Thursday, July 23, 2015

Troubleshooting Enterprise Connect Client Issues

Earlier today I was asked to help troubleshoot an OpenText Enterprise Connect client issue in a pre-production quality assurance environment.  It appears that testers were experiencing issues trying to open or edit documents stored in Content Server with the new desktop client.  Today, the QA team was testing Enterprise Connect 10.5.2.178 with Content Server 10.5.0 and Enterprise Connect module 10.5.2.

The error being raised was:

Method 'PrepareEditOpen' not implemented for repository 'CSTest2'


There was no problem accessing the test documents from the Content Server 10.5.0 web UI or via WebDAV.

Since the issue was showing up on the clients, I decided to turn on error logging in Enterprise Connect

Enabling Enterprise Connect Logging

1.Right-clicking the Enterprise Connect desktop icon.

2. Choose "Options" from the pop-up contextual menu.

3. When the Options window appears, click the "Logging Options..." button.



4. On the Logging Options page, check "Log Enabled" and select "Error" from the "Apply to All" drop down menu.


5. Set the "File Location" field to which ever folder works best for you.

6. Click the "Apply" and "Exit" buttons.  Close the Options window.

7. Logout of Windows and login in again to activate logging.

At this point, I reproduced the error trying to view a document in Content Server using the Enterprise Connect client.  when the error was reproduced, go back into the logging options and disable logging.

On my test machine, three logs were created: uc_explorer.log, uc_ucscore.log and uc_ucsync.log.  Open the uc_ucscore.log file in your favorite text editor.  I suggest Notepad++ over Notepad.

Scroll down to the bottom of the log to see the errors.  I found the following:

08:15:18.41 [UCSCORE    ](4588): ERROR: Could not get service.
08:15:21.58 [UCSCORE    ](4588): ERROR: Can't query Office Editor Documents: Could not find a part of the path 'C:\Users\[WindowsAccountName]\AppData\Roaming\OpenText\OTEdit\[CSInstanceName]\c2149\'.
.
.
.
08:16:27.62 [    ](4588): ERROR: WebEditRequest.GetDocumentInfo: exception.type=System.NotImplementedException; exception.message=Server not capable of Webedit.Unreserve;


During my investigation, I noticed that the \c2149\ folder was not created on my client.  Don't get fooled by that error message.  The real clue was the next line:

exception.message=Server not capable of Webedit.Unreserve;

This error says that the Content Server webedit module can't do it's job.

To verify the problem was with the Content Server instance and not the Enterprise Connect client installed on the PC, I added another URL connection string to Enterprise Connect for a disaster recovery instance and tested the ability to open documents.  Enterprise Connect was able to open a copy of a test document that was in the DR instance just fine.  So, the problem was at the QA Content Server.

Taking a look at the installed modules, I quickly discovered that the OpenText Enterprise Connect, Email Services and Content Server Web Edit modules where all at version 10.5.0.  The Enterprise Connect client being tested as 10.5.2.

To finally resolve the issue, I backed up the OTHome directory (the path Content Server is installed into) and the SQL database and performed the upgrades to each of the modules to bring them up to version 10.5.2.  Once that was complete, the QA test clients were able to open, edit and update documents without further trouble.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Thoughts Regarding the iOS 9 Public Beta

It’s that special time of year once again where we have been shown all of the wonderful software enhancements that Apple is cooking up for us this fall.  It is also the time when we, the brave nerds, install not quite fully finished software on our iDevices and Macs.  All of this is done in the name of being nerdy.

Actually, what I’m talking about is the pre-release public beta versions of Apple’s upcoming operating systems: iOS 9 and Mac OS X El Capitan 10.11.

Both of these new operating systems are still under development so it’s not fair to judge either of them on their technical merits, stability or performance.  The completed versions of both iOS 9 and El Capitan are due out "this fall."  What I want to talk about here are some of the user facing enhancements in iOS 9.

Keyboards

Last year, one of the big ticket items in iOS 8 was Apple allowing third-party keyboards to be installed on iOS.  While having alternate keyboards available was fun, I dumped all of them inside a week.

This year, I’m far more interested in the tweak Apple has baked into the iOS 9 public beta: changing keyboard key cap states.  With iOS 8, I could never keep the Shift key state straight in my head: What was the CAPS mode icon state again? Solid white?  Or was that grey?  I can't remember.  Better keep mashing the Shift key and retyping.  At least half the time while I was banging out a long text in Messages, a tweet in Twitter or a long email in Mail, I would get the state wrong.  So annoying!

In iOS 9, now the key caps change state depending on whether or not Shift is engaged or not.  Below is a sample of iOS 9 Public Beta 1 running on my iPhone 5S (left) and iOS 8.4 running on my iPhone 6 (right).


