John is excited about the way his iPad worked, perfectly, the first time out of the box, and asked me to write a post about how Apple is able to achieve that. Since we haven’t had much controversy on the blog lately, here goes:
My Google religious leanings mean that I don’t own or regularly use a single Apple device. But I also regularly recommend Apple to friends and family, because Apple “just works”. For me, it boils down to two things: limiting the number of devices it makes, and controlling the whole device stack.
Let’s start with limiting the number of devices. By keeping the device count low, Apple can focus its engineering resources on perfecting each device rather than pushing out a half dozen different phones and tablets of differing quality (I’m looking at you, Samsung). Every device variation means a possible engineering problem, so by refraining from producing an iPhone Note (with a 6″ screen), an iPhone for Kids, etc, Apple can produce one, good thing instead of five mediocre things.
A low device count also means that Apple can get the best and, paradoxically, cheapest manufacturing deals with the Chinese slave labor camps. When Apple brings the possibility of making 10X or 100X more devices than any other company, you better believe that Foxconn is going to give them their best. This is also true of the manufacturer of every component that goes into Apple products. When Apple brings their kind of volume to the table, the chip and display makers are going to fight like hell to give Apple the best price. This means, for example, that Apple can be the first to put a super high-res (“Retina”) screen in a phone, because their high volume got them a price no other manufacturer could get.
Since Apple is the only major manufacturer that controls the whole hardware and software “stack”, they are also able to adjust both their hardware and software to make the best unified product. Samsung, for example, is running Google software on its mobile devices, and Windows on its laptops. In both cases, they have much less control over what is going to be running on their devices, and that control is exercised much later in the production process. If Samsung, for example, wanted to put a new high-res screen technology on either phone or laptop, they have to take Android or Windows as something of a given and work around the limitations dictated by Google or Microsoft. Apple, on the other hand, can modify their desktop and mobile operating systems to support exactly the kind of Retina display that they’ve chosen to use. That’s why they were first with those displays in both the mobile and desktop markets.
Look at every other major technology name — Microsoft, Samsung, Google, HP. Each controls only a part of the user experience of their product. Apple controls the whole experience, and they have the control and focus necessary to provide that experience on only a few devices. Together, that’s what makes their user experience better than anyone else’s.
The only downside to that, in terms of the user, is that Apple products don’t play well with other things.
We are blessed to live in such unpixelated times.
There’s a additional twist to the volume pricing advantage that Apple enjoys; by virtue of their position as a major technological consumer and driver, they can actually influence the development process of the various components, gaining yet another advantage as chip manufacturers create customized chips for Apple before releasing those chips to the general production stream. I remember reading about this (possibly on Slashdot?) as an example of something called monopsony. This was the driver behind the Lightpath/Thunderbolt technology, and is probably behind the Retina display technology as well.
Apart from obligatory Apple-punching (hiring ‘slave-labor’ at wages that, I guess, no other manufacturer ever would even consider using) this sounds mostly right. Another factor is that Apple has gotten over the not-invented-here syndrome– which Microsoft, and to some extent, Google, still suffer from.
I don’t like the devices. Can’t figure out how to get them to work with others.
I was excited about my Acer/Chrome laptop when I received it. Then after a few days of bliss I tried to play my MP3 collection, No Go.
Then my pictures, No Go. Then I tried to print, need a “new” printer? Heck No, got too many wrecks now.
They joy has left my Christmas present in less than 6 months. Sad story for me.
I’d also add that Apple often seems focussed on profit share from a specific segment, sucking all the cash out of a sector, rather than market share. They’re also fanatically focussed on rolling their own where they can i.e. Apple Maps, Apple Lossless v. Flac… and ignoring something they can’t control i.e. Bluray.
Personally, I largely use Apple stuff because foremost, I’m a graphic designer who started out on Macs and have been loyal since. Doesn’t mean I’m not critical of Apple or don’t use other products, like my little Android phone which does all I want a phone to do… and rely only on Gmail and DropBox, as I generally hate Apple’s web services.
Go for what works and try not to get locked in, if you can avoid it.
I agree with everything in the post – I own an Apple phone & laptop, and they are so well designed, and the hardware meshes so well with the software…
But for Cole to get so excited about it working “perfectly, the first time out of the box”?
My desktop machine has always been a half-decent PC and I buy one every few years. Probably about 6 in the last 20 years. And every single one of them has worked perfectly, straight out of the box.
I think what the big man is really excited about is the “idiot proof” part, rather than Apple’s lower hardware failure rates :)
Apple products, today, play very well with other things, actually. Your comment might have been largely true 8 years ago, but not much anymore.
Will no one speak of the proprietary-mongering glitch engine that is Apple TV? Saw it in action over the past week, what a wreck: dropped connections, limits on what can be accessed (let alone played), outright blocking of widely available web content, crazy pricing for new media, and a remote that wouldn’t pass muster as a doorstop. Nope: it just doesn’t work.
I came to the whole technology thing at a rather advanced age (for that sort of thing) and found windows machines frustrating in the extreme. Then I got an iBook and it just worked. After I became better acquainted with it I found I could handle a lot more tasks myself computer maintenance and configuration -wise than I expected. I use windows for some things but I never feel like I am really in control of the computer as I do with my current MacBook.
I had an older Macbook. I bought a new Ipod. I could not connect the Ipod to the Macbook because the Macbook OS was two versions too old.
I plugged the Ipod into an XP PC (OS dated 2001) and it worked fine.
@Redshirt: It’s true that Apple shows little mercy to users who don’t keep their systems up-to-date. By the way, WinXP will officially hit end-of-life some time next year.
Oh, really? If they have, they only did so with the death of Steve Jobs, and I’ve not seen much evidence even so. Non-iOS devices have a variety of superior features that Apple for reasons of pride, aesthetics, or other issues refuses to copy: Swype, for example. Or the Surface keyboard, and the Surface kickstand (Jobs apparently rejected a similar keyboard idea, and the kickstand gives a more stable screen than the clever folding magnet on my iPad).
The flipside of the limited product range, which confers on Apple all the advantages Mistermix describes, is that you have your “choice” of just one device, essentially the device the late Steve Jobs insisted you have, although you may be able to choose whether to have it in white or in black. This means weird ports that change periodically, or no ports, and other odd feature gaps that almost certainly are result from some aesthetic ruling by some turtlenecked egotist in Cupertino.
Ha! Well, since iPods connect through iTunes (and really, nothing else), I’m guessing the version of iTunes on your MacBook needs to be updated.
I almost exclusively use Macs that are 5 or 6 generations behind current systems (although I do have one modern Mac). I have lots of new iPhones, iPads, and iPods. They all work with everything–but my iTunes is also up to date everywhere.
Since this is a tech thread, I need some help. I have a DVD that has a presentation on it. I need to clip a small part of the presentation to include in a Powerpoint presentation. I do have permission from the person who did the presentation to do this, so that’s not the issue.
I don’t know how to do this. Is there a tool that can do this? Any help is appreciated.
Whether or not it “just works” depends on primary use cases. I have Apple everything except phone. Even though the iPhone’s hardware-software integration is so much better, the fact that my primary uses of my phone involve mapping and navigation means I have an Android. It sucks less than iPhone for my use cases.
@Jasmine Bleach: No, it physically would not recognize the Ipod. This was a 2003 laptop with a 2009 Ipod. 6 years – Obsolete!
I have an iMac and a Chromebook and an iPod touch. Over the last ten years, our office has switched from all PC to only a couple of them, like our finance software which has no counterpart on Mac.
But since everything is moving to the Cloud, this means less and less. I use Outright for the cat toy business; works great, on any device.
There’s yer future!
@Warren Terra: I should have been clearer: I mean that Apple freely makes use of available technologies to achieve its goals. That doesn’t rule out ‘goals’ of controlling markets, crushing competition, limiting user interfaces, or whatever.
The Pale Scot
I don’t have an ipad or iPhone, but I have been using macs for design/video since the first PPCs came out. I have also worked in windows environments and been a software owner. Besides the fact that Adobe etc worked better on the mac platform, the OS has always been just easier to troubleshoot. No lost printer queues, disappearing files (but that might have been because the IT people didn’t want to touch mac and so gave me ownership of it during my brief corporate career.
Apple didn’t tie down it’s OS’s like MS did. I could partition hard drives and clone back up copies without dealing with validation processes. And even today OSX’s file system doesn’t contain hordes of files with nonsense names. I’m not a code guy but the OSX file system makes sense to me. Most software problems can be found in theuser/library/application support folder
Window 7 still has a registry, whch was a good idea when total ram was under 100MB, but I’d rather deal with Ini. files myself.
But maybe that since I’m the default tech support guy for the older members of my family, I get exposed to winbox only when there’s a problem.
Yes, I was surprised that the slave wages thing was the only Apple Bash ™.
The other advantage to limited number of products that are in production for long spans (relatively) is that you end up with UNlimited accessories. There are more iPhone cases, iPad cases, MacBook cases, etc then you can shake a fist at. With and without extra batteries, clear or colored, hard or soft, expensive or cheap, etc, etc.
No other set of products (even the Samsung Galaxies) can match the variety and ecosystem dedicated to the iProducts.
