Some photos of Manhattan from a moving train with digital zoom, but no filters.
Some photos of Manhattan from a moving train with digital zoom, but no filters.
[Update March 3rd, 2014]
I finally was forced to upgrade for work reasons to 11.1.4. I found a suggestion on the Apple forum and decided to try that.
These were my steps:
So far, this has worked ok (for about 4 weeks for me). I periodically do a check of my library to make sure that no files have been lost and it looks ok for now. I have seen posts on the Apple forum that points to people still having podcasts deleted days after upgrading, so I’m going to continue to check ofter.
I will likely do a similar process every time I update iTunes from now on. I will probably also avoid updating any version as long as I can. Unfortunately, I’ve lost all trust in that application that I have been dependent on for years.
I also want to mention that a friend with contacts on the iTunes team actually forwarded a link to this post and the forum thread as well to some folks in the team. The response (not official, just person-to-person, second hand) was that this wasn’t an issue they thought was affecting many users and therefore it wasn’t a major priority for the team. That may be true (as an engineering leader, I’ve made that decision myself a few times), but as a user it is creating massive problems for, it is of little comfort. This issue may have been fixed by the team anyway, possibly, but the recent comment from Ed, seems to point otherwise.
[Update October 5th – There is a new version of iTunes, 11.1.1, in the release notes it claims that it fixed an issue with deleted podcasts. I installed it. It ran fine for a while (it didn’t fix the podcasts it broke, but it didn’t screw any more up), and then it hung, spinning beach ball. I had to Force Quit it after a few minutes. When I relaunched, it had COMPLETELY REMOVED MOST OF MY PODCAST SUBSCRIPTIONS AND UNSUBSCRIBED ME FROM THE ONES THAT WERE LEFT. Luckily, I had backed up before this happened and I was able to copy over my iTunes folder and relaunch which restored all my podcast subscriptions, until it beach-balled again AND REMOVED THEM AGAIN (I didn’t force quit this time). I then checked my file folders and of course it DELETED MY FILES WITHOUT WARNING, AGAIN!!! DO NOT UPGRADE TO ITUNES 11.1 IF YOU SUBSCRIBE TO PODCASTS! At this point, I once again have to completely reconstruct my podcast library due to poor Apple engineering.]
[Update September 23rd – The Situation is even worse than I thought. iTunes 11.1 is basically useless for podcasts now, see below]
I have been using iTunes since version 1 or 2. I’m not sure. A very long time (nearly a decade). When they added podcast support, I switched from the podcatcher I was using to iTunes and have been using it ever since to sync my podcasts.
While I don’t save every episode from every podcast I have ever had, I do save some of them, which means I have literally years of archived podcasts. Or rather, I should say that I HAD years of archived podcasts. When I upgraded to iTunes 11.1, what I didn’t notice was that Apple somehow unsubscribed me to some of my podcasts or it got confused as to my subscription state. Interestingly, it was the ones that I actually tend to listen to pretty regularly. When it did this, IT SILENTLY DELETED big chunks of the episodes that had been downloaded from those casts.
This is a data-loss bug, the absolutely worst kind of bug imaginable. A stop-ship bug, a never-release-until-fixed issue. Unfortunately Apple did release it. I didn’t notice that this had happened, but at some point, I got a warning about how I was running out of space on my system drive, so I emptied the trash. I noticed that it seemed like I had a lot more files than I expected, but I didn’t think that much about it (I generally leave files in the trash until I need space). A day or so later, I noticed that iTunes didn’t think I was subscribed to a bunch of my podcasts, and that those podcasts were now missing dozens of archived episodes.
So now I will spend the next several days restoring from my on-line and off-site backups and slowly reconstructing my podcast library. Unfortunately, I now also need to worry about what other files may have been quietly cleaned up by iTunes: music, ebooks, movies? If there are more, I may never notice.
In the end, it means that a piece of software that I have used daily and depended on for years and years can no longer be trusted. The effect of this loss of trust cannot be understated. It would be the first step to me looking for another solution; one that wouldn’t have me locked into Apple’s platform. This is why this kind of bug is so amazingly critical to catch and why missing it is not a small issue, but a catastrophic one for an ISV or IHV.
If you are a long-time user of iTunes, beware 11.1, and everyone should have MULTIPLE backups of their files, for just this kind of event. I’m very glad that I have a complete backup of all my files on a hard drive that I can use to restore and an on-line additional backup in case that drive is busted.
[Update September 23rd]
After several hours of re-downloading episodes and restoring from backups, I relaunched iTunes only to find that it had deleted those episodes AGAIN. This means that this wasn’t an issue with upgrading the database, but rather a much more serious issue. This is beyond a critical issue for people who have large libraries of podcasts in iTunes. It seems that it doesn’t affect other parts of the library, but I’m not sure I can trust that for sure. This is a major issue since I have several iDevices and switching to another application is basically out of the question for the moment. I now have to work around this bug and hope that Apple will eventually fix it while being wary of the app deleting files every time it is launched. As a user, this sucks.
