{ Phil Olin }

Musings of a geek.

Category: Technology

iOS 8

iOS 8 has been out for a few days now. Overall, I’d say it has been a pretty good release, but I wouldn’t call it a solid release. Most things have worked OK. Numerous apps are broken, but it seems that Apple is pushing out updates quickly, for the most part.

Some are getting special treatment from Apple though. I’ve seen multiple updates for Dropbox, and other big name companies have had multiple updates approved. Meanwhile, other apps are sitting in review limbo, and don’t work properly on iOS 8. I wish Apple wouldn’t play favorites with some developers.

I’m looking forward to the 8.0.1 update as Apple has a few bugs to fix in the 8.0 release. Hmm, reminds me of last year’s iOS 7 release. It seems to be doing OK on my iPhone 5S, iPad Mini and Ashley’s iPad 2.

Apple Beta Program

Apple has announced that anyone can join download and install beta versions of OS X. You’ll no longer need a paid Apple Developer account. This means anyone can and will be able to download the beta OS X versions.

This means anyone will be able to download beta versions of OS X. This is bad. Every year, after WWDC and the new version of iOS is announced and the beta is released, people scour the internet looking for the beta iOS and will pay a few dollars to join someone’s developer account just the use the newly released beta on their iPhones. The beta that is loaded with bugs and broken features. These people then proceed to complain about their phone not working properly.

I can see why Apple wants to allow more people to test the software, but if the people using the program are just doing it to get the beta, and don’t treat it as such, Apple isn’t going to get any benefit.

Radio Shack Is Slowly Dying

Radio Shack is planning on closing 1100 of their worst performing stores. I’m actually surprised they aren’t closing all the stores. I’d classify Radio Shack as equal to, if not worse than Walmart. It’s a last ditch option to visit Radio Shack.

Radio Shack used to be a useful store, back when they sold electronic components and had knowledgeable staff. Now they aren’t competing with anyone except themselves. They sell shitty electronic devices with higher prices and cell phones. The sales staff know nothing and are extremely pushy.

The last time I visited a Radio Shack, I went in to get a HDMI cable. (Yes, I know Radio Shack was a stupid place to go, but I was out of town setting up a entertainment center and it was the closest place that I figured would have it.) The pushy salesman asked if I wanted an extended warranty, for a fucking HDMI cable, which either works or doesn’t. After repeated failed attempts to get me to buy it, he switched to pushing batteries.

Fuck that and fuck Radio Shack. I hope you die soon.

Flash, Just Fucking Die Already

It has been a few years since Flash has been declared dead. Yet it still refuses to give up and disappear. Adobe continues to push this shitty, inferior, bug-ridden software. It causes nothing but problems.

I had Flash installed on my Mac Mini that I use as a media center. Ashley wanted to watch live streams of the Olympics and it required Flash. Of course the live streams didn’t work, and I forgot to uninstall Flash afterwards.

My Mini had a Flash update today, and because Flash is such an unsecure, bug-ridden piece of shit, I ran the update. Well, par for the course with Adobe software, it failed to install and froze up my computer. I had to force shutdown and restart it. I then proceeded to uninstall Flash.

I can’t figure out why Flash is still required for everything/anything. If I can watch something on my iPhone without any issues, then I don’t need fucking worthless Flash to watch it on my computer.

To Jailbreak Or Not To Jailbreak

I’ve jailbroken every past iOS and iPhone I’ve had. Except for my iPhone 5S and iOS 7. There are some awesome jailbreak tweaks, and new ones are created every day. But as tempted as I am to jeailbreak, I’m also not tempted.

I think my biggest issue isn’t doing the jailbreak, or dealing with the chance that I’ll have an unstable device. My issue is going through the setup of all the tweaks I’d want to install. I know of several that I know I want to install, but then there are the hundreds and thousands of other apps, tweaks, and mods to sift through.

Last time I used Cydia, it still wasn’t a user friendly store (this may have changed recently). There is no way to sort out the awesome useful tweaks and apps from the shitty ones that only matter to three people because it does something extremely obscure.

I’ll probably end up breaking down and jailbreaking my iPhone. I really do miss some of the better tweaks, especially BiteSMS.

iTunes Access

I’d love to be able to listen to my iTunes library at work. I have a decent collection of songs in iTunes. Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy way to share iTunes libraries to remote computers.

