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iCloud Asking For Password Repeatedly?

This apparently is an old bug, with posts dating back to the inception of iCloud services. The symptom that I experienced is iPhone, iPad and Mac randomly asking to sign in to iCloud and then again to reset the iCloud password. It typically seemed to happen on wake from sleep or after a charge cycle. I guess this is when iCloud background processes start up. I tried some of the simple things like soft reset, even played the asked for password reset some seven times. No avail.

Some of the fixes on the internet are very disruptive - for instance signing out of iCloud involves deleting the iCloud photo library from devices (if you had it enabled). Such a pain. On a hunch, I decided to do something different. On the Mac, I opened Keychain Access, and searched for ‘icloud’. This showed up some 12 different items, with various dates associated with them. I selected the lot and deleted them. You will be asked to reset your password once after this, but by and large, so far there has not been further problems.


Mailbox Shutting Down - Alternatives?

A bit of a shock - I had come to rely heavily on Mailbox to manage my emails. From its amazing inception video, the waiting game, and the triumphant dash to add the email accounts on reaching the end of the queue, I loved the idea and the implementation. Then came Dropbox with a buyout. I could not see the point honestly, but thought it can only be a good thing. Well, takeovers often have an aftermath. Mailbox is going to shut down. I am sure, like me, there will be countless others who will be equally jolted by the news.

Today however, I am not going to moan the loss. I have looked at a number of alternatives. The final decision to be made is between Boxer or Typemail. There are others, but in terms of functionality and design, these perhaps trump the others. Microsoft Outlook is worth a mention too - after all, the original idea was not that of MS, it was Accompli to start with.

So, tonight the test begins…

Meanwhile, I hope Dropbox continue to do what they are good at - seamless cloud file storage. And stop trying to acquire any more companies or inflate their value!


Is Apple Watch Better Than Others?

“What watch?”, said my colleague. “Of course the Samsung watch is better”, and he added “Samsung phones are better than iPhones”, followed by some comment about ‘form over function’. By that time, my mind was flipping back to the past, when the Macintosh was announced at the Flint Centre. I was of course not there, but there is nothing more imaginable than the human reaction to announcements like this. Of course, predictably he had not seen the event videos!

The Apple Watch is, and will go down in history, as an epic paradigm shift in the way wearable tech is designed. My colleague had completely missed all the innovation, all the thought and care that had gone into the development of the product. Consider the complete re-invention of a completely new user experience for god’s sake!

You encounter people who leave posts, like incontinent seagulls leaving excrement in public places indiscriminately, that say ‘…disappointed with the announcement today..’. It takes a degree of finesse, intellectual ability, awareness of human station, to appreciate the amazing device that Apple has produced. Future will regard this device as the game changer akin to the iPhone, which changed the ‘smartphone’ landscape. I used to own many of those smart ones - there was absolutely nothing smart about those!

I look forward to the health and lifestyle applications and explosive innovation in the wake of this new device. Those of you who can’t see that, I am sorry, unfortunately there is no cure.


The Southern Half A Key

Southern Railways have come up with a paperless ticket system. Great. As an early adopter, I signed up promptly. It transpires I should've contained my excitement and read the blurb. The thing is not fit for purpose yet - certainly not for mixing business and personal travel. Where's the corresponding smartphone app? No, it's not there.

Come on Southern, make this the Hailo for trains. Smartphone app + card + partnership with London Transport will work. Work on that!


Alternatives To iOS Reminders?

The iPhone is now several years old and the hardware has improved tremendously. The iOS has come a long way in that length of time. Apple’s own built-in apps have changed, mostly for the better, too. However, the built in Reminders app often leaves me scratching my head, thinking ‘what the hell were they thinking?’. It does leave a great big void in task management, which I have been trying to fill with a number of apps. And of course you can waste a lot of time and money trying to do that. Although the AppStore is brimming at the seams with in incredible number of them, there seems to be deficiencies and strengths which are mutually exclusive. Some like OmniFocus is ridiculously expensive. Others are plain ridiculous when it comes to design and user experience.

Today I realised why Apple’s own offering is left to look like a half baked cookie. They are creating an ecosystem for all these developers who are into Doing Things! In that process, they have hidden one important features which a lot of developers seem to ignore - the ability for a third party app to import items from the built-in Reminders app. With this, users can quickly create a reminder using Siri without manually typing things in, and have a preferred alternative app to import these when they open it. So then it is staggering how very few reminder apps on the store actually use this. There are some stunningly designed apps out there like Begin and Listastic, but these also do not have the ability to import from Reminders.

My favourite list making app AnyList already has that. That transformed how I update my shopping lists. Whilst I would gladly use it for my To Do as well, AnyList does not have alarms, snooze etc. required for efficient task management.

Today I discovered Alarmed, an great alternative to iOS Reminders. It does import Siri created reminder items including date, time etc., and delete originals from the there. Though its design and UI could be a bit better, at least for now, I feel that I am in control of task management.