The iPhone Deluxe is a model for healthcare

Apple geeks believe Apple will create a “deluxe” phone with cutting edge tech priced to keep sales to 1/3 of a new iPhone

Because even that reduced volume will exhaust the supply of exotic components.

Exotic tech means the i8 will be unreliable and troublesome. The i8s can be cheaper and will work. 

I’ll buy a 7s and enjoy proven reliable trouble free tech. People who buy the i8 will be my beta testers. 

Which reminds me of good-enough healthcare.

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Mindnode, Mindscope, Bear, Drafts, Notability, Notes, Workflow, Simplenote …

Been a long time since I had so much software to evaluate. Simplenote I use all the time, but increasingly I need support for images and PDF. Notes is too tied to a single Apple ID — sharing is clumsy and inefficient. I need to be able to swap identities.

Mindnode is improving constantly, I’m quite fond of it.

Mindscope is something I thought of doing years ago. Can’t resist buying it.

Bear has some out of nowhere and is a geek favorite. Have to try it.

Notability and Notes do very well with PDF embedding. Bear just gives me a link.

Drafts and Workflow have power I need to understand.

Update: Notability does phrase search instead of “tokenized word starts with” search. How could they?! Anyway, it’s dead. 

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Updating macOS …

I do a Safe Boot then restart before major OS updates. Took a very long time prior to today’s Sierra install. A good practice. 

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iOS 10 really did make a mess of the Widget/Notifications and Control/Sound screens

It’s so bad that Apple’s own documentation of Notifications doesn’t mention that the Stroke Down screen contains Widgets as well as Notifications.

The four quadrants of Widget, Notification, Control, and Sound sort of make sense if one stares at them enough — but I can see why Apple is trying something different in iOS 11.

I notice these things while working on the “simplification” section of my Smartphones for All book. iOS is getting more and more complex, and less accessible to special needs users. Apple is catching up with Android’s unusability — in a race they don’t want to win.

Apple really needs to add a ‘Simplification’ section to the Accessibility Settings. For my part while working on this chapter I realized how little value I get out of the Notifications Center. I generally interact with it by force-pressing Clear to wipe out a useless backlog. I’ve updated my Notification Settings to disable “Show in Notification Center” for most of my apps.

PS. Anyone else remember when GEOS (GeoWorks) for DOS had two modes — basic and advanced? Heck, anyone remember when SImple Finder was a useful thing in MacOS Classic?

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Sierra is death knell of our 9″ 4GB MacBook Air

I’m not sure how old our 9″ Air is. Maybe 2009 or 2010 (update: mid 2011). It has been a terrific machine, The 2008 MacBook Air was the ultimate personal computer. Newer Macs are all regressions. 

Alas, Sierra did it in. I just updated from El Capitan and it is too darn slow. SPODs are ugly things. I’m glad I waited to the last minute. 

I’ll try a few things, maybe drop back to El Cap, but a new Mac is coming. Shame there is nothing I like. If I had to buy today I’d get another Air…

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Microsoft June sec update breaks Outlook email search. Nobody cares.

The fix is scheduled July 11. Until then I’m SOL; I depend completely on search. I don’t file my emails, I dump them in an archive folder. Including emails I send. 

I must be alone. I don’t see hordes jumping off the rooftops.

Easy to see why MSFT products are slow to get patches. How could they miss this one?

PS. With Outlook 2013+ MSFT removed ability to search for Outlook items from Windows search in all versions of Windows. Regressions never get enough coverage. 

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Blogger vs. G+ 2017

Google publishes regularly to “” — using blogger.

It’s been months since I’ve heard mention of G+. I checked, it still exists. Some sort of social site I think.

Looks like old school blogs won this one.

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Imaginary girlfriends. 

In the community of special needs teens and adults imaginary girlfriends are not rare. Imaginary children on occasion. Imaginary careers, colleagues, relationships. Often based on real people. Belief shaded with grief. 

This doesn’t get discussed in parenting books. 

I am not sure if this is delusion or something else. 

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Pages white and yellow. 

The Yellow Pages were replaced by Google Maps. They became a feature, not an application. 

The White Pages went without replacement. 

There is some lesson here. 

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iPad mine – faux laptop

With the iPad Air 2 inherited from my father, a $9 Acker stand, and an old iMac kb I have a modern faux laptop. 

I don’t quite get the appeal. This thing needs a trackpad; tapping on a keyboarded screen went out with light pens in the 70s. 

Otherwise I like the iPad for reading PDFs and technical books, but I think I prefer my 6s for casual eBooks. It’s a handy peripheral, but I could live without. My iPhone and MacBook are far more useful. 

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iOS swipe action configuration for gmail account is nuts.

First, change Gmail advanced settings from archive to delete.

Then, in mail swipe settings, correctly interpret these baroque directions: “Accounts that include Archive as a default action for swiping left will offer Trash for swiping right.”

