetooth Mouse

There is a neat little feature I noticed today where Apple’s Bluetooth mouse will first in a semi-opaque window and then a flashing icon on the menu bar that the mouse batteries are running low. It’s an especially nice touch since I forgot that there were even batteries inside.
Bluetooth menu icon
I like this mouse. The batteries inside give it some additional weight that just feels right in my hand. So many mice (mouses?) I have tried are so light I feel like I am slipping all over the desk surface. The extra weight seems to give me more accuracy. It also tends to make me slower but I’m playing game tournaments just accessing menus.
Bluetooth helps gets rid of all those wires as well. I hate wires. Wires are ugly and, even in the case of Apple industrial design, inelegant. My old Apple mouses’ wire (I’ve never used a two button mouse) always got tangled and in the way. Good riddance.


Dan Harden gets it

“If there’s anything anyone in this field is chasing, it’s Apple’s quality and simplicity. Pick up an iPod, and you get it, you feel it, you sense it. But let’s not forget that these things are made in China. It’s nothing different from what everybody else is doing. The difference is that Apple will spend a lot of time and a lot of money to train quality-control standards. Unlike smaller companies, it can afford to get to the microlevels and really think through how a button feels. As a result, it has made digital audio seem so easy, so fast, so seamless.”
Read the whole Fast Company article


Notes on Tiger

Judging by the volume of noise on news sites Apples Tiger release appears to be an exciting even among those of will little else in our lives to entertain ourselves other than an operating system release. Yes I got caught up in it and yes I spend far too much time sitting at a desk. It’s obvious I have to get out more since after a simple morning of walking on Saturday has left my body stiff and sore. And the Tiger excitement.
Yes it’s cool and I’m certainly digging the refinements to the look n feel of the UI. Other than Spotlight, I’m mostly psyched about the improvements they made to their bundled apps. , safari is much improved. The Wiki dashboard widget should be very useful.
The biggest impression the upgrade has left on me though is the hefty memory requirements. Opening activity monitor shows me that Safari eats up 140megs of ram – it’s a web browser for God sake. Each of those Dashboard widgets take up 30 and mail takes up 20. It’s becoming obvious that if you expect to run a few programs in addition to Photoshop you are slowly approaching 2 gigs of ram. Apple still sells computers with only 256 megs of ram so obviously their is money to be made creating software with bloated memory requirements.


The Joys of Shuffle

For music on the go and having fun creating mixes (again) the iPod shuffle was a great recent purchase. I don’t always buy into the “enjoy uncertainty” or “life is random” concepts that Apple preaches though and find myself creating a smart playlist to autofill my shuffle that pick from higher rates songs in a number of other playlists that have a list of my favourite tracks. I’m not alone in this and I have noticed a few others sharing there ideas.
Matt Haughey writes about the joys of a better


Wireless iPod patent

wifi-ipod.jpgFrom Apple Insider comes the news that a patent was published on Thursday that talks about a wirelessly-enabled handheld player that can beam music and information to multiple other media devices, a docking station for communicating with other devices, and something about wirelessly transmitting


Mac OS X 10.3.3 Update: Hallelujah!!

Finally they have fixed the ill functioning network browser – with the Panther update you lost the ability to store network passwords and browsing remote servers was a pain at best.
“Specific changes in Mac OS X v10.3.3 include the ability to see network volumes both in the Finder sidebar and on the Desktop; improved filesharing and directory services for Mac (through AFP), Unix (through NFS) and PC (through SMB/CIFS) networks; improved PostScript and USB-based printing; updated Disk Utility, DVD Player, Image Capture, Mail and Safari applications; additional support for FireWire and USB devices; improved compatibility with third-party applications; and the incorporation of previous standalone security updates and Bluetooth Update 1.5, if you’ve not already updated your system.” [Maccentral]
Mac OS X 10.3.3 Update


More Powerpoint madness

Presentations.com recent review of Apples keynote reinforces my perception of how Powerpoint has created a legacy of poor visual communication. The author of the review gives Keynote 3 out of 5 stars and states that it is worth it for beginning presenters but pros will not be satisfied. Obviously the review is uninformed but it is interesting to note what these people think “pros” need. The most glaring of which were no gradient-coloring features for text, the ability to edit multimedia within the program, and the amount of the control over transitions. What is with this perception that “pro’s” want products with enormous feature sets. I thought we would assume that people don’t have time for this type of complexity.
I have been using Keynote for a couple months and it’s fairly impressive. It’s simple, displays text very well and has cut ‘n’ paste import of all my media (vector graphics and pdf look superb). It helps reinforce the point of a presentation program – to support the speaker. The downside is a natural one. No one uses keynote and as such no one can read your file. Distribution via .pdf is impractical because of the horrendous file sizes and sharing it in Powerpoint’s file format seems painful as you loose all of the reasons you use Keynote in the first place.
I certainly don’t mean to imply that I create presentations that would make Edward Tufte proud – I don’t. But I am under different constraints. The constraints of language, and lack of paper, force me to put copious amounts of text on the screen. That’s my excuse.
Link: Presentations.com – Apple Keynote review


Speed where art thou

Apple does a brilliant job of integrating hardware and software to create a compelling user experience. Despite introducing a new operating system, seemingly ages ago, based on a Unix foundation, they have managed to maintain a high level of intuitively and ease of use. This coupled with a consistent and refined aesthetic across both their software and hardware products helps define a the brand Apple. But there is one thing which seems to be defining Apple more than these characteristics and that is a lack of speed.
The built in Mail client is unacceptably slow. You cannot view folders while it is downloading new mail and it frequently locks up. All of their iApps stutter when resizing windows. The operating system itself is unresponsive. .Mac their online service is pitiful when compared to services like Yahoo – when it is online. Flash sucks. Director sucks. Networking causes spinning balls and in fact that spinning ball seems to happen quite allot. Copying files take too long. Which brings me to my latest pet peeve.
I just purchased an Airport base-station. It’s beautiful and in typical Apple style a pinch to set-up. I finally get to hide all those telephone wires. But you know that something has to be wrong when you can download a folder containing 40 megs. of files faster over the internet than a local drive. I have been sitting here for 20 minutes waiting for some digital photographs to download off my network firewire drive. Yet another example of this new Apple brand.