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#1502: Enable Mac startup sounds, iPhone emergency contacts, RIP Larry Tesler, iPhone step-counting apps, watchOS 6.1.3

Do you miss the startup chime on your new Mac? Read on to find out how to enable it! If you were in an accident, would emergency responders be able to contact your loved ones easily? Adam Engst explains how to set up your Medical ID on your iPhone and reminds you to check your emergency contacts to make sure their phone numbers are up to date. For Apple Watch users in Iceland, Apple has an update to watchOS 6.1.3 that you may want—the rest of you can install this one at your leisure. Adam also reminisces about former Apple VP Larry Tesler, who passed away last week, and shares a 1997 email exchange they had. Tesler is credited with inventing copy and paste, and his work also informed HTML and modern-day paned interfaces, among much else. Finally, Julio Ojeda-Zapata joins us to look at using your iPhone as a pedometer, highlighting some apps that improve the experience. Notable Mac app releases this week include BusyCal 3.9, DaisyDisk 4.9, ChronoSync 4.9.9 and ChronoAgent 1.9.7, and Tinderbox 8.5.

Adam Engst 22 comments

TipBITS: Enable the Startup Chime on New Macs

I have recently been playing with some very old Macs and emulators, which reminded me of how the Mac’s startup sound evolved over the years before going quiet in 2016. Ken from the Computer Clan made a nice video that provides a history of the startup sound and demonstrates how the startup sound changed over time.

When Apple disabled the startup sound by default in 2016, someone discovered that a Terminal command could bring it back:

sudo nvram BootAudio=%01

Unfortunately, that approach stopped working with Mac models in 2017, presumably due to Apple removing the option in a macOS update, and since then, new Macs have started up silently. Now, however, Twitter user DylanMcD8 has discovered a new NVRAM parameter that brings back the startup sound, even on the latest Macs.

sudo nvram StartupMute=%00

TidBITS Talk members report it working on 2017 iMacs, 2018 Mac minis, a 2018 13-inch MacBook Pro, and a 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro. However, AppleInsider said that it didn’t work on several machines—it’s unclear why not.

I don’t understand what modern-day Apple has against the startup sound. Sure, make it an option for those who need their Macs to be silent at all times, but it’s a useful indication that the Mac is working as expected—at least to that point in the boot process. Perhaps Apple is trying to encourage the belief that Macs are always available like iPhone and iPads, but reality doesn’t support that.

To reverse this setting, should you want to, change the command to:

sudo nvram StartupMute=%01

Thanks to Howard Oakley, whose post on his Eclectic Light Company blog was the first instance I saw of this, though it has subsequently spread widely.

Josh Centers 6 comments

watchOS 6.1.3 Fixes Icelandic Heart Rhythm Notifications

Apple may have had to lower its earnings guidance based on happenings in one of the world’s largest countries, but it’s still paying attention to users in smaller countries. The company has released watchOS 6.1.3 with “improvements and bug fixes,” calling out only a fix for a bug that prevented irregular heart rhythm notifications from working reliably for Apple Watch users in Iceland.

watchOS 6.1.3 release notes

You can install the update, which weighs in at 48.1 MB on an Apple Watch Series 4, from the iPhone’s Watch app: go to Watch > General > Software Update. There’s no need to hurry unless you live in Iceland.

Adam Engst 17 comments

Double-Check Your iPhone’s Medical ID Emergency Contacts

Have you configured your Medical ID on your iPhone? Mike Matthews wrote about this feature for us in “Can Your iPhone Replace Your Wallet?” (30 June 2017), but all too many people haven’t taken the time to enter the few bits of information that could save their lives in the event of serious injury. So it’s worth repeating, with an added bit of detail about emergency contacts that I’ve just learned.

