Blathr Wayne Lorentz

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Showing blathrs with the tag “Apple.”

Your grandfatherʼs iPhone

Saturday, January 6th, 2024 Alive 19,247 days

What still works on an iPhone 3G in 2024? Not much. But more should.

An iPhone 3G unlocked. Note the skeuomorphic iconography.

Like many technology enthusiasts, I have several boxes of gadgets that I keep around “just in case” I find a use for them later. One of the items in my boxes is an iPhone 3G, which I recently pulled out of storage because I found a use for it. Yes, in 2024.

The iPhone 3G came out in June of 2008, and I bought one for my wife on launch day. This is not that phone. My launch day iPhone 3G was stolen by a street urchin in a McDonaldʼs in Rome. At the time of the theft, Appleʼs Find My iPhone app was in its infancy, so for the rest of the day we were able to use my iPhone to watch my wifeʼs iPhone make the trip from Rome down to Naples, and eventually cross the Mediterranean Sea to Tunisia where the tracking stopped working.

To us, the tragedy wasnʼt that weʼd lost a telephone. Phones can be replaced. But iCloud photo syncing didnʼt exist yet, so my wife lost all of the photos she took in Rome, Naples, Ischia, Procida, and elsewhere. Understandably, she still grouses about it to this day.

A short time after we returned to the United States, the thiefʼs accomplices sold the phone to a woman in Tunisia, and for some reason instead of setting up her own e-mail account, she tried simply using the one already on the phone — my wifeʼs. Maybe the buyer thought that phones just came with e-mail already on them. I exchanged a few unpleasant messages with her in my tourist-grade French, and for what turned out not to be the last time in my life, I was told that because Iʼm an American, I am fat and I am rich and itʼs O.K. to steal from me. I just wanted her to e-mail me my wifeʼs photos, but seeing that our moral compasses were pointing in different directions, I changed the password on the e-mail, iTunes, and App Store accounts. Remote-wiping the phone was not yet a feature.

It should be noted that this is the somewhat unusual iPhone 3G, not the iPhone 3G🅂 which was released a year later and sold much better.

I wasnʼt a fan of the iPhone 3G, even when it was new. To me, the original iPhone, and the iPhone 4 still feel the best in my hand. They have a reassuring heft to them, and even though I know in my mind that the newer phones are more durable, the older ones feel more solid. The 3G, with its rounded plastic shell feels like a 1970ʼs Remington ladies electric leg shaver.

This iPhone is one of several in my collection, and itʼs not any physical flaws that keep my old iPhones from continuing to perform their original functions. Itʼs all in the software.

This iPhone 3G could probably do much of what it was intended to do, except for one big problem: connectivity.

The iPhone 3G cannot connect to any of my wifi access points. At first I thought it was because the 3G cannot handle modern encryption methods. But then I remembered reading somewhere that an accurate clock is required by some encryption schemes, and my 3Gʼs clock is not accurate. Thatʼs because there is no 3G cellular service for it to connect to where I live. This place is all 4G and 5G now, and the metaphorical plugs have been pulled on the 3G signals.

Canʼt connect to wifi to set the clock so you can connect to wifi, and cellular isnʼt an option, either.

The phone does have some limited connectivity via USB. It shows up in Finder on a modern Mac just fine, and itʼs possible to sync music and other data with it. But any photos taken with the 3G canʼt be downloaded into a current Mac with either the Photos or Image Capture program. When connected, the phone promisingly shows up in the sidebar. When clicked, a message pops up (again, promisingly) asking you to unlock the phone. But that message vaporizes just a couple of seconds after it appears, along with the iPhoneʼs sidebar icon. No amount of plugging and unplugging or booting and rebooting either device returns the phone icon to Photos.

Fortunately, the same plastic bucket of tricks that held the iPhone 3G also yields a Mac computer from the same era. That machine is happy to slurp down the 3Gʼs photographic secrets like my Uncle Jerry through a bucket of oysters at a Poconos clam bake. Except that the Mac uses the standard Image Capture program to supply its needs, and not my Aunt Eileen.

Sadly, the iPhone 3G cannot use a tethered connection to access the internet. So this is what weʼre left with:

This is a screenshot of the iPhone 3Gʼs home screen in all of its… wait for it… 320x480 pixel glory. The current top-of-the-line iPhone is the 15 Pro, which sports a screen that has 23 times more pixels.

Letʼs start with the Settings app.


Thereʼs not too much to note in here. Though the visuals have been tweaked, thereʼs not much difference between a modern version of Settings, and the 3Gʼs. The modern version has many many more options, but the 3G does something the modern one doesnʼt. When the 3G is updating, the cogs inside the Settings icon rotate. Itʼs the sort of nice little touch that youʼd expect from an iPhone of its era, and exactly the sort of nice little touch that is shunned in todayʼs world.

The fact that there is no software update option in Settings confused me briefly. Iʼd forgotten that over-the-air software updates werenʼt a thing yet, and that to use an iPhone in any meaningful way, you had to plug it into a computer to update your apps, music, contacts, and everything else.

App Store

The App Store is a no-go. Without an internet connection, thereʼs no way to access it. Even if there were some apps in the current App Store that would run an on iPhone 3G, thereʼs no way to download them onto a Mac and sync them via USB. App syncing on the Mac does not exist anymore now that syncing has been moved from iTunes to the Finder.


Ah, the iTunes Store. This was peak iPhone. Millions of people spent billions of hours and dollars scouring Steve Jobsʼ bottomless stew pot of audible morsels. But, like with the App Store app, without an internet connection, it doesnʼt do anything anymore.


Itʼs the same story for the YouTube app. Which make sense, since itʼs an internet streaming app. But dig that YouTube icon!

Itʼs an actual tube. In the 3Gʼs era, tube televisions were still very common. We had hundreds of them at work. I didnʼt dump my Trinitron and go flat screen until 2006ish. I suspect weʼre only a few years away from children wondering why the word “tube” is in “YouTube.”


Like the others, the Stocks app requires an internet connection. The default indices are revealing. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and NASDAQ are default for the United States. The Standard and Poors is de rigueur for tech companies. Then thereʼs Apple, for obvious reasons. Google, for less obvious reasons. Perhaps because Google was already on the iPhone in the form of the built-in YouTube app, Google Maps app, and Safariʼs search feature. (Alternate search engines? You mean like Altavista Hotbot, Dogpile, and Ask Jeeves? Bing was still a year away, my friend.) The last one is Yahoo!, the formerly mighty internet company that now seems to have the same relevancy, business plan, and smell as Gold Bond Powder. But back then, Yahoo! was where all the information came for the Stocks app. So on the default list it went.


