Apple Watch

As recently as February I was telling people that I would not be buying an Apple Watch. As sure as Bill Hader’s Lindsey Buckingham cannot resist Keenan Thompson’s Diondre Cole, I own an Apple Watch. Fan points earned.

The feature that swayed me was the taptic touch, where the watch touches your wrist through some electromagnetic magic. The iPhone 6 Plus is so large that I often miss the vibration of a notification while the phone is in my pocket, and surely do not hear the sound. I had missed several messages from my wife while driving home, so I figured the watch may resolve this issue. Apple created the problem and I am solving it by buying more of their products.

The first weekend has been fantastic. Battery life is fine. One day. Unless you are working out two hours a day, I do not think that you will have to charge it more than at night. This opinion is applicable to the 42mm Apple Watch Sport. The 38mm watch has a smaller battery so your usage duration will vary.

The weight is nice. The sport band feels nicer that I expected. I worked out to see if I would get a rash from sweat under the band and I did not. The band has one small piece of metal, a pin, that extends slightly out of the band. This makes for a nice experience when using the band on a metal laptop.

Delightful.

The Apple Watch is delightful. It taps me as I am following navigation directions to let me know if I need to turn left or right. This is a nice alternative to Siri talking to you, and is very nice if someone in the car talks over Siri’s directions. The watch taps me when I get a message or a tweet. When I raise the watch to look at it, Mickey Mouse is tapping his foot every second. Luckily this does not tap the wrist.

The watch records how often I stand and entices me to stand if I have been sitting for too long. The watch records my calories burned and my heart rate every ten minutes. The watch tracks my exercises. I apparently do not exercise strenuously enough as my thirty-two minute workout only accounted for six minutes of exercise. The watch could do a better job of letting me know I was failing to meet its expectations, but I will see if I can come to common ground with it today.

The watch lets me quickly see what Dark Sky is predicting for the weather. The watch lets me access codes to enter buildings. The watch lets me turn on and off my Hue lights.

All from my wrist.

The apps are too slow. This is a very version one product, akin to the first iPad. The watch is delightful none the less.

The watch lets me raise my wrist to pause a movie on Apple TV. Be careful, if you leave the Remote app running and decide to cross your arms, you might find an inadvertent touch from the underside of your other arm rewinding the movie in hyper speed. You can resolve this by pressing the digital crown to return to the clock after using the remote app. Double press the digital crown to return to the previous app.

The digital crown is stiffer than I expected and I believe is fooling me into thinking it is harder to turn at times. I think the visual clues as well as taptic feedback allow Apple into fooling me that I came to the end of a physical list, while the crown is actually still turning normally. Crazy. Delightful. Magic.

I used Apple Pay to pay for lunch at Panera Bread. Two taps on the Contacts button (that’s the button below the digital crown) and I had activated Apple Pay. When the cashier gave me the total, I moved the watch to the reader and the watch emitted a simple “Ping!” sound of delight and the payment was made. The cashier said he had not seen this done before, and wants to get a watch for himself.

I wandered around the grocery store buying items we needed, checking them off one by one in the Wunderlist app. Just a tap on the watch. Next item. I didn’t have to keep pulling my phone out of my pocket or putting it back in to heft heavier items into the cart.

When did my phone become a nuisance?

The space gray aluminum materials are nice. Feel nice. Not sure how long it will hold up, but it looks nice for now.

My heart rate. It’s 65 right now. It was 88 a minute ago. I am doing better than I thought I would be. All of this data goes into my Health app. I am going to share it with my doctor. This all feels early and simple while feeling futuristic and eye opening. Will my niece wear a watch that detects a health issue months or years before it would present itself?

The future is here. This is 1984, 2001, and 2007 all over again. 2022 is going to be incredible, but for now, my Apple Watch has reminded me that I have some chores to finish.

An example of how Apple and Microsoft are different

Update: Joel Bernstein (@castirony) points out that this paragraph works perfectly with “Apple Watch” instead of HoloLens. Damn you, Joel! But he is right. However, I think Apple Watch is an exception for Apple whereas Microsoft does this much more often.