Configure Medical ID

Apple has made it easier to create and edit your Medical ID in recent versions of iOS. You can now access it in one of two ways. Either open the Health app, tap your avatar, and tap Medical ID, or go to Settings > Health > Medical ID. Once you’re there, follow these steps:

  1. Tap Edit at the upper right.
  2. Fill in your personal details, including medical conditions, medical notes, allergies and reactions, and any medications you take regularly. This is the crucial bit—it’s essential that medical personnel have this information to avoid administering a drug that could cause an adverse reaction.
  3. At the bottom, tap Add Emergency Contact, select a contact, and—this can be confusing—select the phone number at which you would want them notified in case of emergency. Also, specify a relationship—it may be useful to emergency responders. Repeat for as many people as you’d want to be notified.
  4. Tap Done to save your information.

How to edit your Medical ID info

If you just want to add an emergency contact, there’s an easier approach.

  1. Open Contacts (or Phone > Contacts) and tap the contact card for the person you want to add.
  2. Scroll to the bottom and tap Add to Emergency Contacts.
  3. If the person has more than one phone number, select which number should be alerted in case of emergency.

One note: It doesn’t matter what phone number you select if it’s just for emergency responders or medical personnel to use. However, if you can imagine wanting to use the Emergency SOS feature of the iPhone or Apple Watch, make sure to select a phone number that can receive a text message, since Emergency SOS uses text messages to alert your emergency contacts.

Use Medical ID

To access your Medical ID, press and hold both the side button and either of the volume buttons for a few seconds to bring up Emergency SOS, and then slide the Medical ID slider. Note that this also disables Touch ID and Face ID; you’ll have to enter your passcode the next time you want to unlock the iPhone.

To access someone else’s Medical ID—if they’re in an accident and you’re helping—follow these steps:

  1. From the Lock screen, press the Home button or swipe up to get to the Passcode screen. You don’t want Touch ID or Face ID to work here—the goal is to see the passcode keypad.
  2. Tap Emergency in the lower-left corner.
  3. On the Emergency Call screen, tap Medical ID.

How to access Medical ID on a locked iPhone

Verify Emergency Contacts

Here’s the problem a friend recently pointed out. When you add an emergency contact to your Medical ID, you’re adding a specific phone number, not the person’s contact card in general. What happens if you change the emergency contact’s phone number? At least in iOS 13, the Medical ID contact information updates properly; it’s conceivable that previous versions of iOS did not do this.

However, if you were instead to change the emergency contact’s phone number by removing the old number and adding a new one—a not unreasonable thing to do—the link between the contact and the Medical ID breaks, and the previous number remains listed in Medical ID. The solution is to remove the emergency contact from your Medical ID and add the person again.

The practical upshot of this realization is that if you set up your Medical ID some time ago, it’s worth checking your emergency contacts to make sure the correct phone numbers are still listed.

You can see them listed in your Medical ID, of course, but if you look in the Contacts app, you’ll also see a bold red asterisk next to the name of each emergency contact. In their contact cards, Emergency Contact will appear at the top, and that red asterisk will appear next to the appropriate phone number. (If the red asterisk doesn’t appear when you think it should, I suspect that means the link between the phone number and the Medical ID emergency contact has been broken, such that Medical ID is just holding onto the last-seen number.)

How to identify emergency contacts in Contacts

So take a minute and make sure you have a Medical ID configured in your iPhone and check that your emergency contacts show the correct phone numbers. The life you save could be your own.

Julio Ojeda-Zapata 6 comments

Pedometer Apps Turn Your iPhone into a Step Counter

Step counting has been a time-honored fitness metric for decades, even if the 10,000-step rule of thumb was based on a Japanese marketing strategy rather than anything resembling science. The older among us may recall mechanical pedometers that we attached to our belts for tracking our steps throughout the day. These days, digital wearables such as the Apple Watch assume that role.

But what about the iPhone? You may not realize it, but the iPhone is also a fitness-tracking device, which comes in handy for those who haven’t bought an Apple Watch.

