Friday, January 30, 2015

Daniel Eran Dilger on fire at the start of 2015

Daniel Eran Dilger wrote 18 articles for Apple Insider in January, 2015, presented Apple Insider's first podcast, and was featured on The Tech Night Owl LIVE.  He is on fire!  He're hoping he keeps it up.

January, 2015:

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Why I still like and use OS X with a passion

I am reading some posts from folks who feel quality problems with OS X are forcing them to leave OS X or have great concerns about it:
While I agree that there are some important bugs, I want to point out how I feel Apple is looking out for its users. 

It reminds me of a discussion of being poor vs rich vs being alive long ago (as a king).  Forgive what is likely to be a not-so-short digression on living long ago vs now:
  • Food: Maybe kings could get spices, food, nutrition, variety, and have a fairly continuous food supply, but not most other people.  Famines were not uncommon.  Spices were for the wealthy.  Sailors got scurvy.  This is not so much like the lives of most of us today.
  • Facilities:  Kings did not have what are common facilities today: refrigerators, microwave ovens, hot/cold indoor plumbing with safe drinking water, indoor bathrooms, heater/air conditioning
  • Health: Medicine 200 years ago was something like leeches and prayers compared to now.  We have vaccines, antibiotics, and a whole system.  Live expectancy was vastly less than it is now, even for kings.
We quickly forget what we did not have not so long ago.  We often stop appreciating what we do have.

For me, OS X is an amazing environment to work in.  This experience is not completely separable from the hardware.
  • I can do my work from a Macbook Air - a tiny portable computer.  Never before the Macbook Air could I use a tiny portable for all of my work; previous machines had not enough compute power or RAM.
  • Apple's work in OS X to save battery life and save RAM is something we should celebrate more.  Compressed memory, the ability to see applications taking battery life, the creation of modes that allow applications to be efficient, and rewriting Apple's apps to use that efficiency are amazing!
  • The security focus and capabilities in OS X are also amazing.  Apple's focus on sandboxing goes beyond other vendors in most cases.  Safari not even running some plugins without permission saves power and keeps things more secure.  Apple is also making judicious security patches that do not take 1+ hours to deploy (ahem - Microsoft).  I have never had malware running on my machine to my knowledge, and I have never had another mac user that I know relay to me that they have had such a problem.  I did have malware of many kinds affect my use of Microsoft over the years.
  • Continuity and handoff - Apple has made the experience of using my other devices with OS X so much more usable.
    • Text Messages:  I had already used messages on my computer in place of typing on my iPhone much of the time.  Does anyone think about text messaging before iPhone?  So many people just used feature phones and the old phone keypad before iPhone, but even those with smartphones before iPhone had a vastly inferior experience.  This just takes it to a much more usable place!
    • Phone calls - I just use my computer instead of pulling out my iPhone.  It is handy.  Or, I can refuse a call and send a text reply.  This is amazing during meetings.
    • Airdrop between OS X and iOS has been really helpful in many instances for me.  iCloud will take that to an even better place as I do not have to even copy files; they are just there.
    • Even before these new features, having my bookmarks reliably sync'ed to my desktop and iPhone was great and helpful!
There are many other things, written about many time by many people, about how great OS X is.  I just think it is worth remembering to be happy about what amazing progress and innovative technology we do get to use every single day.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Separating AppleIDs and Family Sharing - benefits and possible drawbacks

I have felt the need for quite some time to create some separation of Apple accounts with my family.  iOS 8 and Yosemite make this more appealing.  Your Apple account is your AppleID.

First, how many places are there to set your account?  There are 5!  If you separate them, make sure to do so every place you intend to do so.

Update on 1/6/14 - TidBITS linked to an article about Family Sharing that is important from someone quitting family sharing:
-- iTunes match is not shared, from what I can tell.  I was told I could continue to share music content, but this is not the whole truth.  I was sharing via iTunes Match.  The separate ID does not allow for this.

What are the implications?
  • iCloud
    • This separates iCloud backups of ios devices!
    • This separates photostreams for each person - you lose the ability to stream photos with any devices on a separate iCloud account
    • It enables easy setup and sharing of:
      • a shared photo album all family members may publish to when they choose.  This typically causes an alert just like with other shared photo albums.
      • a family calendar
      • a family reminder "group"
    • If you use one account, you can keep a shared photostream and iCloud storage account for backups, but then could be sharing contacts, calendars, documents, and more.  This can be problematic.
  • iTunes, App Store, iBooks bookstore
    • App purchases are available to all family members (although I read that there is an ability to hide purchases.  I have not explored this)
      • In app purchases are only available per account and are not family-shareable
    • iTunes Match is no longer shared.  If you share music via iTunes match, another account will need to be purchased.  I believe it will also need to be "primed" with all of your music.  This looks like a bit of a mess!
  • Messages
    • This needs to be separate for each person to be able to use sms messages on their mac linked to their iPhone.
  • Facetime
    • This needs to be separate for each person to be able to use their cellular phone linked with their mac to make/receive phone calls.
With shared messages and facetime, wackiness such as receiving all family texts on one computer and/or one iPhone can be accomplished!
  • GameCenter
    • Separation means a family competition can begin!  Also, separate friend lists can be had.

I think messages and facetime are close to being synonymous.  I suspect in some future version of iOS and Yosemite, they will no longer be separate.  In fact, I suspect that this complexity of 5 different places to use an account will be eliminated and shrink to one account at some point.
  • I think it is clear that each person using a separate AppleID for Messages, Facetime, and Gamecenter always makes sense.  If I have that wrong, and you disagree, please tell me.
  • iCloud:
    • This one Graham Spencer of MacStories strongly recommends be separate (see link below).
    • This is very hard for families used to having a completely shared photostream; auto-sharing is lost.
    • It also means if you have one purchased larger iCloud storage capability, it is no longer shared for backups.
    • It lets each user have their own documents, calendar, contacts, while enabling easy sharing of the same with family members.  This makes it seem pretty necessary.
  • iTunes
    • If you use 2-factor authentication, and you should, your family members need to type this in when purchases are made.  This means having it separate is probably a necessary idea.  However, you lose sharing in-app purchases, such as true app-activation in some cases.
    • When family members split from your family group at some future date, they keep their purchases.  What else does it mean?  This is not clear.
I really do hope Apple can eliminate this kind of complexity for its users.

Here are a few articles for reference which can really help as well: