Yosemite fixes roundup

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Well Yosemite (OS X 10.10) is out and issues seem to be piling up. At work we've been told to hold off on installing the update until further testing determines our systems will work as per normal. I'm keen to set up the new update but will wait until told otherwise. In the mean time, I've sussed out the common issues being reported by those who had already updated before the hold fast warning came out, and more importantly some of the fixes that have worked for some folks. Please note that this is by no means a comprehensive list!  

Visit the source links for the how-to's

  • WiFi issue: "Your network works fine for a while, typically between about 30 seconds and five minutes, and then fairly abruptly begins to suffer almost total traffic loss."
    The fix:  Try resetting the SMC   (has worked on iMacs and MacBook Airs)
    Source: MacDaily News - 2014/10/22

  • Booting into Safe Mode: "After upgrading to OS X Yosemite, you might encounter a problem where your Mac appears to always boot in Safe Mode,..."
    The fix involves one or more of the below:  
         1) Reset the PRAM 
         2) Fix your Hard Drive 
         3) Format your Hard Drive
    Source: MacIssues - 2014/10/20

  • Apple Mail Crashing: "After upgrading to OS X Yosemite, you might find Apple's Mail application may crash or hang when you open it, preventing you from accessing any new messages."
    The fix: involves one or more of the below
         1) Launch Mail in Safe Mode
         2) Boot your Mac into Safe Mode to launch Mail
         3) Remove Mail saved state
         4) Temporarily disable Mail accounts
         5) Uninstall or disable any 3rd party Mail add-ons
         6) Remove and rebuild Mail's container
    Source: MacIssues - 2014/10/19 (updated 2014/10/20) 

    (As an aside - it seems that Outlook 2011 seems to work perfectly)

  • Juniper VPN issues: Network Connect hangs, Junos Pulse won't work.
    The fix: Seems to be to use newer version of Network Connect instead of Junos Pulse -- see last Forum entry in the source link.
    The Source: MacRumors Forum - entry #17 dated 2014/10/22

  • DNS issues: Trouble accessing .local domain
    The fix: open a Terminal session and run this command:   sudo discoveryutil mdnsactivedirectory yes  
    Apple Support Communities (entry by Kenneth Barnt on 2014/10/23)

Creative re-energizing...

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I'm so glad that I was able to attend the UX Immersion conference here in Portland, Or. So worth the price for two days of immersive workshops and a day of feature speakers. Today's the last day of the conference but I feel completely refreshed and re-energized - stretching out creative muscles that have grown too used to familiar patterns. Besides meeting some truly interesting and very smart peers I find the creative boost to be the best part of these gatherings. At the mixer last night a bunch of us were kind of laughing about how it would be so beneficial if company decision makers could attend these kinds of industry conferences. How we feel like we attend these things, tired and worn down from evangelizing the best practices as per industry standards. We laughed while analogizing: if we were boxers, the conference would be our corner and the speakers the trainers who refocus and reenergize us before pushing us back into the ring to once again fight the good fight. Hey man, sometimes we even win! All laughing aside, these kinds of conferences are invaluable.

I think one of the best takeaways from the conference so far was from the Rachel Hinman workshop on Prototyping the Mobile User Experience where she challenged us to cast off the shackles of designing for an experience we're already comfortable and familiar with (the desktop) and truly delve into the context of the mobile experience. Mobile is not a desktop computer, just as web is not print. It's very easy to get into the groove of the familiar design patterns we use day in and day out. What's not so easy is to realize they simply don't translate well to a different context. Plus, by trying to use the same design patterns in a different context you often times miss the opportunity to take full advantage of the native power of that context. Mobile is not desktop so don't design the gui on mobile, take full advantage of the nui affordances.

As well, the feature talks on fitting User Experience into an Agile development project struck some chords with me. Like many others in the audience, our development teams are transitioning from the traditional waterfall project management methodology to agile and like many others I feel we're struggling with folding User Experience into the development process. Hugh Beyer's talk was most informative to me - definitely yes, the UX person needs to be a full member of the development team so that their issues become part of the development issues. And adding a longer Sprint 0 for planning and research just makes sense. I'm glad the conference organizers were videotaping the feature talks as I'll definitely be referring back to share them at the office.  

Today, I'm looking forward to the workshop on Mobile Design for the Enterprise Intranet, a topic of close interest for me as a team member of exactly that kind of project back home. I'm sure I'll be getting a boatload of ideas to bring back.

New Beginnings

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It's been a long time since I've updated this blog. Many things have gone on in my life over the past few years; relationship breakdown, divorce, single parenting an angry teenager, adjusting to life on my own, beginning a new relationship, fledging the teenager, position changes at work, relocating my house - whew! It's been a busy time for me.  Add to this that my dog, my furry best friend, died in the midst of this, an injury sidelined me in my beloved sport of fencing, and then a health issue the next year put the kibosh on fencing altogether for the foreseeable future. Many changes in my life over a relatively short period of time.