Step counting is built into the iPhone courtesy of the M-series motion coprocessor and the Health app. No third-party app is required, though such apps can add ease of use and useful features. I tested a couple of those—more on that shortly. But, first, let’s dig into the basic iPhone features.

Getting Started with Step Counting

To turn your iPhone into a step counter, you might have to tweak a few settings.

First, make sure your body measurements are set correctly in the Health app. Height is a vital metric since it enables the iPhone to measure your stride more accurately. Tap Browse at the bottom, then go to Body Measurements > Height > Add Data to enter your height.

The steps to set your height in Health

Once you’re done in Health, go to Settings > Privacy > Motion & Fitness to check that Fitness Tracking is enabled. You’ll also need to enable Health in the app list below. Do the same for any third-party pedometer apps you try.Enabling fitness tracking in iOS

Your Health app is now ready to count steps! To monitor your daily progress more readily, make your step data front and center in Health. Go to the Health app’s Summary screen and tap Edit in the upper-right corner. In the list that appears, tap the star corresponding to Steps. Tap Done. Steps data now shows up as a favorite on the Summary screen, which also shows Steps trends over time.

Adding your step count to Summary

Other metrics that you might want to make more visible include Exercise Minutes, Flights Climbed, and Walking + Running Distance. Once you do so, they will also show up as cards on the Summary screen.

Apple’s Health app works well enough that a third-party step tracker isn’t a necessity, but there are some good ones out there that enhance your user experience in various ways. Here are two of my favorites: ActivityTracker Pedometer and Pedometer++.

ActivityTracker Pedometer

ActivityTracker Pedometer is free, although you can unlock added Pro features for a one-time $4.99 payment. It’s my favorite app of this kind (and I’ve tried lots) mainly because of its interface, which is colorful, elegant, inventive, and easy to use.

The ActivityTracker Pedometer home screen shows your step count for the day, along with a ring that gauges how close you are to achieving your predetermined daily benchmark. Below that are measurements of your calories burned, exercise minutes, miles walked, and flights climbed.

Additional data is just a swipe or a tap away. Cycle through summary screens for earlier days by tapping at the top, or by swiping right. Tap the main step-count readout to see Hourly Activity charts. Tap any of the day buttons along the bottom for a Daily Activity chart—and tap any bar for that day’s hourly data.

ActivityTracker Pedometer

Additional features include a Daily Reminder notification and a Today widget. There’s also an option to import your Health app’s historical data if you plan to rely primarily on ActivityTracker Pedometer going forward, or just want that old Health data stored in the third-party app.

ActivityTracker Pedometer does not rely on GPS, which is a primary selling point since it saves on battery life.

If you want to go Pro, the app offers additional features that include:

  • Daily Progress and Weekly Reminder notifications
  • The choice of any two additional statistics readouts in the Today widget
  • Data import or export (handy for use outside the app, or to transfer to a new iPhone)
  • An ad-free main screen


The free Pedometer++ has the virtue of simplicity, one reason I like it. Also, it has a few features I haven’t seen in other step-counting apps.

The app’s main interface is a big graph that displays step counts by day. Above is the current day’s count, along with miles walked and floors climbed.


An Achievements section, via the ribbon-styled button at the upper right, helps you hit a variety of goals (such as consecutive-day streaks). This is especially nice for iPhone users who don’t have an Apple Watch with that device’s signature achievement badges.

Tap the settings icon at the upper left for a variety of options that include:

  • A stride-measurement switch that lets you choose between having the app estimate it or entering it yourself
  • Four app themes along with Dark Mode
  • Twelve color options for the app icon
  • Data import and export at no charge

Minor irritations include a slightly dated interface style (which looks garish with dark interfaces) and an ad at the bottom of the main screen (something that is understandably difficult to avoid with free-to-download pedometer apps). You can eliminate the ad with a $1.99 in-app payment, but you gain no extra functionality that I can see.

iPhone vs. Apple Watch

As I said, there are many other step-counting apps out there. If my choices don’t do it for you, search the App Store on “step pedometer” for a taste of what’s out there. Be warned that some apps have aggressive full-screen advertising, Facebook login come-ons, subscription fees instead of one-time charges to unlock premium features, and other annoyances.