I think I really like that enhancement.

News and iCloud Drive

After installing iOS 9, you will get two new stock apps: News (as featured in the WWDC June 8 keynote) and iCloud Drive.


News appears to be everything Apple showed in the keynote.  I was really excited about News when is was unveiled during the keynote address.  As I said in my summary post on this year's WWDC keynote, I think this will be a worthwhile feature for both the iPhone and iPad.  With Apple's focus on user privacy, I think this could become the go-to alternative for things like Facebook Instant Articles.  The beta apps has lots of great articles from across the spectrum of publishers and topics.  I think the biggest challenge users will face is taking the time to fine tune their news feeds.

iCloud Drive, in my opinion, is a new iOS client app to help round out the features of iCloud document storage that launched as part of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite last year.  With iCloud Drive, you now have access to the folders and documents that you have stored in iCloud.  iCloud Drive works similarly to Microsoft's OneDrive or Google's Drive iOS apps.


On the left, you can see the top level folder view for iCloud Drive.  On the right, you see the list view of the contents of the Keynote folder.  It's pretty basic stuff to be sure, but is also a utilitarian feature that Apple needs to gain parity with Google and Microsoft.

iOS 9 will be released later this year and is expected to run on any iOS device that is already running iOS 8.

For more information about iOS 9, check out Apple's iOS 9 preview website.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Apple Rolls Out iOS 8.4 with Apple Music, Beats 1 Radio


At 11:00am EDT this morning Apple released iOS 8.4 bringing a redesigned Music app, launching the new Apple Music service with Beats 1 24/7 live radio and updates to the iBooks apps.

Below are the release notes for iOS 8.4.

iOS 8.4 Release Notes

This update introduces Apple Music—a revolutionary music service, 24/7 global radio, and a way for fans to connect with their favorite artists—all included in the redesigned Music app. iOS 8.4 also includes improvements for iBooks and bug fixes.

Apple Music

  • Become an Apple Music member to play from millions of songs in the Apple Music catalog, or keep them offline for playback later
  • For You: Members can see playlist and album recommendations, handpicked by music experts
  • New: Members can find the latest, greatest new music available—direct from our editors
  • Radio: Tune in to music, interviews, and exclusive radio shows on Beats 1, play radio stations created by our editors or create your own from any artist or song
  • Connect: See shared thoughts, photos, music, and videos from artists you follow, then join the conversation
  • My Music: Play from all of your iTunes purchases, songs from Apple Music, and playlists in one place
  • Completely redesigned music player that includes new features such as Recently Added, MiniPlayer, Up Next, and more
  • iTunes Store: Still the best place to buy your favorite music—one song or album at a time
  • Availability and features may vary by country

iBooks improvements and fixes

  • Browse, listen and download audiobooks from inside iBooks
  • Enjoy the all-new Now Playing feature, designed specifically for audiobooks
  • Books that are Made for iBooks now work on iPhone in addition to iPad
  • Find and pre-order books in a series right from your library
  • Improves accessibility of widgets, glossary and navigation in books made with iBooks Author
  • New default Chinese font
  • New setting to turn off Auto-Night theme in your library
  • Resolves an issue that may have prevented Hide Purchases from working
  • Resolves an issue that may have prevented downloading books from iCloud

Other improvements and bug fixes

  • Fixes an issue where receiving a specific series of Unicode characters causes device to reboot
  • Fixes an issue that prevented GPS accessories from providing location data
  • Fixes an issue where deleted Apple Watch apps could re-install

For information on the security content of this update, please visit this website:


iOS 8.4 can be installed on any current model iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

The Apple Watch - Part Three: Day-to-Day Usage


I've been struggling for a long time now to write a meaningful review of the Apple Watch. So many other well-respected writers, who are much better at their craft than I, have already written many pages about Apple's new device. Yet here we are.

Rather than trying to talk specifically about Watch and watchOS, I think I'd much rather just talk about how it has integrated into my life and how I use it day in and day out.

The two most frequently asked questions I get about my Apple Watch Sport are: "Do you like it?" followed immediately by, "What can you do with it?"  So let's get the answers to those questions out of the way first.

The answer to those questions are: Yes, very much so. As an Apple fanboy, I woke up at 3:00am to place my order with the hopes of getting it on launch day, which I did. The second is a very personal answer and will vary from user to user. I use my Watch primarily for: getting important notifications for text messages and email. I have replaced my previous fitness trackers with Apple Watch (more on that later). And, lastly, quick view apps like Weather, Phone, Wunderlist and Twitterific.

Setup and Configuration

Configuring your Apple Watch is a journey.  As a technology enthusiast, it was a road of discovery that I was looking forward to traveling down.  It's not every day, or even every year, that an Apple fan like myself gets to play with something completely new.

