Armen Chakmakjian

Posts Tagged ‘iWork’

IOS5/OSX.7.2/iCloud reactions

In Apple iCloud, Social Media, technology, web 2.0 on October 15, 2011 at 12:44 am

OK so I’ve spent the last day updating my devices and data to the new model.  My overall reaction is Apple once again (just like the .mac to MobileMe transition) is yet to really understand the cloud and the expectation of uptime that each of these transitions requires.  Don’t feel so bad.  Intuit, has gone through the same transition.  The basic fact is that Apple is a device and device software company trying to turn itself into a cloud entity.  It wants to be Amazon or Google by approaching that from its product base which is terminal products (am I dating myself with that terminology?).   Intuit similarly is going through that transition…they have been approaching it from the desktop financial products…adding cloud-ish features and capabilities and hoping the that customers will eventually transition to the cloud versions of their products.  Truly, Microsoft is going through that same transition with OfficeLive.

You have to start somewhere.

That being said, I’m still a bit sore with Apple about a couple of things.  The first being them abandoning the OSX version of the Apple TV.  I’ve got a brick now, that’s the dilemma of the early adopter…it’s the chance I take of course.  I’m also sore that my $99 a year MobileMe subscription will become free, while the thing I’ve paid for (web hosting and syncing of my device settings) will be going away next June for free syncing in the cloud of my secondary information (music and photos).

Anyway, since I’m a technologist and an early adopter, I complain briefly and then enthusiastically try the next thing, adjusting my world view to the new products.

So knowing that October 12 was going to be the day I would get iOS5 on my recently purchased iPhone 4, I spent most of the east coast morning in iTunes hitting “Update” waiting for it to tell me that I was ready to move from 4.2 to 5.0.   Then suddenly the machine told me that I needed to update to iTunes 10.5.  So I did that.

Once that was loaded and installed, about every 15-30 minutes I hit the same button in iTunes and nada, I was at the most recent rev of iOS available.  Then I read a blog post saying that the expected time was 1pm Eastern.  Crap, I had a meeting at 1.  Hit the button once at 1PM (no dice again) and then during a quick bio break at 1:20 came back and this time it began to download.

About 40 minutes later came back to my cube and the update had downloaded and was waiting for me to agree to terms.  Well of course.  Then while the device was updating I hit the “Software Update” on my MacBook Air and noticed that there were updates to Lion (10.7.2) and iPhoto (to support photo streaming)…so I began to load them onto the MBA.

When the iOS5 update loaded, I told it to go ahead.  5 times it crapped out just after the backup and just as it started the restore.  Someone else with an iPhone 4 across from me said he blew away his iPhone (hitting the restore to factory settings) and that seem to be the trick.  He warned me to save away my backups…but I am intrepid so I killed the iPhone4 and then when it restored, it brought in iOS5 automagically and yay! I was up.

Well sorta.  Now I needed to update to iCloud and I couldn’t do that until my MBA was updated.  Just about this time the download of 10.7.2 finished and I told it to start.  then another meeting (hey I work for a living).  I came back about an hour later and the machine was asking me whether I wished to reboot and I said yes.  several minutes later, 10.7.2 was running.  I brought up the new iPhoto and it pleaded with me that if I wanted to use PhotoStreaming I needed to move to iCloud.  my phone was complaining about a similar thing.  Both kept complaining that my MobileMe password was failing.  Now I was starting to get concerned.

When I walked through the online iCloud migration it would get to the final screen and then crap out.  Both me and the other guy were seeing the same thing.  We rightly attributed it to the fact that once again, apple the device mfg had failed to have enough capacity to handle the millions of us doing the same thing at the same time.  By about this time, I was ready to go to school.  I went to class that night and went through the iCloud wizard a couple of more times and concluded that until the west coast went to sleep I wasn’t going to get satisfaction.  I did notice that the new reminder app on my phone wasn’t getting any of my MobileMe reminders from iCal.  I tried a couple of more times at midnight.  Still nothing (hey that’s 9:00PM on the west coast).  Went to bed.

Wednesday morning I couldn’t play but I did notice that my phone was still complaining about my MobileMe password failing.  I was using those credentials to log into MobileMe so I attributed this to the aforementioned “not ready for prime time” bugs.   I went to work.  By about 10:30 AM I had tried 3 times to do the iCloud transition and still got errors.  Then suddenly about 11AM voi la! it converted.  Suddenly my mac and my phone were in sync in calendars, reminders and music.  Very nice.  Now the difficult part.  I still had 2 mac’s to go.  My work desktop and my old MacBook Pro.  I figured I do my personal machine first so that evening I updated that to 10.7.2 and I was up.  Then I noticed that some reminders and appointments were duplicated in iCal (Arrgh).  killed a couple and then things seemed to make sense again.

The following day I updated my desktop at work.  This was a bit fraught with peril since I was updating something w/o support.    I was told that I might have active directory problems.  Didn’t happen and the update happened.  Since I had only recently migrated from windows to the mac at work, I had little info on the new machine so the mac osx apps got what I wanted and caused no duplication.

