Trying something new

I recently wrote about the transient nature of modern tech writing, but something I didn’t touch on was the impact of social media. I really like Twitter. It can be an excellent way to follow publications and people whose opinions you care about. However, it is by design essentially ephemeral. Twitter is supposed to be an ongoing stream of ‘what’s now’, rather than a repository for ‘what was then’.

Of late, I’ve noticed a tendency for people to nonetheless use Twitter as a kind of microblogging service. You’ll see thoughts split across a dozen tweets, to which you might often think: Why didn’t you just write a blog post? I’ve been guilty of doing the same myself; meanwhile, this blog’s been very sporadic in terms of updates of late. Surely, any expanded thoughts would therefore be better off here.

So I’m trying something new, getting back to writing more regularly here again, but with shorter, sharper articles. I’m not sure what themes (if any) will emerge, nor even what kind of voice. But I hope any of you who are still checking in now and again will enjoy at least some of what is posted over the coming weeks and months.

March 11, 2016. Read more in: Revert to Saved


Looking back at 2012: Twitter jokes, iPads, back-ups, and industries being stupid

In case you’d not noticed, the end of 2012’s rampaging towards us with all the grace of a drunk rhinoceros wearing roller-blades, and I thought it might be nice to see out the year by highlighting the most popular posts on this blog during that time.

BBC mis-quotes Paul Chambers Twitter Joke Trial tweet, presumably because electrons cost lots of money

The top post by some margin, largely due to a repost by Graham Linehan and a ton of retweets that subsequently took the blog offline while I frantically tried to install and activate caching plug-ins in the one second in fifty that the site actually responded. I learned my lesson, but sadly the British legal system didn’t, because it’s still arresting people for making stupid jokes online. Even Paul Chambers’ win was bittersweet, in the sense that he shouldn’t have had to go through so much crap in the first place. Here’s hoping 2013 sees the CPS taking a more sensible approach regarding policing speech online.

What the iPad 3 really needs: fewer stupid articles about the iPad 3

Me getting a tiny bit ranty in response to yet another piece of bullshit ‘journalism’ about how rubbish the iPad 3 would be and how it was destined to fail in the face of rival tablets. In the end, it sold well, laid the groundwork for the iPad 4 (sorry, ‘iPad with Retina display’) and iPad mini, and Android tablets still aren’t selling well enough to unseat Apple from its lofty perch.

Mac OS X users: clone or back-up your Mac before installing Mountain Lion

People who don’t back-up do my head in. Too often, I get someone yelling that they’ve lost every precious picture they’ve ever taken and CAN’T YOU DO SOMETHING? YOU WRITE ABOUT APPLE! Yes, but I’m not a magician. What I could do was put some straightforward advice regarding back-ups online, and I hope at least a few people have taken note. Judging by the traffic, plenty of people have at least read it.

Mac OS X users: clone your Macs before installing Lion

The above article’s older brother, still getting a silly amount of traffic, for some reason. Maybe this just highlights Google’s sometimes a bit rubbish when it comes to search results.

Dear TV and movie industries: stop being dicks

The obligatory rant about the stupidity of the media industry, possibly before it was cool, then uncool and then cool again to write about this kind of thing. Or not. I stand by every single word of this piece. DVDs still drive me up the wall with their unskippable crap, and many films and TV shows really need to get worldwide far more rapidly.

OS X Lion and motion sickness from full-screen animations and transitions

I imagined precisely seven people would read this, but it had a couple of major spikes, bringing in thousands of readers. Unsurprisingly, Apple’s done precisely nothing to deal with the issue of animations on OS X possibly triggering motion sickness, and nor will I imagine it’ll do anything to help in the future. After all, it’d be really hard for an engineer to add a ‘turn the fucking sliding shit off’ checkbox in System Preferences. TotalSpaces at least provided an answer for people wedded to full screen; personally, I now just use Moom to resize windows and ignore OS X’s full-screen mode entirely.

Why do magazines look so bad on the new iPad?

As a contributor to Tap!, Future’s iPad mag that’s made on an iPad, I was sick at the time of writing this article of all the crap online about how rubbish all iPad mags were. Reports were inevitably US-focussed and ignored magazines doing things right. This hasn’t really changed a great deal, but at least magazines are shifting away from rendering every page as a PNG.

An interview with Rob Janoff, designer of the Apple logo

This one actually went online in 2011 and, as I’ve just noticed, has pretty awful formatting with this site’s new theme. Still, it’s one of my favourite interviews, not least because it lays to rest a bunch of rumours about Apple’s logo.

