Showing all posts tagged macos:

Thoughts about WWDC '17

First of all, let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way; no new iPhone was announced. I was not necessarily expecting one to show up - that seems more suited to a September event, unless there were specific iOS features that were enabled by new hardware and that developers needed to know about.

We did get a whole ton of new features for iOS 11 (it goes up to eleven!), but many of them were aimed squarely at the iPad. With no new iPhone, the iPad got most of the new product glory, sharing only with the iMac Pro and the HomePod (awful name, by the way).

On that note, some people were confused by the iMac Pro, but Apple has helpfully clarified that there is also going to be a Mac Pro and external displays to go with it:

In addition to the new iMac Pro, Apple is working on a completely redesigned, next-generation Mac Pro architected for pro customers who need the highest-end, high-throughput system in a modular design, as well as a new high-end pro display.

I doubt I will ever buy a desktop Mac again, except possibly if Apple ever updates the Mac mini, so this is all kind of academic for me - although I really hope the dark-coloured wireless extended keyboard from the iMac Pro will also be available for standalone purchase.

What I am really excited about is the new 10.5" iPad Pro and the attendant features in iOS 111. The 12.9" is too big for my use case (lots of travel), and the 9.7" Pro always looked like a placeholder device to me. Now we have a full lineup, with the 9.7" non-Pro iPad significantly different from the 10.5" iPad Pro, and the 12.9" iPad Pro there for people who really need the larger size - or maybe just don’t travel with their iPad quite as much as I do.

My current iPad (an Air 2) is my main personal device apart from my iPhone. The MacBook Pro is my work device, and opening it up puts me in "work mode", which is not always a good thing. On the iPad, I do a ton of reading, but I also create a fair amount of content. The on-screen keyboard and various third-party soft-tip styluses (styli?) work fine, but they’re not ideal, and so I have lusted after an iPad Pro for a while now. However, between the lack of sufficient hardware differentiation compared to what I have2, and lack of software support for productivity, I never felt compelled to take the plunge.

Now, I can’t wait to get my hands on an iPad Pro 10.5".

I already use features like the sidebar and side-by-side multitasking, but what iOS 11 brings is an order of magnitude beyond - especially with the ability to drag & drop between applications. Right now, while I may build an outline of a document on my iPad, I rarely do the whole thing there, because it is just so painful to do any complex work involving multiple switches between applications - so I end up doing all of that on my Mac.

The problem is that there is a friction in working with a Mac; I need (or feel that I need) longer stretches of time and more work-like environments to pull out my Mac. That friction is completely absent with an iPad; I am perfectly happy to get it out if I have more than a minute or so to myself, and there is plenty of room to work on an iPad in settings (such as, to pick an example at random, an economy seat on a short-haul flight) where there is simply no room to type on a Mac.

The new Files app also looks very promising. Sure, you can sort of do everything it does in a combination of iCloud Drive, Dropbox, and Google Drive, and I do - but I always find myself hunting around for the latest revision, and then turning to the share sheet to get whatever I need to where I can actually work on it.

With iOS 11, it looks like the iPad will truly start delivering on its promise as (all together now) a creation device, not just a consumption device.

Ask me again six months from now…

And if you want more exhaustive analysis, Federico Viticci has you covered.


  1. Yes, there was also some talk about the Watch, but since I gave up on fitness tracking, I can't really see the point in that whole product line. That's not to say that it has no value, just that I don't see the value to me. It certainly seems to be the smartwatch to get if you want to get a smartwatch, but the problem with that proposition is that I don't particularly want any smartwatch. 

  2. To me this is the explanation for the 13 straight quarters of iPad sales drop: an older iPad is still a very capable device, and outside of very specific use cases, or people upgrading from something like an iPad 2 or 3, there hasn’t been a compelling reason to upgrade - yet. For me at least, that compelling reason has arrived, with the combination of 10.5" iPad Pro and iOS 11. After the holiday quarter, I suppose we will find out how many people feel the same way. 

New Mac Fever

Apple bloggers are all very excited about the announcement of a new Mac Pro. The best roundup I have seen is on Daring Fireball: The Mac Pro Lives.

I'm not a Mac Pro user, nor frankly am I ever likely to be. My tastes lie more at the other end of the spectrum, with the ultra-portable MacBook (aka MacBook Adorable). However, there was one interesting tidbit for me in the Daring Fireball report:

Near the end, John Paczkowski had the presence of mind to ask about the Mac Mini, which hadn’t been mentioned at all until that point. Schiller: “On that I’ll say the Mac Mini is an important product in our lineup and we weren’t bringing it up because it’s more of a mix of consumer with some pro use. … The Mac Mini remains a product in our lineup, but nothing more to say about it today."

