Tag Archives: Mac OS X

Scrivener for iOS – coming soon(ish)

Here’s an early Christmas present for me and for quite a few of my friends and colleagues: Scrivener, the marvellous long-form writing tool for Mac, is coming to iPad and iPhone:

It’s still early days, though – we are about to embark on the design process proper, and all we can say in terms of a release date is that our iPad and iPhone versions will be out some time in 2012

There’s a link to share your ideas about what should be in it too. I know from my perspective the thing I’d like to see are integration with iCloud on both the iOS and Mac side, so that I could seamlessly carry on working on a project no matter where I was.

Malware, the Mac, and the wolf

John Gruber’s delivered a list of previous claims that the Mac is about to succumb to malware real soon now under the title of “Wolf!

The analogy John’s making is that the pundits should all remember the tale of the boy who cried wolf. But, as my friend Graham pointed out, John’s missing something: at the end of the tale, on the last occasion, there actually was a wolf.

There is no such thing as a perfectly secure operating system. Sooner or later, there will be a wolf.

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OmniFocus Tips For Power Users

OmniFocus

Image via Wikipedia

OmniFocus is my favourite GTD app for the Mac, but it isn’t always the easiest piece of software to get your head around. This video has some great OmniFocus tips and tricks, and if you’re a user it’s well worth watching.

 

OmniFocus Ninja Tricks from The Omni Group on Vimeo.

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Touchpad scrolling is broken in Lion

As Cult of Mac notes, the default behaviour for touchpad scrolling in OS X Lion is reversed. In previous versions of OS X, you move your fingers down on the trackpad to scroll down. In Lion, you move your fingers up.

The reason for this is probably to match the behaviour of iOS, where you “push” up on screen to scroll up.

So why is this wrong? Simple: when you touch a screen, cognitively you’re directly manipulating what’s on it. Your brain expects what’s under your finger to move in the direction you push it or drag it. It’s mimicking the way that real-world objects behave.

When you move your finger on a trackpad though, you’re not directly manipulating what’s on screen – you’re manipulating it at one stage removed. There’s a cognitive dissonance to be overcome before it feels right, reinforced by the 20+ years of scroll wheel behaviour doing the exact opposite.

I hope that Apple makes this behaviour optional – because it makes about as much sense as having a single button on your mouse.

Magic Mac-ball says: No way!

I try not to get into the predictions game (partly because I’m too-often wrong) but I’m willing to bet that this little snippet from LOOPrumors is completely wrong:

“LOOPRumors received a tidbit of information today suggesting Apple is planning to develop a hybrid OS into their next iMac. The iMac should be equipped with both Mac OS X and a touch interface for iOS.”

One word: inelegant. That alone should be enough to damn this one to the bins of obscurity.

Kiwi: The best Mac Twitter client yet

As you’ll know if you follow me or this blog on Twitter, I’me a voracious Twitterer. I also can’t stand Adobe Air applications, which means that my options for Twitter applications are somewhat limited.

There’s a few around, of course. Tweetie is good, but hasn’t been developed for a little while and lacks support for “modern” Twitter features like lists and native retweet. Echofon has a lot going for it, but its support for multiple accounts is limited and, I find, a bit frustrating. And Socialite frustrates me, as it often seems to make my Mac show the beach ball of doom. Continue reading

Come, gentle readers: Help me buy a new phone (Part 1)

Within the next month, my contract with o2 runs out – and that means it’s new phone time. However for the first time since the release of the iPhone, I face a serious choice: do I stick with iPhone, or not. Here are the runners and riders.

iPhone 3GS

Let’s be clear: I like the iPhone. Compared to everything that came before it, it’s a wonderous thing of amazement. There’s the responsiveness. You touch it, it responds, and you almost purr with pleasure. Yum. This thing was designed by someone who really, truly understands that the most important thing about a touch interface is how it responds to being touched. Sounds obvious – but try any one of the competitors, and you’ll quickly see how few companies have really got this fundamental point.

But… I’ve run into some walls with the iPhone. Things which actually have begun to drive me what can only be described as “batshit crazy”.

First, multitasking – or rather the lack thereof. I cannot begin to describe how painful the lack of multitasking is. I’ve used an OS with multitasking that I’ve forgotten what computing was like before it. Or rather, I had forgotten it – until the iPhone.

Using iPhone is like taking your lovely new MacBook Pro, ripping out Mac OS X, installing System 6, and disabling MultiFinder. But still letting you run the powerful lovely apps you’re used to. Just one at a time. It’s dark ages computing – and I’m bored of it. The novelty has worn off. I can multitask – why can’t my phone.

I don’t care that I might do terrible things – like making my phone run at less than optimal Jobs-dicatated performance. It’s my phone – treat me like a grown up and let me do it.

Multitasking is the big beef, by it’s by no means the only one. There are plenty of elements in the iPhone which are half thought out, or just plain half baked.

Take email. Like a lot of people, I have work and personal email accounts, and I check both a lot. And on the iPhone, the elegant, minimal iPhone, it takes four taps to get from one inbox to the other. By happy coincidence, that’s the same number of taps it takes to type “suck”, which is what the iPhone’s email client does.

This “make ‘em tap” approach is elsewhere, too. Tethering, for example, takes five taps from Home Screen to turning on, and the same five if you want to turn it off – which is, of course, what you should be doing. This should be on the home screen, but it’s not. It’s almost like the developers were so pleased with how well tapping and scrolling and touch generally worked, that they decided to make you, the user, do more of it so you’d appreciate just how responsive the interface is.

Worse yet, no developer other than Apple can create the simple app to do it, because that is a Part Of The OS Into Which Only Apple Is Allowed. Thou shalt not mess around with those bits, sayeth Steve.

And that’s a great example of the other great flaw of the iPhone: developers cannot fill in the bits which Apple doesn’t do right, if it means digging into some bits of the system. Leaving aside the fact that the App Store is broken, what developers can do is firmly in Apple’s control, and the company keeps tight reign on where they’re allowed to poke. Want the ability to link up an external keyboard to your Mac? Can’t have it – not because developers don’t want to make one, but because Apple won’t allow them to do it.

But… having said all that… the iPhone is still my front runner. Why? Put simply, because it’s the path of least resistance. I have lots of Apps, which I like, and I’d need to install and run some of them on my iPod touch if I didn’t have an iPhone. And that touch interface really is seductive. So for all my complaining… maybe iPhone is my best option.

In part two, I’ll look at the two other contenders: Android (of some kind) and the Palm Pre.

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Amazon begins offering Snow Leopard pre-orders in the UK (nearly)

Amazon begins offering Snow Leopard pre-orders | Mac OS X | MacUser | Macworld:

“If there’s one thing more fun than ordering software it must be pre-ordering software. We may not have a hard release date for Snow Leopard—during the WWDC keynote, Apple said it would be available some time in September—but that’s not about to stop the likes of Amazon, which this weekend began offering pre-orders of the forthcoming Mac OS X release.”

Not in the UK yet, it doesn’t, although you can already go to the product page and sign up to find out when it’s ready.

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Switching

You might have gathered from some of my more recent posts that I've switched platform. My main machine is now a Dell laptop, running Ubuntu 8.10.

I've been using Macs since 1986, and have owned one more or less continuously since 1989. Machines that have been through the mill of my day-to-day keyboard bashing include the Mac Plus, LC 475, PowerBook Duo, iBook and MacBook Pro. I've earned a living writing about Macs and attended more Macworld Expos than I can count.

But unless Apple has a change of direction and creates some very different machines, I think that I've probably bought my last one.

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