As I showed in my last post about Watch, The Apple Watch - Part Two: Unboxing the Sport Edition, pairing and Apple Watch with an iPhone is a very simple process. It is the simplest process of pairing a device and a peripheral that I've ever had.  What came next can only be described as the excitement-fueled haze that came from eating too much candy at the summer fair as a boy.

Apple Watch runs watchOS, is believed to be a variant of iOS 8.2. Much like the original Apple TV runs a variant of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, watchOS and iOS are not exactly the same thing. Knowing how to use one does not mean you automatically know how to effectively use he other. And so, as a new Watch owner I was forced to do the one thing that any wife or girlfriend will tell you that men had to do: read the directions. (Stopping to ask for directions was the number one answer until we all started carrying iPhones with us everywhere; but I digress.)

The fold out instruction sheet gives you all of the basics about how to use the Watch, but I didn't quite feel that I fully understood how to use it.  Only the basic of settings can be controlled on from Watch. For the heavy lifting to configure Apple Watch, you really need to use the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. From there, you can do the real configuration work for settings up Notifications, Glances, your synchronized Music playlists, synchronized Photos albums, Apple Pay and third-party applications. That can seem a bit overwhelming, event to a seasoned Apple fan. To really understand how all of these things work you need to spend time playing with Watch and it' companion iOS app.

I chose to tackle Notifications first since it was one of the two main reasons why I chose to get Apple Watch. (The Workout and Activity apps are the second.). I found that the out of the box option of ”Mirror my iPhone" was too broad and that I was getting notifications on my wrist for things that I really didn't find all that important. My time, as yours, is too important for just any app to interrupt you. So as I started using Apple Watch over the initial two-week period, I found myself constantly adjusting the notifications until I found a balanced that worked for me. What's important to me and important to you are probably vastly different, so I won't list out my configurations here.  What I will say is that key take away for me is what that only the most important information make it from the phone in my pocket to the watch on my wrist.

The Workout and Activity Apps

As I said earlier, the Workout and Activity apps, together, made up the second reason why I wanted and Apple Watch. You see, before getting Apple Watch, I was using a Nike+ FuelBand and the Jawbone UP. Both are good devices in their own ways.  Nike has undeniable consumer brand recognition just like other iconic brands like the Walt Disney Company and the Coca-Cola Company.  But they never quite pulled off the illusion of complete integration with my iPhone and iOS. With Apple Watch, everything is seamless and just works.

I would say that I'm not a fan of exercises nor do I enjoy going to the gym. I'm more like that guy on TV who goes around from greasy spoon to greasy spoon trying to stuff his face with the largest what-ever-it-is for this week. But I do want to try to be healthy and keep as much weight off as I can and so I do like to go out for walks when the weather permits.

When getting started with the Workout app, Apple advises you to bring your iPhone with you. That way, Watch can calibrate how you walk or run more accurately and track how far you've gone.  From my very unscientific comparison of the data collected by my Jawbone UP as compared with the data collected by the Workout app and reported in the Activity app, I can say things are 'close enough.'  Some people have reported that stand-alone devices that have their own integrated GPS receivers do a better job of tracking activity and distance while exercising outside. That criticism may have been true. When Apple released watchOS 1.0.1 back on May 19, distance and pace of outdoor activities was one of the featured enhancements.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the Workout and Activity apps. I have added Activity "complication", that the watch world's fancy name for the computing world's "widget", to the bottom center slot of the Modular watch face that I use. It helps me "gamify" my daily activity to reach my goal of filling in all three activity rings daily.

Third-Party Apps

Apple Watch had a large selection of apps available on April 24 then it officially launched.  The trick, however, is finding good apps.

watchOS 1.0, now updated to watchOS 1.0.1, runs all of the third-party apps as "projections" from the iPhone it is paired with.  Apple Watch doesn't have it's own app store.  iPhone apps that support the Watch install small applications - like Mac OS X Dashboard widgets - on to the iPhone.  When you run an app on the Watch, it connects to the iPhone over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and displays the information from the iPhone on the Watch.  I won't call it a "cheat" necessarily, but what you will see is the "I'm busy" spinner on the Watch while information is being retried from the iPhone.  This back and forth can be a bit laggy at times and frustrating.  Just the other day I got tired of waiting for the Weather app to launch on Apple Watch and I pulled out my iPhone and checked the forecast before the Watch was able to update.  While these kinds of problems can be annoying or inconvenient at times, many of us who are using the Watch today are early adopters.  Apple will surely work to improve performance over time.  Look for the first signs of improvement later this year for the release of watchOS 2.0.  In that update, Apple will be giving software developers more access to the hardware resources and the ability to run apps natively on Watch.

