Posts Tagged ‘apple’

Some Apple upgrades that I’m not enjoying

10.8.5 has been largely a disaster in terms of usability.

The FaceTime camera basically doesn’t work with apps that aren’t Apple-released on my MacBook Air. This means Google Hangouts, Skype video, all don’t work. Grr.

iTunes (11.1) podcast library scans like crazy, and the performance is terribly slow. I can’t delete iTunes podcasts, because everytime it tries to connect to the Internet and show me what else is there. Guess what? It seems that when I’m offline, iTunes just works. Annoying because I can’t listen to podcasts with ease now.

I updated my iPhone 4 to iOS7. It seems to just work, its slow as always, but I’m noticing apps crash, the camera can cause the phone to reboot. My father updated it automatically (without a backup) because he just said “yes”. It kind of bricked his phone when he couldn’t remember his iCloud password. Rather annoying. 

I think its great that updates can happen “over-the-air” since some iOS releases ago. But I should also be able to disable this, because I don’t want to remotely debug an issue. Try telling a businessman he can’t use his phone for half an hour?

What is kinda cool? FaceTime audio. This has huge potential.

In other news, I broke the up arrow key on my MacBook Air. This machine is about 6 months old. Replaced at the Apple Store, the Genius sorted it out within a minute. I’ve been using Mac laptops since about 2002 and this is the first time a key has broken. Designed in California, Made in China.

Upgrading to OS X 10.8 and a new MacBook Air

Yesterday I unboxed my new MacBook Air 13″ (full-spec) laptop. I used a USB3 disk to backup via Time Machine the old laptop (which maxed out at USB2), and then did a restore using USB3 last night and today it seems that the laptop is ready to use. This is my first experience with OS X 10.8.2 as well – I was previously on 10.7.5. What did I have to change?

  1. I had to re-login to Dropbox, but at least it didn’t have to perform a full sync (there was some data exchanged, but it wasn’t the entire Dropbox folder).
  2. I had to re-login to Google Drive. This required a full sync as the old folder was not recognised as an original.
  3. I had to make sure settings for iCloud were sane again (as there was a popup).
  4. I was asked to re-download MsgFiler and login to the App Store.
  5. I had to change the caps lock key to become a control key manually again.
  6. The Mail.app version changed and it has to reimport/reindex messages again (this takes some 1 hour 15 minutes on my machine with 33GB of mail).
  7. The F4 key for some absurdity goes to an application called Launchpad (that makes it look like an iOS device). I used to have Dashboard on F4 and I much prefer that. It seems the only way without a third party app like Functionflip is to press Fn+F4 to get my Dashboard. I think this is rather silly of Apple – changing muscle memory is difficult.
  8. My scroll continued to work from the old settings (I’m no fan of a natural scroll).
  9. Time Machine allows you to “inherit backup history”, thus using the same drive that brought you over to be the new backup drive.
  10. There now exists a Notification Centre. A little odd thinking that iOS styled notifications have made it here. Do I still need Growl which constantly reminds me that there is a (paid) update waiting?
  11. Seems the screensaver and the lock after it has been enabled needs to be re-enabled.
  12. CrashPlan would not work as you need Java SE 6 so you’d have to install it – seems odd that Apple decided to drop this rather significant piece of software. Then again, considering who drives ownership, and the recent security scares…
  13. sudo tmutil disablelocal – the local backups were enabled again, and I only want Time Machine to have backups to an external disk.
  14. I couldn’t print as there needed to be new printer drivers. Many apps had to be updated in the App Store. Gasp.
  15. Turn off most notifications with Notification Centre. I really don’t want to be “beeped” when mail comes in.

Initial impressions of the laptop? The machine is fast. It has a lot to do with the SSD disk, as well as the 4-core i7 processor. Out of the box, the battery capacity is meant to be 6700 mAh, though I’m getting 6669 mAh. Battery life is one of the strongest reasons why I picked up a 13″ over a 11″ – I just didn’t want to have to deal with flaky batteries a few years down the road… 7 hours brought down to say 5 is manageable, but 5 hours brought down to say 3 is annoying.

Another reason is resolution. Using a 15″ MacBook Pro to a 13″ MacBook Air has no change in resolution for me either – its all 1440×900. It seems 512MB of virtual RAM is reserved for the Intel graphics card (so I guess this Air won’t suffer the same fate as the first ever MacBook Air which was dog slow in terms of graphics).

Its good to note that the Thunderbolt port is also MiniDisplay compatible – all my old cables work. The only catch is that it is no longer on the left side of the laptop but the right side.