Worse, they sometimes want you to buy an additional other model that has the ports you want. There’s no good reason why they didn’t put an audio output on the Airport Extreme, for instance. Swine.
Where they also excel, in my opinion, is customer care and service. Genius Bars have been a godsend to some of my friends… and they even gave me a free laptop replacement battery once. Those things aren’t cheap.
The good news/bad news about Apple is doing what they want you to do. My first computer was a CP/M machine that I had to spend hours customizing, everything from adding memory to programming keyboard shortcuts — I loved it, but in the end that got in the way of getting anything done. My first reaction to Mac was frustration because I couldn’t (easily) work on that level, but by the time OSX came along I no longer wanted to use the command line. I’m now a naive user, and stay within the ecosystem (iMac, iPhone, iPad & my partner’s iPod) and pretty much It Just Works. (I did try Airport years ago to stream my music wirelessly and it was a pain, probably premature, and now I use wires and/or iPod/iPhone.) It ain’t perfect but I don’t have to think about it.
Oh, I also have an ancient iBook just so I can run Classic and the ancient version of Tetris. But don’t tell anyone.
Seriously?!? Because I have a 2003 iBook, a 2003 G4 tower, both of which I use regularly, and they have no issues recognizing my 2011 iPad or 2012 iPhone, for example.
Alternatively, I have an original white iPod shuffle (with lanyard) from like 2003(?), which I use for working out because it has the best sound quality and battery life of any iPod made it seems. That works fine with the 2012 iMac.
Sorry, I don’t know what to tell ya . . .
@Jasmine Bleach: Oh, it doesn’t matter now. Do you update your OS? I did not.
I have a brand new Macbook now and all is swell.
@Violet: I haven’t done this myself, but believe the standard Mac tools will do the job, like iDVD and iMovie. You should be able to copy and paste a segment of a DVD you’re playing. I assume there are corresponding Windows tools, but wouldn’t know.
Ironically, this is how computer companies (HP, IBM, Sun, etc.) before Microsoft changed everything. Apple refused to adapt to that game and made it work for themselves in the end.
I also think that game consoles did a lot to make this more palatable for developers. Apple’s “closed system” is positively open compared to all the consoles, and you have much of the same benefits. Developers I know hate working on Android (and the return for investment is much worse than iOS).
At least one developer of my acquaintance feels the opposite – he can make a living writing apps for Android, but it isn’t worth his waiting for Apple to approve his submissions. I don’t get the sense he much cares which he writes for, in terms of the difficulty of writing for either.
Apple products are very well-designed and well-made.
That said, it’d be nice if they took a somewhat less teabagging approach to taxes.
It’s old news but I ruined a macbook pro and an iPad 2 this week. I replaced the macbook yesterday and work will replace the iPad.
Violet, you could try VLC
After you open your clip, there’s a Streaming/Export Wizard command (at least on MacOS – I expect it would be on Windows too) and you can then specific that starting/ending point within the clip you want to export.
There’s probably other tools too, but VLC is free.
Well, I did update the OS as far as it would go on the older machines (Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard). Maybe the later versions of iTunes could not be installed on earlier systems (like Tiger), so that could possibly be the issue.
I was just surprised, because in my experience backwards compatibility with Apple products is generally pretty good. But they do push you to update, especially on the software side, a lot.
@Santa Fe: Thanks. Sorry, I should have mentioned I was on Windows. I’m googling around for tools for it, but was hoping someone could recommend something. I never do this kind of thing, so it’s all new to me.
Not to disrupt the comment thread but, RIP Iain Banks. He was a giant in sf, and would have been the guest of honor at the world science fiction convention in London in 2014, were it not for dastardly cancer. It’s not too early to drink a glass of whiskey in his honor.
It’s remarkable, today, that Microsoft basically saved Apple in the 90’s in order to get the Government a bit off their back, and look now!
Also, congrats to Microsoft for their immanent introduction of the Orwell TV – their new X-Box requires the Kinnect to be constantly on, and watching you.
MS controls all aspects of their Surface RT device. If only they had that level of control over one of their phones there’d be a better flagship even than the Lumias.
@Violet: The new Quicktime has a screen cap function that works great. You can capture any video but to get audio you have to install soundflower and go to your preferences a select soundflower 2 as your audio input and output.
eta QT also has an easy to use “trim” function.
@Jasmine Bleach: That was probably it. Didn’t update the OS, thus at some point I could not update iTunes, and thus I could not connect the Ipod.
I just recall being pissed that here I had two Apple products that would not communicate, and once again I had Apple advertising mocking me in my head. “It just works!”.
So, admittedly, I never took an anti-trust class in law school, but doesn’t that just scream out for an SEC lawsuit?
Didn’t microsoft get in trouble for way less? They didn’t even control the hardware component
When I got a new printer, I had to install the disc that came with the new printer into my pc in order for my pc to recognize it to be able to use it and follow all the steps to download the software.
To use it on my macbook, all I had to do was I plug the printer into it and hit print. So much easier.
@slag: Now that Google Maps has an iPhone app, navigation on the iPhone works pretty dang good now. I totally get some of my pals preferring Android because of the customizability and the keyboard, though.
As for apps – Apple is much easier to develop for because of the limited fragmentation of the install base – only a few models to worry about and the vast majority of iPhone/iPad users are running the latest version of the iOS, which is very different from Android. In addition, Apple users tend to actually buy a lot more apps than Android users do, in part because a large chunk of the Android install base are low-end customers who got a cheap Android but don’t do much with the smartphone capabilities besides Facebook. If you look at web browsing data, iOS users do a LOT more online on their devices than Android users do as a whole. There’s just a lot more money to be made in the Apple world currently. So smaller developers in particular tend to concentrate on Apple development because it’s easier AND more lucrative.
Short answer: No. They are merely building their own products from start to finish. They are not keeping others out of the market place by their actions.
this seems relevant (and somewhat entertaining).
I bought Apple last year after microsoft tried to charge me to fix a current software product that they give out for free. I’d just had enough ms problems over the years. Has not been all smooth sailing with the Apple, it is after all a computer, but the overall customer satisfaction level is much higher.
I do look at Apple like leasing a car. Every so often you get a new model but you always have to keep paying for that new thing. With ms you could sort of patch things up, like a new transmission or water pump and keep going. The machine is old and cranky but your cash outlay is better, till it isn’t worth the effort any longer. And then you have to accept that you are going to have to buy another car.
The late 90s called, and want to commiserate about your experience with device drivers in Windows. That really hasn’t been the standard experience in Windows for many years now.
The Pale Scot
Two ways come quickly to mind;
Download an app called Handbrake, (free) (it may not work on Lion or Mountain Lion. Use it to convert the whole DVD to whatever format you can video edit.
But this is probably easier, Get MPEG Streamclip (free), mount the whole DVD, look inside the Video_TS folder, select all of the VOB files, and drag onto streamclip, either the dock icon or the app pane shoudl work, you will be asked if you want to open the files as a stream, choose yes. then fix time code breaks if prompted.
From there all you have to do is find the clip you want, isolate and save to mpeg or export to whatever file type you want.
I just realized you may need Apple Playback component, If you can’t find it, say so in this post and I’ll try to help you out.
Also, I guess you could try using iMovie or any other vid editor, the thing to know is VOB files are the video files, and QT for some reason doesn’t play the audio of VOB files, but its there and will edit.
Sorry, I’m traveling and am using dial-up, it’s too difficult to post links.
Yea, the issue is using pre Itunes 10. You need to running at least Leopard 10.5 to install it.
Ha! As an Amiga person for over a decade, I can tell you that Apple has NOTHING on Microsoft on those issues.
Microsoft killed the Amiga, and tried to kill the Mac. As MS dies, I dance in the moonlight…
@Warren Terra: Ha. Really? My pc is a 2004, I think running on windows xp.
@Warren Terra: Ha. Really? My pc is a 2004, I think running on windows xp.
@cathyx: That’s why it double-posts.
@cathyx: That’s why it double-posts.
This is silly. The Amiga was never alive, not really. It was a niche machine that never caught on.
And FYWP, I only pressed Submit Comment once, although that was kinda funny.
@cathyx: Windows 7 came with most printer drivers. Windows 8 (maybe a mistake to go here ;) handles them all as far as I can see.
Plugged my printer in, hit print, easy…
@Central Planning: @Central Planning: But I’m on my macbook. Does your double post mean you’re on a pc?
@Warren Terra: How dare you! We all loved our Amigas – THEY LIVED!
I have an Apple TV. The first week was a wreck for me, too, with dropped connections and random rebooting. I applied a DNS fix (Apple Support communities are pretty good for information) and that helped, but eventually I had to go to the Apple Store. They gave me a new box, and it’s worked fine since. I don’t use it for much aside from Netflix and youtube, though.
I like the remote, but that’s a matter of personal habit and taste.
One thing that hasn’t really been mentioned, which I think is the key to Apple’s success: they usually don’t tolerate bad design or buggy code from their developers. If something is buggy or hard to use, they fix it. They may be an evil corporate empire, but they seem to be only corporation that insists on putting out a quality product, instead of a buggy mess that’s rushed to market. I know there are exceptions, but when Apple puts out a crappy product, it’s big news, instead of just business-as-usual, like with MS products.
