Syncing Google Contacts with iMessage (and Contacts) on OSX Mavericks

You may remember earlier in the year I took issue with the super secret hidden checkbox in the Mountain Lion’s version of Contacts which magically syncs your Google contacts with OSX Contacts and Messages. As it seems, Apple have finally fixed the SSL problem stopping you from syncing through the Google option in System Preference’s Internet Accounts setup.

Getting the sync to work now is as trivial as adding a Google account to your Internet Accounts list, log in and turn on the items you want to sync. Screen Shot 2013-11-26 at 9.46.42 pmHurray! Easy peasy.

It’s beyond me that it wasn’t like this before.


Syncing Google Contacts with iMessage (and Contacts) on OSX Mountain Lion

Being able to sync your Google Contacts with your OSX Contacts is possible – it just takes a bit of digging.

As a long-time iPhone 4 user, I was recently introduced to the wonderful OSX Messages app, which lets me read/send iMessages from my Mac, as if I had sent a text from my phone. Such an amazing thing (even if it does only work with other iPhone users). However, it only used phone numbers to identify contacts; less than ideal since I seldom reference my friends and family by their cell numbers.

I use Gmail for all my email purposes; and after loosing my completely contacts list TWICE from the failures of Windows Mobile 6, I am also a huge advocate for Google Contacts – awesome synergy between my phone list and email contacts. and while I’ve been very happy Syncing my email/calendar/contacts between Google and my iPhone; my Mac just didn’t want to come to the party and I refused to retype my contacts manually.

At first I tried syncing the contacts over Google’s Microsoft Exchange Protocol (which is actually the best way of syncing Gmail/contacts/etc onto the iPhone), however you cannot get the necessary SSL to connect to Google on Mountain Lion. Next I tried backing up my iPhone contacts into iCloud, which also failed.

I was about to give up until I discovered that the preferences for the Contacts app has an option that I didn’t know about. Carefully disguised under the “On My Mac” account, you will find the option to sync with Google.

syncing-google-contacts-in-mountain-lionHurray! Easy Peasy.

AirPush is Offensive to my Sensibilities

I saw this tweet from a friend (@RyanBooker) today: “Is this for real? This would guarantee your software is immediately uninstalled” with a link to the following video:

And I don’t know about you but it really gave me the heebie-jeebies. I found myself being repulsed in illogical, unreasonable ways. I’m not even an Android developer (or user), but I found this completely offensive. After I cooled down and was able to think clearly for a minute I reflected on why I had such an adverse reaction. I realized that its all about the sacredness of notifications.

You see we are slowly migrating over to a post-scarcity world. Information, is one commodity which has become so abundant (and so cheap); that it’s become a limitless resource. In a post-scarce world, the main commodity is attention. User attention becomes the focus of generating profits and this is (and has always been) the entire idea behind advertising. Advertisers pay others for a slice of the attention they receive.

As user’s expose themselves to greater quantities of new information and media, they spend greater quantities of their focus (and attention). Sooner or later, unless users can adopt greater efficiencies their attention becomes very scarce. I think we’ve reached a point where our collective attention is so scarce as to it being entirely depleted. We’re so saturated with new media and access to information that the effectiveness of advertising is becoming greatly diminished. We’ve become desperate to find “a few more minutes in a day” and thus we’ve adapted to ignoring advertising to steal some attention back. Most of us (especially geeks) have evolved a personal ‘ad blocker’ in our mind’s eye.

Unfortunately the cost is that it’s become harder to remember importances. So we rely on our mobile technology to inform us when we need to jump to action. As a primitive example, who uses the alarm function on their smart phone? Our phones are our personal assistants. They tell us when our friends are trying to contact us, they act as our saviors when something goes wrong, they entertain us when we’re bored and they tell us important things WHEN we need to know them. Usually, they do this through the notification system. It’s a special sacred system devoted to the most important issues in our lives. This is what’s so wrong about AirPush. They are capitalizing on the cost of our mobile notifications. Technologically speaking, the most important area of our lives. When we hear the distinctive sound, or see that special symbol of our phone’s notification system; we spring into direct action. They are cashing into our need for a system that helps us live our lives, lest we miss opportunities or forget something important.

That’s the basis of my offense. I need my notification system to be personalized and pure because I rely on it to assist me with the day-to-day running of my life.

AirPush says that they’ve changed the API to require opt-in/opt-out due the torrent of outcry and negative feedback that developers have clearly been slammed with but for me, that isn’t really enough. I shouldn’t HAVE to opt-out of something that uses my notification area inappropriately and without permission.  And conversely, if the system is opt-in, then its all but useless to developers (because let’s be honest who would WANT such a thing?)

