Tag Archives: Apple

Reason #66 why this iPhone will be my last, or how I learned to stop worrying and play my .ogg files

cannot play file

Really sick of this.

Tired of seeing this “Cannot play audio file” message in iOS? I know I am. Some folks have taken to blaming Wikipedia for this. Others blame the .ogg file itself while others blame the entire open source philosophy for this conundrum. I lay the blame squarely where it belongs – at Apple’s feet (Microsoft doesn’t get a pass here, it’s just that I don’t use the Windows operating system, Microsoft Office, or Internet Explorer at all anymore so I rarely have to be directly burdened by their practices).

Soon I will also be saying goodbye to Apple’s iOS for good. This lack of compatibility with common file types is rapidly showing itself to be a lack of common sense. No Flash? No problem for me really. I never miss it on my iPhone and eagerly await the day HTML5 obliterates any and all need for Flash in websites. But .ogg files, in addition to being more prevalent today than ever, are of superior audio quality when compared with their ubiquitous cousin, the mp3. Being someone who creates music as well as consumes it, I appreciate the combination of good quality sound and small compact file size, and have been using the .ogg file format to share my music for some years now. Of course, on the desktop this presents little to no difficulty for those with whom I share music to play the files, but playing these .ogg files on an iPhone or iPad is not possible “out of the box”. To me this makes no sense whatsoever. For devices which exist almost exclusively as content consumption devices to be so restrictive in what types of content can be consumed reeks – the stench of decomposition surely the result of the rotting vegetal matter in a certain garden cut off from the outside world by strangling walls…

Anywho, onward and forward.

VLC icon

God bless the VLC

The VLC player is available in the App Store, and it will play .ogg files received via email. Now, for those inaccessible Wikipedia sounds:

Puffin icon

The Puffin to the rescue.

The first step in accessing these sounds (N.B. at this point I should mention there may very well be easier ways to do this, I just haven’t come across them yet) is to download Puffin web browser from the App Store. (This method of accessing the Wikipedia .ogg files may work in other [NON-Safari] browsers as well, but this is not a scientific experiment – if you’re interested enough to check them all go right ahead.) There is a free trial version of Puffin, but I’ve found that I use it enough to justify its (at the time I bought it – things change and I’m not going to even bother looking up the price now because it might change again between me writing this and you reading it) relatively low price (I paid about $3.00 or so). For the record this is not a sponsored post – I do not receive any benefit from promoting any product or service and this information is for educational purposes only.

Wikipedia in Puffin

Lo and behold the file is now accessible.

We’re almost there. It would be great if we could just play the sound file in the Puffin web browser, but, alas, this is not possible. So we click (press) on the sound file icon and are presented with this dialog:

Puffin download dialog

Decisions, decisions

From here my limited exploration seems to have found the best thing to do is press “Cancel”. That brings us here:

The URL for the .ogg file

The URL for the .ogg file

Press and hold in the URL area and choose “Select All” followed by “Copy”.

Copy the URL

Copy the URL

Now open the VLC app and select Downloads. (You can see below I had already gone through this process when I took the screenshot, hence the file “White noise…” being present at right already.)

Select Downloads in the VLC menu

Select Downloads in the VLC menu

Paste the URL in VLC Downloads

Paste the URL in VLC Downloads

Paste the URL and press Download.

The file is now available for play in VLC.

The file is now available for play in VLC.

The file is now available. Select it and enjoy!

The Glory of playing .ogg files in iOS

The Glory of playing .ogg files in iOS

This is an awful lot of work to hear an audio sample on Wikipedia. So much for Apple being the purveyor of simplistic devices. My next phone will play .ogg files with the press of a finger – I guarantee that!

Journey Home

Near the beginning there was Darkness. Owned Shadows.

When I first looked past the windows and saw the light,

I noticed some sweet looking fruit hanging in the walled garden nearby.

I observed this fruit and thought it sweet,

and I ate of this fruit.

And it was sweet.

When I realized the fruit which grew in the walled garden was no longer sweet,

but rather was sour and rotten,

I set sail for the Icy shores where Penguins play

in old Crimson hats

and have never looked back since.

The End.

Why do we tolerate this?

When I built a computer from parts purchased online I didn’t think too much about the packaging with the motherboard stating Windows version blah blah blah would be required. I know better. I installed Fedora from the Live CD and never looked back. My primary, home-built, computer has never smelled the stench of Windows, and it is honestly the best computer I’ve ever had the pleasure of using.

