Featured Post

General Grumble

I've been in the computer business too long. Among the side effects of this is that I am old, and in danger of becoming stupid. And if y...

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

I have enough trouble with distractions, Adobe

Adobe feeling free to grab the focus anytime it thinks I need an update is so obnoxious I can't begin to believe it. But it's time I wrote that gripe down, because it just happened again.

I saw a *NAMED* invited talk at AGU, dozens of PhDs having travelled thousands of miles to see a great man talk about great research, brought to a screeching halt by adobe grabbing the focus from PowerPoint. The net value subtract to the world of that single interruption was probably tens of thousands of dollars.

Most interruptions are not that impressive. But they all subtract value.

Hey, Adobe, how about prompting me WHEN I START YOUR APP?

I think they are preparing a special place in Hell for the schm*** who though this was a good idea. Really. I'm not joking. Each incident is (usually) small, but the number of brain cells wasted on this crap...

Crappy UX in Secrurity settings for downloaded app

Download Kompozer. Apple won't let me run it. Says my security won't let me.

Go to security settings, where it offers a "run anyway" button. Push it. Get same "security won't allow" message.

Try again - unlock the lock icon. Hit "run anyway" again. Fails as before.

Change security to "run anything from anywhere". Works.

Shut Kompozer. Change security back to a reasonable setting. "Run anyway" button reappears in security window. This time press it and it works.

Start Kompozer from Apps folder and it works.

This is crap, Apple. Just crap.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Safari is not suitable for serious writers

Often when writing I want to dig up a reference to link the reader to it. This is stupidly broken in Safari. To set off a search, you just put the search term instead of the URL in the address bar.

Double using the URL bar as the search bar is tolerable enough. Chrome does it fine.

But if you want to cut and paste the URL, that is not possible in current versions of Safari. I usually just reload the page. People have written bookmarklets and such to get around it. But it's an insane misfeature and it has persisted through several versions of Safari.

Just another small example of Apple software stepping on serious users to make life easier for novices.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Dedicated Time Machine vs Power Saving

Every time I restart my computer from power save mode it gripes at me that I didn't eject the time machine drive.

Monday, May 9, 2016

More iCloud Problems

Not even keeping track of this anymore. But the file that wasn't showing up on "iCloud" was showing up on "All My Files", a view I have usually ignored as it is baffling to me. And the "get info" said it was on my iCloud.

So I moved it to my desktop. Now the iCloud is properly being used to backup my phone and nothing else, and I will be setting up Google Drive soon.

(Good news is I finally hooked up a backup system and Time Machine appears to be working smoothly. 15 minutes left to end of initial backup...)

Then I'll jump through the Python 3 and Django hoops and will finally be off to the races...

Thursday, May 5, 2016


Works just barely tolerably. Various bad UI decisions, in my opinion, and the recognition isn't that great. It might be better if there was a training period, but ease of use uber allies, I suppose.

UPDATE: I do not find it useful for the way I compose text. Cursor moves are a PITA.

Related, I can't get a grip on when it thinks I am giving a command and when it actually executes a command. God help you if you ever want to type "go up".


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

iCloud is Broken; Photos is an insulting downgrade

Getting messages my iCloud is full, forcing me into my iCloud screen.

My iCloud screen is broken, asks me my password, logs me in for a second, then greys out again.

Eventually called support - after I convinced them of all this, which wasn't easy, they asked me to use the manage page under Preferences:Internet, which looks identical but works correctly.

Finally managed to get Photos to stop spamming my iCloud account, which I ONLY use to back up my iPhone, having a TB of cloud storage through Google (not set up yet... another story) through this alternate interface.

Discover I also have some Pages docs through that interface. But opening through Pages shows my iCloud "drive" as empty. So I don't have any idea what these Pages files are. (Actually I know what some of them are as I made a poster on my old computer and accidentally stored it on iCloud).

Will try it on the computer that made the images.

Everything seems to be set up to extract a monthly fee from people who use the camera on their iPhone. And it's broken in at least two places for me.

Finally, for some weird reason, the Mail app (which I do not use) says the phone has something for it, and then allows me only to get into the broken iCloud affordance. I really hope that one doesn't come back.

I can now dump photos into Photos, and a bit of a Google search shows me that I can delete everything from the phone using Image Capture. So my next backup should be of a reasonable size.

Photos has all the features of iPhoto except the basic Photoshop ones I actually use. Halfheartedly searching for how to get my favorite old version of iPhoto running, which wasn't even the most current one.

Note that all these problems may have started when Apple insisted I change my iCloud password. I kept old password but uppercased a couple of chars. Conceivable to me that this match/mismatch is triggering bugs. But now I'm totally gunshy about iCloud, just want it to back up my phone and otherwise go away.

Experience so far with setting up pretty new mac has been disappointing.

My promise to self to set up backups before installing anything so I can revert to a clean system has failed. It just broke by itself... No advice from Apple on fix, just a workaround.

It all feels so Microsofty.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Can't Search Safari Search History

There's an article I saw on Medium a couple of days ago. I'd like to refer to it.

