IOS 11 Dock Tip and a Files App Shortcoming

In iOS 11, you don’t only have to use the dock for single apps. You can drag an app group into the Dock as well. I just found this out by “trying it out.” That makes it much more useful for app switching when you swipe up from the bottom.

I’m really liking iOS 11 a lot. It sold a new iPad to me… an iPad Pro 256gb 12.9”. I just had to have it. I can almost turn it into my work machine, but the Files app let me down. I couldn’t rename a file extension with the Files app. I needed to do that and it hosed me since I couldn’t. I reported that though ūüôā

Why Video Chats Don’t Work

Video chat may never replace a real life face-to-face. I think I know why.

I was talking to a friend earlier today about video chats and why they don’t work. She said she really didn’t like to do video chats. Actually, come to think of it, I don’t really know many people that like to video chat.

I am a refugee of Generation X. I don’t know anyone in GenX that actually enjoys video chatting. Face time is irreplaceable. I mean time that is spent face-to-face, not Apple’s FaceTime. I’ve often thought about why I don’t like to video chat and I think it comes down to one simple thing. You can’t properly make eye contact.

When you’re video chatting with someone, you can’t look them in the eye. You look them in the eye on the screen, not the camera. The person on the other end sees you looking at something else – not them. That starts to grate on your nerves a little bit I think.

Could this problem be solved? Probably. If someone could invent some multi camera method of video chatting so it looks like you’re making perfect eye contact it would likely go a long way. What I don’t know is how other generations other than mine feel about this. What do you think?

Mac Productivity Tip: Tagging Files

Here’s a little productivity tip for those of you who may need it. In OS X, one of the features that I find is vastly underused is Spotlight comments. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a way to tag your files quickly and easily with say‚Ķ a “TODO” tag or something so you could easily find them and remember to work on something?

Using Automator, you can do this very quickly. Open up Automator and build out a Service that looks like this:

Automator TODO

Like I said, you did this as a Service. So Save it. Now, anytime you have a file selected, the Service to tag this will become available in the top menu bar.

This is useful, but let’s make it more useful. Let’s assign a keyboard shortcut. Go to System Preferences/Keyboard and select Keyboard Shortcuts. Choose “Services” on the left-hand side and scroll down to your new Service. Tick the checkbox and assign it a keystroke. For me, I assigned it CTRL-CMD-T.

Now, when you select a file, hit your keyboard shortcut and the file will automatically be tagged.

That’s neat, but let’s make it EVEN NEATER.

Now go to Finder and make a new Smart Folder. Tell it you want to display files that meet criteria of a Spotlight comment containing “TODO”. You’ll end up with a view like this:

Finder TODO

See the comments field? Now you can see the tag there. If you really wanted to get fancy, you could make Services with other tags and carve out smart folders for them. Good stuff.

Exchange Server 2007 SP3 RU4

Description of Update Rollup 4 for Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 3

It looks like Exchange 2007 SP3 RU4 has a lot of goodies in it. At least 5 of the items in this list are impacting the environment at my day job.

While it’s good to see progress, I’m always wary of these updates because of the regression bugs they often introduce. Test and patch carefully, gang.

National Pile on RIM Day

Image representing Research In Motion as depic...
Image via CrunchBase

Since today appears to be National Pile on RIM Day, I thought I would add a little fuel to the fire.

I see a lot of people talking about the Playbook, the devices and the terrible mobile device experience that RIM has brought to table in contrast to the sleek, new offerings from the competition. I do not disagree with anything that has been said in that area. It’s sad to see a once-mighty company implode the way they are, but given the leadership of the two CEOs in power there, it’s really not a surprise. I also noted that RIM thinks of their ecosystem in a backwards fashion from Apple: the corporate device usage drives the home device choices.

That’s wrong, but whatever.

One thing that I do not see many people talking about is how RIM’s core business is dying. I’ve often considered my enterprise to be a microcosm of what is likely happening around the world. Blackberry Enterprise Server is dying in just about every corporation I’m familiar with. In our own enterprise, the BES device usage is dropping month by month while the iOS and Android devices are skyrocketing. I can’t give you statistics due to privacy stuff, but I assure you that is the case.

I can also vouch that in our research into BES 5.0 has produced interesting results. It appears that the quality assurance on BES 5.0 when paired up with Exchange 2010 has been poor. I know of at least one major social networking organization that was so frustrated by the experience that they dumped Blackberry Enterprise Servers entirely, took away all of the Blackberry devices and handed out iPhones.

If RIM is relying on their core business to stay relevant, they are in more trouble than people think.