You must be on crack. Mine is perfect for what I do. Netflix and itunes movies work perfectly on both TV sets, and the only problem with the remote is when it gets in the couch.
@Jasmine Bleach: That is perfectly fine if you can update your OS. What my brother experienced was this: bought an iPod for his daughter, wanted to put music on it and found that his iTunes wasn’t recent enough. Wanted to upgrade iTunes but discovered this required upgrading his OS.
Then he discovered that his not that old Apple laptop might not be 100% compatible with the OS upgrade (but that was a low risk), but also that several of the programs he uses daily (the likes of Photoshop) would definitely not run on his new OS and that they’d also needed to upgrade those.
At which point he called me and asked if I could fill up his daughter’s iPod. Which was no problem for me, because my PC had the latest version of iTunes (thanks to Apple annoying me about this every other day if I dared not to upgrade), even though my PC and the OS on it were older than his Apple laptop.
BTW, the only reason I have iTunes on my PC is because some podcasts are only available through iTunes. I think iTunes is am amazingly crappy piece of software and I’m baffled that Apple hasn’t spend any money on improving it. It is bewilderingly bad in so many ways… as I experienced when I filled up my niece’s iPod.
@cathyx: Windows XP dates to 2001, and is three major versions out of date (at least one of which is actually quite serviceable). Notably, over the decade-and-change since XP came out the internet has changed significantly – including libraries of device drivers a modern computer knows how to consult, rather than relying on the collection of drivers that shipped with the OS in 2004. I’m also far from sure you’d have better luck connecting a ten-year-old Mac to a new printer.
@Katie5: Dang. Thanks for the info.
@Singular: (obviously, by “alive” I mean a serious or even a remotely viable contender in the marketplace)
Good point. Apple really competes with itself in the quality of it’s products, the entire PC world competes with each other. Apple has to do it’s own thing so to speak, while to make money from new products in the PC world a company have to be first, therefore often rushing to market, hoping the product is good enough. And the PC supplier market has to sell a product or product idea to lots of customers to make money while Apple owns it’s market.
The Pale Scot
There are Windows versions of VLC and Clipstream
Nonsense. Commodore killed the Amiga (through a set of absolutely boneheaded decisions).
Re: Apple, their stuff is great if your needs fall into the niches their limited product line fills. For me, that happens to be true, so I have a MacBook Pro and an iPad (though no iPhone). If your laptop and/or tablet needs are different, or if you should happen to need a minitower desktop, or whatever, then not so much.
I’ll disagree a little and just say that Microsoft does control its own full hardware/software stack since they started making Surfaces. There is an entire MS ecosystem – MS hardware running MS OS running MS productivity apps, and they also go a step further than Apple does by having an entire ecosystem of server software. So when you go to Microsoft.com, it’s running MS’ server software and middleware, including an enterprise level DBMS. Furthermore, they have their own software development IDE (IMO, it’s the best in the market) that uses MS’ own languages (VB and C#) that interface with their own managed runtime (.Net). Apple does not compete at that level; whereas Apple tries to please consumers, MS tries to please developers. Their stuff is VERY well documented, and MS is VERY responsive to evolving the .Net ecosystem; Java took about 10 years to catch up with .Net’s feature set.
Where MS lags behind Apple tends to be in the compromises it makes interoperating with everybody else as well as trying to target the consumer market directly. They came to market with a tablet first, but targeted businesses rather than people, ceding the tablet market to Apple 10 years later by never responding to the market. And their early smartphones both sucked and were poorly designed for the form factor.
But their breadth of offerings is considerably larger than Apple’s nonetheless.
@franklin: Well, generally, but they blew it on that score with the maps. Not sure if that was hubris or software/design blinders or what.
@pokeyblow: Apple devices need to be christened with the pure essence of tears of IRS agents. That’s the real secret.
To this day I get a kick out of Philip Greenspun’s adage, “Apple looks like it will work, but it doesn’t work. Unix looks like it won’t work, but it does work. Windows looks like it won’t work, and it doesn’t work.”
I use all three, but linux gives me by far the fewest headaches.
@Warren Terra: Au contraire! If you are looking at special effects, video editing, multi-tasking… Amiga did it first.
Thanks for all the suggestions. It turned out to be really simple. My computer came pre-loaded with something called Windows Movie Maker. It allowed me to clip the part from the DVD, save as a *.wmv file and then fine tune it again to start and stop exactly where I need for the presentation. Worked great! Thanks, everyone!
My household is now “all in” with Apple: MacBooks, iPhones, iPads. Even my wifi router is now an Apple Air Extreme. Why? After years of dealing with Windows, I don’t want to hear the word “configure” anymore. I don’t want to mess with making things work — I just want to use the devices for what they’re meant to do.
Honestly, the router install was the easiest thing ever, it was barely much more than plugging the damn thing in.
@WereBear: Special effects and video editing weren’t sufficient to sustain Amiga, especially a decade or two before the social internet gave millions of people a good reason to dabble with them for the entertainment of friends and family across the country and the world. And “first to provide multitasking” (assuming you’re right) isn’t really a market-making feature – heck, the MacIntosh was the last platform to offer true multitasking, by a <very long time, with no ill effects. Not to mention, you still haven’t explained why Amiga being a failed niche platform is Microsoft’s fault. Is it really so hard to find actual misdeeds by Microsoft to complain about? I’d not have thought so.
@WereBear: Uh, no. Commodore killed the Amiga, with what was the absolute WORST marketing plan in all of history. The Amiga was the best graphics and audio machine available, so Commodore marketed it solely as a business machine in the USA.
(I say this as a guy who still has a functioning A500 and A2000.)
@cathyx: No, Macbook also, too.
The first part, about design, has been part of Apple’s corporate culture from pretty early on, I think, at least with respect to end user applications. Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines appeared in the late 1970s and came to dominate thinking for a couple of decades in the field of human-computer interaction. It’s instructive to compare early Macintosh applications to early Windows applications. My understanding is that Apple put out a software development toolkit that made it easier for developers to use the built-in windows, widgets, and so forth, than to roll their own. It took a few years for Windows to have the same consistency.
That consistency wasn’t necessarily a good thing. It was enough to prompt Don Gentner and Jakob Nielsen to write “The Anti-Mac User Interface” in 1996, observing that user interfaces had been kind of stuck for almost 20 years. Fortunately, that’s changed by now.
The Other Chuck
There’s really just one minor thing that kept me from running out and getting an iPad: aspect ratio. I watch Netflix episodes in widescreen on my Asus 10″ pad (which looks nice but boy is it sluggish) and on the iPad I either would get cut off pan+scan, or black bars shrinking the frame to where I may as well have had a 7″ tablet where there’s plenty of competition like the Kindle HD on the low end to the Nexus 10 on the high end.
Apple of course has its legions of dedicated fans that feel they need to “defend” the existing format, primarily I think because the status quo has Apple’s logo on it.
@Jasmine Bleach: You are at the point where Apple switched over to Intel chips and the newer programs won’t run on the older Motorola chips.
The immensely frustrating thing about all of this is that Apple was dictating all sorts of look-and-feel issues, but even so Apple couldn’t give a rude noise about usability. Every frigging program for the apple had its own ridiculous arbitrary lexicon of command-key combinations to memorize, with a very few common denominators (clipboard functions, quit, and perhaps save). Plus, these commands were likely to completely change not only between different programs but even from version to version of the same program, an absurd system already recognized as broadly undesirable back in the halcyon days of WordPerfect. Meanwhile, in Windows you could access menus with the “alt” key, and immediately see what hotkeys were available (sadly, Microsoft’s own products have in recent years mostly abolished usable menus in favor of visually striking but impossible-to-interpret strips of buttons).
Dude, Windows couldn’t decide if the exit command for a program should be alt-X or alt-Q, so it was different in every program. At least all of the basic commands (open, close, cut, copy, paste, print, quit, etc.) were standardized in Apple programs.
@Warren Terra: I know, I know…
It’s just the Amiga was such a huge step up from a ZX Speccy for me, even without a hard drive. Used to save our pocket-money, go down the Barras in Glasgow and buy pirated games for £1 per disk. Civilization came on 4 disks. The most fun I’ve ever had out of £4…
/wipes away a tear of happy nostalgia
I still find the file structure of Macs to be incredibly stupid and unhelpful. Is this my Windows bias showing?
Also, search on a Mac sucks – someone please explain to me how I cannot find a file named “filenamewizard” by searching for the word “wizard”.
Mike in NC
Got the Apple TV about 8 months ago and have never had a problem. YMMV.
There was a short period when Apple was buying audio chips from Wolfson. Devices made during that period are hoarded by audiophiles. In fairness to Cirrus, they are trying hard to catch up, and each successive device sounds a little better than the last. The iPed Mini is pretty decent.
I use my iPod Touch with a Fostex HP-P1, an external DAC/headphone app.
The best portable audio device currently available is the Astell & Kern AK120, made by iRiver. It sounds great, but it’s $1,300 and has a clunky interface.
Yeah, I understand that. But all I’m saying is that, as The Pale Scot (#47) posted above, if you have OS 10.5, it works fine. My computers from 2003 all support 10.5, and the latest iTunes, so your machine would have to be from before that time for it not to work (or at least, to not be updatable so that it can work).
