Tag Archives: update

How To Train Your #Apple 2.0

It's hard to believe I worked on this graphic all my myself.

It’s hard to believe I worked on this graphic all by myself.

Tim Cook struts out on stage. Music plays. He holds up a device which has 99.9% of the same DNA as a device you already own.

You update that device to the las test and greatest operating system which is essentially the same except it provides more ways for money to flee your wallet and join up with the mothership wad of cash at Apple.

That update makes your device no longer worky.

What does Apple call a person who updates their software on the same day a new version is released? An unpaid beta tester.

Now I ride in like the Lone Ranger 2.0 to save the day. Here’s how to survive an iOS update.

First, take a deep breath. The principle of patience must come into play. Life is short but if you update too quickly it’ll be even shorter.

wonka-apple

So you wait. At least one day.

For the one reader who has stuck with me until now, what then?

Go to Twitter and figure out the hashtag for the update. For example, this week it was #IOS81. Click on that hashtag. Read up.

What’s the general consensus? What’s the mood? If you see a lot of statements like, “Thanks a lot, Apple, now my iPad is a brick,” waiting might feel just a little easier.

Repeated this procedure when they release the incremental in the next two hours. Did they just throw fuel on the fire?

Avoid zero day released and the first incremental or two. By the point three it just might be time to start taking it seriously. Are batteries lasting longer again? Does wifi actually work?

During the wait time you’ll feel very along. You’ll feel abandoned. There will be no official word from Apple. They won’t be on the forums. They won’t send you an email. They won’t reach out with a tweet. So you’ll sit and wait. I recommend during this period of time that you invest in a bottle of Templeton Prohibition Era Recipe Rye.

After several months of waiting it’ll be congratulations. Your long term strategy has paid off. You’ll be the proud owner of a working device. Just in time to watch the next Tim Cook floor show, too.

Killer of soccer referee gets three years

On Saturdays this space normally features a WordPress reblog but I wasn’t able to find a post regarding a story from earlier this year that deeply affected me. I’m posting an update regarding this story instead.

Earlier this year there was a very disturbing story involving a 17-year-old youth playing in a recreational soccer league that was intended to give suburban kids a chance.

While playing the goalie position, the unnamed youth reportedly pushed a player attempting a corner kick. After justifiably drawing a yellow card the youth protested the call and shouted at the volunteer referee who had made the call.

As the yellow card was being written, the youth suckerpunched the referee, Ricardo Portillo, 46, in the side of the head. By the time police arrived Portillo was curled on the ground in a fetal position and complaining of nausea and back pain. The referee was rushed to a hospital and slipped into a coma later that evening. Within two days Portillo was dead from brain swelling and injuries resulting from the punch.

On Aug. 5, 2013, the youth plead guilty as part of deal reached with prosecutors. The deal prevented the youth from being tried as an adult, only about three months before his 18th birthday. Under the deal the youth will serve a maximum of just over three years in a juvenile prison, although a juvenile parole board could decide to release the youth earlier.

The juvenile court judge also ordered the youth to maintain a picture of the victim in his cell and write a letter to the man’s daughters every week to remind him of the pain he caused the man’s family.

Again, that’s three years in a juvenile prison for a guilty plea on a charge of “homicide by assault.” Sad.

Abyss Island: Taking Inventory

treat-trayThere are pros and cons to everything, I guess. On one hand I’m stranded alone, a forgotten castaway, forced to live on nothing but beans and rice. On the other hand, there is reduced competition for my parking spot. (meekly) Yeah, me.

So here we are. Day 36. Only three more days to go. Rather than wasting my time doing tai chi on the beach, I thought I’d take a few minutes out of my busy schedule to catch you up on the comings and goings of the indigenous peoples on Abyss Island.

Joy for you. Yet another post where I talk about myself. Who said this blog doesn’t have a theme? It’s me! Me, me, me and an extra serving of me! And me for dessert with sprinkles on top.

That’s just sick, really.

Let’s approach cautiously lest we startle the beast.

Last we heard our intrepid Survivor had won a reward challenge…
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Apple gets Cook’d

Holy shit. White is thin.

This week there was an Apple “launch event” with new CEO Tim Cook at the helm. Weather conditions were perfect and the launch went off without a hitch. The iPhone 4S is now safely in orbit at 347 miles above the surface of the Earth and traveling at a speed of 25,000 feet per second.

The iPhone must already be running HangTime, the best iPhone app ever made. Bar none.

Commander Tim Cook went solo on this mission and the world was ready to eviscerate his bowels based on the fact (not speculation) that he isn’t Steve Jobs.

So, aside from his product safely achieving low Earth orbit – how did it go?
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Secrets of the website update

Website Finger HoldAs the keeper of a company website, you often have a tough row to hoe. Instructions to perform revisions can be, shall we say, ambiguous.

“Add the SKU to the product title.”

Okay. Where do you want that? Before the title? After? Somewhere in the middle? Sure, you could have mentioned it or even provided the pertinent text to be revised, but that would be too easy, right? By making me guess what you want, you guarantee two things: I’ll be wrong and the task will have to be done at least twice.

You’re very clever that way.