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Quick Apple Mail Fix for HTML font size

Hi, just dropping in from raiding the lands of healthy heroes and creamy young virgins to let you in on a quick Apple Mail tip.

Do you use Apple Mail in an environment with Outlook?  In particular, do those Outlook users prefer HTML mail?  Do you receive mail from them with a microscopic font size?

Thanks to the tip I found here you can correct this issue.

  1. Close down Apple Mail (command-Q)
  2. Open the Terminal (/Applications/Utilities/Terminal)
  3. Type the following command: “defaults write com.apple.mail MinimumHTMLFontSize 13” (note: without quotes)
  4. Restart Apple Mail
  5. Squint no more.

Hope this helps.  Flying back out to meet up with my sister Vermithrax and raid a few kingdoms today.  Wednesdays are always fun like that.

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Why Bother to Plan Anything?

This morning I had planned to get up, grab some coffee and enjoy more lynda.com courses on Final Cut Pro.

Instead I found myself cleaning up a coffeemaker that decided to explode grounds and liquid all over the kitchen.

Now it’s time for work and I have no coffee. ¬†Not to mention no time for coursework.

Why do I bother?

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“Chrome” set to reignite old tensions

Continuing my recent tradition of expressing what are likely to be fairly unpopular opinions with my peers, tonight I’m going to rag on Google‘s “Chrome” project and tell you why this is a Bad Idea ™. ¬†I’ll try to keep this short (update: I failed). ¬†This is considered to be a discussion starter, not a final statement. ¬†I’ll probably elaborate on these discussion points on the next NO CARRIER, so be sure and give me some feedback here.

Key points:

The Browser War is Pointless

Anyone who still thinks the browser war is anything worth fighting is absolutely delusional. ¬†The whole point of having a web browser is to serve as an open portal to content, not to give your company the biggest tool at the urinal. ¬†The web was created for serving content regardless of what application you used to view that content. ¬†In that spirit, what’s the point of fighting over this?

I understand the key differences between browsers and that some browsers have perceived advantages over others. ¬†I understand that all too well. ¬†One of the things you used to give up when you made a conscious decision to be a Mac or Linux user was the fact that the de facto browser on the net that had no intention whatsoever of conforming to a standard is no longer in your pocket. ¬†Being a Mac or Linux user means you have more than one browser installed and you use the right tool for the job. ¬†The fact is, the right tool for the job shouldn’t matter¬†because HTML…er, XHTML or whatever it is this week is a standard, right?

Companies do not live or die based on whether or not you use their browser. ¬†Well, unless you’re Opera, maybe. ¬†But I digress.

We all know Microsoft is starting to wake up to this fact and has indeed promised to help further this idea. ¬†That’s great. ¬†It only bolsters my argument then. ¬†It used to be that the browser war was about dominating in your interpretation of the standard. ¬†Now that’s less and less important because standards are being followed (well, in general). ¬†So… why bother? ¬†What does it do for Google to compete in this browser market?

I know the answer to this and so do you. ¬†We’ll talk about that later. ¬†But for now, just believe me. ¬†This market share thing is pointless. ¬†I felt the same way when Steve Jobs declared war on IE with Safari on Windows. ¬†That just upset me. ¬†All that does is tie a huge steel ball around Apple’s ankle and toss it in the ocean. ¬†Apply that to Google now too.

Moving on.

Browsers are “planet” apps

Browsers are becoming “planet” applications with lots of satellites (plugins). ¬†For example, I use MobileMe which hooks into Safari or IE for bookmark synchronization… but not Firefox! ¬†Many people I know and love prefer Firefox because of the various plugins that “better” their browser.

The point I’m trying to make here is that the browser is not a monolithic application. ¬†You spend time adding whipped topping and chocolate shavings on top to get it just the way you want to work with it. ¬†You’ve now installed satellite applications that better your experience for you.

Now along comes a new browser with no support for those satellites. ¬†You have a new planet that will support no moon. ¬†Are you going to pack up your cheese and move to it? ¬†What happens when Chrome doesn’t support your favorite plugins? ¬†Okie, fine. ¬†I know they have said they plan to support Firefox plugins. ¬†But will MobileMe bookmark sync work? ¬†Probably not. ¬†That’s so crucial for me that it’s a deal killer.

As a matter of fact, there’s a good solution to this – and it would help out everyone’s favorite argument: security. ¬†Don’t support these plugins. ¬†Just be monolithic and require extra functionality to be external to your application. ¬†That would change the game entirely… for the better.

A New Security Nightmare

The story you didn’t read the other day was how enterprise administrators everywhere were groaning about the release of Chrome. ¬†While they salivated about using it at home perhaps, what’s happening in the workplace is a whole nutha story.

