Category: Mac & OS X

The Apple Mac App Store sucks: Reason #237

Mac App Store fail

It seems like every time I have to update an Apple application on my Mac (not an OS update) using the Mac App Store, I experience obnoxiously slow download speeds, and a plethora of update issues. The screenshot above shows off what happens almost every time I update iMove (it happens with Pages & Numbers as well, though not Keynote).

The fact that I’ve already endured a painfully slow download of a 2GB+ update to iMovie 10.1.1, and am able to launch the app and use it doesn’t seem to bother the App Store app. It continues to tell me that I have an iMovie update. It continues to try to download the 2GB+ iMovie update. It continues to suck donkey balls.

I’ve tried all manner of fixes, but the Mac App Store app just insists on sucking donkey balls.

What doesn’t fix it:
• Restart Mac App Store app
• Log out/in from App Store Account
• Log out/in from iCloud
• Log out/in from Mac
• Restart Mac
• Deleting all .plist files with the word ‘store’ in them

What does fix it:
• Re-downloading the giant and slow-downloading ‘update’ of iMovie

So to summarize… the Mac App Store sucks donkey balls. Phil Schiller (recently placed in charge of the Mac App Store at Apple) has his work cut out for him.

Dear Apple: Seriously???

I have a pretty darn fast Internet connection. Much faster than any streaming video service requires, and plenty fast enough for me to download large files with little eye-rolling and finger-tapping. But the thought of updating my iPhone makes me cringe.

When Apple pushes an update to iOS, you have two miserable choices.

Miserable choice #1:
You can render your phone completely useless for as long as it takes to download the OTA (over the air) update, unpack/prepare, install and restart your iPhone. The annoyance is compounded by the fact that you must keep the phone from “sleeping” while the update downloads, otherwise it just stalls. So you basically have to sit there like a jackass flicking the screen every minute or so to keep it active. Unless you have a death-wish, you definitely don’t want to do this while driving.

Miserable choice #2:
You can render your entire home network useless for hours by downloading an enormous iOS installer. It’s like downloading the entire OS just to get the updated components. Everyone in the house will hate you, because your Internet service slows to a crawl while you download what appears to be something the size of the entire Amazon video library just so your Apple Music app gets improved playlists, old photographs stop showing up in Photos app as new every time you connect your iPhone to your Mac, and your Email app works the way it should have to begin with.

iOS updates

…And as is always the case…
I decided to update to iOS 9.2 this morning. At 4am, to be exact. Nobody in my neighborhood is awake, so there is no internet traffic from other users in the local pipe. I made sure no other downloads of any kind were occurring. I decided to ‘download only’ the iOS update via iTunes on my Mac. The 2GB file download offers me the wonderful news that it might be finished downloading by the time I get home from work tonight. That doesn’t include actual install time.

So I decide to go the ‘quick’ route by doing the OTA download. A much smaller file, my iPhone claimed it only need ‘about 15 minutes’ to update. So after 40 minutes of downloading, another 15 or so minutes of updating, and 5 or so minutes of excruciatingly slow restarting, my phone is finally ready to use again.

In contrast, I downloaded and installed the entire Mac operating system from scratch in less time than it takes to do a run-of-the-mill iOS update. And I didn’t have to sit there and babysit the download—–as the Mac is smart enough to not fall asleep while downloading/installing.

Seriously, Apple. FIX THIS SHIT!

Can you really replace Mac OS X’s Finder?

Commander OneWhen I decided to take a look at Commander One, I did so with the expectation that I was going to be looking at something that was equal to or better than apps I was already familiar with and/or used on a regular basis—such as XtraFinder, Path Finder, Transmit, etc.. After looking at the feature list of Commander One, I immediately wondered if it could possibly deliver on the promises it made.

Commander One is what you would call a Finder Enhancement app. It simply recreates Finder windows and adds a multitude of tweaks and features to them. This is nothing new; XtraFinder does this to some extent, and and Path Finder have done these things for years. But Commander One promises to offer Path Finder-level features, plus a built-in FTP manager, at an affordable price through the Mac App Store—where you have the luxury of installing it on five Macs at a time. (more…)

Download, play and organize any type of video for 30% less

Elmedia Player appSimple, targeted solutions is the name of the game for me when it comes to 3rd party software. I no long want apps that try to do a whole bunch of loosely-related things just to justify the cost.

