July 28, 2015

Link: Walt Mossberg on Windows 10 ☍

At its heart, Windows 10, which will begin rolling out gradually as a free update, is a rescue mission. It’s an attempt to almost fully backpedal from its 2012 predecessor, Windows 8 (they are skipping 9), which was a radical effort to redefine the way Windows looked and worked. That experiment failed to win the hearts and wallets of consumers, and is estimated to have only about a 16 percent share of global PC users.

I’ve been using Windows 10 on VirtualBox on my MacBook Air at work for quite some time (we’re still standardized on Windows 7 in most areas), and have found it to be a satisfying update. For the few tasks I need Windows for, I probably could get by with 7 (heck, even XP), but I was curious to see what Microsoft’s latest and greatest is like. Undoing the last few years will be important for Microsoft, and I think Windows 10 is a step in the right direction.

July 25, 2015

Article: The Problem with the Mobile Web

The movie Live and Let Die opens in a rather ironic way: a MI6 agent sees a classic New Orleans funeral procession and asks a man standing on the street whose funeral it is. In a matter-of-fact way, the man replies “yours” and stabs in the agent. Obviously, it was a planned murder, but it would’ve seemed less foolish if the agent hadn’t asked a question he probably wouldn’t have liked the answer…

July 21, 2015

News: Apple Reports Q3 Results

Apple announced financial results for its fiscal 2015 third quarter ending June 27, 2015. In the conference call, Apple posted quarterly revenue of $49.6 billion and quarterly net profit of $10.7 billion, or $1.85 per diluted share…

July 18, 2015

“I always wear a Daring Fireball shirt when I go to an Apple Store. It’s like playing on ‘Difficult’ instead of ‘Easy.'”

Link: Apple IIGS System 6.0.2 ☍

Bill Martens (via Stephen Hackett):

After 22 years, 2 months, 2 days and 2 hours since System 6.0.1 was released, this is a summary of the visible changes. There have been many bugs fixed and many features added that are not immediately visible–they will enable developers to create better future products. Be sure to also read the Shortcuts file on the SystemTools3 disk for more information.

The first computer I regularly used before getting a Macintosh SE was an Apple IIGS. In fact, the whole reason I got the used SE was that it came with an ImageWriter II that I could use with my IIGS. Although that particular computer has been in storage for about the last 15 years and I haven’t had a chance to test it, I was able to rediscover Eric Shepherd’s Sweet16 and recreate the experience on a MacBook Air. If you don’t know what an Apple IIGS is, I encourage you to familiarize yourself.

July 11, 2015

Link: ESPN Tightens Its Belt as Pressure on It Mounts ☍

Shalini Ramachandran and Joe Flint for The Wall Street Journal (via MG Siegler:

The company, majority owned by Walt Disney Co., has lost 3.2 million subscribers in a little over a year, according to Nielsen data, as people have “cut the cord” by dropping their cable-TV subscriptions or downgraded to cheaper, slimmed-down TV packages devoid of expensive sports channels like ESPN.

At the same time, the prices ESPN pays for the rights to show games are ballooning. Rivals including 21st Century Fox Inc.’s Fox Sports and Comcast Corp.’s NBC are aggressively pursuing sports properties to feed their own outlets, which is also driving up prices…

Although ESPN has added channels over the years (I remember when ESPN2 launched), the amount of non-event programming with talking heads has become mostly filler and they haven’t seemed to expand covering more sports, dumping those on ESPN3, their included-with-a-TV-subscription Internet channel. Mix in competitors getting the rights to things that previously went to ESPN by default, Millennials cutting the cord, and a reluctance to embrace the Internet fully and ESPN is in for some rough times ahead.

July 9, 2015

Link: OS X El Capitan and iOS 9 Public Betas Available ☍

Apple has made betas for its two biggest operating systems available so you can take them for a spin and provide feedback before the official fall release. If you do use these, be aware that there could be bugs (Apple warns about 32-bit apps on El Capitan), and have a good backup of your data. I use Time Machine in general, but since I’ll probably want to continue backing up my data, I’m also creating an extra copy of my OS X Yosemite drive with the excellent SuperDuper.

Link: Moving to Spotlight ☍

Ben Brooks:

After years of dedication to LaunchBar, I made the move to Spotlight a while back. It’s been about 5 months now, and I honestly am perfectly happy. That’s odd to say, because Spotlight was something I always wanted to strip out of OS X, but with Yosemite (and now El Capitan), Spotlight really has become a powerhouse.

I was going to write an entire article on this topic, but it never got past the initial planning stage. Although a bit more narrowly-focused, Brooks’s post exemplified what I was thinking anyway, so I had to link to it. Still, switching to some built-in tools makes sense as I’ve found my actual versus perceived needs change over time, too. Although Apple’s built-in tools are sometimes lacking, they’re more often than not “good enough” and you won’t have to worry about compatibility issues or if there is an iOS counterpart. Even if you have some great third-party tools, give the built-in ones a try every now and then for context, especially as Apple continues to iterate.