Archive for October 24, 2017

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

iBooks Author Conference Highlights Ecosystem Worries

Josh Centers:

Authors who choose iBooks Author do so because it’s free and it’s flexible, but the other reason I heard repeatedly was that it’s the “best in class.” iBooks Author can do things that no other publishing tool can do, making it easy to create multi-touch, multimedia-intensive experiences. Metrock said he is asked once a week about a Windows equivalent of iBooks Author. “It doesn’t exist,” he says.


That might sound like a ticket to publishing fortune, but it’s sadly not the case. iBooks Author users aren’t in it for the money. Denise Clifton of Tandemvines Publishing, who worked on the investigative reporting book “An Air That Still Kills,” said that the iBooks Author version was the best and most advanced, but sold fewer copies than any other.


It’s no secret that Apple doesn’t pay much attention to iBooks Author. All you have to do is look at Apple’s own page for it, which brags that it “has been beautifully redesigned for OS X Yosemite.” Welcome to 2014! iBooks and the iBooks Store haven’t fared any better.

So iBooks Author falls into a strange hole where it’s a powerful, unique tool, but its creator seems to have no interest in its survival. How did we get here, and why hasn’t Apple just pulled the plug?

Quicken 2018 Switches to Subscription

Zac Hall:

Mac customers now have more options for Quicken versions for the first time with Starter, Deluxe, and Premier versions offered. Starter is priced from $34.99/year, Deluxe from $49.99/year, and Premier from $74.99/year so Quicken customers on the Mac can now pick which version is best based on their needs.


Quicken 2018 shifts the pricing scheme from paid annual upgrades to a new annual subscription plan. Year-long subscriptions are available online while two-year plans that include different price points (full prices below) are available through retail channels.

Quicken 2017 and 2015 were both $75 ($64.59 at Amazon), with a $10 discount for upgrades. I’m not a Quicken user, and the different versions (some not available for Mac) are confusing enough that I’m not sure whether this is a price increase or just a change in model.


Like others, I’m annoyed with Quicken for forcing upgrades without delivering added value. Previously, they disallowed online access after three years. Now that have reduced that to ONE year. I’ve used Quicken since it came on 3.5 inch floppy disks (remember them?) but for a while now have been searching for an alternative on my Mac. Quite honestly, there isn’t anything that is as robust as Quicken for Windows - Mac included. I run a VM with Windows just for Quicken.


I have grudgingly paid these guys every three years to keep my downloads working. All I have for this is a tweaked interface. With this model, they have tripled my cost.

iOS Calculator Bug

Stephen Heaps:

Is the iOS 11 Calculator slow for anyone else? Do button anims need to complete now? 1+2+3+4 at this speed should work fine…

1+2+3+4 = 28?

It’s the + after the 2 isn’t hit. But it should be hit. Look how slow I’m tapping!

Dave Peck:

Here’s a fun one: open the iOS 11 calculator. Rapidly type 1 + 2 + 3. Odds are you won’t get 6…

Javier Soto:

Apple software is buggy, but surely the iOS calculator can still do 1+2+3 correctly.

Mike Rundle:

Calculator in iOS 11 has such a long animation (and blocks all other touches) that it’s unusable. Burn it down.

I hadn’t seen this bug before, probably because I use PCalc, but I was easily able to reproduce it, even with Reduce Motion on.

See also: Reddit.

Update (2017-10-24): Marco Scheurer:

First (only?) default app coded in Swift and “Swift code is safe by design, yet also produces software that runs lightning-fast”. The irony.

Dave Mark:

When you hit the plus sign for the second time, the calculator app goes into some odd state. Not sure if this is intentional, or a bug, but either way, this is not what you’d expect.

Chris Espinosa:

In case you’re tempted to write a Radar on this, 70+ people have beaten you to it.

Update (2017-10-25): Rosyna Keller:

The interesting part is that this is a very old bug. Just now getting news.

Peter Maurer:

This made me realize that bug marketing is a thing. If you want an annoying, but fairly inconsequential bug fixed, find a way to make it go viral.

Update (2017-10-26): See also: MacRumors.

Update (2017-10-29): Nacho Soto is seeing a similar bug on macOS 10.13.

Update (2017-10-30): Juli Clover:

The new iOS 11.2 beta, released to developers this morning, addresses a Calculator animation issue that’s been present since iOS 11 was released to the public in September and throughout the iOS 11 beta testing process.

Update (2017-11-13): See also: The Talk Show.

Update (2017-12-02): Rob Griffiths:

The Calculator bug persists in iOS 11.2. It’s not as bad as it was before, but it’s definitely still there. You don’t even have to tap super fast; I can make it happen whether I’m using two fingers or one. As long as a couple of button taps are within a reasonably-quick amount of time, you’ll get the wrong answer.

Update (2018-01-31): Benjamin Mayo:

In iOS 11.3, the Calculator works when typing quickly AND the fade animation on the buttons is back. Happy that they went back and did it properly after the quick-fix in 11.2 where they got rid of the animation altogether.