My best advice to you is to try out the Apple Watch apps that are extensions of the apps you use on your iPhone.  My rule of thumb is to limit the number of apps that I have installed to a bare minimum.

For example, I like to read the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times on my iPhone or my iPad.  But I don't want notifications for breaking stories on my wrist, nor do I care to even try to read a news summary on a 42mm screen.  Those kinds of apps, for me, are just impractical.  Your needs will vary from mine.  For me, I've chosen to use just a handful of apps, including: Overcast, Twitterific, Wunderlist, and Starbucks.  That's it.  Of the four, I use Overcast and Wunderlist the most.  Wunderlist, which has my list of things to buy at the grocery store, just works so well for me when I'm shopping.  The iPhone stays securely in my pocket and I have fast access to my shopping list simply by raising my wrist.  Nothing gets dropped, scratched or forgotten.

Siri, Dictation and Making Calls

The Apple Watch doesn't have a keyboard.  When you need to reply to a text message, my primary use case, I do with Siri dictation.  Yes, you kinda look like the cartoon character Dick Tracy, but hey, that's cool, right?  I've used Siri dictation all over the place.  For the most part, Siri gets the job done, but just like on the iPhone and iPad sometimes Siri just can't pick up the works I'm dictating correctly.  On those occasions, I've had to pull out my iPhone...or I've used Siri to place a call from Watch.

Making calls from your Watch makes you look and feel like the aforementioned Dick Tracy.  I usually only use this feature in my office, from the car, or when I'm not in a crowded location.  Social etiquette aside, when in a noisy environment, I've found it hard to hear what the other person is saying and find myself holding the Watch closer to my ear, and well, that starts to sound a lot like a use case for the iPhone or better yet, to call the person back later.

Battery Life and Durability

I had two major concerns when making the decision about buying the Apple Watch without ever having played with one.  How long will the battery last and will I need multiple charge cables at home and at the office?  And, how long would it be before I scratched the hell out of the screen.

I'm happy to report that both concerns now look silly two months into my daily use of Apple Watch.  Yes, using the Workout app causes the battery to drain more quickly when the heart rate sensor is sampling data more frequently and the Watch is checking distance and speed by poling the iPhone's GPS.

If I'm being really lazy, and I don't do my 30 minutes of exercise, at the end of the day, my 42mm Sport has around 50-60% battery life left.  If I do get out and get my 30 minutes of exercising in, my battery will get down to about 20-30%.  Recently, while on vacation with the family, we went on a 14-mile bike ride along the Cape Code Rail Trail.  We were out on the ride for about an hour and forty minutes.  The whole time the Workout app was going full tilt tracking my heart rate, speed and distance.  In other words, the Watch was in constant contact with my iPhone for the whole time.  At the end of the ride, my battery was down to about 10%.  It was in the low 90's when I started.  To save power until I got back to the house, I put the Watch into Power Reserve mode.

I'm also happy to report that my Watch is still 100% scratch, ding and knick free.  I'm not saying that the Watch can "Take a licking and keep on ticking" as the old ad slogan goes.  What I will say, is by all rights, my Apple Watch Sport should be in really bad shape.  I've smacked it into three large office file cabinets, metal storage and server racks, metal lawn chairs...the list goes on and on...and nadda.  No scratches.  No pits. Nothing.  Mileage will vary, but if you are careful of your surroundings, you should be fine.

Early on, I purchased a screen protector for the Ion-X display.  Don't waist your time and money on them.  The fit was horrible and I only left it on for about 45 minutes.

Parting Thoughts

All-in-all, I really like my Apple Watch and it has integrated into my day-to-day Apple centric lifestyle and workflow.  The Watch is a more personal type of device than your iPhone, Mac or iPad is and so how it gets used will vary from person to person.  I don't expect the Apple Watch to be replacing an iPhone any time soon.  There are still plenty of uses that demand a larger screen - the iPhone 6 Plus is proof of that.  But the Watch really does let me quickly check the incoming notification and make a decision to take action now or later.  The watchOS 2.0 update, due out later this year, will add a fresh batch of features and functionality.

While not every iPhone owner needs an Apple Watch, the Apple Watch will only work with an iPhone so take that into consideration before placing your order.

If you are considering buy and Apple Watch, I encourage you to go to the Apple Store.  Play with the demo units.  Try on the bands to see which one you like the best.  When you are ready, place your order via the online Apple Store.

For more information, visit the Apple Watch website.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

OpenText Adds Full Folder Sync to ECM Everywhere iOS Client

Earlier this week, OpenText released an update to their iOS ECM Everywhere client to version 10.5.21.


The new update will allow ECM Everywhere users to quickly mark all of the files in a single folder for offline access.  If you want to sync a sub-folder and it's contents for offline access, you will need to drill down to that level and manually mark the folder offline.