While there are certainly Mac Mini users who choose it as the cheapest Mac, and perhaps as a way to keep using a monitor and other peripherals that used to be plugged into a PC, there is a substantial contingent of Mac Mini "pro" users. Without getting into Macminicolo levels of pro-ness, I run mine headless in a cupboard, where it serves iTunes and runs a few other services. It's cheap, quiet, and reliable, which makes it ideal for that role. I don't necessarily need ultimate power - average utilisation is extremely low, although there is the odd peak - but I do want to be reassured that this is a product line that will stick around, just in case my current Mac Mini breaks.

The most important Macs are obviously the MacBook and MacBook Pros, but it's good to know that Apple recognises a role for the Mac Pro - and for the Mac Mini.

What about those new Macs?

The progression is so established, it's now entirely predictable. Several times a year, Apple puts on an event to announce their latest hardware or software product - if indeed that is still a valid distinction, now that our devices are basically spimes already.

Even before the event, the leaks begin. Soon they are coming thick and fast - and hot on their heels are the think pieces, decrying how this time Apple have really lost it, and what can they be thinking in Cupertino?

Finally, the day of the event actually arrives. The actual hardware is greeted with yawns - after all, nearly-final pictures of the products have been available for weeks. Any surprises are limited to software - and even then, extended and increasingly public betas mean that it is only minor software that is actually still new by the time it is officially unveiled. The TV app is an example of an announcement that Apple managed to keep the lid on. Ultimately this was possible because it had no leaky supply chain of physical parts and accessories, and also no need to make a beta available to developers.

Finally, as the last lingering effects of the Reality Distortion Field fade, the post-event hangover begins. That’s when the Macalope starts rubbing his hooves together in glee because of all the wonderful source material that people create just for him to make fun of.

This time around, the major criticism appears to be that Apple are not making enough different devices to satisfy different use cases. The two new MacBook Pro models (with and without Touch Bar) do not have enough RAM or enough ports, or they should still have older ports and SD card slots instead of going over wholesale to USB-C, or whatever. Oh, and while they were at it, Apple should also have updated all of their other computers.

Newsflash: this is how Apple has always done things, at least this century. Android users have always criticised the iPhone for its limited storage options and complete lack of expandability or external connectivity. None of that criticism has stopped the iPhone from taking basically all of the profit in the smartphone market, propelling Apple to being either the biggest company in the world or a close runner-up, depending on exactly when you make your measurement.

And I have yet to need to charge my iPhone 7 while also using the Lightning-to-TRS adapter that came in the box. I have also literally never used the SD card slot on any of my MacBooks over the years.

There was a time when Apple did offer many different options - and it was a massive disaster that almost sank the company. Seriously, check out this table just listing out all of the different models that Apple had under the Performa sub-brand, and how they mapped to the almost-but-not-quite identical “professional" models sold under different names.

That image is from Riccardo Mori, who adds the following bit of context:

Yes, it is a crowded space. The strategy behind this offering seems to be “Let’s try to cover every possible point of the spectrum, with regard to form factor, expandability, target audience, etc." This of course led to confusion, because there were some Macintosh models just as powerful as others, but coming in a different shape, or with one less card slot or expansion bay. And also because there were many Macintosh models delivering a similar performance. There was a lot of differentiation and little differentiation at the same time, so to speak.

On top of the confusion just within Apple’s own line-up, this was the period when you could also buy a legitimate and authorised Macintosh clone. In other words, Macintosh buyers could buy exactly what they wanted, and no two Macs were alike.

Apple nearly died from the results. Once Steve Jobs returned, applied the paddles, and revived the business, he set about rationalising the product line-up, to the point that people joked that "Steve hates SKUs".

So Apple didn’t update the MacBook Air with a Retina screen? Big deal - the computer you want is the MacBook Pro without Touch Bar (known as the "MacBook Escape" to listeners of ATP), which has basically all the good bits from the Air and upgrades everything else. That’s for a 13" screen size; if you wanted the 10" option, you haven’t been paying attention, because the MacBook (aka "MacBook One" or "MacBook Adorable") is your ultra-portable design choice.