That’s 10 years of support right there, which I don’t think is bad at all.
And, yes, iTunes does need an overhaul.
All tech companies pretty much use the same playbook for international tax and transfer pricing. It’s odd that the first Senate hearing on the tax practices of tech companies, that focused on Microsoft, HP, and Google, got so much less publicity. Or maybe it’s not odd.
I’m assuming this is a DVD-Video, yes?
On Mac: free utility called MPEG Streamclip will allow you to open the individual files on the DVD-Video. You can set in and out points, and export just that segment to nearly any file type you want. (However, it can get confusing and deep and hazardous to the video quality trying to figure out which file format to choose.)
All my Macs have PowerPC chips. Except the new one I bought in 2012, of course.
I have iTunes 10.5.2, which although not the latest, doesn’t yet limit you from purchasing things or using new devices (at least devices bought as recently as 2012).
As I said earlier, that’s 10 years of support. Not bad to my mind.
I was expecting a lot more Apple smack here. This did appear to be the Apple pinata set-up thread, amirite?
I use both PC & Apple products. What I like about my Mac & i-Everything stuff is that it just works. I don’t have to mess with it, ever. Not true with my PC life.
Having said that, yea I’m an Apple fanboi but I don’t worship at the alter or anything. Yea Apple stuff is always expensive but I know what I’m paying for. See the ‘it just works’ reasoning above.
@Redshirt: Dunno what to tell you: I just found “resizewizard” and “exportwizard” on my machine without a problem.
@Warren Terra: Not true. It was dominant in professional video production for many many years, with its video toaster product.
The Other Chuck
Searches on word boundaries is my guess. You’ll be “pleased” to know that Windows 8 took the once terrific search in Windows 7 and has made it similarly brain-damaged. And split it up into three different searches just for kicks. I used to have my mom search for stuff on her machine by tapping the win key and start typing. Theoretically this would work even better in win8 (since you see nothing but search results) but the other factors pretty much killed its usefulness. So I’ll be keeping her on win7 when time comes to upgrade her hardware.
I’m told Windows 8.1 fixes at least the “three searches” problem and gives us back the start button at that … I just think it should be a service pack, or at least had better be priced like the minor tweak it is.
Bought an iPad for my girlfriend a couple months back. We both really like it (with the usual caveats about modern ways of doing business and trying to restrict choice common to too many computer-related businesses now). But here’s an example of what I don’t like about Apple, their we’re too cool attitude. Went to turn the thing on, by pressing each of the buttons on the outside. Nothing happened. Looked for the instructions. They’re on the device, and you can read them when you’ve started it. Thought maybe the thing was broken.
Turned on my laptop and looked online and found I need to hold down the start button for a while for it to start. Okay, fair enough, if unlike other electronics thingies I’ve had. But why not a little line of text saying so on the box, on a little card, somewhere? Sorry, can’t do that, here at Apple we’re too cool for that sort of thing.
Come on, really.
@Redshirt: The grumpy old Unix geek in me grumbles “What’s so hard about ‘find . -name “.*wizard”‘ ?” The 21st-century desktop user in me concurs that Spotlight is … limited.
The Other Chuck
@Spike: The new unix geek should at least be grumbling “locate wizard”, which will actually finish instantly and not spew hundreds of errors to stderr as it tries to crawl /etc as non-root. Oh, except you’ll probably need to run “sudo updatedb” first, since updatedb still runs on a schedule and not from filesystem update events like it has been for years on other modern desktop OS’s. I don’t know what the story is on OSX, my guess is mlocate probably isn’t even installed by default.
Anyway, the task is to find a file. I do not see the moral decay inherent in putting this very simple thing one key press away.
@different-church-lady: How did you do it? If I search for a that file name via Spotlight, nothing comes up. And I know of no wild cards I can use like *wizard.
I’m always surprised at what a blind spot so many progressives have relative to their computers. I use GNU/Linux on a http://www.zareason.com system. ZaReason is in Berkeley, CA, and they assemble their machines here in the US, treat their employees well, and make a great product at a reasonable price.
I’m not a geek, so GNU/Linux is cumbersome once in a while, but it mostly fine. It’s the progressive solution: anticorporate, power-decentralizing, rights-respecting and transparent (as in, govt backdoor spying would be immediately detected by the community).
I could see how someone who needs to do heavy graphics or multimedia might need a Mac, but if everyone who does “average” word processing, spreadsheets, browsing, and multimedia used GNU/Linux they would do fine and we’d promote progressive values and raise the ethical bar for the entire computer industry.
Mostly Apple household around here, but we gave the AppleTV a pass in favor of Roku’s. Sometimes they take a bit of babying, but mostly they work well. (We don’t bother with the gaming functions, so can’t speak to them.)
Also recently got oldest daughter (age 13) a Samsung Chromebook, which she loves, even though she also has an iPod Touch. You should understand the Chromebook’s limitations going in – it won’t store your MP3 collection or your photos (though there are Google cloud utilities for both of those things). Printing is no big deal so long as you have another machine to be a Cloud Print server. The main thing about the Chromebook is how much it does do for so little money, and in a package that demonstrates how much of the big OS’s is just bloat.
The quintessential example of the diametric opposite of Apple’s legendary grasp of making devices intuitive and user-friendly is Microsoft’s Windows 8, which was created with attempting to retain and leverage market share first, improving its flailing, failing, slipping foothold in tablet and portable devices a whisker-close second, and user needs and intuitive friendliness a distant third at best. Why else would they try to force a new OS design intended to try to force users to adopt Microsoft’s version of a touch-screen smartphone-tiled type of interface, and offer users wishing to stick to the more traditional PC-like Windows 7 interface the option to shift to an awkwardly crippled version thereof (e.g. without any “start” button – why? cause MS thinks users really don’t need it, cause they really should be using the new Win8 touchscreen/tablet interface, that’s why shut up.)
Microsoft’s technical culture has never understood very well how to make interfaces user-friendly and intuitive. Apple’s technical culture always made that the core of everything else. Not that Apple always gets things right either, but they’ve always been light-years ahead of Microsoft.
Funny you should mention that. VLC is actually not officially available for iOS, but oddly enough, it wasn’t because of Apple — one of the copyright holders, Rémi Denis-Courmont, threw a shitfit over his GPLed code being used on the Apple Store, and had it pulled, with Richard Stallman’s support. This, apparently, qualifies as a victory to some in the Open Source world — screw over the customers because of a political beef.
OBTW, Denis-Courmont works for Nokia. Absolutely no conflict of interest at all.
My computing history is a little different from most; I ran OS/2 for years, and the WPS is (imho) absolutely the best UI based on the desktop metaphor ever made. Nowadays I’m a unix geek, using solaris at work and running linux at home (and on my workstation at work). I also have a mac on my desk at work, but since OSX is really bsd unix, I use it like a unix box. Most of my work on our production systems is through terminals; the production boxen don’t even have video hardware. CLIs rule; if you grok regex and the use and abuse of find, grep, awk, and sed, you can accomplish tasks that involve thousands of files in a tiny fraction of the time (and an even tinier fraction of the work) than would be possible using a GUI.
I find the apple stuff somewhat frustrating, mostly because of the “here’s how you do it”. Really, though, I think it’s a lot more about how all these new mobile devices don’t allow the person that owns the hardware to have root access to the system. All of these devices are based on unix, but no root on iphone, no root on blackberry, no root on android etc. I have a playbook (and really like it) but my inability to run a prompt on it drives me nuts. Same goes for my work iPad, iPhone, and the samsung android thing that we have in the office, all for software testing. I want my bash, dammit!
@Violet: Handbrake is the software you’re looking for. There’s a bit of a learning curve to it, but one of its preset options should work and produce a video file you can use in PowerPoint.
Tucked into the exquisite over-engineered packaging was a tiny pamphlet that explained the initial start-up procedure. It’s about the size of a business card. I can’t find the one for my iPad 3, but for my iPad 2 the pamphlet bore the gnomic title “Start Here” in elegant pale grey text.
Yeah, that’s most of it.
There’s a bit more to it, though. There are other benefits of the limited number of devices. Look at the iPad again. Apple has sold nearly 100 million retina iPads. Where Samsung and other companies have a constellation of devices to give users choice (a good thing), Apple sticks to a single device, but that decision allowed Apple to take the large up-front costs of having the retina display engineered, the costs of the equipment to manufacture it in volume (it requires different equipment from lower resolution displays), and the costs to ramp up screen manufacturing (building factories). Apple can do this for two reasons:
1) they know they’ll sell simply a massive number of those screens and can go to their suppliers and place orders for huge volumes.
2) Apple uses their cash balance to pay for all that stuff up-front. When the global economy tightened up lending, Apple became the bank. Need a $2B factory? Apple will pay for that, and you can pay them back in screens.
