I missed posting last week — too busy again — and I’m a day late this week. To be honest, nothing was burning a hole in my brain last week. Perhaps just as well as there doesn’t seem to be enough of it to go around lately.

On change

“Unnecessary progress for me.”

Those were my mother’s words when she finally figured out, with my help, where “Find My Friends” had gone on her iPhone, and had seen the revised interface. I must admit, Apple having put it in a folder wasn’t a great help to finding the differently coloured, differently named app. But the renewed sense of purpose in the app — find all the things — seems like a great direction to me.

I love technological change. Sure it sometimes comes to bite me (see below), but in general it brings a freshness to proceedings. And it brings progress. I guess I’m getting used to it after… hmmm… about 40 years of change. Back when I was first tinkering with Dad on the Dick Smith System 80 (an Australasian TRS-80 clone) in the very early 80s, graphics were a novelty and the concept of carrying anything in a pocket was far fetched. Better graphics, more processor power, PDAs, cell phones, smart phones, tablets, watches… we’ve come a long, long way. Not in giant leaps and bounds, but incrementally. Step by step. A name change here, a change of focus there, a new look to something familiar, a new feature or two.

One of my super powers is embracing technological change. Because fighting it achieves about as much as trying to keep the tide from destroying your sand castle.

On quality

It seems to be widely accepted that both iOS 13 (including iPad OS 13) and macOS 10.15 Catalina are buggier than normal general releases of a new major version. During the beta period I had an iPad mini and MacBook Pro on the betas and generally they were a little unstable, though not destructive. Having now upgraded all of my devices to the latest release versions I am still having niggles. The worst of them are those intractable bugs in services that have no user facing element.

If my Photos library isn’t synching photos to or from one device… there’s nothing I can push, prod, or tweak to goad it into working. If my Mac’s “Apple TV” (formerly iTunes) library isn’t showing as available on my (hardware) Apple TV, there’s nothing I can push, prod, or tweak. At least in the latter case a restart cured the problem, but then the stream simply stopped 4 minutes into the programme I was watching. Again… nothing I can do except try, try, try again. Or wait. It stopped again at 14 minutes. The fun part of this is that as of macOS Catalina, there’s not even an app to restart on the Mac as, with the death of iTunes, Home Sharing is now an OS-level function.

System Preferences — Media Sharing
System Preferences — Media Sharing

I really think Apple need to accept that the complex ecosystem they have as of 2019 warrants some kind of button we can push that says something along the lines of “You’re not performing to my expectations, may I humbly suggest you reassess what you think is going on.” A few timeouts with error messages wouldn’t go amiss either. I’ve seen some processes hang for hours.

Negative feedback loop

This week I had to drive into the city at peak morning rush hour — something I’ve not had to do in a long time as on the few occasions I need to take the car, I go early to avoid it. What would be a 20 minute journey with no traffic took 55 minutes. I took the opportunity to observe behaviours and could see that some things never change.

Many, many years ago when I used to commute regularly by car I noticed that as I merged onto the motorway at Tawa I could spot a particular vehicle in the other lane and then almost always still be within sight of it on reaching the city half an hour later. The “fast lane” isn’t faster at all, it just moves with a greater range of speeds than the left, thus making the left lane far easier to drive in.

Something else I observed, which is also a constant over time, is the idiots who fail to join a queue exiting the motorway at the back of the queue. It’s impractical to stop and ask them why they do this, but I’d wager many would explain they can’t stand the thought of joining the huge queue at the back — failing to realise that THEY ARE MAKING THAT QUEUE BIGGER WITH THEIR ACTIONS! It was abundantly obvious when the middle lane of three was markedly slower than the right lane that there was an exit coming up, and sure enough there would be an idiot at the front creating the jam.

There have been all sorts of road engineering projects attempted to try to improve rush hour traffic. I think most of them are a waste of time. Better to set up cameras and fine the idiots who selfishly ruin it for everyone else.

That concludes this edition of Echoes. The comments are open, but will be moderated for civility. Alternatively you can hit me up on Twitter, where I go by @zkarj.

Categories: Echoes


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