Regardless of the app, the trick to using the iPhone as a step counter is to make sure you always have it with you. Unlike the Apple Watch, which is always strapped to your wrist, it’s all too easy to leave your iPhone on the couch or on your desk at work when getting up to walk around. So get into the habit of grabbing it.

I’m prone to forgetting my iPhone, which is why a smartwatch is the only realistic option for me to track my fitness activity accurately. If you can afford the Apple Watch, I’d urge you to take the plunge; it is just a more convenient health tracker (and, by the way, many iPhone step-counting apps have Apple Watch features).

But if you are on a tight budget, or using your iPhone for fitness tracking is more your style, the Health app may be sufficient for your needs, and if it’s not, ActivityTracker Pedometer and Pedometer++ offer alternative interfaces for free.

Adam Engst 8 comments

My Last Conversation with Larry Tesler

It is with great sorrow that I note the passing of Larry Tesler, a computer scientist often credited with inventing copy and paste (or at least the particular method and names that stuck to the idea of moving digital text from place to place). I’m particularly sad to learn this fact only now, since I consider copy and paste to be among the most significant technological innovations of the last half-century. It turns out that, in the real world, we repeat much of what we say and do over and over again, and being able to duplicate and update data easily remains a massive boost to productivity. Had I realized this fact back in the mid-1990s, when I interacted with Tesler, I would have had a chance to thank him in person.

Larry Tesler
Image of Larry Tesler by Yahoo! Inc., licensed under CC BY 2.0

We owe other technological innovations to Larry Tesler too. While he was at Xerox PARC, Tesler originated the term “user-friendly” (while pushing for ease-of-use in user interfaces) and was the inspiration for the much-used acronym WYSIWYG. In some circles, he was best known for evangelizing the idea that software should be modeless—his license plate read NO MODES. (With modeless software, all actions should be available at all times, rather than the user having to enter a particular mode to perform them.) I encourage you to read the obituaries published in the New York Times and at Cult of Mac, and the Twitter reminiscences of Chris Espinosa and Martin Haeberli.

In 1980, Tesler left Xerox PARC to join Apple, and he worked there until 1997. During that time, he led the Newton Group, became Apple’s Chief Scientist, and was the vice president of AppleNet, which was tasked in part with developing and promoting Apple’s Internet strategy. It was at the end of his tenure there that I corresponded with him, since he and I were both on a private Net-Thinkers mailing list that discussed issues relating to Apple and the Internet.

It’s telling how much things have changed, I think, that an Apple vice president would speak freely on even a private mailing list that included a writer like me. (At that time, apart from publishing TidBITS, my Internet Starter Kit for Macintosh book had sold about 400,000 copies, and I had just penned a MacWEEK column entitled “The Emperor Has No Strategy” that had ruffled feathers with Apple executives.)

To give you a better sense of who Larry Tesler was, I’m going to reprint an email conversation he and I had on the Net-Thinkers list back in February of 1997. In retrospect, it must not have been that long before he left Apple, although I have no record of that in my email archive.

I write about how Tesler was reportedly changing positions

Subject: Re: Internet changes at Apple
From: Adam C. Engst <[email protected]>
Date: February 21, 1997 at 1:40:50 PM EST
To: Multiple recipients of <[email protected]>

Hi all,

Just noticed this comment in a MacWEEK article by Stephen Howard at:

Tevanian’s software engineering group includes the Mac OS and Rhapsody, interactive media, and Internet. The interactive media group is still run by its previous head, Carlos Montalvo, while the newly combined Internet and enterprise section is looking for a boss.