By this time, youʼre not at all surprised to see that Messages doesnʼt work without connectivity. But note that it requires a very specific type of connectivity: A cellular connection. There was no sending of text messages over an internet link yet. It all went via SMS. This historical fact is a bit inconvenient for people who like to indulge in conspiracy theories surrounding the current Messages appʼs use of green bubbles for SMS messages and blue bubbles for internet-delivered Apple Messages messages. People like to imagine that Apple moved SMS text messages into a “green ghetto” in order to make them hard to read and thus promote its own messaging platform. But the truth is that SMS text messages were green from day one. It was part of the design language of the iPhone: Things that a regular cell phone did had a green icon. Thus the Messages and Phone icons are green. When Apple added its messaging technology to the Messages app, it had more features than SMS could handle, so it got a different color bubble (blue) so people would know if they were on the old-fashioned text messaging platform invented in 1982 (SMS), or the modern one invented in 2011 (Messages).

The name of the app Messages is also interesting, because it later changed to iMessage when internet messaging became possible, and then back to simply Messages in more recent years.


This phone is contactless. Not in a NFC way. In the fact that there are no contacts loaded into it. Since the Contacts app works with standard iCal formats, I could probably sync my contacts to it with the Finder and a USB cable.

Voice Memos

Now thatʼs how you skeuomorph! For a while, people liked to complain on the internet about Appleʼs design language which translated real-world objects into screen representations of their functions. This is a feature that aids with discovery and usability, not a bug, but as is so often the case, the loudest voices carry the day in the tech world, and weʼre left with the boring flat slabs and bland shades of corporate blue that have overwhelmed our computing day. Today, more and more people are realizing that boring is bad, and skeuomorphism is coming back.

Because it looks like a real-world object, the very simple user interface of the Voice Memos app needs no explanation. No help bubbles popping-up. No onboarding mechanism. This app should inspire apps of the future.


The Phone app of yesteryear looks very much like the phone app of today. The only notable difference is that the old one has buttons that look like actual buttons, instead of disembodied numerals floating around in the inky void of deep space.


Mail only goes this far without an internet connection. But like the Stocks app, itʼs interesting to see the defaults. All of the choices are viable options today, except for Appleʼs service. Mobile Me went bye-bye just four years after this phone came out. For long-time Apple users, itʼs been an annoying adventure as our e-mail addresses were migrated and duplicated from iTools to .mac to Mobile Me to iCloud. To this day, when Iʼm asked to sign into some Apple services, it will seemingly choose randomly between my,,, or my other non-Apple Apple Accounts e-mail addresses. This is not ideal when youʼre on an input-limited device like an AppleTV.


Safari was one of the killer apps for the iPhone. A real internet browser on a phone! I shared Steve Jobsʼ glee when he publicly demonstrated viewing the New York Times on a device that fit in the palm of either of our hands. It felt like the future had fully arrived.

Again, thereʼs no internet connection, so blah blah fishcakes.


Another killer app for the iPhone was the fact that you no longer needed to carry both a mobile phone and an iPod with you. One tool to rule them all! Sure, mobile phones had music players in them before the iPhone. My Sony Ericsson M600i (as used by James Bond) had one. And guess what — it sucked. It crashed more often than Mobile Microsoft Word on that thing. The only way I could get it to reliably play music from the time I left work at WGN-TV to getting back home in the Loop was to wait for a full moon, swing a dead cat over my head three times, and hold my breath on the entire Brown Line ride home. If I made it to Clark and Lake without the phone rebooting itself, Iʼd stop by the bodega on the corner and buy a lottery ticket, because it was my lucky day.

An iPhone 3G rocking CoverFlow: The awesome iPhone feature that every music lover loved, but Apple took away in 2014.

Because the iPhone 3G cannot be updated beyond iPhone OS 4.2.1, the iPod app still has CoverFlow. This was the beeʼs knees to music enthusiasts. It was like flipping through your record albums anywhere on Earth. Sadly, Apple got sued over CoverFlow. And even though it won on appeal, for some reason Cupertino decided to yank the feature once Mr. Jobs was safely dead and notions of delighting audiophiles were swept out the door.

Google Maps

Hereʼs something completely unexpected. Google Maps works. Thereʼs no reason it should, since thereʼs no internet connection and the phone has been completely wiped so thereʼs no map cache. I can only guess that the app comes pre-loaded with a base set of common maps so that it doesnʼt have to rely on the eraʼs slow cellular data connections so much. When I get some time, Iʼll have to explore the limits of this. I expect it will be interesting.


The calendar app works, once you manually set the date and time in the Settings app. As with most calendar apps on a phone, thereʼs really no way to go right. Phones make for terrible calendars. An iPad is suitable. But thereʼs just not enough digital real estate on a phone screen to avoid making sacrifices.


The Photos app works. This appears to be the last photograph I ever took with this phone. Itʼs of Louis, in our apartment in Aqua. There was only a narrow window of time when we lived at Aqua, and Louis was still alive, so the photo must be from early 2011. On my end table in the background, you can see my original launch day iPhone playing music through a Sony radio. Itʼs the same radio that I plan to mate with this iPhone 3G to play music, and the reason I dug this phone out of my bucket oʼ gadgets.


The camera works, but man is it slow. The focus is awful. The exposure is terrible. There are only two buttons: One to take a picture, and one to show you the picture you just took. The images are 1,600x1,200 pixels. Thatʼs not quite two megapixels. The current iPhones take photos 6,048x8,064 pixels. Thatʼs 48 megapixels, or 24 times bigger than an iPhone 3G.


Itʼs hard to say if Weather might work if I was able to give this thing an internet connection. APIs change so often, itʼs possible that the iPhone 3G might be left out in the cold. Still, you could always access the weather onli… oh, wait.

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Notes works fine. But even if you had an internet connection, donʼt expect it to work with any of the notes that you have on your current iPhone or iPad or Mac. Note syncing is strictly between the phone and the computer. Though, itʼs possible that if you were to sync your modern iPhoneʼs notes with the same computer that they might migrate. At one time the Notes app stored its contents as simple IMAP data. Thatʼs why you used to be able to sync notes between devices with any old e-mail account acting as an intermediary. I believe that is still true today.


The clock works, but the time isnʼt perfect because I had to set it manually. And the time zones are probably not right anymore, since those things seem to change all the time. There hasnʼt been a change to the Daylight Saving rules in the United States since this phoneʼs last operating system update, so it should be fine as an alarm clock.


One plus one remains two.

To sum up, the iPhone 3G is a good phone, when it isnʼt neutered. And without an internet connection, its utility is significantly stunted. Iʼm going to try to remember to bring it with me when I go out some day to see if itʼs possible to find a public wifi access point thatʼs less persnickety about its security. Maybe at a cafe, or a hotel. Or perhaps in a library, or a community center, or a Metro bus, or some other cash-strapped municipal outpost that likely doesnʼt have the money to upgrade access points all the time. Or maybe Iʼll bring it with me to the parts of Mexico or Honduras or Nevada where Iʼve been recently where 3G networks are all thatʼs available. Perhaps then Iʼll be able to re-write this article with much more positive results.