It allows Apple to exert a high degree of control over their component supply. In some cases they can get technology before anyone else, because they’re also financing it. They can also dictate the quality of their components. Apple went to an Australian aluminum mine and bought out the future supply of their highest quality aluminum to be used in the case. Apple also bought up most of the world supply of CNC machines to mill that aluminum into cases. For a period of 2 years, other manufacturers had trouble making super thin and rigid cases for laptops and tablets because there weren’t enough CNC machines available to buy (Apple bought them all) or high quality aluminum to mill (Apple bought that too). That gives Apple an additional time advantage – they use that time to jump even farther ahead of the competition because they know they have a profitable tablet market and can justify investing more than Samsung can, because Samsung doesn’t know when or if they’ll be able to catch up. This ability to secure markets is extremely important to Apple. It provides them with the security to invest.
On the software side, there’s a different dynamic going on. Apple is competing against Android, etc. but the Android OEMs are more competing against each other than against Apple. This is a problem we see in the Windows PC space. The more direct threat to Samsung is HTC. If a consumer rejects iPhone and choose an Android device, they now have an additional decision – which one? Samsung and HTC are running largely the same software stack with a similar interface, so these companies spend a huge amount of money not trying to differentiate their products from Apple, but from each other. The Android stock UI isn’t good enough, so they invest in creating brand new ones – and often ones that make the UI worse for the sake of making it different. Well, that’s not a cost that Apple need to incur. Samsung is also duplicating a ton of stock Google services and apps. They do this for two reasons:
1) Google doesn’t exist in the largest Android market: China. There is no GMail there. There is no Calendar there. So the benefits of Android are lost there unless Samsung, etc. reproduce them. Apple is able to push the same services they’ve built for the US to China as well. No additional work, no inconsistency between how the device works to developers.
2) Commoditized operating systems like Windows and Android force a race to the bottom on cost unless you can secure a monopoly or construct an ecosystem that can stand on its own merits. Samsung’s window to keep their Android devices profitable is steadily closing. Their only real path is to either fork Android as Amazon did, or construct a set of services on top of Android which is unique to Samsung and seen as a good enough value-add that consumers will be willing to pick it over lower-priced Android devices. This is what keeps Apple going, but Samsung has a harder time of it because they don’t fully control the OS.
And so on the software and services side, Apple is able to invest a lot more money advancing the platform and integrating strongly with the hardware because they don’t need to do redundant work within the software space for the sake of differentiation. They can do the music and movie and book sales agreements (that even Amazon hasn’t caught up on – Apple is in 150 different countries, compared to at most a few dozen for their competitors including Amazon). They can build a huge retail network to provide a really top-notch buying experience, again that their competitors haven’t matched (Microsoft’s stores are really quite good, there just isn’t very many of them).
Now, Apple is far from perfect here. Their cloud services are at best okay. They’ve improved from shitty, and have a long way to go before they match the rest of the Apple experience. Their media access and sharing solutions, however, are exceptional. Samsung has really outdone them on pen input on devices. Google has vastly better cloud experience (though it too has a lot of rough edges).
The next pieces I expect Apple to tackle are mobile payments (in the US) and 2-factor authentication. Google Wallet has been a failure in the US. It was undersupported and was unrealistic regarding the scope of the payment problem. At this point, only Apple can solve this problem, because only Apple has the market penetration in the US to do it. They’ve been building layers. It’ll take a bit of time to get there – it’s a hugely difficult problem. 2-factor authentication using your phone is a good improvement, but the way it’s been implemented so far is a gigantic pain in the ass. It’ll never take off en masse. If Apple does build something like a watch, expect this to be one of it’s big selling points. You log-in to a site with your username/password, the site sends a message to your watch which you have previously registered to your account, and your watch checks to see if the computer or phone you are logging in from is in close proximity (bluetooth) and sends back the confirmation to log in. It’s seamless, and the watch can even use the wireless connection from your device for communication without compromising the system.
These are systems that other companies really can’t create because they involve software, hardware, services, and require large market penetration. Google could try to do the 2-factor thing, but they don’t control the hardware to receive it. Samsung could do it, but they wouldn’t share it with HTC and the others (due to differentiation), and that would undermine the market penetration.
You know what needs changing? The iPad format for this blog. I appreciate the work volunteers put into this sort of thing, but it sucks. The left sidebar takes up about a third of the screen, way more room than it needs. And I don’t like the little clippy headline posts you have to expand either.
Yes, you can turn the iPad setting off with the toggle switch at the bottom of the page, but you have to do it every time. Why can’t it just remember the setting? The blog displays just fine at the regular, full size setting. Maybe the iPad setting works well on smart phones, don’t have one so don’t know. Not my blog, I know, but this area could use some work.
Apple paid $1 of every $40 in US corporate taxes last year. I think they would prefer that every other company take a somewhat less teabagging approach along with them.
Full disclosure: I’m an Apple user, and have been for many years. The main reason I stick with them is the reliability you have correctly analyzed above. In addition, I tend to buy Apple peripherals, as they work very well together. This, I’m sure, is due to the vertical integration you’ve illustrated so well in your post. I don’t have a real problem with Apple’s policies or tax compliance, they just make good stuff that keeps me happy. I still stand by this chestnut: Apple owners swear by their computers, PC users swear AT theirs.
Has Linux figured out how to make printing work? Back in the 80’s I was a unix admin and it functioned better then than most microsoft stuff does today, IMHO. 2 yrs ago I tried Linux and found it to be great except for printing. What a pain in the ass, even when it worked, which of course it could not do with my 1 yr old HP printer.
You do understand you fall well outside the norm, don’t you? Even if you do make sense. The vast majority just want to use the computer, not marry and have kids with it.
There are subtleties, though. I won’t go into the philosophical controversies about free software (in part because I don’t know them all that well), but here’s a practical tradeoff. One of my friends is a freelance software developer. He’s a big name in his community, but he sometimes has a hard time finding work, which wasn’t the case in the past. My understanding (and experience) is that when some organizations are looking for software for a need they have, they’ll sometimes think, “We can hire a developer to build a system to our specification, which could be expensive, or we can adopt a free software system that does 75% or 80% of what we want,” and they go with the latter. “Free” is very appealing. (I like and use a lot of free software myself.) But nothing is really free–working around the missing pieces, extending existing software, and so forth can sometimes cost more in the long run.
Linux in particular has challenges with respect to usability and user experience, to come back to the theme of this post.
If Apple “just works”, how come I have to disconnect and reconnect my USB mouse every morning at work after turning my Mac on? If I don’t take that step, the mouse will not function.
On a deeper level, Apple pays attention to things that other companies don’t. When they did the iPhone, they needed to work out how touch scrolling would work. Previous devices used scroll bars, but Apple had users ‘grab’ the screen and shove it. Sounds simple enough. But when you touch the screen and then move the equivalent of say, 100 pixels, how far should the screen move? Apple decided the screen should move exactly 100 pixels. That is, the content on the screen should stay under your finger as you move with no perceptible variation to give the illusion that you aren’t manipulating the touch layer which in turns adjust the content, but instead that you are directly manipulating the content in the same way that you would a physical object. Nobody else got that for several years. Further Apple implemented inertial scrolling, so that if you go beyond the 100 pixels and ‘flick’ the screen, that the content would act as if it had a certain mass and coefficient of friction and scroll along and slowly slow down. The harder you flick, the farther it scrolls. How massive? How much friction? What feels natural? Nobody else bothered with these things for years because they said it didn’t matter. Users would figure it out, it’s good enough.
But it turns out there’s a part of the brain that we use when we do abstract things that can turn off when we don’t. When you use a mouse, though it may seem perfectly intuitive now, it once wasn’t. It needed to be learned – how to coordinate your hand motions to what was happening on the screen. There’s a translation of motor action taking place, and some level of analysis in your brain. Apple’s goal was to short-circuit that. To make using the iPad/iPhone, at least for scrolling and item selection so close to what we do in the physical world that there would be no translation, no analysis. Though it’s a part of your brain that you don’t notice, it still weighs on you. It’s still effort. It’s a kind of stress. Apple managed to turn that off, which is why a lot of people notice that web surfing and other activities is easier/more relaxing on the iPad than on their PC. There’s a little bit of friction, a little bit of stress taken off. Some people don’t notice it enough for the iPad to feel ‘magical’ but most people do – particularly young people that haven’t fully habituated that effort, and older people for similar reasons. Critics would argue that it’s easy enough to learn to use the mouse, or a non-direct interaction model, but really the issue is ‘why learn something that doesn’t need to be learned?’ It’s not laziness, but a genuinely better solution.
And Apple does that in quite a lot of places that people just don’t quite grasp the significance of. Acquiring software is a big one. That’s difficult and scary for most people. Too many steps, too many different types of inconsistent actions, and uncertainty that what you’re doing is safe. Apple solved that. One store, capture your payment credentials once, the store also does the installation, the store also does the updating, and Apple ensures that everything is safe. What geeks see as a power grab and a closed system, everyone else sees as the first time anyone has bothered to unfuck software acquisition. You want a new app, there only one place to go to find it, and if you find the one you want, you push one button, type your password, and it’s installed and you push the same button and its now running. It could be easier, but not much, and nobody else has since come close to matching that.