 

On using the Microsoft HoloLens, Engadget writes:

“Does it work? Yes, it works. Is it any good? That’s a much harder question to answer. In its current state, HoloLens is a series of demos with varying levels of polish, meant to demonstrate the possibility of the device. More clearly: in its current state, HoloLens is far from ready for public consumption. It’s an impressive demo in need of longterm investment, which Microsoft says is happening. All that baggage aside, what’s it like using HoloLens?

I believe this is a great example of how differently Apple and Microsoft operate. You would never read:

“Does it work? Yes, it works. Is it any good? That’s a much harder question to answer. In its current state, iPhone is a series of demos with varying levels of polish, meant to demonstrate the possibility of the device. More clearly: in its current state, iPhone is far from ready for public consumption. It’s an impressive demo in need of longterm investment, which Apple says is happening. All that baggage aside, what’s it like using iPhone?”

 

Why erase and restore your Mac?

I am a power user. I develop iOS and Mac software. I run betas of my firewall, my operating system, and my applications. I have developer tools installed. I am bound to have problems.

I am not alone though. OS X, over time, can become crufty. Old extensions,old files, or even improper installations. Third party installers often corrupt permissions or install older components.

System crashes (kernel panics) and OS bugs can lead to disk corruption that most do not catch until it is too late. The operating system does a poor job on alerting you if there are file system issues.

Running Disk Utility to repair these issues may seem successful, but sometimes are not. You may notice a “lost + found” folder on the root level of your hard drive. If you find a “iNode” file within that folder, things are not good.

My Late 2013 MacBook Pro is a little over a year old and has gone through many betas, many system crashes, but according to Disk Utility, all was well. I had had disk corruption that needed fixing by booting from the recovery partition, but Disk Utility fixed it.

Come Christmas, I bought a new monitor for myself, a new Razr Naga Mouse (which has its own drivers) and a new USB dock. The computer started to complain.

At first, it was spinning beachballs of death. Then it was strange kernel panics in the file system and in the graphics drivers. Finally I had had enough.

As members of PMUG know, I have many backups. I backup via Time Machine to a drive on my OS X server, to a local WD Passport drive, and to a drive at work. I also have several clones made with Carbon Copy Cloner. One is in the bank, one is at home, one is at work. All are encrypted.

I figured that if i was having all of these issues, I had better restore, because backing up corruption is not good. So I did what I have not done in a very long time.

I erased the disk and started over.

I began by booting from the recovery partition. This is easy, just reboot and hold down COMMAND R. Hold these keys down until the booting process starts, which is a black screen for OS X 10.10 (Yosemite).

Once the recovery tools had booted, I chose Disk Utility and erased my hard drive. Gulp. It was nice knowing you! Because I use FileVault, I had to first unlock the volume by selecting it and choosing Unlock from the File menu. Then I erased it as a normal journaled disk (not encrypted!)

I then quit Disk Utility and used the recovery menu to reinstall OS X Yosemite. This took about 35 minutes to download and install.

Next up was telling OS X that I wanted to restore from a Time Machine backup. I chose my WD Passport as I had just backed up to it and being a USB 3 drive, this was about as fast an option I had. The restoration took about 2.5 hours.

When all was said and done, I got about 30 gigabytes of my drive back. I am hoping this is due to all of the caches, sleep images, and other operating system artifacts, but I am not certain. A quick perusal though my file system seems to have everything I expected.

I suppose that some of my used space was because of previous disk corruptions, or the worst case scenario is that corruption caused some files to never be backed up, or overwritten. Time will tell.

This is why it is also import to archive. An archive is a backup that you then put away forever. Once a year I take one of my external Time Machine drives and label it as an archive. It goes into the bank and then I buy a new 1TB drive.

With this system, if I notice years down the road that I am missing a file I really want, I can go back to an archive and see if it is there.