Apple Chief Scientist Larry Tesler has joined the new Technical Office currently run by Hancock; the former Internet czar is no longer involved in Apple’s Internet product development.

Interesting move – I wonder who will end up leading the Internet efforts at Apple?

cheers… -Adam

Annoyed by the perceived criticism, Larry responds defensively

Subject: Re: Internet changes at Apple
From: Larry Tesler <[email protected]>
Date: February 22, 1997 at 5:27:47 PM EST
To: Multiple recipients of <[email protected]>

At 12:09 PM -0800 2/22/97, Adam C. Engst wrote:

In this situation, I think there’s actually a good bit of difference between someone who knows the networking community and someone who knows the Internet community. Networking is high-end technical stuff, and while that’s great, that’s not what’s important in the Internet nowaday for Apple. Apple needs to focus on people, not wires.

Garry’s shown that he knows the Internet and can even (horrors!) participate in discussion groups in email and on Usenet.

Garry is also an experienced manager, and very popular with developers and with enterprise customers.

Flame on.

Despite press misstatements (first time that’s happened), I am still Apple’s Internet honcho today.  But I, like some of you, look forward to the end of my tenure.  I’ve really had enough of listening to people born after I became an ARPAnet user, who’ve never conversed with me beyond narrow topics, and who have no idea what Apple decisions I have had and not had authority over, making judgements about my Internet knowledge.

OK, I don’t know what you or Richard Ford or Chuck Shotton knows about the Internet.  But the opposite is also true.  We each have a shallow understanding of the breadth of the Internet and a deep understanding of the parts that most interest us.

Do I have a clue about the Internet?  The AppleNet web site is actually useful.  My group is pretty good at keeping it up to date.  And despite my consuming day job, I’m a heavy personal user of the net.  I buy stuff over the net.  I manage several hobbies, friendships, and assets over the net.

I follow over a dozen Internet mailing lists and post to most of them.  For a while, I ran one list myself.  I am in process of starting another that I’ll run.

I founded a mailing list site two years ago that has grown to 80 lists with 20K “consumer” subscribers.  The subject of these lists, unlike net-thinkers, is not the Internet, not protocols, not wires.  The subject of these lists is people and their beloved hobbies.

I have had to deal with spammers, copyright infringers, warring list owners, absentee list owners, sadistic moderators, untrained operators, overloaded hardware, and every other possible thing that can go wrong when you have eighty Cyberspace communities whose members share nothing in common but an obsessive interest in one narrow subject.  But I love it. The Internet is what humanity has yearned for since the first tribe of homo sapiens became so big that they had to split up and forage out of earshot from one another.

Don’t let the above defensiveness inhibit you from criticizing me on public mailing lists.  I find most criticism of me amusing, but sometimes, someone has a poignant comment that I can learn from.  And it’s always fun to see your own name in print, even on a Most Wanted poster or an obituary.

Flame off.

Luckily, Adam, you’re such a likable guy that I can’t stay mad at you for long.


I clarify that I wasn’t criticizing him, and then do so (sort of)

Subject: Re: Internet changes at Apple
From: Adam C. Engst <[email protected]>
Date: February 22, 1997 at 7:28:42 PM EST
To: Multiple recipients of <[email protected]>

At 2:27 PM -0800 2/22/97, Larry Tesler wrote:

Despite press misstatements (first time that’s happened), I am still Apple’s Internet honcho today.

Hmm. Reports of your job change were greatly exaggerated. 🙂

[…personal description of Larry’s Internet usage deleted for brevity…]


If you want some constructive criticism, Larry, it’s that you haven’t said this before. I don’t know the extent to which most people on this list know you personally, but I suspect that most people, like me, have never actually met you in person or interacted in ways outside of your job (and I count personal Internet use in that category). As I scroll through the back messages from this list, I see primarily names of people who usually show up in the lists I’m on, people I see at every Macworld Expo, and people I see at any event related to Mac Internet stuff. We all know what the others do, at least to an extent.

