Trying To Order An iPhone X Tonight? Be Prepared!

Tonight at 12:01 AM (PDT) the iPhone X goes on sale. Everything thing that I have heard suggest two things:

Thing One – demand is going to be through the roof, clouds, troposphere, and possibly the orbit of the moon.

Thing Two – if you don’t get one in the first couple of minutes of ordering tonight or you aren’t already in line at a store, you probably aren’t getting one this year.

Photo of a long line at an Apple StoreFortunately, if you are bound and determined to get one and get one now there are a few things you can do to maximize your chances. The fine folks over at iMore have put together a checklist of the ducks you should have in a row before zero hour. Regardless of what other preparations you make, the single most important thing is to the Apple Store app to do your ordering. Check out the whole article for the complete list, but if you do nothing else USE THE APPLE STORE APP.

Can’t stress it enough.

How To Activate Twitter’s New 280 Character Mode

You may have seen that the twitterverse was all, um, a-twitter this morning over the pending expansion of tweets to 280 characters. Personally, I think this is a bad move – the only thing that makes Twitter stand out from the jostling crowd of other social media is its brevity.

Concise = good. Blathering = all bad. And believe me, I know all about blathering.

That said, the change is coming. Maybe. Maybe not. Twitter claims that they are testing the new limit right now with “a small group” of users and they haven’t fully committed to the change. Who is this “small group”? How were they chosen? And how do you get to be included? Not a clue … and Twitter isn’t saying.

But guess what? You can do an end-run around the Twitter glitterati add yourself to the “small group” with about 30 seconds of your time and a few clicks of the mouse. All you need is a copy of Chrome and the ability to copy and paste. Ready? Lets go!

STEP 1: Fire up the Chrome browser and head on over to Tweetdeck at TWEETDECK.TWITTER.COM and log in to the Twitter account you want to add to the party.

STEP 2: Open up the View menu in Chrome, and then slide down to the bottom of the menu and under Developer click on Developer Tools.
Chrome Developer Tools
STEP 3: In the new Developer pane that appears in the bottom half of your window, click on the Sources menu and then expand the Navigator by clicking on the little “expand” icon.Chrome Sources And Snippets

STEP 4: In the Navigator click on the Snippets tab and then click on New Snippet.Chrome New Snippet

STEP 5: Paste the following chunk of code – make sure you get it all – into the Script Snippet window as a single line (if your browser breaks into two lines just use the Delete or Backspace key to get back to a single line) and then click the “Play” button down in the lower right.,e,f,g,c,d,h){c=c||function(){};d=d||function(){};b=this.request(b,{method:f,params:Object.assign(e,{weighted_character_count:!0}),processor:g,feedType:h});return b.addCallbacks(function(a){c(},function(a){d(a.req,"",a.msg,a.req.errors)}),b};twttrTxt=Object.assign({},twttr.txt,{isInvalidTweet:function(){return!1},getTweetLength:function(){return twttr.txt.getTweetLength.apply(this,arguments)-140}});

Chrome Run Snippet
STEP 6: There is no sixth step. You are done. Now get out there and use those shiny new 280 character tweets.

You’re welcome.

I Am Entirely Willing To Be Wrong

So. That iPhone naming thing. Ahem.

If you are the kind of person who is reading this, then you are probably the kind of person who already knows that the golden master for iOS 11 was leaked at the end of last week and you already know that the supposed nomenclature for the new iPhones is “8”, not “7s”.

If that is indeed the case then I was as wrong as wrong could be about the whole thing. Fair enough. Mea culpa. And so on. Two things of note, however: One, it is rather curious – the changes to the name were made extremely late in the process and divert from the extremely successful “expectation foundation” that Apple has spent the last few years building. Two, I’m not entirely sold that the leaked GM is legit – there is a distinct possibility that the both the leak and the contents thereof are a plant to ferret out security issues at the company. Either way, there is a story behind the scenes that we may never know, which is kind of too bad, because I bet it’s as interesting as hell.

We will know more later today. We will probably never know everything. Dang.

When Are The New iPhones Coming? Try September 12th.

A box of 64 Crayola crayonsFor all of the folks who keep asking me about this, the newest iPhones (and the newest Apple Watch) are going to be announced on September 12th. And since clueless people keep asking me about the “iPhone 8”, here is the nomenclature:

Two of the new models will be the iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus. These are direct upgrades to the two existing “7” models and – while some people don’t seem to grok this – the “S” release of any iPhone is generally the best of breed in iPhones because the changes are all performance-based. More horsepower = more awesome.

