Apple Event Trailer

A trailer for the upcoming Apple Keynote in the style of the recent Star Wars preview made by René Ritchie.

Zendesk Widget Configurator

Zendesk has a very expansive API allowing you to access basically any part of the Zendesk Suite via organised and very clear API calls.

One of the tools in their offering, the Zendesk Widget, combines all customer facing channels into one widget you can embed on your website. It’s a single line deployment that’s easily installed.

But, if you need or want more than the out of the box experience, they also offer a vast API to tweak colors, labels, behaviour and features. The API is easy to use if you know a bit about javascript, but sometimes a GUI is just easier.

That’s what the Zendesk Widget Configurator is. A tool that takes the widget API, and turns it in a webform. It shows changes you make in a live widget, and generators the necessary code that you can copy-paste directly on your page’s head to get the changes live on your website.

Give it a go at widget.verschoren.com

If you find any bugs, feel free to use the contact form to submit a report ;-)

Zendesk Talk Status

Zendesk Talk is Zendesk’s integration VOIP solution. We use it at the office for both incoming support calls from our clients as well as, naturally, outgoing calls.

Now weirdly, Zendesk does not offer a mobile app for their phone solution. They have great apps for Support and Sell, but you can’t access or manage your Talk account go.

This leads to a few issues. Once I leave the office I can’t put my account offline, or redirect calls from browser to mobile.

So, I solved this little hassle with a custom web app. It allows anyone with a Zendesk account to change their status or redirect calls to mobile and web.

Give it a try at talk.premiumplus.io

Needless to say, I track nothing, can’t hear your calls and don’t store any data.

Time to Die

I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.

One of my all time favorite movie scenes. Apparently mostly written by Rutger Hauer himself..

Time to die indeed.

Running Zendesk on an iPad

When it comes to working on an iPad I’m one of those “I wish I could and I kinda can but not entirely” kind of people.

I changed jobs this summer and my new job is basically using and running the Zendesk admin instance 9 to 5. And sadly, that interface requires a desktop browser. Why? Because Zendesk did something weird with iFrames in their admin interface that confuses Mobile Safari and makes scrolling impossible.

Today, motivated by a storm of iPad reviews that basically all said “great hardware limited by software”, I decided to download and install the top most iOS browsers and see if maybe one of them did work better than Mobile Safari.

The usual suspects didn’t work. Chrome did something weird with the resolution so that half the site was cut off, Firefox also didn’t allow for scrolling and loaded blank pages, and Opera was just horrendous.

Surprisingly Dolphin did load Zendesk smoothly. And it scrolled. And it loaded the buttons and drop downs correctly. It did some weird things with the ticket view, but luckily Zendesk has a pretty good mobile app for that.

I should probably blame the small iPad Pro screen for that issue, so when the new 12.9″ iPad is available on Wednesday I hope I can convince someone to install Dolphin and test it out for me.

So in short, that’s one showstopper I can partially scratch of the list. Up next: dual screen presenting.

PS: do use the full screen setting and enable desktop mode.

Filling the wrong gap

The latest ATP episode ended with an interesting thought by John Siracusa (starting 2:23:30)

Focus on gaming was interesting. Especially when they compare the GPU power to the XBox one.
That well all and good Apple, but you're not convincing me. Oh Apple. You've got all the CPU power in the world, you are like a 100 times more powerful than the Switch but you do not have Breath of the Wild. Do you see the difference? Do you see the difference here Apple? What's different. How is Nintendo able to make these amazing games with so much less power. And buy the the thing costs so much less money. Maybe that's part of it too but either way.
I love the GPU, like, I love the fact that they have gaming demo's. Oh look at this it's in retina resolution. No console can do 120fps, which is true but pc's can. But anyway, that's not the problem. You're not.. they're filling the wrong gap.
People aren't saying I would love to use my iPad as my primary gaming system, if only it did 120FPS. That's not what people are saying. People are saying I would love to use the iPad as my gaming system if it only it had the games I want to play. It doesn't.
All these games are not coming out on the iPad. It's not because the iPad is not powerful enough. It's plenty powerful. Anyway. They insist on bringing up gaming. They insist on comparing themselves to gaming consoles. And its like you don't see the differences that people care about, its not the differences you think they are.

The phrase “filling the wrong gap” really resonates with me.

