Microsoft bought SwiftKey?

I must really be out of the loop. I had no idea Microsoft bought SwiftKey. Anyway, they are killing the Windows Phone keyboard for IOS and focusing exclusively on SwiftKey.

When Microsoft does things that makes sense, I'm always surprised. When they do things that do not make sense (like beefing Skype for the iPhone) I am rarely surprised.

Microsoft's Windows Phone keyboard for the iPhone is dead – The Verge
https://apple.news/AzmC65qmoQ9iobO0hF4VDPA

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?

OS X 10.10 and iOS 8 Thoughts

I should be at WWDC 2014 this year, but I’m not. I work for a Microsoft-centric shoppe right now and they just don’t see the value in it. Nevertheless, I put my name in for the lottery and I didn’t win anyway.

I watched most of the keynote from afar and parts of the State of the Union address. All of it is ultra exciting. If they get Continuity, iCloud Drive (FINALLY OMG) and Messages right, this will be a killer OS combo with iPhones, iPads and Macs.

There’s a plethora of articles out there explaining what’s up. I highly recommend Anandtech write-ups in almost every scenario.

Also, I’m really interested in Swift – this new programming language. It seems quite daft. Too bad I’m not as proficient with Obj-C as I wanna be yet. When they announced the new language, my first thought was all the people who are groaning about the iOS and Mac programming courses that they have to remake… or, more likely, how excited they are that they can make another round of these things and a windfall of cash.

There’s great things to come in the world of Apple. I’m looking forward to seeing where the home automation stuff goes too.

Who cares about an iWatch and TV? Whatever.

Usage logs show Apple has begun testing iPhone 6 running iOS 7

I’m sure Apple is testing something, but this is a given. Why would we try to glean something from this? Silly people.

Usage logs show Apple has begun testing iPhone 6 running iOS 7:

Apple’s new iPhone and iOS software have begun surfacing in app usage logs…

(Via MacDailyNews)

Exchange ActiveSync and Your Mobile Devices

It’s brutally important that you understand this article if you support Exchange 2007 or 2010.

Read it. Now.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2563324

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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Fixing Mangled Contact Labels on iPhone

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

A coworker sent this along.  I’ve had this issue on a few contacts and didn’t really have time to delve into it.

Name removed to protect the innocent and good intentions.  Be very careful with this and make sure you have a backup of all data that you plan to manipulate.

FWIW …

After serially using every calendar/address book interface under the sun and transitioning to Snow Leopard with Exchange syncing, I ended up with a bunch of munged Address Book extension labels in my iPhone Contacts like:

item1.X-ABLabel:_$!<EX-AssistantPhone>!$_

The extra long labels forces the text to be tiny, and rarely displays even then to say whether this is the work/home number.

If you encounter this problem and you’re a Mac user with a Unix background, I’m sure you can think of a dozen ways to fix this … else see some rudimentary Address Book/iTunes/command line steps below to handle large numbers of Contacts at once.

Caveat emptor.

The munged contacts had labels like:

item1.X-ABLabel:_$!<EX-AssistantPhone>!$_
item1.X-ABLabel:_$!<EX-BusinessFax>!$_
item1.X-ABLabel:_$!<EX-BusinessHomePage>!$_
item1.X-ABLabel:_$!<EX-BusinessPhone>!$_
item1.X-ABLabel:_$!<EX-EmailAddress1>!$_
item1.X-ABLabel:_$!<EX-Home>!$_
item1.X-ABLabel:_$!<EX-HomePhone>!$_
item1.X-ABLabel:_$!<EX-MobilePhone>!$_
item1.X-ABLabel:_$!<Other>!$_

… the bracketing parts are the problem. I can live with “HomePhone” versus “Home Phone”. YMMV.

Correcting this involves a few steps and a tiny bit of command line stuff:

– Attach your iPhone to your computer. Let it sync. Leave iTunes open.

– Open Address Book, select all your contacts, then File->Export to your Desktop, call it “backup.vcf” — don’t touch this file — if something goes wrong you’ll restore this.