Both backups and archives are important.

In the end, all spinning beachballs have disappeared. All kernel panics have disappeared. The system is fast and stable. Something was bad, and it seems that only a complete restore was the answer.

TL;DR If you are having very weird Mac problems, consider not just reinstalling OS X, but also erasing the entire machine and doing a full restore from backup.

Getting Apple Pay to work with Subway

I went to Subway last week and was unsuccessful at getting Apple Pay to work. Neither the clerk nor I knew how it should work with their point of sale, and there was a line of customers that I did not want to holdup.

Today I went back and there was no line so I tried again. The clerks, both super nice and helpful, said that Apple Pay did not work with their system yet. They said that something about the POS cannot handle the Apple Pay processing.

I found that odd and asked if we could try. I had already moved my iPhone 6 Plus to the reader and Apple Pay came up. This proved to be a mistake.

They tried to put the POS into “mobile” mode but it failed with a beep. I asked them to try credit card, because that’s all Apple Pay is, but the phone had timed out or the NFC reader had timed out, because Apple Pay was no longer coming up.

We chatted for a bit and they tried another mobile mode, which brought up a QR code on the scanner, and they asked me to hold my phone over it. I explained that would not work, so I asked them to try credit card once more.

They were sure eager to get Apple Pay working. They said that they had been trying for over a week but it never worked.

They put the POS into credit card mode again and I put the phone up to the reader. On the left side of the reader the Apple Pay screen came up, I tapped touch ID and the payment went through!

They exclaimed how cool that was and I explained why credit card works but not “mobile” as that must be for other payment systems. They thanked me for helping them to get it working.

Subway should train their employees a little better and explain how this all works. Apple could do a little better with the user interface. For example, does the phone sense NFC or not? I could not tell which piece of hardware timed out or got into a confused state. Apple Pay did not have a good UI for “resetting” it, so I just logged into the phone, then slept it, then backed away, and started over. I think I knew to do this because I am an engineer. A normal user would just give up.

Apple Pay is awesome, but it has some edge cases to be smoothed out.

WWDC

There is a lot of talk around WWDC. Apple will introduce HealthBook, home automation SDKs, a flat UI for OS X, etc.

Here is what I am hoping for:

Development

  • Xcode 6 that doesn’t crash when compiling XIBs via the command line
  • Xcode 6 with better refactoring and editing tools (AppCodeque)
  • Xcode 6 with a better IB that allows for shared resources such as named colors across XIBs
  • Ability to ship alpha/beta versions of our in-production apps to opt-in/select customers via the App Store
  • App distribution (Testflight) built into Xcode
  • Better Xcode CI functionality around externally hosted GIT repositories that use submodules
  • UIKit on OS X
  • A better Feedback tool for submitting/tracking/communicating about radars
  • Elimination of useless Team Provisioning Profiles
  • A “fix” button in Xcode that does not break more than it fixes

iOS

  • Better keyboard (or even custom keyboards)
  • AirDrop to OS X
  • 100% Calendar parity (edit/create every type of event, such as M W F)
  • Better battery life
  • Better GPS accuracy when in Airplane mode
  • Widgets on homescreen
  • Siri that allows me to retry a command when one fails
  • Built in transit

What Apple’s SSL bug means to you

On Friday it was revealed that Apple has a very serious flaw in iOS 6, iOS 7, and Mac OS X 10.9.x.

You should stop what you are doing and update iOS now. Agile Bits has a good explanation on how to do this here:

1Password is not affected by the SSL bug (http://tinyurl.com/mxhj2vh)

As of this writing (Sunday night, February 23rd) Apple does not have a patch for OS X 10.9 Mavericks, but as said that one will come “very soon.” You can get that update by choosing “Software Update…” from the Apple menu. 10.8 and earlier do not appear to have this flaw.

To test your system, use gotofail.com

What’s the issue?

When your computer connects to the Internet and asks for a secure connection, it does so using one of several protocols. Secure Socket Layer (SSL) is one of them. When the data comes back, the operating system does checks to make sure everything is proper.