People who aren’t yet convinced that the iPad is a real computer and can replace your MacBook, aren’t all of the sudden going to change their mind now because of better CPU performance or a nicer screen.

“No one” is asking for a faster iPad. If the apps and operating system aren’t up to par, it’s just faster at doing a poor job. Whatever you could do on a previous iPad Pro, you can do on this one. Faster.

This new iPad has the same restrictions, limitations and flaws as any other iPad running iOS 12. If Apple really wants to turn the iPad into the computer of the future, and make more complex workflows possible, it’s the software that needs to change.

I really hope WWDC19 brings major changes to iOS on iPad. Cause theirs a big gab that needs to be filled there too.

Standing still. iPad Pro 2018

Apple released an awesome new iPad yesterday. Beautiful edge to edge display, Face ID, crazy fast.

But, even with all those new bells and whistles, it’s still the same iPad running the same iOS. It’s an iPad. A device that was perfect when it was released. And then kinda rested on its laurels and iterated with safe bets and predictable improvements

For example: the iPad was released with a great browser that took the mobile experience from iPhone and made it bigger. JavaScript and other benchmark results got faster. Split screen, h264 video, it all got better.

But when it comes to managing SAAS applications or using other web apps it’s still way behind what macOS has to offer. Why? Because it’s based on a browser that expected to display the mobile web and push all complex use cases to Apps.

Ever tried doing anything in the Squarespace backend from an iPad? You’re stuck in autozoom hell. Change settings in Zendesk? Better hope both the toggle and the save button are within view when the page loads. Cause scrolling ain’t working.

Similarly: Do you need to demo and present how an app or service works with your notes open in a Google Doc? Good luck. Whatever App the iPad shows on its screen is presented to your audience. You can’t have two instances of Safari open, and you can’t present one app and read from another.

The entire external display solution the iPad offers is based on opening the Photos app with lots of thumbnails on the iPad, and a tv that shows a selected photo nice and big to your grandmother. But it can’t and doesn’t support multiple displays or different apps on different screens.

Don’t get me wrong. I love iOS and if I could, I’d do without the Mac altogether. Apps are better, the interface is nicer, it’s more versatile and battery life is awesome. But even after the addition of Files, multitasking, a wicked fast cpu and gpu, it still lacks in professional use cases.

Maybe the iPad is not meant to do these things. But both of the use cases I described above are professional use cases fitting for a Pro moniker. Neither of them needs faster, better, stronger devices. They need a more versatile OS. It’s an iPad. Not a bigger iPhone.

Apple Watch and email

Apparently watchOS 5 requires you to separately sign into Gmail and other oAuth mailbox providers. It doesn’t use the tokens used by your iPhone’s Mail anymore.

Fix by opening the Watch app on your iPhone and navigating to Settings,Mail and entering your password in any account that shows an error.

Hide 1Password One-Time Password notifications

1Password allows you to add two-factor authentication codes or one-time passwords to its database. Very convenient cause it’s safer then using sms, can be shared across a family or team and allows you to delete the Google Authenticator app.

Since one of its latest releases the app automatically copies the code to the clipboard when you fill in a username and password. That way it’s ready to use on the next screen where most apps ask you to enter the code. You just select the text field and paste the code. No more juggling between apps.

1Password alerts you of the clipboard action via a notification. A notification that, if you don’t tap or dismiss it, will remain on your lock screen or Notification Center long after you need it.

Quick tip: since 1Password only uses notifications for the one-time passwords, go into settings and disable all options except for the pop up banner.

You’ll still be notified but the alerts won’t linger.

Apple Keynote 2018

Pretty cool overview of what Apple announced this week. If you ask me, the Apple Watch was the star of the show, and the Xr was the product I enjoyed the most.

If people ask me what iPhone I’d advice them to buy it’s the Xr, no doubt about that

For me personally, if history implies patterns, you’d expect me to buy a 256GB iPhone Xs Max in black.

But the iPhone X was next years phone today when they released it, so it’s still awesome.

And although the Apple Watch Series 4 sounds awesome, if you consider the realities in Belgium it paints another picture:

  • No cellular option
  • No Apple Pay
  • Like everyone outside of the US no new heart monitor features

Which makes my Series 3 not that different. And, based in the photos, the 44m model seems a bit too big for me, and I’m not going to a 40mm. That would mean throwing out a lot of watch bands.

So.. did their new products impress me?

Sure.

Will I buy any?