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NC #755 Apple OS Releases, iDevices, Home Inventory, Floating Keyboard on iPad mini, Parallels Interview

This week we’ll talk a bit about how hard the new OS releases from Apple have been on developers, including a Chit Chat Across the Pond all about it. Ryan Winkler makes his debut on the NosillaCast with a review of the iDevices Switch. I’ll tell you about one of my favorite applications, Home Inventory from Binary Formations. I don’t know why it took me nearly a decade to tell you about it! Then I’ll tell you how I may have found a fun way to type on iPad mini. I’ve got an audio interview with Kurt Schmucker from Parallels that I recorded while at MacTech. It’s a great conversation about Parallels Desktop, Parallels Toolbox, and even about Office 365 and Windows.

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Hi, this is Allison Sheridan of the NosillaCast Apple Podcast, hosted at Podfeet.com, a technology geek podcast with an EVER so slight Apple bias. Today is Sunday, October 27, 2019, and this is show number 755.

Chit Chat Across the Pond

There’s been a lot of talk online about how the latest operating systems from Apple have been a very bumpy road at launch as compared to previous operating systems. iOS 13 having 4 (or was it 5?) updates in two or three weeks is certainly a sign that things did not go well for iOS. I think iPad OS 13 was more afflicted than iOS 13, but they both had their challenges.

The chatter from those in the beta programs was that macOS Catalina had a lot of problems and people gave warnings not to jump into the beta unless you really knew why you wanted to and could dedicate a non-mission critical device to the experiment.

When Apple suddenly dumped Catalina on users on October 10th, it seemed like a reckless move to me. They promised “October” during WWDC, which means they had 20 more days to work on it without looking bad for being late. I mentioned this on a social media platform where a friend of mine responded with, “If I was a developer, I would have been working on my code all summer.” From what I had heard, that wouldn’t have helped the developers at all. I ran this statement by one of my favorite developers and got their permission to anonymously share their response to the statement.

If I’d heard your friend say that last month, I’d probably have burst a major artery, and it would have been lashing around like a fire hose until someone got it under control.

Summers are always tough (I’ve learned to keep Jun to Oct free), but this one was overwhelming. It was more iOS 13 and iPadOS than Catalina for me. As you know, Apple bit off way more than anyone could chew, including themselves.

I’m pretty sure the updates I did to my apps are the largest “dot” updates I’ve ever done, and quite a bit of that work was just to stand still. And when either iOS 13.1.1 or 13.1.2 came out (neither of which they beta tested) a few more things broke that were working in 13.1 and 13.0. It was like one of those horror movies where the monster you thought you’d stabbed in the heart roars back to life.

I hope the worst is over now, but considering all the stuff they promised and failed to deliver, and now plan to dribble out over the next few months (esp. the iCloud stuff), who knows!

This gives us a little peek behind the curtain about how hard this was for developers this year and why as users were paying the price.

The discussion on social media I was having with my friend caught the attention of Ray Robertson. You may remember him as an AppleScript guru that I met when Steve and I took his class at the ⌘-D conference. After the show, I had him and Sal Saghoian on Chit Chat to talk about automation.

Ray asked if he could come on Chit Chat to try to explain why things have gotten so bad for development on Apple operating systems, from a developers point of view. This week’s Chit Chat Lite is that discussion. I want you to pay attention to one really important thing he pointed out (amongst many interesting things). He reminded us that Apple is now allowing users to be in a public beta of the operating systems, and the development environment itself is in beta.

That means the developer has their app in beta, the development environment in beta, the operating system in beta AND users in there poking at things and telling them about problems and expecting things to be fixed. I can’t imagine what a nightmare that must be with so many moving and volatile parts to the puzzle, and having the users looking over your shoulder the entire time.

I hope I haven’t given away too much of the discussion by pointing that out to you, and that you’ll listen to Chit Chat Across the Pond Lite or Chit Chat Across the Pond in your podcatcher of choice, or listen right over at podfeet.com/….

