Last month I warned readers that iTunes 11, offered as an update for all iTunes users, was something to avoid: not only did Apple do what many feel was an arbitrary and capricious remodel, but it actually caused problems for some users.
Since then, Apple has trotted out the inevitable bug fix, and iTunes 11.01 seems to be stable and operable for most users. I have installed it and begun using it, and have even gotten somewhat used to its’ quirky interface.
To my surprise, it’s even getting decent reviews in many quarters. So to some extent, the harsh initial reaction may be another case where people decry change simply because it’s different. That being said, there are a few design decisions that were made that I still take strong deference to. For example, the “sidebar” is hidden by default when you first install iTunes 11, and most users struggle (at first) to find their own playlists. Fortunately, a “Show Sidebar” option is tucked under the View menu, should you look for it there, and clicking same will reveal your playlists.
I used to be able to see exactly how many songs I had in my iTunes, and how long they would play for if played end to end (mind was 19 days and counting). These views are
gone or obfuscated in iTunes 11, and it’s been a veritable easter egg hunt trying to recover the functionality that had been taken for granted in the previous version. (Turn the Status Bar back on, under the View menu, to reveal the song counts).
While the new version sports a “cleaner” look with more white space, it’s also true that I cannot display nearly as much content on the screen in iTunes as I could before: all that “white space” means I get about a 3rd less text on my screen before having to scroll. It seems to me that giving up functionality in favor of aesthetics is a losing bet, and not very Apple like.
All of that being said, iTunes 11 is here to stay, and it will be mandatory for the next round of iDevices (iPods and iPads and iPhones). So, I guess we’d all better get used to it. Grumble grumble.
You can download your copy here.Filed under Apple Industry News | Comment (0)
To my dear clients, and to other Apple enthusiasts: Perhaps hold off on iTunes 11 for a little while. Early reviews on it are that it’s “a little rough.” I’m sure Apple will smooth out the bugs soon enough. As one poster on MacInTouch points out, we seem to be witnessing an emerging trend of major software releases from Apple being, shall we say, “insufficiently beta tested” and rushed to market. Say, Apple; this is double-plus ungood — stop it.
Looks like I’ll be waiting for version 11.01 or so before I update, and I advise you to do the same.Filed under Apple Industry News | Comment (1)
Just in case you haven’t heard, the media is trumpeting (loudly) about “up to 600 thousand Macs being infected” with a scary virus. Oh, the tongue-clucking, and the “I told you so’s,” and the smug “see, Macs get viruses too!” lines from our Windows-using brethren. Yeah, yeah.
First of all, don’t panic. Is there a virus in the wild for Macs? Yes, there is; nor is this the first. It’s a real virus with real teeth, and Macs can get it, but you still shouldn’t panic. This virus is also on Windows, and several other computing flavors, but Apple was slow to update their Java implementation, so the bad guys got some traction on Mac whereas the other guys already patched their stuff. The media isn’t screaming about half a million PCs infected, because millions are infected (and disinfected) every day. That’s all. Apple has now patched their Java too, and you can download the official updated Apple Java implementation here (Lion) or here (Snow Leopard), once you have installed one of these you will not be able to get this virus. Alternatively, running software update (under the Apple menu) and accepting the security updates (then restarting your Mac) will protect you.
Which leaves us with this: Does your Mac have this virus? Fortunately, there’s an easy way to tell, thanks to some clever Mac geeks who wrote a quick script to check — it’s available free here: Flashback_checker.app. Just download it, unpack the zip file by double-clicking, and then run the program that results. If you don’t have the virus — which is likely — you will see this reassuring message.
So, what do you do if instead of this message, you get one that says you DO have the virus? That’s when you call Creative Goose, and we will help you safely remove the virus. If such is the case, still don’t panic –just call us. : )
PS: thanks to the good folks over at Beachdogs for the quick freebie app, and thanks to the folks over at MacInTouch for cutting through the hype with solid info on this outbreak. I say again: do not panic.
PPS: Watch for a future article on the state of Malware protection on Macs: should you be using anti-virus software? If so, which one? The Geese will survey the landscape and report back!Filed under Apple Industry News | Comment (1)
Veteran Mac author David Pogue got a thorough advance peek at Apple’s latest kitty cat: the forthcoming Mac OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)!
Filed under Apple Industry News | Comment (0)
“Insufficient Beta Testing!” I have rarely had to accuse Apple of this, but this week we have two widely distributed updates that were clearly not sufficiently tested before release.
At this writing, do NOT install Security Update 2012-001 on any system — but especially on Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard. It will break things. Wait for a subsequent update please.
Also, at this writing do NOT install Mac OS 10.7 Lion update 10.7.3; it can cause serious issues with graphics and USB devices.
Apple knows better than this: software must be rigorously tested before being released; both of these issues are sufficiently widespread that an adequate testing regimen would have uncovered the problem prior to release.