Sometime in 2012, Apple checked in some broken code. The code had an extra line that caused the software to always skip a check and consider the answer good. Now if someone has control over a privileged portion of the network you are communicating on, they can intercept the data and lie to iOS or OS X. Because of the bug, the lie will not be caught and your data will be improperly encrypted.

So someone who has taken control of a coffee shop’s wifi router, or a rogue employee at an ISP, or a hacker who has taken over a router somewhere, can listen to the traffic from Safari, iMessage, iCal, Mail, etc.

Chrome and Firefox are not afflicted because they do not use Apple’s code for SSL.

This is a really big deal. You are encouraged to not use a network you do not trust until Apple patches OS X. Apple has already patched iOS 6 and 7, but not OS X.

iOS 5 is not affected.

For more reading, check out Imperial Violet

Apple needs to be held accountable somehow. Depending on how much tin is in your hat, this bug is either a plain bug that was not caught because Apple lacks code review and unit testing practices, or they added it for the NSA, or a rogue NSA employee added it. That does not matter, this is the most trusted of code and it should never fail like this for so long.

Chevy and/or Apple improve Volt music connection

Updated: 2014-07-15

I am a huge fan of my 2013 @chevyvolt.  The only issue I have with the car has been it’s entertainment stack and how that works (or doesn’t) with the iPhone.

It seems as though there have been improvements, either over the air via OnStar, when I took my car in for maintenance, or via iOS 7.0.4.  I have been tracking the same issues since iOS 5, so I doubt that Apple has fixed anything.

When do the issues arise?

  • Use Siri to start playing music
  • Switch to Bluetooth source on the Volt
  • Try to use the controls on the Volt to skip tracks
  • or try to use Siri to play new music

What would happen?

  • The Volt would switch to Paused mode, while the phone said it was playing
  • The Volt would be showing the incorrect song for the music playing
  • Everything would finally cease working
  • Music would start playing on the iPhone, but not through the Volt

All of these things are terrible on their own, but while driving, it’s downright dangerous, I believe, because it distracts from keeping one’s eyes on the road. People are allowed to use a radio while driving, and this should be as reliable and simple. Therefore I choose to not use this while I drive, and just listen to FM radio.

Chevy has not responded to inquiries about updating the 2013s for Siri Eyes Free, so I think it is safe to say that they will never support this. @Chevrolet has tweeted asking how will we use the new Siri support in our Volts, but we cannot, because the new support isn’t available unless you buy a new car.

In my tests today, it seems that all but the last issue are working better. I hesitate to say resolved because I need more time with the system.

In addition, I found that the issue with the audio muting happens when you are connected to the iPhone via the Bluetooth Source and then use Siri. This causes the Volt to switch to “dialing” mode for Siri. When that is done, it switches back to Bluetooth Source, but no audio is heard. If I switch to another source then then back to Bluetooth, the audio starts, usually about 15 seconds into the song.

Apple and @Chevrolet can get better. I’d appreciate it if @ChevyVolt would give me a way to pay for an upgrade to my $40,000+ car so I can safely use Siri, iTunes Match, and listen to my music in my electric car of the future

It’s iCloudy and time for an umbrella

The Apple ecosystem is growing faster than anyone could have imagined.  We buy music, apps for our phones, apps for our Macs, videos, and books all via our iTunes accounts.  We can even pay for our Netflix accounts via iTunes now.

This is convenient and nice, but as people come together and form families, things can start to become a mess.  Some music is bought on one spouse’s account, while some apps are bought on another.  Kids are typically set up with an allowance on a parent’s account.  Some families that existed when the Apple ecosystem started have adopted to buy everything under one master account.  Some families have, sadly, broken apart and have to deal with figuring out who gets the main account and who starts over.

