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 Books

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

Considering:

  • The complete redesign and rebrand of iBooks in iOS 12.
  • The ability to mark any book, being it one you own or one you haven’t purchased yet, as want to read.
  • The ability to add unowned books to collections in Apple Books.
  • Apple’s focus on selling subscription services and increasing services revenue.

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

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:

  • ✖️New reminders app that forgets the cards concept
  • ✔️Integration for third party apps in Siri watch face
  • ✖️iOS Safari Desktop Mode which would makes site backends like Squarespace or Zendesk finally work.
  • ✔️Podcast.app for Apple Watch
  • ✖️Time Machine backups to iCloud, or expand synced iCloud Drive Folders in macOS.
  • ✖️Change Flashlight shortcut on iPhone X to app if choice
  • ✔️True black mode for iBooks
  • ✖️Sync Home.app Room photos
  • ✖️The ability to receive more than one document at once via AirDrop
  • ✖️The ability to change photo album cover photos on iOS
  • ✖️Background downloads for iOS Safari.
  • ✖️Shared iCloud Drive folders with family members
  • ✔️Shared iCloud Photo a library albums with family members
  • ✖️A way to distribute IAP via VPP
  • ✖️A way to push macOS releases to devices via MDM (installhighsierra)
  • ✖️SAML integration for Managed AppleIDs for easier deployment via OneLogin, Okta or Google or AD.
  • ✖️Apple Pay in Belgium
  • ✖️Apple News Worldwide
  • ✖️TV app to replace Movies
  • ✖️Predictive keyboard in Dutch
  • ✔️NMBS in Apple Maps
  • ✖️De Lijn in Apple Maps

WWDC 2018

More as a reminder for myself than a real useful thing, but below you’ll find my Keynote wishlist.

iOS, watchOS, macOS

major bits

  • New reminders app that forgets the cards concept
  • Integration for third party apps in Siri watch face
  • iOS Safari Desktop Mode which would makes site backends like Squarespace or Zendesk finally work.
  • Podcast.app for Apple Watch
  • Time Machine backups to iCloud, or expand synced iCloud Drive Folders in macOS.

little bits

  • Change Flashlight shortcut on iPhone X to app if choice
  • True black mode for iBooks
  • Sync Home.app Room photos
  • The ability to receive more than one document at once via AirDrop
  • The ability to change photo album cover photos on iOS
  • Background downloads for iOS Safari.

iCloud and Enterprise

  • Shared iCloud Drive folders with family members
  • Shared iCloud Photo a library albums with family members
  • A way to distribute IAP via VPP
  • A way to push macOS releases to devices via MDM (installhighsierra)
  • SAML integration for Managed AppleIDs for easier deployment via OneLogin, Okta or Google or AD.

Localization

  • Apple Pay in Belgium
  • Apple News Worldwide
  • TV app to replace Movies
  • Predictive keyboard in Dutch
  • De Lijn and NMBS in Apple Maps

Wishful thinking

  • iCloud Movies Library, making all your movies available everywhere
  • Desktop mode for iPad with support for keyboard, trackpad and display.
  • Siri available on any device with the same feature set without the need for third party apps to be installed on that device.

Trigger

“By the way, here is an important lesson about delegation: remember that everyone else is also most productive when they’re doing what they like, and do what you’d want other people to do for you—try to figure out who likes (and is good at) doing what, and delegate that way.

If you find yourself not liking what you’re doing for a long period of time, seriously consider a major job change.  Short-term burnout happens, but if it isn’t resolved with some time off, maybe it’s time to do something you’re more interested in.”

— Sam Altman

Some things you read resonate more than others. This one gave me the final push to quit my job last week.

I’ll start somewhere new later this summer. More on that later.

Call it my shoelace moment.

Balance

You know that phrase: turn your hobby into your job and you’ll never work another day? Yeah, I was naive enough to believe that too.

But when the company you work for suddenly changes culture, your once purposeful and fulfilling job may turn into something cumbersome and mentally tiring. And bit by bit your hobby — the thing that you’re passionate about — starts to feel like work.

Work and life really are polar opposites. They attract and repel and are never really in balance.

Odd Duck Out. What’s a computer anyway?

One of these four is not like the others. Some call the Mac a computer. But it’s kinda becoming a relic of older times.

The iPhone is the phone that made traditional cellphones feel old and limited. Similarly, the definition of computer, especially a mobile computer, is rapidly moving past macOS, and I really think soon that what we think of as computers will be synonymous with these Chrome toasterfridges and iOS iPads.

And the Mac? It’ll feel and look like a Nokia 3210 in comparison. A classic from days past.