Safari 9 Responsive Design Mode

Do you host a site or platform that you need to make available to a wide range of desktop and mobile devices, including those Apple iThings running iOS9?

Then you need to check out Safari’s Responsive Design Mode (found in the Develop menu in Safari 9 for the Mac).  Take a look at this (video courtesy of Casey Liss):

Yes, you can test your site in all the new split-screen modes available in iOS9.  This feature is already proving to be useful for testing a number of my own sites, including this one:

Testing this site

I have a feeling it will come in handy for checking customer projects too, not least custom themes and layouts. This session video from WWDC 2015 covers the feature in great detail (and much more besides…)

Oyster logo

Oyster: ‘Netflix for Books’

One of the many advantages for those living in the USA is that so many innovative online services get offered there first.  Some, despite many broken promises, never make it to the UK – a classic example being Google Voice.  However, I’m also well aware that folks that live in less populous or non-English speaking places do even worse than we do.

Anyway, another example of a fantastic service that is US-only right now is the New York City-based startup, Oyster, which has been termed the ‘Netflix for Books’:

Oyster logoOyster offers unlimited access to over 100,000 books for $9.95 a month, with new titles added all the time.

We created Oyster to evolve the way people read and to create more of the special moments that only books can offer. From anywhere a mobile device can go—a bustling subway car, a quiet coffee shop, or lost at sea with a Bengal tiger—our mission is to build the best reading experience, one that is both communal and personal, anytime, anywhere.

With apps for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, subscribers get access to a huge library of books available for download to their devices.  Whilst the access is truly unlimited, the last 10 books are kept on your device for offline reading.

Oyster iPad

Having tried the service for a short period of time on a friend’s device, I was impressed by the range of titles available and particularly the beautiful typography used.

Oyster Typography

Whilst the range of books available is nowhere near that available on Kindle or iBooks right now, I personally found the reading experience to be more pleasurable – not least because there wasn’t the sense that I might be buying a book at significant cost that I didn’t enjoy and couldn’t pass onto others.

Oyster screenshots

Lastly, the social features are pretty cool – with the ability to add networks of fellow readers and to share and comment on friends’ activity and libraries.

Having fully embraced subscription-based music (Spotify), movies and TV (LoveFilm and Netflix), I’m definitely ready to pay a fixed monthly fee for unlimited access to books.

If Oyster was available in the UK I’d be there in an instant.  Right now, you have to reside in the US and can either download the iOS app, or else join via – there is a 30 day free trial available.  You can also buy memberships for others as gifts – that could be a great idea this holiday season!

Google Logo

Managing Macs at Google Scale

Google LogoGoogle has one of the largest managed fleets of Macintosh computers in the world. With tens of thousands of assets to manage and an ever-changing security landscape, the organization has had to develop many of its own tools to effectively maintain its fleet and keep its end-users safe and productive. Macintosh Operations is the internal team tasked with developing these tools and managing these machines globally.

Interesting deck and audio shared at the Lisa ’13 conference earlier this month by Clay Caviness and Edward Eigerman, discussing how Google manages its large estate of 43,000 OS X systems.  (Sadly it is not available on YouTube or Slideshare and cannot be embedded here.)

iPad Pro

Imagining a 13-inch iPad Pro

Great piece by Rene Ritchie of

The minute Apple launches one hotly rumored device, be it the iPad Air or Retina iPad mini, a new rumored device races up to take its place in the mill. Enter a 13-inch “iPad Pro” – a concept that leapt to every geek’s mind the moment they heard Apple adopt that other MacBook brand. And since Apple’s already gone down in size, where’s left to go but up? Now I’m not so much interested in the rumor – there will always be rumors – but in how Apple could realize such an object. In how iOS could be scaled to that screen size, and what it would provide beyond the existing, 9.7-inch iPad, or the 11-inch or 13-inch MacBook Air.

iPad Pro

After debating the ins and outs of how Apple might accomplish the iPad Pro, he concludes with:

Whether or not Apple will or even should make a 13-inch iPad Pro remains to be seen. Certainly a lot of artists, designers, photographers, maybe even gamers would love as big an iPad as Apple can provide. Regardless, increasing screen size is a painful thing. If Apple does indeed go to a 5-inch iPhone or a 13-inch iPad next year or at some point in the future, they’ll have to figure out the best way to handle it for them, for their customers, and for their developers. They may even have to re-visit the concept of how apps manifest on the screen. If and when they do, will it still be one step at a time? With the iPhone’s increase in size preface another increase in density? Will the iPad’s increase in density preface an increase in size? Or will Apple rip the resolution bandage off all at once?

