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Adam Engst Delves into Mavericks on the Tech Night Owl Live

On the Tech Night Owl Live podcast, Adam Engst joins host Gene Steinberg to work through a number of the problems in OS X 10.9 Mavericks, including issues with large external hard drives and Apple Mail. He also discusses the tenth anniversary of Take Control Books.favicon follow link


Comments about Adam Engst Delves into Mavericks on the Tech Night Owl Live
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I bought my first Mac in early 1984. The recent iOS 7 and Mavericks OS X upgrades are the two greatest steps backwards I have seen in a long time from Apple.

First, iOS 7: I'm older; a baby boomer. We have the money and we buy the products. We are the largest purchasers of Apple USA. So why mess with good, clear icons and intuitive processes? I "get" the small, clever improvements built in. But visually the iOS 7 is more difficult to read. The change was for change, not innovation and an improved user experience. Daily operation is more complicated.

Since upgrading to Mavericks on both my new MBP and 27 inch iMac I simply hang my head and ask, "Who is steering the boat?" I am an annual Tibits subscriber and have learned more about Mavericks reading the daily articles here than in any Apple support documentation...and that is the problem!

I used to be able to just intuitively "get" most of the operating systems and upgrades. Apple even used to include a manual which was seldom needed.

Is the iCloud cool! Absolutely. It is also the "glue" that holds much of the user experience together. It is a gigantic potential single point of failure despite the redundancies, BC, and DR built by the infrastructure team. If you can function without iCloud for a day, a week, or longer you are in good shape. If one or two days of iCloud disruption would cause you pain you may want to rethink dependency on this service and have a solid "Plan B" in place.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2013-11-19 08:00
I feel your pain - my baby boomer parents are in much the same boat. I think the technology industry has some significant competitive drivers in it that encourage this sort of rapid rate of change, often for what seems like no functional reason. What I haven't yet figured out is how to respond, since sticking with older versions of software is becoming increasingly difficult as basic functionality becomes integrated among devices and cloud services.
artMonster  2013-11-19 09:21
I feel much the same way; I'm old(er). But I suspect these changes are not just for change. The competitive pressure is there alright, but it is competition for the young. I think the shortcomings of IOS and Mavericks will be addressed, but to remain viable long term, these sorts of changes have to happen.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2013-11-19 09:29
It's entirely likely that change is necessary merely to see fresh to a younger audience, and I know Apple believes that some of the design changes are meant to be better as well (by focusing on content rather than controls), but I'd need to see some usability testing results before I'd believe that they're actually better, and not just different. I certainly don't feel as though iOS 7 in particular has made a difference in how I use the iPhone - it's just a different look.
Josh Centers  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2013-11-19 09:46
The more time goes by, the less I like the iOS 7 aesthetic. After a while, it gets pretty bland and samey.

But there are two things I love: Spotlight from any screen and Control Center. Both have changed how I use my iPhone for the better.
artMonster  2013-11-19 14:14
My two favorites as well. And as much as I might not want to admit it, Flashlight is killer.

Addendum: Just read two articles that really show the difficulty faced by software developers (including Apple).

On one side, Michael Lopp

On the other, Daniel Jalkut
Josh Centers  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2013-11-19 15:45
Oh yes, flashlight is awesome. My only wish is that you could activate it from Siri. Why you can't, I have no idea, since that would be a great feature to demonstrate in commercials.

I've been following the debate about Things. Frankly, I'm with Jalkut on this. It's productivity software. The entire point is that it does what you need and DOESN'T change much. It has to be trustworthy, which Lopp says it is, so I don't see what his problem is. It's one thing to say you're bored, it's another to call the software dead.

iOS, on the other hand, is the face of Apple's hardware, and the old design had gotten stale, thus making the devices look stale. I see why they made the change, but how rushed it was concerns me.
artMonster  2013-11-19 17:58
I was going to say I use Siri all the time to turn flashlight on and off, just to drive you crazy. But it isn't April 1st. Siri does say she can't do that, so she is aware of the limitation.