Open Thinkering


Tag: OSX

Mac OSX Mountain Lion 10.8: vendor lock-in for the masses?

OSX Mountain Lion

Chris Betcher on his problem with upgrading to the latest release of the Mac operating system:

It’s not that I don’t like their products. I do. I have several Macs, iPads, iPhones, and Apple TVs. Walled garden or not, they build beautiful products that –  for the most part – do exactly what they claim… they just work. While I don’t always approve of their proprietary attitude to the way they build their products, I understand the design goals that such a hardware and software symbiosis achieves, and I would still ra use a Mac than any o machine.

It seems from the lengthy Ars Technica review of OSX Mountain Lion 10.8 that Apple’s betting on locking into iCloud. Big time:

The overall message from Apple is loud and clear: thou shalt save thy documents in the iCloud, and thou shalt interact with those documents primarily through the applications that created them. (Thou mayest still employ the old ways by clicking “On My Mac” ere opening or saving documents. But seriously, consider using iCloud instead.)

At the same time, the Mac App Store is starting to look a lot more like the iOS store – i.e. telling developers that unless Apple can take a cut of their profits, they’re unwelcome on users’ systems:

Mac 'Gatekeeper' feature

One of the attractions of using Apple devices is that you can get stuff done on them without having to worrying, for example, about random blue screens of death. However, it seems that those who do know their way around a computer are increasingly frustrated by Apple’s approach. Back to Chris Betcher:

I’ve been using personal computers for a long time. I’ll happily admit to being a “power user” and I ra object to Apple’s insistent belief that they need to dumb down my computer because they think I can’t cope with a file system, or that I should suddenly start scrolling in the opposite direction because it’s more “iPad like”, or that I should have fewer choices available because I need to have the software decide what’s best for me.

I’m all for making it easier to get things done with computers and o digital devices. What I’m not in favour of is simultaneously creating a walled garden for vendor lock-in. e are o ways – open standards anyone?

By the way, one of the best ways of reading that Ars Technica review is to add it to Pocket which then formats it really nicely without having to click for the next page (or be online, for that matter). 🙂

LastHistory: a great way to generate visualizations

(click image for larger version)

As you can see from the above visualization of my history I’ve been using it for a fair while (since 19 March 2003 according to my profile). Recently, as I’ve gone Spotify-only, everything that I listen to is ‘scrobbled’ to Which makes the data from the latter part of 2009 onwards much more representative of my listening habits.

The time of day is down the side and putting your mouse over each ‘node’ links to other times you played that track. Sweet. 🙂

You can download LastHistory, the free Mac OSX app used to create this at:

(via FlowingData)

HOWTO: Create iTunes audiobooks from MP3s

I’ve been getting into audiobooks recently, but have been frustrated that they’ve been in MP3 format. I want them in iTunes audiobook format!* This article explained most of what I cover in the screencast below, but I’m delighted to have figured out how to use Automator on Mac OSX to make the file-renaming a whole lot less tedious… 🙂

*As I explain in the video, having them in audiobook format rather than MP3 allows you to ‘bookmark’ a chapter if you don’t finish it. With MP3s you would have to start from the beginning again or fast-forward…