But today I purchased a keyboard to replace the one I had with my Dell XPS 420 for the past half decade (don’t eat/drink and type, duh) and I’m looking at the box and the damn thing actually states as a system requirement Windows version blah blah blah.

20130809-201450.jpg

Just to make sure I wasn’t missing something, I plugged it into my (sadly discontinued) 24 inch iMac. It works fine. Had to press all of two buttons and one click on the keyboard recognition dialogue, which ran upon booting with the new keyboard attached, and it was recognized and functioning perfectly (as long as I remember the Windows/super key is the Command key). No windows installed there. Then I plugged it into the Dell machine – which hasn’t had any windows installed since I wiped the drives clean with Parted Magic and began using the machine as an OS experimental machine. Currently running Linux Mint 15 and ArtistX (Ubuntu with tons of creation applications pre-installed if you haven’t heard of it before), the keyboard is somehow managing just fine despite the absence of the aforementioned pre-requisite systems…And I didn’t have to do a damn thing to get it set up. Just booted and started typing.

So next I looked at the manufacturer of the keyboard – which is not (at least not explicitly stated to be) Microsoft (which would at least make it understandable, if still wrong, to say a Microsoft owned operating system is required to use the product). It’s a Dynex keyboard, and according to Wikipedia (I can actually say that with a straight face, unlike some years ago when it was a laughing stock of mis-information) Dynex is a Best Buy house brand, which is consistent with the fact I purchased the keyboard at Best Buy.

So the real question is: Why would Best Buy (Dynex) include a verifiably false statement about their products on the packaging of said products? I doubt very much they would of their own accord… Which leads me to believe somewhere in the depths of hell there is some agreement, probably greased along by the universal lubricant of shady dealings, between Microsoft and Best Buy (and damn near every other supplier of hardware in the universe), the terms of which require these suppliers to lie to customers about their products’ so called requirements.

This is of course nothing new – in fact this story is so old it’s almost not worth rehashing… Except for the fact it is still happening! Why on earth do these companies still show such deference to Microsoft? Would the survival of these companies really be in jeopardy if they were to call off such arrangements with Microsoft and say “No. We’re not going to be including that ridiculously false statement on our products, which are compatible with nearly (if not) all operating systems.”? Maybe their survival is at stake; I don’t know. It must be for them to continue to behave so otherwise irrationally.

It’s a fucking crime what Microsoft gets away with.

Holiday Gift Review

For starters, this is a private blog – not some corporate shell of a blog masquerading as a real person’s blog. I am not affiliated with any corporate interests, nor am I employed by any corporation or entity responsible for the creation or commercial availability of any products mentioned in this post.

What I am is stubborn. I try to flow with change, and sometimes it’s easy, but sometimes these corporate sculptors of society just seem determined to move in directions somewhat cliffward if you ask me; somewhat in a direction not parallel to correct; the wrong damn way! is where I’m trying to say they?/we? are headed.

I have just returned from a trip to the (famed) Fifth Avenue Apple Store in Manhattan [linked to only to see if I can get anyone from Apple to pay attention to my grievances – not actually encouraging anyone to shop Apple – you shop where ever you want or not at all, for all I care. FAO Schwarz is nearby if Apple isn’t your cup of tea]. Synchronously, (meaning with synchronicity, just to be clear in case I’m making up words here or using existing ones incorrectly) the main entrance was closed for some kind of maintenance (it was 2 in the morning – they have to do these things sometime!) and we had to use a bowel-like back entrance past the smelly toilets to enter the shop. I used to love visiting Apple stores. I’d head straight for the latest laptops and download Firefox. Then I’d tool around to my heart’s content and eventually convince myself I couldn’t live without it. Prime example of Apple’s genius, if you ask me. But that was in the past. This evening (morning, technically) I discovered that along with this newfangled Mountain Lion crap they’re pushing, all the computers are locked down. No more Firefox installs for me. [Although I did have fun setting several precisely timed (and aptly named) alarms with the new Clock feature on all the iPad minis in the store – more on that later.]