ECM Everywhere is the iOS, Android and BlackBerry client for OpenText's Content Server 10.5 and 10.0 content management systems.  ECM Everywhere is a free download from the Apple App Store, Google Play Store and BlackBerry App World.

For more information on OpenText ECM Everywhere 10.5, visit the OpenText.com website.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Thoughts on the Apple WWDC 15 Keynote Presentation


Yesterday, Apple kicked off their twenty-sixth WWDC conference with a keynote address from Tim Cook.

If you haven't already watched the keynote session, you can do so now directly from the WWDC page on Apple.com.

What follows are my thoughts and comments as I watched the presentation early this morning about the exciting new updates coming to OS X, iOS and watchOS.

Opening Remarks


Usually, the formula for an Apple keynote presentation is to welcome everyone and then run through a number of slides talking about how well Apple is doing. This year, Cook announced that 2015 is the twenty-sixth developer's conference.  In addition to the live stream of the keynote, he also announced that for the first time ever, Apple will be live streaming 30 developer sessions this year to try and accommodate the developers who were not able to buy a ticket to this year's conference.

In short, Cook said "everything's great" and then turned the stage over to Craig Federighi, Senior Vice President, Software Engineering to talk about advances in OS X, iOS and the new watchOS.



Mac OS X El Capitan Update


- 55% of active Mac users have upgraded to OS X Yosemite
- Mac OS X 10.11 will be called OS X El Capitan; notice the lack of "10.11" in the product name
- Two major areas of focus for El Capitan: user experience and performance

The user experience performance should be thought of as a refinement of last year's bold new OS X design language in Yosemite.  The tent pole features that were shown off include the new Informed Search features of Spotlight, refinements of the built-in OS X apps and window and workspace management with Mission Control, the Spaces bar and the new Split View windows control.

Of all of the new updates, I think I will get the most utility out of the new Split View controls.  The windows snapping feature of Windows 7 is one that I use all of the time at work and the one Windows feature that I wished my Mac has built in by default.  (The other was the smoky grey Vista Start bar, but that was addressed last year with the Yosemite dark mode menu.)

Informed Search in Spotlight allows you to use nature language text to help find things on your Mac.  With Informed Search, you can now type in search terms like "Show me all of my photos from last June".  That's pretty powerful because it lets us type in what we are looking for an let the computer figure out what we meant rather than us tying to remember some details about how, when or where we may have stored the files on disk.

There was also a brief demo of a new feature coming to Safari wherein that if a video, say an ad, starts auto-playing a video in a tab that you are not looking at, a speaker mute icon will appear in the URL/search navigation bar.  Just click it and the audio is instantly muted.  That will really become a handy feature as more and more websites start auto-playing video ads on their sites.

There isn't enough time to cover all of the OS X El Capitan features


Apple has to pick and choose what features are going to be high-lighted on stage.  Some interesting features that appeared in the "...and so much more." slide include:

- New system font - Yes, Apple Watch's San Francisco font is coming to Mac OS X
- Last search - Sounds like a really nice time saver
- Rename from context menu
- Time to leave reminders
- Redesigned Disk Utility - seems like an odd update; are enhancements to HFS+ coming?
- File copy resume
- Copy file path in Finder

On the OS X performance side of the house, Apple is bringing their Metal graphics engine that debuted on iOS last year "back to the Mac" El Capitan.  Metal will give professional apps and game developers a higher performance graphics layer than the older OpenGL and OpenCL platforms.

Reportedly, all of Apple's first party apps are being enhanced to take advantage of Metal.  I'm looking forward to the performance boost to things like the quick view feature that let's you look at a document without having to launch the app first.  Oh, and when you do have to launch apps, Apple is working on making the time you wait for apps to launch must quicker.

The schedule for Mac OS X El Capitan is:

- Developers get a free preview starting right now.
- Public beta testers will get El Capitan next month (July)
- El Capitan general release will ship "this fall"


 iOS 9 Update

- 83% of active iPhone users are running iOS 8 today
- iOS 9's major focus is "elevating" the foundation:improved battery life, better performance, and security enhancements

Just like with OS X El Capitan, intelligence and informed seraching is coming to iOS 9 and Siri.  Siri can now understand more natural language requests like "show me pictures from ..." or create new reminders based on what you are looking at in an app such as Safari.  Siri can even look up phone numbers for incoming calls that aren't in your contacts by searching your email and making a suggestion.

As with all of these security features, iOS 9 keeps all of your data private.

