Hello, I’m a web craftsman with a passion for the modern web. I build web applications and play with social services and communities.
Wow. That was a great week! It’s been roughly a month since I went to San Francisco to attend Apples Worldwide Developers Conference 2010, going down in Moscone West from June 7 to June 11.
I flew into San Francisco on Friday, June 4th and had a nice look around the city at the weekend before getting into WWDC on Monday. WWDC started off with a keynote by Steve Jobs. Doors opened on Monday morning at 7am, full 3 hours before the Keynote kicked off. So I thought getting there right at 7 would be fine. But people are actually more mad about seeing Steve Jobs than 15 years old girls for Tokio Hotel. They must have been queueing all night to get in first. At the time I got there, there was a full queue around the Moscone West building. Everyone was playing nice and queued up. The atmosphere was really welcoming and friendly. Since I was on my own I got lucky and could enter the building quite early and ended up getting a seat in the very front of the Presidio room where the keynote happened. It was a great experience to attend a Ketnote for real once. Basically you can feel how excited everyone in that room is, which is a very unique atmosphere for a press event.
After the keynote a busy week full of great sessions started. They are all covered by the developer NDA so I can’t really write much about them. But I can say that I saw and learned some really neat things about HTML5!
After WWDC I had one more day in San Francisco which I used to visit Alcatraz and the SF Bay Aquarium. Then I flew back on Sunday where I met a few another German iOS developers who where on the same flight back to Munich.
Today an App crashed my iPhone pretty badly. This has never happened before and was rather awkward. I was using the App normally and after I ended it and went back to the home screen, the screen went black after half a second and the phone restarted. Or better said: It tried to restart. It couldn’t get past the Apple logo and was totally stuck there. I tried restarting it several times but nothing helped. So I had no choice but restoring the phone from an backup.
Here are the steps to put your phone into Recovery Mode: (using an iPhone 3GS and iTunes 9)
- Plug your iPhone via the USB cable to your computer and start iTunes
- Press and hold the Screen-lock button and Home button simultaneously until the phone turns off and release the buttons then (in case your phone is not totally stuck like mine you can just shut it down normally by holding the screen-lock button until the red slider appears)
- Now press and hold the Home button immediately and wait until the phone starts and goes to Recovery Mode. While on the cable the phone does start automatically after shutting it down. So be quick to release the buttons from step 2 and move over to hold the Home Button
Now you should have the option to restore your iPhone to factory settings. After that you can choose to set the device up as a new one or restore all your personal data from an backup. Once this is done the iPhone will sync all your iTunes media back to the device.
The whole process was quite straight forward but left me without a phone for about 2 hours.
Automator is one the most powerful tools in Apple’s Mac OS X but not many people have heard of it before. And many who know about Automator’s existence have never used it. So why is it? Probably because the use of the tool isn’t that obvious to casual Mac users. Automator – as the name suggests – automates repeating tasks coming up in daily usage of a computer.
So lets say you want to rename a lot of files after a certain pattern. Most people would probably just do that by hand and rename file by file until they are done. They would do that because they don’t know that there is an easier and faster way for that. And that way is called Automator. With Automator you can take a bunch of files and apply actions to them. One of those actions could be “Rename Finder Items”.
There are many of those actions in Automator. Each application in Mac OS X offers some of them. Quicktime is good with movies, so it gives you some actions about movies, Finder is good to deal with files, Mail can handle emails and so on. You get the idea. So you can take all those actions and combine them into a workflow by dragging them from the action view on the left hand side into the workflow on the right hand side.
So what can you do with that now? You could create an automated task that loads photos from a folder, resizes them to 640px in size and attaches them to a new email. Or you could select a bunch of text files, combine them into one and make a PDF from them. Or you could fetch an RSS feed from a website and open all the stories in the feed in new Safari tabs. Or, Or, Or… All just by drag and drop. Each Action has an outlet, which sends the result of the current action to the next action. Just about everything you can do with Mac OS X can be done by Automator too. So as soon as you feel the need to do certain things on your computer regularly you should set up an Automator workflow to do it for you.
A nice thing about Automator is that you can save workflows as proper Mac OS X Applications that can live in your dock and wait for files to be dragged onto them. Or you can attach your workflows to certain dates and times with iCal.
So if you have a Mac you should really have a look at Automator and play around with some actions and workflows to get an idea what the tool can do for you. It will come in handy one day when you have to do some batch tasks.
Oh, and another pretty neat thing about Automator is that it can execute shell scripts. So you can extend it’s functionality quite a lot and you can use it as some kind of Cronjob. There is much to explore, so go out there and give it a shot!
Wow…it’s really been a while since I wrote something here! And what I have to say today won’t really interest many people right now, but might be a good thing to know for later. (at least when you are a Mac user)
So what is it?
Today I tried to update Mac OS X to 10.6.2 (from 10.6.1). I downloaded the update and installed it as usual while shutting down the system. The next morning I saw that my MacBook was still running. Arrrghh! Not a good sign. The update failed and I was asked to restart the computer. After doing so Mac OS X wouldn’t start anymore. All I got was the grey screen with the Apple logo and the spinning loading indicator. But it would never go past that screen. Damn! What now? I tried verbose mode, single user mode, resetting pram, repairing disk permissions… all the standard measures in that situation. Nothing helped! So what now? I had a 10 days old time machine backup and since I worked on many things in the last 10 days I wanted to get 10.6.1 back, while leaving my current files and folders untouched. Unfortunately that’s not possible. It’s all or nothing with Time Machine in this situation.
To make this short: What I did in the end was installing Snow Leopard from the Install DVD with default settings (and there aren’t really any settings to choose from). I wasn’t sure what exactly would happen so I backed up my most valuable files. Is the 10.6 installer like the old “Archive and Install”? Or would it be “Erase and Install”? No word about that in the installer itself. But it turned out that the 10.6 installer is really smart and installs 10.6.0 while preserving all files and settings. So after about an hour I was back in my system. Everything was exactly as I left it! Only was I in 10.6.0 instead of 10.6.1 now. But I installed 10.6.2 with the combo updater anyway afterwards.
But lesson learned: Keep backing up more regularly and back up before any bigger system upgrade!
I’ve been waiting 2 years for this. And now it was time. Unlocked goodness so I can freely travel. As with all Apple product it’s good to wait for the 3rd product generation. Most of the features that make my life much easier, such as CalDAV and LDAP support, were just coming with the 3.0 update.
I got the iPhone 3G S iPhone 3GS (like 3GS better and Apple seems to change it too) (32GB white) 2 days ago, June 20th 09. Since then I’ve been playing around and I’m quite happy about the new possibilities. Over the next few days I’ll be updating my data plans so I can make full use of it’s 3G capabilities in Austria and Germany.
The next step will be software development for the iPhone. First Webapps and later CocoaTouch apps.
iPhone, here I come!