YES, these are more expensive devices - again, if you’re surprised, you have not been paying attention. Apple’s products have always been positioned at the premium end of the market, with a price tag to match. It is important to note that those prices are generally not completely out of touch with reality. While you certainly can buy cheaper phones or laptops, once an Android or Windows device is specced up to the same power and size as the Apple equivalent, the price is usually not too far off the Apple option. Apple famously burns people with the price of upgrades to RAM or storage, but again, they have been doing this since I was a Mac tech in high school, literally twenty years ago. This has always been part of their business model; it's not some unwelcome surprise that they only just sprang on people now.

Fundamentally, Apple does not believe in giving people too many options. They are famously opinionated in their product design, and if you’re after ultimate flexibility - well, these may not be the products for you. However, they are the right products for very many people, Apple has made moves like this for a very long time; remember the howls of derision and outrage when they first announced the original iMac with no floppy disk drive? Or remember the MacBook Air - only USB and wifi? And look at it now - basically the default laptop for everyone, if you count its many imitators. These days, even famously brick-like ThinkPads come with dongles, because they’re too thin to accomodate all ports!

On the other hand, the last time Apple tried to be flexible and accomodate too many different user populations, it almost killed them. Is it any wonder that they are doubling down on what worked?

Anyway, this is all academic for me as I’m not due to replace my "Early 2015" MacBook Pro for another year or so, so I will get to see how this Touch Bar thing works in practice - and then get the improved and updated second-generation Touch Bar.


UPDATE: Right after I posted the above, I came across an interview with Phil Schiller in the Independent. The whole thing is worth a read, but this line is particularly illuminating:

We know we made good decisions about what to build into the new MacBook Pro and that the result is the best notebook ever made, but it might not be right for everyone on day one. That’s okay, some people felt that way about the first iMac and that turned out pretty good.

That’s exactly it: Apple made decisions about how to make the best product in their opinion, while recognising that the result may not be perfect for everyone. The opposite of this approach would be that ridiculous - and mercifully stillborn - Project Ara phone design.

Send In The Clones

Since my last post rehashing ancient IT industry history seemed to go over well, here’s another one.

In that previous post, I used the story of the HP acquisition of Mercury and its rumoured impending spin-off as a cautionary tale about handling acquisitions correctly. There is never any lack of “fantasy M&A" going on in this industry, but one of the longest-running figures is Apple.

I’ve actually been a Mac user long enough that I can remember when the rumour of the week would be, not about whom Apple should buy, but about who was going to buy Apple. Would it be Dell? Would it be Sony? Would it be Silicon Graphics? Would it be Sun? Would it be IBM?

Twenty years later, that catalogue is ridiculous on the face of it. Only one of those companies even still meets the two core criteria, namely a) existence, and b) being a PC manufacturer. However, in the mid-90s, things were not at all rosy at Apple, and management was getting desperate. How desperate? They approved a programme that licensed the MacOS to other manufacturers, who could then make and sell their own fully-legal and -compatible MacOS computers.

As it happened, I had a front-row seat for all of this. In the mid-90s I was still in high school, but given that in Italy high school is a morning-only affair, I took on an afternoon job at the local Apple reseller. Unbeknownst to me, they had also just signed up to be the Italian reseller for UMAX, one of those MacOS clone makers (also known as SuperMac in the US).

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UMAX had already been around for a while, and had made a name for themselves with a range of scanners that went from consumer-grade to very definitely pro-grade. The most expensive machine I dealt with was a $25k A3 flat-bed scanner with 9600 dpi optical resolution. Photographers and other graphic artists from all over Italy were already dealing with this company, so the value proposition of a cheaper Mac for their work was pretty obvious.

Where things got exciting was when performance of the UMAX machines started to overtake that of contemporary Macs. This was in the days of the Motorola/IBM PowerPC CPU, and Mac performance was already starting to suffer compared to contemporary Intel chips. Therefore, when UMAX brought to market a dual-604e motherboard, available with not one but two screaming-fast 200 MHz CPUs, this was big news - not least because they not only undercut the price of the equivalent PowerMac 9600, but beat it to market as well.

(Embarrassingly, I blew up the very first one of those machines to come to Italy. It had a power supply with a physical switch to change from 115v US-style power to the full-strength 230v juice we enjoy in Europe. I did check the switch before plugging in the cable, but BANG! Turned out, the switch was not properly connected on the inside of the PSU… Luckily, all that had blown was the power supply itself, not the irreplaceable motherboard, and we got it swapped out in double-quick time and nobody ever found out… until now.)

