Why can’t Americans drive like Germans?

September 30, 2011 in Rants | Comments (0)

Just spent some time in Germany, and some time on the autobahn. The big thing about the autobahn is not that there is no speed limit, it’s the way that people drive on it. The way that they drive on it is not all that spectacular, except that it is the way that people are supposed to drive on US highways as well: If you’re not passing someone, you move over into the righthand lane.

On the autobahn, if you’re going 90 kph (about 60 mph) in the left lane and someone going 160 kph (about 100 mph) comes up behind you, you’re likely to get creamed, so it’s a good practice to get out of the way. Unfortunately, on American roads, not only are the police in league to slow you down, there is no impetus for anyone to move over, so they just don’t.

I guess here in Florida, back in 2005, they tried to pass legislation to make it illegal to park your happy ass in the left lane and go twenty under the limit, but Governor Bush vetoed SB732 saying that drivers blocking the left lane are “cautious and careful.”

Don’t kid yourself, Mr. Bush. Drivers blocking the left lane are moronic and inconsiderate.

It’s been six years… maybe we should try again?

I don’t want your iPad App

August 13, 2011 in IPad Life | Comments (0)

I use Micorosoft Bing, Pulse News, Flipboard, and sometimes FLUD to browse blogs and read news. Quite often I’ll find an interesting story that is hosted on some newspaper or magazine site. Every newspaper and magazine site seems to have its own iPad app these days and, since they can tell I’m running the Safari mobile app, they always a present a page advertising the app before I get to the news story. Sure, I know that this is a modern problem and really not worth complaining about, but really – I don’t need a special app to read news that popped up in the headlines, I’ve already got one. It’s called Safari. These apps are great for regulars, but a regular would find out you had an app through regular reading, not through such obnoxious, in-your-face advertising.

Publishers, I’m thrilled that you have a reader app, but please don’t shove it in my face because I asked to see one article. I don’t want your app.

When iPad Mail.app Stops Responding

August 5, 2011 in IPad Life | Comments (0)

This is one of those bugs that I hope will be fixed in every iOS update that comes out, but so far the problem lingers.

Here’s the problem:

You load up the Mail app and start browsing through you messages looking for a new one to read. You tap on an entry. The header information loads up into the window and… that’s it.

I’m not sure how it happens, but the app gets to where it just won’t download (or just won’t display) the body of the message. Kind of annoying.

Workaround 1 (fast):

Hit the Reply button.

The reply window will appear and the body of the message will have been copied into the reply. The good news is that now you can see what was written, and you’re also a step ahead if you do in fact want to reply. The bad news is that you’re going to have to keep doing that for every message you want to read unless you try…

Workaround 2 (takes a little longer):

Hit the home button twice (or do a four finger swipe up if you have advanced gestures enabled) so that you can see the list of running app icons along the bottom of the screen. Find the Mail icon. Put your finger on it and hold it there until the icons start to wiggle, like you would if you wanted to rearrange the apps on your home screen. A little X will have appeared on the icon. Tap this X and it will end the task and remove the app from memory so it gets a clean start the next time you run it. Fire the app back up and now it should display messages correctly as you select them from the list.

The Rebirth of Crueltown

August 1, 2011 in General,IPad Life | Comments (0)

It’s been over a year since I posted anything on this so-called blog, but when I looked back at the old articles they didn’t seem so bad. Sure, my categories are a good indicator of how old and out of date the thing has gotten, but that doesn’t mean I can’t breath a gust of life back into it. Better to have something worth ignoring than nothing at all. So this post essentially just documents my new dedication to post something here off and on so that it doesn’t just dry up.

So looking back at my last post about the iPad, it’s pretty interesting in retrospective. Since I wrote that, the iPad has completely changed the landscape for portable computing. People can jump up and down about whether iOS or Adroid is better if they want, but so far the iPad has the table market ruled. I’ve seen a couple of interesting new offerings (Toshiba’s Thrive tablet looks especially interesting to me at the moment) but it’s another case where Apple has created the market and now everyone else is jumping in to play. Say what you will about the company and its practices, but I don’t see anyone else inventing the technology space the way that they do. Would you rather have a product that is “better than” someone else’s, or would you rather your product be the one that everyone else is comparing theirs to? Apple keeps setting itself as the standard against which others should be measured.

Apple Stores don’t carry the 17″ Macbook Pro with the i7 Chip

May 16, 2010 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)


Seems odd. I guess they’re standardizing on the fifteen inch model, which you can get in i5 or i7, but they only have i5’s in the seventeens off the shelf. The web site is the same way – i7 is an upgrade for the seventeen inch machine.

Actually I did find one store that had one, but it had the matte display, which is also an upgrade. I wonder if someone ordered it and didn’t claim it.

Anyway, if you want a seventeen inch i7 with a 7200 rpm disk, better get on the web site. You won’t find it in the store.

iPad Life

May 14, 2010 in IPad Life | Comments (3)

I’m one of the early adopters. I had my iPad on April 3rd, day one. I scrambled for eight weeks prior to have a game built and ready and waiting in the app store on day one as well (more on that later). So some six weeks later, I’ve been living with my iPad day to day.

I follow the news, I follow the feeds, I follow the pundits, but for the most part I don’t listen to what they say… No secret that you generally get negative opinions on the web. They’ll tell you that the device will not sell, will not catch on, and will not go mainstream, and in the same breath they’ll tell you that HP and Google and others are bringing tablets go market to compete with the iPad. If it’s destined to fail, why are so many emulating it?

