Bragging about stuff that doesn’t matter

Joshua Topolsky for Engadget:

In a post-PC world, the experience of the product is central and significant above all else. It’s not the RAM or CPU speed, screen resolution or number of ports which dictate whether a product is valuable; it becomes purely about the experience of using the device.

Ever notice it’s always the anti-Apple and pro-Samsung/HTC/Android/Nokia friends always bragging about RAM, CPU, etc? Stuff that don’t matter, basically.

Numbers and Opt+Arrow Keys

Numbers hijack the Option+Arrow Keys by default

Numbers hijack the Option+Arrow Keys by default

If there’s a set of keyboard shortcuts you absolutely must know, it is the Command (⌘) + Arrow Keys and the Option (⌥) + Arrow Keys.

They are bread and butter when it comes to writing and editing long documents on the Mac, because they allow you to move your text insertion point (caret) around the document in a flash.

If you’re unfamiliar with them, here’s a description of what they do:

  • ⌘ + ←: moves caret to the start of the sentence
  • ⌘ + →: moves caret to the end of the sentence
  • ⌘ + ↑: moves caret to the start of the document/text box
  • ⌘ + ↓: moves caret to the end of the document/text box
  • ⌥ + ←: moves caret one word before
  • ⌥ + →: moves caret one word after

If you add the Shit Key to them (⇧), you could select say the last three words you were typing in record speed by holding down ⇧+⌥ and hitting ← three times. Select whole sentence from the end? ⇧ + ⌘ + ←

No more aiming your mouse cursor at the correct alphabet, clicking and dragging. Your hands will always be on the keyboard. Sounds good?

Now, most self-respecting Mac apps support this form of editing. Even your iPhone and iPad support all these shortcuts when you hook up your Bluetooth keyboard to it.

The problem comes in Numbers, the Excel equivalent made by Apple. By default, ⌥ + ← and ⌥ + → are mapped to insert new column to the left and right respectively.

As you can imagine, trying to move between words ends up inserting new columns (horrors), and that basically makes editing Numbers document super painful.

Fixing the Add Column on Opt+Arrow Key Problem

Fixing the Add Column on Opt+Arrow Key Problem

Thankfully, you can change all that easily on the Mac by mapping the add-columns shortcuts to another set of keys from within System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts.

Since I don’t really need to add columns as frequently as I need to move around various parts of the spreadsheet quickly, I’ve since mapped them to a more obscure key combination involving Control (^) + Option (⌥) + Command (⌘) + Arrow key.

This restores my sanity when it comes to editing Numbers document, which I’ve been working on a lot when collaborating with my translators for my iPhone reminder app—Due.

The new iMac 27″ display

This is the 27″ iMac display. Check out how little adjustment is needed out of box and the gamut.

The New iMac 27-inch Display

The New iMac 27-inch Display

iPhone/iPad Calendar Bug Report

Always irks me that the Mac OS X, iPhone and now iPad thinks that Singaporeans start their week on Sunday instead of Monday. I was finally motivated enough to submit a bug report last week, and in less than 2 days I received a reply from Apple for a followup on the issue. Pretty impressive for a big company like Apple. The last time I got a direct response from a tech company for a bug report was from Omni Group for their OmniOutliner software.

If you’re keen to read the report, see: Bug Report for Calendar in iPhone & iPad

“Ridiculous” to optimise sites for iPhone

Rob Haggart of the blog A Photo Editor and professional photography portfolio software A Photo Folio, wrote in 2008:

A reader asked me awhile back about optimizing websites for the iPhone which I immediately dismissed as ridiculous and then, what do you know, I was out of the office later that day and tried to access a photographers contact info by going to their website on my palm phone because I didn’t have it in my database and couldn’t do it because of the flash so I thought ok, maybe there’s something to this.

In the larger scheme of things nobody will ever receive or lose a job based on the ability of their portfolio to render on a palm phone or iphone but more and more I find myself using google as a phone book instead of carefully entering photographers contact info into my database like I used to do.

Today, A Photo Folio portfolio sites support not only the iPhone (albeit rudimentary), but is boasting to be the first to deliver iPad sites on their portfolio.

