November 30, 2010
So, what did Adobe get right. Well, they'll tout things that to me are about like a toaster company bragging about bread compatibility, like:
- Their Safari plug-in works in 64-bit mode. First of all, that's a bug fix, not a new feature. Secondly, they STILL can't support any other browser on the Mac? The fucking Flash team manages this, so it's clearly possible. Yes, yes, you fixed a bug in a half-assed plugin. Here's a stale cookie for you.
- Better network home support. First, I haven't verified this, and secondly, again, this was a BUG in Acrobat 9! You don't get fucking praise for waiting an entire major version and making people pay a few hundred dollars for what is a fucking BUG FIX and act like you did something amazing!
So yeah, that shit, here's a shitty paygo cell phone, call someone who's stupid.
However, Acrobat X does come with an actual native Mac installer. Stop fainting, I'm not lying. It's a decent job, reasonably customizable. Hell, on a manual install, you can choose to not install that insufferable plugin. Halle-fucking-luah. (and if I spelled that last word wrong, too fucking bad. It's an english version of ancient hebrew. Be glad I didn't add a random Q) Even more shocking? When you go to the Acrobat IT Resources page, it actually mentions the Mac.
Shocked nothing, I wonder who had pictures of the team fucking a syphlitic donkey for that one.
Even more shocking? This. No, you are not hallucinating, that's an actual bit of IT/Enterprise documentation with actual useful Mac information. Yeah, I was floored too. I mean, it's not a tome or anything, but it's actually useful shit. It tells you what is mandatory, and what's optional. Shit, for 10.6, it even supports installing it somewhere besides /Applications. (for Pro at least. Reader, not so much, but fuck Reader.) It even shows you how to modify the distribution file in the installer so that you can customize the package for your needs.
They even talk about a friggin' provisioning tool, that allows you to customize things like EULA suppression, serialization, etc. It's all post-install, but still, from Acrobat??? It kind of freaked me out. Dude, they're even talking about how to use the provisioning tool in a postinstall script in the installer. W.T.F.
It's not perfect. They still expect you to believe you can just look at the explanations for Windows Registry settings and those trivially map to plist file entries. Whomever thinks that, put the crack pipe down, and go sober up. You're trippin' balls man. But compared to the past? Holleeeee-fuck.
They keep this up, one day, I might not have three entries worth of Acrobat stupid crap to complain about. That would be kind of nice, actually.
So yeah, for the stuff they did right, good on you Acrobat team.
Now pull your heads out of your asses, and stop making Mac users pay the same as Windows for a crippled product, actually talk to real Mac users, not the ones you remember from the glory days of the Performa, and maybe spend a little time marketing to us.
Shit, if you want, I will beg, borrow, and steal a way for you, at the upcoming Macworld, to have a space to do just that. Note, this isn't that empty. I actually help put together the Mac IT track at Macworld. Expo. I can't promise, but I do know a couple people. I can try if you want to make the effort. The installer team did really well last year, and will probably do better this year. You should try actually talking to people, nay, communicating in a two-way fashion some time. Oh sure, some of your assumptions will get shredded, but those were stupid anyway, so no big loss. In any event, how bad do you want to up your Mac sales?
It's up to y'all. Come out of the fucking castle, and talk to the hippies, or whine a lot about how misunderstood you are. Grownups or emo dipshits, it's your call.| Comments ()
A chance to do something nice
I'm not going to go into detail about Aaron and Big Nerd Ranch, or how awesome they are. You either know or you don't. But, if you can, think about donating. It would be pretty fucking awesome if he didn't need the loan at all. (Note: I've never taken a class from Aaron. I doubt he even knows who I am in person. But he's been doing some awesome shit for years, and this will help him be even more awesome for years to come.)
Acrobat X pt II
So in the first part of this epic look at Acrobat X on the Mac, we looked at the UI, and how it's a bit of a shit sandwich. Again, Acrobat's UI has always been a bit of a shit sandwich, however, if we all just quietly eat it, it will never get better. This time, we'll look at a subject that is near and dear to my heart pisses me off to no end:
Adobe charges Mac users the same price as they do Windows users, but the Mac version is crippled in comparison.
First, let's look at the Windows-only features of Acrobat and see why we might care:
- Acrobat Standard and Acrobat Suite: That's right folks, there are two versions of Acrobat that Mac users are shut out of completely. Now, with Acrobat Suite, I'm almost not pissed about this, as two of the products, Presenter and LiveCycle Designer, aren't available on the Mac. Presenter, well, I think it's obvious that no one at Adobe hs looked at this in a while, since according to its system requirements page, Flash is still at version 9, Firefox is still at version 2, and Safari is also at version 2. Oh, and people still use Netscape. That's for viewing. The authoring part is a bit more up to date, but still, this doesn't have the feel of a product getting any love. LiveCycle, well, that's just another Acrobat bullshit story. They don't want to put it on the Mac, even though, according to members of that team, a Mac version is the, or one of the biggest customer requests. Remember that the next time the Acrobat PR prats try to give you some bullshit story about how they listen to customers. They don't, and in fact, when customers get to uppity, they get downright pissy with them. Something about "Prove you need that feature". Seriously. And it's not like you get a better more focused product. They just come off as dicks.
