Tuesday, August 18, 2015

OnHub isn't a Router

Today Google announced an expensive wifi router ($200).  Supposedly "finally a simple router."  Ok.

The correct take on this? An easy-to-update Internet-of-Things bridge, to bridge from ethernet to the various other radio protocols used by door locks, thermostats, security systems, etc.

Monday, August 10, 2015

iOS 9b5 notes

Still a little bit buggy, but getting there.  Some apps that crashed at startup now work for me (in fact, I now have no apps that crash at startup).  Status bar now reappeared in Reeder.


  • still a bit laggy.  This is most noticeable when the device thinks I picked it up in landscape and takes its time rotating, in multiple steps, to portrait. Seemingly every time I pick up the phone.
  • Mail is flaky, particularly on my iPad Air 2.  Stray attachment icons floating around the message view, even in messages without attachments (killing mail and restarting solves).
  • Battery usage is a bit high still. Burning about an extra 10-20% of battery in a day, at least on my iPhone 6+.
  • News app still a little slow to show me new materials. Sometimes you have to tap between tabs to get it to load new material.

HTC, HTC, HTC... (This is what happens when the user is not the customer)

HTC stored images of users' fingerprints as world-readable files.  This isn't even the problem.  The real problem is: why were they storing images of fingerprints at all?  If you are going to store them, you had damned well better one-way hash them and store the hashes instead.  In fact, you should only be storing hashes of feature vectors, not of the prints themselves.  You should only ever compare hash-to-hash, not fingerprint-to-fingerprint. You can do this using graph comparison algorithms instead of image comparisons.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Finally: beta users can't leave misguided app reviews

It's always been the case that Apple-related forums have been filled with non-developers seeking guidance on how to install iOS betas on their primary devices.  But especially now, with Apple adopting the "Public Beta" model and with them allowing more or less full access to the developer betas without the annual $99 fee, nonsense app reviews have proliferated.

These fall into two categories:

1) people who don't understand that the reason an app doesn't function properly is because they are running a beta version of the operating system.

2) people who blame the developers for not updating the app to function properly with the beta version of the operating system (something that is usually not even possible).

This has been something developers have been wanting almost since the early days of the App Store.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Much nicer task switcher in iOS 9b4

Now, when an activity is available via Handoff, instead of showing up as a blank white screen in the "carousel" of apps, there is a tab at the bottom of the screen that when dragged upward drags up the appropriate app and activity.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Seriously - Macs are Going to ARM

Now comes word that Intel is delaying the 10nm node and the "tick tock" is broken.  Good reader, do you really need any more data to believe that Macs are going to get ARM'd?

Source: Ars Technica
More on the inevitable Mac transition to ARM: AppleNews.Zone

Monday, July 13, 2015

Microsoft Office for Mac 2016

Office 2016 is available for Office 365 subscribers.  I've been using the preview for some time, and have made heavy use of Word 2016 for the last few days.  A couple observations:


The new interface will be the first thing you notice.

Word 2016

Word 2011

It remains a cross between Office of old and the Windows version of Office, providing a ribbon experience in addition to traditional menus.

Note that above I've used the built-in preferences to use the traditional color scheme, otherwise the ribbon/menu area would be the same blue color found in the iOS versions of Office.


It's buggy. Using Word with documents containing lots of annotations and track changes is an exercise in frustration, with parts of the screen going blank, inability to figure out which comments connect to which text, etc.  Office 2011 was quite buggy for a year after introduction, and it's looking like I will have to keep two versions of Office in my toolbox once again for quite awhile.

More later.