Categories
Books Me

macOS Big Sur and iOS 14 Books Now Available for Preorder

It has become my own tradition to write two books about Apple’s latest operating systems. Despite everything going on in 2020, I have managed to do just that. There are two books, one for macOS and another for iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, and watchOS. The title’s of this year’s books should not be any surprise. These books are available for pre-order.

macOS Big Sur for Users, Administrators, and Developers

macOS Big Sur for Users, Administrators, and Developers covers the new features with the latest release. macOS Big Sur brings a slew of new features like new icons, a refined design with updated toolbars, menu, and alerts. The new design is accompanied by Messages and Maps now having feature parity with their iOS versions, which means new features coming to the Mac that were not present before. One of the most used apps on the Mac is Safari, and there is a whole new privacy section to help you see which websites are tracking you and which trackers they are using. Reminders and Notes have seen a couple of updates like assigning reminders and easier access to text styles in notes. The biggest change for the Mac this year is that it is moving to Apple Silicon and a significant portion of the book is dedicated to that, including a history of the Mac

For administrators we dive into managing Macs running Apple Silicon, scripting language updates, some changes to how updates are handled, and the updates to Profile Manager.

Developers can learn about how Apple Silicon will affect their applications, the changes to Xcode, enhancements to the Swift programming language and SwiftUI. Also discussed are some new Swift Packages, how to implement Widgets using WidgetKit, SF Symbols 2, and Safari extensions.

macOS Big Sur for Users, Administrators, and Developers has something for everyone.

You can pre-order this book from Apple or Amazon for $3.99 each. There will be black & white and color paperbacks available soon.

iOS 14, iPadOS 14, tvOS 14, and watchOS 7 for Users and Developers

iOS 14, iPadOS 14, tvOS 14, and watchOS 7 for Users and Developers somewhat mirrors macOS Big Sur in that there are some design tweaks like the new Widgets and your ability to place them on the home screen for device running iOS, the new App Library system, which can help you organize your home screen. Along with the home screen changes, search and Siri have seen some improvements as well, and those are covered. Safari can now help keep you informed about who is tracking you across the web. 

Communications is a big part of today’s society, so the updates to Messages is covered, and there is a whole new help to help you translate text, called the Translate app. Users will be able to learn about the new updates to Notes, Reminders, and Maps. If you prefer to handwrite items there is a new feature just for you called called Scribble, which will take your handwriting and covert it into text.

Health is a huge topic and there have been some big changes like the renamed Fitness app on the iPhone and a way of tracking Sleep on the Apple Watch. These are both covered along with updates to Face ID and masks, as well as new ways to protect your hearing.

The Music and Home apps have been slightly changed and updated and the Shortcuts app gets some new tricks to help automate things even better than before.

Developers will learn all about Apple Silicon, because their iOS and iPadOS apps can run natively on Macs running Apple Silicon. Along with Apple Silicon, developers can learn about changes to Xcode, the new Swift, SwiftUI, and Swift Packages, as well as how to implement WidgetKit, some things to keep in mind about AppClips, how to implement the new Color Picker and how to support PencilKit and Scribble with their custom interfaces.

You can pre-order this book from Apple or Amazon for $3.99 each. There will be black & white and color paperbacks available soon.

Categories
Apple Me

One Downside to Streaming and Subscriptions

The way that we consume media has greatly changed over the last twenty years. At the turn of the century, which seems just like yesterday, we listened to mix-CDs on our Sony Walkman CD players or had MP3s that were either ripped from CDs or obtained via other means. Movies were on DVDs, as Blu-Ray would not come to market until 2006. And there was no streaming media to speak of due to lack of bandwidth, both on the server and consumer sides. Basically, we purchased our media or borrowed it from others.

There were some who had high-speed internet, but this was likely using a desktop that was not equipped with Wi-Fi. One of the most ubiquitous items that everyone has today is a cell phone. Yes, cell phones were available and had just started to become more and more popular, but they were still not as commonplace as today. If you did have a cell phone, you actually used it as a phone and if you were lucky you could possibly have a very basic game or two. Life has changed significantly in a mere twenty years.

Today we have streaming media and subscription services. There seems to be a subscription for just about everything these days. Some of the types of subscriptions available include games, music, movies, apps, and tv shows. The two types of services that most users have a subscription to are for Music and Movies/TV Shows. For music, there are options like Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play Music, Amazon Music Unlimited, among others. For Movies and TV Shows, you can subscribe to Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, Hulu, and Disney+, along with other options.

The shift that we have had over the last twenty years means that we have gone from owning our own media to merely being renters. Having a subscription can be a mixed bag. On the one hand, we are able to see shows that we may not have purchased. This results in us being able to consume more media, which creates more demand, which means more content will be created. Being able to subscribe to a service means that you can dip in and out, and you do not need to make a significant commitment to the service. To provide some perspective for the amount of content available, according to Variety, in 2019, Netflix alone had more new shows than the entire television industry did in 2005. And that is just one streaming service, so you can imagine how many new shows were created in 2019.