iPad Pro
I would likely snap up an iPad Pro in an instant.  
Whilst in years gone by, I couldn’t imagine travelling without a full-fledged OS X laptop, I’m increasingly finding that the apps and features on my iPad allow me to accomplish the tasks as well, and in some cases better.  Tools such as Jump Desktop and Prompt give me full server access, the Chrome browser gives me all my sites and bookmarks, 1Password has all my passwords and access details, Dropbox has all my files and EverNote has all my notes, images and snippets of code.  Most of my favourite enterprise apps now have excellent mobile apps (way better than their desktop ones, if they exist) – Jive, IBM Connections, IBM Sametime etc. Add in great Twitter clients like Twitterrific and Tweetbot, and cool and powerful editors such as Editorial and I really do have my office with me wherever I go.
So if the more extreme of Rene’s ideas did come to fruition and we had a 13” iPad Pro with 4K display, I really do think that the days of trawling round with multiple kilos of keyboard, USB, SSD, trackpad and the like would be over.  We shall see!
Social Business Online for iPhone

IBM ‘Social Business Online’ app now available

IBM Connect is just around the corner (I travel on Friday, so better crack on with the packing!), and thoughts turn to sessions, schedules and social events.

After a few false starts this year, IBM has settled on the Social Business Online tool as the official means to view sessions, create a personal schedule and network with other attendees.  A combination of IBM Connections, Sametime and Domino/XPages platforms, it can be reached via the web, mobile browser or using the recently released native app for iOS (iPhone and iPad):

Social Business Online for iPhone Social Business Online for iPad

or Android:

IBM Social Business Online Android IBM Social Business Online Android

I’m fairly impressed with Social Business Online, and would advise all attendees to at least check in once or twice to see the latest content.  I do see this as the last year for this particular site though – I had hoped that the days of the ‘for one week only’ social sites were over.

There is also an exciting community-provided alternative from Mat Newman, Turtle Partnership and others ‘The totally unofficial, totally unsupported IBM Connect 2013 session database‘ (it does need a snappy acronym though!). This is available as a Notes database, mobile UI and now as a native iOS app too.

Either way, there is no excuse for not being properly prepared for IBM Connect.  My advice is to create a detailed schedule of sessions you plan to attend, plus a list of backup sessions should you be running late, the room is full or your first choice is not as engaging as you hoped it would be.

Upgrading to Mountain Lion?

If you’re thinking of upgrading your Mac to OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, here are a few tips:

  • Read Jon Siracusa’s incredible 24 page review of the new release
  • Check that your Mac is compatible
  • Check that your key apps are compatible
  • If you run VMWare Fusion, get the Tech Preview
  • If you run Skype, get the very latest version
  • Remember that none of the IBM products is yet supported on Mountain Lion!  Lotus Notes 8.5.x has some issues, not least because the new OS X Notes application shares the name  Check Alan Hamilton’s post for a workaround.
  • If you have an alternative, don’t upgrade your primary machine first!
  • Make a copy of the ‘Install Mountain Lion’ application outside your Applications folder before installing (you can then copy this on to other machines instead of re-downloading)
  • Do not upgrade on the day you record a weekly podcast 😉

As a member of the Apple Developer Program I’ve been running the betas of Mountain Lion for the past few months and have had very few issues. I love Notification Centre and the new Messages apps.  Definitely evolution rather than revolution, but worth upgrading all the same.  At $19.99 for all your Macs, you really can’t go wrong!

‘Not as cool’

Bloomberg reports:

Samsung Electronics Co. won a legal ruling after a U.K. judge said its Galaxy tablets aren’t “cool” enough to be confused with Apple Inc.’s iPad.

The design for three Galaxy tablets doesn’t infringe Apple’s registered design, Judge Colin Birss said today in London in a court fight between the world’s two biggest makers of smartphones. Consumers aren’t likely to get the tablet computers mixed up, he said.

Judge Colin Birss said, the Galaxy tablets “do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design.”

The Galaxy tablets “do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design,” Birss said. “They are not as cool.”