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Lock it up

Wednesday, November 15th, 2023 Alive 19,195 days

A crashed iPhone

And then there are days when you unlock your phone, and your phone locks up.

Except for the screenshot function, which for some reason still works.

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Just MacBook; no “Pro”

Friday, November 3rd, 2023 Alive 19,183 days

If your computer is not able to run the latest version of macOS, and a program you bought through the App Store has a new version, the App Store program will helpfully allow you to download the latest version of that program in question that will run on your version of macOS.

Except that it doesnʼt work.

In the video above, you can see that I would like to update Microsoft Outlook on my Early 2015 MacBook. When I click Update, the App Store offers the sentence fragment “Download an older version of Microsoft Outlook?” But clicking Download does nothing.

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Quality is job 1.01

Friday, November 3rd, 2023 Alive 19,183 days

A text overflow on

Appleʼs support web site could use a little support.

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Suck it, Android

Thursday, November 2nd, 2023 Alive 19,182 days

A software update for a ten-year-old phone.

I know I pick on Apple a bit because of all of the technical flaws in its products. But thatʼs partly because Apple products are the ones I use most often, so Iʼm apt to run across problems with them most often. Itʼs also because Apple has enough money to make sure the sorts of things I run across donʼt happen.

But I also give credit where credit is due, and Apple should be given a laurel and hardy handshake for putting out a new version of iOS for one of my work phones: An iPhone 5🅂.

This is a phone that came out in September of 2013. Thatʼs more than ten years ago. When this phone was purchased, Pope Francis was still figuring out where the bathrooms were in the Vatican. I wonder if he brought one with him to pass the time.

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Secret errors

Monday, October 2nd, 2023 Alive 19,151 days

An inscrutable error message from macOS

The whole “unknown error” thing is really getting old. Older than the iPod Shuffle Iʼm trying to sync.

A trillion dollar company that lacks the Q.A. to let you know what went wrong.

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“Harmful if swallowed”

Wednesday, September 27th, 2023 Alive 19,146 days

A screenshot of a grocey list organized by macOS

MacOS Sonoma has a new feature that groups items in grocery lists by aisle, to make navigating the supermarket more efficient. Itʼs an interesting idea that needs a bit of help.

Based on what it put under “Beverages,” I think my computer is trying to kill me.

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How dare you not throw your tech away

Wednesday, September 27th, 2023 Alive 19,146 days

An unhelpful list from Apple

In order to continue, Apple says I have to update all of my Apple devices. Apple also says that a bunch of my devices cannot be updated.

Why not just tell me that I cannot continue because some of my devices are outdated? Why the passive aggression?

I still use my 2013 iPhone 5🅂 today, as we begin to round the corner into 2024. Right now it's playing music in the library. It still syncs fine with iTunes Apple Music Music Finder.

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You should be used to being dateless

Saturday, September 23rd, 2023 Alive 19,142 days

An out-of-bounds date picker

I can mostly understand a date picker that opens up beyond the boundaries of its containing window, if itʼs on a web page. But Reminders is a native macOS program that Apple includes with the operating system. It shouldnʼt open a date picker off the edge of the screen.

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The Soviet bread line of password resets

Monday, September 18th, 2023 Alive 19,137 days

Apple says to cool your jets

You cannot be in a hurry to reset an iTunes password. Itʼs simply not an option.

Two-factor authentication is so last Thursday. The new hotness in account security is leveraging temporal annoyance.

When you try to reset an iTunes password, not only do you have to wait an unknown amount of time to complete the process, you have to wait an entire extra day first to find out how long the process will take.

In my case, 24 hours after I got this message, I received an e-mail stating that it would take seven days before I would be allowed to reset my password. So eight days in total in order to regain access to all of my music from iTunes Japan.

It makes sense that scammers arenʼt going to be that patient. Their business model relies on the ability to flip and abuse an account nearly instantly, before the owner even knows something is happening. Eight days isnʼt going to fly on the dark web.

And to be fair, thereʼs no song in my iTunes Japan account that is so urgently needed that I have to listen to it right at this very moment, so I find all of this slow-motion hoop-jumping to be a curiosity. I expect there are other people who consider it an outrage.

But, true to its word, exactly seven days after I received the e-mail from Apple telling me Iʼd have to wait a week to change my password, another e-mail arrived with a link allowing me to do so. It took 192 hours, but at least the process just worked.™

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Space wars

Saturday, September 16th, 2023 Alive 19,135 days

Conflicting views of space

One Finder window says I have 54GB available. Another Finder window says I have 168GB available.

Itʼs no wonder that Finder has been reviled by Macintosh users since the 1980ʼs.

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Think of the computers!

Friday, September 15th, 2023 Alive 19,134 days

A screenshot from inside an iTunes music library

Appleʼs iTunes software has a habit of upgrading the music in a person's computer every once in a while, without telling them.

But if you're the sort of person who occasionally looks through one's file system, you see it in action, because anomalies arise when automation is allowed to make changes to something as arbitrary as music.

In the screenshot above, you can see the directory that stores a copy of the Tori Amos album American Doll Posse.

Of note is the song “Fat Slut,” which has been upgraded to “Fat S__t.”

The music isn't different. Mrs. Amos still shrieks, “Fat Slut!” into the microphone. But Apple has thoughtfully sanitized the song's file name to protect the sensitive circuits in its modern computers that might become offended by the term.

Nobody tell Fat Agnus.

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Insert snarky title here

Sunday, September 10th, 2023 Alive 19,129 days

A worrisome financial transaction

I donʼt know that Iʼve ever allowed a bit of placeholder text leak into production, but we all make mistakes.

Still, youʼd think that Apple Pay would have a regex or something somewhere to prevent this sort of thing.

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Friday, September 1st, 2023 Alive 19,120 days

This is what happens when you don't validate untrusted input

So, if I set up an iCloud e-mail address, all of the e-mail that everyone around the world sends without an address will come to me? That doesnʼt sound like fun at all.

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Dickhead move

Thursday, July 20th, 2023 Alive 19,077 days

A screenshot showing both albums in the same directory

When I purchased Kate Nashʼs album Made of Bricks from iTunes, it helpfully sanitized the filename of the song Dickhead so that my computer wouldnʼt be offended.

Then, sometime later, Appleʼs Music program — the successor to iTunes — upgraded the quality of the song, and at the same time kept the filename “Dickhead.” Iʼm sure my computer is clutching its digital pearls.

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Abraham Lincoln spins the hits!

Thursday, June 8th, 2023 Alive 19,035 days

Hereʼs my latest million-dollar idea.

