Posts Tagged ‘apple’

com.apple.bird getting large?

I was wondering why my disk space was reducing pretty quickly on my Mac, and it turns out my ~/Library/Caches/com.apple.bird/ directory was 92GB in size! Inspecting some of the larger files, I notice that it has a WhatsApp header, which suggests that these are my WhatsApp iCloud backups.

There obviously seems to be some kind of bug as I have files, one per day, from sometime in April. They all start around 800MB and grow to 2GB in size. Each.

It seems like there are other files there too, and I wasn’t sure if deleting it would just make sense. The solution? System Preferences -> iCloud then toggle iCloud Drive off. There is a warning about how it will delete all iCloud documents from your Mac. Its all good considering this is supposed to be saved in the cloud right? Restart it, and voila, you see the directory go down to 0 bytes.

Something up with the bird daemon? I don’t know if brctl would help in any way, so I’m happy there’s an easier way to recover lost space.

Apple’s problem – lacking roadmaps

I’ve been an Apple Mac user for a very long time. I didn’t buy the first iPhone (still believing in Nokia and loving the idea of the open Android, and the second phone was the BlackBerry) personally getting on the bandwagon with the iPhone 4. I did buy the first iPad, at a huge 64GB, because it was the only one available on day 2 of the launch.

In recent times, my main Mac has been the MacBook Air. I have a retina iPad Mini and an iPhone 6 Plus. I also sport an Apple Watch. I am generally satisfied with the Apple ecosystem.

However, I’m in the market for new hardware. I’m quite satisfied with the iPhone 6 Plus, so I have no idea if I’ll get the next iPhone that gets released in 2016. Pricing does play a role – a 64GB iPhone 6s Plus is RM4,199! When I bought the 64GB iPhone 6 Plus, the Ringgit-USD exchange rate was a lot better and it only cost me RM3,149 (really on the upper band of what I’d want to pay for a mobile phone that gets about 2 years of use; the 64GB iPhone 6 used to cost RM2,749).

So what do I want? An iPad Pro with a keyboard is likely something I will grab in due time (probably the 9.7″ version since I’m OK with the old size). Do I buy it now, considering its got a different release cycle compared to its bigger brother?

I would love to grab a MacBook and a Mac Mini, but I want to see if there are new updates to the MacBook Air or if that line gets killed (major reason: retina display). And as of this writing, the Mac Mini hasn’t been updated for 655 days. I’m mixed between that and an iMac to be honest. Its all about the fact that I will get more storage out of these machines (512GB on the MacBook Air/MacBook just isn’t enough!)

The MacRumors Buyers Guide states that everything is either a don’t buy/caution/neutral, with the exception of the MacBook (which as I said, has a retina display but brings other pain over my MacBook Air that I’ll have to price in).

NYT says Apple’s iPhone Sales Drop Again, but Services Are a Bright Spot, while Business Insider says It’s time to take a serious look at Tim Cook’s leadership of Apple. The WSJ reports In China, Apple’s Local Competition Takes a Bite Out of Its Revenue. Bloomberg reports Apple’s China Problem Is That Local Phones are Good — and Cheap.

Which brings me to the main point of what I’m after: clear roadmaps. We need modern hardware and predictable release cycles. Because everyone wants to buy the latest, greatest, piece of hardware since these prices don’t go down and Apple doesn’t discount. I think I’m not alone in wanting this, enterprises want this too (in addition to amazing turnaround times for warranties).

I hope Apple goes back into some cycle of predictability even if they don’t release roadmaps. Like we all know we get a new iPhone in September. I’d like this replicated for Macs as well as iPads. This will ensure they probably start churning out better quarterly results as people start planning their purchases.

Spotify and the App Store

Via Recode, Spotify says Apple won’t approve a new version of its app because it doesn’t want competition for Apple Music.

Why is this surprising to Spotify? Amazon has a Kindle app on the App Store but doesn’t sell books inside said app. Its Apple’s App Store, you play by their rules, no?

