A Matter of Time

When I placed my pre-order for the Apple Watch, this is what I first saw:

Initial pre-order status

It continued to show the delivery date range of 4/24-5/8, even after the initial date of 4/24 had passed. That was somewhat distressing because it implied that the system wasn’t even bothering to track the order status but just displaying a canned status report.

After my credit card was charged, on 4/27, the status changed to this:

Preparing for delivery

This was no longer distressing, but it was annoying, because the earliest possible date in the date range had already passed, so it just seemed like a bit of programmatic incompetence.

The correct thing for the order system to do once the initial date in the delivery range has passed is simply not to include the first date in the range. Rather, it should say, in the case of the second status form shown above, that delivery will take place “by 5/8”. Including the original date in the range is useless information.

Update: Of course, this makes it all better.

It has shipped.

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Mainspring and Fall

A unplanned collaboration via email:

MICHAEL, are you grieving
Over Apple Watch not shipping?
This bright thing of man you
With your old heart care for, can you?
Ah, as the year grows older
That lack will make you smolder
By and by. And pout. And sigh
As, watchless, weeks and months go by,
And so you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, Cohen, the name:
False watch springs are the same.
Nor face had, no nor hands, expressed
What Mickey heard, Minnie guessed:
It is the pause man was born for,
It is Apple Watch you mourn for.


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Apple Watch—First Impressions

My Apple Watch, a 42mm Space Gray Sport, is still in the Apple Store’s “processing” phase and hasn’t yet been shipped, but because everyone else is already posting their first impressions, I would be disappointing my massive fanbase if I didn’t post mine.

So far, it’s a mixed bag:

  • It’s much lighter than I expected: I can’t even feel it on my wrist.
  • Battery life seems excellent. It hasn’t needed a new charge yet.
  • App loading appears to be broken.
  • The Taptic Engine is beyond feather-light. I haven’t noticed a single tap.
  • The learning curve is swift.
  • So far, no alerts to stand up, perhaps because I work at a standing desk. Will investigate further.
  • Siri doesn’t listen.

As I become more familiar with how it fits into my daily life, I’ll be back to post more.

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What happened in Super Bowl XLIX

A recap for those who missed it.

Balls were thrown. Some were caught. Some weren’t. Some balls that were caught were caught by the opposing team. Fans cheered. Fans booed. There was a fight.

The most important thing we learned was that putting babies and puppies in commercials has something to do with selling automobiles and beer.

Oh, yes, we also learned that Katy Perry likes to ride mechanical devices while singing.

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Windy Weekend

The windows shiver, palm fronds rattle,
A hot wind blows from a graveyard somewhere.
Ana returns, her saintly eyes burning,
Bearing a nervous and dusty despair.

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I don’t need those stinkin’ badges!

I’m delighted that Apple’s iBooks app can display an update badge  to alert you when a book that you have purchased from the iBooks Store has been updated. It would be more delightful if the alert mechanism worked.

For example, here is what I see at the bottom of the iBooks screen on my iPhone. Looks like I have 32 books waiting to be updated.

Updates badges on my iPhone

However, when I tap the Purchased button, I see a list of every book I have purchased from the iBooks Store, but I see nothing to tell me which of them needs to be updated.

Meanwhile, back on my Mac, when I open iBooks (using the same iBooks Store account as on my iPhone), and then choose Store > Check for Available Downloads, this is what I see:

What I see in iBooks on my Mac

Looks like the alert update mechanism, like so much else in Apple’s cloud ecosystem, needs some debugging.


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Bad Hovercraft


You see this thingie up there ↑ ? That’s the Apple Mail interface that appears when you hover over a message header in Mail’s messages pane so you can reply to the message, forward it, or delete it. Except that the thingie doesn’t always appear when you hover over the message header: sometimes Mail ignores your hovering, and you have to click outside of the Mail window and then back inside before Mail remembers what it is supposed to do.

I hate when that happens…

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Mmmm…mystery meat!

A day or so ago, Apple updated its iWork Web apps (just as I was finishing Take Control of Pages—thanks !!). One of the new features in the updated Pages for iCloud app that Apple touts is the ability to “Rename a document in the editor.” A minor improvement, but a welcome one…if you can figure out how to do it. The document title appears nowhere in the document editor that you can see, and there doesn’t seem to be a menu that has a Rename command on it.

But, oh, our fruit-flavored app builders in Cupertino are tricksy sprites, and the method for document renaming that they have come up combines simplicity with opacity. Here’s how it works: click the tool (wrench) icon on the document editor toolbar and then, on the menu that appears, click the filename shown at the top: the name item becomes editable right on the menu. Because nobody expects a menu with items that are also editable fields!

The amazing mystery meat document-renaming interface!

The amazing mystery meat document-renaming interface!

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A Yosemite Success Story

A few months back my agéd mother said, “I need a new computer.” This is what she always says when her iMac misbehaves in some small fashion, but in this case it was misbehaving in a big way. Like many people, she got bamboozled into clicking a pop-up ad for MacKeeper and her computer was now experiencing major Spinning Pinwheels Of Death to the extent that she couldn’t do anything on the machine for more than a few minutes — at best — before one of those twirly rainbow SPODs would appear.

My youngest brother, who is primarily a Windows guy but who knows his way around the UNIX command-line, spent hours heroically tracking the various bits of MacKeeper malware down and expunging them, and though he succeeded for the most part, her computer’s operation was still a few orders of magnitude short of optimal. It got to the point where we had to move her to a new user account: fortunately, though MacKeeper mostly trashed her login account, its effects did not jump the wall to the new account we created. Finally, she could do her bill-paying and read her email, but most of her files and pictures and music were still in the old sad, bad account, so I made an appointment to spend a morning moving her files.

However, a couple days before the appointment, she called and asked with the same child-like eagerness with which she’d probably clicked the MacKeeper pop-up’s button if it was safe to install Yosemite, OS X 10.10, which had just been released. I cringed but figured she’d probably do it even if I said “No,” so I told her it was risky but up to her. She installed it. Fortunately, nothing dire happened. At least, I thought not; I didn’t get a follow-up call saying otherwise.

On the day of the appointment, I sat down at her Mac and logged into her old, bad, sad account to see about moving her files and pictures and music. What I found was astonishing: no SPODs! Or, at least no more than would be normal in any account waking up under a new OS for the first time. The old, bad, sad account was no longer bad and sad (it remained old): the OS X 10.10 installer had apparently found all the remaining corruption and cruft that MacKeeper had left behind and cleaned it all out.

Whenever a new OS for the Mac is released, one always sees stories about how it has messed up formerly fine computers. These stories make for great press and give us all a secretly delightful frisson of fear (“Thank god it didn’t happen to me! Yay, me!!”), but for every such story we see, we can’t know how many stories like my mother’s there are didn’t get reported, where the new OS fixed a machine that was on its last legs.

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Smooth Ride

The other day, I went to breakfast with a friend. On the drive back, I shot a short video from the side window of his Porsche 911 to try out my iPhone 6 Plus camera’s auto-stabilization feature. While the car is a very sweet ride, you do feel the road beneath you, so any handheld video is bound to look jumpy. You’d think.

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