Category Archives for Apple
I think I’ve posted before about the increase in the Dunning–Kruger effect and unconscious incompetence across the networked world, and how everyone thinks they’re an expert because they Googled it once. Especially so when it comes to web development, everyone thinks they’re an expert.
And so we have Virgin Mobile who for the last few years have allowed me to pay my phone bill online, until a few months ago when their support for Safari suddenly broke, meaning not only Macs, but iPhone users can no longer pay their bills. And it’s not that the support was intentially removed, otherwise they’d show a message saying Safari isn’t supported. It’s a bug, because you go through all the steps for payment and it barfs with a message about cookies not being turned on when it tries to push the payment through their payment gateway. Nice. And it’s not a cookie problem, because I double checked, and I’m a … umm, expert. The message actually seems to be coming from the payment gateway or phone account authentication gateway though, or some wrapper around it, because it’s styled completely differently to the rest of the site, which in itself is a stupid oversight.
I tried to report the problem, but their online form for contacting them has the same problem, it barfs with the same cookie error when you submit the form. So I called them and they said I must have cookies turned on to login. Well, I can login fine, and 15 minutes of stepping them through the process, and two different machines, a Mac with Safari and a Windows XP machine with Safari, finally satisfied them that they had a problem and they escalated it for me. I even offered them my help at the time, to come in look at their development processes, quality control and staffing, because it’s what I do, but they passed on that.
So guess what, a month later I haven’t heard anything, and I try to pay my bill and it’s still got the same problem. And I call again, and again they don’t believe me, and again I step them through the process and they agree to escalate it as a bug. And guess what happened today a month later? Yep, the same thing.
Virgin Mobile keeping SMSing me to say I haven’t paid my bill, and I keep SMSing them back that I can’t until they fix their site. I no longer recommend Virgin Mobile to people, and I now put them in the same camp as Vodafone when I left them several years ago. Customer service fail, customer satisfaction fail, software development fail, testing and release QA fail. Virgin Mobile, company fail.
<rant>I’ve now needed to use Microsoft Word at least 30 times in the last few weeks since my last post about their licensing being restricted to certain hardware configurations, and at least 30 times I’ve been unable to use it, which negatively affects my ability to do my work, and simply reinforces my opinion of Microsoft and my passion for finding Microsoft alternatives.</rant>
We own two copies of Mac Office 2011 for our business, both of which have to be licensed (inflexibly) to specific machines. Basically Microsoft licensing works like this: it takes a little snapshot profile of what your machine looks like, what the processor is, how much memory you have, what hard drives etc., and then uses that do identify your machine. Change your machine, the profile changes and the software fails to start.
I added a hard drive over the weekend, an external drive that I just plugged into my Mac with a cable to do a backup. I was going to remove it again but I accidentally started Word and it freaked out, reset my product activation, and now I can’t run any Office applications, which I need for some client work that’s due tommorrow. However the product keys are on the original software disks, and they’re currrently in storage because we’re about to move premises. I have no idea where the box they’re in would be, it was all shipped out by removalists, and it would take several days just to go through everything.
Yet again, Microsoft’s stupid licensing system only hurts real paying customers, when those who pirated it are simply running their no-activation products fine on any machine they wish, completely unhindered by Microsoft’s pathetic attempt to lock them down. Next time I upgrade Office, I’ll be seriously considering cracking it, because it’s obviously pretty easy to do, and I’m certainly not the only one.
Fuck you Microsoft. Fuck you.
What is it with RSS readers these days that they only work with Google Reader? Particularly those for mobile devices such as the iPad. I get how syncing with it would be a good feature, but not at the expense of standalone feeds. It’s not like pulling feeds is technically difficult, there were hundreds probably thousands of RSS readers in the early 2000s, and they all did the heavy lifting themselves, without dependence on a third party service. And I should know, our company at the time developed a fairly popular RSS reader application for windows around 2004. It’s not rocket science, and it’s not like any of the standards have really changed at all.
I think it’s just lazy, lazy developers calling a simple API to get the data from Google Reader and then calling another couple of pretty basic platform APIs to display them in a list.
What if I don’t want to use Google Reader? What if I don’t trust Google? What if I don’t trust Google with the already incredible amount of personal data they have about me that they sell to advertisers? What if I simply don’t trust a company which makes all its money from selling me to advertisers?