Combine the power of audio deepfakes with the radio distribution capabilities of the internet to allow radio listeners to pick their own disc jockeys.

It came to me when I was pondering Appleʼs new assistive technology to allow people to respond to messages by typing the response, but delivering it in their own voice. Apple calls it “Personal Voice,” and itʼs coming to iPhones better than the one I have.

By combining Appleʼs Personal voice with the voice-tracking software already in use by radio stations, listeners could get not only the music they want, but also the presenters they prefer.

So instead of having to suffer through the affectations and vocal fry of the latest too-cool-for-school D.J. on Sirius XMU, with the push of a button, you could have Sluggo from First Wave telling you about Björkʼs new tour. Or, instead of the inaudible never-thee-care mumbling of a KCNV/Las Vegas classical announcer, you could have the clarity and diction of David Attenborough explaining the historical significance of Tchaikovskyʼs Dances of the Hay Maidens.

Iʼll leave it up to the radio companies and the announcers unions to decide how semi-synthetic D.J.ʼs get compensated.

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Dumb terminals

Wednesday, May 31st, 2023 Alive 19,027 days

I am both impressed and disappointed with macOS.

I set up a new user account so that I could telnet in to a macOS box to perform certain tasks that can only be done via telnet, and with a CLI.

Not surprisingly, in 2023, macOS doesn't come with terminal definitions for a TRS-80 Model 100. It's a 40-year-old machine, so it makes sense that I would have to build my own. Which I did.

But as I was doing so, I noticed that macOS still comes with terminal definitions for far older, and more obscure computers than the one I'm connecting to it with.

  • Altos machines
  • Amigas
  • Apple Lisas (natch)
  • 85 types of AT&T terminals
  • C. Itoh (I didn't even know C. Itoh made computers)
  • Commodore B-128s
  • HeathKits
  • I.B.M. computers running Aixterm in Japanese
  • Microbees
  • Minitels
  • Dozens of NCR terminals
  • Several types of Kaypros
  • Four types of Zenith machines

Granted, these terminal definitions are just part of the stock set that is packed in with many Unixes. But I still find it surprising that after a half-century, these files continue to proliferate, and still exist, even though the number of people who would use them is basically zero.

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Go figure

Monday, April 10th, 2023 Alive 18,976 days

An anonymized stick figure on Apple Maps

Among tech companies, Apple has a reputation for being the tightest with protecting peopleʼs privacy. Apparently, that extends to stick people on road signs.

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Even worse — Itʼs on Verizon

Friday, March 31st, 2023 Alive 18,966 days

An outdated Samsung thinking everything is just fine

Today, Apple released a software update for my iPhone 6, which came out in September of 2014. That means this latest software update is for a phone that came out 100 months ago.

I also pulled out my Samsung Galaxy S7 to see if it had a software update. Nope. It stopped getting software updates in January of 2021. That means it only got software updates for 57 months — about half as long as the iPhone.

Sounds like a good reason to avoid Samsung phones.

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Friday, March 24th, 2023 Alive 18,959 days

A screenshot of Little Snitch

One of Appleʼs edge servers is called “Croissant.”

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How many notes per unit?

Saturday, January 21st, 2023 Alive 18,897 days

A screenshot from iTunes

It may be a symptom of age that I looked at this album on iTunes Japan and thought, “Eldo is the better song, but Halo is over six minutes long for the same price!”

For what itʼs worth, Eldo costs 2¥ per second, while Halo costs a little over ½¥ per second. So Halo is clearly the better value, even though Eldo is more popular.

Disgusted with myself, I bought neither.

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Donʼt sweat the details

Friday, January 20th, 2023 Alive 18,896 days

Silicon Valley tech companies gotta Silicon Valley. Amirite?

Apple has a new version of its HomePod device available. Much like most of its previous devices, itʼs built for people who live in the greater San Francisco area, where the weather is largely placid, boring and uneventful. In other words — entirely unlike most of the rest of the planet.

The web page about the new HomePod includes this footnote about its temperature and humidity sensors:

Temperature and humidity sensing is optimized for indoor, domestic settings, when ambient temperatures are around 15°C to 30°C and relative humidity is around 30% to 70%.

Well, 15°C is 59 degrees. How often do people let it get down to 59 degrees in their homes? All the time.

There is no shortage of basements in places like Green Bay, Minneapolis, and the entire nation of Canada where people have a basement that has been kitted out as a family room, or a den, or a home office and that remains unheated most of the year. One of Appleʼs scenarios for using the HomePod temperature sensor is that it can be paired with other HomeKit gear to automatically turn on a heater if it gets too cold. Great. Except that if your chosen temperature for activating the heat in your unused basement or attic rec room is below 59°, Apple admits itʼs not going to be reliable.

On the hot side, OK, itʼs unusual to have an indoor temperature above 86°. But Iʼve had it in my house many times when the humidity was low and I lived in the desert. Many days in the spring and fall when Iʼd have the windows wide open enjoying the warm breeze and low humidity, the indoor temperature would get to 86°. If the cat was sleeping, that was fine. Sheʼd eventually wake up and start complaining, and Iʼd have to close the windows and bring the temperature down to 80-ish for her. But thatʼs to be expected, since she wears a fur coat. If I didnʼt have the cat, Iʼd probably have the temperature higher. And Iʼm not alone. Thereʼs a reason millions of people retire to hot places.

The humidity range is oddly narrow, too. Iʼm sure that 30% humidity is bone-crackingly dry in Cupertino. In Nevada, itʼs a bit clammy. When I lived there, the outdoor humidity reported by the National Weather Service was regularly in the single digits. And both of my indoor humidity sensors almost always showed readings well below 30%. Both of them appeared to have the same sensor under the hood, since they both stopped reporting humidity at 10%. These werenʼt expensive high-tech scientific humidity sensors. One I bought at the Apple Store for about $100. The other came from the supermarket, and cost about ten bucks. But it was perfectly happy reporting humidity far lower than what Apple considers reliable for its equipment.

Living in the Bay Area, Apple employees canʼt possible envision indoor humidity above 70%, but guess what — thatʼs a perfectly ordinary occurrence in most of the southern United States, including Florida, New Orleans, and Houston — the fourth-largest city in the nation. According to my HomeKit-connected humidity sensor, the humidity inside my house has been over 80% five times in the last two months.

All of this continues a pattern at Apple of designing products that only work well in the very specific, very ordinary weather conditions of Silicon Valley. Things like iPod headphone cords that get brittle in a Chicago winter, and iPhones that shut themselves off in temperatures that are common for millions of people who live in desert environments.

Apple has the money, the resources, and the people to do better. Why it chooses not to remains unclear.

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Nothing is new

Thursday, January 19th, 2023 Alive 18,895 days

An advertisement for an augmented reality headset in the January, 1989 issue of Portable 100

Google Glass? Apple realityOS? Noobs all around.