Those little things add up in big ways. The first time you see a bunch of senior citizens with iPads talking about their favorite apps outside of Starbucks really drives it home. Folks that we stereotype as being unable to get their email working are fully independent iPad users who feel confident enough to explore adding software. That’s incredibly empowering to people. It’s not fanboism that drives Apple’s sales but things like that – people that feel empowered, or people that feel more relaxed when using the device. We love the fact that we can move music and video to anywhere in our house from any device we have. My daughter makes a movie on her iPod and with two clicks can push it to either TV. My son wants to listen to music in the yard, he can queue it up on his computer and stream it to the battery powered speaker he puts on the patio table. If we have a party, I can stream music simultaneously to every device in the house without having to wire any of them together. So can any of my guests, so they can change the music however they want. At the end of the evening we all share photos and video of what’s happened since we last got together, and anyone can push their movies and slideshows from their phones to the big TV. To us that’s just a huge thing.
I take it that it is an aftermarket mouse? How do you know it is Apple’s fault?
Can you provide a translation of this, because I have no fucking idea at all what any of this means? And I’m guessing that 99 percent of the people who have an iPhone or Android phone have no idea what it means, either.
That’s the real computer revolution — you no longer need a computer science degree to use a computer.
@Trooptrap Tripetrope: Never heard of that. Have you tried a different brand of mouse to see if it’s the computer or the mouse?
@Ruckus: Because (A) I tested the same mouse on two Windows computers and it functioned immediately at startup, and (B) the mouse works fine on the Mac after I disconnect and reconnect.
It’s not an Apple mouse. Since I use the mouse extensively all day, I need one that fits the contours of my hand and doesn’t cause discomfort after a few hours.
Does it need a software update from the mouse manufacturer? Ironically, I have zero problems with my third-party rollerball but getting the wireless Apple mouse to link up is kind of a pain in the ass.
This is my main point from #108.
I have had computers since the mid 70’s. Almost all of them were used at work to do office work, accounting, and production using CAD/CAM. Apple, Masscomp(a unix box) Sun, and other workstations, many PC’s and now Apple again. Every single one of them had limitations, some of the workstations in the 80’s worked as good as Apple does today. But what I like about Apple today is that it works. I had to unlearn ms and learn the Apple way for a few things but need almost no manuals/help to do so. Some things are a little frustrating(only a backspace delete key), haven’t found a way to get to the bottom of a page with out scrolling the key pad, but overall a much better experience. If I was starting out without years of use of other systems I’m sure this would be even better.
Based on my office experience: people are drawn to the ease of use. The mountain to climb from Windows XP to Windows 8 is actually less than switching from Windows to OSX. And then climbing from the different flavors of OSX to the different Windows are easier still.
That is the beauty and limitation of Apple. The vast majority of the time it just works or is replaced because a piece is actually broken. Working outside of the Apple system puts the onus on you to solve any problems. Which is exactly like a PC. Is this a PC USB mouse? If so is there an Apple version of the same mouse? I had a Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse for my last PC. Logitech states that they do not support these for use with Apple, although they may work. I chose not to bother trying to get them to work, my frustration level nowadays is getting pretty low so I avoid pushing that.
I am a PC guy for work and never cared for Apple.
But son of a bitch their products are just better in every single aspect – and I’m speaking of their iPads, iPhones and iPods. Can only assume their computers are better.
But, I am so thoroughlly integrated with PC for work (Adobe CS6 and so on) that the thought of Making the Change is terrifying.
@Mnemosyne: And it’s also bullshit. I write software. I use UNIX all the damn time. There is nothing in the linux/UNIX world that does what spotlight does. Spotlight isn’t perfect, but you can’t beat ‘cmd-space, type what you want, return’ and get everything from apps to email to something out of a Word file, all nicely categorized.
You probably don’t know that spotlight feeds the calculator, so you do cmd-space 16*34 and it’ll show 544.
Here’s some tips on what’s possible: http://www.macworld.com/article/1132788/spotlight2.html
@? Martin: Then tell me how to find a file named “Filewordwizard” only using the word “wizard”, with wildcards if necessary.
@El Tiburon: I’m taking some of my staff through this process. They’re ‘never touched a Mac’ people. But they will have to support some Macs now and they’re steadily coming around. The ability to fully patch a system without dozens of updates was a surprise to them. The complete lack of driver issues was another surprise to them. They were mostly disgusted but also pleased to learn that Windows is in some respects easier to install and maintain as well as run better on a Mac laptop. Coincident with this is that we’re shopping for new hardware and they’re throwing up their arms over the usual stuff from HP/Dell, etc. They think it’s all crap. Bad specs, bad support, bad build quality, high return rates. At the moment, their best solution (and they believe cheapest over time) is to buy Macs and install Windows on them. They’re working really hard to change that, but so far that’s how its looking.
It does take some getting used to, but it’s not horrible.
@Ruckus: Not sure what your printing needs are – mine are rudimentary (manuscript pages) but it prints fine. Once in a while the driver gets munged, but I’ve figured out how to fix that myself.
In the finder, select File > Find, select ‘name’, then ‘contains’ put ‘wizard’ in the Search box.
Add more rules to narrow the search as needed.
Spotlight is an awesome tool, under the hood and excels at really broad searches, but the Finder Find menu item (you know, why the Finder is called “the Finder” ;-) is better for searches like this.
Use spotlight to find files where you think you said ” Debbie the Meeting is at 8 am on Tuesday” use the finder when you want to just find files based on name or type.
In the finder, select File > Find, select ‘name’, then ‘contains’ put ‘wizard’ in the Search box.
Add more rules to narrow the search as needed.
Spotlight is an awesome tool, under the hood and excels at really broad searches, but the Finder Find menu item (you know, why the Finder is called “the Finder” ;-) is better for searches like this.
Use spotlight to find files where you think you said ” Debbie the Meeting is at 8 am on Tuesday” use the finder when you want to just find files based on name or type.
@RSA: Thanks for your comments.
There are tradeoffs everywhere, but in this case it would seem the system is working. Programming has taken a huge hit in terms of job numbers, in recent years, but the “working around the missing pieces, extending existing software, and so forth” can help keep people employed.
Beyond that, however, you’re conflating free-as-in-speech and free-as-in-beer. The former should be a strong goal for all progressives. The free-as-in-beer is very nice, but it’s really just the icing on the cake.
I have to say Linux’s occasional inconvenience is minor to me compared with knowing I’ve made a choice that doesn’t support slave labor and corporate tax dodging. I will add that Apple’s marketing irritates the heck out of me. All that ersatz individualism…
Apple devices just work…so long as you only want to do what they just work at. The apple experience is extremely controlled from the top down, for consistency. Which produces a strong, consistent, but sharply limited experience. There’s definitely room for that – I have an iPhone myself, and my tech-dumb mother loves her MacBook – but it’s not what I want in my personal computing. I can’t customize my phone’s functionality in any meaningful way, because that would interfere with that top-down experience. If the same were true of my PC, I’d tear my hair out.
It also makes it extremely frustrating when things DON’T just work. Because you’re locked out of your device’s higher (or lower, depending on your perspective) functions, to avoid you screwing up the sacred experience, if something fails to work you’re left with little recourse. And it makes the parts of the Apple Experience that don’t work feel all the uglier: iTunes is just horrendously bad in every way, and I have long since given up on fighting with the way my iPhone handles cover art on my music.
So yeah, there’s definitely advantages to Apple’s approach, but you can count me out of it for the most part b
Honestly, do you work FOR Apple? They were the most profitable company in the US so should pay a lot in taxes.
Also, morally, “all the kids do it” just doesn’t cut it.
Top Sekrit Information: Apple ‘just works’ with just about any PC usb device. Plug in a Dell computer mouse (probably made by Logitec, btw) and voila, you have a standard two-button + scrollwheel mouse, working just exactly like you would think.
Plug in an HP keyboard, and the only issue is that the commnd and option keys are swapped between Windows devices and Apple ones.
Seriously i do this stuff for a living and it’s been years and years since you’ve had to ask ‘Is there a Apple version of this piece of hardware?’
@Jasmine Bleach: My brother COULD update his mac’s OS, but then he’d also need to update plenty of his *expensive* software. And all that because Apple can’t be arsed to allow him to *just update iTunes*, even though I (with my older PC and older OS) did have the latest version of iTunes because Apple kept nagging me about upgrading.
It’s a simple enough question: why is Apple unable to allow iTunes to be updated on an older Apple without requiring you to purchase a brand new OS, yet happily develops iTunes updates for ancient Windows OSes? You’d think they could spend a fraction of the billions they saved by not paying taxes on that kind of thing, instead of building a saucer-shaped HQ in the middle of a forest.
@El Tiburon: CS6 is essentially identical on both Mac and PC, because it’s essentially a ginormous Flash application wrapped around Photoshop’s underlying image manipulation libraries.
@Redshirt: Cmd-space to get into the spotlight menu, then ‘name: wizard’ Spotlight defaults to ‘contains’ so you don’t need wildcards for what you want to do. It’ll give you emails with ‘wizard’ in the title, and such, but they’ll all be separated out. The documents will be near the top.