Year end tab sweep 2012 edition

Here are some things I think are well worth reading (also, I’m starting the year fresh with nothing in my tabs :P)

  • Wired has a great interview by Steven Levy on Tim O’Reilly’s Key to Creating the Next Big Thing. Tim taught me to work on stuff that matters (fond memories of an O’Reilly Moleskine Christmas gift), and now continues teaching everyone to create more value than they capture.
  • Blood Sugar or how the diabetes market is waiting to be disrupted. More needs to be done in terms of controlling this disease. We already have sensible trackers like Fitbit, etc. what more can we do to manage this?
  • Why Samsung’s Man in Silicon Valley uses Apple Devices – interesting take in the MIT Technology Review on Yong Sohn, President & Chief Strategy Officer for Samsung based in Silicon Valley. 
  • Another from MIT Technology Review is Installable Web Apps WIll Be the Next Tech Battleground. I see web apps as being important, and I’ve been thinking about this space a lot more lately.
  • Paul Buchheit wrote an amazing essay titled The Gift. It is a must read on unconditional love & living life to the fullest.
  • MIT Technology Review again, this time on disrupting college textbooks. Free Textbooks Spell Disruption for College Publishers profiling Ariel Diaz and his site Boundless Learning. I remember a time buying really expensive textbooks and realized that you only use them for a term, with very few that you plan to keep on your bookshelf forever. The second-hand market naturally thrives but they go out-of-date usually within a year. I know many in Malaysia that love to photocopy textbooks (which I abhor and would never encourage). Imagine free e-book textbooks that you can read on your tablet? Highlight? Have all your notes in one place based on the highlights? This will revolutionize education.
  • Marten Mickos asks: What is Innovation?
  • I’m always interested in new & innovation publishing mediums, and this summary post leaves a lot to think about: Frankfurt Book Fair 2012: Self-publishing, cell phones & startups.
  • Back to a nugget from Tim O’Reilly, a must read is It’s Not About You: The Truth about Social Media Marketing. There’s a money quote there:
  • Activism has been the core of our marketing ever since.  We tell big stories that matter to a community of users, and together we use those stories to amplify a message that we all care about. Framing ideas in such a way that they include and reinforce the identity of a group of people who might not previously have seen themselves as part of the same community allows everyone to tell their own story in a way that adds up to something bigger than any one of them might tell alone. And once they start telling their story as part of the bigger story, it suddenly looks like a parade. 
  • Keep it Real by Nalden. Branding is everything & it comes with good work.
  • A new phone, new for 9 months?

    Apple is right. What sucks is that they make you wait one whole quarter before you get the new iPhone. So you really only have it as a “new phone” for 3 quarters. A mere 9 months.

    Official Apple Store Malaysia - Buy the new iPad and MacBook Pro with Retina display, iPhone, iPod, and More - Apple Store (Malaysia)

    I remember similar priced smartphones, like the Nokia Communicator, be the device to have for up to 36 months. When was the last time your iPhone device lasted for 36 months? Software wise, it usually does well though (kudos Apple, you didn’t screw up like the iPad). When was the last time you used a similar priced Android phone for 36 months?

    Digital loyalty in the age of Passbook

    I’ve been watching the digital loyalty space quite closely (see: THE CHOP SPACE (DIGITAL LOYALTY CARDS) IN MALAYSIA). I love being loyal to a business that rewards me. This forms the basis of how I choose what airline (alliance) to fly, or what hotel (chains) to stay at. I’m fortunate enough to be able to use multiple alliances and chains as I spend hundreds of days on the road every year, and live in a location where my business prospects are limited.

    Why are digital loyalty cards great? I’ll let you in on a secret: I hate fat wallets. I’m sure you do too. My wallet is a Mighty Wallet, given to me as a gift at Christmas 2011 from Sara. It holds my essentials: credit cards, ATM cards, ID, drivers license, and cash. It expands to hold receipts and contracts when I decide to process them. Its unlike any leather wallet I’ve ever used as it doesn’t crack, expand out-of-shape or require care. My only complaint is that it is a little faded; I guess it just brings out its character.

    Where did all my physical loyalty cards go? My old business card carrying case. In there is my Founder’s Card. My hotel loyalty cards from Hyatt, Starwood, and InterContinental. My Regus card. Two travel insurance cards. My Haagen-Dazs ice cream discount card. My Coffee Bean & Starbucks stored value cards. And many, many more. You get the drift I’m sure. Where does my business card carrying case go? Into my backpack.

    In Malaysia, when I last counted, there were four playing in the digital loyalty space. There are many more that have launched since that post, and it has only been about two months since then.