Acrobat Standard though? Yeah. No fucking reason other than they didn't want to do the work. The stated reason was based on "oh, our Mac customers didn't seem to want it." Well, if the Acrobat team had ever shown even the slightest hint, the smallest sliver that they either talked to or marketed to Mac customers at all, I'd believe them. But they don't. They don't market to their Mac users at all, because Macs aren't in the "enterprise" other than for "makin' pretty pictures". No, seriously, that's the line I've gotten from that team since version 7/8. The entire change of Apple with regard to business doesn't exist for them, it is 1995 forever in that sense. So yeah, you want a less expensive version of Acrobat? Fuck you hippie. You'll just pay the full $450 like a guy with a job.
- Convert Office files to PDF: No, don't make me laugh. The Acrobat team refuses to even consider AppleScript, and from them, since they can't perfectly replicate the Office integration on Windows via VBA only the Mac users get nothing. Literally. Even though Office 2011 was in beta, and they could have gotten access to it via any number of ways, they aren't doing shit. In fact, in the entire time they've been giving Mac users nothing other than print to file, there has been exactly one improvement to the process: it now recognizes internet links. Woo. Hoo. So when anyone from the Acrobat team says they can't improve the Office integration on the Mac at all, they're lying to you. They just don't want to, because their Mac customers aren't worth the effort, and they're too fucking cowardly to say so. (Note: I was going to link to the individual features I'm talking about, but when you to, Adobe's crack fucking web designers didn't think anyone would do that, so you get the raw HTML instead. No really, have a look.)
- Email to PDF: Same shit as with their Office integration. It's not Notes or Outlook on Windows, they can't use VBA for this on the Mac, go fuck yourselves. Note, even though I proved them wrong, and even though I publicly and fully give them permission to use my code to integrate with at least Entourage, they still won't do it. Why? Because again, Mac users are not worth the effort.
- Sharepoint Integration: I guess the idea of talking to the Mac BU about this never occured to the Acrobat team. They'll either do it just like WIndows or not at all. At least on the main features page, Adobe is honest and points out that this is Windows only. They can't be bothered for the others.
Oh, there's one bright spot. The Acrobat buying guide page says that the Firefox to PDF feature is Windows-only. It's not. Just tested it, works on a Mac too. W00t. It's the little things that make a product suck.
So yeah. You'll pay the same price as for the Windows version, but if you think you're getting the same product, you're delusional. The Acrobat team doesn't care about you, as a user, unless a) you run windows, and b) you work in a company with at least 10K users. If you aren't (Big E)nterprise, the Acrobat team, point blank, doesn't give a fuck about you regardless of platform, and if you're a Mac user, you could be in a company with 70K Macs or more, and Acrobat still doesn't give a fuck about you.
(Ignore the chevrons, that may be an issue with my Mac, not the Acrobat dictionary. Then again, it's Acrobat, who the fuck knows.)
So if we look at the File Menu itself, we see:
And the menu class for the File Menu corresponds to this perfectly. I mean, perfectly. How perfectly? It includes the fucking separator lines:
"SPAObject16"? That's a fucking menu spacer line. Could you make it any MORE obvious that you didn't give this any real effort? Well, how about an entry with no name at all? It's in there:
I couldn't make this shit up, but without screenshots, no one would ever believe me. That's not the worst of it, but even I have limits. And it may be the worst of it. It's all so bad, who the fuck can tell. But hey, it's just AppleScript, it's not like it's for customers the Acrobat team cares about. Fucking hippies.
However, it's not all bad, and there are some surprising changes of a positive nature that makes me think there is the slightest sliver of hope for the Mac version of Acrobat to possibly, maybe, be allowed to get something resembling real improvements. Well, after a good chunk of the current team's management and marketing staff is fired.
Anyway, next time: What they got right.| Comments ()
November 29, 2010
As much as I seem to love beating on Adobe, let's get something straight: I Don't.
I don't because the shit I run into makes my life harder, my users' lives harder, and probably a lot of other peoples' lives harder. These things make just getting through the day a lot more difficult, and the reasoning is usually bullshit. Take Acrobat.
Acrobat is, if you look at the featureset, pretty awesome. It does a lot that most people don't know about, especially Mac users. It's got a lot of power and ability. It's just wrapped in a truly craptacular UI, the Mac version is clearly an afterthought only enabled by a common code base, and in every dealing with that team, my theory that they design for themselves and if the customers happen to like it too, bonus!