If you really just want documents, type ‘kind:document name: wizard’ or ‘kind:document AND name: wizard’. Same thing. You can do boolean searches in there using AND OR NOT. You could also do ‘kind:document AND name: wizard NOT name: file’ and it’ll find documents with a file name containing ‘wizard’ but not containing ‘file’. You can expand it further: ‘kind:document name: wizard modified: 3/1/2013-3/31/2013’ will give you all documents with wizard in the file name that were modified during the month of March. Or use ‘modified:>3/1/2013 and it’ll find any modified since March 1. You can also add something like ‘kind:pdf OR kind:powerpoint’ and it’ll only return files that are PDFs or Powerpoint files. That’s handy when you aren’t using the ‘name’ construct and instead are searching inside the file. ‘kind:pdf content: wizard’ will find any pdfs that contain the word ‘wizard’.
Lesser focused part of vertical stack and customer experience: devices are not perfect, something will go wrong, even iDevices. I’d rather go to the local Apple store and resolve issues directly than deal with a customer service rep in Philippines, the returns department at a big box retailer, or worse yet, a carrier.
And I never argued they shouldn’t pay more in taxes than anyone else. I argued that if Apple should pay proportionately more taxes, then so should every other company. And that’s Apple’s stated argument as well.
Apple didn’t earn 2.5% of the profits in the US, but they pay 2.5% of the corporate taxes. My point is everyone should pay more and it should apply equally.
Mine were fairly robust at the time and I just didn’t have the time and patience to work on it for more than a couple of days. If I recall there were no drivers for my printer. I could have written one had I desired(I did not, I don’t have enough hair left to pull any more out) or I could abandon linux and go back to xp. Strangely enough going back to xp was easier. Linux reminded me of the workstations I had used or admined in the 80’s and I liked everything except the lack of printing issue.
@Mnemosyne: Actually, that’s not true. You use computers all the time that require people like me to keep them going. I do my job well, which means you don’t notice.
Here’s a translation. Let’s say I’ve noticed that there’s a botnet that’s targeting my systems, and in the last fifteen minutes they’ve dumped tens of thousands of messages into our queue, where their mixed in with some thousands of legit messages. I’ll do something like this: First, turn off the queue processor. Second, issue “find /path/to/queue -type f -amin -15 | while read line; do grep -l stringFoundInSpamUniquely $file; done | while read file; do mv $file /path/to/holding/dir; done & restartQueueProcessor”.
I’m done. Five or so minutes later the queue processing daemon will fire back up and nobody will be the wiser, and while that’s going I can spend that five minutes going through logs to figure out which hosts need to go into our blacklists so they can’t continue to send us garbage.
@Ruckus: Yes, I do. I’m the lead sysop of a multi-million user mail system. Trying to manage it using only GUI tools would be a nightmare. As for marrying and having kids with it, well, thank $DEITY for that; my job makes supporting my kids possible. I’m also fortunate in that my job is in high tech and actually involves making people’s lives better. Well, except for spammers, but making their lives worse is a pleasure.
@Hillary Rettig: You make some good points. And then this:
True. I was thinking about libre software given away gratis. I don’t know much about non-gratis libre software. (ETA: Or the libre software movement in general.)
My new apple came with a keyboard and mouse or trackpad. So along with not needing to purchase/carry over my old keyboard/mouse and my possible frustration level irritation, I went with the apple stuff. Works fine. Different sure, but fine. Also in the past when companies have told me they specifically don’t support something because it might not work, I’ve tended to believe them. In theory they know their product better than me. Or at least they should.
Hey I’m old now, I don’t want to have to screw with computers or cars or other crap I buy. I’ve done that. More times than I care to remember.(I have a few stories) I just want crap that works.
@polyorchnid octopunch: @Mnemosyne:
Mnemosyne, let me translate the translation: If there’s a malicious attack on your Mac, there’s an adaptive firewall that will almost always catch it and block the system doing that. You don’t need to know any of the stuff above – that’s only useful for sysadmins. You’ll also be relieved to know that you don’t need a $1000 air compressor and pneumatic nailer to hang a picture in your house, even though the guy who built your house almost certainly needed that setup. Professionals and consumers use different tools for different reasons.
I’ll also note that if you had a Mac, everything polyorchnid octopunch did above would also just work, because your Mac is a certified UNIX.
@polyorchnid octopunch: FYWP. Tried to do an edit to make the middle section a little clearer, said it worked, but it didn’t. Boo. Mnemosyne: what’s happening there is that I’m finding all the files in our queues that are less than fifteen minutes old and searching them to figure out which ones are spam, and moving them outside the queue for later review to check for any false positives that may have ended up in there. To be sure it requires knowledge to do it, but the cpu and memory resources eaten by this will be tiny compared to GUI equivalents, they’re very fast, and my familiarity with the tools meant that I can craft that command line in probably less than three minutes. I would never want to use a command line tool to edit a photograph, but I also never want to use a GUI tool for work like that; CLIs are faster, better, and less work to use.
As I posted above I used unix extensively years ago and really liked what could be done with three letter tools and a little understanding. But I’m past that, have been for years. Being allowed to do that may be nice but for the last 30 + years all I’ve cared about was using the computer to do work with, not to work on. I’d be one of your customers, not one of your employees.
Right. GUIs are very well suited for direct interaction. See the thing you want to do and point at it. It’s discoverable – you don’t need prior knowledge to use one, which is very important to understand. CLIs are very well suited for logical interaction – usually involving a complex set of disjoint actions or requests, but they are completely undiscoverable. You must know what you’re doing before you can accomplish anything. If you don’t know how to change a directory, there’s no fumbling around until you do. You have no choice but to read the documentation or have someone show you.
The next interface revolution is going to be conversational interfaces, like Siri. Siri is not voice recognition. I know that’s how it’s marketed, but that’s actually done by Nuance. Siri is a conversational interface. It allows CLI-like power in a discoverable interface. So, for Redshirts’ query you could do the following:
“Find files with wizard in the name”
(receive list of files – or have the system tell you how many it found)
“only PDF files”
(receive smaller list)
Now, that’s very simple, but it’s something that neither GUIs or CLIs really do. Neither one is good at preserving context, where subsequent actions can be applied to refine the previous one. Sure, there are GUIs that are specifically programmed to do that, but they’re narrow cases. And CLIs basically don’t do it at all. You’d need to go and rewrite your original query. So one problem that people routinely face when interacting with computers is that they are very incomplete in terms of what they request. They leave out important details because people are outstanding at preserving context. If we are reading an email written by Bill Smith, it makes perfect sense to ask your assistant to ‘Call Bill’. But your assistant doesn’t know which Bill, he’s not reading the email, so he’ll ask ‘Which Bill? Bill Wilson?’ because perhaps Bill Wilson was just in the office an hour before. So there’s this conversation taking place to establish context with the context being retained at each stage. When you respond to your assistant you don’t need to reiterate the fact that you want someone called – that’s retained. So once you establish Bill Smith, your assistant will call them. And your assistant assumes other contexts. Since you’re at work, he’ll call Bill Smith at work. If you asked your husband to ‘Call Bill Smith’, he’d assume to call him at home, because you’re at home. The context of location is incorporated into the request without having to specify it.
Computers suck at context. We have few formalisms for retaining context in CS. And that’s what Siri is designed to do. It works now in a speech context, but Siri also had a typed context. You could essentially IM with Siri, turing test like. If someone can crack this (and Apple is working damn hard at it, Siri is the largest software team outside of the OS team there) then it will truly revolutionize how we use these systems. We can provide fragmented information and instructions and have the system make certain assumptions based on when, where you are making the request along with having the system request additional information when the request is unclear. And it does all of this now, but it’s limited in scope. Again, we have no formalisms to write software in this way, so Apple and Google and others working on the problem are having to invent them.
This is probably one of the most important problems in CS pertaining to consumers that exists right now. It solves problems that simply cannot be done via either GUI or CLI.
@The Other Chuck: Win 8.1 will be free to owners of Win8
JR in WV
I have an Acer laptop with Ubuntu 12.x installed, and when I plugged my 10 year old Canon printer into it, it just printed. I did have to select the printer for print output, that was – what, 2 clicks? Maybe 3, I don’t remember for sure.
RIP Iain M Banks indeed… what a loss, and so quickly.
@Ripley: Sounds like someone’s just got a bad internet connection. My roommate’s got one of those Apple TV things and it works like a charm. Even works seamlessly with Netflix streaming. And if you’ve got an iphone you can use it as the remote if you don’t like the little one it comes with.
@Ruckus: I believe most Linux distros use CUPS. An Apple product, btw.
Just my luck. Too early, too late, too broke, too slow, too whatever.
I could find nothing to make it work, from Ubuntu, on the google, anywhere. Maybe it’s just me.
For GNU/Linux fans: A. Lundqvist and D. Rodic have published a marvelous family tree of distros here [svg]. Version 12.10 of their tree contains 480 entries.
Forum Transmitted Disease
A thread full of apologies for the use of slave labor and tax dodging, not to mention the indulgence in tribalistic chest-thumping. What a seriously disappointing bunch of people you are.
Huh? Apple uses Intel chipsets and processors! (i5 & i7) They used to use Motorola. They use Samsung mobile processors in their iPhones? Sorry I’m confused by what you mean by, “Device Stack”? All my friends have iPhones and never stop bitching about them. Also enough with the Samsung bashing, They produce their own hardware and some of Apples too.