Do we need to say any more?

Crazy Ones

I’ve posted the Apple “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits…” ad many times across my blogs – for me, it’s always best summed up what makes Apple different from the other vendors and technology.

However, somehow I had missed this version before now. Steve himself narrates the ad:


Just beautiful and awe-inspiring.  

So the question, do you think Steve saw himself as one of the Crazy Ones?


Obama on Steve


What ever you think about President Barack Obama’s politics, you can’t doubt his talent as an orator.

On the passing of Steve Jobs:

Steve was among the greatest of American innovators – brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it.

By building one of the planet’s most successful companies from his garage, he exemplified the spirit of American ingenuity.  By making computers personal and putting the internet in our pockets, he made the information revolution not only accessible, but intuitive and fun.  And by turning his talents to storytelling, he has brought joy to millions of children and grownups alike. Steve was fond of saying that he lived every day like it was his last.  Because he did, he transformed our lives, redefined entire industries, and achieved one of the rarest feats in human history: he changed the way each of us sees the world.

The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented.


Oh, and I love these two images from this morning:

Steve Jobs autocorrect

Steve Jobs post-its


Goodbye Steve Jobs. An insanely great man.


Crazy isn’t it?  

A garage inventor and founder of one of the first tech startups. Founder of a stunningly successful animation studio. Leader of the most remarkable comeback in business history. A CEO of one of the most valuable companies in the world.

Take any one of those elements and you’d have an amazing story.  Yet Steve did all that and so much more.  A man that very few of us will ever have met, yet one that so many of us felt like we knew, and one that has fundamentally changed our lives.

Steve thought differently.  He had an eye for perfect design and would not budge from those ideals.  Insanely great.  

Two clips ran thourgh my mind when I heard the news this morning:

Think different:


‘We see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do’

Stanford address:


If Steve wanted to leave any advice behind for those that follow, I think it’s in this speech.

RIP Steve.  You’ll be missed.

As usual, Gruber gets it

[Apple’s] is a fundamentally different vision for the coming decade than Google’s. In both cases, your data is in the cloud, and you can access it from anywhere with a network connection. But Google’s vision is about software you run in a web browser. Apple’s is about native apps you run on devices. Apple is as committed to native apps — on the desktop, tablet, and handheld — as it has ever been.

Google’s frame is the browser window. Apple’s frame is the screen. That’s what we’ll remember about today’s keynote ten years from now.

More >

Mac vs. PC growth

Apple insignificant in the enterprise? How does 549% growth sound to you?

There’s been some interesting debate in the Lotus community over the past couple of weeks regarding the importance (or not) of the Apple Mac in enterprise computing.  

I’m not going to rehash those arguments here, simply link to a enlightening post on Ars Technica (thanks for the link, Ben – emphasis mine):

Analysis by market research firm IDC shows that Mac sales growth in the last fiscal quarter was nearly seven times that of the overall PC market with Apple outgrowing overall PCs for 19 consecutive quarters, or nearly five years running. But the Mac’s biggest gains aren’t in the education, home, or small business segments, where the Mac has traditionally thrived—they come from large businesses and government sales.

For the quarter ending December 2010, IDC recorded an overall 3.4 percent year-over-year growth for the PC market. Mac sales, on the other hand, grew 23.5 percent. Enterprise sales were a big part of the Mac’s success; while overall PC sales to business grew 9.7 percent for the quarter, Macs were up 65.4 percent. Mac sales saw big gains in every business category, surpassing overall PC sales by large margins. And while sales to small businesses and home offices grew handsomely, the biggest growth area for the Mac was “very large business,” where Mac sales doubled over the same quarter last year.

Mac vs. PC growth

While government sales are a very small part of Mac sales—about 1 percent—growth in this segment is nearly 600 percent compared to the PC industry’s 8.4 percent overall growth. That’s a big jump over the 200 percent government sales growth the Mac enjoyed just two quarters ago.

So Mac sales are running at an astonishing 500+% in government (compared to 8% for all vendors), and 108% in large enterprises (compared to 21%) and across all businesses, Apple is seeing 65% growth year-on-year versus less than 10% for the market.  Those are numbers that must be acknowledged – even if you believe that Macs are coming from a low baseline in large businesses, that kind of sales growth will alter the status quo pretty rapidly.