Then in Swipe Left settings chose Move Message.

Then in when browsing swipe right archives and swipe left deletes.

There’s more broken stuff like this in iOS. Articles on “new features in iOS 11” irritate me. There’s a lot of unfinished work in iOS 10.3.

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Apple family sharing and device limit

I think apple’s 10 device limit for one account applies with family sharing. 

So the limit is 6 family members or 10 devices, whichever is less. Not 10 devices per family member!

I tried adding a family member and exceeded 10 device limit. Got purchase notice of invalid payment when I tried to download an item. I think that error message is a bug. Real issue was device limit. 

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There are no good digital picture frame (slideshow) apps for iPad

This is mind boggling. Water water everywhere — and not a drop to drink. With the demise of picmatic (now a squatter app) there’s no longer a digital picture frame app for iPad.

The original lock screen app from Apple is long gone. The slideshow has very obscure settings and no randomizer. was flaky in my testing.

That’s it. There’s nothing left.

The iPad has the smell of week old fish these days.

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El Capitan Notes only seem to work with iCloud

Only relevant for holdouts like me, but El Cap Notes don’t reliably sync with iCloud. They seem too, but I think there are issues with rich text notes and shared notes (of course you can’t see which are shared or unshared in El Cap). There’s also something odd with sync of those that do work, I had to toggle Notes on/off in iCloud to force a sync update.

If you’re on El Cap you need to use iCloud Notes via a browser.

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Non-geek computing 2017: Apple uber alles.

Bend the knee. Apple has won for now. 

If you are not a geek, as of years ago, you have only one somewhat safe choice. It would be better if Apple hadn’t screwed backups, but your best choice is current iOS. On Apple hardware of course. 

In a year maybe Windows S on Microsoft hardware. Eventually Android “S” on Google hardware, but Google missed the boat. Arrogance I suppose. 

Chromebook – if Google backpedals on Chrome/Android integration. 

Dangerous is macOS run as non-admin on, of course, Apple hardware. One version behind is fine. 

Very dangerous Windows 10 with constant updates. 

Insane the rest.

Eventually devices will deactivate when their OS is unsupported.

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We cannot believe we chose Mussolini to rule us. We say it, but do not mean it. Pride I suppose. 

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Password generators suck

For a book project I had to review the current state of password generators, including the Schneier vs. GRC vs. XKCD/diceware wars.

Bah. Humbug. The memorable vs. random debate is obsolete. The real criteria is tappable. A password needs to be tappable on a twee iPhone virtual keyboard that shows only one character at time (Yes, I use 1Password. I still find lots of times I have to type and tap.) I can’t tap a long random string. I even have a hard time tapping an 8 word string — and I don’t have the patience for it.

I think the obscure and much maligned Apple keychain ‘Memorable’ password generator strikes the right balance. A mixture of (pseudo) randomly (I hope) selected pronounceable strings with some extra characters. I usually tweak the words to be less English (but still memorable) and I toss in “extra characters” that don’t require too much keyboard shift/swap. I generally stop at around 16 characters.

It’s too bad Apple’s password generator is so hard to access. On OS X I use an ancient and now vanished app called “Password Assistant” (2006, codepoetry – don’t try the domain, it was lost long ago) that invokes it. I can’t believe nobody has put something like this on the Mac App store. On iOS there’s no easy way to access it, you only see it when entering a password on a web form (again, why no app to invoke it? Too bad Siri can’t access it.)

Sure, the NSA could crack these too short and too englishy passwords in a few hours. But a serious hacker team wants my stuff, much less US border security, I’m screwed anyway. For most criminals I just need to be have something well above average. That’s not hard …

PS. I think Atwood came close to me in his 2015 essay: “passphrases … are exceptionally painful to enter via touchscreen in our brave new world of mobile – and that is an increasingly critical flaw.” Alas, he seemed to have forgotten this in his 2017 essay.

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Idiocracy: Trump admin medical technology expertise

The GOP is a cognitive wasteland. 

via Politico: “Speaking of new administration staffers: John Fleming, the former member of the House of Representatives and new deputy assistant secretary for medical technology, had some interesting views on drugs and addiction, BuzzFeed reports. In a 2006 book, Fleming speculated that tattoos might lead to drug use, and called opioids potential proof of the existence of a higher power. “Only a higher power and intellect could have created a world in which substances like opiates grow naturally,” he wrote.”

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Cram school America 

At a gathering of graduates of “elite” private schools I met a woman who counsels upper class teens on college applications. 

She teaches and revised essays. Structures good works to craft an appealing history. Advises classes and direct applications. 

All necessary, she says, in the new world. 

It sounds like a less democratic version of the Korean cram school. 

I think, at root, like Trump, it is about AI,  what DeLong calls “Peak human”, and I call “mass disability”. A fear that is not understood but is real. Scrambling for lifeboats on a sinking ship. 

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