– Do a second export of all the contacts to another file “munged.vcf”, or some name equally meaningful to you.

– Open a Terminal window, and cd to your Desktop (“cd ~/Desktop”). Just for paranoia’s sake, type “more *.vcf” and use the space bar to step through the files, making sure they contain all your contacts. Type “ls *.vcf” to confirm the files are the same size. Yeah — sheer paranoia, but who wants to reenter all their contacts? 🙁

– In the previously opened Terminal window paste this command and press return:

cat munged.vcf | sed -e 's/EX-//' | sed -e 's/_$!<//' | sed -e 's/>!$_//' > fixed.vcf

– in the Terminal window type “more fixed.vcf” — confirm the ABLabel fields are corrected before going onto the next step. If the fixed.vcf file doesn’t look right, stop and consult a local Unix person. You did something wrong or your problem wasn’t the one I had. Bail out or get help.

– Go back to Address Book, select all the contacts (if not still selected), then Edit-> Delete Cards. Delete all your contacts. Paranoia now seems appropriate.

– Go back to the iTunes window. Select the iPhone in the Devices list on the left (if not selected), then select the Info tab at the top of the main window and scroll to the very bottom to the Advanced items, select Contacts under “Replace information on this iPhone:”. Click Apply and let the phone sync. Check the Contacts on the iPhone to see they are gone.

– Go back to the Address Book window and File->Import, selecting (you guessed it) “fixed.vcf” from your Desktop. Check the reloaded vcards/Contacts.

– Go back to the iTunes window, and again select the option to Replace the Contacts info, Apply, and let the iPhone sync.

– Try the Contacts on the iPhone, and the labels should be corrected. Delete all the ancillary files on your Desktop.

– Avoid whatever odd combination of things you did that caused the problem in the first place. 😉

In case you want to mess with any other fields/changes, vcard format is described here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VCard.

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WWDC 2009 Music

I’m back from WWDC 2009.  What a wonderful time!  Sorry I didn’t update much about it, I was just too busy with my head buried in all the Apple goodness.  Oh my, do they have some good stuff in the pipe for you.

One of the greatest things about WWDC is the fabulous music they play before each and every session to keep the devs jazzed up.  There was a thread about collecting the songs that were played before each session because Apple wasn’t posting a playlist.  Fortunately, thanks to the iPhone, devs were walking into the sessions with Shazzam running and collecting information on any songs that weren’t recognizable and posting it to the thread.

Well, that thread has now developed into an iMix.  If you were at WWDC 2009 and want to purchase some of the songs you heard before the session, your wishes have been granted.

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When Address Book and MobileMe Fail to Sync a Record

MobileMe
Image via Wikipedia

If you find that there’s an address book card out there that isn’t syncing with MobileMe, your iPhone, or another Mac… check to see if there is an ampersand in the failing record anywhere.  Apparently once a card hits MobileMe, it doesn’t like the ampersand in the vcard and chokes on it.  If MobileMe chokes on it, all of your devices will be unable to find the new card.

Just another tip from yours truly.

I’m in New Orleans this week, working project stuff for the day job.  Lots of fun here.  More later.

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Two Weeks in California

Apple WWDC07
Image by tom ferris via Flickr

Apple finally announced the WWDC 2009 dates and they couldn’t have targeted a better week.

It looks like I will become a representative for my agency on the Calconnect standards organization.  They happen to be having a meeting at Oracle in Redwood Shores, CA the week prior to WWDC.  With the wife’s permission, this means two weeks in the wide and crazy world of San Francisco.

I must admit I’m not a huge fan of the San Francisco scene.  Sometimes I feel like I’m too old to really appreciate all the life and culture that goes on out there.  But maybe have a day or two out there by myself with little to do can turn that around.  We shall see.

It seems like I’m getting more traffic to this site, so I’m wondering – do any of you want to see any WWDC-related coverage here, or do you plan on relying on the big boys for that?  If so, maybe I can find some of the little-known stuff to report on.

Let me know.  Even if you don’t care 😉

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