My better half has a macbook that’s maybe 4 years old. It stopped being able to do stuff like stream videos on the internet, because her video players were out of date. The video players could not be updated without also updating the OS.
In other words her computer actively stopped being able to do things it had always done until she updated the OS. We shelled out for a couple of OS upgrades, and now most everything works again. Le sigh.
@Forum Transmitted Disease:
Name ONE US-based multinational tech company that doesn’t use Asian contract manufacturers that conform to local labor and environmental laws instead of US laws that don’t apply in their country (slave labor? ask the “slaves” who earn more than the median wage where they work whether they’d rather be back in the boondocks doing subsistence agriculture) and doesn’t take advantage of the same tax-law asymmetries and lax enforcement. Just one. You can’t. You can read 10-Ks for the rest of June and you won’t find a single one. In fact, if you have the knowledge and experience to understand what you’re reading, you will exit that exercise with the knowledge that Apple isn’t even remotely the worst offender.
But don’t let reality get in the way of your silly rant. Oh, no, we can’t have that.
Scroll to bottom of page: fn-rightarrow
(YMMV on a non-Apple keyboard.)
And for everyone complaining about how you can’t use an iPod/iPad/iPhone without a recent version of iTunes, which can’t be installed without updating Mac OS X, which might not even be an option on your model: Yup. Apple’s made it pretty abundantly clear that if you’ve have your computer more than three years, and you want to use something that you can’t, you should replace it with a newer model, and if that means buying new versions of software, so be it. I say three years because a) that’s the length of AppleCare, which is non-renewable, and b) because that’s the length of time between their discontinuation of the last PowerPC based consumer computer (Power Mac G5) and their introduction of Snow Leopard, a version of Mac OS X that wouldn’t run on it. It’s even worse on their mobile devices; it was a year and a half since they discontinued selling the first iPad, and when they introduced iOS 6, which won’t run on it.
Not saying this as an Apple hater, either; to the contrary, I’m a consultant. It’s just that you need to know what you’re getting, since they make the rules of their products. You get a lot, but one thing you don’t get is an investment from them in terms of preserving your investment in your purchase.
For better or worse, iOS devices are now much more functional without iTunes than they ever used to be, but that’s fairly cold comfort if you have your own media you want to load on to one of them, since iTunes is the only means by which you can do that.
If you have an older version of OS X that you don’t want to update, but you need to run a newer iTunes once in a while, one option is to run a newer OS X, or a version of Windows, in an emulator (Parallels Desktop, VMWare Fusion, or VirtualBox [which is free]).
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that you guys are out there to do that stuff for me, but I don’t want to have to become one of you just to be able to surf the internet. You may be able to do things more quickly and easily using a command line because you do it all day long, but my 65-year-old mother is not going to be able to do that, so I want a machine to give her that she can turn on and start poking buttons and it will work. And, hey presto, that’s what her iPhone is — a tiny computer that lets her press the screen to do what she wants.
I know how to spin fiber into yarn and knit it into a sweater by hand, but I’m not going to insist that you learn the same skills when your office is a little chilly.
@Mnemosyne: Hey, I’m not saying you have to do it. What I do have to say is that it’s really irksome that the tech companies are taking my fave tools away on a lot of their devices all in the name of providing your mother with a nice touch interface… which is bullshit because there’s no reason they can’t continue to provide those tools ALONG WITH things like the iOS touch interface or a desktop gui or what have you.
And in the server world, keeping overhead down is king… our systems work really hard. Different goals based on different exigencies. Less complexity means less things to break which means more reliability. Contractually we’re permitted about twenty minutes of unscheduled down time a year, so cutting down on interfaces means cutting down on sources of problems that can lead to downtime.
I’m pretty much a “red pill or blue pill? why not both?” person when it comes to user interfaces; I’m irked that folks like the mavens at Apple and Samsung and the various carriers are working at taking the interfaces I like and use away from me. Finally, if someone manages to make a speech interface that can let me do the task I described above (which is extremely common for me) with the same low overhead and reliability, I’ll be really impressed… but I’m not holding my breath on that one.
I think a lot of people are really unaware of just how much the internet depends on chewing gum and baling wire type solutions to hold it all together. UNIX excels at these.
@Ruckus: I’m trying to figure out how using the several hosts in the way I described above is working on rather than working with a computer.
@? Martin: Aye, I know some folks who are trying to work on natural language processors like that. I’d be very leery of using one in my work context, though, given the problems that can arise if the system makes a bad assumption. And yeah, Mac OSX is bsd, which is why they’re better than winders boxen… much much better. I pretty much keep windows around for the games.
It would be nice if I was able to use those tools on the mobile devices, all of which are derived from various unices. Not that Apple’s particularly bad that way; Blackberry and Google are just as bad.
I also have a hard time with the absolute denial of root access on those devices. Who owns your phone? If you don’t have root, it’s not you, no matter how much you paid for it. Someday someone’s going to get a zero-day exploit on one of those systems, and all the people who have them will then come to realise they never really owned what they thought they did.
@Ruckus: Naw, too early. CUPS worked alright in the early times with the printers it supported, but that list was limited to the printers that apple supported. A few years on in the hands of the open source community have meant that nowadays It Just Works.
@? Martin: heh :)
@polyorchnid octopunch: Mac is Unix with a CLI.
I searched trying to find that info but probably used the wrong terms to get any answers. So I just used the trackpad. Slower but works.
I use an analogy up thread that Apple reminded me of leasing a car. Yes you get a new car every 2-3 years with a warranty and the monthly cost is less but you are stuck leasing a car every 2-3 years. If you decide you want to purchase or can no longer afford the leasing costs or you no longer drive far at all, you pay because you have no equity. Apple reminds me of that because you have to update your OS every few years and may have to purchase a new computer/phone as well. But PCs are not a lot different any more because the hardware gets updated and the old os and programs may not run on the old. Apple has the advantage in that the os is not as costly to upgrade and the disadvantage in that the hardware is somewhat more expensive. But not all that much. When I purchased my Apple last year I of course looked at PCs even though I didn’t want ms for my os, especially win8. The cost difference was small and if I really compared similarly equipped models the cost was within about 50 bucks for a $1500 purchase.
You are kidding right?
You work on keeping computers working. Yes you use computers to do that but your function is to keep them working. Mine was to use the computer as a tool to create something else. You work on computers as a repair person, I work(ed) on computers because it is a far better tool than using pen, paper and a slide rule.
@Ruckus: No, I work with computers to keep the fraudsters away from my customer base. My systems would happily deliver spam all day long without breaking. There are times when I do maintenance work, but antispam is not maintenance work.
So yeah, I’m not kidding.
@The Sailor: Jesus, apple fanbois. Please point to where I said that Macs (since OSX) weren’t. iPhones and iPads, however, are. So are playbooks, bb10, and android. Like I said above, that’s not particular to Apple; they’re all doing it.
I don’t know Apple’s motivation, but I can guess at reasons. Based on my interactions with IT staff, I imagine that your work involves a good deal of input by typing, you type pretty fast, you have a relatively large monitor (maybe two or three), and you keep a few windows open to see different things happening in real time. But none of this is typical for handheld touch devices or tablets. For example, a recent experiment in the research literature with expert typists showed a slow-down of 30% in typing speed, if I remember correctly, when they typed on a flat surface in comparison with a physical keyboard. For another example, apparently Apple’s internal studies show that users run into the most problems trying to figure out the file system–so iOS doesn’t give direct access to it. In the end, I’m guessing it’s a matter of developer resources and the main audience for touch platforms.
It’s crazy, I know, for technically minded people.
@polyorchnid octopunch: But where, actually, is it being “taken away”? Terminal still ships with Mac OS; cmd.exe still opens the DOS environment in Windows 8. (Probably like you, I wish that Windows would spend less time touch-orienting their OS and more time making it POSIX-compliant – file systems should have a single root, dammit!) Did you ever have CLI on a consumer device like a cell phone, out of the box? A pretty straightforward jailbreak was all it took to let me SSH into my iPhone, BTW, but you surely can’t expect that to be something that even 1% of customers will ever want?
Nice bash scripting, by the way. I’m always impressed by the people who can readily think in that syntax. Me, I’m more likely to fire up the ol’ Python interpreter when I want to do stuff like that.
The Raven on the Hill
The answer is much simpler: it is because Steve Jobs wanted it that way, and it turns out to be possible. The other companies—they care more about other things than the experience of users. But, in the end, what is the most important thing to most users?
The Pale Scot
“My better half has a macbook that’s maybe 4 years old. It stopped being able to do stuff like stream videos on the internet, because her video players were out of date. The video players could not be updated without also updating the OS”
That doesn’t make any sense, I have 10 yr old machines running Tiger 10.4 that I still use for video, it plays everything but HD and .mkv files, and that’s a CPU limit, has nothing to do with the OS.
Just curious, what video player?
@The Pale Scot: Don’t bother. There’s a certain class of person who insists that software updates aren’t a thing they should have to do, and that the term “broken” is so expansive that it includes being rendered unable to do something when everybody else adopts a new standard and leaves your outdated, un-updated system behind. Like professional crankypants John McCain grilling Tim Cook about why he always has to update apps on his iPhone, all they reveal is that they’re out of touch.