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Posts tagged ‘Apple’


Seriously Apple?

Last week my wife was complaining that the Apple TV had problems streaming her videos over Airplay. Eventually it turned out that the Airport Express (2012) was not working anymore. I used it to extend the wireless network because my Airport Extreme cannot reach the living room. The only problem was that I had no clue why it suddenly stopped nor did anything in the Airport Utility indicate any problems except that it stated it could not extend the network.

After a long googling session I seemed that the Airport Utility 6 had one flag missing – the one to allow to extend the network. Even if that is true I still have no idea why this stopped now because I upgraded to Airport utility 6 a while back. I also read that the only way to fix it is to install Airport Utility 5.6 but that is only available for Lion and I am running on Mountain Lion. A downgrade failed and so I was nearly giving up.

Eventually I found an Automator script that would allow me to install 5.6 by extracting it manually. On my MacBook Air it failed because on that machine the default extraction tool in not the Archive Utility but BetterZip. Copying the entire stuff over to another box and voile it worked. Then I only had to make a small change and update the Base Station (Airport Extreme) and voila everything worked again.

Looking at the post inside the Apple Community about this issue this seems to be quite old (September 22nd 2012). So, I am wondering what the heck Apple is doing. Why can this flag not be added to Airport Utility and if not why is Airport Utility 6 suddenly make extending the network fail.

So much for “it just works” – Apple


Annotate Screenshots in Mountain Lion is Super Easy

I often have to create documentation with screenshots of web pages or applications. In order to make it easier for a reader to focus on what is important I want to annotate the image with ovals, rectangles or text. So far this was not very easy but by pure luck I figured out a quit fast and easy solution which does not to require to create temporary files.

These are the steps:

  1. Create a screenshot to the clipboard (Shift-Control-Command-4) and optionally you can then hit the spacebar to select a window
  2. Go to Preview (open it if not yet done)
  3. Create new document (Command-N) => the image from the clipboard is placed automatically into the window
  4. Annotate (like Control-Command-R) the image
  5. If needed select all (Command-A)
  6. Copy the image (Command-C)
  7. Go to the target App (Nisus Writer, Pages etc)
  8. Paste the image (Command-V)

The only annoying step is that I have to “delete” the image in Preview afterwards but that can be done at the end.


I can also copy an image from the target document or from another source like Safari etc.


Happy documenting – Andy


My Long Road to Enlightenment

When I got the news that Steve passed away it struck me as someone would suck out most of my energy. It isn’t that it was unexpected but rather that I hopped to see him watching over Apple a little bit longer. Even though I had a lot of respect for Steve since I learned about Apple 25 years ago I never had much appreciation of Apple until 6 years ago. Isn’t it funny that I an admire a person but still loath his company. But let’s get back.

The first time I ran into Apple was when I started to code my first games on a VC 20 and later TI/99 where there were also listings for Apple II. I never bought it because I took over the Atari ST-1024 from my brother and that was such a nice computer with a crystal clear monitor. With the Atari I learned so much about data structures, learned to program in C and Assembler on the Motorola 68000. Because there were no classes around I had to teach myself which I still do today because I work often in either bleeding edge technologies or less common software where it is hard to get information about them. Then on the Atari there were some Emulators available for the Macintosh but these all failed because Apple tried to prevent anyone to run the Mac OS on any other platform. I might have bought an Mac there if I could have got a glimpse of what the Mac was all about.

Before I went to College I made a few trips to the US and on the first we, my wife and I, went to Palo Alto (computer nerd destination). I bought a PC laptop there but I also got a tour of the Next computer. This was like Computer heaven. During the discussion I said that this would never work in Switzerland because it is way too much ahead of its time and it was but I would see it again later in form of Mac OS X.

A few years later when I went to college I had a chance to work on a Mac and it was easy because the UI was similar to Atari TOS / GEM and because of the same CPU the crashes where the same (two bombs for an Address and tree for a Bus error (or vice versa)). Because of the unstable applications and some of the perks of Mac I never considered then to buy a Mac at all.

