Category Archives: Apple/Mac

Apple and Mac related postings

Weird MacOS X Installer Problem

At the moment, this particular Mac problem has me totally stumped. It only affects one Mac, and doesn’t seem to affect the day to day operation of the computer, it only seems to affect one particular dialog, and even then the dialog works perfectly okay, it just looks a bit odd.

The problem is that when I run an installer, if the installer needs elevated permissions in order to install, the dialog asking me to enter my password comes up like this:

Screen Shot 2013-08-26 at 13.28.27

What appears to be happening is the variable bits of text on the dialog are being put in in what appears to be arabic, if I enter my password it all works fine. Run the same installers on another Mac and the dialogs come up properly. It may well be that I’ll need to do a clean install of MacOS and rebuild the computer from a backup, but I’d rather work out what’s caused it in the first place!

I have the same question open on the Apple Stack Exchange site also.

Tony Fadell: Father of the iPod

This is an interesting article from the BBC about what Tony Fadell, the person widely credited as the Father of the iPod is doing now – starting again with a great little intelligent thermostat that learns patterns of how you control the temperature.

However whilst Nest is interesting, the article is more interesting for his comments about Scott Forstall who was recently ousted from Apple, and who had a rather bumpy relationship with Fadell to put it mildly…

So what does he make of the news that Mr Forstall lost his post in October after reports of rifts with other executives and a refusal to apologise for the release of a flawed Maps app.

“Scott got what he deserved,” Mr Fadell told the BBC.

When pressed, he adds: “I think what happened just a few weeks back was deserved and justified and it happened.”

So where does that leave Apple

and the shares he still holds in it?

“If you read some of the reports, people were cheering in Cupertino when that event happened,” he answers, referring to Apple headquarters in California.

“So, I think Apple is in a great space, it has great products and there are amazing people at the company, and those people actually have a chance to have a firm footing now and continue the legacy Steve [Jobs] left.”

Click here to view original web page at www.bbc.co.uk

Apple fires head of mapping team after backlash from customers

20121127-110307 PM.jpgThe Apple management cull as a result of the iOS Maps debacle continues…

Richard Williamson was manager of troubled maps division that has been dogged by glitches since dropping Google Share Email Rory Carroll in Los Angeles guardian.co.uk , Tuesday 27 November 2012 16.44 EST The mapping bungle also led to the ousting of mobile-software chief Scott Forstall in October. Photograph: Joseph […]

Click here to view original web page at www.guardian.co.uk

Microsoft Take On the iPad

Last night Microsoft announced their new tablet, the Surface. There is a good summary of the key points here: .

However it is an interesting move, as the article above says, this is a big change for Microsoft who aside from the XBox haven’t ever built hardware – you’ll never have seen a PC actually made by Microsoft for example. This however is how Apple have made their money and built their platform by tightly controlling everything.

There is still more we need to find out though, Microsoft haven’t talked prices, although we can take a fair guess that the price points will be competitive, and the release dates are a bit vague.

The other thing that may well cause confusion is that what they’ve announced is actually two machines, one is an ARM based iPad rival, the other is an Intel based PC that will be able to run normal Windows applications. Whilst you could say that Apple do the same with the MacBook Air which is a similarly portable computer, Apple clearly delineates the Air from the iPad.

Despite all the trumpeting, this is going to be a difficult sell for Microsoft, they are a long way behind, and maybe more so than in the phone market, iPad is synonymous with tablet, indeed much as people refer to vacuum cleaners as a Hoover, people refer to all brands of tablet as an iPad.

However it will certainly be a positive move if Apple has some serious competition, and whilst only time will tell whether this will be the tablet to really compete, this certainly seems to me to have a better chance as unlike Android and iOS devices there is a level of compatibility already with what is in use in corporate environments.

Apples Newton MessagePad PDA at Twenty

Apples Newton MessagePad PDA at Twenty | Techland | TIME.com.

Before the iPhone, before the iPad, Apple had a first foray into the mobile device market, and it didn’t go all that well…

Great article by Harry McCracken reviewing the original Apple Newton Message Pad. Whilst the product may be considered a failure, the technology and trends it started can be tracked directly to devices and software we use today.