As I say, there are a few companies out there who have become notorious for buggy initial releases, and buggy patches; it used to be with Apple I would tell people to apply the security patches when the weekly Software Update reminder comes along. In this case. please do NOT do so. Henceforth, I will be telling people to hold off on Apple’s updates for at least a week, and if you have any questions about a particular update, feel free to drop me an eMail.
- David Farrow, Creative GooseFiled under Uncategorized | Comment (1)
The news talking heads, the preponderance of Apple centric sites, the Internet in general is awash in send ups to Steve Jobs, who left this life yesterday. Many are poignant, touching, thoughtful. The aggregate information rush is — and will be for some time — overwhelming.
For me, Steve’s story — and the story of Steve’s Apple — are close to home. I never met the man personally, but his legendary vision, and the way he passionately believed in the work that he was doing, in what Apple was doing, that is to say, a belief that one could do amazing positive things that change the world — and be successful doing it — have been a model of how to approach work.
It was a couple of years after Steve came back to Apple, that I took the measured but daring step of quitting my full-time support job to go out on my own as a freelance Apple consultant — to embrace as my primary professional pursuit the notion of helping individuals and small businesses use this amazing technology. I was in my home office when I digested the news about the original iMac introduction, the original iPod introduction, and other cornerstone Steve Jobs moments. Creative Goose evolved not so much on the coat tails of Jobs, but as a water carrier on the ground for Steve’s visions of how technology can be harnessed.
I will, along with much of the tech world, miss Steve Jobs. His legacy of a thriving Apple Inc., his example on how to lead, his validation of “the crazy ones,” his embodiment of the “think different” principle, will live on. Through the Creative Goose consultancy, and through my own life choices in matters of work and technology, I will continue to carry Jobs’ water, his message, his vision, as best I can.
Steve Jobs stepped aside as CEO of Apple Inc yesterday. With a short and simple letter, Jobs recommended that the company execute its’ succession plan (they did have one after all, it seems) and promote Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook to be the leader; meanwhile Jobs intends to stay engaged as Chairman of the Board and Apple employee.
As a person who has been an Apple enthusiast since the 80′s, and as one who has touted the company and its’ products since before Jobs’ return to Apple in ’97, I am very appreciative of this moment, and of Jobs’ profound impact on Apple and all that surrounds his presence there. Even as this change goes down, Apple has quite recently surpassed Exxon-Mobil as the largest (by stock value) company in the U.S. (amazingly, in open trading the day following the after-hours announcement, Apple’s stock is down only 1%, which parallels the Dow Jones average). Apple’s Macs are gaining market share even as traditional rivals (e.g., Microsoft Windows) loses market share, quarter after quarter. iPhones continue to shake up the Cellular telephone business, with rumors of the forthcoming “iPhone 5″ being released on 4 carriers before the end of the year. iPads have carved out a whole new “industry segment,” and as recently as last week, none other than Hewlett-Packard threw in the towel, opting to not try to compete with the iPad juggernaut. To say that Jobs is going out on the top of his game would be an understatement.
Even before these recent milestones of business success, Jobs has been one of my personal heroes. Underlying the facts and figures has been a consistent philosophy that resonates with me, and around which I have built Creative Goose: technology should be friendly, useful, innovative, and low stress. Technology should boost productivity, offer a fun and rewarding user experience, and even produce joyful emotions. Instead of being the realm of uber-geeks and gearheads, technology should be well-thought-out, designs should be impactful and inspired, and the “toys” should — as Steve has said — fill needs users didn’t even necessarily realize they had.
Years ago, Steve Jobs made an inspired speech at a Stanford commencement. In it, he revealed a kernel of truth that speaks to what he did, and how he lived. He told the graduating seniors,
“You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”
This resonated with me then, and I am reminded of it today. I have, since I was a child, believed that finding work that is fulfilling and inspiring and enjoyable would mean that “going to work” would not be a chore, but a delight. That being connected with what one does every day brings a spark, a relevance, to ones’ pursuits. Since before I was out of school myself, I always strove to find that, and I believe I have manifested that in the work I do today — work that, not surprisingly, is deeply involved with the technology that Steve’s Apple brought to the table: bringing that to you, the individuals and small business owners who are my customers.
I swore as a youth that I would not be “one of those people” who lived solely for their 3 weeks of vacation, resigned to a dreaded work plight the other 49 weeks of the year. I have been successful in that, and I seek to spread the joy I find in my work to the people I serve. I tip my hat to Steve Jobs for both his example, and the amazing tools, toys and technology his Apple has brought to the table. May we all continue to be thus inspired.Filed under Apple Industry News | Comment (0)
So, Apple’s highly anticipated Mac OS X Lion — or Mac Oh Ess Ten Point Seven for short — has finally shipped (Weds. July 20), to a mixed initial reaction among the chattering class of Mac bloggers, critics and pundits.
