new hardware and software from apple

Both iPhone 7 and Apple Watch 2 look really good but I will likely pass on them for one reason really. My iPhone 6 and Apple watch 1 work perfectly fine. I'm trying not to be wasteful and replace my items too soon. In terms of Apple watch it's easy to feel that way. With iPhone 7, it's much harder. The jet black colour, superior screen colours, camera and waterproofing are very, very tempting. As someone using strictly bluetooth headphones with my iPhone I don't mind the lack of the headphone jack and welcome it if it will push companies to improve wireless headphones. It is so much better without the wire. I think I would find it hard to go back to wired headphones even as they currently behave.

So with the things I can and have been using - iOS 10, macOS Sierra and watchOS. I am generally happy.

  1. macOS is generally a solid upgrade. So far the only thing that bugs me is the white notification centre while using the dark theme. It looks very much out of place.

  2. iOS 10. Changing things around is ok and generally it's all ok. I'm not sure how I feel about the whiteness of everything. I'm also not sure about making many of the fonts larger. But the things I use the most are generally quite good. I do think the music app is improved but to be honest it was a bit of a mess before so it would be hard to not improve it. However on that note why is not so hard to "heart" songs? It's hidden from the lock screen and requires digging through menus when in the music app too. Someone should be told off for that. When listening to music I don't want to unlock my phone and certainly not dig around menus to heart a song.

  3. watchOS. In so many ways it's almost like a new OS. it's so much faster, the new layout of the activity app is perfect. The improved data from the workout results. It's all good. However there is one move that was down right awful. You used to have numerous items in the "swipe up" menu which included a now playing screen which always held the right context for podcasts and music and worked with 3rd party apps like spotify. Which ever screen you used last would be there when you swiped up again. It was perfect. Now "swipe up" reveals a bunch of buttons many of which I'll never use on a daily basis. Seriously, airplane mode needs that sort of prominence? If I want to access the sort of apps that were there before I need to click the side button which used to have your friends list. That would be fine but on top of clicking it I need to then click the app to focus it. Getting to "now playing" is downright painful now. I've alleviated some of this by creating a watch face that has the music app but that means it only works on music. Not podcasts. It needs to be far more effortless. if I am using that now playing screen there's a good chance my hands are full and I want to only work with a minimal number of single finger flicks.

All in all there are regressions amongst the three aside from watchOS' painful issue with "now playing". I'm pleased to have updated across the board. That said seriously apple, sort the "now playing" portion of watchOS. I'll help with the suggestion. Swap the functionality of the button and swipe up. Putting swipe up back to what it was and putting the screen of useless buttons behind the button.

Posted on 22 Sep 2016, 11:15 p.m. by toadwarrior

Kaspersky calls out security parasites

Many next generation security solutions rely on the handwork of someone else without contributing back. A problem I think we seen software in general thanks to business friendly open source licences.

Anyway I suggest have a read of Eugene Kaspersky's article Darwinism in IT Security, Pt. 3: Time to Deal with These No-Good Parasites

And for those who might be interested my solution to open source is give it away under the GPL and nothing else. If someone wants it for their business without sharing back have a dual licence requiring money so they're at least funding develop via paying you for your work.

Posted on 1 Jun 2016, 7:43 p.m. by toadwarrior

My thoughts on Google IO

It's been awhile since Google IO and having some time to think about it I have to say I don't think there is anything I can be happy about. I'd even say it feels like Google has nothing to offer but to steal away privacy from its users.

The two key items Allo and Duo (see the verge video on Allo / Duo for more info) which is their messaging and video apps.

Duo, if you're an android user just turns the phone camera on as it rings. Does no one at google take their phone to the toilet? Why would anyone consider this a good idea?

Allo wants to listen to your conversations which I'm sure the government is happy about and to be fair there's nothing strictly wrong about simply encrypting on the wire and having helper bots At least they're open about it.

What is concerning about Allo is that it does offer end to end encryption and in my opinion it presents it really poorly. It's not the default option and worse yet it's called Incognito mode, it has a black background with a shifty looking guy in the background. Yes - that's how incognito more or less works on Chrome but the implication is that you're doing something wrong. You're the bad little spy hiding in the dark.