Reflection Technology was doing augmented reality 35 years ago.

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And the price hasnʼt changed, either

Friday, December 2nd, 2022 Alive 18,847 days

A screenshot of the film Trading Places

In the 1983 movie Trading Places, Don Ameche can be seen reading a Wall Street Journal. The back page has an ad for the Apple ][ and Apple /// with the line “The first problem they solve is what to give for Christmas.”

Thatʼs just as true today, 39 years later, as it was then.

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Saturday, November 26th, 2022 Alive 18,841 days

Mr: “Hey, Siri, add pretzels to my groceries list.”

Siri: “Who is speaking?”

Me: “Wayne”

Siri: “Sure. Here's home music picked just for you.”

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Itʼs the only way to be sure

Thursday, November 3rd, 2022 Alive 18,818 days

A screenshot of macOS offering an upgrade to macOS 13/Ventura

Upgrading macOS on a headless Mac is an iffy proposition. The last time I did this, I ended up nuking the whole machine and restoring from a backup.

If it works, Iʼll go across the street and buy a lottery ticket.

30 minutes later…

The macOS installer locked up before even starting.
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Yes, I mean no

Saturday, October 29th, 2022 Alive 18,813 days

The new checkmark control in Appleʼs Stocks program

Hereʼs an odd design choice. In macOS 13/Ventura, the Stocks program allows you to add a stock youʼre viewing to your watch list. To do that, you press the + button. To remove a stock from your watch list you press the checkmark button.

In my lifetime, a checkmark has always meant something along the lines of “yes” or “confirm” or something else affirmative. Using a check to remove something — an inherently negative action — is counterintuitive to me.

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Hold my place

Friday, October 28th, 2022 Alive 18,812 days

iPadOS 16 canʼt find an icon

iPadOS 16 may not be quite ready for prime time. At least not the part of it that only shows an icon placeholder graphic when you try to do math with it.

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How about “An unknown error occurred?”

Wednesday, October 26th, 2022 Alive 18,810 days

iOS gives an inscrutable error message

Thanks, iOS 16. Can you be a little more vague?

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Just call

Tuesday, October 25th, 2022 Alive 18,809 days

Conflicting information from Apple Maps

The Marberger Farm Antique Show is permanently closed, according to Apple Maps. Itʼs also open for business, according to Apple Maps.

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The ants got it

Tuesday, October 25th, 2022 Alive 18,809 days

macOS Software Update showing the emergency backup operating system icon

When something goes wrong and macOS canʼt find the correct icon for an operating system update, it uses a paper plate with “mac OS” written on it.

Now you know.

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Iʼll get a sweater

Tuesday, October 25th, 2022 Alive 18,809 days

A pretend weather forecast for the North Pole

This is not a real weather forecast for the North Pole. Itʼs what CARROT³ does when it canʼt connect to the intarwebs to find out what the weather is. Cheeky, as expected from CARROT³.

The cause of the network issue was a firewall called Little Snitch from Objective Development in Austria. I use it to marvel at the dozens and dozens of data hoarding companies that try to extract information from my computer without my knowledge or consent. Unfortunately, it doesnʼt play nice with the latest version of macOS, so when I upgraded to 13.0, I was inexplicably unable to move data through any network connection, wired or otherwise, even with Little Snitch turned off.

The solution is to reboot into Safe Mode, then drop the Little Snitch program in the trash, and reboot. To my delight, just moving the program into the trash is enough to uninstall system extension these days, which is nice.

I checked Objective Developmentʼs web site, and in true Austrian fashion, it blames Apple for the problem. If I have to choose between not using Little Snitch and not using my computer at all, itʼs an easy choice to make.

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Is it Svørjfunbsn already?

Monday, October 17th, 2022 Alive 18,801 days

A confused iPhone lock screen

Today is Monday, October 17. My iPhone wants to tell me that in several languages, all at once.

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Not Sony; the other M2

Saturday, October 15th, 2022 Alive 18,799 days

Progress bar from Handbrake

If youʼre able to rip a DVD at over 800 frames per second on a laptop, you may have an M2 MacBook Pro.

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Warm fuzzy logic

Wednesday, September 28th, 2022 Alive 18,782 days

A high temperature warning from my iPhone

It's nice that iOS 16 lets people know the phone is too hot when it does things. It used to do things, but not tell you.

When I lived in the desert, just having an iPhone in your pocket or on a table could sometimes cause the phone to turn itself off. If you were lucky, you'd see something very quickly appear on the screen about “Entering thermal shutdown” or some such. A minute later, you were out in the desert without a working phone.

Apple, and most tech companies, build their products for the environment where Apple, and most tech companies, are located — San Francisco. When I talk to tech people who work at these companies, sometimes they simply cannot wrap their brains around weather conditions that are commonplace elsewhere.

Another example is iPhone wired headphones. Theyʼre made with plastic that gets brittle in the cold. Of course, when youʼre bundled up against the cold is when you need your headphones the most. That was how I learned about Bluetooth headphones, and got a set of Sony headphones for use with my SonyEricsson M600c when commuting on the CTA in the middle of the night during Chicago winters. Apple wouldnʼt make its own wireless headphones until over a decade later.

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Still better than %NaN%

Saturday, September 17th, 2022 Alive 18,771 days

Bad data during iOS 16 setup

I guess someone on the iOS 16 team at Apple didnʼt check for NULL before shoving the date data into the string formatter. The lesson is, of course, that while you never trust external data, sometimes you can't trust internal data, either.

Still, Apple is the single largest company on the planet right now. If it canʼt do software, what chance do I have?

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Sunday, August 14th, 2022 Alive 18,737 days

Picture of a Chinese city in the Apple Maps entry for Midland, Texas

Crowdsourcing used to be all the rage in the tech industry. It was a way to get content for your project for free. Use your automation system to ask enough people for content, and some small percentage will happy oblige. The problem with crowdsourcing is quality control.

If you let anyone contribute anything, anyone will contribute anything. I once built a crowdsourced system for people to share photographs of landmarks. A significant percentage of the photos contributed were people standing in front of a camera holding up their resumes, presumably hoping that someone searching for a photo of the Berlin Wall might magically hire them to write code in India.

In the example above, we see the result of two levels of folly. Getty Images allows anyone to upload photographs to its system in order to sell those pictures to other people. That's the crowdsourcing. Then Apple outsourced photography for Apple Maps to a bunch of entities, including Wikipedia, TripAdvisor, and also Getty Images.

The result is a photo of a city in China among the photographs that are supposed to depict the West Texas city of Midland.

Never trust content you don't control.

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Can't get there from here

Friday, July 29th, 2022 Alive 18,721 days

Me: “Hey, Siri, stop the music.”

Siri: “Sorry, Wayne. I'm unable to stop.”

Really? It's only R.E.M. It's not like you can dance to it.

