November 5, 2014

Link: No, You’re Mac ☍

David Sparks:

It was interesting because this time his inflection implied my situation was hopeless. It was like a Microsoft-approved version of “I am Groot.” One phrase. Infinite inflections. Clearly, he’d had a lot of practice at saying it.

Although support has gotten better overall, there are still plenty who dismiss anything Apple as a less-capable, proprietary machine. While I support all sorts of devices and operating systems with my day job, I try my best to not do the reverse and become Smug Mac Guy™. Then again, it is fun if a Surface or Ultrabook user borrows a Mini DisplayPort-to-VGA adapter.

Link: Pouring One Out for Mac OS X Hints ☍

Rob Griffiths:

While it can be hard to tell exactly when a web site has died, the signs are fairly obvious. It’s been over 45 days since the last new hint appeared on the site. There is no way for new users to sign up for an account. There’s been one new comment posted in the last two days. A sidebar box proudly proclaims Latest Mountain Lion Hints. The site design, logo, and icons were last updated when I worked for Macworld, over four years ago. To paraphrase a Star Trek character, “it’s dead, Jim.”

Mac OS X Hints was a favorite site of mine for years—as I transitioned from the classic Mac OS world to OS X and slowly learned quite a bit of UNIX-y goodness, the various tips went from very handy to fun to know. As Rob said, the site isn’t officially dead, but it certainly has been ignored for awhile, and maybe has run its course.

November 1, 2014

Link: The Value of a Name ☍

Grant Blakeman:

For as long as I’ve been using Instagram people have wanted my short, two-letter username. Like here on Ello, I am @gb on Instagram. Some people have asked politely, some have dug up my email address and offered to buy it, but more than anything, multiple times per week I get password reset emails from Instagram that I didn’t request, and every so often, I would get authorization code texts for the Gmail account that was tied to my Instagram handle. When I saw that text—the one about my password being changed—I knew someone was after my Instagram account.

I don’t get the sense of entitlement with short names on social networking. I understand it’s more convenient, but what happened to simply picking something else? Maybe I’m the crazy one for not thinking that I deserve the user name “Eric” on every social networking service.

October 30, 2014

Link: Tim Cook Speaks Up ☍

Businessweek published an essay written by Tim Cook and it’s a great read:

I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others. So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy.

October 27, 2014

“I don’t know that it will, and I don’t care. As long as Visa suffers.”

Link: iOS and Android Users Unite to Fight NFC Ban ☍

Ben Lovejoy for 9to5Mac:

Consumers are responding by threatening to boycott stores which disable Apple Pay, with more than 2,000 comments across several Reddit threads on the topic. Android users are joining in, as disabling NFC also blocks alternative mobile payment services offered by higher-end Android handsets…

Somehow I really like the break on platform jabs for the sake of progress. If it’s one thing gadget geeks (yours truly included) can all agree on, is that it’s stupid when functional technology is turned off for arbitrary reasons.

Article: A Week With Apple Pay

I’ve been using Apple Pay for about a week, and apart from the general attitude that it “isn’t any easier than swiping a physical card” that most of the dismissive folks have said, I think it shows great promise. Although he footprint of retailers that I visit who accept it quite small (at least as far as I’m concerned), the ones that do, and its use of the relative non-proprietary technology has me excited…

October 24, 2014

Link: Thoughts on Yosemite’s Look and Feel ☍

Khoi Vinh (via John Gruber):

In many ways, it feels very much like starting over again in the way that Mac OS X’s Aqua interface was a new start, over thirteen years ago. In those nascent stages, Aqua was never particularly beautiful, but it did make a point—it was a radically new kind of interface aesthetic that heralded a new approach to software. And the same ideas that informed later, much more successful iterations of the operating system were clearly present even then. […]

My biggest complaint, personally, is that this fresh coat of paint does a poor job on visual contrast. Interface elements are often so light in color and/or so close to one another in color that they “bleed” into each other all the time. The effect is a blown-out look, as if a novice photographer stepped up the exposure on her camera well beyond advisability.

Just as I wasn’t thrilled with OS X 10.0 when coming from years of OS 8/9, I agree with some of Vinh’s points, although it still works the same and shows great promise. Unlike the early releases of OS X, all my old software works and matches the new aesthetic, and my Macs don’t feel any slower. I do enjoy the more cohesive nature of the interface as a whole and how things do translate from iOS, but might have made a few adjustments if I was doing the design. I played with some of the Accessibility settings during the time I was testing the Yosemite betas—I agree with Gruber that ‘Increase Contrast’ is a neat look that does look like a modern update to the classic Mac OS, although I wish you could cherry-pick some combinations of settings (opaque menu bar with a translucent Dock).