In all of these cases, it would be easier to let everyone have their own iTunes account, and then combine them under an iCloud umbrella.  The umbrella would give permission for everyone under the umbrella to use the assets of the other accounts.  The umbrella simply manages the keys needed to access the assets.  If someone is removed from the umbrella, those keys would be revoked.

This system would allow my wife to access the apps that I bought, and vice vera.  We would not have to play the login game to keep our apps up to date.  We could access each other’s music and album art without playing games.

This is Apple after all.  It should “just work.”

Apple, shield us from the rainy iCloud days and give us iTunes account umbrellas.

Presenting Lion

I will be giving a class on Mac OS X 10.7 Lion at MacCamp this fall.  We are going to have three classes on Lion, and should be covering iOS 5 and iCloud.

If you are in the Oregon/Washington area and are looking for an excuse to spend a couple of days in the beautiful forest with other Mac users, consider signing up for MacCamp!

Getting Ready for Lion

Mac OS X Lion (10.7) is going to be released soon.  Are you ready?  If not, I suggest you wait for 10.7.1 to be released.  Let others find the bugs and issues.  In the meantime, make a list of your printers and other peripherals, then research their Lion compatibility before upgrading.

Another great resource to help prepare you for Lion is Macworld’s Article on Getting Ready for Lion.  Be sure to check it out before considering upgrading to Lion.

Whatever you do, create a full clone backup of your hard drive before installing Lion.  This will allow you to revert to a known working system should something go awry.

Changes coming to us Mac users

Apple’s announcements about Mac OS X Lion didn’t come as a surprise to some of us.  I’ve been preaching the concept to my friends that Apple will start to merge OS X and iOS.  Apple went a little farther than I expected this soon with the iPad’s application launcher and folder manager, LaunchPad, however I think for novice users this will be a welcome user interface.

lion_springboard1_20101020.jpg

I love how they defocus the background to try and make the application icons pop.

Ground Control to Major Tom

Along with the LaunchPad, Apple has begun a hard core push for full screen applications.  It appears that OS X Lion has better mechanism for going full screen which are supported by Apple’s new “Mission Control,” which is a new application and window manager that utilizes Exposé, Spaces, Dashboard and these new full screen applications.  I really like this actually as the typical Macintosh user did not have a clue as to how to utilize Spaces.  It appears that each fullscreen application gets its own space, as well as the Desktop and Dashboard.  This allows the LaunchPad to swipe right to show the dashboard from the Desktop and then swipe left to get right back to the Desktop.

lion_bridge20101020.jpg

In the image above, you can see full screen applications across the top, your windowed applications in the middle with their windows stacked in piles and the dock across the bottom.

Mac App Store

Apple also announced the Mac App Store, something I had written to Steve Jobs about quite awhile ago and Apple delivered on every feature.  Applications will be checked by Apple for crashes, viruses and trojan horses.  You will be able to run a purchased application on any of your personal Macs.  You will be able to update your software in one click.

There are some downsides to the Mac App Store, albeit small ones.  First off, if you update a application and the new version has a unforeseen bug, you are kinda stuck.  Unless Apple gives developers to push out signed, licensed versions, you will have to wait for Apple to approve the update before you can get it.  Ken Case of Omnigroup makes the point that developers can still deliver betas the old fashion way, however I think that many customers won’t know what the old fashion way is before too long.

Finally, not all software will be available via the Mac App Store.  Software that need to install kernel extensions or plugins will have to wait.  My hope is that Apple makes these types of software easier to install by having the operating system find the software, instead of the software needing to be installed in a specific location.  I would like to see a signed application announce it has kernel extensions, iPhoto plugins, etc and the operating system just handles it, with permission of course.  If you download VMWare from the Mac App Store, the OS should install and activate VMWare’s extensions to the OS.  This would require Apple to make it possible to install and uninstall this type of software without a reboot, which is technically possible today, if not a tad dicey to do.  When you were done with VMWare, you could simply delete the application via the LaunchPad and VMWare along with its remnants would disappear forever, never again to silently confuse the next OS update.  A geek can dream, can’t he?