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Speak directly into the horn

Saturday, July 23rd, 2022 Alive 18,715 days

Me (to the HomePod three feet in front of me): “Hey, Siri, is it going to rain today?”

A different HomePod (three rooms away): “-mumble- -mumble- -mumble- -something- -mumble-

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They should call it ToiletTime

Sunday, July 17th, 2022 Alive 18,709 days

Screen time screenshot

Today, Siri informed me that I use my phone an average of 19 hours and 22 minutes per day. Either Siri is wrong, or I really need to eat more fiber.

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Support hosed

Saturday, July 16th, 2022 Alive 18,708 days

Citibank telling me to get stuffed

Today I learned from tech support at Citibank that Safari is not supported for “security reasons.” She recommended that I use the vastly less-secure Google Chrome browser, instead.

Good job, Citibank.

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Friday, July 1st, 2022 Alive 18,693 days

macOS Montgomery installing very slowly

My headless M1 Mac Mini crashed hard, so I had to hook up a monitor and re-install macOS Monterrey, which after 30 minutes helpfully tells me, “About a minute remaining.”

And by “About a minute” it meant a little under three hours.

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Keep your hands out of your pockets

Wednesday, April 13th, 2022 Alive 18,614 days

My iPhone telling me it helpfully called 911 on my behalf

Reason number 4,096 not to absent-mindedly push buttons on your iPhone while itʼs in your pocket.

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Button pusher

Tuesday, April 12th, 2022 Alive 18,613 days

A glitched iPhone screen

You know youʼre far away from home, when the seven Home buttons that control your lights and things go away on your iPhone.

It would be less disturbing for there to be a message like “Canʼt connect to your home right now,” rather than just making them disappear.

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Monday, November 1st, 2021 Alive 18,451 days

The tech world in 2021:

  • Meta wants to be the new Google
  • Google wants to be the new Microsoft
  • Microsoft wants to be the new Oracle
  • Oracle wants to be the new IBM


  • Apple wants to be the new Sony
  • wants to be the new Sears

Nothing is new.

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Do Not Localize

Monday, November 1st, 2021 Alive 18,451 days

Botched localization in macOS

If Apple can't get localization right, what chance to the rest of us have?

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What did you do to your keys?

Thursday, October 28th, 2021 Alive 18,447 days

My new computer on the left, and my old computer on thr right

I got a new computer today. Itʼs hard to believe that Iʼve been using my old computer for (math… math… math…) eleven years.

That wee machine has been with me through a dozen homes and another dozen countries, from Turkey to Japan to exotic Canada. Iʼd miss it, if the new one wasnʼt so much better.

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Sour Apple

Monday, October 18th, 2021 Alive 18,437 days

An error message from Apple

If the single largest technology company on the planet canʼt keep its web site from upchucking, what chance do I have?

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No longer trying

Saturday, July 31st, 2021 Alive 18,358 days

A screenshot of a failed discussion with an Apple Card chatbot

When the Apple Card launched, it had the most amazing customer service.

Two years later, itʼs a smoldering pile of garbage.

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So swipe the other way

Friday, June 4th, 2021 Alive 18,301 days

A malfunctioning iPhone screen

I swiped up to unlock, and instead the screen sort-of half swiped left. The lock icon, the unlock instructions, the wallpaper, and a dark overlay moved left, revealing another copy of the wallpaper underneath. Meanwhile, the time, the music panel, and the quick keys stayed put.

Fortunately, all was solved ten seconds later when the phone shit itself and rebooted.

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Any second now

Tuesday, May 25th, 2021 Alive 18,291 days

A progress notice from iPadOS

And by “0 seconds,” iPadOS means “Several minutes.”

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Records still work fine

Wednesday, May 19th, 2021 Alive 18,285 days

An error message from Apple Music

If the single largest company on the planet canʼt keep its services from fudging their Huggies, what chance do I have?

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Left, right, left, right

Sunday, May 16th, 2021 Alive 18,282 days

I went for a walk today. And like a basset hound with a thyroid condition, I can use all the walkies I can get.

On the way home, my watch pinged me with “It looks like you went outside for a walk. Congratulations!” I pushed the wrong buttons trying to take a screenshot, and the message went away. If a smart watch is a jerk to you in a crosswalk and nobody sees it, can you still rant about it?

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Nerd alert!

Sunday, May 16th, 2021 Alive 18,282 days

A new M1 Mac Mini

My new media server is here!

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Good for me, not for thee

Friday, May 14th, 2021 Alive 18,280 days

Apple spamming my iPhone

iOS Apps are not allowed to use push messaging for advertising. Unless itʼs an Apple app. Then itʼs perfectly fine.

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Saturday, May 8th, 2021 Alive 18,274 days

What if Apple didnʼt release a new iPhone this year? What harm would be done? Why not skip a year of inconsequential changes, and bring us a bigger change in 2023?

Does the world really need another iPhone? Maybe the iPhone designers deserve a rest.

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Define “level”

Friday, May 7th, 2021 Alive 18,273 days

An advertisement for Apple Fitness+ in the iOS Settings app

In the Epic Games monopoly lawsuit, Apple claims it offers a level playing field for all developers.

Great! How do I get an ad for my app inside of Settings?

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Wednesday, April 28th, 2021 Alive 18,264 days

Siri still shits herself if you ask to change the volume and you have more than one HomePod.

But thank God the latest iOS update has 30 new bearded lady emojis. Carnival sideshows everywhere are weeping with joy.

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He is from Delaware

Saturday, April 24th, 2021 Alive 18,260 days

Me: “Hey, #Siri, put Hamburger Helper on my groceries list.”

Siri: “Who is speaking?”

Me: “Joe Biden.”

Siri: “OK, Iʼve added it to your groceries list.”

I sure hope the president likes Hamburger Helper.

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Sunday, April 18th, 2021 Alive 18,254 days

The 2GB/Sydney logo

More proof that Apple is trapped in the Silicon Valley bubble:

Me: “Hey, Siri, play 2GB [two-gee-bee] radio.”

Siri: “Now playing two gigabytes eight hundred seventy three...”

Itʼs only the biggest radio station in the largest city on the continent of Australia.

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Theyʼre right here at

Monday, March 22nd, 2021 Alive 18,227 days

A mysterious object

Not only does Appleʼs Find My app not know where my AirPods are, it doesnʼt even know what to call them.

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Greed kills

Sunday, February 28th, 2021 Alive 18,205 days

We interrupt your iPad for this commercial message from Apple

In 2006 and 2007, Steve Jobs famously fought the big cell phone companies because he knew in-device ads would ruin the iPhone experience.

With Tim Cook, the most important thing is whatever makes money.

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Why is this acceptable?

Sunday, February 14th, 2021 Alive 18,191 days

An error message from an Apple HomePod

A piece of expensive high-tech equipment didnʼt work right in 2021? Shocking!

