Apple releases new bugs in iOS 8.3, OS X 10.10.3 and iTunes 12.1.2 :)

Well…It has become routine now. New untested releases from Apple again. Anyway, we can safely assume that there will be new bugs and some old ones that will remain. The list of bugs “fixed” will continue to have some variations with every update besides “improving security, safety…” etc.

The fly...

Bugs can fly!

iOS 8.3 breaks touch id for some according to quite a few blogs on the net. So, you might want to gather more information on this one before updating iOS to see which devices are affected by this bug.

For me, OS X seems to have some display related issues where windows will not redraw on my iMac even though the application is running and visible.

The brain-dead Photos app found only 20 photos on my phone where there was actually a whole lot more. This was on a freshly created user account after upgrading to 10.10.3. Out of the 20 photos, it could not import 2 with a message saying there was some issue with the metadata. Well…It goes even further, only 2 photos out of the imported 18 were complete, the rest were incomplete images with half of the image missing. The scenario did not change after upgrading iOS to 8.3. From a usable iPhoto, we now have a bare-bones, brain-dead Photos app!

Given the somewhat longer list of bug fixes in all the released software, it shows what all bugs have been around for years and are included in every update as being “fixed”.

Although I have yet to figure out any improvements, I do see new bugs besides some of the older ones still hanging around. Still to use the new iTunes update…Let’s see what new bugs are in store there.

With the tasteless (bitter for some) Lollipop from Google and Windows all-over-the-place, Apple has no real need or urgency to improve or fix anything, excepting on paper.

BTW, the iPhone 5c is available for the same price as the iPhone 4s officially. Head over to Amazon India for the current pricing and availability. With some coupons or offers, it can be even cheaper and falls into the same price range as a mid-to-low range Android device.

Overall, I would say it’s okay to update since the updates do not seem to be any worse than the previous ones…So far!

VLC Playback Issues with WMV on Mac OS X?

I recently got some video files in the Windows WMV format and VLC on Mac OS X was not able to play these files. It’s not that VLC does not play any WMV format files, it just happens that the files I had, did not work.

Having tried Flip4Mac some time back and observed similar issues, I chose not to try it again, instead, look for some alternate solution.

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Public Beta of Yosemite is available now!

All those who signed up for the public beta can log in to the beta site and download OS X Yosemite now. The download is around 5.07 GB and seems to be newer than the earlier developer preview.

For people interested in checking out and participating in the public beta of Mac OS X Yosemite, you can sign up for it on the OS X Beta Program Site.

Only the first one million sign ups will be accepted. So, hurry up if interested!

Extract files from ISO images from a command line script on Mac OS X

I recently ran into a situation where I needed to extract files from ISO images in bulk. Unlike Windows where one has so many popular and free applications for this task, I just made up a multi-line process for the same on OS X.

I used the hdiutil to mount and unmount the ISO file and a simple cp to extract files as follows…

for m in *.iso
	if [ "$m" = "*.iso" ]; then
		echo -e "\nFound $m"
		dd=`hdiutil attach "$m" | cut -f3`
		echo -e "\nFound ${m%%.*} - $dd"
		cp -a "$dd"/ .
		if [ $? -ne 0 ]; then
			exit 10
			hdiutil detach "$dd"
			rm -rf "$m"

Just in case…this is a bash script snippet. The actual script is longer and does some more work, but, this should give a fair idea as to how one can automate the extraction of files from ISO images.

Apple iOS 7, iTunes, iPhone 5x and OS X

As already mentioned in an earlier post, I believe that Apple has lost it. The design, the innovation, the ease of use, the relatively stable software…it’s all been thrown out of the door. Jobs put Apple light years ahead of the competition with the iPod and then the iPhone. Apple continues to make money because of this legacy, despite the current state of affairs.

Let’s take iOS 7 to begin with. The radical re-design is more like a kiddy project with garish colours and the overall UI being harsh and the UX almost completely destroyed. The maps disaster remains intact, the UI/UX almost completely destroyed, the ease of use and the visual clues gone. The release contains security bugs as before. The interesting part about the “maps” is that Apple continues to use Google Maps on the web site for “Find my iPhone” rather than it’s own, so called, non-existent, Apple maps. This, itself, shows the complete disconnect in Apple today.

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Apple iOS 7 – The “maps” disaster continues…

After a year of the iOS 6 maps disaster, Apple worked really hard and managed to map out Paris as well! Now, you have another city where everyone should be living in since Apple managed to map it out…or…so they claim.

When you also consider the fact that the current iOS 7 beta is available for the iPhone only, one has to wonder what Apple has been up-to with iOS 7 after the iOS 6 disaster. BTW, for those who are trying the Apple dev centre site, nope, it does not work and is down.