Here is the Apple Support forum thread:
Yes, I’m an idiot. I left a valuable piece of my property on your plane, Alaska. I know that you are not responsible for items left behind, it’s my fault, not yours.
However, that was the last flight of the day and the item in question was out of sight of other passengers, but my newspaper was sticking out, which meant that it was likely that the seat pocket would be examined in cleaning. It’s extremely likely that my property was picked up by one of your employees either after the flight or in the morning before the next one. I immediately registered with your web site for the item in question, identifying not only the flight, but the seat (thanks for not posting a phone number, but only an impersonal web page. It really shows how much you care). So, given that this kind of thing happens all the time, I did hope that there was a chance I would get it back. It was a long shot, to be sure, but not a non-zero one.
Now you Apple, thank you for creating the mechanism so that I could track my device, send a message to it, lock it and wipe it. In this case, I can’t locate it or send a message to it as it was on airplane mode. So, most likely, whoever has it has either wiped it, failed the login and had it wipe itself, or is trying to hack it (or fence it). Since, by your own definition, the device is now stolen property, maybe you could let me know when someone else tries to use it after it has been reset? No, of course, you can’t do that. Doing that would mean that you might be liable in all sorts of ways, right? There are so many ways that some mechanism could go wrong like that, that your corporate council decided it was best not to get involved. Even though you could actually immediately notify me the minute that the device registered to me with the unique ID you use to track your customer’s devices popped up again. This actually works out better for you, because now you’ll have sold me the same device twice.
So, yup, I can now troll the net looking for the device myself in a time-consuming, frustrating and fruitless attempt while constantly reminding myself of my own mistake. I wasn’t that fond of it in the first place, but I actually need it for a project, so I’m not left with much choice. I’ll need to file this as just another case of crappy customer service.
Thanks for nothing guys!
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
Is Apple jumping on the crazy train?
I liked this article on Newsweek: Apple vs. Everybody: The company’s epic battle over a missing iPhone is only the latest in series of contretemps.
It’s the kind of attention that Apple, long a media darling, isn’t used to. Apple’s control-freak nature didn’t matter as much when it was a plucky underdog. Yes, Jobs was a demanding boss and a finicky perfectionist—but he created great products. We rooted for Apple, and wanted it to survive. Apple seemed like the anti-Microsoft, a company that was on our side. But this year Apple will do nearly $60 billion in sales, and its market value stands at $240 billion—the third-largest in the United States, bigger than Coca-Cola and Pepsi combined. Any company that big can seem a little scary. So when police start breaking down doors over a lost phone, it’s a PR disaster, especially for Apple. The company works hard to cultivate a counterculture image, with ads that have featured Gandhi and John Lennon, not to mention the “I’m a Mac” hipster. Yet lately Apple has started to look like the big bully of the tech industry, the kid who doesn’t play well others. Over the long haul, that can put customers off.
It definitely can put developers off (including this one), and when your platform has a lot of competitors gunning for it and a slim percentage of the desktop market, putting off developers is not really a very good idea. Apple is betting the company on their new strategy of a tightly controlled ecosystem where they make a small amount off of every transaction and act as intermediaries between content producers and developers and their customers. It will either be fantastically successful or Apple will crash and burn in a spectacular fashion. Only time will tell.
[disclaimer: I am an Adobe employee and an Adobe and Apple shareholder, my opinions are my own and not those of my employer.]
Like the rest of the software industry, I’ve been pondering what the effect section 3.3.1 of the iPhone 4.0 SDK will have. I had fully been planning to make an iPhone application at some point. I had planned to do the initial version with Flex to prototype, but then also spend time doing a Cocoa version to better learn that SDK for myself. This iPhone 4.0 SDK announcement honestly has me questioning if I do really want to develop for the iPhone. Not just because of a higher-minded sense of indignity at Apple’s lack of openness of their platform, but rather because of that combined with their somewhat arbitrary and opaque app store approval process. Could I spend months of my spare time learning ObjectiveC and working on an iPhone application only to have that time be a complete waste if the App store reviewers decide that they don’t want that app in the store?
Thinking about it this morning, I realized that not only was Apple’s move to lock in developers nothing new, but that I’d already written about it before (in fact, I’ve been blogging about it since almost the day I started doing professional development for the Macintosh): iPhone SDK: The carrot for Cocoa, the stick for Flash, The difference between being an Apple developer and a Microsoft developer, Developers Developers Developers Developers.
