Skip to main content


Showing posts from October, 2013

Mac OS X v10.9 "Mavericks" and FileMaker Pro 12.0v5

Late last night (as soon as it became available) I upgraded both my Macs to the latest version of the Mac OS: version 10.9 "Mavericks." I also upgraded FileMaker Pro to 12.0v5, an update that mainly seems to provide better compatibility with the new Mac operating system. Tested some of my existing FileMaker database solutions and everything seems to be working fine. If you do upgrade to Mavericks, be sure to upgrade FileMaker Pro, as well.

As for Mavericks itself, it's underwhelming, but that's not a bad thing, especially since it's free.

The Notes, Calendar and Contacts apps got facelifts, which they needed. But Notes and Contacts are only slightly improved, while the new Calendar looks like one of the new iOS 7 apps, and I don't mean that as a compliment. I'm okay with "flat," but "flat and shapeless", not so much. I dunno. Maybe I'll switch back to Google Calendar.

Tabs in Finder windows? A good idea, I guess. But seriously, usi…

Sometimes you should think before you tweet

At the end of Sophocles' Oedipus the King, the chorus sings, "Count no man happy until he's dead." The point isn't that life is hell and the only happiness is found in death; the point is that, until the story is finished, you don't know how it ends.

What's true for human lives is true in lots of more trivial contexts. I don't want movie reviewers to be tweeting their reviews while watching the movie. And I don't want reporters to be tweeting the news — at least not the kind of news that really can wait for another hour.

Case in point:

"Hell froze over": How Windows helped Apple rule the world

Excellent post by Chris Fralic about the decision to release iTunes for Windows, and how that release was the beginning of the end for Windows.

The Butterfly That Started the Apple Tsunami

Two notes of my own. First, Steve Jobs wasn't always a visionary. Sometimes he was a closed-minded, petty bully who didn't want to share his toys. (The rest of the time, he was a visionary.)

The other point is, it took at lot of nerve to describe iTunes as the "best" software for anything. It was then and remains now one of Apple's most confused products.

(Hat tip: Daring Fireball)

Okay, maybe it is partly incompetence

I still think that the problem is supposed to manage is such a monster that it would be a daunting challenge for anybody, no matter how competent. That said, it's looking more and more like incompetence may have played a part in the site's epic fail. And I don't just mean normal incompetence on the part of government bureaucrats.

How hard was this, really? I myself tried to sign up for an account. With just a little difficulty, I got through several screens where I provided my name, home state, email address, and then, on the last screen, I made up an account name and password. I hit submit or save, and got this:

"Unavailable"? They couldn't have told me this before I wasted 10 minutes?

Now, when I was expressing my (tentative) sympathy for the programmers yesterday, I was thinking about how hard the hard parts of this problem must be. I mean, this is the system created by a many-thousand page bill whose architect herself said "We have to …

Sympathy for the Devil: The Obamacare online disaster

So the web site the government built to allow people to sign up for the new healthcare exchanges doesn't work. I've read a lot about it and as far as I can tell, nobody has managed actually to sign up for an insurance plan. The one guy who claimed he had, turned out to be a fraud. The situation is so bad that Obama supporter Jon Stewart is making fun of it. (I'm not sure if the New York Times has even mentioned the problem, but then the Times isn't a real news source like the Daily Show.)

It's possible that the programmers of the site were (as has been charged) simply incompetent. That's what a number of the experts being interviewed by big networks are saying. But my guess is that this was avery complicated problem, and I wonder if anybody is competent enough to have built this boat so it floats.

I certainly don't want to cut anybody in the administration any slack at all. In the real world, Ms Sibelius would be looking for a new job right about now. And o…

What's in a name (part 2): RUCKSACK it is!

That's right. We're going with Rucksack after all!

This is (mildly) embarrassing. The best of the bad explanations I can offer is, it takes a lot of time to get ready to kill one company and start another one, even very small companies. In the process of doing my company-name research, I failed to notice that 37Signals had, some months ago, released an iPhone app called "Daypack." Sigh.

I am pretty sure I could have stuck with Daypack Data and never heard from 37Signals' lawyers. We don't compete at all. But it's okay. While "Daypack" is great as a name for an iPhone app, I always thought it was a bit lightweight for what we do anyway. As I said five weeks ago ("What's in a name?"), the connotations of rucksack are much sturdier. That's a better fit with our mission. We don't just build databases you can carry your lunch in, we build databases that will carry everything you need to succeed in battle. So to speak.

And I reth…