For you, until I read your message, I had relatively little idea. You have a job title, and your name appears in articles about Apple frequently, but neither of those facts says anything substantive in Internet terms. User and administrator experience does say a lot, and the main thing remaining is to see if we can get you to come to some of the Internet parties at the shows so we can meet in person (me and anyone else who hasn’t had the opportunity). None of this is corporate PR stuff – the Internet parties are generally just a bunch of net geeks doing what net geeks do best – networking, ranting, and combining the two into potentially cool projects.

The Internet is about people, and even if you can’t meet everyone personally, networks of friends spread far and wide. My theory is you can never have too many friends in this world.

Don’t let the above defensiveness inhibit you from criticizing me on public mailing lists.  I find most criticism of me amusing, but sometimes, someone has a poignant comment that I can learn from.  And it’s always fun to see your own name in print, even on a Most Wanted poster or an obituary.

When it comes right down to it, we’re all very much on the same side. We may have different viewpoints on the details, but all that means is that we have a chance to learn from one another. What I find most interesting about lists like this is that the discussions that start can give me additional ideas or ways of looking at the issues.

Luckily, Adam, you’re such a likable guy that I can’t stay mad at you for long.

🙂 Thanks, Larry. I know you read this list, and I know you read it on weekends, and even if the reports of you stepping down as Internet top banana were true, I wouldn’t have expected you to sign off immediately. The fact is, I wasn’t criticizing you (ad hominem attacks have no place on the net), and if you look at what I wrote, I wasn’t even criticizing at all. I was merely offering my opinion of what Apple should look for if they were looking for a new Internet honcho. I think those comments are still on target for whenever you do decide to move on (unless Apple’s decided that Internet honcho is one of those positions for life 🙂 .

cheers… -Adam

Larry walks back his defensiveness and shares more geek cred

Subject: Re: Internet changes at Apple
From: Larry Tesler <[email protected]>
Date: February 23, 1997 at 3:03:26 AM EST
To: Multiple recipients of <[email protected]>


Thanks for the clarification of your intentions.  Like anyone, when I get defensive, it’s usually unwarranted.

It’s true I ought to spend more time at geek parties.  Good advice.

To be clear, I am still Internet czar today, for lack of anyone else to do it, but that is probably not going to last for long.  Once we’ve finished the current restructuring, there may be a spokesperson who plays that role, and I don’t expect it to be me.  In other words, the newspapers were not wrong about the plan, just the timing.

I didn’t start the mailing list site just for kicks.  Well, mostly for kicks.  But I really thought Apple could launch a profitable business based on the site.  Since Apple’s financial performance never left funds available to invest in the site, talking about it would not have helped Apple’s business one bit.  It might have let Internet folks understand me better, but my job wasn’t to sell myself to fellow geeks, it was to sell Macs to customers.  Maybe one thing I learned the past year is that to do the latter, it might be necessary to first do the former.

Thanks for getting me thinking about all this.  It’s a good time for personal growth.  16 years at Apple and 51 years on the planet, but still tons to learn.

Oh yeah, while I’m spilling my geek credentials…

There’s this language called HTML, based on SGML, based on, …, based on early markup languages like “Runoff” and “PUB”.  PUB was the first to support an extensible set of tags embedded in the text.  PUB was used by lots of grad students in the ’70s to do their dissertations.  It was also the immediate ancestor of TeX and of Scribe.  I designed and implemented PUB solo at Stanford in 1971, and distributed it to other universities via FTP.

I also designed and implemented the Smalltalk browser at PARC around 1976–the first widget I know of that was called a browser and had paned windows.

So the web owes me for markup tags, frames, and the term “browser”.

I’m a user interface guy, not a protocol guy.  I have implemented some protocols–one for a remote method call interface for Smalltalk around 1977, and one for Commodore Pet-to-BBS reliable file transfer around 1978–but protocols are not my shtick.