The third phone announced will be the iPhone Pro, a one-off special model to mark the 10th anniversary of the device that changed computing forever. It will (unfortunately) have an OLED screen to allow for an edge-to-edge display and will probably feature a garish finish to compliment the hideously garish colours that you get from an OLED screen. Hopefully Apple will learn their lesson and go back to displays that don’t look like something out of the ol’ Crayola 64-colour box (with sharpener!) after the ten-year hoopla.


Oh, and the new Apple Watch? That will just be called the Apple Watch Series 3, which makes sense.

Digital Pancakes. For Real.

This is probably the single most useless application of modern printing and digital imaging technology on the planet. Who could possibly want a $200 programmable pancake batter pourer?

Me, that’s who. Me me me me. This is totally stupid and completely wasteful and I want one. Really, really want one. Please and thank you. You can also get a swank red one for a couple of hundred bucks more, but that’s pretty much gilding the pancake lily. Black is just fine.

Photo of the digital pancake creator

UPDATE: Mashable has a cool video of the thing in action – check it out.

Monday, June 5

Because it’s tradition …

Yes: New MacBook, new MacBook Pro, 10″ iPad Pro, new MacOS, new iOS, new WatchOS, new tvOS, HealthKit expansion, Home expansion.

No: New Mac Pro, new iMac, new phone, new watch, anything with “Air” in the name.

Maybe: Siri-based home assistant. If this drops it’s going to be more of a “home audio device that has Siri” than a “Siri device with home audio” … Sonos is the target, not Alexa.

OneLogin Data Fail – What You Need To Know

The gang over at WordFence have put together an excellent and to-the-point summary of what happened at OneLogin, why the company deserves untold amounts of scorn for how they handle user data, and what you need to do right now if you are a subscriber. The money quote:

On Wednesday, May 31, 2017, we detected that there was unauthorized access to OneLogin data in our US data region. All customers served by our US data center are affected; customer data was compromised, including the ability to decrypt encrypted data.

Note the bold text: including the ability to decrypt encrypted data. This means that OneLogin is violating virtually every tenet of best practises when it comes to data management, including the number one rule of cloud security: The vendor should never, ever, ever have the ability to decrypt user data. Period. Full stop. End of story. Compare this to legitimate cloud services like Dropbox and iCloud where the vendor has no ability to unscramble your data under any circumstances, and have gone so far as to stand up in court for the absolute need to do so on behalf of customer security. OneLogin’s cavalier and reckless attitude towards user security means each and every one of their subscibers needs to take a long hard look at why they use OneLogin and ask themselves whether they should continue to do so. I would venture in the vast majority of cases the answer should now be “hell, no”.

Click here to read the full article and get yourself squared away in case this affect you. Now.

Technology Solutions – Corner Pub Edition

There is an old adage that says “If you are good at technology, you can be good at anything” … and that includes darts. All it takes is an engineering degree, a lot of free time, and some seriously inspired design. Presenting the Automatic Bullseye Dartboard!

Pixelmator. On Sale.

A screen shot from the Pixelmator image editing appQuick and dirty: Pixelmator is the best image editing software for iOS, period. And that’s a real fact, not some alternative one. Right now it’s on sale on the App Store for a measly 99 cents but that price won’t hang around so you need to get it right now.

Doesn’t matter if you are an average dabbler or an actual design pro, you want Pixelmator. Does everything … image editing, touch-ups, sketching, compositing, talks to your Mac, talks to Photoshop, just quit reading this and go buy it, okay?

Right. Now.


Duck Off

Despite all of the jokes and/or memes about the failings of auto-correct, it’s undeniable that the technology is generally a helpful and handy thing. It’s not a stretch to assume that most people would be heartbrokenly bereft if they had to do without this particular little piece of digital magic.

That said, there are times when the iOS version of auto-correct really gets in the way of evocative typemanship. Let’s not mince words here: Once in a while you just need to tell someone that you are fucking starving and to hurry the fuck up.

“I’m ducking starving so hurry the duck up!” just seems to lack a certain amount of verisimilitude.

img_0566Fortunately, there is an easy solution. Buried deep within the Human Interface Guidelines for iOS is an interesting little nugget regarding the way auto-correct deals with proper names that the system gleans from your contacts list … specifically, auto-correct gives anything it finds in the name fields there a pass.

Well then. All you need to do is add a couple of bogus entries to your address book and you are in business. Add a contact named fuck fucker and another one named fucking fucked and you are in business! A couple of things to remember … one, make sure you put the two parts of each name separately in the First Name and Last Name fields, and two, remember not to capitalize them. If you capitalize them iOS will only recognize them as such (proper names, dontcha know) and still give you the ducking runaround if you use them mid-sentence.

Oh, and as always … you’re welcome.