Craig Federighi discussed personal data privacy in iOS 9


Some other cool features that Federighi showed off, include:

- iOS' swipe to the left of the first app launcher screen is coming back and has been enhanced to offer contextual suggestions

- Search has been enhanced to include new categories of information

- iOS 9 searching has a new Search API that can be used to search across installed apps and provide deep linking to specific content and take you back to search results

- Apple is building in intelligence into iOS, but they are not data mining; all information stays on device

- Look ups for information is all anonymous, not shared - you are always in control of your data

ZDNet's iOS 9 beta lock screen


One of the nice features coming to iOS 9 that didn't get highlighted in the presentation is that Apple is improving iOS security by increasing the number of digits in a PIN from 4 to 6.  By adding just two additional digits to the PIN, iPhones and iPads will become all the more difficult to "hack" using a brute force attach.  ZDNet had a nice little write up about this feature.

Jennifer Bailey talks about how Apple is simplifying the wallet with Apple Pay

To talk about the updates to Apple Pay in iOS 9, Apple brought out VP, Apple Pay, Jennifer Bailey!  I was really surprised to see Apple giving a woman "FaceTime" (sorry about the pun) on the WWDC stage.  It would appear that Apple really is trying to show that it is a diverse company and not just a company run by "old 50-something white dudes".

In addition to launching Apple Pay in the UK later this year, Bailey went on to talk about the upcoming changes to Apple Pay in iOS 9.  They include:

- Discover Card is coming to Apple Pay this year
- Square is releasing a new NFC Apple Pay reader that will be in stores this fall
- Store loyalty and reward card support is coming to Apple Pay
- Passbook is being renamed to "Wallet"

It's that last on that I feel is kind of cheap.  Apple clearly has the head start on all of the competing mobile payment systems.  That's not to say they arrived first - just that they have an early success advantage.  Switching to Wallet from Passbook, to me, makes it sound like Apple is chaing after Google.

Maps, an app that has been steadily improving year-over-year, is also getting updated to include support for public transit information, specifically:

- Adding a new Transit map (buses, trains, subway stations) with departure times
- Step by step walking directions
- Siri is being integrated to the new Maps transit information

I'm glad to see that Apple is adding public transit information to Maps.  Android users have had this information via Google Maps for a long time now.  Apple Maps has had a rough start, but it is clear that Apple is committed to enhancing their mapping service over time.

With iOS 9, Apple is included an all new pre-installed application called "News".  News will bring "beautiful content from the worlds best world's greatest sources, personalized for you."  To help introduce and demonstrate News, Apple brought out the VP Application Product Management, Susan Prescott.

 Let's just stop for a minute and let it sink in that Apple now has had two high ranking women on the WWDC stage showing off some of their newest software with the world watching.  This is the new-new Apple.

Susan Prescott shows off the all-new News app for iOS 9
I'm really excited about the new News app for iPad and iPhone.  I read the Wall Street Journal on my iPad most days in the WSJ app.  I'll probably still do that because I have a subscription, but the News app has a lot going for it.  I can see in the future, the News app taking the place of Newsstand in the future.

With News, you tell the app a little about what websites you like to visist and the kinds of articles you like to read on them.  Form there, News will aggregate a feed of news articles, beautifully rendered and laid out for you to read.  The app updates each time you launch it so there will always be fresh content to read and presented in a visually stunning way.

Up until now, I have this on again off again relationship with Facebook.  I've recently started using it again after having liked the WSJ and New York Times pages so that I get news added to my Facebook feed.  I've never really been happy about liking pages on Facebook because of all the creepy things they are probably doing to collect my data.  With News, all of that is gone!

The high points on New include:

- News updates each time you launch it.  The more you read the better News can be about learning
about what you like to read
- News will ship for both iPad and iPhone
- News will have privacy built in from the start.  There will be no sharing of data with Apple or third-parties about what you are reading
- This is, in my opinion, a direct shot at Facebook instant articles and I'm glad to have an Apple alternative
- When News goes live, there will be 30 New York Times articles published a day for News.
- If all of this reading is anonymous, and there is no data sharing with publishers, who's footing the bill for the stories?


iPad iOS 9 Enhancements

With iOS 9, Apple shows the iPad more love than it's seen in the last two releases.  It's clear that Apple is looking to bolster how their industry-leading tablet is both viewed (it's not just a really large iPhone) and used (now with more productivity and multitasking enhancements).

iOS 9 brings the Shortcut Bar to the iPad keyboard

iPad gets the new Shortcut Bar as part of the new iOS 9 keyboard of iPad.  Not only does the keyboard give you predictive text for what you might be typing, but now you have access to text tools right in the keyboard.  The new Shortcut Bar provides convenient access cut/copy/paste functions as well as the ability to add bold, italics and underlined text.  You can even add an attachment if the app support it.