This chart raises a lot of questions for me about vendor strategy:

What’s Microsoft’s strategy going to be over the next 5 years should this trend continue?  It will continue to see it’s Windows cash-cow being diminished, and whilst there is a variant of Office for the Mac, it has a much lower market share on the OS X platform than it does on Windows.  Also, we are seeing the Mac App Store taking off since its launch a month or so ago – will Microsoft be willing to sell through that model or continue to rely on its existing distribution models.

How about IBM?  Whilst IBM’s commitment to client choice means we have an OS X version of the Notes, Sametime and Symphony clients, the vast majority of IBM enterprise software is not yet on the Mac platform.  Will this change?

What about truly ‘native’ Mac versions of industry software?  Whilst ports of clients like Notes are important, there’s no doubt that Mac software has a look, feel and design ethos that is very different to other platforms.  

Will we see business-software ISVs developing Mac versions that better suit the platform?  Will the consumer-driven Mac purchases mean that new ISVs take over from the traditional business vendors we know today?

One thing’s for sure…. Putting heads into the sand and singing ‘na-na-nah, I can’t see them’ when confronted with yet another roomful of Macbooks isn’t going to be an option!

And for once I was right… (new Macs)

New iMacs:

New options in 24″ display version, larger drives, new NVIDIA graphics and iLife 09.  All good stuff, but price (in the UK) now almost 50% higher (WHAT!) 949GBP – 1,799GBP.  Was 699GBP – 1,200GBP ish before. To put it in perspective, I bought a 24″ 3.06GHz version for just over 1000GBP 10 months ago – this model is now 1,799GBP!!

New Mac Pros:

New Intel CPUs and chipset, new NVIDIA graphics, new display options (Mini DisplayPort) – models at 1,899GBP and 2,499GBP here.

New Mac Minis:

New NVIDIA graphics, new aluminium enclosure, lower power requirements, faster Core2Duo CPUs, and iLife09 – models at 499GBP (2.0GHz, 120GB, 1GB) and 649GBP (2.0GHz, 320GB, 2GB).


New Time Capsule and Extreme base stations.

So, interesting new models, but…  What a price hike!!! I know the $:GBP exchange rate has gone downhill in the past 6 months, but in these economic times can Apple really push for a near 50% price rise??

Apple - back soon

Holding breath, the Apple Store is down…

Apple - back soon

New products being added I should think – my bet is on revised iMacs (faster CPU, improved graphics, more RAM – up to 8GB, possibly losing Firewire 400), brand new Mac Pros (new CPUs, graphics, new enclosures) and maybe, just maybe a new MacMini.

That could be a bit ambitious for a non-Special Event announcement, but I have a feeling that Apple will be moving away from staged releases with the Steve’s leave of absence for the next few months…

Steve takes leave

Apple has announced:

January 14, 2009
Apple Media Advisory

Apple CEO Steve Jobs today sent the following email to all Apple employees:


I am sure all of you saw my letter last week sharing something very personal with the Apple community. Unfortunately, the curiosity over my personal health continues to be a distraction not only for me and my family, but everyone else at Apple as well. In addition, during the past week I have learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought.

In order to take myself out of the limelight and focus on my health, and to allow everyone at Apple to focus on delivering extraordinary products, I have decided to take a medical leave of absence until the end of June.

I have asked Tim Cook to be responsible for Apple’s day to day operations, and I know he and the rest of the executive management team will do a great job. As CEO, I plan to remain involved in major strategic decisions while I am out. Our board of directors fully supports this plan.

I look forward to seeing all of you this summer.


I hope it is just for the reason Steve outlines, though I fear this leave of absence may be more significant than that…

coconutBattery 2.6.3

Apple battery life – a rebuttal

Volker blogged recently about battery life on his Macbook – in particular noting that after 223 cycles, his battery is down to 16% of capacity.

I’ve just checked by 17″ Mac Book Pro’s battery, and I’m on an almost identical number of charge cycles, but over a shorter period (just 9 months) – this is my all day/every day machine.

coconutBattery 2.6.3

As you can see, my battery is still at 95% of original capacity – I reckon that is pretty good considering the hard use that my machine gets.

