Tag Archives: apple

OSX Lion: Different

I upgraded to OSX Lion yesterday. So far, it’s different. Not better or worse. Just different.

Of course, I could argue that this makes it worse, in that I have to unlearn old habits and learn new ones, and there’s certainly some of that.

I’ve read through the marketing hype, but I can’t figure out anything that’s actually *better*. I’m sure there’s something, but it’s not evident. Frustratingly, I felt the same way with Snow Leopard. Things were just different, but nothing was innovative, or even really improved.

It appears that Apple is focusing their geniuses on their mobile platform, and the desktop OS gets a little bit of a paint job now and then.

MobileMe, and syncing with subscribed Google Calendars

I just signed up for the free 60 day trial of MobileMe, and already, I hate it pretty hard.

The main – indeed, the ONLY reason for wanting MobileMe is to ensure that the calendar on my iPod and the calendar on my laptop are always always always in sync. Most of my really important calendars are shared, and so are maintained on Google Calendars.

Turns out that MobileMe only syncs calendars that live on my Mac, not calendars that I’m subscribed to from somewhere else – like Google Calendars. This renders MobileMe completely useless to me.

Now, I know someone out there has solved this. So, I adjure you to tell me the solution, some time before the 60 days run out. Or before I, once again, schedule two overlapping lunch meetings, neither of which can be cancelled.



Looks like this is a well-known issue. MobileMe won’t sync subscribed calendars. This means that MobileMe is utterly worthless for me. Shame, since with this one feature, it would be worthwhile.

Rumor is that iPhone 3.0 will have native CalDAV support in the calendar App, so it looks like I’ll just have to wait for that.


iCal on OS 10.5 now support CalDAV, and so does Google Calendars, so I can actually now manage my Google calendars directly from iCal. This was a bit of a revelation to me, since this has always seemed to be The Missing Feature of Google Calendars + iCal. Yay. Now I just have to wait impatiently for the iPhone 3.0 update.

MacBook Pro – Initial Impressions

I got a new MacBook Pro today. (Long story. I wasn’t supposed to get one for another year. Lucky me.)

The screen is, at least initially, the biggest disappointment. It’s very glossy, and at the office, under fluorescent light is extremely reflective. On the other hand, here at home, it’s not reflective at all, so I guess it has a lot to do with the light. From what I’ve read, it’s pretty good in outdoor sunlight, too, but today hasn’t been an outdoor kind of day.

The transition from my old laptop was, as always, painless. This time, I did the transfer from a Time Machine backup, which was even less painful than the FireWire cable transfer last time.

The click-anywhere trackpad took almost no time to get used to. I had heard and expected bad things about it, but it’s very nice, and matches the way that I think about a track pad anyways – click where your finger happens to be at that moment. The multi-finger shortcuts are also very cool. I think I’ll get used to that pretty quick.

The speakers are considerably louder than the ones on the previous generation. That’s nice for us, since our DVD player broke several months ago, and we watch all our movies on the laptop.

Unfortunately, the DVI connector is now a mini-DVI connector, so I need to go buy new widgets to connect to my other widgets. Fortunately, these widgets are all pretty cheap, but it’s still annoying. On the plus side, it means that all of the ports are on one side of the laptop, so I will no longer have cables sticking out of both sides when I’m docked at work.

On the whole, very pleased, and I think I’m going to enjoy it.

iBrick: The Return Of The iPod

As I chronicled, I have been sans iPod for the last few days. I really hadn’t realized how dependent I had become on it. Although I suppose I was just as dependent on my Palm before that.

It has returned, more than a week sooner than promised, and I am once again attatched to it.

I discovered, in its absense, that I’m no longer able to go back to using the Palm. The touch interface is so intuitive that going back to a stylus, and trying to write with pseudo-letters, is simple too hard to go back to. Score another for technology making us stupid. It’s a wonder I can still write at all.

I received either a new one, or a refurb one. I don’t know how one would tell the difference. It seems new to me. And it is working perfectly. The return slip confirmed that there was a hardware malfunction, and the other device wasn’t fixable. I don’t know how common that is, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be buying the extended warrantly when I get closer to the one year mark from purchase. And I rather wish now I’d spent the extra $35 to get the Best Buy in-store replacement program.

But, overall, I’m *VERY* impressed with how quickly efficiently Apple handled it. Thanks, Apple.

iPod Touch and PDAs

I recently (about a month ago) acquired an iPod Touch as my primary PDA to replace my Palm TX

The thing that kept me loyal to Palm for so many years were the apps. Thousands of apps, free or reasonably priced, that work on all Palm devices. Some of them, I used for years. Some I swapped out as something better became available. But there was always an app that did what I wanted it to do.

I got the iPod Touch for two reasons. One, it was shiny. Two, the Palm desktop on Macs is terrible, and the replacement (Missing Sync) is better, but still falls way short of what I expect.)

What surprised me the most about the iPod Touch (and, of course, the iPhone too, since they are essentially the same device for this purpose) is the lack of availability of apps. No, I didn’t stumble on this blind – I knew it before I bought. But the more I think about it, the more it astonishes me. Why would Apple do this? They ship a device without even the minimum of usable apps, and then make it so that nobody can write apps for the device but them. Surely they realize that once folks get over the shiny, they’ll be pissed off by this?

In order to run apps on this device, you have to “jailbreak” it. Now, if you’re a geek like me, that’s fine. But most ordinary people are going to take one look at the various jailbreak websites and run screaming. Yeah, it’s fairly easy, but it’s a little intimidating to do something to a $500 device that looks and sounds illegal. Is it illegal? I don’t think anybody knows. And how many people on the planet know what the “BSD Subsystem” is? Come on, Apple, you can do better than this for your customers.

What I expect on a PDA, at a bare minimum is the following:

A ToDo app. (Missing completely)

A calendar that I can sync with my desktop. (Present, but I can’t edit events on the device. I have to edit them on the computer, unless I create them on the device. So, only about half-present.)

An address book. (Present, and mostly fine, except that I can’t delete contacts from the device. Have to do that on the computer.)

Notebook. (Present, but I can’t sync the notes to anything on the desktop, so of very limited usefulness.)

Email. (Present and very nice.)

Web browser. (Present and exceptionally nice.)

So, Apple, step up a little here. Provide an API so that folks can develop apps without having to feel like criminals. Provide a way to install those apps easily.

Yes, I know, you can use web-based applications, but this is utterly worthless for a PDA. I use my PDA when I don’t have access to my computer. That tends to coincide with when I don’t have a wireless network available. See the problem?

Look at the success of Palm. It’s 98% due to their decision from the very beginning to enable third-party application developers. This helped Palm, and it helped thousands of small app dev shops, as well as hobbyists. It’s obvious that your customers want this – that’s why there’s the jailbreak sites. And it will make the device more popular, and thus sell more, so it will help you.