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iDevices Switch by Ryan Winkler

I am super excited about a new reviewer for the NosillaCast. You may know him as DopeyOne in the chat room for the live show, but his real name is Ryan Winkler. I love this review because he did it in a way no one else has ever done. He sent me a link to a video that he created as the review. Now that’s not that unusual but let me elaborate on what makes it unique.

He’s reviewing a new home automation device in the audio, and while he talks he’s got a video that slows down and speeds up showing different things. For example, in one part he talks about the manual. In the video he flips through the manual at about 3X speed, and then slows down when he gets to a circuitry-related picture, and then speeds up again. Some of it is essentially still photos while he’s chatting about different features. It’s hard to articulate why this is different and why I like it so much so I really encourage you to follow the link in the show notes to see the video.

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Now that you’ve heard his review of the iDevices switch, I want to throw in my two cents on the same switch. Steve and I got two of these switches, where both of them provide the same desired functionality to our lights. The problem we wanted to solve was that we have external lights: carriage lights on either side of the garage and a front entryway light. Steve wanted them to come on at dusk and turn off in the morning.

For years he used an old-fashioned timer with an analog dial and that worked ok, but every time the time changed, or the season changed, he had to reprogram it. The iDevices switch can be set up through HomeKit to be automated for dusk and dawn. The other thing the iDevices switch needed to do was to allow him to actually just turn off the lights. This is useful for Christmas time when we have up our holiday lights and the external lighting just doesn’t help with the holiday spirit.

I can definitely endorse the iDevices switches as one of the least problematic of our Home Automation devices, once we got them set up. The trickiest part is getting to the HomeKit code. It’s hidden in a weird little pop out/up thing that’s microscopic. Took Steve and me both studying it for over an hour to find the little code. Of course the code was printed on the inside of the switch too, but that part was embedded in the wall by the time you need it.

Thank you so much, Ryan (or shall I call you DopeyOne) this was awesome and I hope you and your fantastic voice do more reviews. And of course I’ve included an affiliate link in the show notes to the iDevices Switch on Amazon.

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Parallels – Audio Only

While at MacTech, I had the opportunity to interview two vendors, one of which was Kurt Schmucker from Parallels. We talked about the newest version of their Parallels Desktop but also one of my favorite menubar apps, Parallels Toolbox. Learn about Parallels Toolbox for Windows and how Office runs 80% faster under the new Parallels Desktop. He blows me away when he talks about running Windows under Parallels Desktop on a Mac, turning on Sidecar in macOS Catalina and move Windows to the iPad in full screen. Crazy pants! He also sings the virtues of creating a VM of Mojave to run your 32-bit apps while you move on to macOS Catalina.

Update on our discussion of licensing

During the conversation, Kurt mentioned that with an Office 365 subscription you can share it with 5 devices, and he included Macs, PCs, and mobile devices. I argued with him and said I didn’t think the mobile devices counted agains that 5 devices. In my argument, I also said I was probably lying.

I did some research and the licensing has changed since I last checked and I think it’s actually better. Now it IS 5 devices including mobile as Kurt said, but you can share the license with 4 other family members. Each member gets 5 devices now, and I know that used to be 5 total for a shared Office 365 membership.

If you’d like to read the details, I’ve included a link to the Microsoft Office Support document about licensing.

That’s going to wind this up for this week. Don’t forget to send in your Dumb Questions, comments and suggestions by emailing me at allison@podfeet.com, follow me on twitter @podfeet.  Remember, everything good starts with podfeet.com/. podfeet.com/patreon, podfeet.com/facebook, podfeet.com/slack!  And if you want to join in the fun of the live show, head on over to podfeet.com/live on Sunday nights at 5pm Pacific Time and join the friendly and enthusiastic NosillaCastaways.   Thanks for listening, and stay subscribed.

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