With having subscriptions, on an intellectual level, we all know that we do not have perpetual access to media, yet is not always something that we fully understand. We have all had a show that we enjoyed on a service disappear because the rights for that program with that service have expired. This is quite common with movies and TV Shows. Whereas it is not as common with music. However, I have experienced, first hand, a song that gets pulled from a service, yet it does happen from time to time.

I am one who subscribes to fewer streaming and subscription services than most. I have Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, Apple Music, and This Old House. I used to subscribe to Apple Arcade, but I cancelled it, but that is another story. The service I use the most is Apple Music. This is because I listen to music throughout the work day.

Now I have had songs that have not been playable, because they were singles and the album that contains the single has been released, so access to the single is removed. In these cases, I just re-add the song and continue one. However, I have not had a song just become completely unavailable before. I went to listen to the song “Never Told a Lie” by Noah Smith using Apple Music and I could not. At first I thought, maybe an album has been released with it on it, but that is not the case.

Next, I was thought, I will go and buy the song. I searched the iTunes Store, could not find it. I then searched Amazon Music, could not find it in the U.S. It is not available on Spotify, Amazon Music Unlimited, Pandora, or any other streaming service in the U.S. Even the YouTube video has been pulled. When I did some searching it is possible to purchase, just not in the U.S. You can purchase the song in the UK, Germany, Italy, and many other countries.

While I am generally in favor of streaming services, the times when media is no longer be available, can be inconvenient. Suffice to say, if you want to be sure that some media remains available you will need to purchase it. You will likely want to purchase the items before it is too late.

I do this with movies and some TV shows, but not as often with music. Due to not being able to listen to “Never Told a Lie” anymore, I have taken my own advice and purchased a number of songs that I did not own, but had added to my iTunes library from Apple Music. In all, I ended up purchasing 39 songs. Some of these songs were just singles, so I purchased the entire “album”, while others were just songs on albums, so I purchased them individually.

I understand that this is very much a first-world problem, but it is one that you may experience at some point and it is easily avoidable. If you would like to see the list of songs that I purchased, you can do so by browsing the Apple Music playlist.

Categories
blog Me

A New Start

A millennial is defined as someone who is born between 1981 and 1996. I am a millennial, albeit an early one. If you ask someone to provide one thing that would define a “millennial” it is possible that they will respond with something like “they are constantly jumping from job to job”. If you were to look the resume for what one might call a “typical millennial”, you would likely see them jumping from job to job typically every two or three years. In this respect I am not a typical millennial.

I got my first job when I was 16 and I stayed with that employer for almost 17 years. This clearly is not typical behavior of a millennial. During my tenure there I did just have a single position, I had four of them. I wrote up a whole post about it when I did change jobs.

During my tenure with my second employer I have managed to automate a number of things so they no longer require direct staff intervention, which has freed up staff time to handle other projects. Along with this, I have created many internal applications that have allowed for more streamlined workflows. Friday was my last day with my second employer.

I was not planning on leaving my second employer, but sometimes the right job comes around at the right time; this is one of those cases. I think my second employer is in a much better position than they were before I started three and half years ago.

Tomorrow I start a new job with my third employer. Similar to my last two jobs, this one is is still related to libraries. I will be doing many of the same things as my previous job, but there is one big addition. I will be working on an iOS app. It will not be a public app, as it will be for internal use. The idea of doing an iOS app was one of the big factors in taking the position.

This new job will be a new adventure for me. While it does have with a bit more of a daily commute, each job has tradeoffs. It is the next logical step in my career. Having been a web developer for my day job, as well as doing an iOS app on the side, I am excited to be able to work on an iOS app for my day job.

Categories
Apps Books Developer Me

Taking a Stance with my Apps and Books

Over the past couple of weeks there has been some discussion, and consternation, about Apple rejecting, allowing, and then subsequently pulling the HKMap Live app from the Hong Kong App Store. The controversy stems from the fact that the Apple ultimately pulled the app due to information received from the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau. The information provided to Apple is that the app was being used not only to avoid Police, as the makers of the app intend, but also to target police and other protesters. My thoughts on whether or not Apple should have pulled the app are mixed.

Apple cannot just ignore the will of the Chinese government. This is due to Apple’s reliance not only on China for sales, but also because their manufacturing relies heavily on China. China has one of the most advanced and integrated supply chains in the world. China’s skill not only with manufacturing but also being able to source the quantities needed by Apple are unparalleled.

