December 17, 2014

Link: Sony Pictures Employees Now Working In An Office “From Ten Years Ago” ☍

John Biggs for TechCrunch explains how Sony Pictures had to basically rebuild their entire IT infrastructure and processes:

“We’re mostly a fully-functioning office. We’re going about or daily business. We just got our voicemail back. Everyone is a little calmer now after the initial shock. A couple of people had their computers removed but people using Macs were fine,” she said. She said most work is done on iPads and iPhones. An emergency email system is in place but it does not allow attachments.

December 16, 2014

Review: Contrast Group Text+ and Email+

Group Text+I’ve been a fan of Contrast’s apps for awhile, notably Perfect Weather which was reviewed earlier this year, so I jumped at the chance to try out their latest offerings, Group Text+ and Email+, a pair of similarly-designed apps for automating text messaging and emails, respectively…

December 14, 2014

Link: Target Loves Apple Pay – Just Not in Stores ☍

This CNN Money video features Cristina Alesci discussing Apple Pay with Target’s Chief Marketer, Jeff Jones. In about a minute and a half, it basically sums up the NFC/Google Wallet/Apple Pay vs. MCX/CurrentC argument. Jones tries his best to argue for “choice” (but without actual choice) and “relevancy” for targeted promotions and deals, with Alesci asking the same things iPhone users have been asking since September.

Link: iA Writer/Writer Pro Phoning Home ☍

I’ve been a huge fan of iA Writer on both OS X and iOS for years, but Ben Brooks recently retweeted a tweet by @spare, drawing my attention to a change that happened a little while back, as per iA Writer for iOS’s Privacy Policy:

We collect the following statistical data: timestamp, IP address, device model, system version, device language, plus app version, build number, storage type, and anonymous identifier. […]

By using iA Writer, you are consenting to our processing of this collected data…

The problem with this is that this change wasn’t advertised (in fact, I had a hard time finding anything in old release notes), so it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. My best guess is that this happened in September, as that is what the privacy policy is dated. If it were opt-in (as most apps that collect data approach this), I’d consider sharing, but having this buried under an item in the Settings app is hardly the most transparent, and has me wondering what else might be shared, even though they promise it will only be the specific items. I don’t like apps that do sneaky things in the background, even if it’s for the most innocent of purposes.

December 10, 2014

Link: Giving Up on Windows Phone ☍

Ed Bott for ZDNet:

Thanks to Microsoft’s minuscule market share (small single-digit percentages in the U.S.), the carriers have almost no interest in collaborating with it on mobile devices. And Microsoft has almost no leverage when negotiating with carriers. The resulting not-so-virtuous circle is what stacks the deck against the Windows Phone platform and makes the experience so frustrating for the few who actually use it. […]

The good news for smartphone enthusiasts is that Microsoft figured out a way to push OS updates out independently of carriers, using its Preview for Developers app. If you’re willing to color outside the lines, you can get Microsoft to deliver the latest Windows Phone release to you without having to wait.
The bad news is that carriers control the firmware updates for devices. And without the matching firmware, some of those OS updates don’t work properly. Many of the new camera features, for example, depend on firmware, as do connections to devices like the Fitbit. […]

And as long as U.S.-based carriers, including the biggest of them all, Verizon, are able to drag their feet and ignore Windows as a mobile platform, it’s unlikely that anything Microsoft can do will be able to make a dent in its market share in the United States.

It’s always seemed that a good chunk of tech writers want Windows Phone to succeed, being a viable third platform. Unfortunately, thanks to grief like this, customers may look to alternatives next time. Even looking at fragmentation on the Android side of things for updates, Apple is the only one who truly got it right by removing the carriers from the equation of software updates.

December 8, 2014

Link: Apple Pay and Signatures ☍

John Martellaro for The Mac Observer does a bit of journalism:

Apple Pay shouldn’t normally require an additional electronic signature. However, some users have reported that they’ve also been asked to provide a signature from time to time. This is a first, informal report on when you may or may not have to electronically sign with Apple Pay.

It’s interesting to see how each credit card company handles transactions and their ways of tracking items. I wonder if this is why certain cards seem to work fine everywhere on Apple Pay, while others have some hangups (will scan, but then won’t work, but the physical card will).

Link: Removing iCloud Drive From Transmit for iOS ☍

Panic’s Cabel Sasser:

Also, at Apple’s request, we had to remove the ability to “Send” files to other services, including iCloud Drive.

In short, we’re told that while Transmit iOS can download content from iCloud Drive, we cannot upload content to iCloud Drive unless the content was created in the app itself. Apple says this use would violate 2.23 — “Apps must follow the iOS Data Storage Guidelines or they will be rejected” — but oddly that page says nothing about iCloud Drive or appropriate uses for iCloud Drive.

If the issue is just iCloud Drive, why did we remove the other destinations? We had no choice. iCloud Drive exists in this sheet…

Things like this can be really frustrating for developers, especially since some rules are heavily enforced by Apple, while others are not to the point that Apple is blatantly in violation. It’s a shame that other services are locked out, too.

December 3, 2014

Link: Unverified Install ☍

Thomas Brand offers a tip for a weird, but annoying issue:

Have you ever tried to install OS X from a USB Flash Drive and received this error message?

This copy of the Install OS X Mavericks application can’t be verified. It may have been corrupted or tampered with during downloading.

The issue is not with your installation media, but rather with your Mac’s time and date. Follow these steps to set it right…

I’ve had this happen in the past, and it was maddening until I realized that it was the computer, not the media. This is a great tip to reset the date via the Terminal and go on your merry way.