Cost of Software

I would not count on getting super cheap Mac applications.  Macintosh software is far more complex to develop than iOS software.  There is a broader range of devices to test on as well as several major OS releases to support, if a developer chooses to do so.  Users of Macintosh software are much more abusive of the software, so the software has to be hardened even more.  On a Mac, it is much easier to get that 96 megabyte image onto the clipboard to try and paste into an application.

Summary

I’m interested to see how far Apple goes with this.  As I have posited at PMUG in the past, the Mac as we know it could cease to exist within five to seven years.  The computer may become a more powerful, capable iPad.  Apple lent further evidence of this with the introduction of the new MacBook Air, asking “what would happen if an iPad and MacBook hooked up?”  Macs will always be more capable devices, but the days of running DiskWarrior might be over soon, as Apple will lock down the system so users can make fewer and fewer decisions about how their computer operates.

Can Adobe get worse? Yes! Photoshop Elements Downloader hell

I head to Adobe.com to check out Photoshop Elements 8. They have a trial version so I give it a shot.

First, a browser window pops up asking you to log in to adobe.com. I complete that. Then it says it will download an Akamai Downloader.

The Akamai Downloader downloads and mounts the disk image. It asks me where to save, defaulting to my home directory of all places.

I choose Downloads. This is a Macintosh after all.

I run the Akamai Downloader, and it puts up a minimal window with just a title and a progress bar beneath it. Yes, this “Window” is 20 pixels tall.

Then the window flashes several times and it quits. Now I am sitting at the Finder, with no UI. No Adobe nor Akami apps are running.

I look in Activity Monitor and see this new process, “rsmac_3276” running. That is a very descriptive process name.

Next i bring Safari forward and now, in the same window I originally downloaded this Akamai Downloader from, is a progress bar with the download.

So apparently, this Akamai Downloader is a Safari Plugin.

The download finishes and it asks me if I want to open the disk image. I select yes, but the disk image is corrupted, so it won’t mount.

Awesome.

Meanwhile, I close the installer window in Safari and I notice this rsmac_4276 process is still running, still using cycles. About 0.3% cpu.

I force quit the process and it immediately launches again.

So awesome, now they have some daemon that won’t go away and is using cpu cycles for no reason. Maybe it is tracking my use of the trial and dialing home, I have not checked yet.

What an awful, awful experience. Should I have expected better?

Update:

I had to delete com.akamai.client.plist from ~/Library/LaunchAgents/ and reboot in order to get rid of this software.

Update 2:

I found a bunch of other daemons installed, like bresink’s for an older hardware monitor I had used two machines ago, a textwrangler agent when I tested that for someone, and three, yes three Google daemons for updating software and such.

I wrote about this before but really, Apple needs to fix this mess of a software model.

It’s time for major change in the iWorld

Apple’s been fantastically successful, there is no denying that. Starting with the iMac, then with the hit iPod, moving to the iPhone and now the iPad, Apple has been hitting product home runs for 12 years now.

The Macintosh software that controls the iOS world, however, has been evolutionary at best. It is obvious that the software teams are scrambling to keep up with new devices and new features coming at a blistering pace.

iTunes has suffered the most. If ever there was a case study for the bastardization of a piece of software, it is iTunes. iTunes was originally derived from Cassady & Green’s wonderful Sound Jam. Apple bought the software and has been hacking on it ever since.

Let’s take a quick overview of a Macintosh user’s experience with using an iPhone, for example.

  • I can buy software for my iPhone in iTunes on the Mac, or the App Store application on the iPhone
  • I sync music to and from my iPhone with iTunes
  • I sync applications to and from my iPhone with iTunes
  • I sync podcasts to and from my iPhone with iTunes
  • I sync movies I bought from Apple to and from my iPhone with iTunes
  • I sync movies I made with iMovie on the Mac to my iPhone with iTunes
  • I sync movies I made with iMovie on my iPhone to my Mac with iPhoto
  • I sync photos I have on my Mac to my iPhone with iTunes
  • I sync photos I took on my iPhone to my Mac with iPhoto
  • I access movies I took on my iPhone with iMovie on the Mac via iPhoto
  • I sync my contacts/bookmarks/notes via mobile me, or via itunes, or via google.