At this point everything is up, things are working and I’m here typing on my MBA and my iPhone 4 is on the desk.   I’m afraid of one thing though…my old AppleTV is downstairs.  I don’t know what’s going to happen when I get to it.  is it going to barf on its iTunes connections?  We’ll see.

So here’s my thumbs ups after the transition

Thumbs up:

  • reminder app and sync across all devices
  • recently purchased on iTunes (music on my machine without syncing with a wire)
  • Photostream (kinda, for new pictures, see thumbs down)
  • iOS5 iWork apps and icloud backups (bought them last night, but see thumbs down)
  • New iOS5 reminders.  This is really nice…except (see td)
  • the drawdown reminder gesture on the regular display on the phone.  Very Nice.
Thumbs down:
  • iWork Desktop apps don’t speak to iCloud (updated thinking they would, my bad)
  • Photostream doesn’t automagically (or even ask) to move MobileMe galleries to photo stream
  • The whole software update process overwhelmed apple backbone
  • reminders on the lock screen don’t drill down automatically (why did I think they would)
  • Since I don’t have an iPhone 4S (and Siri)  the rest of the features were cool but not earth shattering.
Overall I’m happy to move forward. I still have to deal with the iWeb mess and my Apple TV and I wish the desktop iWork would talk to the content created on the phone…I just updated and they’ll charge me 20 bucks more when that comes up no doubt.
Anyway there it is…



iPad quick review…

In Business & Finance, iPad, Kindle, Music, Social Media, web 2.0 on April 6, 2010 at 2:06 am

So I’ve been playing with the one that arrived on saturday.  You can see the videos of me opening it.  Now that I’ve used it for a day I can say the following:

  • If you are not particularly technical, this is a device for you.  I’m not saying this in the pejorative sense.  I mean that computers and laptops have “baggage” that you need to assimilate in some fashion in order to get to the content that you wish to get to.  If you are not a content creator, computers are a complete waste of time, space AND knowledge.   This is not.
  • From a couch potato perspective, there are 2 features that it lacks.  It does need a camera for video conferencing. The other thing is something that may not make sense to a lot of people:  AirTunes.   The ultimate couch potato device does NOT allow me to make my music ambient while I read a book on the device or browse the web.  This has got to be an easy feature now that the apple tv and airport express are part of the home.
  • The WSJ app is awesome…BUT…it seems to want to load every previous issue of the paper each time I use it before I can look at the current issue.  This is problematic when trying to just get TODAY’s news.  This is a rap on ruppert murdoch more than steve jobs.
  • There does seem to be some notable lag on the browser…it isn’t faster than my macbook pro.
  • I installed pages. nice.  but without it seems a bit stunted.
  • The color is absolutely vivid. It made my kindle cry.
  • It is not readable in sunlight, I tried it today.  I do not mean grab a piece of information. I mean readable, like on a beach for 2 hours.
  • The map software is very good.
  • The new mail program is very nice.
  • ibooks page turning is very nice
  • The kindle app is beautiful, but doesn’t allow you to get to home once you are reading a book UNTIL you change the orientation of the screen by 90 degrees.  Then it lets the button appear.  seems kinda odd.

Anyway I have more playing to do.

    iWork ’09 and (beta) Review

    In technology, web 2.0 on January 20, 2009 at 4:52 am

    So I’ve been playing with a trial of iWork ’09 and If you don’t know, iWork is apple’s replacement for it’s old Appleworks suite and is a would-be competition with Office. Because every Mac comes with a calendar and an email program, the Outlook or Entourage part of Office is sort of built in. So by buying iWork, you get Pages (Word), Number (Excel) and Keynote (WAY WAY WAY better than powerpoint).

    Anyway I’ve wrote my book using Pages and as I said in a previous post, they have really cleaned it up. It no longer is just a version of Publisher, but is a true word processing tool. I love it and in some weird way evokes feelings of the old old framemaker (not sure why) that we used to write documentation back in the 90’s. It does the page layout of documentation generation way better than Word. And supposedly this version allows you to do the one Word feature that is a killer app, mail merge. Truly, at home, mail merge is a killer app because at Christmas, addressing 80 envelopes is a snap. Yes I know, with all the free services on the web, why am I sending cards? Because of tradition.

    Numbers is a good spreadsheet, but the previous version was so feature/formula limited, I couldn’t really use it. I really would go to GoogleDocs or more likely Excel (if heavy math was required) to get the job done. In fact, I was taking a stats class this past semester and using Numbers to list my definitions of all the terminology and examples, but I could not use it to do the homework because it did not have basic statistical functions like binomdist and tinv. Well that limitation has been solved. They seemed to have tripled the number of formulas under the statistical tab. Now they don’t have the data analysis pack yet, which allowed you do do things like get all stats at once from a list of data, but I’m sure they’ll get there in Numbers ’10.

    Keynote is Keynote. It so blows away powerpoint, I can start to tell you. Powerpoint is so lame and I have both Key and PPT on my mac right now (PPT07 is on my windows VM) I don’t want to elaborate. Suffice it to say that whenever I’ve needed to do a presentation outside of work (teaching my sunday school class or going in to do a “what’s it like to a be a manager at a sw company” at my son’s middle school) I use Keynote.