The error message makes no sense? Thatʼs impossible!

Oh well, Iʼll just look up error number -6753 in the imaginary manual that didnʼt come with the HomePod, and also doesnʼt exist online, or anywhere else.

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Saturday, February 6th, 2021 Alive 18,183 days

Me: “Hey, Siri, turn on the foyer lamp.”

Siri: “Playing all songs.”

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Friday, February 5th, 2021 Alive 18,182 days

Hacker News: “Apple wonʼt let me install the software I want!"

Also Hacker News: “Homebrew is awesome!”

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Wednesday, January 27th, 2021 Alive 18,173 days

Today I learned that Appleʼs HomePod canʼt play the music you own, stored on your own Mac, in your own home, even with so-called “Home Sharing” enabled.

After 10 years of “Rip, Mix, Burn” can you imagine someone telling Steve Jobs, “We have this new music gadget, but you canʼt play any of the music you own on it.” Only rental music.

Someone would be fired before he even finished that sentence.

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Wednesday, January 27th, 2021 Alive 18,173 days

Me: “Hey, Siri, turn it down.”

HomePod: “Sorry. There as a problem adjusting volume.”

This is what we used to call “Not ready for Prime Time.”

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Wednesday, January 27th, 2021 Alive 18,173 days

Analytics from my HomePod

Today I learned that not only does my HomePod run Apple TVOS, its firmware has a “Bogus Field Not Actually Ever Used,” and a “Bogus Measure Not Actually Ever Used.”

The use of “bogus” confirms the “Designed in California” label.

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Tuesday, January 26th, 2021 Alive 18,172 days

Rubbed keys on a MacBook Air

Using a MacBook Air as your main machine for almost 10 years really gives you a sense of which letters you type most often.

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Click that wheel

Thursday, January 21st, 2021 Alive 18,167 days

Ms. Pac-Man running on an iPod Video

Sixteen years later, this is still one of the best Ms. Pac-Man ports ever made.

It takes a couple of minutes to get used to controlling her with the click wheel, but once you get the hang of it, a 2005 iPod Video makes a great ultra-portable gaming machine.

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Broken apple

Saturday, January 16th, 2021 Alive 18,162 days

An error message from Appleʼs web site

It looks like I broke Apple again.

Can someone turn Apple off, then turn it on again?

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Need $1,000,000,000,001

Monday, January 4th, 2021 Alive 18,150 days

Spam from Apple

Itʼs bad enough that Apple chooses to show ads inside the iOS Settings app, but this is the sixth time today itʼs spammed me inside the Apple Music app.

Youʼve already got a trillion dollars, Apple. Can I just use the device Iʼve already paid for, please?

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Saturday, December 5th, 2020 Alive 18,120 days

A screenshot of Appleʼs Home app

How does Appleʼs Home app not have a Christmas tree icon?

That seems like a pretty basic thing for a remote-controlled light switch.

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I know you are, but what am I?

Friday, October 2nd, 2020 Alive 18,056 days

Me: “Hey, Siri put ‘Cut lawn’ on my ‘Outside’ list.”

Siri: “You donʼt have an ‘Outside’ list. Do you want me to create one?”

Me: “Yes.”

Siri: “You donʼt have an ‘Outside’ list. Do you want me to create one?”

Me: “Yes.”

Siri: “You donʼt have an ‘Outside’ list. Do you want me to create one?”

Me: “Yes.”

Iʼm tired of tech bullshit that never works. Iʼm going back to lists on paper. It Just Works™

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Friday, October 2nd, 2020 Alive 18,056 days

Me: “Hey, Siri, put ‘toothpaste’ on my ‘Shopping’ list.”

Siri: “Youʼll have to unlock your iPhone first.”

If I was near my iPhone, Iʼd just put toothpaste on the list myself.

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But Tim Cooks needs a third boat

Sunday, September 13th, 2020 Alive 18,037 days

iPhone spam from Apple

It is against Appleʼs App Store rules to use notifications for advertising.

Apparently, Apple has exempted itself from those rules.

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A small request

Sunday, June 28th, 2020 Alive 17,960 days

An impossibly small font in Apple Maps

Why do so many Apple programs use five-pixel-tall fonts? Who thinks these are a good idea? Even back in Commodore 64 days, we knew that nobody could read a five pixel font.

You donʼt have to be visually impaired, elderly, or even drunk for these to be completely unreadable on a computer screen.

For all the puffery that comes out of Apple about accessibility and inclusiveness, this has to stop.

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Information overload

Thursday, June 18th, 2020 Alive 17,950 days

Overlapping information in Appleʼs Mail program

Two mistakes on the same iOS Mail screen.

If only Apple had a trillion or so dollars to put into quality control.

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Wording be hard

Saturday, June 6th, 2020 Alive 17,938 days

Bad grammar from macOS Safari

Itʼs “downloads from,” not “downloads on.”

Youʼre a trillion-dollar company, not a startup, Apple. You donʼt get a pass on basic grammar.

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Sending a message

Monday, February 24th, 2020 Alive 17,835 days

A malformed progress box in iTunes

If Apple canʼt make its programs work, what chance do I… oh, wait. Itʼs iTunes. This is probably an improvement.

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Thursday, February 20th, 2020 Alive 17,831 days

The iOS spell checked flagging the spelling of “Van Buren”

The iOS spell checker doesnʼt know the name of the eighth president of the United States.

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Lowered genius bar

Tuesday, January 14th, 2020 Alive 17,794 days

I happened to be in an Apple Store when an iPhone training session was going on.

The “Genius” told his audience that 1080p means “A thousand pixels per square inch,” and that 4K means “four times as many!”

Ummm… no.

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Should have listened to the Fiat GPS

Monday, October 21st, 2019 Alive 17,709 days

A dirt road across the Nevada desert

Dear Apple Maps,

This is not State Highway 87.

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Go ahead and smoke it

Saturday, September 28th, 2019 Alive 17,686 days

An iPod Shuffle

I brought my 14-year-old iPod Shuffle to work to see how it works (flawlessly) and how long the battery lasts (all day+).

The office millennial asked, “Is that a Juul?”

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Sunday, September 1st, 2019 Alive 17,659 days

It turns out that Tide Dry Cleaners canʼt handle the Apple Card via Apple Pay.

The card terminal says “Approved,” but the POS system rejects it immediately after.

The physical card works OK. And other cards work fine via Apple Pay. Itʼs just the Apple Card that is giving it fits.

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It can taste titanium?

Sunday, August 25th, 2019 Alive 17,652 days

Today I learned that Albertsons supermarkets wonʼt accept the Apple Card via Apple Pay.

Using other cards via Apple Pay works fine, but Albertsonsʼ POS system throws an error with the Apple Card. “This type of card is not accepted.”

