Archive for October 8, 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012 [Tweets] [Favorites]

iOS 6 Contacts Groups

As with iOS 5, it is not possible to create new groups from the iPhone. You have to use the Contacts or Address Book application on the Mac.

When you have no groups, there’s a Reload button in the upper left corner of the screen. When you do have groups, the button changes to say Groups; then the Reload button appears after you tap on Groups.

In iOS 5, there was a column view for showing All Contacts or one particular group. This was quick and logical. In iOS 6, there is instead a separate screen showing all your groups (plus All Contacts) with checkmarks next to them. This is kind of like the iOS 5 interface for Calendars. One advantage to the iOS 6 interface is that you can display the union of multiple groups; with iOS 5 you had to show all the contacts or just one group. However, I nearly always want to see either All Contacts or just one group, and iOS 6 makes this more difficult.

At first glance, it appears that showing just one group is a major pain with iOS 6. You would have to uncheck all the groups that you don’t want to see. However, there’s a shortcut that makes it easier: when All Contacts is already checked, you can tap it to uncheck all the groups at once.

In summary, to change from viewing one group to viewing another, on iOS 5 you could:

  1. Tap Groups (to go left).
  2. Tap the name of the group you want (to go right).

On iOS 6 it takes more steps:

  1. Tap Groups (to open the dialog).
  2. Double-tap All Contacts to uncheck the current group. (Or scroll to find the current group and then tap it to uncheck.)
  3. Tap the group that you want to see (to check it).
  4. Tap Done (to close the dialog).

If you’re viewing All Contacts and want to view a group, on iOS 5 you could:

  1. Tap Groups (to go left).
  2. Tap the name of the group you want (to go right).

On iOS 6 it takes more steps:

  1. Tap Groups (to open the dialog).
  2. Tap All Contacts (to uncheck all the groups).
  3. Tap the group that you want to see (to check it).
  4. Tap Done (to close the dialog).

Overpowered USB Devices, Underpowered Hubs

An annoying aspect of the current Mac hardware experience, with FireWire on the way out, is that external storage no longer “just works.” Nearly every USB hard drive I’ve used—across a variety of Macs, enclosures, hubs, UPSes, and buildings—has either exhibited power problems or random disconnects. Moreover, I’m sure that these power issues are widespread, but they are rarely discussed in product reviews and spec sheets.

Particularly problematic are the bus-powered 2.5-inch drives. The USB 2.0 Toshiba Canvio is the best that I’ve used. As far as I know, it operates correctly with the specified amount of USB current. But try connecting more than a couple to a USB hub, even the NewerTech one that boasts of delivering “all the power needed for all seven ports,” and watch it disconnect or fail to mount. The other hubs that I’ve tried, even from reputable companies, are worse.

The USB 3.0 Toshiba Canvio is even more problematic. It draws more power than is allowed by the USB spec, so that it doesn’t work at all with newer MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros that supply only the specified power to the USB ports, although it can work via a powered hub.

Things That Happened on Steve Jobs’s Watch

Dave Chartier:

Sometimes betas are ok, sometimes Apple employees makes mistakes. But there’s only one person who could truthfully claim to know what Steve Jobs would or would not have done, and he unfortunately passed away nearly a year ago.

Steve Jobs presided over a whole bunch of things “Steve Jobs would never have shipped.”

Stripe for Indie Mac Developers

Dan Wood:

I think that there are a few different kinds of Mac indie developers. Those who don't want to have to deal with customer databases and payment processing might as well just use the Mac App Store as the distribution mechanism. Then there are the people who want to be able to sell directly to customers, but want a full-service company to handle the processing issues. FastSpring is great for that. But if you want more control over your purchasing experience, and you can set up some scripts on your server to manage license generation and charge cards, then Stripe is a great way to go. (And also, possibly, PayPal for those prefer that option.)

I’m pretty happy with PayPal Website Payments Pro for payments and E-junkie for the shopping cart, but if I were going to make a change it would probably be to Stripe. (FastSpring looks nice but overly expensive.) Stripe’s fees are higher than PayPal’s volume rate. PayPal adds a few fees, e.g. for the Pro API and for International transactions, but Stripe charges fees for refunds. Overall, my guess is that PayPal is cheaper, but not by a lot. Stripe sounds easier to use, but that’s balanced by the fact that I’ve successfully used PayPal for many years with essentially no problems. It would be nice if E-junkie integrated support for Stripe the way it has for Google Checkout and other processors.

Update (2012-10-24): Dan Wood:

This is a followup to that, describing what we did to build our online store, and what decisions came into play for its user experience.