Just for the record. The iPhone 4 soap opera has been a lot of fun, between the leaked/stolen device a few months ago, the new functionality, and then the antenna thing. However, I’m ready to move on. Okay, tech blogs? I’m not going to be reading any more of your iPhone 4 stories until you find something new to obsess over.
I’ve been having a green line appear on the left side of my MacBook Pro for a while now. It tends to come and go, so I’ve been able to mostly ignore it. This morning it wouldn’t go away and was really starting to bug me. This laptop isn’t super old, but it’s definitely out of warranty, and a quick search indicated the repairs could be expensive. So, just for grins I hit the Apple Store to see what a new machine might run, thinking I could relegate this one to the basement as a server. Poof. The green line went away.
I suspect anyone who’s done any amount of usability testing will not be surprised by this:
By a landslide the ‘Back’ button was the most clicked of all navigation buttons which include the Back, Forward, Reload, Stop, and Home buttons. Across Windows, Mac and Linux 93.1 percent of users clicked the button at least once over the course of a five-day period. In total the study reported that users clicked on the back button 66 times over the course of five days.
It’s been a while, but as a graduate student I did some usability testing at a conference where I saw behavior that I still find baffling. We didn’t have a super fancy protocol, but basically sat people down at a computer and asked them to try and find some content on a new web site we were building. Not only did most users make use of the back button, but several of them clicked on the back button before they clicked on anything else. To this day, I still don’t know what they could have been thinking. At best they might have stumbled onto a page with the content they wanted, and had this not been a controlled environment, who knows where they may have landed. My best guess is that when presented with a new interface they simply reached for the one spot in the interface that they were familiar with, in the hopes that it might lead them somewhere without having to learn the new interface.
But it has an extra G the iPhone is missing! *snort*
Normally I wait a few days/weeks before doing an iPhone update, but I took the plunge yesterday and applied the iOS 4 upgrade early. I won’t say that it was a mistake, but it could have gone better. Got some kind of mysterious error (-34) at the very end of the process, and while it kept my address book, calendar and applications, it lost track of all my music. iTunes claimed to not be able to find the files, even though it could play them fine. I wound up having to reboot both devices, tell iTunes to trash the backup and just re-copy everything. I’m using the option to reduce file sizes of audio files, so it took hours to complete. Weird.
Weird item #2: grabbed the first couple of episodes of the new season of Leverage, and they don’t play on my Mac but work fine on the AppleTV. That one I may have to contact Apple about…
UPDATE: Apparently I’m not the only one having the video playback problem, and I’m seeing the same thing with the latest Daily Show. Not seeing it with the latest Doctor Who, though. Hopefully this will get fixed by Apple soon.
Ars comes up with seven. Here are the headers:
- Raw femtocell deal
- Locked-down Android
- “Expiring” data
- Tethering rip-off
- Nickel-and-diming to death
- Customer data breaches
- Poor customer relations
Of these, #1 and #4 are what really kill me. I work at home, and even upstairs coverage is spotty at best. The thought of a local mini cell tower was intriguing, but when I heard they wanted me to pay them for the privilege of improving their network I said “hell no.” The tethering bit is just insane. Bits are bits, whether they come from a computer or the phone itself, and when they’re limiting your data usage the idea that they should also charge extra for where the bits go is insane. I’m a big Apple fan and love my iPhone, but AT&T truly does Bring The Suck. I continue to be amazed that they still manage to have an exclusive deal for the device.
The problems users are having with WiFi involve weak signals, forgotten passwords, and issues with DHCP leases. If you are experiencing consistent problems, Apple offers a number of potential fixes that range from the obvious to the truly bizarre. Among the possible solutions listed are updating your router’s firmware, using WPA or WPA2 instead of WEP encryption, renewing the iPad’s IP address, toggling WiFi off and on, or increasing your screen brightness.
Though we aren’t sure why adjusting screen brightness would have any effect on the iPad’s WiFi connection, anything is worth a shot. If the brightness trick doesn’t work, however, try scaring your iPad, have it drink a glass of water as fast as possible, or have the tablet hold its breath and count to 10.
New version of MarsEdit came out today, and I’m giving it a quick test. Other things on my mind:
- Corn Pops as dessert food
- Getting paid
- How to get rid of the bug in the kitchen
- We need a screen door off the kitchen to keep bugs like that from terrorizing other residents of the house
I knew there were issues with networked printers being potential vectors for hacking, but this was new to me:
Imagine that every time you printed a document, it automatically included a secret code that could be used to identify the printer – and potentially, the person who used it. Sounds like something from an episode of “Alias,” right?
Unfortunately, the scenario isn’t fictional. In a purported effort to identify counterfeiters, the US government has succeeded in persuading some color laser printer manufacturers to encode each page with identifying information. That means that without your knowledge or consent, an act you assume is private could become public. A communication tool you’re using in everyday life could become a tool for government surveillance. And what’s worse, there are no laws to prevent abuse.
Skimming Yet Another iPad Review, this caught my eye:
The funny thing is, the iPad, in raw CPU terms, is a far slower machine than a modern Mac. But the iPad is running a lightweight OS and lightweight apps. It’s like a slower runner with a lighter backpack who can win a race against a faster runner wearing a heavier backpack. Thus, many of the things you do are faster, or at least feel faster (which is what matters), on the iPad than the Mac. Like, for example, launching applications.
This is going back a number of years, but this is something I noticed when I went from my trusty Apple IIgs to my first Mac (a 7200/75). Out of the box, the IIgs ran at around 3MHz, and I had upgraded it to run at 8 or 9MHz. The Mac ran at 75, which my all rights should have smoked the older machine at everything it did. However, there were a few things (scrolling long documents, some desktop publishing types of functionality) where the IIgs ran circles around the newer machine, simply because the software was being asked to do different things.
Incidentally, I suspect we’ll see something else with the iPad/iPhone that you used to see “back in the day.” When hardware was more stable (until the IIgs came along, all Apple II machines ran for years at a solid 1MHz), you used to see clear differences in software performance over time as people learned the ways to tweak apps. More recently computers have gotten faster so quickly that you can’t tell when performance is due to hardware or software. Apple’s only upgrading iPhones yearly, and I would bet on a similar cycle for the iPad, which means to get better performance people are going to have to work on the software end of things.