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Is cash legible?

Saturday, August 24th, 2019 Alive 17,651 days

An error message from the parking machine at McCarren International Airport

It turns out that the parking payment machines at the Las Vegas airport canʼt handle Apple Cards at all.

Thereʼs no NFC option, and the physical card is rejected with an “Illegible card” error.

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Saturday, June 29th, 2019 Alive 17,595 days

A grabby stick at the Apple Store

What do the Apple Store, and a 70-year-old grandmotherʼs home have in common?

The grabby stick!

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Sunday, November 4th, 2018 Alive 17,358 days

An iPhone, and an iPhone X

For some reason I broke out Darcieʼs original 2007 iPhone. Works fine, except web browsing is a mess. So much smaller, thicker, and heavier than a current phone, but it just feels good to hold. Nice and solid. And it has places to grip it that arenʼt the screen.

Iʼm not a big fan of all-glass phones.

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Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018 Alive 17,346 days

Today I learned that the IT guy who wouldnʼt allow Macs or iPhones on the corporate network at a former employer because “Macs are stupid” is now free to peddle his “Windows rulz!” bullshit full time in the unemployment line because he refused to take Macintosh/Unix networking classes.

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Monday, October 8th, 2018 Alive 17,331 days

Mitchell Mesa, on the Navajo Nation

Mitchell Mesa at sunrise looks like a Apple wallpaper.

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Monday, September 24th, 2018 Alive 17,317 days

A six-pixel-tall font in Apple News

I love Apple News on the iPhone, but on macOS, it uses a six-pixel-tall font. And most headlines are just ten pixels tall, with no way to scale them.

Itʼs unusable by anyone past puberty.

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Monday, September 24th, 2018 Alive 17,317 days

macOS Mojave installation screen

I guess if itʼs called “Mojave,” Iʼm kinda obligated to try it out.

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Saturday, September 22nd, 2018 Alive 17,315 days

A lady watching stripper videos in line at the Apple Store

If the lady ahead of you in line at the Apple Store to pick up a new iPhone is watching stripper videos on Instagram, you might be in Las Vegas.

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Friday, September 21st, 2018 Alive 17,314 days

What appears to be the correct footwear for standing in line

I never know which shoes to wear to stand in line at the Apple Store. Iʼm glad someone has confidence in her footwear choices.

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Friday, September 21st, 2018 Alive 17,314 days

Apple snack delivery

A hundred people in the stand-by line to maybe, possibly, potentially buy an iPhone if there are any left at the end of the day. Two hundred people in this line for people who pre-paid and have an appointment to pick one up. We get snacks.

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Monday, September 17th, 2018 Alive 17,310 days

A screenshot from Apple Map

Apple Maps has Interstate 11 on it just weeks after the freeway that Obama tried to kill opened.

Apple even has satellite photographs. Those brown perpendicular things are tunnels so that big horn sheep and desert tortoises donʼt cross the freeway. Each is monitored by cameras and computers tally the number of critters using them.

Apparently the sheep learn quickly because the newspaper says thereʼs already several dozen using it per day.

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Sunday, August 5th, 2018 Alive 17,267 days

The United Arab Emirates screensaver on AppleTV

Does the AppleTV UAE desert screen saver look like kettle chips, or am I just hungry?

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Thursday, July 26th, 2018 Alive 17,257 days

The macOS calculator

Today I learned that macOS has a programmerʼs calculator built-in. And has since 1992. Doh!

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Tuesday, July 10th, 2018 Alive 17,241 days

I wonder how many times someoneʼs said aloud, “Hey, Siri, *buuuuuuuuuuuurp!*

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Monday, July 2nd, 2018 Alive 17,233 days

An iDisk icon

Itʼs been six years since Apple discontinued .mac. I guess I can get rid of the WebDAV bookmark now.

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Five bars are not enough

Friday, June 8th, 2018 Alive 17,209 days

A failed telephone call

Smartphones are great at being “smart.” Theyʼre not always very good at the whole “phone” part.

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Tuesday, September 14th, 2010 Alive 14,385 days

I had a job interview at the Apple Store today. It didnʼt go well.

It started out ordinarily enough. I went into the Bellevue Square store with a printout of the managerʼs e-mail inviting me in for an interview. In a few minutes, he came out from the back, we introduced ourselves, and we went into the hallway for the interview.

It wasnʼt the chairs that made the interview uncomfortable. At least, not for me. It was the fact that we were having a job interview in the middle of a mall walkway, with members of the public walking by or even lingering at store windows. Iʼve always believed that H.R. functions were supposed to be private. I assumed the interview would be in a back office or something.

The interview ended rather quickly after we started discussing the iPod. He asked me if I had any experience with Appleʼs flagship bit of consumer electronics. I said something along the lines of, “Yeah, lots. Iʼve had an iPod all the way back to the first one with the Firewire port.”

I donʼt know what it was about “Firewire” that set him off, but he decided right then that I didnʼt know thing one about computers in general or Apple, in particular.

He was adamant that the iPod never had a Firewire port. I countered that while itʼs true that current iPods have USB ports, but the original ones did. I explained that Apple switched from Firewire to USB in order to make it available to Windows computers, which — except for Sony machines — almost never have Firewire. I should know, because I owned one of the first iPods, and plugged it into my wifeʼs iBook via Firewire.

No. No. No. No. No. But not even “No” in the sense of a polite “You must be mistaken.” He was indignant, almost to the point of raising his voice.

He ended the interview, and for the first time in my life I was told to my face that I didnʼt get the job. No “Donʼt call us, weʼll call you” vagueness. Just, “Youʼre not getting this job.”

I really didnʼt think I was losing my mind, so I went up the street to the Starbucks inside Barnes and Noble, pulled out my MacBook Air, and hit the Wayback Machine.

Pulling up the web pages about the iPod published in November of 2001 shows that my memory is not faulty:

Super-fast FireWire auto-updating

When you first plug iPod into your Mac, all of your iTunes songs and playlists are automatically downloaded into iPod at blazing FireWire speed. Then, when you add new music or rearrange playlists in iTunes, simply plug iPod back in and it’s automatically updated in seconds. It simply doesn’t get any easier or faster than this. You can download an entire CD in less than 10 seconds. Or 1,000 songs in under 10 minutes. Plus, iPod automatically charges whenever you’re connected and your Mac is on.

The Apple web site also included a helpful image of an iBook plugged into an iPod with a Firewire cable, and the iPod displaying the Firewire symbol on its screen:

An iPod plugged in to an iBook via Firewire, from

In the end, it doesnʼt matter what the truth is, or whether I was right or not. Heʼs the manager of his Apple Store, so it is his version of history that the employees must conform to.

Maybe I should dig my old Firewire iPod out of the box in the hall closet and bring it in to his store for a repair.

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