Anyway, this was all great fun for me, still in high school and all, and everyone was doing very well out of the arrangement - except for Apple. The licensing fee for MacOS that they were receiving did not even come close to replacing the profit they missed out on from all the lost sales of Apple hardware1. As soon as Steve Jobs returned to Apple, he killed the programme. UMAX was the last of the cloners to fall, managing to secure the only license to ship MacOS 8 (everyone else’s licenses ended with System 72), but the writing was on the wall. UMAX switched to making Wintel PCs - a market they since exited, reverting to their core strength of imaging products.

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Today, a handful of dedicated people still build “hackintosh" computers from commodity parts, and then try to force OS X3 to run on them, with varying degrees of success. However, there is no officially sanctioned way of running OS X on any hardware not sold by Apple.


So, given this history and the results for Apple, why exactly do people feel the need to advise Apple to license iOS? Both the Macalope and Nick Heer of Pixel Envy have already done the hard work of eviscerating this wrong-headedness, but I couldn’t resist getting my own blow in.

First of all, iOS runs on its own system-on-a-chip (SoC) - currently, the A9 and A9X. Sure, this is based on the industry-standard ARMv8 architecture, but with substantial refinements added by Apple, which they would presumably be even more reluctant to license than iOS itself.

So let’s say Samsung or whoever either licenses the SoC design, or builds their own (not a trivial exercise in itself), install iOS, and sell the resulting device as the iGalaxy. Where are they going to position this frankenphone? It can’t be priced above Apple’s own offerings unless it brings something novel to the table.

What could that be? Maybe some device that spans the gap between Android and iOS? Well, here too, history can be our guide.

Back in my UMAX days, we did sell one very popular accessory. Basically it was a full-length PCI card with an entire x86 chipset and its own Intel CPU on it. Seriously, this thing was the biggest expansion board I have ever seen - the full width of the motherboard, so wide that it had a special support bracket in the case to prevent it sagging under its own weight. It also had its own CPU fan, of course, so it took up a fair amount of vertical space too. This allowed owners to run Windows on Intel side by side with MacOS on PowerPC, sharing a graphics card and input devices. Mind-blowing stuff in the mid-Nineties!

So in that vein, could a cloner conceivably sell a handset that could run Android apps natively side-by-side with iOS ones? Frankly, I doubt it. These days, it’s easier to emulate another platform, or just carry two phones. Maybe a few developers would be interested, but the market would be tiny.

It used to be the case that if you wanted a large phone (I refuse to call it a “phablet") you had to go with Android, because iPhones came in one size only. These days, Apple sells phones in a variety of sizes, from the small iPhone SE, through the standard iPhone, up to the iPhone Plus - so I can’t see the form factor being enough of a draw for people to go with a third-party device.

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The only variable that’s left is price. Any iOS clone manufacturer would have to substantially undercut Apple’s cheapest devices to get sales. To do this, they would cut corners. By giving the device less RAM, or a non-Retina display, or less storage, or whatever, the cloners could lower the price point enough to get the initial sale - but Apple would be stuck with the horrible customer satisfaction issues from running on this below-par hardware.

That last point is particularly problematic because Apple’s entire business model is predicated upon taking, not the whole of the smartphone market, but the most profitable slice of it. One important consequence of this is that iOS is also the most profitable market for developers, because iOS users by definition have money to spend on apps. This is a virtuous circle for Apple, as the richer app ecosystem draws more users, which draws more development, and so on.4

If users - many of them first-time users, who are tempted into trying iOS by new low-cost clone devices - have a terrible experience, never buy apps, and replace their iOS device with an Android one as soon as they get the chance, that virtuous cycle turns vicious fast.

And that’s not even getting into the strategy tax Apple would be paying on other decisions. To cite another rumour that’s doing the rounds, could Apple drop the headphone jack from their own devices if there were cloners still manufacturing iOS devices that featured it? Maybe they could - but the decision would be much more fraught.

Bottom line, there is no iOS license fee that the cloners would pay that would also compensate Apple for both lost sales of their own hardware and for the wider market impact.

Apple tried this once, and it nearly killed them.

Can we please stop bringing up this idiotic idea now?5


  1. For more context from 1997, see here and search for “Why Apple Pulled the Plug". 

  2. What, you thought confusing name changes to Apple’s operating systems were a new thing? Hah. 

  3. See what I mean? Are we supposed to call it macOS already, or is it still OS X for now? So confused. 

  4. And of course Apple takes its cut from the App Store, too. 

  5. Of course not: when it comes to Apple, we’re always fighting the same battles

Quick Text Shortcuts

I tend to assume that things I know are obvious and widely known, and so I don’t often bother to document them. However, I noticed that a couple of different people did not know this particular very useful trick, so I thought I would share it here for anyone else who might find it useful.