Eventually I became a professional software developer and started to work for DEC (Digital Equipment Cooperation) while I was still in College. There I became a certified Microsoft System Engineer and learned a lot about Unix services (see the irony) including TCP/IP, DNS, Email etc within 4 weeks to get some incentive my M$. I draw from this still up to now even though I don’t work with Windows anymore. During that time Windows NT moved from the old Windows 311 to the Windows 95 UI which was quite nice but whatever M$ tried the underpinnings of DOS and old Windows were always visible and eventually got me so tiered of Windows.

In 2000 JavaOne I finally saw Steve Jobs live on stage (the only memorable thing) and even though I was not willing to buy a Mac I was definitively impressed when they showcased Java on the Mac. Later when I was on the No-Fluff-Just-Stuff tour with James Duncan I learned more about the Mac because he was showing it everyone willing to listen. I guess he singlehanded moved more Java geeks onto Macs than anyone else.

Even though I hated Apple and its arrogant behavior I decided in 2004 to buy an iPod to carry my music around. A few months later I noticed that the iPad battery was quite short (a few hours) and so I brought it to the Apple store. They told me that they can test it but if nothing was wrong they would charge me $75. That was Apple’s catch 22; if nothing is wrong we charge you and if something is wrong then we fix it and still charge you because we don’t tell you. Another thing that made me hate Apple again.

In 2005 I was working for Gateway and finally I got so tired of Windows and their cheap laptops that I decided to buy a new Mac when I got a new client at the end of the year. The Mac was nice to use and even though it took me some time to get used to it but nothing really eye opening. That happened later when I tried to sync my Address book on my Razor 2 cell phone over Bluetooth. After the discovery and starting sync all the addresses and phone number appeared on my Mac like magic. This was the single most important event because it opened my mind to the fact that things might just work on the Mac and one might just need to look from a regular user’s point of view.

When the iPhone was announced in 2007 I though who in the right mind would shell out $500 bucks for a cell phone when they could get one for free like it did a year before. But when the iPhone was released I was driving through LA and could hear all about the phone and the event on the public radio. The very next day I dragged my wife to the nearest ATT store just to show case it to her. Since then we never considered any other phone than the iPhone. We are both average cell phone users but we like that everything feels so natural on it and even that we had to deal with ATT it was and still is the best cell phone ever for us.

Today there is no computer in our household that isn’t from Apple – I even dropped MythTV / Linux and replaced it with Apple TV. MythTV was never about saving money but being able to see what I want when I want or have time to do so. With the Apple TV I can do that cheaper and more reliable even though the catalog of movies / series is not as big but I think eventually the movie business will go along as the music and the print industry already did (more or less willingly).

There is still more to discover and I am looking forward to ditch my Mac Notebook Pro 17-inch for a Mac Air 13-inch. I am concerned about the screen real state but I think I can cope with that because bigger is not always better (see the huge Android phones).

Finally coming back to Steve I am sorry that I did not have to see Steve on a more recent event and think that a real visionary has left us. One that thinks different and has the guts and stamina to pull through even though others laughed at him (Steve Ballmer etc). I not too much worried about Apple but we have to see if they can come up with a new, ground-breaking product like the iPhone, Mac Unibody, iPad, Mac Air and Apple TV. Because the product pipeline is about 2 years it will take a while until we can answer the question if Apple can thrive without Steve.

There were only two memorable events on the few JavaOnes I attended and that was Adam Douglas and Steve Jobs. And so I want to end with:

“Thanks for all that Mac – Steve”.


XCode4, iPhone Class and iOS Recipies

This week was pretty exciting even though I am not going to buy an iPad2 or join into the frenzies.

First Apple release XCode4 which is really great news because now I can develop iPhone Apps on it without having to worry about issues or that it is not fully supported by Apple. This also makes it possible to talk about it publicly and I can use screenshots to discuss issues.

Then I started to work on my iPhone class that I intend to give this year if I find people willing to listen to me. My class is different in many ways but foremost I will use a single example throughout the class. On one hand this is a challenge because there is more to code or to fill in to make it a smooth progress but it also means that I have to develop the class around the labs.

Finally there is another book out there from Matt Drance and Paul Warren from the Pragmatic Bookshelf called iOS Recipes. From the few pages I read so far this books is quite nice and gives beginners and intermediate iOS developers a way to see how other developers do it.

– Andy