Now, that last part isn't that uncommon. Apple does that somewhat as well. The difference is, Apple has, well, taste for the most part. The Acrobat team, not so much, and so you get idiocy that just doesn't make any goddamned sense. For example, the Acrobat X UI:
It's um, a bit garish and cartoony, right? Now, this is not new. For example, Acrobat 9:
It's pretty obvious that the Acrobat team is not talking to the rest of CS. Even as messed up as CS can be, it's better than that. Acrobat's excuse? "We're aimed at enterprise not creative." No, seriously, that's what they tell me. Or others. I guess enterprise users are so accustomed to shit sandwiches, that they'll eat anything with a smile. However, this is important. Let's say that in Acro 9, I want to do some commenting and markup, but I don't want it to take up document space, or be a permanent part of my toolbar. No problem, right? Right:
It may not be the most elegant thing, but note that I have those tools there, I've not lost any space, and if I want, I can move that completely out of the way, yet still retain full access to it, and not lose document space, unless I've a tiny screen. Since I'm on a 17" MacBook Pro, not a problem. If I want, I can go really clean:
The entire window is now document and nothing but, and if I want, I can have various floating palettes that give me access to all the tools I need. It has nothing to do with the rest of CS, but a) Acrobat don't give a fuck about CS, and b) at least I can still get to what I need, easily and cleanly. So Acrobat X should be better, right? Yeah, that'd be nice. First, the basic toolbars, you can't make go away. Oh, you can go into something now called "Read Mode", (Seriously? "READ MODE"? WTF, what is this, WordPerfect 5.fucking.1?) by clicking the box with the arrows in the upper right corner. You know, the thing that looks more like a "Full Screen" button than a "Read Mode", because well, what looks like "Read Mode"? Anyway, here's "Read Mode":
Okay, stupid, but seems pretty clear. All you can do in "Read Mode" is read, print, zoom, save and navigate, right? Right. But what if you want to do more than read? Because there's a lot of ways to read a PDF, and they don't cost a few hundred. So here's the commenting tools:
Yeah. no floating palettes anymore. Pseudo-drawers. Oh, you want to see bookmarks too? Here:
Yeah. No more floating palettes. Just shrinking document space. Of course, this is fixable (open image in its own window for the full monty). Here:
Yep, that's taking up most of the space on a 17" Macbook Pro screen. You poor bastards with smaller screens are screwed. Why? Oh, because the Acrobat team likes it better. Oh, and by default, you can only have one side panel displayed at a time. You have to change that setting to get multiples. That widget is dead easy to spot, I mean, it's almost 4mm wide. No, seriously, here, expanded so you can see it:
That wee box in the upper left corner, just by "Allow Multiple Panels Open"? That's the settings box. (Also: "Allow Multiple Panels Open"? Man, that's some awesome copywriting there. Way to hire Drunk Hulk!) If you don't have fine motor control, you're fucked. Another one. Let's say you're not sure which panel is open. Now on the left side panels, this is pretty clear:
Cartoony, but clear. You get points for clear, so that's good. On the right side? Here, you tell me:
See how "Tools" has a slight change in color and a weird "glow" under it? There you go, that's your indication. Yeah. Bad eyesight does not exist in the enterprise. At least according to the Spice-crazed wombat that is the Acrobat UI team. Oh, but that's not the creme de la creme of Acrobat UI. For that, I give, you, the preferences dialog:
Thirty-four major categories. Security accounts for two, multimedia two, measuring three. Now, that, in and of itself is not bad. For example, BBEdit has a lot of prefs:
Twenty-three major categories. Not small at all, but you notice that drawer? With the search widget? It's almost like Rich Siegel and others said "Hey, BBEdit has a shit-load of prefs, and so rather than making people endlessly browse for them, we're going to try to make it easier by allowing them to search for the setting they want!" Wait, no, it's exactly like that:
It's not just BBEdit. Look, Word 2011!
Why, one might think Microsoft actually paid attention to the Apple HIG or something stupid like that!
So it's not just small/indie devs doing the right things, it's $BIGCORPS too. See, sometimes, prefs get complicated. If you can't, or don't think you can avoid that, then put in a fucking search box, and possibly consider a periodic redesign of your preferences. Don't just goddamned torture people because your software is "enterprise". That's a lame excuse to get out of doing work. Even worse, all that, they can't even manage to lay out the fields in that overcomplicated shithole of a prefs dialog worth a tinker's damn:
Come on people, that's a mistake one of our programming interns would catch, and if I get a bunch of babble justifying it or even attempting to, I swear I will get said intern and let her go to fucking town on you!
But it's Acrobat. Are you really surprised they half-assed the UI? I'm not. But we're not done yet.