I don’t want to use iTunes Match. I used to use Simplify Media but it appears to have been discontinued. Maintaining identical libraries on two computers sounds like a complete pain, especially since I don’t always bring home my work computer.

Sure, I could use on of the many streaming options, Pandora, Rdio, or Spotify, but I don’t want to pay to listen to the radio. I already have my music collection.

I just wish there was an easy way to stream my iTunes library to work.

Tiny Death Star

Star Wars makes everything better. Tiny Death Star is the newest game from NimbleBit. If you liked Tiny Tower, then you should like Tiny Death Star. Darth Vader and the Emperor need money to build the largest Death Star.

The game plays just like Tiny Tower, but everything has been given a Star Wars feel. Holographic menus, floors are all given names from the Star Wars universe.
I’ve played Tiny Tower quite a bit since it’s been released. I made it to 89 floors. Now that there is a Star Wars version, I doubt I’ll be playing plain Tiny Towers anymore.

Yes, Tiny Death Star is a freemium game, but its made in the usual NimbleBits fashion, and its easily playable without purchasing any IAP.


When Skitch first came out, I was a huge fan. It was an extremely useful app for quick editing and sharing images. You could resize, point things out, draw, etc on images.


Shortly after Skitch got taken over by Evernote, Skitch Version 2 came out. Version 2 was a huge step backwards. Numerous features got removed, the UI completely changed. It was a big fuckup of a release.

It seems that Evernote may have finally fixed and replaced most of the problems. On the 24th, version 2.7 was released, and is an improvement over the prior version.


It finally works like the original Skitch worked. It doesn’t beg you to sign up for Evernote every time you use it. It just works how it should.

I was extremely disappointed when version 2 was announced. So many important features gone. I’ve actually been using the original since version 2 came out because it was so useless. With the new v2.7, I’ve finally upgraded to the new app.

*Just a tip, moving an App Store application to the Desktop does not make it a safe storage place if you don’t want to upgrade it. I moved my verion 1.x copy of Skitch to the Desktop so it wouldn’t get overwritten when I downloaded the new version. It got overwritten anyways. Glad I made an archive of it before I clicked that download button.

Mavericks, OS X 10.9

Apple announced the release of their latest version of OS X today, version 10.9 Mavericks. There are plenty of new features, including Maps and iBooks for the desktop. I’m not going to bore myself writing a review, there are plenty of those across the internet. What surprised me most about Mavericks was the price.

When Snow Leopard was released in 2009 it was $29. The version prior, 10.5 Leopard was $129. Lion followed Snow Leopard and was released originally digital only for $29. With Mountain Lion, it dropped to $19.

Today’s OS X version is $0. It’s a free upgrade. If you are running Snow Leopard, you can download and install Mavericks for free, no need to purchase Lion or Mountain Lion. I’m really wondering what Microsoft thinks about this, considering they sell their OSes for a much higher price, and aren’t usually improvements.

Early 2011 MacBook Pro GPUs

Remember the Nvidia GeForce 8600MT graphics cards in the 2007-08 MacBook Pros? It may be happening again. It seems that many people with early 2011 MacBook Pros with the AMD Radeon 6490M, 6750M, and 6970M GPUs are having issues while using the discrete graphics. There are a few threads on the Apple Discussion forums about the issue. It seems that the majority of the problem is the discrete graphics and that the problem appears after switching to the descrete graphics.

This is bad because my main machine is an early 2011 MBP with a Radeon 6490M. I haven’t had any issues. Yet. I hope it stays that way also. If this becomes a widespread issue, I hope it becomes big enough so that history repeats itself and the warranty gets extended. I didn’t purchase AppleCare when I got this machine. (Truthfully, I haven’t bought AppleCare for any of the Macs I’ve bought because I usually end up voiding the warranty shortly after I get them.)

After hearing about this, I’m actually quite surprised I haven’t had any issues yet. I switch between the integrated and discrete graphics frequently. I do game some on this machine and the 6490M does get used a decent amount. Plus, some apps aren’t coded well and “need” the descrete graphics even though they don’t do any fancy graphical artwork. Seriously Adobe, why the fuck does Brackets require the discrete graphics? It’s a text editor.

© 2017 Phil Olin

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