Office 2013 shows that user interface extremes aren’t the way to go

Over the year, I’ve seen dozens of articles arguing Apple’s UI design should be as minimal as its hardware. In a sense, this is what Microsoft’s tried to do with some of its new software, and the result has been a user-experience disaster. I’m not a fan of Apple’s excesses (such as torn paper in Calendar), but UI designers must shoot for usable and beautiful, not just stark and minimal.

The freemium model and how it threatens iOS gaming

When the new Tetris for iOS arrived, minds boggled at the IAP. It was absolutely crazy, offering subscriptions to slightly increase how rapidly you earned in-game currency, and you could pay $99.99 for an extra 200,000 coins. $99.99. For Tetris. I argued then that freemium threatened iOS gaming, and it’s not an opinion that’s changed. On the plus side, a ton of really great iOS games arrived during 2012, and the majority of them had pricing models that put Tetris to shame.


In addition to these, a couple of more recent articles have done well, in terms of traffic, but didn’t make the top-ten, due to only having been posted recently:

Temporarily fixing problems with iTunes 11 Wi-Fi sync with an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch

iTunes 11 bafflingly continues to be a bit rubbish when it comes to finding iOS devices on the local network. A strange connect/checkbox dance usually sorts this on my system. Judging by the traffic this article got, it’s a problem Apple really needs to sort.

Skyfall: James Bond’s return to male-gaze misogyny

Not really my usual subject matter, but I was so blown away by the hideous nature of Skyfall that I had to say something. Most of the comments that subsequently arrived were really good, although I’ve more recently had a bunch of vile rants in from the YOU SAID SOMETHING BAD ABOUT BOND AND NOW I HATE YOU AND WOMEN brigade. Take a step back, chaps, and perhaps wonder why this piece needed writing before adding to the sludge with your own sexist rants.


And on that not very festive note, that’s it for 2012 and Revert to Saved. I’ll be back in 2013, assuming I don’t overdose on mince pies.

December 19, 2012. Read more in: Revert to Saved, Stuff by me

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Happy holidays, everyone

It’s time to shut up shop for the year on this blog. I’m aiming over the next two weeks or so to do very little that involves computers, and so even if Tim Cook releases a video called “my favourite farts”, or an idiot analyst downgrades Apple to “set fire to” because it “didn’t release the iPhone 6 before Christmas”, I don’t care. I’ll be too full of mince pies.

So: until 2012, have a good one. Thanks to everyone who’s read and linked to this blog during the past year, and to all of you who take the time to offer interesting and savvy comments.

(Man, it’s like my rant-o-meter’s broken or something…)

December 21, 2011. Read more in: Revert to Saved


So I got hacked again

Things have been quiet on the blog this week, due to overwork, but things will also continue being quiet for a bit, because I got hacked for the second time today. Last time round, I welded a ton of security to this side (one aspect of which at least informed me that a bunch of files had been changed). I’ve no idea how the shitheads got in this time, but I do know it’ll take me time I don’t have to clean up. So it’s probably going to be a while before this blog’s up and running again.

In the meantime, here is some light music, backed with the sounds of fuckwit ‘hackers’ being repeatedly punched in the fucking face. (Seriously, guys, take out your ire on a website of some importance, not a tiny little tech blog.)

September 9, 2011. Read more in: Revert to Saved

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The internet is full of lovely (sometimes)

No, I’m not dead in a ditch, nor have I succumbed to the joys of Windows and Android, thereby skulking away from this blog in an embarrassed fashion. Instead, I for the first time in years went somewhere with naff-all Wi-Fi (south-eastern Spain, where you get odd looks in phone shops for asking if someone will sell you a SIM card without a phone already wrapped around it), and spent a happy couple of weeks oblivious to news, technology and Tim Langdell continuing to be a total dick. (More on Langdell later.)

Still, I also got a number of messages from people who I’ve never met but who were nonetheless concerned for my well-being, asking through the silence if I was OK. So, occasionally, the internet is indeed full of lovely. Also, clearly, I am a noisy bugger (to the point that two weeks away makes people think I’m being held hostage by giant rabid weasels (or perhaps something less exciting) or come across so stressed sometimes that perhaps people thought my head had exploded due to my disbelief at someone doing something so unbelievably stupid that it all got a BIT TOO MUCH.

Anyway, Revert to Saved is open for business/bile again, but may have a mildly cheery edge for a short period of time, right up until the first of the many deadlines lurking menacingly in the distance whizz past my ears while making DAGGADAGGADAGGADAGGA noises. The bastards.

July 7, 2011. Read more in: Revert to Saved, Technology


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