Archive for January 31, 2015

Saturday, January 31, 2015 [Tweets] [Favorites]

iTunes Connect Bug: Logs You Into the Wrong Account

Joe Rossignol:

Instead of seeing their own apps, iTunes Connect is mismatching users and displaying other apps from completely different developers. MacRumors has been able to duplicate this issue, which appears to be widespread and has been going on since at least 8 AM Pacific.

Andrew Cunningham:

We don’t yet know whether the outage was caused by some error on Apple’s end or by a security breach like the one that brought all developer systems down in the summer of 2013.

Nick Heer:

I’ve noticed tweets from a few different people that ended up in BlackBerry’s iTunes Connect example, though, which makes me think that some accounts were shown more often than others. That’s kind of weird, and it makes me wonder what kind of weird session management issue caused this.

This occurred right when I was submitting EagleFiler to the Mac App Store. First, my account seemed to log in normally, not showing someone else’s apps. Then logging in failed for half an hour or so, all while Apple’s status page showed green. It eventually updated to show that iTunes Connect was down for several hours.

John Gruber:

If you’re a developer, I suggest logging in and making sure nobody monkeyed around with your apps while this was going on.

I would also make sure that no additional iTunes Connect user accounts were created.

Cédric Luthi:

Incredible! Apple wrote a post-mortem on the iTunes Connect incident on their Press Info page.

Mac OS X 10.10.2

The Mac OS X 10.10.2 update fixes the Thunderstrike exploit, among other security bugs. (Good luck if you have a Thunderbolt-equipped Mac but aren’t running Yosemite.)

It claims to fix Wi-Fi issues, but Macworld and MacRumors both report that Wi-Fi problems persist.

It does fix the nasty Core Data relationships data loss bug, though this is not yet fixed in iOS.

Launchpad’s sparkle for new applications has been removed.

Lloyd Chambers is still seeing problems with dual displays. I’m still seeing problems with the login screen, Mail, etc.

Update (2015-02-03): Edward Marczak:

To call [Thunderstrike], “fixed,” is absolute fantasy. A good chunk of the boot process would need to change to fix this.

FileVault 2 Deferred Enablement in Yosemite

Rich Trouton:

Apple recognized that there would be situations where Mac admins would need to set up FileVault 2 for a person where the admin would not have the password for that person’s user account. To avoid the immediate need to enter a password, fdesetup has a -defer flag in Mountain Lion, Mavericks and Yosemite that can be used with fdesetup’s enable verb to delay enabling FileVault 2 until after the current (or next) user logs out. With the -defer flag, the user will be prompted for their password at their next logout or restart. The recovery key information is not generated until the user password is obtained, so the -defer option requires a file location where this information will be written to as a plist file.

[…]

In Yosemite, Apple added new options for fdesetup’s -defer flag. These new options now allow Mac admins to set a deferred enablement with the following options:

  1. Enforce FileVault 2 enablement at logout
  2. Enforce FileVault 2 enablement at login
  3. Enforce FileVault 2 enablement at both login and logout

Update (2015-02-02): Rich Trouton:

fdesetup in Yosemite has the authrestart verb, which allows a FileVault 2-encrypted Mac to restart, bypass the FileVault 2 pre-boot login screen, and goes straight to the OS login window.

Improved FogBugz Cases Menu

Dane Bertram:

No more need for weird prefixes to help keep your personal saved filters organized! You can now create as many personal filter groups as you like and freely drag your filters between them.

[…]

You can also drag-and-drop the groups themselves to determine the order in which they’re displayed, while the filters within each group are automatically sorted alphabetically.

[…]

Still have too many saved filters to look at all at once? Well, filter groups (including the built-in “My Filters” and “Shared Filters” groups) are now collapsible and will remember their collapsed-ness no matter what browser or computer you might be using.

Good stuff.

I remain a happy FogBugz customer, though unfortunately Fog Creek seems to have other priorities these days. FogBugz still doesn’t support the multipart/mixed e-mail format that Apple Mail (among other clients) uses, leading to extra steps and embarrassing mistakes when I can’t see the entire message that my customer sent. [Update (2015-02-18): The current version of FogBugz no longer loses the text in these messages, however it still puts all the images at the end, messing up the interleaving.] [Update (2015-06-30): Actually, it is not fixed. I just received another message where FogBugz made it look as though there was no text.] It also still has trouble with certain e-mails that contain images, inserting unsightly strings like:

[default.asp?pg=pgDownload&pgType=pgFile&ixBugEvent=1314055&ixAttachment=54183&sFileName=9F930F52-3C72-4682-860C-B42BB2D212FF.png&sTicket=[redacted]]

into the reply.

The performance upgrade, which came out of beta in October 2013, has included a steady stream of smaller interface improvements. However, it still doesn’t officially support Safari, isn’t as keyboard-navigable as the old version, and takes minutes instead of seconds to bulk-mark messages as spam.

Most seriously, the performance upgrade still has a bug where a customer will reply to a case, and FogBugz will receive the reply and re-open the case, but the case will not appear in the inbox filter showing open inquiries. I guess there’s some sort of issue with the new indexing engine because the inbox shows the correct cases with the performance upgrade disabled. In any case, the customer won’t get a reply unless I notice the message in my e-mail backup or until a periodic check of turning off the performance upgrade to look for lost cases. I actually have a recurring task in OmniFocus to remind me to do this.

[Update (2015-02-12): There is also still a bug where it corrupts some .plist files received as attachments.]