If you're not convinced that Apple is trying to cater to people who want to use the iPad as their only computer, a new two finger gesture allows you to move the insertion point cursor around the screen when you place two fingers over the keyboard and move them around as if you were using the trackpad on a MacBook.  This should be a pretty handy feature for people who become frustrated with how you move the cursor around the screen. I know a lot of people who will be happy to have this feature.  I have to wonder if the new iPad Air 3 will feature a Force Touch screen unlocking even more functionality of the track pad-like feature of iOS 9.


iOS 9 bring Multitasking to the iPad

Adding iOS 9 to an iPad Air 2 you are able to begin using the new Split Screen feature.  Split Screen was first rumored last year to be a part of iOS 8.  With iOS 9, Split Screen is now a reality.

The iPad Air 2 running iOS 9 will be able to use Split Screen
In Split Screen mode, both halves of the screen are running separate applications simultaneously.  You can also grab the slider in the middle of the screen to resize the two windows according to what you are working on.  Regrettably, Screen Split is only available with the iPad Air 2 and will not work with the iPad Air.  Personally, I think that's a mistake, but no one asked me.

In addition to Split Screen, is Slide Over.  With Slide Over, you swipe in from the right edge of the screen to open a new column that takes up about one-third of the screen.


The iPad Air 2 with a Slide Over pane open

As with Split Screen, both apps are live at the same time.  This feature is really hand if you are working with data in the first two-thirds of the screen and you want to use the last third of the screen to go look something up.  When the Slide Over pane is visible, you will see a Notification Center style tab at the top of the screen. When you pull down on this tab, an app picker appears of the running apps that you can choose to snap in and replace the current app that is in the Slide Over pane.


The iPad Air 2 Slide Over open app selector
Slide Over is not a hardware exclusive feature tied to the iPad Air 2 and will also work on the iPad Air, iPad mini 2 and the iPad mini 3.

Lastly, you can double-click the Home button (or Touch ID button on the new iPad Air 2) to bring up the new iPad Task Switcher.  Unlike the card view used today, running applications are presented on a sort of digital carrousel.

The iPad Air 2 using the new Task Switcher
 While the new Task Switch looks new and refreshed, nothing that we saw in the demo showed any new features.

All the Reset of iOS 9

There's so much good stuff coming in iOS 9 it's hard to catalog it all in this single post.  Some of the more important goodies include:

- A new iOS 9 Low Power mode will extend battery life for up to three hours (estimated)

- iOS 9 will only require 1.4GB of free space needed to upgrade - iOS 8 required a whopping 4.6GB of free space to run the upgrade

- HomeKit gadgets can now be securely connected your iPhone over the Internet via iCloud.  Very very cool.

- Wireless CarPlay what a snoozer.  I'd just like to have CarPlay support in my 2015 Honda Accord  EX.  Oh well, maybe in three to four years when my current least is up Apple and Honda will have their collective acts together. (I'm so glad that Honda was a CarPlay launch partner.)

- Swift 2 has gone Open Source - now anyone can use it.  A standards compiler and support for iOS, OS X and Linux will be available later this year.  Notice that Windows is missing from that list.

The release schedule for iOS 9 is:

- Developers get a free preview starting right now.
- Public beta testers will get iOS 9 next month (July)
- iOS 9 general release will ship "this fall"

Lastly, iOS 9 will install and run on all of the current iOS hardware, which is: iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad mini, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and yes, even the iPod touch 5th generation.


watchOS 2 Update

It's hard to comprehend that Apple Watch and watchOS 1.0 have only been shipping for about six weeks now and already Apple is pushing forward with enhancements to existing features and native application support with watchOS 2.  (I'll have my Apple Watch review post up before watchOS 2 ships, I promise.)


Here are some thoughts on what's coming in watchOS 2 later this year.

- Seeing "watchOS" on a slide makes me immediately think of Palm's now defunct "webOS".  Old habits die really hard I guess.

- watchOS 2 will bring native apps to the platform.  These apps can run without an iPhone within range of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.


watchOS 2 will being new watch faces to the current list of watch face styles.  Photo Face and Photo Album Face are new watch faces that will allow you to pick a photo to use as your watch face or a Photos album to randomly display pictures from each time you activate the watch face.  Another cool animated watch face will be the new Time-Lapse face.  Apple will pre-build time lapsed "slideshows" of a select set of cities like London and New York that will animate when the watch face is on.

Apple also promised that in watchOS 2, software developers will be able to add their own "widgets" or "complications" to watch faces.  Complications are the little blocks of information on the wathc face like the date, upcoming apponintments, battery level and fitness tracking rings.

Lastly, while you are looking at the watch face, you can scroll the digital crown to see calendar events that happened earlier today or that will be coming up later in the day.

watchOS 2 also adds:

- Night Stand mode: when the Watch is charging and turned on it's side withwith the digital crown and button facing up the screen will work like an alarm clock.

