Sharing in iOS 9

While viewing an album in iOS Photos, I selected about 50 photos and used the share-sheet service to send them to a new album in Flickr. After confirming the share, I was returned to Photos, and as far as I can tell, there’s no way for me to determine the progress of that share, other than visiting Flickr, and reloading the album page until it reports containing 50 photos.

Furthermore, if I leave the iPad unattended, it appears the share progress will get terminated when the auto-lock timeout triggers, requiring me to start the share again after figuring out which photos made it the first time, and which didn’t. (And that, in itself, is quite a challenge as the upload order is seemingly random!)

Until this is improved, it seems that when initiating such a share, I’d need to sit and continually tap the screen (keeping the device awake) until the share concludes.

How to create a kill-switched VPN on Mac OS X with Little Snitch

In this post, I describe why, after years of using the wonderful Mac/iOS VPN product, Cloak, I’m experimenting with an alternative approach, that combines Private Internet Access (PIA) and Little Snitch. (2015-08-28 — As mentioned in an update at the end of the article, I’ve actually now switched back to Cloak, but using Little Snitch as the kill-switch.)

Continue reading How to create a kill-switched VPN on Mac OS X with Little Snitch

Poor 4G network performance with my iPhone 6

While traveling this past week, and staying in a hotel with awful wifi, I tried working with my MacBook Air tethered to my iPhone 6. The network performance seemed almost as bad as the hotel wifi, even though presumably I had a good 4G connection.

By chance, I tried tethering to my iPad mini, connected to the same Vodafone 4G network, and the performance was much better.

Running SpeedTest on both devices revealed terrible performance on the iPhone, compared to the iPad:

As you can see, download speeds of 37 megabits per second on the iPad, but only 0.5 megabits per secondfor the iPhone. And a similar story with upload speeds.

Both devices are connected to the same Vodafone 4G network. Both are running iOS 8.4. The only difference I can see is the carrier profile settings — version 20.0 on the iPad and 20.1 in the iPhone.

After resetting my iPhone to factory settings, which allowed me to revert to carrier settings version 20.0—a process, btw, that took a few hours, since a full restore-from-backup is required—the network problems went away, and I again had 40ms ping times, and 50+ Mbit of download and upload.

A few days later, though, getting tired of having to cancel the carrier update alert, I allowed it to update the carrier settings to 20.1 and immediately experienced the networking problems again. I noticed, however, that if I activate a VPN over 4G, everything is fine.

A friend of mine has an iPhone 6 with the 20.1 carrier setting, and his iPhone’s 4G networking works fine. So it seems to be some problem with version 20.1 settings specifically on my iPhone.

Unfortunately, I can’t find any way to revert carrier settings, so I’m afraid I’m going to have to reset and restore the phone again. 🙁

Fuck you, iPhoneReviewer#2

About a year ago, someone in the United States going by the iTunes handle “iPhoneReviewer#2” spent nearly five dollars—three of which ultimately was paid to Makalu—to purchase a copy of our location bookmarking app, Rego.

Shortly thereafter, he (or she) posted a three-star review in the App Store. While the app is “great for making multiple lists of places to go”, it needs “iCloud syncing and an iPad version.”

Eight months and two Rego updates later, he returned with a two-star review, noting that he’s taking a star away since we still haven’t provided him with iCloud syncing and an iPad version.

Finally, a few days ago, he returned with the worst rating possible—one-star. Acknowledging that Rego is still “great for making multiple lists of places to go,” the Today widget—which he received for free in our most recent update—has a bug when Reduced Transparency is enabled, and we still haven’t introduced iCloud syncing and an iPad version.

And so through his one-star review, he’s communicating to anyone who might be considering the purchase of Rego—“this app couldn’t be any worse.”

It’s well-known by now, that almost nobody is making money selling apps. We certainly aren’t with Rego, as it has cost far, far more to develop and maintain than we could ever hope to recover through sales. We do it as a labor of love—it’s an app we built for our own needs, and continue to maintain to the extent possible out of respect for those who bought it.

To offer an iPad version of Rego—which we would love to do—would require a data synchronization solution. While iCloud syncing wouldn’t impose additional costs to Makalu (other than development), there are a number of reasons why it wouldn’t be a good solution for Rego, leaving 3rd party solutions or something developed in-house as the remaining options. If one-time sales of the app don’t come close to covering our development costs, we’d certainly have to discover an entirely new business model to cover the cost of syncing. (Rego competitor PinDrop tried, and, unable to cover their costs, naturally went out of business.)

So with that backdrop, I hope it’s understandable how irritated I get at people like iPhoneReviewer#2. In his view, his $5 (subsidized) purchase of our app not only entitles him to what was offered at the time, but also entitles him to his expectations of what the app should become in the future—expectations formed without the slightest understanding of their implications. And if we don’t deliver on those expectations, and within a timeframe suitable to him, then by-god he’ll retaliate by harming our sales through one-star ratings.

To iPhoneReviewer#2, I just have one thing to say—fuck you.

People like you make app producers like us rethink how we spend our time and energy. (Thank goodness you’re in the minority.) My wish is that you request a refund from Apple, and delete Rego from your device. And if it’s too late for Apple to give you a refund, then contact me and I’ll give you a refund. I don’t want you as a customer.

My iCloud Photo Library seems to be broken

iCloud Photo Library on my iPhone keeps reminding me that it’s been 10, 20, 30 days since I’ve last uploaded photos. But when I visit the Photos area of the Settings, here what I see:

It’s attempting, over and over again, to upload the first of 91 photos. As you can see, the upload fails, and starts over.

I have no idea how to resolve this, other than just disabling and re-enabling the whole thing and hoping for the best. But if I did that, would I end up re-uploading my entire photo library? Sigh…

iOS 8 battery usage stats are relative

A Rego user just wrote in concerned that Rego was consuming 14% of his battery usage:

These battery usage stats in iOS 8 can be a bit confusing. You have to understand that they are relative numbers. In this case, assuming that his battery began the last 24 hour period with a full charge, then Rego’s usage is 14% of the 34% of his battery that was used, or about 5% in absolute terms.

Google Authenticator broken in iOS7. Use Authy instead.

I discovered this morning that the Google Authenticator app is broken in iOS 7. While it does display authentication codes, it doesn’t display the associated service description. So unless you only use Authenticator for a single service, you’re kinda stuck.

Google are aware of the issue, but haven’t yet released a fix.

Urgently needing to login to Amazon AWS, I discovered an alternative app called Authy that does work on iOS 7. I was quickly able to get setup with (the better looking) Authy and Amazon AWS, Google and Dropbox, and subsequently deleted the broken Google Authenticator app.