I blame Google Reader for the decline in feeds and feed reading, as people not wanting to use Google are pretty much stuck without much of a choice in RSS readers.
It’s very tempting to write my own and be done with it, and one of its features will be “doesn’t support with Google Reader”.
Talk about Google keyword overloading. Anyway, the problem at hand.
There’s a lot of information out there on how to convert Outlook to Apple Mail, with some Thunderbird along the way, but most are old enough to be out of date, but not old enough that people realise this.
The upshot is, just follow the steps documented at Migrate Mail Messages (Mac Thunderbird to Apple Mail version 4).
Now for the detail.
Apple’s Mail application used to store messages using the popular mbox format, which is pretty much the most widely used mailbox format, except for in Outlook, which uses Microsoft’s proprietary .pst format.
But around Mac OS X 10.4, Mail was changed to instead use the .elmx format. The different is namely that mbox files are pretty much an entire file full of the raw headers and text from every email in that mail folder; but .elmx uses parent mbox for each mail folder, but individual .emlx files for each message. Apparently in support of Spotlight, but I’m not sure.
This means that any import of mbox data may not work for OS X 10.4 and above.
On the Outlook side, .pst files are proprietary, and as far as I’m aware there are no non-Microsoft applications that can successfully parse these files. This will change, because Microsoft are currently working on documenting and open up the file format, as part of there open source promise. So the main (only?) way to export from Outlook is to write a program that asks Outlook directly for each email, and manually build mbox files. This is handled through the Windows MAPI interface, and requires Outlook to be running at the time so it can respond to the events being asked of it. Most programs that you buy for converting Outlook files, require you to have Outlook running at the time. They don’t really parse .pst files, they convert them by asking Outlook to hand over its message objects.
How to convert Outlook to Mail 4.0
Thankfully, Thunderbird provides its own MAPI import of Outlook files, so launch Outlook first, then download and run Thunderbird, and select import from the file menu. This should leave you with Thunderbird containing all of your Outlook mail.
Next you need to copy the Thunderbird mailbox files over to the Mac, because unsurprisingly enough, the Mac version of Thunderbird uses the same file format, a slightly modified mbox format. Just copy all the files in c:Users[username]Application DataThunderbirdProfiles over to the Mac and put it in /Users/[username]/Library/Thunderbird/Profiles/.
You could now run Thunderbird for Mac if you wanted, but you don’t need to if you’re importing into Apple’s Mail application.
Next step is to clean up the files so that Mail can correctly import them. If you import them as is, using Mail’s File/Import… function, you’ll end up with all the correct folders, but most of them will be empty. To clean them, you need to run the free Eudora Mailbox Cleanup. Don’t be fooled by the name, it also cleans Thunderbird files and imports them into Mail. You can download it from here: http://homepage.mac.com/aamann/files/EudoraMailboxCleaner.dmg.
It’s compiled for PowerPC only, so if you run it from Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6), then it will prompt you to install “Rosetta”, the PowerPC emulator for Intel Macs. Let Finder install Rosetta, and then copy the Eudora Mailbox Cleaner application from the .dmg image onto the desktop, as you need to run it from a read/write disk..
Eudora Mailbox Cleaner is a drop application, so you need to drag the parent directory that you copied from the Windows version of Thunderbird, and drop it into the Eudora Mailbox Cleaner application icon. You’ll get a prompt for the mailbox format, so select Mozilla/Thunderbird and click OK. It should then start converting all your mailbox data.
Once done, just run the Mail application and all your mailboxes will magically appear under your other mailboxes. If you click on them, most won’t have any messages, so select each folder in turn and select Mailbox/Rebuild from the Mail menu. Your messages should now appear correctly.
You’d think that Apple would have this all sorted by now.
“The following instructions are intended for members of the Apple Developer Connection (ADC), running an iPhone with a developer version of the iPhone OS 3.0 software. This guide also only provides Australian carrier settings for Telstra, Vodafone and Optus (plus resellers like Virgin), but if you follow the link to Crunchgear in the first step there are instructions on downloading and modifying the carrier setting bundles.”
“Gorgeous, artistic icons are an important part of the Mac OS user experience. Users expect beautiful icons that tell an applications story in a clear and memorable way.”
“iPhone, other mobile apps can turn enthusiasts into annoying know-it-alls”
I had the amusing experience of connecting my iPhone to a Windows box today. Windows is so user friendly that it prompted me for which iPhone application it should run.