Next up: Why you're stupid to pay full price for the Mac version, or, CRIPPLEWARE FOR YOU FUCKING HIPPIES!| Comments ()
Two quick scripts
Want to convert Numbers to Excel or Word to PDF quickly? Or at least with no real work on your part?
Here, two scripts:
Numbers to Excel
on open of theFiles
repeat with x in theFiles
set theFile to contents of x
tell application "Finder"
set theFileProps to properties of contents of x
set theFilePath to container of theFileProps as text
set theFileName to name of theFileProps
set theFileName to text 1 thru -(2 + (count of "numbers")) of theFileName & ".xls"
tell application "Numbers"
save document 1 in (theFilePath & theFileName) as alias
close document 1 saving no
- To have this convert to PDF, change ".xls" to ".pdf" in the last line of the Finder tell block.
Word to PDF
on open of theFiles
tell application "Microsoft Word" to set theOldDefaultPath to get default file path file path type documents path
repeat with x in theFiles
set theDoc to contents of x
tell application "Finder"
set theFilePath to container of theDoc as text
set theFilename to (name of theDoc) & ".pdf"
tell application "Microsoft Word"
set default file path file path type documents path path theFilePath
set theActiveDoc to the active document
save as theActiveDoc file format format PDF file name theFilename
tell application "Microsoft Word" to set default file path file path type documents path path theOldDefaultPath
- Yes, that is the syntax to getting and setting the default document path in word. This actually changes the application preference, so I make sure to restore it at the end.
- No, you can't easily specify the path in the "save as" command.
- Yes, Word's AppleScript is weird
Save them as application bundles, and you're set. Nothing huge, but getting documents into other formats is something we all need to do a lot, so this can be a big help. Note that you will see a lot going on the screen when you run this, it's not some silent background operation.| Comments ()
November 26, 2010
Job Opportunity, we has one!
What we need: We need someone who has a deep understanding of Mac OS X (Server), all versions, Directory Services, Email, (Kerio Connect is a serious bonus here), Apache, and scripting experience.
What you’ll be doing: A little of everything but with a focus on client web site setup, (this is where the scripting comes in), security for those sites, testing, and developer assistance. In addition, you’ll be the go-to person for our help desk tech for an almost completely Mac OS X internal network. So, you’ll need to be more than solid on modern Mac networks. Of course, there’s always user support, including some remote users, and a ton of traveling users.
What we need you to be: Smart, sociable, pays attention to detail, and able to convert between tech and user-speak without getting a brain cramp. We’ve a broad range of users, from those with top-notch tech skills to those who just want to get work done. Patience, the ability to remain calm when everyone else is losing their minds, (while letting people know you understand the severity of their problem), and being able to improvise as needed are other critical skills.
What we really don't care about If you have a degree or a long list of certifications, that's great, but it's not a requirement in any way for this gig. We want someone with real-world, hands-on experience in supporting networks used by real people, not a test situation. Certs and/or a degree won't hurt, but they aren't going to be a particular help either.
Who we are: the / zimmerman / agency is a 200-person advertising/marketing/public relations agency in Tallahassee FL. We do a little of everything for everyone, and we do it better than anyone. “WOW” is what we bring, not just to clients, but to employees as well. A competitive salary, a top-notch benefits package, and a casual, if frenetic environment are just the start of it all.
Ideally, you’re in Tallahassee or the Big Bend area of FL., (but if not, and you’re really awesome, we can talk about relocation), and want to work somewhere that’s a bit above and a lot outside the norm. There’s no cubicles, and most companies’ “Casual” Friday is still too formal for us.
If you want to talk, please email a PDF resume to: firstname.lastname@example.org| Comments ()
November 6, 2010
On the Xserve thing...
I've an article up on Macworld.com about the Xserve. Add some profanity, and it's pretty much what I would have written here.
What I'm hearing however, that's just especially stupid is "Why do we even need Mac OS X Server? You can do everything it does with <otherserverplatform>"
That's absolutely true. But then, why do I need Linux? I can do everything it does with Windows Server. Conversely, why do I need Windows Server? Why do I need Solaris? *BSD? Why do I need multiple different approaches at all? Why do I need anything but Google for email? Why do I need anything but VMware for virtualization? Why do I need anything but Microsoft Office for productivity software? Why do I need anything but Photoshop for image editing? Why do I need anything but Final Cut Pro for video editing?
There is value, real, actual value in multiple different approaches to accomplishing the same task. Mac OS X Server is not an absolute necessity, but I can apply that to anything. Aside from no one product being perfect for everything, there's simply value in seeing someone else solve the same problem differently. Sometimes it's astoundingly better, sometimes it's just better for a small group of people. But having different ways of doing things, even the same simple things, helps us move forward.
Why do I need anything but Flash for web site design?| Comments ()