Google woke up and unleashed Chrome on the world this week and millions of people downloaded it. ¬†I’ll bet a great deal of those people were at work when they did it. ¬†I bet they installed it on their work PC’s.

So. ¬†You’ve just taken a brand new application with no record of security (and let’s face it, Google’s security record is not clean)… an application that is now your portal to the most insecure and infested part of the Internet¬†and added it to your company’s PC. ¬†You’ve just made your PC a tremendous liability and your enterprise administrator is likely ready to kick your ass.

The web is the most dangerous place on the net. ¬†Everywhere you look it’s teeming with viruses, javascript exploits, cross-site scripting bugs and other nasties. ¬†The web browser is the simplest and quickest way into your PC. ¬†So let me get this straight. ¬†You just installed that thing on your nice and secure corporate PC?

“Well, it’s not Internet Explorer, so I’m good!” you might say. ¬†Nice argument. ¬†Nevermind the fact that a large percentage of web exploits occur in Javascript itself. ¬†Guess what Chrome’s focus is? ¬†Making Javascript a “better experience” for the web browsing public. ¬†Did you just get a shiver? ¬†If not, you’re not paying attention.

Indeed, within hours of release, Chrome was proven to be subject to a carpet bombing flaw. ¬†Look it up if you don’t know what that is. ¬†I’m too fired up to bother linking it ūüėČ

A Cloud OS Should be Standards Based

Now we get to the strategic part of the discussion. ¬†This is where Google’s motive comes in. ¬†They’ve been building the “cloud OS” so to speak for years now. ¬†They envision a world where you can sign in with a single username and password from anywhere and use applications just as you would your desktop, complete with the data you work with. ¬†Chrome is their method of furthering that agenda.

That’s great, except that the cloud as a business data model hasn’t really shaken out to be a good idea.

I still do not know of any large enterprise business willing to put their data up on the public web. ¬†Better yet, I do not know of any large enterprise willing to compromise on SLA’s for their critical data. ¬†They’d better start thinking about that if they plan on moving to the “cloud.” ¬†The “cloud” has already shit itself more than once. ¬†Google, Amazon, Apple and all other types of cloud computing folks have had severe troubles recently. ¬†It’s an unproven model and with the way you hear people talk about it like it’s the second coming… you’ve got another dotBomb shaping up here.

Chrome is supposed to make Google’s cloud computing experience better, since Javascript was their focus and Javascript is their operating system. ¬†Neat. ¬†I’d suggest you stay off of other sites, since their new interpretation of Javascript and the Java VM could leave you open to all sorts of other vulnerabilities (see: security). ¬†How about you make sure that business model is intact before you put too much time and money into it?

Open Source – Who Cares?

A lot is being ballyhooed about the fact that Chrome is open source. ¬†Hooray! ¬†Why is that a win, exactly? ¬†Because you can send patches to Google? ¬†Think they’re going to include your code in their release when they have a fairly clear agenda?

Red herring, folks.  They could give a shit about your code.  They just wanted something else on the PR.  Honestly, what does it buy them to be open source for this project?

It sure bought them an interesting blog post (see: security) about how everything you type is sent back to the Google mothership, including sites you visit. ¬†Shivering yet? ¬†Woo, aren’t you glad you installed that on your CORPORATE PC!?!?

And Finally…

Just in case you’re still wondering what the purpose might be of the Chrome browser and why you’re using it…¬†

Google’s business model is advertising.

Think about it, H.I.

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The delegates and the manager must all use Outlook 2007 when you use delegates in Outlook 2007

The delegates and the manager must all use Outlook 2007 when you use delegates in Outlook 2007.

Important post out there for you sysadmins dealing with Exchange and delegation scenarios.

60 more days of MobileMe for free

Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBase

The net is abuzz tonight as MobileMe users recieve more notices that MobileMe still isn’t what Apple had hoped it would be, so it’s offering 60 days more for free.

Paul Thurrott has already played the part of the cynic and provided a rather insightful metaphor, but I’m going to come down on the positive side and say that MobileMe has been a wonderful experience for me.¬† Not only has it been wonderful, it’s turned my iPhone into something I can only describe as a thing of glory.

Combining home data sync over MobileMe with work data sync over ActiveSync, all on the same device, has been absolutely wonderful.¬† I realize, however, that the experience on Windows just isn’t that fab.¬† That’s okie with me though, Windows users need to be using Apple products on Apple products anyway.

Kinda like Microsoft products work best on Microsoft products.¬† It’s just common sense.

At least I think it is.

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