The trick (I refuse to call it a “hack", or even worse, a “life hack") is useful if you often need to type the same snippets of text on an Apple device, whether it’s an iPhone, an iPad, or a Mac. You can do this using only built-in tools from Apple, with no need to install additional components or mess with anything under the hood.

On a Mac, go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Text. Here you can create the shortcuts that will be useful to you. You should have one defined already, which replaces “omw" with “On my way!".

Simply click the + button at the bottom of the window to add your own snippets. I have a couple for my phone number and email address, so that I can simply type “mynum" or “mygmail" to have those appear, with no fear of typos.

This is of course even more useful on an iPhone, where the small keyboard can make it frustrating to type when you can’t rely on autocorrect - and doubly frustrating to type phone numbers in the middle of other text. On an iPhone (or an iPad), go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Text Replacement, and then tap the + to enter your own snippets.

The cherry on the cake of usefulness is that the text snippets will sync over iCloud, so any snippets you set up on one of your devices should be available on all your other devices too.

Enjoy!

Wishing for a Wish List

Why does Apple hate wish lists so much?

The wish list is the main thing I miss since I fell out with Amazon and moved all of my media buying over to iTunes. Amazon not only has great management of its wish list, allowing you to sort it any way you like and highlighting deals, or sharing it with friends and family as suggestions; it also uses the contents of your wish list as inputs to its recommendation engine.

Over the decade or so that I used Amazon regularly, its recommendations grew to be uncannily accurate, alerting me to new books or albums that I might be interested in. The algorithm involved was clever enough to recommend not only new works by artists I had already bought from in the past, but also works by other artists I had not previously encountered. This was driven by their ability to identify that "other people who bought X also bought Y", based on their insight into all of our purchasing histories.

Of course this is a critical feature for Amazon, which explains why they spend so much time and effort on refining it. In fact, it was only when they messed with my wish list that I left in a huff.

I had continued to buy from Amazon’s UK site after leaving the UK, because with free shipping within the EU, it made no difference, while it allowed me to keep that all-important wish list history. A few years later, however, Amazon in their wisdom decided that many items would no longer be made available to ship outside the UK. Instead of simply tagging the items with a notice, they simply removed the items from users’ stored wish lists. In my case, this meant I lost nearly half of my wish list items.

I use wish lists as a way to spread out purchases or remind me of items that are due to come out in the future but that I am not committed enough to pre-order right away (or which may not yet be available to pre-order). Deleting half of my wish list in this high-handed way was enough for me to quit a triple-figure-per-month Amazon habit cold-turkey.

This coincided with the move to a new house, where even our existing media collections were overflowing the shelves once we had finished unpacking. The time was therefore ripe for a move to electronic content only, and given that I was cross with Amazon, Apple was the only real alternative.

It’s been a couple of years now, and I have not regretted it in any way. I adapted very quickly to reading on the iPad, and music and the occasional film are of course super-easy. There is only one glaring problem, and that is the utterly inconsistent handling of wish lists on the part of the Apple store apps.

iBooks app on iPhone - note lack of wish list button

The fact that it’s plural “apps" is a bit of a problem in its own right, actually. I have a Music app to listen to music, that I buy in the iTunes Store app. That is where I also buy videos, that I then watch in the Videos app. But if I want to buy books, I have to do that in a special tab of the iBooks app.

Historically this makes sense - iBooks came along much later than the rest of iTunes. But why the weird inconsistencies in when I can add something to my iTunes/iBooks wish lists? iBooks on iOS won’t allow this, but iBooks on the Mac will. On the other hand, iTunes on the Mac won’t let me add an album to my wish list, but the iTunes Store app on iOS will.

Same screen in iTunes Store app on iPhone - note "Add to Wish List" button

This is why I have a file in Notes with iTunes Store links to items that I wanted to add to my wish list, but couldn’t because I didn’t have access to the specific device that would let me do that at the time.

Workaround

This is admittedly a pretty minor niggle in the grand scheme of things, but I think it’s philosophically important for Apple to fix this inconsistency. It lies right at the heart of the iTunes ecosystem, and creates an unexpected and annoying discrepancy between MacOS and iOS platforms, and even between different devices on iOS.

What is up with this message?