Experts aside, I’ve made up my own mind. I love my iPad. Say what you will about the on screen keyboard, but I’m a fast touch typist, and I’m getting to where I can type pretty near full speed on the thing. Say what you will about the lack of a camera, front facing or back, but I still have my phone in my pocket if I want to take a picture, and I just don’t do the video chat thing anyway, so i haven’t missed the camera. Say what you will about the lack of Flash, but I don’t miss Flash at all, and in most cases I’m glad it’s blocked without me having to run a browser add-on to do it. The web without Flash is a much quieter, calmer place.

It’s still early, but I do think it’s a game changing device. I’ve been leaving the laptop at the desk and taking nothing but the iPad to meetings lately. Until you try working with it in this way day to day it may look like an expensive toy to you, but it’s so nice to be able to leave the laptop bag behind, leave the power supply behind, and not have to look for the nearest power outlet if it’s going to be a long meeting because you know the iPad is just going to keep going all day long.

I say it’s a winner.

New Mac == Certificate Headaches for iPhone Development

January 22, 2010 in iPhone | Comments (0)

If you’re doing any iPhone development, be ready for some headaches if you get a new machine. While the migration assistant does move all of your applications and settings over from your old machine, it doesn’t necessarily copy keychain items, and if you haven’t brought across your private key for your distribution certificate you’re going to be out of luck. Don’t miss these important bits from this Program Portal page:

Saving your Private Key and Transferring to other Systems

It is critical that you save your private key somewhere safe in the event that you need to develop on multiple computers or decide to reinstall your system OS. Without your private key, you will be unable to sign binaries in Xcode and test your application on any Apple device. When a CSR is generated, the Keychain Access application creates a private key on your login keychain. This private key is tied to your user account and cannot be reproduced if lost due to an OS reinstall. If you plan to do development and testing on multiple systems, you will need to import your private key onto all of the systems you’ll be doing work on.

  1. To export your private key and certificate for safe-keeping and for enabling development on multiple systems, open up the Keychain Access Application and select the ‘Keys’ category.
  2. Control-Click on the private key associated with your iPhone Development Certificate and click ‘Export Items’ in the menu. The private key is identified by the iPhone Developer: <first Name> <last Name> public certificate that is paired with it.
  3. Save your key in the Personal Information Exchange (.p12) file format.
  4. You will be prompted to create a password which is used when you attempt to import this key on another computer.
  5. You can now transfer this .p12 file between systems. Double-click on the .p12 to install it on a system. You will be prompted for the password you entered in Step 4.

Happily enough I had done all of this, but there was still a great deal of revoking, requesting, and installing of certificates and provisioning profiles before I finally got App Store builds of my application working on the new machine.

It’s time to pay Apple for the privilege of writing iPhone apps again…

January 21, 2010 in iPhone | Comments (0)

And I still haven’t submitted a single one. I’ve actually only written one, but I keep dragging my feet on submitting it. Perfectionism kicks in… it’s a simple app and doesn’t do much except help you walk through the Getting Things Done processing model for incoming stuff. With as many crappy apps as there are out there I don’t know why I hesitate to just shove this up there, ship something, but either way I pay Apple their $99 every year for the privilege. For some reason I thought I would make money off of iPhone apps, but so far only Apple has profited from my efforts.

The Power of the Marginal

December 4, 2009 in Links | Comments (0)

I just can’t stop reading this essay by Paul Graham: The Power of the Marginal. Deeply insightful, it encourages me to remember that mainstream is not the goal, but usually a side effect of something that entered from the periphery and became accepted. Just as anything mundane was once innovative, things in the mainstream were once in the margins. To really get hold of something, you have to grasp it at the edges.

iPhone Passcode and Slide to Unlock

June 28, 2009 in iPhone | Comments (0)

I just sent some feedback to Apple about iPhone OS 3.0. My company requires that I run with a passcode set on my phone, and as of version 3.0, Apple has removed the option to set the time interval on the passcode requirement. I used to be able to set it so it only bugged me for the passcode once every fifteen minutes or once every hour, but now I have to type it every single time I turn the phone on. The only passcode option you have is Require Immediately.

Okay. I don’t like it much, but I can live with having to type my passcode in every time. The thing is, the iPhone also presents you with the Slide to Unlock control when you power it on, so I always have to slide to unlock, then I always have to type in my passcode. Seriously, if I always have to type in my passcode, that ought to be enough. The Slide to Unlock bit is redundant and annoying.

If they’re worried that the Emergency Call button could get pressed accidentally then I would suggest that they put that under a slide control if the password is required. Otherwise the Slide to Unlock control should only present itself if you don’t have to enter the passcode.


I found out that this is only happening on my phone because the Exchange server I connect with appears to be inflicting this limitation on me (a friend of mine who has a Passcode set but does not connect to a corporate server showed me that he still has other options than Require Immediately), so I have to take back at least a little of what I said, but not all of it.

Regardless of the Passcode requirement interval, if the phone is going to insist that you type you Passcode at this power-on, it should not require the Slide to Unlock.


I was browsing this site to learn how to reset my iPhone 3GS and hopefully escape from the horrible battery life I’ve been experiencing. One of the happy side effects is that now I have the passcode timeout settings available again, so if you have upgraded to iPhone OS 3.0 I might recommend that you do the reset, too.