I could go on. Confused? Yeah, so is every other Apple customer.

The iWorld has to change.

As a Macintosh user since February of 1984, I’ve seen plenty of changes in the OS I use from Apple. Some good, some not so good. Other areas, such as application install and removal are horrendous on the Mac.

The iPhone, however, is fairly straightforward. Updating your software on the iPhone is a one button task. That is very nice.

Wouldn’t it be nice if updating software on your Mac was a one button process? Wouldn’t it be nice if moving your data to and from an iOS device was a one button process?

I think this is where Apple should go, is going but we just don’t know how nor when.

First off, Apple will drop “OS X” as the Macintosh operating name. It’ll simply become iOS for Mac. The “X” part was short lived anyway. We all know it. Steve has shown that he has the cajones to make these big changes, and frankly, people who are not fans of Macs, yet know about Macs, don’t know about “OS X” as a brand. They know “Mac” as the brand name.

So ok, we have a name change. Then what?

I think we need an App Store for the Mac. Now this would not be the same kind of App store that other iOS devices have, in that it would not be the only way to get software on your Mac, but if you were a Mac developer, you’d sure want it to be a way for people to get your software.

iOS 7 for Mac (the renamed OS X 10.7) would support a number of cool changes. Applications would be bundled as signed entities, so customers knew they were getting legit software. These bundled applications could include screensavers, kernel extensions, launch demons, fonts, spotlight plugins, quicklook plugins, basically every piece of software a Mac application needs.

When a user installs an application via the App Store, all of the included software is enabled. No need to reboot. It just works. When the user deletes the application, all of the software is removed from the system (including kernel extensions) No muss, no fuss.

Ok so what about data? Applications would be given a default storage location in the user’s documents. This is different from how iOS works on your iPhone for example (where each application is given a complete Documents file system) but the software doesn’t care as it uses APIs to find the folders in the first place, right developers?

Ok so now we have a quick way to get apps on and off of a Macintosh, very similar to an iPhone or iPad. Novice users can feel good about getting their software this way, as it has been run through at least some Apple tools to look for malware and the like. Advanced users can install software any way they like, but it won’t be as easily removed.

Novice users also know that they can look in a known place for their documents. Again, all defaults, but if they stick with that, fine, it works for them.

Removing an application gets rid of every bit of software the application polluted your computer with. Removing the application does not remove your documents, which is different than the iPhone, but hey, this is a computer.

Next up is sharing data. Soon we’ll have iOS Apple TVs, cloud syncing to North Carolina, two iPhones per average family, two iPads, two or three Macs and we’ll need a better way to share content.

Apple will introduce in iOS 7 for Mac a new centralized content sharing system. I like the term system because it connotes a strong bond between user and software to understand how things should work.

This new system will have a central syncing component. It will handing syncing all of your iWorld data, including contacts, bookmarks, notes, movies, music, photos. Think of it as iSync done right.

You won’t care how this all happens. The data coming from your iDevices will be stored in well-known places. Software, such as iTunes, iPhoto and iMovie will change to use the database index over this data for faster access.

You’ll never have to launch an app again to sync. You’ll just plug in. Or it’ll happen wirelessly, over your lan, or via the cloud in North Carolina. You just won’t care.

Apple will release the App Store app for iOS for Macintosh. You’ll use it to buy new software. You’ll be able to do this via a web browser, too. Just buy it and it automatically starts syncing to the computers you decide, right there and then. It’s like using an app to schedule your DVR. Same concept. Buy, direct, use.

You’ll shoot video on your phone, walk in the house and it will start syncing to your iWorld. This could include one, or many Macs. It may have syncing to the cloud already while you were in the car. The options are clear in the software. You choose.