- Email replies using Siri dictation

- Make and receive FaceTime audio calls directly on the Watch

- Siri voice command support for activating the Workout app - "Start a 30 minute run in the park."

- Siri voice command to display a specific glance on the Watch face

With watchOS 2, we are really going to see the flood gates open with regard to what developers can access on the Watch - native apps, new complications, system level access to microphone and speakers and the on board sensors - and all new apps to dream up and make available for use.

Lastly, as you might have already guessed, watchOS 2 will be a free upgrade coming "this fall."


On more thing... Apple Music



I appreciate that Apple is once again using "One more thing..." in their presentations.  It's a classic move that Steve Jobs would use to whip up the crowd into a frenzy before showing off one last software package, some new hardware or a new Apple service. 

Yesterday, Tim Cook returned to that familiar place to talk about Apple's upcoming Apple Music service and Beats 1 124/7 live radio station.  Naturally, Apple's fans when nuts.


Apple's Jimmie Iovine introduces the new Apple Music streaming service


Tim Cook kicks off the last segment of the WWDC keynote by introducing Apple Music and Jimmy Ivone to tell us about what Apple Music is all about.

Apple Music is a new streaming service, 24hr live radio and fans connecting with to artists
Apple describes Apple Music as:
- A new revolutionary music service
- 24/7 live radio service broadcast around the world
- A new way of connecting fans with artists

With Apple Music, you will have all of your music all in on place.  Your iTunes library meets the full iTunes Music library streamed to your iOS device, Mac, Windows PC and before the year's out, Google Android devices.

I have to say, when Iovine started talking about a "revolutionary new music service" I'm pretty sure I heard echos of Steve Jobs introducing the original iPhone back in 2007.  (You can watch Jobs introduce the iPhone below.)



Apple also made a short video featuring Trent Reznor, Artist/Apple Creative, to tell us about the new music service.

Next up, is Beats 1. a live global radio station with Zane Lowe and his team of real DJs working as hosts around the clock from New York, Los Angles and London.  To help introduce Beats 1, Apple played a short video featuring Zane Lowe talking about how Apple put together Beats 1.

All of the music recommendations and playlists from Apple Music and Beats 1 are curated by humans to deliver the best possible listening experience for whatever music you want to listen to.

And last, but not least, is @Connect, which allows artists to upload and share what they are doing directly to their fans.  To help understand how Connect brings fans and artists - big and small - together, Apple brought Drake out to talk about his experience with Connect.  Yet another win for diversity on the Apple stage.

The schedule for Apple Music, which includes Beats 1 and Connect is:

- Rolls out with iOS 8.4 on June 30, with new versions of iTunes for Mac and Windows PC.  Android support coming later this year.

- The first three months of Apple Music are free.  After that, it's just $9.99/month for an individual subscription.

- For family of up to six people, a sharing subscription is just $14.99/month and each person has their own library, playlists, recommendations, et el.

To close out the keynote presentation, Tim Cook invited The Weekend up on stance to perform a new single.  I'm sure it will be on the iTunes Music Store before long.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Apple Swaps Yosemite's discoveryd for Mavericks' mDNSResponder DNS Service

Lately, the Mac nerd community has really become fed up with the networking shenanigans around the new Domain Name Service (DNS) networking protocol, discoveryd.

discoveryd, plays a part in how your Mac can find other devices, like Apple TVs and Apple AirPort networking gear, on your home network, other Wi-Fi networks you might connect to and Internet websites among other things.  As to the trouble discoveryd has been causing, well, you should read Craig Hockenberry's blog post on it [strong language warning].  He's far more knowledgeable about what goes on inside your Mac than I am.

Some of you may know that I'm a member of the OS X Public Beta program (and for iOS also).  In the most recent OS X 10.10.4 developer and public beta (build 14E26a) Apple replaced the discoveryd DNS service with the mDNSResponder DNS service that was used in OS X Mavericks and earlier.

Here's a screen shot of my MacBook Pro running the previous beta build of OS 10.10.4:


As you can see, the discoveryd service is alive and talking to my home network.

After I installed OS X 10.10.4 Public Beta build 14E26a, you can see that mDNSResponder is back on the beat making sure OS X networking is obeying all the posted traffic signs.


Just for good measure, after installing the latest beta build, and as discussed in Hockenberry's blog post, I powered down both of my third generation Apple TVs and my Apple AirPort Extreme and Express, rebooted my cable modem, and then, one-by-one, turned everything back on in the following order:

Cable Modem, Apple AirPort Extreme, Apple AirPort Express, MacBook Pro, Apple TV 1 and then Apple TV 2.

Since then, I've seen a marked improvement in my home network's performance.  Hopefully, mDNSResponder will be sticking around on OS X for a while and makes it into the official general release version of OS X soon.