Now, here’s the actually semi-relevant part: I actually did want to acquire knowledge about the new operating system – I don’t want to Luddite my way through life, and I figured I’d open my mind with knowledge so that I could eventually open my heart to this new-yet-strangely-inferior operating system. One of my (admittedly minor) annoyances when playing with friend’s laptops is the loss of the comfortable three-finger swipe to go back when browsing online. I’ve read here and there about work-arounds, and, not wanting to be embarrassingly obstinate, figured maybe I’ll even learn to live with some new gestures… But I can’t even download Firefox in the store to have the otherwise helpful employees show me the ins and outs of the new system. The psychology experts Apple (formerly?) employed knew about letting grown children play in the stores – no better way to make the toy an indispensable part of one’s life. This trip felt like a trip to fascistLand – total lock-down, like Mommy and Daddy weren’t letting me have any fun at all. Not a great way to sell your toys. I left the store feeling completely frustrated and not at all like parting with several thousand dollars for a laptop that may very well end up giving me grief at every step. [I’ve left out a lot of grievances I have with Mountain Lion – just take my word for it: if Mountain Lion is fine for you, so would be iOS. If you truly utilize the Mac’s capabilities and power, Snow Leopard is almost a thousand times better. No hyperbole;) ]

I asked about the no-Firefox thing and got some nonsense about competitor browsers blah yadda blah. No one in the history of Apple ever bought a Mac for Safari and Firefox is a free, open source browser unaffiliated with any particular platform, so where competition comes in is beyond me. Then something else was mentioned about Firefox add-ons being security hazards… Yeah right. Threats to corporate interests, maybe. Anyway, I can sort of see why you might not want members of the public randomly downloading and installing software on demo computers, but realistically speaking, the freedom and joy of unlimited access to the computers is what has always sold those computers to the otherwise unsure. They are only demo computers after all… and supposedly secure ones – what are you so afraid of, Apple? Set up the demos with permissions to download and install software like before – let us enjoy our computers!

The only bright spot was having my first hands on experience with the new iPad mini. It truly is impressive to behold. Perfect weight and size. Just a true joy.

Now, those of you who read my blog regularly know better than to actually expect any holiday gift review from me. Go buy your loved ones whatever the hell they want and don’t be stingy! It’s not about you – make them happy! Merry Happy Holidays and be well 🙂

Why I’m frustrated with the current state of computerLand

There are two main reasons I’m currently pissed off with the current state of affairs in computer land. The first is that Apple is starting to suck, and it’s getting worse every day. And the second reason is that, somehow, Apple is still better than all the rest. I sincerely hope either Apple starts to get back on track, or else that someone else will pick up the slack and start putting out some good products and services. And don’t give me that shareholder crap: yes Apple’s decisions have made it a very strong company and there is currently only a smidgen of dark cloud on the horizon, but look carefully at the big picture and the long view, if you can without throwing up or glazing over in a catatonic state from fear, and tell me truthfully that what you see is good, for Apple or society.

Now, here’s a breakdown of just what I’m ranting about today:

First off:

Even long dead dictators are pissed about Apple removing the “Save As” feature from OSX. Despite all the justification and explanation given by those in whose eyes Apple can do no wrong, this is a bone headed move. Duplicate is a longer, more convoluted way of doing something very basic and in effect fixes (or fails to fix) what was not broken. I know this is old news for many of you, but it is yet another reason I refuse to upgrade to the newer versions of OSX (I’ll keep my Snow Leopard until this Mac dies, at which point I may have to buy a dreaded non-Apple computer just to make a point – Apple, I will not continue to buy your increasingly inferior products out of loyalty: make them great again!). And I don’t need all these mobile device specific “non-improvements” on my desktop computer. Reminders? Notifications? Why would I want these when I’m hard at work on a project? That is called distraction, and it is bad for you. I can receive these much more usefully on my mobile device thank you.

While I don’t agree 100% with everything the creator of this video says, I feel he hits the mark pretty squarely with what feels so wrong about Apple abandoning their pro users:

Now, as for mobile devices, I ran into a strange thing today. I keep a tally of my current balance on my laundry card in my Notes app on the iPhone. For some reason, today when I wanted to edit the text in the Notes app, I could not insert the carat. I could only type over selected text… The dreaded insert vs. type-over debate! When and why did this happen? I could not find anything online and called Apple to inquire. After finally reaching a customer service agent (AKA human being) and describing the problem, he asked for the serial number of my device whist simultaneously hanging up on me. The phone did not say dropped call, as it does when a call is dropped, it went back to the number pad as it does when a call is terminated by the other party. I may be paranoid: maybe it was an accident? My gut tells me no. I am refraining from destroying your screen with all bold caps here, but I was pissed! Beyond words (well okay, I’m finding a few…). Fuck You Apple.

