Thursday, June 28, 2012

iPhoto Journals Not Visible on Leopard?

Mentioning that iPhoto (for iOS) can publish journals onto iCloud, I didn't expect that Safari 5.0.6 on PowerPC would not be able to show the journal's contents. Apparently, this is indeed a problem.

My Leopard-based PowerBook G4 system can show the journal page, but doesn't show the pictures uploaded by iPhoto, making the journal useless to potential viewers who may have older Macs. From what can be seen on the Web page itself, it appears to be Apple's servers determining that the version of Safari is too old and simply refuses to serve the expected content.

I don't know what happens in cases of Safari older than 5.0.6 on Windows, or for browsers by other manufacturers, but I gather there may be problems showing iCloud-hosted iPhoto journals by those browsers, too.

I'm feeling rather uneasy about Apple's stance on backwards or sideways compatibility. Seems like their unpublished policies on compatibility have been unpublished simply because none exist. If you have any interest in using iCloud, it's best to assume that nothing that cannot run Lion will work on Apple's controversial network service.

Have a look at these journals made by iPhoto for iOS and see if they work on your (old) system!

Update: It appears that the reason why Safari 5.0.6 cannot show the contents of a picture from an iCloud journal is because the browser tries to download the picture from a Web server at whose digital certificate cannot be verified, and Safari doesn't give the user the option to override the unverifiable certificate. This prevents the image from being loaded.

The iCloud journal service uses the Secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTPS) in order to send images to a browser. Unfortunately, Safari cannot establish the secure connection because it refuses to accept the certificate used for it.

This is plain and simple open Web standards at work, and has nothing to do with Apple actively and selectively causing the malfunction on PowerPC machines, as I originally wrote. In this case, it is just a matter of Apple not choosing to update Safari 5.0.6's certificate database to resolve the problem.

Incidentally, Firefox 3.6.28 loads the page just fine.

Article last updated on the 27th January, 2013: added an explanation as to the cause of the malfunction.


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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Watching Skype Fall Further.

I predicted how Skype was going to "misbehave" in the hands of Microsoft to the detriment of public approval towards the organisation about a year ago... well, it looks like my prediction is right.

According to Ars, Skype have decided to throw ads at people who do not purchase Skype Credit (and other factors), which apparently affect the service to the point of failure. I'll repeat that: ... to the point of failure.

Whoever decided that posting symmetrically sized ads be displayed alongside the teleconferencing view has now lost my vote of confidence in the usefulness of the service, purely because:

  • they are assuming that my broadband has the capacity to handle the bandwidth. Sorry, it does not. And,
  • they are assuming that I am interested in reading ads whilst talking to someone. Sorry, I am not.

How obnoxiously disruptive do companies have to be before they get the message that their customers don't like what they are doing and they should just stop it?! The reasons for the introduced disruptions also don't sound convincing to me:

"While on a one-to-one audio call, users will see content that could spark additional topics of conversation that are relevant to Skype users and highlight unique and local brand experiences. So, you should think of Conversation Ads as a way for Skype to generate fun interactivity between your circle of friends and family and the brands you care about. Ultimately, we believe this will help make Skype a more engaging and useful place to have your conversations each and every day."

I give Skype... ummm... 10 years before they irreparably damage themselves due to negligence.


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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Where's's Replacement?

Apple recently announced that is going to be discontinued one month after MobileMe. With that leaves the prospects of being able to share your documents with invitees, closing off access to world-wide network collaboration tools for the masses.

I did at one point say that iWork was a way to publish your photos and movies to others on the 'Net, but it looks like this was a bad recommendation since it too is about to disappear.

I can only wonder what iCloud could have in store by way of collaboration services for iWork users in future.



MobileMe Coming Full Circle.

In the past few blog posts, I have been rather critical of iCloud, and its lack of what used to be MobileMe Gallery. It looks like Apple are about to give these features back to the rather battered and bewildered MobileMe community, through updates to iCloud for Mountain Lion, and particular iOS apps.

But there are a few things that Apple may have to do yet… one of them maybe including updates to iPhoto for the Mac to better support Photo Sharing on iCloud. Once that happens, what used to be MobileMe Gallery will be back in mostly the same way as it used to be before.

If you have an iPhone (or iPad or iPod touch), and the iOS version of iPhoto, you can actually see iCloud's gallery in action. The steps are not obvious, but the best starting point is to make a journal. Once you have your photos in a journal, you can post it to iCloud and share its URL around with your friends.

Not exactly MobileMe Gallery, but it's close. At least your photos are no longer shackled to your Apple ID!


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