I get this every couple of weeks. The NAS itself seems fine - SMARTS healthy and so on, still some free space on the partition, etc. It's a ReadyNAS Duo, with upgraded 2TB drives. Starting a new backup seems to work, but I've been a bit too busy lately to test the backups, especially trying to restore something old from before creating the new backup.

Am I okay, or do I now have placebo backups only?

Security Theatre

There are many things in IT that are received knowledge, things that everyone knows.

One thing that everyone knows is that you have to manage employee's mobile devices to prevent unauthorised access to enterprise systems. My employer's choice of MDM agent is a bit intrusive for my personal tastes, so I opted not to install it on my personal iPad. The iPhone is the company's device, so it's their own choice what they want me to run on it.

Among other things, this agent is required to connect to the company Exchange server from mobile devices. You can't just add an Exchange account and log in with your AD credentials, you need this agent to be in place.

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But why the focus on mobile devices?

When I upgraded my work and home Macs to Yosemite, I finally turned on the iCloud Keychain. I hadn't checked exactly what was syncing, and was surprised to see work calendar alerts turning up on my home Mac. My personal Mac had just grabbed my AD credentials out of iCloud and logged in to Exchange, without any challenge from the corporate side.

So how is that different from my iPad? Why is a Mac exempt from the roadblock? A Mac is arguably less secure than an iPad if it gets forgotten in a coffee shop or whatever - never mind a Windows machine. Why is "mobile" different? Just because?

Many enterprise IT people seem to lose their minds when it comes to mobile device management. I'm not necessarily arguing for just dropping the requirement, just for a sane evaluation of the risks and the responses that are required.

Adventures in Screen Sharing

I'm having an odd issue, and I wonder whether anyone else has seen anything like this.

I have a headless Mac mini1, named "cooper" for reasons that should be obvious. The mini lives in a cupboard (not under the stairs), and its main job is to run iTunes and feed the AppleTV, as well as any other long-duration tasks. It also occasionally acts as a test bed for my projects, but those have been few and far between lately. Surprise! It turns out that having kids takes up a bunch of time that would otherwise be available for projects, and once they're in bed I'm usually too shattered to do anything very serious.

Because it's headless, the main way I interact with it is via Share Screen from my MacBook Air. The problem is that the mini occasionally loses the ability to advertise itself as a Shared device in the Finder sidebar.

In this screenshot, I only see the NAS. There should be another entry above that, like so:

The thing is, the mini is still reachable via VNC - just not from the Finder, because the Finder in its wisdom only allows you to Share Screen from a machine that is visible under Shared. Using the "Connect to" menu action, or for that matter iSSH on the iPad, however, I can still VNC in and see that everything is running fine.

The only fix to this issue that I have found is to reboot the mini. Since I can get in both via VNC and via SSH, this isn't a huge issue, because I can shut things down and make it a clean reboot, but it's still annoying. I haven't been able to figure out a cause, either; sometimes it happens while I'm connected via Share Screen if the Air goes to sleep, while at other times it happens if the mini is asleep - it wakes up but doesn't advertise itself in the Finder sidebar.

Both the Air and the mini are running Yosemite. Any suggestions?


UPDATE: Ars Technica did publish a deeper investigation than I got into. It seems that the root of the problem is indeed in discovery, as I had surmised. With Yosemite, Apple switched from mDNSResponder to discoveryd, and it looks like the latter has some issues.

That said, the Ars suggestion of restoring mDNSResponder seems insane to me. I guess I will just muddle through until Apple fixes discoveryd.


  1. Yes, that is the correct capitalisation, TYVM. 

Apple opens up OS X Beta Seed Program

Apple has always made beta version of its operating systems (both MacOS and iOS) available to registered developers. What was not widely known is that there was also an invitation-only programme for non-developers to get access to pre-release versions of the OSen. This programme has now been opened up for anyone to join.

Here is the link - but I hope you won’t sign up.

Why?

Remember iOS 7? Before the thing was even out, it was being lambasted in the press - including the mainstream press - for being buggy and even bricking people’s phones. It turned out that the “bricking" was simply the built-in auto-expiry of the beta versions. Non-developers who had somehow got hold of an early beta but had not kept up with newer version found out the hard way that betas expire after some time. Also, being beta versions, the quality of the software was - guess what? - not up to release standard yet.

In light of that experience, I do wonder whether opening up OS X even further is a wise move on Apple’s part. I really hope that I don’t have to read on the BBC next week that OS X 10.9.9 is really buggy and unstable, or something equally inane.