You walk in the door, turn on your TV and your movie that you edited in iMovie for iPad is there for you to share with your wife. Simple as that. And there is a good chance the movie is already backed up to your Time Capsule by now.

The Mac needs to remain a computer, but it also needs to become an appliance. Purchase, set it up and use it. We should no longer be required to have IT degrees to manage our home networks.

Once Apple has all of the iWorld pieces in place, we’ll mock ourselves for how we did things back in 2010.

Amazing Apple Store support, again

What can I say about Washington Square Apple Store genius’ other than awesome?

Brandon and Kari went above and beyond my expectations in dealing with my Late 2008 MacBook Pro that kept kernel panicing in games. On top of that, it had a flakey superdrive, so they upgraded me to an all new laptop.

Talk about fantastic and unexpected. Thank you guys so much!

Steve

P.S. 3 hours in WoW so far, no kernel panics. Keeping fingers crossed!

P.P.S. Once again, Time Capsule rocks. Now to get Time Machine to finish its first backup after the restore. It seems to be a little confused and has started over from scratch once.

Sharing iTunes content

Elizabeth and I have verified that you can share iBooks across itunes accounts. Here is how it works:

  • You need to authorize the two computers you sync your iDevices with to each other’s account. In other words, my machine is authorized for her iTunes account, her machine is authorized for mine. You do this via the Store menu in iTunes.

  • Next, you need to turn on home sharing (Advanced menu) on one of the machines. This will be the “master” account.

  • On the other machine, turn on home sharing, but enter the itunes account of the master account.

Now, in the left hand sidebar, you’ll see the other itunes account under Sharing, and the other account will see you.

You can open up the account with the disclosure triangle and drag content into your itunes. Drag the content to the upper part of the left hand bar – You’ll see it hilite.

Sync your iDevice with iTunes and enjoy the apps, music and books of the other account!

Amazing chat service from the Apple Store!

The online Apple Store now has chat support. I was thinking about getting AppleCare for my iPhone 3GS which is a a year old in 3 days, and I wanted to know if I ordered it today, would I be ok or not.

So I clicked on the chat bubble and in 18 seconds, this is the conversation I had:

Apple: You are chatting with Stephanie G, an Apple Expert

Apple: Hi, my name is Stephanie G. Welcome to Apple!

Apple: How are you today?

Me: Hi, good thanks, and you?

Apple: I’m great, thanks!

Apple: Would you like some assistance with your shopping?

Me: I have an iphone that will be a year old in 3 days. I want to buy applecare for it. Do I need to do this via a retail store, so I can get it registered in time?

Apple: Not at all, you can purchase here Online and then call our AppleCare team with your order number.

Apple: That way they know that you purchased it in time.

Apple: Have you already added AppleCare to your cart, or would you like a link to do so?

Me: No, I have the page up though, so I am good. Thank you!

Apple: You’re welcome! And I’m happy to keep this chat open while you place your order – if you share your order number once you have it, I can verify that your order was placed successfully!

Apple: I can also get you the number for AppleCare, so that you can call them straight away.

Me: ok thank you

Apple: You’re welcome!

Me: ok order number is: [REDACTED]

Apple: Thanks! I”ll check on that right away, and get you the number for AppleCare.

Apple: Your order has been placed successfully! You’ll receive a confirmation email shortly, and another email with tracking information as soon as it leaves our warehouse.

Apple: And you can reach AppleCare at 1-800-275-2273.

Me: thank you! This was the best. support. ever. I’ll be blogging about it.

Apple: Thank you! And I was happy to help.

Apple: Have a great day!

Me: You too!

Apple: Thank you for visiting the Apple Store. We appreciate your business. If you would like more help, please chat with us again.

Apple: Thank you for choosing the Apple Store. If you have any additional questions, please chat us again.

After calling AppleCare, they confirmed that the only important thing is the date of the order and I can call and get things set up once the box arrives, even if it is past the iPhone’s anniversary date.

Very nice.