Lastly, I still have a nagging concern about keeping such important data in the cloud. FogBugz On Demand originally had a backup data center, but this was shut down sometime before Hurricane Sandy. In the aftermath of Sandy, it sounded like the goal was to again have two data centers, but this has not come to pass yet.

Meanwhile, I am trying to make my own backups: manually BCCing every e-mail I send, running a URL trigger to log case changes, and manually creating backups in CSV format (in four chunks, because otherwise it gives me a single-line file without reporting an error). I once wrote a tool that used the API to back up my cases as XML, but years ago this stopped working—the server would time out and return an HTML error page—and I haven’t had a chance to rewrite it using a smaller batch size. There is still a way to request a SQL dump, and this has been improved so that it works for larger databases; they e-mail you an FTP link a few hours later when the ZIP archive is ready.

Like I said, I am overall a satisfied customer. I just wish the basics would get more attention than whizzy new features.

Update (2015-04-02): Another issue is that URL triggers don’t work for cases with lots of text because FogBugz puts the parameters in the URL itself (even if you use POST instead of GET).

Update (2015-04-24): I’m still getting missing messages with the Performance Upgrade. Switching it off is annoying because the old user interface has different keyboard shortcuts and doesn’t support the same snippet placeholders.

Never Trust a Corporation to Do a Library’s Job

Andy Baio (via Rich Siegel):

For years, Google’s mission included the preservation of the past.

[…]

In the last five years, starting around 2010, the shifting priorities of Google’s management left these archival projects in limbo, or abandoned entirely.

After a series of redesigns, Google Groups is effectively dead for research purposes. The archives, while still online, have no means of searching by date.

[…]

The desire to preserve the past died along with 20% time, Google Labs, and the spirit of haphazard experimentation.

Windows 10: Re-Crappifying Windows 8

Lukas Mathis:

Windows 8 was a bold attempt to fix this, and to throw out much of that accumulated debris. And, surprisingly, it has worked to a pretty respectable degree. Windows 8, particularly when running Metro apps, is an operating systems that is much simpler than any other desktop OS. And Windows 8, unlike iOS, has managed to achieve this without losing much, if any, of the power of a traditional desktop operating system.

[…]

Windows 10 shows that Microsoft has lost that courage, pummelled into submission by the same kinds of vocal users who, back in the 80s, decried Windows itself, and demanded that people keep using DOS. In hindsight, I doubt anyone still thinks that this would have been a good idea.

[…]

But instead of fixing the things that are genuinely wrong with Windows 8, and providing some additional amenities for people who came from earlier versions of Windows, and improving the experience on mouse-driven systems, Microsoft took away many of the things that made Windows 8 work, and brought back Windows 7’s UI clutter wholesale.

The Unethical Business Practices of eFax

Matt Henderson:

Some companies can’t be satisfied by simply earning their revenue through the provision of a service. For these companies, a part of their business strategy depends on making it as difficult as possible to leave, and even unethically continuing to charge you after you’ve cancelled your account.

Craft Apps

Ben Thompson:

Stepping back, in one of my favorite episodes of Exponent, James Allworth and I coined the idea of The Internet Rainforest (although, now that I think about it, we mostly refer to it as the Internet jungle). The idea is that the economics of the Internet work for two types of businesses:

  • Massive businesses that can take advantage of the Internet’s scale to reach a huge number of people very cheaply and efficiently
  • Niche businesses that can take advantage of the super low costs involved in running an Internet business to reach a very narrow niche of people all over the world very cheaply and efficiently

Joe Cieplinski:

I find it odd that so many indies want to make “opinionated” software, which by definition limits the audience, and then price it as if trying to reach the widest audience possible. This strikes me as trying to have it both ways. Either you want to target a niche, or go for scale. If you target a niche with your design and features then try and price the app for the mainstream, you’re going to have a very hard time being sustainable.

The mainstream simply doesn’t care about your high-quality, artisanal approach to app making. They want what’s free and what’s popular. To get their attention, it takes millions of dollars an indie doesn’t have.

[…]

So you have to let go of this notion of making up for it in volume. You can’t easily convert people who don’t pay for software with your amazing hand-crafted experience.

iTunes 12.1’s Info Window

Kirk McElhearn:

This corrects one of the elements of iTunes 12 that I was critical of in my Macworld review:

“I find the lack of borders around the text fields make it a lot harder to visually scan the window, like trying to use a spreadsheet with no borders. It’s also hard to tell which fields are editable. I’m also disappointed that not all available fields appear by default. To add extra fields you have to click Add Field at the bottom.”

All the fields are now visible, with borders, making it easier to navigate this window. However, for some reason, Apple felt it wasn’t necessary to have the window display all the tags, and has it set to be scrollable. This is unfortunate. You can resize the window, if you wish. In my first tests, the new size wasn’t retained when I re-opened the window, but I changed it again, and it was saved.

John Gordon:

Looks like Apple removed the hidden multi-edit feature in iTunes 12.1. Open right click get info no longer shows the good/old multi-edit dialog, just the new/crap one.

Kirk McElhearn:

This means that, for most users, tagging will no longer involve typing and pressing the Tab key a few times, but looking closely at the window to find where the fields are, and manually clicking in different locations.

Why would Apple decide to put the Album tag near the bottom of the window? This is one of the most important tags for music. And why would they promote the Composer, and even the BPM tags? This design was clearly made by people who don’t tag music in iTunes.

Update (2015-02-01): Jamie Zawinski:

This is a new one. This time it randomly decided that only most of my music is now Other.