Because this is a new computer I'm lazily using Safari. So I look at my search history for the past few days. I see a "search" widget, but it tells me I have 157 matches for "medium.com", and doesn't highlight any of them. One of them is at the top of the scroll screen, but the "Find Next" affordance is greyed out.

Broken. As far as I can tell irreparably so; if there's something in the UI I can't find it, and nothing of value turns up on Google about this.

Pasting into vi works.

It doesn't seem like anybody at Apple cares about people who actually use their computer for browsing. Sure is pretty though.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Can no longer email myself from Photo app on iPhone

No idea what is going on. Messaging app works, so now that iMac has same messages that is just as good.

Suspect gmail is losing messages. Or else it's entrapment in the Apple stack.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Post-Monopoly Network Solutions Gets All Shabby and Fly-By-Night

While I'm kvetching, I still host Ducks-In-A-Row on Network Solutions, dating back to the day when they were a monopoly. I think I will stop, because they are sending me extremely spammy advertising.

It's almost an argument for monopoly capitalism. They were cost-effective and dignified once.

About Me

Currently About Me on this blog links to some ancient page. This was Blogger's default. I did in fact create that page in an old Google app which is unsupported. But it's out of date and I haven't even thought about it for years.

I'm not even sure how to get to it to edit it.

Another example of the stacks being "helpful" in a non-helpful way. Thanks, Google.

I can easily turn off "About Me", but I'm more interested in finding the page and fixing it, since it still apparently exists.

But the widget configuration offers nothing!

UPDATE Well, I don't know why it says "click" and points to this but I at least updated it a bit so now it seems about right. Weirdness. How "Profile" knows about this page and/or how to disconnect them escapes me.

Busted Cursor in Safari

For some reason the Safari window on Blogger seems to be mishandling the cursor in some odd way. I can click in the text to move the curs or, and that works, except that the representation of the cursor doesn't move until I start editing, so it's not exactly clear where I'm pointing. Further, the old cursor representation is not changed. Here's a picture of what I mean. Note the multiple cursors.

I hope this is just this website and this browser....

I just tried Notes and it works okay there...

You will note three cursor images, none of which corresponds to the actual cursor location.

Google says https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7374056?start=0&tstart=0

Zoom in + zoom out shows the cursor. Meh. Not exactly an elegant fix.

No big deal; I expect to be using Firefox or Chrome anyway, but another Google/Apple fingerpointing episode behind the scenes presumably. If I see this again will report here, if only because I have no idea where else to report to.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Google Maps on iPhone

When the phone got replaced due to smashed screen, I had two Google Maps apps with very similar icons. I noticed one of them had a slightly changed interface so I deleted the older one, but found to my confusion and alarm that voice directions had gone away.

To fix this, I deleted again and went to iTunes and reloaded Maps. This time it's yet a third version, again very similar logo.

At first it didn't work at all. Aargh.

So I rebooted the phone, and now it works. However, it asked me to sign in to my gmail.

No big deal but...

That added yet another confusion in that Google sent me a warning that there was a device newly enabled to use their services, though I have been using their services from that device for a couple of weeks via the mail app.

The Google Maps voice robot works, though with a slightly different voice.

Nothing major, but really, it seems that UX people don't give a damn about installation. I wonder how many people are walking around with a crippled Google Maps or two different Google Mapses because they had their phone replaced. Or maybe Apple and Google hate each other so much that they just refuse to solve this, preferring to resort to fingerpointing? Or maybe I'm just lucky and this is a rare bug? I wonder how I'd report it.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Ringing computer

Since my OS upgrade, my computer has been preventing me from accepting incoming calls by ringing obnoxiously when a call comes in, and not stopping when I pick it up on my phone. So my computer is chiming to beat the band when I am trying to talk on the phone. THIS IS THE DEFAULT.

Fortunately it is easy to fix. I searched on "why does my computer ring when my phone rings"

Check off one removed "upgrade" for the day.

Can we reincarnate Mr. Jobs yet?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Apple TV

It uses my wireless sporadically.

Not sure if the fault is Apple's or the Google Fiber modem/wireless hub's.

Definitely the latter acted strange yesterday. Had wired internet but not wireless.

Rebooting the Apple TV in hopes of a new DHCP lease.

Not finding the 21st century seamless, though.

UPDATE: I basically have to unplug and replug my Apple TV every time I use it.

UPDATE: Support chat was good, but Google deleted the transcript immediately on termination and disabled cut-and-paste. That's obnoxious.

Complaint was:

Advice was:

He also provided and explanation that I was trying to capture when he terminated the conversation. Apparently the Google wireless provides two networks with the same name, and devices get confused. What a stupid default. Anyway, changing the name makes two separate networks appear.

One should prefer the 5 MHz but it seems to me that the 2.4 GHz is blazing fast and the factor of two is pretty much icing on the cake.

It's the height of corporate arrogance to deliberately try to prevent me from having a transcript of the conversation, especially since Google says "we're keeping a record of this conversation" to start with, as if that were a surprise.

I also didn't like that the first five things Jacob said were terminated by an exclamation point! Minor grumble there... I read DC comics back in the day and they had a policy not to use periods at the end of sentences! Exclamation marks or ellipses....