For as long as I can remember, people have been complaining about iTunes and web browsers as it relates to their ability to download and manage videos. And for several years I’ve been telling you about Elmedia Player Pro because I found it to be a great solution.

Eltima Software recently updated their powerful media player/manager Mac app, Elmedia Player, to version 6, bringing with it some speed improvements via hardware acceleration, and support for Apple’s latest OS X version, El Capitan.

If you’re wondering why you might need Elmedia Player, and what makes the Pro version worth $20, read on for a brief summary.
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Control window position with Spectacle

Spectacle

If you’re looking for a little more control over your Mac’s window placement but don’t want to waste time mousing around, Spectacle is the answer to your wish.

Spectacle allows you to move windows to full screen, top half, bottom half, left and right half position with a simple keyboard shortcut.

Enhance OS X’s speech services

Dictator

If you use Mac OS X’s built-in speech service to read text back to you, you’re going to love this little gem!

Dictator is a free add-on that enhances built-in speech services by adding a progress indicator, a teleprompter (for reading along with the audio if you wish), and control audio with play, pause, and skip forward by sentence or paragraph controls.

To use Dictator, you simply select some text in any Services supported app (pretty much every app), right-click and choose Dictate from the menu.

You can download Dictater here.

The best iOS 9 content blocker so far

I started using an extension for Safari on my iMac a while back called Ghostery. It basically blocks tracking cookies and other obnoxious little things. It’s not an ad blocker, but it not only speeds up website load times, it’ll protect your privacy as well. It’s awesome, and I recommend you get Ghostery for the Mac right away.

Flash forward to yesterday when I finally got around to trying some content blockers for iOS9 on my iPhone 6Plus. I tried several, including one that was more than the price of a cup of coffee. Let me tell you that almost every single one of them available on the App Store absolutely sucks. Then I came across a Tweet about yet another content blocker—but this one caught my eye because it also mentioned Ghostery.

Peace content blocker for iOSTurns out, Marco Arment (creator of Instapaper and Overcast) has an iOS 9 content blocker called Peace for only $2.99.

What got me to buy it immediately was that A) The screenshots looked much more polished and easier to use than the other apps. And B) Marco has an exclusive deal with Ghostery to use their database as the foundation for Peace’s ability to block trackers. And really, that’s what sold me.

What it does

Peace blocks ads, trackers, social media buttons and other mobile web annoyances. You can configure with a simple slider if you want those social media buttons blocked, as well as most web comment systems and a site’s use of web fonts. All of those things can really slow a web page down, something I can overlook on an uber-fast desktop cable connection but is absolutely infuriating on mobile. As a bonus, Peace can install a set of Share Sheet extensions that allow further access to the app’s capabilities.

Peace isn’t perfect, by any means. Some ads still get through. And sometimes it’ll block things you don’t want blocked. But peace will allow you to add domains to a whitelist if they don’t work properly, or you simply love a site and want to support it by not blocking anything.

Want proof it’s working?

If you buy it and really want to see what it does, may I recommend you visit MacDailyNews before and after installing. At any given time, the site can have around 25 banner ads and a list of trackers as long as my arm. The page loads slow even on a fast cable connection, but on mobile it’s excruciatingly slow. So much so that I often just skip right over any link that points to the site. After I installed Peace, I went to the MacDailyNews homepage. I was shocked when it loaded almost instantly. Of course, almost every one of the ads and all the trackers were blocked, and that’s why it loaded so quickly.

You can read more about Peace here. Direct link to Peace in the app store here. Best $3 I’ve spent in the App Store in a long time!

UPDATE: Marco Arment (the developer) has pulled his app from the App Store after having some regrets. If you managed to buy Peace before it was removed, you can request a refund, or continue to use the app until such time that Apple updates iOS to the point that the app no longer works.