Here at Creative Goose, we have not jumped on it first day (we almost never do the early adopter thing). That being said, we *do* have plans to set up a dedicated Lion laptop, and a Lion Server Mac Mini, in the near future. The nuance here is that I will *not* be updating my “main axe,” my day-to-day computer, in this first wave of updates — and probably not for some time to come. Before you do, loyal reader, there are some truths of which you should be aware:
- Lion does not support older programs, many of which ran fine on Leopard and Snow Leopard. Specifically, any app written for the PowerPC chip will no longer launch: that includes such favorites as Microsoft Office 2004 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Entourage — Office 2008 and 2011 are OK though), Quicken 2007 and earlier, and many other programs. Also affected are some print drivers and scanner drivers. Here at Creative Goose, I expect to get a lot of calls from people who upgraded without being cognizant of this fact, since Apple has not exactly warned folks
- Lion requires an Intel Core 2 processor or better. This rules out early MacBooks (Pro and otherwise), iMacs, and minis. Nor can any G3, G4, G5 or iBook run this new system.
For these reasons (and more), I plan to retain a fully functional 10.6 Snow Leopard system for some years to come. After I’ve played around with Lion, and maybe some updates and such come out, wrinkles get smoothed out, I might migrate to the Lion Laptop as my primary, and then keep my 10.6 laptop for servicing and supporting clients who will require use of their older Macs and software for some time to come.
Another thing that is different this time out, is that Apple will not be supplying Lion on DVD discs any more. The update is sold through Apple’s online store — and the store requires an updated install of 10.6 Snow Leopard. At this writing, it is still somewhat fuzzy what users who are still running Leopard or earlier on an otherwise eligible machine are supposed to do, especially as Snow Leopard is no longer sold by Apple as of this launch.
Currently — as is always the case when a new system ships — I will be counseling clients to take a cautious approach to the new system. No-one with a mission-critical need to use their Mac, should be updating that Mac to Lion first week out. Business customers who rely on their computers should use technology that is tested and known stable in the real world. At Creative Goose, we’ll be watching closely for the gotchas, updates, patches, workarounds and pitfalls to get mapped thoroughly before we start bringing working computers up on the new OS. Meanwhile, if you’ve just got to play with it, do what we’ll be doing: fire up a new computer, or a capable “old” computer, on Lion and give it test drive. We can compare notes!Filed under Apple Industry News | Comment (0)
So far, 2011 is the year that computer security — or insecurity, as the case may be — returns to the world stage. We have high-level security hacks ala WikiLeaks, another round of China vs. Google, and just today, beleaguered Sony — who according to this article, arguably deserve it — gives up another few million customer records to the hackers. Meanwhile, closer to home, we have a well-publicized and widespread set of Mac-specific malware threats. Apple has unwittingly been drawn into the ol’ security cat-n’-mouse game; having responded just last week to the threat with a tepid software patch that only works with the very latest version of its’ Snow Leopard software, the hackers countered with a version that bypasses same — within 8 hours.
When you consider that the computer industry is going full-tilt for “cloud services” — and Apple is set to roll out a big update just next week to their cloud — these security issues are more than a trivial concern. This all represents a clarion call for all of us — users and industry insiders alike — to look very carefully at how we deploy technology, rely on technology, and safeguard our technology.
Here at Creative Goose, I don’t have a silver bullet, but I can say this:
- Mac OS is still one of the most secure computing environments, recent scareware notwithstanding
- multiple, redundant, backups — with both a cloud and a local backup component, with some time-depth in each — are your best protection
- think of eMail as a “postcard,” that anyone could potentially read, as versus a security envelope. Don’t send passwords in eMail, don’t send anything you wouldn’t want forwarded on someday.
- as always, good ol’ common sense applies: don’t put your password in unless you know why you’re doing it. Don’t put your credit card in unless you know who and why you’re doing it, and you trust the site. Look for the little lock icon at any website you are putting it into. Opt to NOT store your passwords and credit cards in online “wallets.” And so on.
While it’s not time for panic, it is time for us to be vigilant. For the industry movers and shakers, it’s time to look at security as a serious business, not an afterthought. For us in the Apple community, it’s well past time to stop with the smug “Macs are immune” mentality. As is always the case, this problem carries in it an opportunity for whomever can innovate a solution that moves us all forward — something new and different than what is being done now. Got any ideas?Filed under Apple Industry News | Comment (0)
Apple today (5/25) acknowledged the widespread “Mac Defender” malware attack, and posted instructions on how to avoid infection as well as steps to take if already infected. In addition, Apple reminds users that official software from Apple will never be distributed in the fashion spoofed by these ne’er do wells — some of which attempt to convince users that their wares are official Apple product.
Creative Goose stands ready to assist any customer affected by these attacks as well.Filed under Apple Industry News | Comment (0)