Gruber had the motivation right, I think, but I also think he got the ramifications wrong. Since Steve returned to Apple, they have been applying the screws tighter and tighter to their developers, trying to get them to lock in. It was somewhat indirect at first, but the long term implication was clear: “We’ll tell you how to develop for our platform, if you do as we say, then you’ll be fine. If you don’t do it the way we tell you, your life will be a never-ending stream of headaches.” The move to Intel (forcing all developers onto X-Code and a big rewrite of any PPC-assembly) was step one, the move to 64-bit (dropping support for Carbon after promising it) was step two. The iPhone 4.0 SDK is just the most obvious move in this process because it basically spells it out. You no longer have a choice: it is Apple’s way or the highway. The problem is the App store. On the Mac, I control my own distribution. On the iPhone platform, Apple does. That means that they no longer have to negotiate with their developers, they can now finally dictate to them.
As a developer, this makes the iPhone platform a lot less attractive because I also can’t be sure that they won’t change the terms again. Once I’m locked in, I’m locked in. Apple can do whatever they want and I’m forced to rewrite my apps or get forced out. As someone who writes software for a living, this scares the crap outta me.
Here are some other blog posts that I thought were good reading around this:
The iPad isn’t a computer, it’s a distribution channel (O’Reilly Radar)
Five rational arguments against Apple’s 3.3.1 policy (37 Signals blog)
I’m trying to write this on an iPad, thankfully one that I didn’t buy. Like many, I was intrigued when it was first announced. I’m a fan of Apple, if not a fanboy. There was a lot I’d been hoping for in the iPad announcement, most of which I didn’t get, but I still had some hopes for the device. I didn’t have enough blind faith to pre-order one though.
I’ve been using this iPad for less than a day, so maybe my opinions will change, but I don’t know how. My primary complaints so far are not about the software or the lack of features. My primary complaint is about the form factor. It is really bad, almost unusable on it’s own.
The iPad is too heavy to be held in one hand for too long. Even if you could hold it in one hand, the keyboard is then too wide to type with and difficult to type with more than one finger at a time. If held with two hands, it is too wide to type with your thumbs (phone-style) even vertically.
Since it is too heavy to hold in your hands for too long, you need to brace it on something. If you are sitting, you have to slouch or sit in an awkward position to brace it on your knee. Right now, I am having to sit cross-legged on the couch with two pillows on my lap to prop the iPad up in a semi-comfortable position. If you are sitting at a table, the rounded back of the iPad makes it difficult to use on a flat surface.
The iPad screen itself is wonderful, but the nature of the device itself means that it will be continually covered in fingerprint smudges that have to be wiped off.
Watching a movie makes the screen quality really shine, but also showcases the poor design. If you are holding the device in landscape mode (which is the logical way for video watching), you have a problem. If you hold the device so that the home button is to the right, your hands are either resting on top of the on/off button and the speaker grill or your left hand is blocking the headphone port. If you are holding the screen with the home button on your left, you are resting the bottom of the device on the volume rocker.
I hope that Apple addresses these flaws in future version, but I really have to say that so far, the iPad is really inferior in usability to the iPhone in my experience.
My iPhone is the fifth iPod I’ve owned over the years, so I’m pretty familiar with how they work. One thing that has been bugging me about the iPhone though is that there was no shuffle mode without going into a playlist and hitting the shuffle button at the top of the list. This seems like it was a bit anti-intuitive and off from how previous iPods worked. When I found out that the new iPod Touch would shuffle by shaking it, I assumed that was how the iPhone must already work, which wasn’t true. It was starting to be a bummer because I often have the iPhone in my pocket and I just want to listen to some music without having to unlock it. I finally did a web search figuring that I must be missing something and I came across this page which describes the problem of always having your iPhone in shuffle mode. I’d always seen the shuffle and repeat icons in the second screen of info when playing a track, but I’d assumed that they were either: notifications, not buttons, since they weren’t in the primary interface; or applying only to the currently playlist since they were only accessible while playing a track. Since the iPhone has a settings menu for the iPod and every other iPod stores the repeat and shuffle mode switches there, that is where I assumed they would be on the iPhone.
It seems the the iPhone UI designers decided that the iPhone was a significantly new device that they could change the user expectations about how the user interface should work. That is a classic blunder in UI design that Apple above all other companies should not have made. Maybe they need their designers to go back and re-read the Apple human interface guidelines where this rule was made very clear.
This choice was bad on other HCI levels as well. What is my expectation when manipulating controls on a song while it is playing? Would it be that I’m making a global settings change when there is another location where the global settings are edited? I doubt it. Did Apple do any user trials? Because of their secrecy, I somewhat doubt it, but it would have been dumb of them to do none.
Since this paradigm was established in the iPhone 1.0 software and has obviously not changed since that time, let’s hope that Apple at least has the sense to add setting switches for shuffle and repeat in the settings menu if they don’t want to get rid of the ones they currently have. That would save a lot of frustration from their customer base as we get iPhones.