Quick Rant: Why Can’t the New Apple Refurb Store Show Specs?

OK, so maybe it’s telling that I noticed this, but recently Apple changed the way it presents items in the “refurbished/clearance” section of its store. (Maybe I know this because maybe I’m an obsessive tech shopper and maybe I check it multiple times per week. Don’t judge.)

Unfortunately, as is happening just a little too often with Apple these days, the changes mean the page in now prettier, and less functional.

Now, on some level I can see why Apple decided to redesign that part of the store. Here it is from the Wayback machine (h/t 9to5Mac by way of

Screen Shot 2018-12-06 at 10.24.14 PM

So, yeah, sure, probably due for a redesign.

Continue reading “Quick Rant: Why Can’t the New Apple Refurb Store Show Specs?”

Google Pixel Taking a Run at iPhone Users?

phone_hero-module_hero-image_1440_2xGoogle announced Google Pixel phones this week, focusing on how they incorporate Google Assistant seamlessly into the software and harping a lot on the quality of the camera, Google Duo (for Facetime/Skype-style calls) and the DayDream View VR headset.

So what’s the pitch on the Google Pixel? Is this interesting for Mac/iOS folks?

At first glance (and second and third) it’s amazing the similarities to the iPhone, including not just the look of the device, but the features Google is touting and even how it’s marketing the Pixel.

It seems to me that Google is taking control of the hardware and software experience with Android in a way that it never has, and the “feel” of that branding experience is very Apple-like. The rollout even focuses on how easy it is to switch to Pixel—something Apple has focused on for years.

(I noticed that, scrolling the Pixel’s page, there isn’t a cute little Android icon anywhere. The word “Android” shows up twice in the text and twice in footnotes. In other words, they’re burying “Android” in place of “Google.”)

The more I look at this, the more it looks like a play directly for Apple users—especially those of us who use a lot of Google products and could imagine being comfortable in that eco-system.

For those of us who are Gmail/Google Map/Google Calendar/Google Apps users… the thought becomes: ‘Maybe I’d be better off with a Google phone.’

(Check out this podcast discussion I had with Brian about the Pixel, another iPhone user.)

For some Apple users, it’s the chaos of the Android ecosystem that keeps us away from the lower-priced and sometimes better-equipped phones.

If Google can overcome that, they may have some switchers on their hands.

My Thoughts on Apple Watch

s1-42-alu-space-sport-black-gridA little after Christmas I started to see deals from Best Buy proclaiming $100 off the Apple Watch; in its earliest moments I’d written the watch off as too expensive for what I figured it would do for me.

Plus, I’d gotten to where I wasn’t wearing watches anymore, particularly since I spend so much time typing on a MacBook Air… with most watches end up taking off my watch for most of the day to keep from scratching the wrist rest.

But, given the discount, my obsessive-compulsive shopping sickness kicked in and a started watching the Best Buy site. Did I want all-black (er, “Space Gray”) or the white band with the silver face? I was determined to stick with the cheapest options—$249 for the basic watch with the aluminum case. (Stainless steel was attractive, but I shunned it.) I decided I’d go with the 38mm face because, I told myself, it’s not like the point is to show it off. I just want to see how it works for me.

When I finally pulled the trigger, I went for a refurbished space gray that dropped the price even further to around $225. I ordered it online and drove about 10 miles to Best Buy to collect it.

A comedy of errors ensued.

Continue reading “My Thoughts on Apple Watch”

Scamming Web Designers?

I got this via the JFP’s contact form today:

I’m XXXX,I am an hearing impaired,I would love to know if you can handle website design for a new company and also if you do you accept credit cards ?? kindly get back to me ASAP via my e-mail( so i can send you the job details.

And thought to myself… well, I guess it’d be rude not to write back, even though this sounds scam-y. But then I googled that whole paragraph and came upon this:

The money quote from iHenix:

Seriously? She wants me to charge her credit card and then send money to someone else? Plus I receive a $200 tip? I hate to use an old cliche but if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. 

So, just a heads up (and to drop this into Google in case others are searching and need additional confirmation) caveat designer.

Mac Tools I Love: GraphicConverter

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 4.24.28 PM

Recently I’ve come across a few Mac folks (creatives, designer types) who surprised me by not being aware of GraphicConverter, which is my go-to application for most anything, well, graphic-y.

I’m not much of a PhotoShop maven; if you’re knee deep in Adobe products, then GraphicConverter might not be super-relevant to you. But for the rest of us, GraphicConverter is a very convenient way to translate images between formats, change image sizes, add background colors—even create illustrations, Web ads and other items from scratch.

Continue reading “Mac Tools I Love: GraphicConverter”

Importing Apple Notes into EverNote

I had forgotten how awesome AppleScript can be until I Googled how to make this happen.