But the wireless is working way better now.

Monday, March 28, 2016

An Easy One - Getting the Photos off my Phone

I've gotten this far several times and quit in despair.

So I go into Settings -> iCloud and see I have something called "photo sharing" on which nobody ever asked me about. Turn it off. But how do I actually delete stuff?

I seem to have 1.5 G available on iCloud. Is my phone really more full than that? And what is that 3.5 G on iCloud. I never asked for anything to be there. Fortunately I press the Storage widget under iCloud and come across Manage Storage. (IOS: Settings -> iCloud -> Storage - Manage Storage)

 Appears most of what is in use is the previous backup. Which indeed is 3.4 G. So I can erase that.

But when I pick "Delete Backup" it says "turn off backups" implicitly forever? Some confusion because this replacement phone has THE SAME NAME as the busted phone it replaced. So I have "m's stuff" and "m's stuff" in the backup list. It turns out it is OK to delete "m's stuff" from being backed up because "m's stuff" will still be backed up.

Despite the fact that I have Google Fiber, it now estimates 20 minutes to do the initial backup. I hope later ones will be faster.

(Using my quarter hour to read up on Time Machine. Wikipedia is pretty opaque. I think I DO want to be able to support networked machines. This is more clear.)

OK, backup done. Did that really get my apps saved somewhere?

So try again to update... 

GO into iTunes. ask for Sync. Proceeds quickly. No apps showing!

Apparently this mess. So still haven;t moved apps into iTunes. 

This is really conflicting messages. My update message implies that moving my apps into iTunes is normal. But the linked page seems to think it is rare. "The easiest way to add past iTunes Store purchases to your iOS device is to redownload them from iTunes in the Cloud." wtf?

Anyway, iTunes: File > Devices > Transfer Purchases from "[device name]" isn't really all that difficult, but it sure is opaque! Now I have to find the software update thingy again.

Apparently ejecting and reconnecting the iPhone is the right way to do this. (eyeroll)

Process seems weird at several points. At one instant I see an icon on the phone showing a USB cable pointing at an iTunes icon. Was that supposed to be an instruction of some kind?

OK, 45 minutes into this, I now see 

Of course I want to "learn more", and in a Chrome window appears this
which of course contains little in the way of actual information. So I comply. I am a good boy. That only took a few seconds. OK, great! Now can I synch my photos?

Yes. OK, some fumbling around in Photos, and now over 1000 images are being imported to the Mac. I suppose that counts as success. Were these all lurking on my old iPhone?

Anyway, Photos turns out to be a woefully crippled version of iPhoto, which wasn't anything great either, though I really liked the effects in one old version as I said. But whatever. Here's a pretty picture from my camera and a recent morning walk. Austin is great, even if Apple isn't anymore.

Elapsed time: 1 hr 5 minutes.


Noted in this process: When I mail myself, my nickname shows up as "Holidays in the United States" for no reason I can imagine. Maybe I need to fix that too.

This also seems germane: moving music. https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204318

Tried to modify or delete Holidays in the United States, somehow ended up placing a FaceTime call to it. Does anybody ever use FaceTime? Anyway, so now my computer starts beeping at me. 

Reminds me of another irritant. Somehow, when my phone rings my computer starts ringing too. But when I pick up my phone, the computer does not stop ringing! I never asked for this "feature"!


Also, Blogger offers me uploads "from my phone" but it's current only as of a year ago. No idea how it's supposed to see any of that anyway.

General Grumble

I've been in the computer business too long. Among the side effects of this is that I am old, and in danger of becoming stupid. And if you saw my computing setup today, you wouldn't call me smart.

I think the blame isn't all mine. It seems that the longer you've stuck with Apple, the more f'ed up your setup is, at least if you don't jump all the hurdles as they come up.

Right now I have ITunes on the computer I use with exactly one song on it. My new IPhone replacement agrees. Even though the old computer was authorized on the same account. People seem disgruntled with Apple Music/iTunes. I've never been happy about it.

I can't upgrade IOS on my phone because it tells me that I'll lose some purchased apps. I thought I had synched the purchased apps. My iCloud is griping that it's full. I have a Pages file on iCloud and I don't know how to find it when I want it.

A lot of pictures are in various versions of iPhoto. The version I liked best got erased in an upgrade - an effect I was making excellent use of went away. I don't even know what version that was. My iPhoto pics are everywhere. I have photos on my phone that aren't syncing to iPhoto or the new photo app (Photos, which I pronounce to rhyme with Phobos.)

I'd like to set up a proper coding environment, but there's so much hassle involved with that that I don't dare before I have Time Machine set up. My external drive isn't even hooked up but when I try it gripes that it's too small.

Sharing printers? You jest. Wireless audio to the living room? It is to laugh. Doing something other than the blatantly obvious with my Apple TV gizmo? No ideas at all.

And so on. I will try to solve these more or less one at a time. Maybe somebody from Apple wants to watch. Otherwise, you might conceivably get help on something you've searched for,

But mostly this is meant to log my struggles and embarrass me into prevailing over them.