In fact, since I came to Apple in 1980 and entered management, I’ve only had a few opportunities to write code at work.  Programming is mostly confined to vacations, and on most vacations, I’d rather do something else.

“Enough about me” as they say.  I’d like to resume reading about net thinkers’ ideas for a better Apple Internet future.

See you at a party.


I close down that thread and redirect the discussion

Subject: Re: Internet changes at Apple
From: Adam C. Engst <[email protected]>
Date: February 23, 1997 at 1:16:52 PM EST
To: Multiple recipients of <[email protected]>

At 12:03 AM -0800 2/23/97, Larry Tesler wrote:

To be clear, I am still Internet czar today, for lack of anyone else to do it, but that is probably not going to last for long.  Once we’ve finished the current restructuring, there may be a spokesperson who plays that role, and I don’t expect it to be me.  In other words, the newspapers were not wrong about the plan, just the timing.

We’ll all be interested to hear what you go on to next, then. And, it sounds as though the discussions about what kind of person Apple should look for next aren’t entirely unwarranted.

I have to think about what having an Apple Internet spokesbeing (rather than someone who’s actually making decisions – walking the walk, if you will) means. My initial gut feeling is that it’s mainly a bad idea if the person doesn’t fit the categories we’ve been discussing, although they wouldn’t have to be an experienced manager at that point. In fact, a high visibility, knowledgeable spokesbeing who could reliably be identified with Apple’s Internet efforts wouldn’t be an entirely bad thing, as I think about it more. Of course, there would have to be some very real communication with Apple management or people would burn out of that job like fireworks, as they felt they weren’t doing anything useful.

Consider it this way – the President of the U.S. in theory embodies all these amazing characteristics. Unfortunately, one of them has to be a tremendous skill as a campaigner, which doesn’t really reflect on how good a President he or she will be. Many people have said that it would make more sense to separate the campaign from the office – a great President might be lousy on the campaign trail, and if that’s true, we suffer.

Thanks for getting me thinking about all this.  It’s a good time for personal growth.  16 years at Apple and 51 years on the planet, but still tons to learn.

Doesn’t it bug you? I’m only 29, and I know that I know vast quantities more than I did when I started TidBITS when I was 22, say, but I remember being comfortable back then that I always knew the answer. Now all I know is that every question has multiple answers. Drives me nuts.

So the web owes me for markup tags, frames, and the term “browser”.


In fact, since I came to Apple in 1980 and entered management, I’ve only had a few opportunities to write code at work.  Programming is mostly confined to vacations, and on most vacations, I’d rather do something else.

Seems a shame, in some ways. I think a lot of companies get hurt because they don’t have a technical track that matches the management track. Many of the great programmers get sucked into management because it’s the only way they can continue to rise in the company.

“Enough about me” as they say.  I’d like to resume reading about net thinkers’ ideas for a better Apple Internet future.

Here’s a question for everyone then. To what extent does Apple’s Internet future rest on Apple itself or on outside developers? Think about the question for a bit. The future of using the Internet on a Macintosh may be very different from Apple’s Internet future, although they may have been the same in the past.

See you at a party.

It’s a deal.

cheers… -Adam


So, Larry Tesler, wherever you are now, I hope you’re amused at seeing your name in print here, even if, as you suggested, it’s in an obituary. Thanks for copy and paste, for NO MODES, for HTML’s ancestor PUB, for browsers, and for being a good guy. I wish we’d had a chance to hang out at a geek party.