I ran across a brilliant post of an AppleScript script that will import your Apple Notes into EverNote – here’s the original post:

And here’s the script – just cut and paste this into the Apple Script Editor application:


tellapplication “Notes”

set theMessages toeverynote

repeatwith thisMessage in theMessages

set myTitle tothe name of thisMessage

set myText tothe body of thisMessage

set myCreateDate tothe creation date of thisMessage

set myModDate tothe modification date of thisMessage

tellapplication “Evernote”

set myNote tocreate note with text myTitle title myTitle notebook “Imported Notes” tags [“imported_from_notes”, “Mavericks”, “Another_Example_Tag”]

setthe HTML content of myNote to myText

setthe creation date of myNote to myCreateDate

setthe modification date of myNote to myCreateDate





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My TiVo Roamio Experience with Comcast, Macs and iOS

courtesy TiVo
photo courtesy TiVo
  • Category: Hardware
  • URL:
  • Company: TiVo
  • Price: $199 TiVo Roamio + $19.99 month ($14.99 with 1-year commitment)

I keep thinking I’m a cord-cutter… and then comes football season.

Sometimes I feel like the Colin Firth/Jimmy Fallon’s character in Fever Pitch, because all throughout the winter and spring months I’m free to do anything I want on the weekends — work out, take long drives with Ms. D., visit the Farmer’s Market… and cut my cable back to those 13 super-basic channels (like no-tell motel cable) and then happily scrimp by with my Roku, Apple TV and some reasonably high-speed broadband. (I don’t know that I actually need both the Roku and Apple TV anymore, but I’ve maintained the habit of switching to the other when one “misbehaves.”)

But then here comes August — and the College Football headlines… and NFL preseason — and I tell myself I can handle it.

Nothing to worry about; I’m not even paying THAT much attention to the games. Look… I’m talking to people amicable during a pre-season Saints game.

And then, about a week before the season starts, I’m suddenly sitting on the phone and online chats for the better part of a day trying like hell to get the SEC Channel to turn on by 7:00 p.m. that evening.

By the next weekend, I’m installing a CableCard in a new (to me) TiVo Roamio so it could substitute for my cable box and spending another full Saturday afternoon calling hotline after hotline trying to get all my channels to show up on the damn thing…

And then on Sunday… I’m jumping up and down, poking my television, cussing like a drunk sailor and wonder WHAT IN THE $%&@ IS THAT REF THINKING?!…

But I digress. First things first… why did I go TiVo?

Continue reading “My TiVo Roamio Experience with Comcast, Macs and iOS”

Varsavsky: iPhone 6 vs any Android

iPhone 6 vs any Android

Interesting piece on LinkedIn: iPhone 6 vs any Android.

In it, the CEO of Fon (a global network of WiFi hotspots) talks about how he’s used Androids and iPhones side-by-side for a number of years, with the Androids generally winning out. Now, after his first experience with the iPhone 6, he says he believes he’ll be using the iPhone more than ever before.

Well I am here to report that my new iPhone 6 is the first phone since Android became competitive that beats any Android I now have. And currently I have anHTC M8, an S5, a Moto G, and a OnePlus One which is a very special yet buggy high end Android phone. Yes I am still hesitant about the non replaceable battery in the iPhone 6, I will have to test it will, see if I can last all day. But the iPhone 6 at 4.7in is the perfect size, it is incredibly beautiful, thin and light, it abandoned the “we are better keyboard dogma” and got SwiftKey, it allowed WiFi profiles that are almost as good as WiFi apps for Fon, it came with 128GB of memory so I can get a large supply of Spotify extreme quality songs and all the games for the kids they want.

Appleinsider… Video Shows iPhone 6 Plus Bending Issue

iPhone 6 Plus bending issue

via Video demonstrates reported iPhone 6 Plus bending issues.

AppleInsider reports on the continuing saga of the iPhone 6 Plus bending issue… while some seem to be downplaying this as “expected” due to the Plus’ size and thinness, I’ve got to say I wouldn’t “expect” this out of an Apple product. (Whether it’s an outlier remains to be seen.)

Yes, we know any mobile phone (particularly iPhones) can break when dropped or — as I once did — dropped and then ground up in a treadmill.

And, yes, this is certainly an opportunity for case manufacturers to offer a structurally reinforcing case for the Plus.

But I think it’s a bit of a whiff for Apple to let the product release without some testing to figure out that fairly straightforward use of the device could result in it being rendered ugly-to-useless, something you’d assume they’d be against.

We’ll see what the reaction is from Apple and how common this turns out to be…

UPDATE: In case you missed it, Apple has responded to #bendgate, saying that they test the devices extensively and have had only 9 reports of bent phones. They recommend that people contact the Genius Bar or AppleCare customer support for repair or replacement if there’s a manufacturing defect. (And, on a personal note, I got up close to an iPhone 6 Plus in an official Apple case this past week and it looks both structurally sound and a bit rugged and protected in that case, so I’m guessing the bending will probably be a non-issue for most users.)