Apple chief Tim Cook admits ‘intense interest’ in television sector

“We are going to keep pulling the string and see where this takes us,” Mr Cook said of its future TV plans. Asked during an interview at the All Things Digital Conference in California on Tuesday night whether Apple will produce a TV, Mr Cook said: “You were right. I’m not going to tell you.”

via Apple chief Tim Cook admits ‘intense interest’ in television sector – Telegraph.

So it looks like Apple’s culture of secrecy continues, but definite hints that an Apple TV is on the way, even if he won’t say. Also hints that relations may be warming with Facebook leading to Facebook being baked into iOS in a similar way to Twitter, but don’t hold your breath…

Garmin or TomTom

I guess I was an early adopter of satellite navigation. Over ten years ago I had a navigation package from TomTom (or Palmtop as they were then called) installed on my Psion 5mx and through a complicated series of cables hooked it up to a Garmin eTrex and powered the whole thing in the car. It wasn’t bad, but it was a bit clunky, had no voice instructions, took an age to recalculate if you went off route, and had a number of mapping errors – Micheldever Station was marked on a railway bridge half a mile from the station for example.

From there I progressed onto stand alone units, sticking with Garmin as my handheld GPS units were Garmin’s and could share desktop software and maps. Currently I’m running a Garmin Nuvi with full maps of both Europe and North America and an FM traffic receiver, and that has served us fine.

Last week it turned out that both Beth and myself needed the satnav as both of us were going to be going to unfamiliar places. Obviously we didn’t need a second satnav, but since my iPhone has a nice little GPS on it I thought I’d take a look at the options. Conveniently PCPro have just done a group test of satnav applications, and TomTom came out top of the pile. Since one of my biggest bugbears with the Garmin Nuvi is the fact that the FM traffic often reports traffic jams when it’s too late to avoid them and I’d heard good things about the TomTom Live Traffic service I thought I’d go for the TomTom application despite it being one of the premium priced satnav products in the app store.

First off, it is a nice little app, slightly confusing to navigate around until you get used to it, but fine on the road. The Live Traffic service is impressive, and indicated traffic pretty consistently, and the routing based on actual road speeds certainly allowed it to pick routes which matched much more closely with short cuts I knew about rather than the more obvious routes the Garmin would take.

However there is a really big problem, even ten years later, there are still problems with the TomTom maps. Whilst Micheldever Station is now in the right place, other things aren’t. For example a local petrol station whilst close to the right spot is the wrong side of a road junction, speed limits are wrong, and whereas my Garmin will guide me right to my front door, even saying on which side of the street it is the TomTom app can only manage to get me to the street.

There are more serious problems too. We live adjacent to a military base, and whilst there are roads that go across, they are closed with security guards on the gates – the TomTom map doesn’t reflect this. The map is also just plain wrong in places, a major example being around the Atrium in Camberley.

Below are three screenshots from my iPhone. The left hand one is from the Maps application showing an up to date satellite picture of Southern Road down the side of the Atrium. The second shot is from TomTom, the only app of the three that costs any money. The third is from Waze, the community navigation app that is a free download.

20120529-073146 PM.jpg 20120529-073225 PM.jpg 20120529-073242 PM.jpg

Looking at it you’ll see that the TomTom version is very inaccurate. It incorrectly shows Southern Road running all the way to Southwell Park Road, and running all the way to the A30 at the other end – it doesn’t. Instead it is blocked at both ends with an access road a short way down. There is also an entire roundabout missing which in the TomTom version is replaced by a pair of junctions. Whilst the Atrium is pretty new, it’s been built for a number of years, and the road layout TomTom has doesn’t bear much relation to what is there now, nor to what was removed when the Atrium was built. The third screen shot shows the layout according to Waze which is correct, and the layout is also correct on my Garmin Nuvi.

It is fair to say I’m not impressed. TomTom, much like Waze has the ability to report map errors, but with Waze I’m not paying a premium price. Garmin have up to date maps, is it too much to expect that TomTom could do the same? Suffice to say my experience with TomTom is not going to have me switching. Whilst I am impressed with the Live Traffic it is pretty fundamental to have accurate maps, having found a number of errors locally where I know the area, how can I have the confidence travelling in a strange area that the TomTom is correct?