iOS 4

I’ve been living with Apple’s new OS for about a day now, and the conclusion I’ve come to is that Apple dropped the ball. There are so many minor frustrations, as well as a few big ones, that the whole experience is at best annoying, and at worst unbearable.

The new iOS isn’t all bad. The animations feel snappier, Springboard is prettier, and it’s got the slick Apple feel which everyone so desperately wants to emulate. The big one, of course, is multitasking, and that I think they got right.

But then there are the problems. Apps crash with neither rhyme nor reason: the iPod app won’t even startup properly for me anymore. Google Sync is kaput (although I think Google should take some of the blame for that). The new folders, whilst useful, are, to be charitable, ugly. It all feels as though it was released without going through proper testing, let alone going through the spit-and-polish phase.

I was looking forward to this update. I thought that, like all the iOS versions before it, it would Just WorkTM. I hope that when they patch iOS 4, they don’t introduce any new features: there’s just too much that needs to be fixed.

Google Wave & iPhone

I just tried out Google Wave on the iPhone. Interestingly, despite an initial “your browser is not supported” message, the actual system sports a rather snazzy app-like interface on the iPhone.

I’ll be interested to see what kind of support Wave will ‘officially’ have on mobile platforms, and perhaps even more interested in what ‘unofficial’ support there’ll be.

Apple Keyboard & Windows

At work, I recently moved to one of the slim aluminium Apple keyboards, and I love it. Linux and the keyboard play nicely together without any hassles whatsoever. So, emboldened by this success, I bought another one for use at home — with my Windows machine. The results were, well, less than dazzling.

Whilst the keyboard’s basic functions pose no problem to Windows — it is, after all, just a USB keyboard — there were some problems, especially with the Function keys. Basically, the [fn] key doesn’t seem to generate a recognisable keycode for Windows, which meant that I didn’t have access to all the spiffy multimedia controls and so on.

After much googling and installation of keyboard drivers originally distributed with Apple’s Boot Camp, I eventually stumbled across a great little utility by Petr Laštovička, which allows a fairly clean and simple remapping of keys to functions. [For the Googlers who’ve arrived here looking for a solution to the Mac Keyboard + Windows problem, it beats out Sharpkeys for me because it can handle key combos.]

So, ultimately, I have ended with a very good-looking, nice-feeling keyboard that works 99% of the way I want it to. My biggest gripe is that changing the volume now requires me to press [Command]+[Fn]+[F10/F11/F12], rather than just [Fn]+[F10/F11/F12], as I can in Linux. I’m quite happy with this keyboard — although it’s not 100%, it’s definitely much better than most similarly-priced keyboards (at $69AUD).