BusyCal 3.9 Agen Schmitz No comments

BusyCal 3.9

BusyMac has released BusyCal 3.9, adding a new Do Not Disturb mode that enables you to postpone seeing alarms for a period of time. The calendar utility also adds more options for snoozing Notification Center alerts (activated by a long click), updates the Alarm window design and layout for better space utilization when displaying alarm details, enables alarms to display clickable URL links from events, adds the capability to display multi-day events as banners based on their duration, lets you hide and unhide unwanted calendars, improves natural language date range parsing, and ensures that the menu bar quick entry retains entered text when switching between apps. ($49.99 new from BusyMac or the Mac App Store, included in the $9.99-per-month Setapp Mac app subscription service, free update, 22.9 MB, release notes, macOS 10.11+)

DaisyDisk 4.9 Agen Schmitz 2 comments

DaisyDisk 4.9

Software Ambience has released version 4.9 of DaisyDisk, a utility that provides a visual breakdown of your disk space to help you identify and delete unnecessary files (as mentioned briefly in “How to Deal with Running Out of iCloud, Google, and Dropbox Space,” 17 February 2020). The update improves discovery of hidden space in macOS 10.15 Catalina by including non-firmlinked items of the Data volume, the Virtual Memory volume, and the Recovery and Preboot volumes (when mounted) in the scan report. It also updates the safety rules to allow deletion of some non-critical files in the /private folder, and adds support for FUSE-mounted drives. ($9.99 new from the DaisyDisk Web site and Mac App Store, free update, 6.1 MB, release notes, macOS 10.10+)

ChronoSync 4.9.9 and ChronoAgent 1.9.7 Agen Schmitz No comments

ChronoSync 4.9.9 and ChronoAgent 1.9.7

Econ Technologies has released ChronoSync 4.9.9 and ChronoAgent 1.9.7, improving reliability and compatibility when mounting disk images for the synchronization and backup tool and its helper app. ChronoSync also reworks the OAuth code to conform to the latest authentication requirements from Google, adds logic to the Background Scheduler to see if any other instance is running, eliminates the attempt to unmount a volume for connections that do not support volume mounting, and improves error logging when testing the availability of AWS S3 servers. ($49.99 new for ChronoSync with a 20% discount for TidBITS members, free update, 67.1 MB, release notes, macOS 10.11+; $14.99 new for ChronoAgent, 26.6 MB, release notes, 10.10+)

Tinderbox 8.5 Agen Schmitz No comments

Tinderbox 8.5

Eastgate Systems has issued Tinderbox 8.5, a sizable update that adds new features, improves speed, and fixes bugs. The note-taking assistant and information manager gains the Crosstabs feature, which enables you to explore relationships within your documents based on two selected attributes. The data is displayed in a table, and the feature supports displaying individual notes as well as exporting to spreadsheets, statistical packages, and word processors.

The update also brings support for adding geographic map adornments to your Tinderbox maps; enables sharing of prototype notes across documents; adds support for dragging notes out of Tinderbox views and dropping them in other Tinderbox documents, into other applications, or on the Desktop; improves Dark mode support; resolves a crash in macOS 10.15 Catalina that occurred when changing the key attributes table; and allows customizing imports from DEVONthink 3. ($249 new with a 25% discount for TidBITS members, 38.4 MB, release notes, macOS 10.10+)


Josh Centers 6 comments

Is Apple Turning iOS into Adware?

Apple has become increasingly reliant on its Services business segment every quarter, but is its focus on growing Services revenue harming the iOS experience? That’s the question posted by developer Steve Streza, who analyzed Apple’s built-in apps on a fresh install of iOS 13 and a new iCloud account.

Streza found an endless barrage of ads for Apple’s services: Apple Arcade, Apple Card, Apple Music, Apple News+, and Apple TV+. “If you don’t subscribe to these services, you’ll be forced to look at these ads constantly, either in the apps you use or the push notifications they have turned on by default,” Steza said. He goes so far as to describe iOS 13 as “adware” since it’s full of unremovable ads.

I wrote about this issue last month in “Why Is the Apple TV Constantly Advertising at Us?” (16 January 2020), noting how Apple’s focus on services is spoiling the user experience. Given that a better user experience has always been Apple’s advantage, this trend toward pushing services could backfire if it starts to drive users away.