As Volker has now noted, it seems that Apple views his battery as sub-standard and is replacing it free of charge, which seems about right.  For now, I’m digging the battery life of my machine.  Would I trade a replaceable battery for a longer-life fixed battery, yeah I probably would, but as always, I’ve leave it to the real early-adopters to find out!

Wow. 68% of businesses say they’ll add Macs in ’09

An amazing survey and article, not unexpected from my personal viewpoint, but still a shock to see it in print.  ComputerWorld says:

Businesses double down on Apple; 68% say they’ll add Macs in ’09

Apple’s having its best enterprise showing in 20 years, says analyst

The number of businesses planning to add Apple Inc.’s Macintosh desktops and laptops to their corporate mix has doubled since earlier this year — part of what an analyst calls the “consumerization” of IT.

In a just-published survey, 68% of some 700 companies polled said they will allow their end users to deploy Macs as their work systems in the next 12 months. That’s exactly double the percentage of businesses that answered the same question eight months ago, said Laura DiDio, an analyst at Information Technology Intelligence Corp. (ITIC).

“And Apple hasn’t done anything to actively promote this,” DiDio said. Instead, faced by users “begging to use a Mac,” IT managers are reacting to the “consumerization” of technology in the enterprise, she explained.

“It used to be that business computers were more powerful than the ones at home,” DiDio noted, “but just the opposite is happening now. The computers at home are more powerful than those in the office.” And users want that power where they work.

Is your organisation looking to add Macs in 2009? Will a full release of Notes 8.5 and Symphony 1.2 make a difference to your plans?

Apple tells MacWorld it just ain’t important enough anymore

Wow, Apple tells MacWorld where to stick it from 2010, and worse, Phil Schiller to deliver keynote in January:

CUPERTINO, California—December 16, 2008—Apple today announced that this year is the last year the company will exhibit at Macworld Expo. Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, will deliver the opening keynote for this year’s Macworld Conference & Expo, and it will be Apple’s last keynote at the show. The keynote address will be held at Moscone West on Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 9:00 a.m. Macworld will be held at San Francisco’s Moscone Center January 5-9, 2009.

Apple is reaching more people in more ways than ever before, so like many companies, trade shows have become a very minor part of how Apple reaches its customers. The increasing popularity of Apple’s Retail Stores, which more than 3.5 million people visit every week, and the website enable Apple to directly reach more than a hundred million customers around the world in innovative new ways.

Apple has been steadily scaling back on trade shows in recent years, including NAB, Macworld New York, Macworld Tokyo and Apple Expo in Paris.

Is this the end for tradeshows? Or just the end for MacWorld?

Have Mac/Intel, want virtualisation without the cost?

Plenty of us are now becoming increasingly used to running virtual machines as a way of virtualising our IT resources, especially when running on operating systems which are not necessarily top of our favourite vendor’s support matrices (ahem Domino Administrator/Designer ahem).  Well, my personal favorite is still VMWare, and I tend to have VMWare Fusion running almost 100% of the time on my Mac, whilst others I work with have a preference for Parallels for similar tasks.  However neither is necessarily a cheap option if you need to be creating/running VMs on multiple machines or to run them on some more obscure platforms.

Enter in the OpenSource option:

Sun xVM VirtualBox software is the world’s most popular open source virtualization platform because of its fast performance, ease of use, rich functionality, and modular design.

Features & Benefits

Higher, Wider, Deeper — Sun xVM VirtualBox is available to run on a higher number of host platforms than any other virtualization platform, has wider guest platforms support than any alternative, and a deeply compelling feature set too.
Features & Benefits
Run multiple operating systems concurrently on the same computer        

   * Hosts: Windows, Solaris, Linux, Mac OS X.
   * Guests: Support for practically any x86 based OS.

Open APIs and Modular Design        

   * Supports both GUI and rich CLI commands.
   * COM/XPCOM interfaces.
   * Web services interface.

Sun xVM VirtualBox can easily be built upon to deliver custom solutions or products, or be embedded as a component into systems.
High Performance         Sun xVM VirtualBox is highly efficient at delivering high performance virtual machines for its guests.

A secure multi-platformed desktop.
Free and Open Source        

   * Free as in Free Speech
         o Open Sourced under GPL.
         o Source code is available.
         o Strong community backing.
   * Free as in Free Beer
         o Binaries available for download.
         o Free for Personal Use and Evaluation.

Available direct from Sun, I’m going to give it a go…