Although, iOS 7 does seem to have some of my wish list, it does not seem to have the buttonless experience that people would still want to jailbreak for. Consider the fact that any half decent Android phone has touch buttons compared to the most expensive iPhone which still requires the use of a regular (read lame) tactile button.

The Apple “maps” disaster continues! Effectively, all location based apps will still remain useless excepting the two cities mapped out by Apple in 2 years, one in the US and now one in France. Notice the fact that even in the iOS 7 Paris demo, at no point did the “maps” move beyond the known Apple mapped points.

Excepting for the maps disaster that continues, and extends to the new OS X, the rest of iOS seems to be on track…just a year or more late. Wonder who gets fired this time around for continuing the “maps” disaster!

The new OS X, like earlier versions, retains the old 17th century UI although some UX improvements seem to be there. While the announcement of iBooks on OS X etc might seem exciting, it should have been there at least a year or more ago.

The new MacBook Air with all day battery life seemed a good step forward for the line, but, it was somewhat overshadowed by the new MacPro preview. The new MacPro seemed to be impressive in the preview. Let’s see how it performs when it is actually released.

Overall, it was a mixed bag of announcements. While the “maps” disaster continues and extends itself to the desktop, the rest of iOS 7 seems to be on track. The new OS X is just an incremental change in UI although the UX seems to have improved, but, it’s not what one would call a major update. There are simply too many issues with OS X that need to be fixed before it can be called a major update from a user viewpoint. The hardware that was announced, as usual, was way beyond the current software capabilities of Apple.

Let’s wait and see what happens when iOS 7 and the new OS X are formally released. Will the Apple “maps” disaster remain? Will the new OS X actually fix at least some of the long standing OS issues? Will iOS 7 actually includes a buttonless experience? Will the iPad 3G version of iOS 7 have SMS capabilities? Will Apple continue to artificially limit features on older devices?

We are still around 3 months away from the final answers…

Howto: Shift the location of the iTunes default library path

Quite a few people, specially those using the SSD based MacBook Air, run out of space very fast with the iTunes library. The iTunes library of music, movies and apps can get extremely large over time.

I recently ran out of space on my iMac with my kids accounts going over 30 GB a piece on the primary drive. This happened within a months time. Although I have plenty of external storage and a secondary partition, the primary partition under OS X needs to have around 5-10 GB of free space for optimal performance.

The solution to moving the iTunes library is actually very simple.

First, copy the “/Users/username/Music/iTunes” directory to any other partition or external drive. You can use the finder, go into the “Music” folder and copy the “iTunes” folder there to where ever else you have space.

Next, delete the “iTunes” directory in the user/home so you will free up all the space it was occupying.

Finally, click on the iTunes application icon while pressing down and holding the ALT/OPTION key. When you start iTunes with the Alt/Option key, it will start up with a prompt for the iTunes library location. Select the location you copied the “iTunes” folder to and then select the iTunes library file within that “iTunes” folder.

That’s it. Done!

All future downloads/updates will now go into the new location. There are a couple of caveats to watch out for…

  1. You might have to drag-n-drop your apps from the new location onto the iTunes apps folder under some conditions. It happened to me on one account, and I did not investigate the reason for it.
  2. If you moved the iTunes library to an external drive/location, then, you have to make sure that the location is ready and available before starting iTunes. For example, if you move the library to a Time Capsule, click on it to wake it up and make sure it is accessible before you start iTunes.

Although the second issue can be a pain at times, the work-around is simple. In case you forget to wake the external storage, just quit iTunes, make the storage available, then start iTunes again.

BTW, my own iTunes library is over the 400 GB mark…just for iDevice apps. Of course, it includes a lot of good and some free deals over a few years. I will outline how to get good deals on apps in another post a bit later.

Updated to iTunes 11.0.3? Here is what the “buggy” update gets!

The all new iTunes update with all the bug fixes and updates comes with all new bugs.

The first one is that it seems to have major issues accessing the store across different accounts. A common message that you would see on just running iTunes is like:

Screen Shot 2013-05-18 at 2.02.07 AM

Personally, I have never seen this error message ever in the past. If this is not enough, when I tried to sync and update my iDevices, I had to re-authorise the computer. Interestingly, it also decremented my authorisation count.

Of course there is the usual confusing UI change as well. All of a sudden I cannot check for updates under the “Apps” sidebar, we now have a brand new “updates” tab under it for the same purpose. Also, if you have a 17+ rated app in your update list, iTunes will stop at that update and force you to click on “update all” to continue to add the other updates to the downloads.

There are a lot many other issues with iTunes and OS X which I will cover later…once I have checked out this new iTunes update a bit more.

Once again, like the iOS and OS X updates, yet another improperly tested update slips through Apple for release.