    What has this caused? Fragmentation. There is no one digital wallet for my needs. Instead of filling up my business card wallet, I’m filling up my phone with loyalty card applications (which you can now group thanks to folders). They all essentially do the same thing: scan some QR code. These wonderful applications have taken the physical cruft problem into the digital world. To some extent, it is worse because everytime they push an update, I have to download megabytes worth of application to my phone. Some turn on default sharing to Facebook which annoy me to no end (but apparently, merchants love it).

    Google may have a solution to this. They call it Wallet. But its far from ready to take over my physical wallet & NFC has been around since 2006 in many a trial. A more elegant solution to me that I’ve seen work and have many people embracing it (including Starwood, Hyatt, Valet, etc.) is Passbook. You can use the Pass Kit APIs in your application. Passbook is more than just loyalty cards: boarding passes, tickets, etc. can be stored there. And it is location aware.

    The best part about Passbook? You can use the PKPass files, and it works on Android phones with an application like PassWallet. How far Apple allows this is a good question, but we’ll leave that thought to another day.

    Last week, Nazrul pointed me to an article: How to get your business on Apple’s Passbook.

    I then heard Joe Beninato of Tello on This Week in Startups #298 and it hit me. Not only do you keep loyalty cards (via Tello’s PassTools – events, boarding passes, coupons, store cards, etc.), you can also provide feedback. User generated content (UGC) with a reward so to speak. So thats Yelp + digital loyalty. Malaysia isn’t a market where customer service is winning – many people expect more, and it is generally crap. Guess the private feedback option makes sense ;) The analytics feature is pretty standard for digital loyalty platforms – if you don’t have one now, you’re as good as dead.

    Can Tello work in Malaysia? Possibly the Klang Valley/Penang (just like all these digital loyalty card services). You really need higher end phones for this sort of thing to work. Singapore is decidedly the land of iOS, so it might do a lot better there. It isn’t clear if there will be Android support or not. Android is growing in leaps & bounds, so I’m inclined to think this platform is rather important.

    Why is UGC important? This digital loyalty business hits on two fronts: you have to grow the business by getting merchants as well as users. It really is a chicken & egg situation, because users do not come if there are no merchants, and merchants do not embrace if there are no users. UGC not only encourages others to visit the place (see how Yelp, Qype, Tripadvisor work), the feedback mechanism allows owners to write back. Overall, value provided for both the business owner & the user.

    That said, not a single Malaysian company that I know of has started using Passbook, with the exception of Malaysian Airlines (their services might not be up to par, but their technology is usually ahead). I’m in Singapore as I write this and I’ve not seen a Singaporean establishment use Passbook either. There has been mention that Jurong Point, a mall, has started using it, and the claim is that they’re the first in Singapore to do so. I’ve never been to Jurong Point, and I don’t expect many people that don’t live there visit it either, but it could be a great case study. I expect great movements in this space come 2013 (after all, iOS6 is just a few months old now, it will get more mainstream next year; also the iPhone 5 is not even sold officially in Malaysia yet).

    FaceTime long overdue to be an open standard

    When FaceTime was announced, it was said to be built on open standards and it would be open allowing others to build on top of it. This was in September 2010. 

    It has been over two years, and there is no such thing as an open standards compliant FaceTime. Today you still need to use an iPod Touch, iPad, or iPhone to make use of FaceTime.

    When I unboxed my Nexus 7 tablet, the first question Sara asked me was if we could now FaceTime using that tablet. You see, we’ve gotten quite used to using FaceTime to keep in touch with each other as we are frequently thousands of miles apart, as I travel a lot.

    Lately, Apple has even enabled FaceTime over 3G if you have an iPhone 4S or greater. I’m sure they fear that if it were an open standard, it would probably work on my iPhone 4 as well, thru third party software.

    Most importantly as to why I’d like to see FaceTime to be an open standard? Ubiquity. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could use an Android tablet to talk to an iPad?

    There was a 3G video standard quite some time back. I think Nokia might have pioneered it. Video calling over 3G was made popular on the Three network in Australia for example. This was in the early days of 3G usage (most phones still did GPRS, then EDGE, back then). I recall being able to make 10 minute calls over Three for free. It meant many people carried one regular phone, and one Three phone. Most importantly, this was based on open standards: an LG phone, spoke perfectly to an Ericsson one, which in turn spoke perfectly to a Nokia one.

    I recall Apple denouncing video calling over the 3G network when FaceTime was launched. You needed bandwidth they said, so the experience was best delivered over WiFi. With the advent of LTE, they now believe you can do it over the wireless networks (in iOS6). But you’re locked in with whom you can speak to – other Apple users.

    So, the late Steve Jobs vaguely promised that FaceTime would be open. Will the current Tim Cook make this happen?


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