• apple,  developer,  gui

    Use Hidden Text Zoom Controls in Apple News on macOS

    Earlier today, I was skimming the space news in the Apple News app for macOS. Most of the time, I read Apple News on my iPhone 13 Pro Max.

    While reading a USA Today article about the James Web Space Telescope (JWST), I decided that the text was uncomfortably small, and I wanted to make the printer easier to read.

    But I couldn’t figure out how to do it. Unlike the iPhone version of Apple News, on macOS, the font control appeared to be missing.

    Let’s take a look at Apple News on iPhone.

    As you can see in the screen captures above, the iPhone version of Apple News has a prominent double A icon in the article header (on the left) that allows you to control the font size (on the right). Tap the larger capital A and the font gets larger. The smaller capital A decreases the font size.

    Now, let’s take a look at Apple News on macOS.

    Look at all that open space in the the window and toolbar controls region!

    The important thing to note here is that the macOS version of Apple News is essentially the same version of Apple News that runs on the iPad. This is due to a behind-the-scenes technology called Mac Catalyst. In short, Mac Catalyst apps are a quick way for developers to release their iPad OS apps for Macs that have either an Apple Silicon M1 or M2 CPU in them.

    Here’s the same article as it appears in Apple News on iPad.

    Looking at the controls region at the top of the screen, again, there is a lot of open space! Knowing that the iPad has the font control clearly visible in the article header makes the lack of a double A font control on the Mac even more frustrating. As an Apple One subscriber and Apple customer, I felt like I was doing something wrong.

    It took me an embarrassingly long time to find the answer: Use the Command and Plus or Minus keyboard shortcuts!

    Option 1: Use the keyboard

    To use keyboard zoom control shortcut, hold down the Command key (on either side of the space bar) and then press the Plus key or the Minus key on your keyboard to enlarge or shrink the print size.

    This keyboard shortcut has been around for a long time in macOS and Windows web browsers. When in the browser, this is a muscle memory reaction to make things readable. I use this shortcut on NYTimes.com all the time.

    Option 2: Use the Menu Bar

    If you have a hard time remembering keyboard shortcuts, there is an alternative – the View menu. It’s easy to forget about the macOS menu bar if you use iOS and iPadOS devices all the time. Outside of the Apple News app window, use the View > Zoom In or Zoom Out commands to increase or decrease the font size in the Mac Menu Bar all the way at the top of the Mac screen.

    If you want to revert back to the article’s default text size, you can either use the Command + Shift + 0 keyboard shortcut or the View > Actual Size menu command.

    In Conclusion

    I get it, application and OS platform maintenance is hard. Apple is trying to upgrade developer tools, manage macOS, iOS, and iPadOS on annual scheduled with new features, and, I hope, keep application feature parity. That’s supposed to be the whole point of Catalyst. Write one app and easily package it to run on iPad and the Mac. My small font control gripe shows how there are still holes in Apple’s plan. If Apple can’t, or won’t, keep application parity, how are customers supposed to stay on top of the differences between the same Apple application on different Apple platforms?

    And that is the real problem. Customers should never feel that they are doing it wrong.

  • developer

    Font Squirrel

    I was working on an website development project today and I need to track down a font.  I did a quick search and I found, as you might expect, many sites offering free fonts.  And that’s when I found Font Squirrel.

    From the Font Squirrel FAQ:


    As far as we know, yes. Please read the license on each font before you use them to be sure. And if you happen to find one that you think is not commercial, then please tell us. Also, some licenses may allow more uses than others. We have tried our best to mark fonts for different common uses. Read FAQ #8 below about embedding for more info.

    Check out Font Squirrel the next time you need a font for your project.

  • developer,  hp,  pre,  sprint,  web os

    Meta-Doctoring: Part 5 – Sign of Life Check [Updated x2]

    The installation of the meta-doctored webOS 2.1.0 install has completed!

    Now the hard part – making sure everything is still working!

    Update: All features and functions of webOS 2.1 appear to be working! Whoo-hoo!

    On the agenda for the post software load is to:

    1. See if I can log into one of my Palm profiles – Working!
    2. Verify that webOS is running as expected – Working!
    3. Connect to a Wi-Fi hot spot – Working!
    4. Verify developer mode is on or can be activated – Working! (webos20090606)
    5. Restore my Sprint PRL software – Working! (no update possible going forward)
    6. Install the latest build of Preware – Working!
    7. Apply some basic patches – Working!
    8. Apply software tweaks from the webos-internals.org webOS 2 upgrade wiki post – Working!
    9. Backup the Pre to my alternate Palm profile – Working!
    10. Access the HP App Catalog, install software – Working!
    11. GPS access – Working!

  • developer,  hp,  pre,  sprint,  web os

    Meta-Doctoring: Part 4 – Building the New Doctor File

    Continuing to play around with applying an unofficial version of webOS 2.1.0 to my Sprint Original Palm Pre smartphone, I’ve installed all the required tools to get the job done.

    I’ve also taken the precaution to backup my PRL software so I can continue to apply Sprint preferred roaming list updates once the upgrade to webOS 2.1.0 has completed.