Going all the way back the the iPod, I bought one about six or seven years ago to listen to my CDs on the go. Worked great for a few months until they stopped playing. Brought the iPod back to Apple since I bought their expensive warranty plan. They replaced it. New device had the same problem. Fuck you Apple, I’m never buying another iPod again. Fast forward several years, I get an email (excerpted here, emphasis added by yours truly):

United States District Court for the Northern District of California
Case No. C-05-00037-JW
NOTICE OF PENDENCY OF CLASS ACTION
TO: All Persons or Entities in the United States Who Purchased One of the Listed Ipod Models Directly from Apple Between September 12, 2006 and March 31, 2009 (the “Class”).
Please Read this Notice Carefully and in its Entirety.
Your Rights May Be Affected by Proceedings in this Litigation.
This Notice has been sent to you pursuant to an Order of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The purpose of this Notice is to inform you that you have been identified as a potential member of the Class described above so that you can decide whether to remain a Class Member or to exclude yourself or your company from the Class. If you want to stay in this Class Action, you need not do anything now, and you will be bound by the Court’s rulings in the lawsuit. If you do not want to participate in this Class Action or have your rights affected by it, you must request exclusion as described in this Notice by July 30, 2012.
This is not a solicitation from a lawyer.
This Notice is not an expression of any opinion by the Court about the merits of any of the claims or defenses asserted by any party to this litigation. The Court has not decided whether Defendant Apple Inc. (“Apple”) has done anything wrong. Apple has not been ordered to pay any money. There has been no settlement.
I.    SUMMARY OF THE LITIGATION
Apple sells iPods directly to customers through its online and retail stores and directly to Apple authorized resellers. The lawsuit claims that Apple violated federal and state laws by issuing software updates in 2006 for its iPod that prevented iPods from playing songs not purchased on iTunes. The lawsuit claims that the software updates caused iPod prices to be higher than they otherwise would have been. Apple denies that it did anything wrong and asserts that the software updates challenged by Plaintiffs improved its products, were good for consumers, and had no effect on iPod prices. The Court has not yet decided whether Plaintiffs or Apple is correct.
On November 22, 2011, the Court allowed the case to proceed as a class action for all persons and entities that purchased certain iPod models between September 12, 2006 and March 31, 2009. The specific models of iPods covered by the Class Definition can be found at www.ipodlawsuit.com.
The Court appointed Plaintiffs as Class representatives, appointed Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP as Class Counsel, and directed that this Notice be sent to potential Class Members informing them of the pending litigation. […]
So at least now I know why my CDs no longer played back on my iPod… Fuck YOU Apple.  Reading from the above again: the updates were good for consumers… Oh really?
FUCK YOU Apple!!!! FUCK YOU!!!!
Sorry folks, had to let that out. Now, as for the rest? I haven’t had too much experience with those other phones out there yet. Truthfully, the few times my coworkers have asked me to help them with their Google phones, it was a real head scratching experience. Not very user friendly they seemed to me (pardon the Yoda-speak). But I’m looking. Because when I’m ready (hopefully I’ve got at least a few years left out of my phone and computer) my next purchases may very well be from Sony and Google if Apple doesn’t cut the crap, and all indications are they are going forward, full crap ahead 😦

 

 

 

 

 

Time to X XP

Here’s some stupidity for you: What’s up with the XP cult? There is a legion out there with undying love for Windows XP… Why?

It was one of the first really stable (eventually), user friendly operating system Microsoft came out with, okay, but why the loyalty when it’s been so clearly surpassed by Windows 7 and was never as good as Mac’s OSX? It’s like there’s this army of zombies that first learned how to use a computer that happened to be running a certain operating system and they just can’t free themselves from the spider’s web that is an aging, soon to be obsolete operating system.

Get over it folks! It’s dead. There is more and more software coming out, not to mention updates to existing software,  that just won’t run on XP, and rightly so.

They cling to it, ever more confused when the newest version of their favorite game or utility program won’t run on it. They ask why. They argue and debate in a frivolous manner as if time ceased to exist and there was no point in moving forward. They waste their lives away bitter that they’ve been robbed. Cheated. Betrayed by the universe. GET OVER IT FOLKS! It’s dead.

Never before has an operating system had such a deluded group of adherents. A cult that obsesses and worships. Protects with a fierceness not unlike that which a mother bear displays in protecting her cubs. But these guardians of the faith watch over a dead corpse. A dead god is what they worship, powerlessly and in vain. Caught in a time warp that bends around them, suffocating them slowly, they go on, questioning, betraying their ignorance and sloth.

A Big Raspberry to you all!

 

’till next time! 😛