The Lots-Of-Disappointments Edition Thursday, February 4, 2016

Apple’s Apps Need Work, by Walt Mossberg, The Verge

None of these things is insurmountable. And perhaps Apple is right that bugs do get quashed and that some of what I’m observing is due to my own setup. But I’m convinced there’s something broader going on here. Lots of small software disappointments and aggravations, adding up gradually over time, are putting the sterling experience of using Apple hardware at risk.

About Walt Mossberg And Apple’s App Problem, by Jim Dalrymple, The Loop

I understand that Apple has a lot of balls in the air, but they have clearly taken their eye off some of them.

Apple’s App Problem, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

My little iCloud Photo Library syncing hiccup was not a huge deal — I was even lucky insofar as the two videos that couldn’t be found were meaningless. And I managed to find a solution. But it feels emblematic of the sort of nagging software problems people are struggling with in Apple’s apps. Not even the bug itself that led to these five items being unable to upload, but rather the fact that Photos knew about the problem but wouldn’t tell me the details I needed to fix it without my resorting to the very much non-obvious trick of creating a Smart Group to identify them. For me at least, “silent failure” is a big part of the problem — almost everything related to the whole discoveryd/mDNSresponder fiasco last year was about things that just silently stopped working.

Maybe we expect too much from Apple’s software. But Apple’s hardware doesn’t have little problems like this.

Microsoft Has Mastered What Apple Can't Seem To Do: Gmail On iOS, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

For what it's worth, I don't buy it. I use Microsoft Outlook on the iPhone, and it works perfectly fine with Gmail. Outlook is snappy and modern, complete with threaded messaging, email snoozing, and sophisticated filtering that ensures that what lands in my inbox is an actual message from another human. It's what I want from Apple's built-in app.

New Fiction

What Apps Next? Publishers And Developers Embrace 'Unprintable' Fiction, by Richard Lea, The Guardian

Developers and authors explain how they are experimenting with technology to publish ‘unprintable’ books – including a love story told through Google street view and a prison break with swappable recipes.

New OS

A Netbook, An iPad Pro And The Surface Walk Into A Bar, by Ben Bajarin, Re/code

Desktop operating systems like Windows and OS X are for the professionals. Mobile operating systems are for the masses. The promise of something like the iPad and the iPad Pro — and where Android can go on tablets, or laptops or even desktops — is to empower the masses to do more than they can on their smartphones, with a computing paradigm that focuses on simplicity but still yields sophisticated results.

How Far Can The iPad Fall?, by Jason Snell, Macworld

But I have to admit, that’s my optimism talking. I’ve come to love the iPad and I don’t think Apple will abandon it. In fact, the company now seems committed to improving it at a pitch that was lacking during its first few years of existence. Perhaps this couple of years in the doldrums will end up being the thing that turns the iPad around.

Or perhaps I’m kidding myself, and in the end the iPad will be small niche product, an outsized iPhone accessory. As someone who loves his iPad, the idea that I might be part of a tiny enthusiastic minority in a largely uncaring world is heartbreaking. But looking at the numbers, it’s entirely possible that this darkest of narratives is, in fact, the right one.


Apple Music For Android Updated With Ability To Save Music To SD Cards For Offline Listening, by Greg Barbosa, 9to5Mac

Apple has some good news for all of the Apple Music users on Android. The company has just released an update to Apple Music in the Google Play Store that allows users to download songs to an SD card so that they may store even more music for offline listening.

Apple Expands Flyover And Other Maps Features To New Locations, by Aldrin Calimlim, AppAdvice

Apple's Back To School Promotion Offers Free Beats Headphones With Mac Purchase In Australia, by Joseph Keller, iMore

How To Unlearn Misspellings And Sync Your User Dictionary In OS X, by Adam C. Engst, TidBITS

Don’t you hate it when you accidentally tell OS X’s spelling checker to learn a misspelled word, rather than correcting it? Let me show you how to fix that.

Silencing Noisy Web Pages, by J. D. Biersdorfer, New York Times

The most recent version of the Safari browser for OS X 10.11 (El Capitan) includes controls that let you quickly mute audio coming from any open tab in the program’s window.

Day One 2 Review, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

Day One, the well-known journaling app by Bloom Built, was an unmistakable success. On both iOS and Mac, it amassed multiple awards for both its design and quality of the experience. Through positive reviews and loyal users, Day One rose to the top of the charts and received recognition from Apple's App Store team.

Although one might think that Bloom Built would be content to sit back and let the success continue, Day One 2 shows that this assumption is far from the truth. Through some added features and fresh coat of paint, Day One 2, launching today, is definitely an improvement – but with today's App Store littered with text editors, can Day One still hold its place and purpose?

How To Import Your Day One Classic Journal To Day One 2.0, by Bradley Chambers, The Sweet Setup

How To Make Gorgeous Landscape Panoramas With Adobe Lightroom’s New Boundary Warp, by Jackie Dove, Macworld

The object is to protect parts of a stitched image that would otherwise be cut off with a typical rectangular crop. Lightroom’s Photo Merge feature simplifies the process of photo stitching, and the new Boundary Warp offers a greater degree of control than in the past.

Elmedia Player Pro Review: Better, Stronger, Faster Than QuickTime Player, by J.R. Bookwalter, Macworld

The better solution is to skip Cupertino’s media player altogether and download an application built for playing virtually any media you throw at it and can also be upgraded with even more powerful features whenever the need arises.


How To Survive An Acquisition, by Charity.WTF

I have so, so many feelings. But this isn’t about my feelings now. This is about what I wish I had known when we got acquired.


Apple To Receive Award For Preserving Historic New York City Buildings, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

Apple has some of the most beautiful stores in New York City, and a big part of that is because many have been placed inside incredible buildings dating back to the early 1900s. Next month, The New York Landmarks Conservancy — a nonprofit that promotes the preservation of landmark buildings — will recognize Apple for its role in preserving the spaces that it's placed stores in.

PSA: If You Don't Want To Fry Your New MacBook, Pay Attention To The Quality Of Your USB Cables, by Sam Oliver, AppleInsider

Everything went swimmingly for more than a hundred reviews, until Leung found a cable that was totally miswired from the factory: in addition to having the wrong resistor, the company had hooked the ground pin on one end to the power pin on the other. The net result was a dead Chromebook Pixel and two fried USB power delivery analyzers.

A Letter To An Ungrateful World From Google, Apple, Facebook Et Al, by Robert Shrimsley, Financial Times

You are paying tax because you have no better ideas how to use the money. We do.

The Explorers Club Once Served Mammoth At A Meal. Or Did It?, by James Gorman, New York Times

Sadly, as with so many great stories, this one was too good to be true, as a group of Yale researchers reported Wednesday in the journal PLOS One. Fortunately, the tale they uncovered, using the most modern research techniques, has some of its own surprises.

Bottom of the Page

I do think that there is a place for the iPad -- something that is much more powerful than a phone, but much less simpler than a desktop/laptop. It's just that the iPad is not there yet, and Apple need to work harder.

For example, the whole sandboxed apps model is great, but there's much more need to be there in order for this to be useful.


For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

— Dave Hinkle (@davehinkle) February 3, 2016


Thanks for reading.