I like to think these changes were placed in front of me as a series of challenges to overcome. Change is never easy, even more so when one is comfortable in the known (even if not completely satisfied). Change requires discomfort and who, really, readily seeks out discomfort? I suppose when you are discomforted enough in your current state you will make a change - you are forced to change. But that occurs of your own doing. When change is forced upon you it's very hard to take. A lot of what I learned over the past few years is that change happens and that no matter how uncomfortable it might be, how we accommodate it is our test. I lost a lot of things that were very important to me, but I also gained a lot of things that are important to me now for which I am thankful.

Life's journey takes many twists and turns, at least it has for me, and I've often had to recalibrate where I'm headed with what I want. Nowhere is this more apparent that in my position at work. People who know me would say I have an intense curiousity about things - a real hunger to learn. I'm also a problem-solver and have an appreciation for aesthetic. These attributes led me to the field of web design in 1997. Curiosity about the web coupled with the hunger to learn how to create web pages got me started. The ability to add the aesthetic qualities to these rudimentary sites was what secured me a position at my current place of employment where I was hired on as a web manager in 1999. Over the next decade and a bit, the organization changed (as organizations do), our department realigned and roles within were shifted. Strategic priorities were established or changed and positions were adjust to reflect this. Through twists and turns, through what I call the "dark times", our department emerged into a new beginning which seems much more focussed. My role now incorporates a heavy amount of problem solving as I'm now involved in the richer field of Usability, User Experience and UI design. The biggest change to my role has been that the aesthetic determination is now removed from my role and placed elsewhere. This was difficult for me because I really loved that part of my role. But while the aesthetic might be frontman of the webdesign rock band, without the structure of the show, and the quality of the music, the overall concert(ed) experience will be lacking. What I once did end-to-end has been broken down into specialties and reformulated as a team effort. Which, while there can be challenges to this way of working, is actually not a bad way to do things. And the learning, to my great delight, continues.

So that is where I am at this point in time. Emerging from a whole lotta change but feeling renewed and re-energized and hoping I can keep the momentum going.

instruction manuals...

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A new piece of electronic gear arrived the other day (an early Christmas gift perhaps ;) ) and while (ahem) checking to make sure nothing was broken in transit (that's my story and I'm sticking to it) I decided to read the installation instructions. The first four items on the instruction manual (in bold type no less):

  1. Read Instructions
  2. Retain Instructions
  3. Heed Instructions
  4. Follow Instructions

And then the usual instructions for care and maintenance ensue. My god - I'm literally laughing out loud. Dare I say it? Was this written by ... uhm... women perhaps?? :D

Putting social back into social networking...

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I caught a really cool commerical on TV last night - for Dentyne gum - where todays commonplace social networking terms were portrayed by people acting them out in real-life activities. What initially caught my interest was the use of the buzzwords, what kept my interest was relating it to "face-to"face" activities. Fresh!

Checking out their website I found it really cool that they have a 3 minute countdown after which the website "shuts down" and they encourage you to put away the computer and go outside and have some face time. How truly radical! It seems a sad sort of commentary on the state of things as we find people more and more relating to each other across the digital networks rather than face to face... in an effort to bring the world closer, are we really pushing people apart? Face time is indeed important, often I find myself now choosing to walk down the hall to confer with a colleague rather than sending an email or picking up the phone. A little more effort yes but a lot more rewarding. Anyway, an interesting ad campaign - take 3 minutes, check it out, then go outside and meet a friend.

No surprise over iPhone rates in Canada

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And as suspected, Rogers did not disappoint in offering less than stellar rates for the new iPhone 3G. As usual, Canadians will line up like sheep to get seriously boned over the ludicrous "deal" from Rogers to use the iPhone. The cheapest plan is $60/month with a whopping 400MB of data included. Free evenings and weekends except, hello, evenings are near to over by 9pm (see: wikipedia definition), and so in order to get real evening minutes we shall have to shell out an extra $20 for a "value" package. Plus add on the system access fee, the telco 911 fee, and the provincial 911 fee... feh! The addons will run you about $30 or so on top of the advertised rate which, to me, seems a lot. And that, folks, is life when you have only one supplier of the product. Sigh.

The Death of HTML email?

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It occurred to me as I was reading about Raven Zachary's $837.20 iPhone bill that as the iPhone is released to more and more countries, and if (or when) it becomes as ubiquitous as the iPod, then there shall be a mighty backlash against marketers and spammers pushing their wares/messages via HTML email as it will be chewing up peoples' precious data allotments - a direct hit to the wallet, at least until WiFi gains the coverage of airspace that mobility currently enjoys. I don't necessarily see that happening in the near future, and I certainly don't see a major restructuring of mobility revenue models. I think the reality will be that HTML email will become anathema to a much wider and far more vocal group than the email purists currently railing on about it. That will be a very good thing in my opinion.

