"Yeah, well, you know, that's just like, uh, your opinion, man."

More Photos Follies

09:03 Thursday, 15 September 2016

Apple is the new Microsoft. (See previous post.)

Apart from Schiller's "courage," (almost, but not quite, as absurd as Ballmer's "Developers, developers, developers! Developers, developers developers!"), the most recent evidence is the performance of Photos on iOS.

The latest iOS version is "fully-buzzword-compliant" with "machine-learning." It incorporates facial recognition, which is what we had with iPhoto and Aperture for years. It wasn't terribly good, it required a lot of manual intervention, but we had it.

I was looking forward to seeing what sort of advances these AI geniuses Apple's been acqui-hiring lately would come up with. The short answer: None.

I have about 54K images in iCloud, they're mostly 3MP in size. In order for Photos to "scan" your images for faces, your device has to be locked (Read: "You can't be using it."), and connected to power. So, fine, I let my iPad Pro run overnight. And then gave it a few hours the next morning.

Result: Same as iPhoto and Aperture. I observed no improvement.

It gives you a face, with a number that tells how many other images contain that face. But it's very conservative, as I suppose it ought to be, and so any given individual's face is represented in many separate groups of images as if they were different individuals. You must go through and select those groups and then "merge" them. That's a little different behavior than iPhoto or Aperture, but it's hardly an improvement.

If you scroll to the bottom of an "album" of a particular individual, you get the same sort of "so-and-so may also be in these images" available in iPhoto or Aperture, and you can confirm or reject a number of other images that have that individual's face in them.

The groups are sorted by the number of images in them, so those with only a few are at the bottom of a long, long screen of faces and it's possible that those "may also be in these images" candidates are coming from those groups at the bottom of the list, I couldn't tell and didn't have the patience to try to experiment.

Be careful when you're confirming or rejecting. If you realize you were a little quick on the draw, you can select "undo" and get the opportunity to correct an error. But once an image has been assigned to a particular face, I found no way to remove that assignment.

You can "hide" faces that are irrelevant to you, and in 54K images, there are many. You can also elect to show only "Favorites."

So, overall, a singularly unimpressive result. Not a big deal. A "feature" that's kind of a pain in the ass to use. It's not "magical."

But, the truly offensive aspect is, once again, the apparent lack of integration with iCloud.

I pay for additional storage in iCloud to store "all" of my images (they're not all, but close enough), and to keep all of my images available on all of my devices.

Well, if the iPad Pro has gone through all 54K images and scanned for faces, and I've gone through its feeble attempts to recognize people and actually recognized them correctly, one would hope, think and expect that the organizational meta-data would propagate up through iCloud and down to my iPhone where the same 54K images exist.


iPhone maintains that it must "scan" all 54K images, and I suppose I'll have to go through and re-identify everyone all over again. We're now into day two of this update process and the iPhone, in spite of being plugged in and "locked" overnight twice, is still "scanning."

Apple is the new Microsoft.

They suck.

Be Careful What You Scorn In Life

08:43 Friday, 9 September 2016

Lest you become it.

And, I'm afraid Apple has.

A long time ago, in a blogosphere far, far away, Apple was the scrappy band of rebels battling the Evil Empire that was Microsoft.

Not anymore.

Apple has become Microsoft. That doesn't mean they're the Evil Empire™, that title goes to Google. Apple isn't so much willfully evil, as it is just arrogant and inept, both of which are making life more difficult for the rest of us.


I'm glad you asked.

The most recent example for me was just a few moments ago. I opened Photos on my iPad Pro and the latest pictures I shot with my iPhone weren't there. Well, sometimes that happens, and once you open the app you have to wait a couple of minutes for all the handshaking and cobweb-clearing, for the Photos client to communicate with iCloud and grab the latest thumbnails. Irritating, but not a big deal. (But seriously, why the hell can't it do that stuff when it's in the background. So, yeah, kind of a big deal.)

Anyway, this morning, no new pictures. I see the spinning indicator of infinite futility up in the upper left corner of the display, indicating something is going on, but I'm not seeing my pictures.

At the bottom of the display Photos says, 18,329 Photos, 1 Video; and below that, in tiny text, it says, "Uploading 17,844 items."

What. The. Hell. ? !

First off, I had to completely reset that iPad Pro several weeks ago when I was beginning my great iCloud Photos migration. With the exception of maybe 20-30 pictures I directly imported into it, every other one of those "18,329 Photos" came from iCloud! And now it wants to upload them back?!

And not only that, I have 53,867 or 53,861 photos in iCloud. It seems Photos on my iPhone and Photos on my MacBook Pro can't agree on exactly how many I have. Because, you know, iCloud. But Back while I was doing the migration, I was using Photos on the Pro and scrolling through the images, forcing it to download all the "optimized" thumbnails, and now I guess about 40,000 of them have gone missing?

What the fuck?

Apple totally sucks at this cloud business. Don't trust your photos to it.

Dealing with Apple software now reminds me of all the frustrations I felt being forced to use MS Office in my day job. It was cumbersome, didn't work the way you thought it was supposed to work, slow, and it just sucked. That's what dealing with Apple's stuff is like now.

My gf has an old-ish 13" MBP from about 2009 or '10, and she's been running on Snow Leopard ever since Snow Leopard was the latest. Well, Apple doesn't update Safari for Snow Leopard, because I guess it relies on things in the underlying OS that aren't there, or maybe they just want you to upgrade. In any case, I talked her into updating her OS because the old Safari was less secure, and now she's unhappy about her computer being slower.

What's going to happen when Apple starts making cars? Before you go to work in the morning, are you going to have to sit there in the garage waiting for a software update to download and install, then reboot the car?

"Sorry, Boss. I missed the meeting because my iCar was doing a mandatory security update!"

That's gonna fly.

And what happens when this IT-intensive automobile gets to be six or seven years old? Does Apple stop providing updates for it? Do you take it in for a brain transplant when it's time for a new battery?

My iPhone 6s Plus is the flakiest iPhone I've ever owned (all of them since the 3G, except for the 3GS). The touch screen randomly stops responding, forcing a restart. I don't have the gray band of death, which seems to be the other symptom of that particular malady. The camera app routinely gets confused and stops displaying what it's seeing, though it'll still take a picture. Have to force quit that to get the display back. The orientation sensor often appears drunk when I take it out of my pocket.

I watched the Special Event broadcast, and I really think I could have missed it and made better use of my time.

The iPhone 7 looks nice, but the bullshit that comes from these guys just gets deeper and deeper. It takes "courage" to remove the headphone jack? A 56mm effective focal length is "telephoto?" (It's not, it's basically a normal angle of view.) Jony Ive's video literally put me to sleep. That guy has become a caricature of himself. They really ought to retire that whole schtick.

But kudos on the effort at more diversity in presenters.

I'm on the annual upgrade plan, so I'm definitely going to ditch this 6s Plus next month, and hopefully get a less problematic 7. I seldom use the headphone jack, so it's not a deal-breaker. The increased water resistance is appealing. But the camera stuff isn't a big deal anymore. I don't care. They're good enough, and when I want a better camera, I have several to choose from.

If the 7 works more reliably than the my 6s Plus, I'll probably skip the next upgrade, own the phone and stay with it for a couple of more years.

Anyway, Apple is the new Microsoft. The biggest kid on the block, always running his mouth saying how great he is, annoying all the neighbors, but routinely falling on his ass and then pretending like nobody saw it.

Oh, and pay your damn taxes too, Apple!