I read the New York Times which presumably allows you to subscribe via the app, but I log in via my account since I have a direct relationship with them. I read the Financial Times, and they didn’t want to play by the App Store rules – they’re a full-featured HTML5 application.

Maybe Spotify should take heed from the FT and invest further in play.spotify.com? (The spec obviously support it, since Rdio had a browser based interface before Spotify did; I don’t know the status of how mobile browsers handle it.)

Shorter cables

I travel a lot and I one of the things I constantly do is refine what goes into my backpack (and luggage). For this trip, I decided to add a refinement — reduce cable clutter.

Apple gives you 1m USB to Lightning cables when you buy the iPhone or iPad. Its nice, but folding this all is quite a burden even when I have a cord pouch to organise it all. For almost a year now, I’ve had to carry an Apple Watch charger as well.

So why not get shorter cables? Apple makes 0.5m USB to Lightning cables which are much shorter and are all I need. After all, I’m charging on the desk with an Anker 5-port USB charger. Apple decided against making a 0.5m Apple Watch charger, so I’ve settled on the 1m Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Cable.

This is a good setup. I’m saving space when it comes to folding cables. The desk looks neater no matter where I am. I found one caveat though – the 0.5m USB to Lightning cable might not be long enough for you to charge your device on a plane. For this, I still have a spare 1m cable that is attached to my powerbank.

Learnings from Swift becoming opensource

Swift is now opensource, and it’s interesting to see Craig Federighi talk about it. This is Apple doing right, considering FaceTime is long overdue to being an open standard. People are nitpicking on Apple’s Open Source tagline, but really, this is akin to nitpicking on Mark Zuckerberg donating 99% of his Facebook stock to his new limited liability corporation charity (key: don’t look a gift horse in the mouth).

Apple has chosen to put Swift on Github, and they’ve ensured that it wasn’t just an initial commit, but you’re seeing a lot of history. And it’s the right choice clearly, for engagement — 1,275 watching, 18,884 stars, 2,139 forks, 51 pull requests currently, but most interestingly a lot of accepted code. Even simple things along the lines of “fixing typos” (see commits, eg. d029f7e5ae84cf8f6c12907f9ed0ac0a694881aa, e8b06575d26a684f415af95143ec576a6aa5168d, etc.). 

Swift has open source documentation — like all good open source projects are supposed to have. They use Sphinx and its in the source tree. This is something I’d wish to see from MySQL (docs copyright Oracle, online, but you can take it offline too via PDF) or MariaDB (friendly licensed Knowledge Base), but so far only Percona Server has gotten this right.

What else did Swift do right? Focus on user contributions — the Contributing page is a breath of fresh air. And don’t forget the code of conduct for participating in the project.

But besides just the documentation and contribution pages, I learned something new from one commit in particular — the existence of nproc, part of coreutils. I immediately hopped onto IRC to chat with Nirbhay (our resident MariaDB Galera Cluster expert), because in scripts/wsrep_sst_xtrabackup.sh, we do this via a get_proc() function. We should be focusing on modernising/standardising our codebase, shouldn’t we?

There is a lot we at MariaDB Corporation and the MariaDB Foundation can learn from Swift being opensource and how Apple deals with the community at large. Here’s hoping we get the best practices from it and implement it in due time.

Hello Applebot

Saw lots of this in the access logs:

17.142.151.101 - - [08/May/2015:10:37:27 -0700] "GET /blog/archives/2015/02/03/here-and-defending-your-trademarks HTTP/1.1" 200 12324 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_10_1) AppleWebKit/600.2.5 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/8.0.2 Safari/600.2.5 (Applebot/0.1; +http://www.apple.com/go/applebot)"

So its real — there is an Applebot, and it’s written in Go. Apple also has documentation about it now. And of course, you can read Gruber’s piece. Would be nice to find out ways to feed more info to Siri (I mean, it doesn’t work as well as when its in the USA…).


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