Frankly, AirPush is a violation of the way I use my mobile devices and I would never abide any application which employed such a system. It’s gotta be the fastest way to get users to uninstall your app.

HTC Math Fail

Can you spot the problem? This isn’t exactly an epic fail, nor is it particularly or devastatingly terrible, but I do think that mobile devices do need to work properly, and clearly this is a bug. This is a HTC Desire, but the same bug is replicable on the HTC Desire HD. While this isn’t a reason not to buy an android phone, I choose to use it as an example to make myself feel better about living inside the Apple Reality Distortion field. Sure, the iPhone might be communist, but the streets are clean and the trains run on time.

It turns out that this is a bug with the HTC Basic Calculator, and not a bug with the device itself (as verified by testing the same math on another calculator app on the same phone) but it’s still as funny as hell.

Why iPad? Because it’s Cheap!

ordinary people just want something cheap that works. And that’s how the iPad will seem to them. Many will never make a conscious decision to switch. They’ll get an iPad as well, then find they use their Windows machine less and less. When it dies they won’t replace it.


I think this is totally true.  And interestingly, I think its the same reason why the MacBooks have taken off recently.  I am one of the converted.  Mac “gets” mobile computing.  They  seem to understand that when I am on the move, I dont want headaches with network connections and I just want my Laptop to work!

This being said, the iPad is a disappointment for me because I really wanted something a bit more.  I wanted something that run OSX, and had a stylus with multiple sensitivities.  I also wanted it to have a conductive touch interface and I wanted it to be as thick as the air.  THAT would have blown my world – however, I am convinced that this may actually be coming (at least in part) in the future.

I do think that the iPad was rushed and I do think that its uninspired (the iPhoneesque interface is starting to show its age).  But I also think that this wont matter at the till.  I also think that it opens up some interesting development ideas, specifically in the area of table-top gaming and traditional board games – especially when coupled with ‘linked’ iPhones.

I am very hopeful that the iPad succeeds in creating a new category of applications that use it unique feature set.  I truly think that limiting it to Web browsing and Book Reading would be a terrible shame.  And a waste.

Making the HTC Touch Cruise as Cool as an iPhone

I love my new phone. Its a HTC Touch Cruise and its certainly made me a happy panda. Even happier now that I can make it into a SUPER phone.

My current Windows Mobile based SUPERPhone.  Recently, I installed much of the HTC Touch theme (along with files I modified – of course) and have come up with a great looking phone with minimal memory issues.  This involved dumping some of my favorite programs including phoneAlarm and WisbarAdvance due to the amount of memory they eat up and the current instability of said programs on Windows Mobile Professional 6.

The Apple Reality Distortion Field

I often complain about Apple products. The recent launch of the iPhone 3G is merely just another example of this. Not only is the Apple Reality Distortion Field at full strength again, and now apparently the field has grown so strong that Apple doesn’t even have to advertise with it’s own cash anymore!

Is this honest to god “frontpage news”? Or have they considered making Apple pay for its own advertising, rather than letting it replace actual news content?

Update: Firstly I’d like to point out that I do understand the irony of posting this, since I am effectively providing free advertising to Apple as well. Secondly, I think the iPhone is just another phone; however I do think that the web browsing on it is second to none.

Update II: Thanks to Ben for pointing out this sweet clip from YouTube:

You Can't Stop The Signal

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

A recent Techcrunch article struck me today. Someone created a Windows Mobile iPhone skin:

Today Apple is engaging in similar [legal] tactics against a number of bloggers who simply reported on the fact that someone created a skin for Windows Mobile phones that looks exactly like the new iPhone user interface […] If Apple wants to go after the guy that made the Windows Mobile skin that looks like the iPhone, fine. But to bully bloggers who are simply reporting on this is another matter.Now, at the risk of dragging Touchstone into a cease and desist land mine, obvious bullying tactics like this are simply ridiculous. It’s not the first time Apple has been so aggresive with the community. There was the Apple Rumor mill Wars, the more recent demanding that YouTube videos be removed from sites and various issues with the use of the iPod brand. Can I even say Podcast now?

This is the latest in a long line of over-the-top legal war-mongering. Apple has earned a lot of respect and loyalty from it’s fan and not only does this irritate me, it may well kill one of their key stratigic advantages by acting this way.

Which is why I posting it here.

My theory is that if a company is going to actively and aggressively try to stop the blogosphere (which is largely only opinion anyway) then I will add to the news. What are they going to do if several million people post about it? Sue everyone? I don’t think so.

So here it is!

You can’t stop the signal.