One day Apple may be able to reduce their dependence on China, and they are making in-roads into being able to do so, but right now it is not currently something that is feasible. Due to their reliance on China, Apple is limited in how it can challenge their will and authority. This is not limited to just China, but China is one of the largest economies in the world and Apple must comply with all laws, including those in China and the Hong Kong territory.

The whole situation has gotten me to thinking about my own apps and books. In particular, whether or not to continue to have them available in the stores of countries that do not meet with my own personal morals.

Because of this I have come to the decision to remove my apps and books from sale within certain territories. These territories are ones that do not meet my personal moral standards. Which countries I have pulled my apps and books are listed below.

  • Bahrain
  • China (Mainland)
  • Colombia
  • Laos
  • Qatar
  • Russia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Tajikistan
  • Turmenistan
  • Uzbekistan
  • Venezuela
  • Yemen

If additional countries warrant the removal of my apps and books from sale, or if the countries listed above warrant me allowing the sales of my apps and books to continue, I will add and remove the countries as needed.

I take stances in many different aspects of today’s society. These include which stores I will purchase from, which websites I will visit, and which company’s products I use (You may be able to guess one of the companies in the last category quite easily). One area where I did not necessarily take a standard, was when it came to where I will sell my creations.

I had physical goods, then it would be less likely that my products would not be available in all countries. This is the case with my paperbacks, since they are only available from Amazon in select markets. Most can be ordered through a book store. Because my products are available digitally, I have always wanted to reach the largest possible audience. Therefore, my books and apps have always been available in all countries. But that is changing. I have decided to take a stance and not provide my apps and books for sale in some countries.

This is a moral stance for me, one that I am able to take because it comprises 0.32% of my app sales ($6.14 over the lifetime of my apps) and 0.075%, or $5.60, of my book sales. Removing the apps and books from sale in these countries will not meaningfully affect my income. This is particularly true since the income from my apps and books is not my primary source of income, but I have decided to take this stance. If you do not agree and decide not to support me by purchasing my apps and books, then that is your decision to make.

Categories
Apple Books Me

iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra books available for pre-order

As I have done since 2012 I have written two e-books over the course of the summer. While the final touches are being put on the books, they are now available for pre-order. As I mention in the books, I did something a bit different this year. I kept track of the total time spent working on the books. So far, I have spent 178 hours on these two e-books. This encompasses everything from watch the Apple Development videos, writing, editing, and image gathering. All of this work has resulted in over 95,000 words between the two books. It is a huge undertaking every year. Nonetheless, the e-books are available for pre-order. They will be released as soon as their corresponding operating systems are released.

iOS 11, tvOS 11, and watchOS 4 for Users and Developers covers all of the new features for each platform. On iOS this includes history of the iPhone, iOS 10.1 to iOS 10.3, 32-bit apps, the redesigned lock screen, home screen, and new cover sheet. Other topics include the all new Files app, control center, changes to Siri, the App Store, updates to Messages, Notes, Camera,  the Music app, and Photos, along with many other changes

A primary topic is the iPad, specifically multitasking, the Dock, Drag and Drop, and how iOS 11 brings a whole slew of new iPad-specific features to the forefront. 

watchOS 4 covers the new User interface, watch faces, and workout types, along with the redesigned music app. tvOS 11 brings Right to left language support, changes to app sizes, and home screen sync. 

For developers some of the topics include changes to Swift, Xcode 9 changes included the Code Editor Window, Source Control, Colors, and developing on iOS. Other topics include APFS, AirPlay 2, Metal 2, CoreML, and networking changes.

iOS 11, tvOS 11, and watchOS 4 for Users and Developers has something for all types of users, whatever your primary interest lies in iOS, watchOS, or tvOS.

It is available for pre-order from Apple in either iBooks, or ePub format. It is $3.99. You can pre-order the e-pub version from Amazon for $4.99.

macOS High Sierra for Users, Administrators, and Developers covers topics for all types of users. Some of the areas covered include new additions and changes to Photos, Safari enhancements, updates to Mail, Notes, iCloud, Siri, and the Apple File System (APFS).

maOS High Sierra for administrators covers some changes around File Sharing, Caching Service, Time Machine Server, and Xcode Server. Along side this, a layout of all of the new and changed Profile Manager payloads and options. 

Lastly for developers, some of the topics covered include changes to Swift, Xcode 9 changes included the Code Editor Window, Source Control, Colors, and developing on iOS. Other topics include APFS, AirPlay 2, Metal 2, CoreML, 32-bit Apps, and external graphics.

macOS High Sierra for Users, Administrators, and Developers has something for every type of user to learn all about the new features that are within macOS.

iOS 11, tvOS 11, and watchOS 4 for Users and Developers has something for all types of users, whatever your primary interest lies in iOS, watchOS, or tvOS.

It is also available for pre-order from Apple in either iBooks, or ePub format. It is $3.99. You can pre-order the e-pub version from Amazon for $4.99.