Given the popularity and ubiquity of the iPhone among editors, art directors and clients, it is possible that you will receive or lose jobs based on the ability of your portfolio to render on the iPhone/iPad.

Earlier today, Kottke points out the fact that the websites of the top 10 luxury brands don’t work on the iPad reflect poorly on the industry, and that “If I were Anna Wintour, I would be screaming at these companies to fix these sites”.

I don’t know if Anna Wintour is using an iPhone or an iPad, but I’d bet it’s one of the many smartphones—of which none of them supports Flash.

UOB and Mobile Internet Banking

Just last month, DBS/POSB finally removed Java from its iBanking site, thus allowing iPhone/iPod Touch users to connect directly to their iBanking site from Safari. And this month, it rolled out its own iPhone app for DBS and POSB mobile banking.

I tried out the POSB app, and it’s really good. For those of you on UOB, internet banking remains elusive. You could badger them to improve support on iPhone/iPad and other mobile devices by removing Java and/or making their own app.

Send them an email via “Contact Us” link under Personal Banking:

Select: General / Website Feedback

Here’s the message I sent:


Most major banks like Citibank, StanChart, OCBC and now DBS/POSB support internet banking on popular mobile devices such as the iPhone/iPad. OCBC and DBS/POSB even have their own apps on the iPhone to facilitate internet banking.

However, UOB continues to use Java as part of its login mechanism for internet banking, which locks out the iPhone/iPad and other mobile devices that do not support Java—a legacy and unnecessary technology for internet banking.

When would UOB remove Java as part of its login mechanism so that your customers could easily do internet banking via their mobile devices?

Aperture 3: I’ll Pass

No tethering support for Canon 5D2, or for that matter, any Canon cameras newer than the 350D.

Even the inelegant workaround, the Hot Folder Import Script doesn’t work. And even when it does, it is still more clumsy than Lightroom 2 or Lightroom 3’s implementation of Auto Import, requiring an additional script to work.

As much as I want to like using Aperture (hell, it’s almost S$200 cheaper than Lightroom 3), I’m going to have to pass.

Safari: Open all “new window” links in tabs, and other tips to replace Saft

Predictably, my Leopard copy of Saft no longer works on Snow Leopard. A new version was released today but it does not support native 64-bit mode Safari under Snow Leopard. There’s currently no upgrade option for Leopard users to Snow Leopard versions of Saft, and I’m not keen on paying the full US$15 for a version that does not work with 64-bit Safari in Snow Leopard.

This is not the same as making links that opens a new window to open in a tab

This is not the same as making links that opens a new window to open in a tab

There are a few things I truly missed from Saft, including making those pesky links that force open in new windows to open in tabs instead. Note that this is different from the option under Safari’s Preferences > General to “Open links from applications: in a new tab in the current window”.

For example, my university’s (NTU) website has a habit of irritating the hell out of us by opening just about everything in a new window. Try it, search for something, boom, a new window appears. Click on the link to the library’s page, and boom, a new window opens.

Fortunately, this can be dealt with without paying for or installing any additional software. You just need to quit Safari totally (Cmd+Q), open up Terminal from Appplications/Utilities, and key in the following:

defaults write TargetedClicksCreateTabs -bool true

Launch Safari again, and no new windows shall ever bother you again. Meanwhile, I’m still missing the following features that I’ve grown to depend on from Saft:

  1. autosave-last-viewed-websites-on-quit-and-restore-on-startup. To be fair, you can get around this by going to History menu > Reopen All Windows from Last Session, though you would have to do this every time you launch Safari,
  2. undo when you accidentally closed a tab or page (no workaround now),
  3. drag scroll a page by holding down the Control key and flicking the mouse (something I got too used to and it’s bugging me that I can’t do it now).
  4. type ahead search

Signs of bad Mac software

Follow up to my previous post on tell-tale signs of bad Mac software before you even use it.

Five minutes into using Canon Digital Photo Professional (DPP), converting some RAW files into JPEGs and TIFFs, I saw this dialog that I had no idea how to close.


On most sane Mac software, I could have just clicked on the red button on the top left to close this box. But not in DPP because the developers have disabled the close button.

I had to pick up quite a bit of courage to try the “Terminate” button.