    Strangely, Apple has yet to come up with something that is a mini Filemaker/Access for the iWork suite. I’d suggest, of course since I have a stake in it, that if you are going to need an online database that has full sharing and security capability, please use QuickBase. It’s awesome, I use it every day, and even if I had Bento or something, I still would probably have a hard time doing all I can do with QuickBase. But back to iWork (sorry for the egregious self promotion 🙂

    So moving to iWork ’09 as some advantages (not the least of which is the price). But nothing is pulling me there. I really will continue to do homework in Excel for my Finance and Accounting classes because that is what they want. Pages is a fine editor, but the new version doesn’t seem to have any compelling reason for me to move.

    What will make me move to iWork ’09? Well, depending on the cost of when it moves out of beta, that will be the key. I’ve been playing with it for two days now. Not extensively, but enough to get a feel. As a collaborative tool for reviewing docs it is wonderful. I think it is a MUCH BETTER presentaiton that Groove, Sharepoint or GoogleDocs. Annotating shared information live works between mac and pc because it is all web based. Downloading works great in all formats. The killer app though is missing. Simply put, shared docs and annotation are cool, but until iWork allows you to edit a numbers spreadsheet collaboratively like GoogleDocs, it isn’t ready for prime time.

    Now that sounds tough but the current features are actually pretty cool.

    a shared keynote file

    a shared keynote file

    The picture above is a slide from a project we did in my Sunday School class a few years ago in Keynote.  As you can see, it shows you who posted the doc at the top right, has a notes cell on the side for general commenting.  There’s an add comment button so that you can attach a comment to any sentence, element or point you have selected on the screen in Pages or Keynote.  In numbers, you can attach comments to cells.  This is all real time.  I kept running from my desk to my wife’s office and making comments in the docs and they were there on the other machine’s browser immediately.  (btw, for those of you who want trivia, the slide above shows St. Bartholomew, one of the 12 Apostles and 1 of 2 that preached in Armenia…and got killed doing so, but we won’t go there)

    For education document sharing, this is awesome.  I can see using this to put keynote presentation for my sunday school class. For example, I can post a presentatation, share it with the students during the week, and ask them to leave notes and add comments to particular elements like questions “what are you driving at here” for example. I think in that respect I can see how cool this could be. This could open a whole set of possibilities for educational purposes. Another area where this could be really cool? Well, if I were to share a doc that I wanted people to proofread and give me comments. I think it would be excellent for that.

    Like I said sharing is one thing, but live collaboration is another. What I’m hoping is that by the time this transitions from Beta to live, that we see at least Numbers shared editing. Also the fact that you can’t actually change the doc/spreadsheet that is online (yet) means that you don’t have true sync functionality working. I can’t have someone add information (forget collaboratively, just shared for editting). They can download, but they can’t upload after edits.

    So there you have it. Really cool, excellent presentation, ready for some time, maybe not prime time just yet though MS and Google should take note. This thing just WORKED “out of the box” as we used to say. I hear that microsoft is coming out with something to challenge this beyond Groove inside of Sharepoint. Knowing MS it will be full of functionality and capability and no one will be able to configure it right unless you do the most simple task. Just from my experience. My suggestion is that if you have a mac, go try the iWork ’09 trial just to play with for 30 days. It works and it’ll be fun.

    OK so I’m a mac guy…

    In Random on January 7, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    But I’ve used everything before. DOS, ProDos, OS7, OSX, VMS, Windows 3.0, OSF, AIX, Blah Blah Blah…I’ve used their productivity apps…appleworks, office, iWork, DecWrite, Framemaker, EDT, TPU, EMACS, VI, Runoff, nroff, visicalc (ok now I’m dating myself) but have you taken a look at the (beta) ?

    If it is what it says it is…it’s damn amazing. I bought the first version of iWork just after buying my first mac in 2005 (on the day I left Teradyne online, literally on my way to farewell drinks). Keynote was always pretty impressive even before bundling in iWork. Pages started off as a cruel substitute for MS publisher, but since then over 3 generations have turned it into an extremely capable word processor/page layout combination. I wrote my book in pages and I love it. Numbers is ok as a spreadsheet, but has a lot of fluff and only slowly catching up to Excel if it ever will (I could not use it for my stats class because it didn’t have any of the data analysis add ons that Excel has).

    Evidently, in iWork ’09 they’ve also added cross app sharing of stuff, so you can do mail merges and embed charts by symbolic links to other docs.

    All that being said, what they are beta testing now is a step function different than desktop apps. You share your docs from your mac that you’ve developed in iWork, and others can annotate and edit them online and you can sync it back to your original. If they want to download a copy of their own, they can…and since it is in a browser, you can be on windows and download office style versions of the docs (rather than iWork native) if you choose.

    Now you may say, so what, Google Docs, Groove and Sharepoint already exist…but they don’t look like this…the presentation of these products is really nice. I’m going to sign up for the beta, not sure what I’ll do with it, but it’ll at least give me the time to figure out what it is.