Why not call it privacy mode and drop the shifty looking man? It doesn't have a negative connotation and arguably privacy is more simple language.

Oh and of course these chat / video applications aren't compatible with previous Google chat / video applications. Google isn't a contender in chat and they're not going to be if they keep burning their own loyal customers. To go slightly off topic we need chat to be like email. People shouldn't need 5 or more chat applications to talk to all their friends. XMPP is there but obviously companies won't touch it. They want a monopoly.

Lastly there's Google Home. I'll just say I'm not happy to have an advertiser listening to my every word.

But disregarding that what can Google really offer me? Unlike Amazon Echo which comes from a company with plenty of good and services I would want to use Google doesn't really offer anything. Yes there are services like Google Music but I'll be honest investing in Google services just seems like a recipe for disappointment. They still kill their services a bit too quick to trust them.

The services where Google has been a leader they still fail at. Telling me obvious things like where the local Tesco is something I don't need maps for and if I did any provider does that just well. Something I'd need Maps for are things like local businesses which Google maps still fails at. The business you see in that link is not on that side of the street and certainly not inside a courthouse.

Is that the sort of quality I can expect from Google Home when I step outside of Google lowest common denominator expectations? Again to be fair, You can't blame google for not getting it right. Trying to provide AI is a near impossible task. It's still largely smoke and mirrors and works off of assumptions which make it only work if you're like everyone else. Where you can blame Google is for trying to convince customers it's anything but that.

Marco Arment is implying that apple could mean BlackBerry's fate by not going doing this route. I don't think he entirely understands what the implications are or he doesn't care. I'm personally happy that Apple values my privacy but also I'm happy they don't just throw things at the wall to see what sticks and kill off what doesn't. I've got better things to do than to signing up to yet another take on messaging by any company.

Posted on 22 May 2016, 11:09 a.m. by toadwarrior

My wish list for Apple

Now that everyone is taking time to explain what they want from Apple I felt ir was time to give my exceptionally short list.

Do away with the idea of 'pay once, update forever' in the App Store. If some companies would like to continue selling their apps that way it's fine but it's unsustainable and, I imagine, why the App Store is full of clones and unhelpful toy-like apps. If you go ahead with this then when I search for scanbot I'd imagine seeing one result from the scanbot author. Leaving me only capable of purchasing the latest or, after clicking into its page, seeing a version listing.

Start taking copyright infringement, scam-like apps and other App Store dreck more seriously. It's starting to feel like a shithole. I think we're only lucky that Google is worse in both these respects so developers have no choice.

We have a pro iPad so give us Xcode for iPad or some other means to write code. Compiling isn't necessarily a must but we're long overdue for some useful apps for programmers.

That's it, that's all I'd want.

Especially with a supposed pro iPad coming out its time to start looking after professionals. Having a 'pro' iPad and using it to play with fashion apps would just be sad.

Posted on 24 Mar 2016, 10:08 a.m. by toadwarrior

JavaScript: The inefficient parts

My relatively new macbook rarely has any problems with the tasks I give it. I can watch HD video while listening to music and do virtually any task other than play games and never have to think about hearing the fan or feeling the heat of a cooking macbook.

So in what world is it acceptable that viewing a single photo album within Google Photos should cause my system to feel like it's on the sun and sound like a jet taking off?

Photo albums should be a perfect match for web technologies and yet we can still get it so wrong with what are supposed to be some of the smartest people on the planet in terms of software development.

Perhaps that a good sign that we should be looking beyond HTML and JavaScript and develop proper tools for building applications on the web. The cost of all the additional energy spent to execute tasks poorly in JavaScript to date could probably fund housing for all the homeless people in San Francisco. I think it's time Google heads back to the drawing board.

Posted on 1 Mar 2016, 10:53 p.m. by toadwarrior

Lookwell

Conan O'Brien and Robert Smigel made a pilot starring Adam West as a washed-up actor believing he can fight crime in real life called Lookwell.

For now you can watch the Lookwell pilot on Youtube.

This could have been comic gold.

Posted on 3 Jan 2016, 7:18 p.m. by toadwarrior

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Last updated: 28 Sep 2016, 9:31 p.m.