So I put the SKU where I think it makes sense. You then tell me it’s wrong and make me move it. Thus, you have demonstrated your power and that you’re the only one for miles around that can make real decisions.

“Make the product sound more exciting.”

Ah, the quintessential request to get me to write your copy for you, even though you know damn well I don’t do copy. Why don’t I do copy? Because it never works out. Nothing I can produce will ever be up to your exacting standards. Just yesterday I lived through this and it only pertained to a single sentence. Not even a sentence, really. Just a bit of text preceding an input field. Luckily you were there to direct me at the level of editing a single character at a time. Who knew that you don’t need a space between a word and a beginning parentheses. “I like that,” you say. “Welcome to amateur hour,” I say.

“Insert these phrases into the hype on the product page.”

That’s pretty damn open-ended. At first I thought the phrases were bullet points, and those are easy enough to insert, although I’ll do it wrong and then there will be an editing phase where, one cycle at a time, we play with the friggin’ order of the bullet points. Somehow, though, I knew these weren’t bullet points. So I wrote back and asked for clarification. “Please provide insert points. Provide context for where the new content is supposed to go.”

Next thing I know, the page was edited without me. And no courtesy of a reply. They cut me out. And there it sits as an open item on my list of things to do. Even worse, their update included shitloads of <FONT> tags, the scourge of real HTML.

Thanks for, once again, wasting my frickin’ time. You know, the time you want me to “prioritize” and keep time sheets because I’m too stupid to manage my day.

The Anatomy of a Recent Update

I was recently tasked to add a new product to an existing page that already contained a shitload of products. (Yeah, that one product per page thing is for the birds.) We want our products carefully arranged on pages taller than the World Trade Center.

My instructions included a new SKU, a link to a product photo, a source product, and the bullet points that were different. In other words, I copy that source product, add a new section to the page, and edit what’s different to make the new product.

Piece of cake.

I was told that the new product was to be labeled “coming soon” but that the add to cart button should be active. (Which means it can be ordered.)

I completed the work and informed my boss. Like always, I included a link so he could review and make sure things were correct. I took the extra step of verbally advising the boss that since price wasn’t included in my instructions, the price for the new product was the same as the price for the old product. “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” he said dismissively, as if I was a fly trying to land on his steak tartare.

A few weeks later and a customer orders the product. Oh holy shit! We got problems! First of all, the price is “wrong.” It’s supposed to be $200 higher! (No wonder it sold fast, eh?) And how the hell the was the customer able to buy this at all?

Outcome: More redo of work already done because of a lack of instructions and, I have this in writing, I’m the one who was “wrong.”

The boss and I chatted about ambiguous instructions recently. His point was that if he has to explain what he wants to the level I can understand what he wants, then he might as well do the work himself. This is the same boss who admits he’s never had a single hour of manager training. In my training, things like communicating the task, setting expectations, and checking for understanding were all heavily stressed.

As I listened to the boss explaining his philosophy, all I could think was: Where is the leadership? Where is the inspiration? How are you encouraging me to do my best?

Do you ever meet people who are so dumb that they actually think they are smart? They don’t usually understand that they are the missing link in the room. And yet, more often than not, these are the assholes in power who get to tell you what to do. I call them “bosses.”

Frankly I’m amazed our company can even exist.

Macrocost on zero day

Still running Windows XP like me on my home computer? Read on and enjoy:

We’ve all heard about computer exploits and security dangers. Recently announced was a good one. It affects Microsoft Windows (of course) and get this: multiple versions of Windows including the shiny new Windows 7 and all versions back to Windows XP.

The exploit can run malicious code on your computer, and that’s not a good thing.

Microsoft previously announced that it has ended support for Windows XP SP2 so that means Microsoft won’t be issuing a security patch for you folks. Too bad, so sad.

For those with more recent operating systems, yes, Microsoft is willing to help you out. They’ll be releasing a patch in an upcoming Windows update.

The flaw is apparently pretty serious. One article says that experts are predicting “extensive attacks.”

Running “modern” browsers (like those more recent than Internet Explorer 6) is said to make you “relatively safe.” You should only be using Internet Explorer 8, Firefox or Chrome. (Firefox is by far my personal favorite.) For safety I currently exclusive run Firefox 3.6.6, keep it fully updated, and also run the add-on NoScript which protects me on a case-by-case basis from malicious JavaScript. NoScript works by blocking JavaScript except on sites that you trust.

If you’re curious about the term “zero day,” like I was, this is what I found out: A zero-day exploit is one that exists and is known and/or used my malicious hackers prior to the software developer being aware of the flaw. Once again Microsoft is caught with their pants down.

WordPress outage caused by a single character

Last week WordPress had a little bit of downtime. It wasn’t quite as bad as The Great WordPress Outage of 2010. That time WordPress was affected for about three hours. This time it was only about two hours.

The last outage was blamed on the ever-popular excuse of “data centers.”

This time, however, the interesting thing is, just like the Venus Mariner that had to be destroyed shortly after launch, WordPress says the problem was caused by a “single character out-of-place” in some updated code. (My emphasis added.)

Oh the joys of programming. 🙂