Social Network consolidation

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I'm all about consolidation these days, trying to simplify the many into few. A person's online presence can be multi-faceted as you may be revealing different piece of your person through different systems for viewing by different sets of people. Being able to links these facets together so that you can more easily disseminate the content is the goal that I'm after.

So it happens that I have this blog, a facebook account and accounts on Twitter, Pownce and Jaiku. A lot of services to post information to. A while ago, I had a posted discussing whether to use pownce, twitter or jaiku for a microblogging platform. While all have their merits, I found that Twitter seems to be the one I've been using more often than not and the trouble of trying to keep up with three services that kind of all do the same thing was more than I wanted to deal with. So I went dark (so to speak) on both pownce and jaiku - on both of which I have different sets of "friends". And then there was my blog and my facebook. I found that my blog posts suffered as I started hanging out more often on Facebook and posting more and more technical updates there. Lately I felt I needed some way to bring all these bits of my electronic self together and try to link them all up.

Through sheer serendipity I happened across Twhirl. Twhirl is a Twitter client which, while posting to Twitter, will also cross post to your Pownce and Jaiku accounts. Are you kidding me? It's just what I was looking for. Fantastic!! So that takes care of the twitter stuff. Now how to integrate my Facebook and blog?

I had already set up my blog to pull my facebook postings into the content, but I wanted it to go the other way as well and so set up facebook to pull my blog posts in as posted facebook notes. (Just pull your blog in as a notes feed). That was easy. Nice. Now I feel motivated to write longer posts on my blog once again and I really like the fact that it also gets posted to my facebook.

There are a few bits of me still scattered around out there but the important stuff is now better linked and I can determine what to do with the other stuff later, for now I'm writing more and posting less but posting to more places - works for me :)

Installing Firefox 3 alongside Firefox 2

firefox 3
Happy as I am to be using Firefox 3.0, as a web designer I felt it was necessary to hang onto Firefox 2.0 for testing purposes, at least for the short term. When installing FF3, it automatically updates your old installation, and there is no way to specify the directory it installs to. So, it was a relatively simple solution to go just switch the name of the FF2 folder to (what else?) Mozilla Firefox 2.0 which cleared the way for FF3 to install to Mozilla Firefox and voila - two versions can happily co-exist.

In windows (before you install FF3):
My Computer>Local Disk>Program Files>Mozilla Firefox <--- change this to Mozilla Firefox 2.0

On a mac, you can simply download the new FF3 application to your desktop, change the name to Firefox 3.0 and then copy it into your Applications folder.

Ok, what are you waiting for? Go and get Firefox 3.0:

And, while you're at it - try these handy add-ons:
Adblock plus - don't ever have to see ads again!
ColorZilla - advanced eyedropper tool
Del.icio.us - access and organize your bookmarks
Foxmarks - sync your FF bookmarks across many computers!
MeasureIt - on screen ruler to get pixel width & height of any element on a webpage
PDF Download - choose what you want to do with a PDF file
Web Designer's Toolbar - lots of handy tools in one easy place.

Groupwise sync to iCal / iPod

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I had the strange urge to blog today about the trials and tribulations of trying to get Groupwise (our Enterprise calendaring software which we must use at work) to sync up with my iPod touch. It's more than just that really, I keep my personal appointments that don't affect my office availability separate on my iCal, because, well, my work mates don't really need to know my after work schedule do they?, and sync that to my iPod touch as well. At the end of the day, I just wanted to have the whole mess available on my iPod which goes with me everywhere. It's not quite a simple solution though, it happens that one needs to install a 3rd party piece of (Windows) software and have Google calendar act as an intermediary step.

So, here is how to accomplish the grand sync (in a really roundabout way!)
Step 1: Set up a Google Calendar (you don't have to share it with the world!)
Step 2: Download CompanionLink Software's CompanionLink for Google (not free though - you will need to register it for $29.95 US to keep using it past the trial period)
Step 3: In iCal, add a subscription to your Google calendar
Step 4: Configure CompanionLink for Google to sync your Google calendar with your Groupwise
Step 5: Sync up - once the sync is complete everything should now be on your iCal
Step 6: You can now sync your iPod touch which will sync your iCal data as well.

I had originally installed CompanionLink for Google on an XP Desktop but recently switched it to a Parallels Vista install on my MBP

Bonus: if you're on a MacBook / MacBook Pro, install Windows either via Bootcamp, Parellels or VMWare Fusion and install CompanionLink for Google there. I personally prefer the Windows client for Groupwise over the Mac client so I installed that on my Parallels Vista install as well.

What a lot of bother just to get everything onto my iCal so I can (a) have it all on one calendar and (b) sync it with my iPod.



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