    Now, I’m running the Unix command line tools on my Mac to download the webOS 2 doctor files, mash them all together, and churn out a new custom meta-doctored webOS doctor restore file.

    There is a lot of Unix “gook” scrolling across my Terminal window which, I have to admit, not being a Unix/Linux propeller head, I have no idea what it’s doing.  (I know my limits and I’m not a programmer nor am I a Unix geek.  I know just enough Unix and Linux to get myself in to serious trouble!)

    So, with Daft Punk’s Tron soundtrack thumping in the back ground, the lights down low, I’ll grab my eighth Diet Coke for this project, and get to installing the new webOS Doctor!

  • developer,  pre,  sprint,  web os

    Meta-Doctoring: Part 3 – Sprint PRL Backup

    In preparing to perform an unofficial webOS 2.1.0 upgrade on my Sprint Palm Pre, I have read that you need to backup your PRL software so I can restore it to my phone later on.  This is an important step because Sprint doesn’t offer webOS 2.1.0 for the Original Pre and you won’t be able to use properly update your PRL on a meta-doctored Sprint Pre if you fail to do this step first.

    What is PRL you ask?  Good question.  I don’t really know either.  PRL stands for Preferred Roaming List.  Is is a database that gets downloaded to a smartphone that uses CDMA radios just like the ones in Sprint and Verizon Pre/Pre+ phones.  The database has a list of network IDs that Sprint has network sharing contracts with to allow your phone to “roam” on other carrier’s network towers. (source)

    The good folks at webos-internals.org have a wiki page up on how to backup your PRL data before you go ahead and do the meta-doctor webOS 2.1.0 upgrade.

    Just an important note: You must use your own PRL data.  It is tied specifically to your phone!

  • developer,  hp,  pre,  sprint,  web os

    Meta-Doctoring: Part 2 [Updated]

    Last night I got the bright idea to “meta-doctor”my Sprint Palm Pre to run webOS 2.1.0.

    After spending hours researching, reading, re-reading, and lots of download, hard resetting, and rebooting…phew!…I think I’m ready to start on the process of “doctoring” a version of HP webOS 2.1.0 to run on my Palm Pre.

    Here is a little sample of what the process looks like so far:

    Unix commands being executed to install required software.

    Exciting, huh?


    The Meta-Doctor and GIT tools have been installed successfully!

  • developer,  hp,  pre,  sprint,  web os

    “Meta-Doctoring” My Original Sprint Pre

    Who am I to let a little thing like an OEM/wireless carrier spat get in the way of all of the fun an excitement of running webOS 2.x on my original Sprint Pre (some would refer to my webOS phone as the Sprint Pre Minus)?

    I don’t think so, either.  So with a new found bravery of software hacking my Pre smartphone (I also carry a company issued Motorola Droid Pro with me all the time), I’m researching all of the ninja-like things I’m going to have to do to mash up a Sprint Pre compatible version of webOS 2.1.0 together.

    Reading the webOS Internals official wiki on the subject reads like a splashy summer murder mystery thriller.  You need to grab an unofficial build of webOS 2 that isn’t customized for Sprint.  Then you need to download some tools that developers use to write software.  For extra fun, I’ll need to take a trip to the Unix command line of my Pre using something called “Novacomm”.

    At the end of the process, if all goes well, I’ll have a Sprint Pre running webOS 2.1.0 working with Sprint’s network.  Oh, some things like Sprint Navigation may no longer work, but I use Google Navigation on my Droid Pro for directions in the car now.  I may also lose the ability to receive Sprint Roaming Profile Lists (RPLs), but hey, that’s life in the fast lane for ya.

    Now, I’m not really a risk taker when it matters.  I plan on using a separate Palm Profile account, not my primary one until I have confirmed that I have a (mostly) stable install on my phone.  Once you upgrade to webOS 2.x, your webOS 1.x profile is converted and I don’t believe that there is a way to downgrade it once you’ve stepped up to webOS 2.  I’ve also backed up my USB partition to my Mac’s hard drive.  And lastly, if things go really wrong, it looks like I’ll be able to download the webOS Doctor file for the Sprint Pre and revert the phone back to an official webOS 1.4.5 build.

    Just call me “Greg House, MD” this weekend.

    (And yes, for my long time readers, the role of vicodin as seen in “House, M.D.” will be replaced by a constant stream of cold cans of Diet Coke.)

  • developer,  games,  ios,  iphone,  mac,  mac os x,  microsoft

    Xbox 360 Game Port Tool for iOS, OS X, Android, and the Web

    I just saw this over on Boy Genius Report and thoughts of playing Halo on my Mac (without Parallels) started dancing in my head.

    “Programmer Andrew Russell is working on a project that will undoubtedly pique the interest of game developers around the world. Dubbed ExEn, Russell’s open source software allows devs to port XNA games to iOS, Silverlight and in the near future, Android and OS X as well. In practical terms, this software gives developers a much easier way to take games they have built for Xbox 360, Windows or Windows Phone 7 using Microsoft’s XNA framework and port them to the iPhone or iPad, the Web (Silverlight), and soon to Android devices and Mac OS X!”

    [Via BGR.com…]