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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:

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?

 

Apple Books

Stray thought that has been going through my head for a while now:

Considering:

Wouldn’t Apple releasing Apple Books as a monthly subscription similar to Apple Music not be a logical step?

Indiana Jones & Echoes from the Past

Easily toggle between light and dark mode in macOS Mojave

Apple has added a new dark mode, Dark Aqua, to macOS Mojave. Since there's currently no easy way to toggle between the two modes, I've created a button you can add to your MacBook Pro's Touchbar that allows you to quickly move from and  to the dark side.

Steps

  1. Create a Contextual Workflow in Automator and add the code below.
  2. Set the input to none, and pick a good icon.
  3. Save the workflow and give it a clear name like Dark Mode.
  4. Go to System Preferences > Extensions and choose Touch Bar.
  5. Enable your newly created workflow
  6. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard and choose Customize Controlstrip
  7. Drag the Workflow button to your Touchbar

The code

tell application "System Events"
    
    tell appearance preferences
        
        set dark mode to not dark mode
        
    end tell
    
end tell

Screenshots

The result

WWDC 2018 Aftermath

It’s a weird WWDC this year. On one hand Apple released tons of features. On the other hand there were only a few big tickets items.

All in all I’d summarize as: Apple went for all the low hanging fruit this year, filling obvious blanks in their platforms but they left the big changes for another time.

Highlights

The biggest change for iOS will be the Shortcuts app. Integrating Workflow into Siri and seriously expanding upon the Sirikit capabilities.

Marco Arment hoped for “tell App to do thing” during last weeks ATP.fm. This is basically it.

Speaking of Podcasts, the availability of the app on watchOS was long overdue and will make going out without your iPhone a lot more fun. This combined with the automated Workout detection are two cool new features  for the Apple Watch.

I’m not a big macOS fan but I can’t wait for the Finder Actions to come to iOS. Desktop stacks on Mac feel like they belong in the iPads home screen too. Replacing the app grid with documents and widgets and moving all apps to the iPad dock seems a logical move someday.

The iPad also got a little love. Control center is now an overlay of the home screen. The menubar is less cluttered and contains a date now. And the combined notifications are yet again an example of finally.

Wishlist

I had a wishlist. Let’s see how I did: