Federico Viticci’s Not an iPad Pro Review, I think is a scathingly well done piece.

Having used Android tablets as an all-the-things primary computer for the better part of a decade, I particularly found the problem of background processes to be a killer. It effectively relegated my iPad from a fully productive machine to a fully-everything-else machine that probably cost twice as much as the Galaxy Tab S-series it replaced. In fact, I virtually never reach for the Magic Keyboard and fire up a SSH client on my iPad. I’ll break out a heavy ass laptop or walk across my home if I need that, because it’s annoying as fuck when you switch apps and then it’s gone. By contrast, I readily used my Android tablets for SSH tasks both for programming professionally (ssh -> build server) and for local things (ssh -> my servers).

I also rather like the notion of Desktop-class apps as a terminology. Apple’s spiel about tablet optimized apps vs Android was largely full of bullshit and handwaving back in the day. But I think Desktop-class captures the distinction well. My aging iPad Pro grants access to a few professional quality apps like Working Copy, Procreate, and Lumia Fusion that are available on iPadOS, but relatively few Desktop-class applications.

By contrast, my Android tablets were often good enough for the dock to a monitor and have at it modularity, because guess what? Some crazy guy probably wrote a desktop class application worth paying for, or no one actually gave a fuck. iPadOS on the other hand, well the best thing I can generally say about most of the software is that app xyz is almost the same as xyz is on Android. There are a few that I miss even when using Macs and PCs. And as Federico notes, there’s basically a plethora of things that just can’t exist on iPad because there’s no support for building them.

Multi-tasking is kind of a more meh perspective to me, but I think his description of how it’s evolved is spot on. Personally, I like the more full-screen task centric nature of Android and iOS. I wrote about that plenty of times in the 2010s back when G+ was a thing, and even a few journal entries here. The whole floating window thing, I find rather nice if you have a 20″ to 30″ monitor but not so useful when you cut that screen in half, like a tablet or a laptop. I appreciate the ability to split screen or slide over or float windows on my tablet, but not as much as I appreciated Android apps allowing me to do things like switch between a terminal session and an email without fucking up what I’m doing.

Stage Manager kind of squeezes it in for me. On Mac, I enjoy Stage Manager because it helps organize and group windows effectively for working on tasks. On iPad, I mostly view Stage Manager as a sucks-less way of switching between applications when multi-tasking more than anything else. On the flip side, iPadOS did grow the ability to do external monitors far better. But of the actual multi-tasking experience, the most that I can say all these years later, is that I no longer have to reboot my iPad constantly whenever using slide over, because I basically never use it on purpose :P.

Or should we say, I enjoyed the quality of iPadOS’s launch version so much, if anyone ever bemoans the quality of my code, I’ll just ask if they ever did much with the first version of iPadOS 😂.

Debugged; Noun

When you wonder why the automation isn’t turning off Work focus after you’ve been home a while, and realize it’s using the wrong device’s location to geo-fence.

Then add another automation for the same location on another device.

Then can’t delete either of these, because your phone and tablet both still show two entries with details from the original automation entry because deleting the automation doesn’t do nadda, and your watch doesn’t show any automations.

Then you finally say screw it and delete the entire focus.

That’s debugged. o(*_*)o

For the most part I’ve met iOS updates with the mindset, “I’ll just be happy if it’s stable”. Because when iPadOS 13 landed the features were much needed but the stability was crapola on my then young iPad Pro. Recent releases have thankfully been less hazardous and iPadOS 14 would become pretty stable for me.

Upgrading to iPadOS 15 thus far has passed the stability requirement. Plus for the first time it feels like new features have landed in a polished form. Running multiple applications using split screen, slide over, and the would probably confuse non nerdy users multiple instances thing, now work really damn well. iPadOS 15’s the best implementation of such things I’ve had since Samsung started to screw over theirs in favor of Googly multitasking and focusing on DeX.

So while I honestly could have cared less about the multitasking features earlier on, beyond slide over being a common offender in my iPadOS 13 instability, iPadOS 15 actually makes me view the fancy split screening stuff as a feature I can use.

Opinion: The M1 iPad Pro needs iPadOS 15, not macOS

While I typically roll my eyes at many posts regarding fruity things, I find this one more sane.

As a weirdo who actually prefers a Tablet First life style for my non terminal, non video game computing needs, I don’t have a lot of problems with how iPadOS 14 has evolved. So much as I wanted to puke at how iOS 12 was 😝.

Personally, I don’t really care about macOS. In the era of OS X, I used to consider the UNIX underpinnings a reason to choose it over XP if I ever had to choose between an NT or Mac based corporate machine. Basically, I don’t give much of a flying fuck about Macs outside of the POSIX programming environment that overlaps with BSD and Linux based systems.

Being the kind of weirdo who used to dock an Android tablet to a monitor, mouse, and keyboard to do actual work, my main beef with iPadOS today is that it can’t do what I used to. The limitations on background connections make it impractical for me to use my iPad Pro like a terminal. The lack of software like Docker Desktop and XCode, just make the iPad ineffective for local development. So SSH apps being forcefully disconnected by the OS after a short time in the background, means iOS is a poor terminal if you’re switching apps.

For more general use cases are kind of meh. If your GUI software doesn’t work well on my tablet, I’m probably not going to have a big opinion of it on my laptop  either. Software design has come a bit of a long way from just slap a 1990s style menu bar around it. A prime example of sorts: AquaMail worked superbly on my Android tablets and Chromebooks, so much that I wished for a PC version of the app. Something closer to Gmail or Apple Mail or Windows 10 Mail or Thunderbird or Claws, yadda, yadda — just don’t care.

I suppose there is the perk that most of my harsher software demands tend to take a command line centric view. Many of the pieces of software I really do care about fit into the unix history of command line tools from a Bourne style shell session. Not a bunch of clicky all over the place GUIs; I’ll care more about GUIs when I need to use my fat puddgy fingers to interact with a screen or when a keyboard is a combat ineffective way of interacting with a problem. For example, I wouldn’t want a command line version of GIMP, but I don’t need a GUI version of vi either. I’m weird :P.

Command, Control, and Optionally conquer the Alternatives

In some ways it may be a touch ironic. For years, I used an Android tablet docked to a monitor, mouse, and keyboard as a workstation; quite happily in fact. Puttering around with iPadOS my only real beef versus doing the same with Android is the keys.

Having spent most of my life around PC based systems, I’m naturally used to the shortcuts on a PC. Such as using control plus left and right to move the cursor a word at a time. On iPad these are more like home/end keys because you use option + left and right to move the cursor a word at a time.

Further complicating the fact is that some familiar shortcuts are control + thing while others are command + thing. For example command + W to close a tab but the familiar control + tab to change tabs. Basically pay back for having owned many a PC but never a Mac, lol.

In terms of keyboard and mouse support the only difference today is that iPadOS sports the same type of mouse based text selection as a PC or Mac. Android and the initial version of iPadOS had simply used it like a finger substitute, and more kludgy in iPadOS’s case. Aside from that I haven’t really had much difference in experience.

One of the notable distinctions as a user however is the software.

Modern iPadOS sports a version of Safari that is as good as Chrome or Edge on my PCs. My Androids on the other hand, being relegated to Chrome was always a bitter existence even if the stability leveled off with the years — and often keyboard/mouse operation in Chrome made my eyes roll out of their fucking sockets at the silly. So let’s just say at web browsers, iPad’s Safari beats Chrome for Android.

For most users I’d call that a win. Most people I know have a heavy slant towards web apps, and thus their connection to the rise of Chrome. In some cases, clutching Firefox like a gunnut and their AR-15s. So the result is Safari doesn’t piss me off, but I’m still one to prefer an app over a browser if you do any kind of decent job at it.

By contrast iPadOS sucks as a terminal client. Networking limitations basically murder any chance of being able to use SSH and multitasking; spend too long away and the connection will be force killed. By contrast in Android land the only real issue with SSH clients I tended to have was the poor copy/paste experiences. Stuff like VNC equally suck on both, but is less multitask friendly on iPad.

For me that’s kind of a negative. 90% of my interest in PCs revolve around command line environment or 3D graphics environments. But given my shift back to laptops for the heavy lifting that’s not been to terrible.

That’s to say, my move from a Chromebook to a Latitude had more to do with Celeron vs Core i5 than it did at using Android apps for terminal work. Likewise, my move from Android tablet to Android apps on a Chromebook was basically generated by Samsung omitted video output on my last tablet.

 Why a portless iPhone would be a nightmare

Reading this, I kind of have to ask myself: how many people actually use their phone’s port for something other than charging?

I’ve used the Micro-B ports on my phones to mount a monitor, flash drive, or use a keyboard, but this has been a rarity. Most times I’ve used the port for debugging Android applications with logcat. Since I strongly prefer a tablet, the monitor, drive, and keyboard stuff usually fell to that rather than my phones.

In terms of what my iPhone SE 2020 offers, I can’t say I’d actually give a flying floop if it was wireless charging only. In the sense that Lighting already declares I am unlikely to do anything more complicated than mount it in iTunes and copy ringtones, lol

Revisiting the problem of sending custom alarm tones to iOS, this time around I opted to save myself some pain. The first thing I did was locate where I stuffed my audio file; the second was plug my iPhone in to iTunes. Because when you utter enough profanities doing a thing it tends to leave a mark 😛.

I’ve been thinking for a while of setting a new alarm for the weekends. Presently, Misty’s morning meds rely on the fact that I’m usually awake around that time and if not, Corky makes sure I am; much as he made sure my mother didn’t dose off instead of testing her sugar in the morning. Habitually waking up around the same time has been useful, but lacks fail safes. Thus the alarm clock.

During the week it’s kind of wrapped around my trifecta of alarms. One to wake me up, so I can’t sleep through the others; one to tell me to get my ass out of bed; and the third to tell me I better damned get my ass out of bed if there isn’t a tooth brush in my mouth yet 😲. Each of these have different tones to help know the pattern. Normally on the weekend there’s just a late alarm in place to make sure I don’t literally sleep the day away, and I’m usually up long before then.

In thinking about whether I want to put the extra alarm on my phone or my tablet, the notion hit me. Separate device, separate why the frak am I waking up reason. I might even migrate that time slot from tablet to phone during the week as further reinforcement that it’s time for Misty’s meds.

As such the time frame overlaps with the first weekday alarm, as that’s the most convenient time to give Misty her meds, and bribe Corky into letting me go back to sleep. Peanut butter is important here, lol. In much the same vain: I’m inclined to use the same alarm tone for the same time of day and purpose.

That just so happens to be the protagonist’s morning alarm from Pixel Fade’s Ace Academy. Which is a heck of a lot more pleasant to wake up to than the 90 dB alarm clock I had as a kid, lol.

Signs that this iPhone thing is going to workout:

  • Use of three and four letter expletives to describe messaging from my phone is down by 90%, effectively now at the level of autocorrect.
  • Use of same to describe messaging from my tablet is now down 70%, and is no longer filled with pain and agony whenever I do more than type.
  • I haven’t felt the urge to break the damned thing.
Part of the value here also lay in the use cases. Typically my tablet screen on time can be measured in hours per day. More if I’m using it, less if I’m mesmerized by some video game or book or Netflix or whatever. By contrast my phone screen on time can probably be measured in tens of minutes per day, unless someone sends me a lot of text messages in the middle of the night.
Which is a pretty stark contrast to years past, where I used my phone pretty significantly. Over the past five years or so, Android’s evolution and my usage patterns basically killed my phone use in favor of tablet use the rest of the way. While the transition to iPadOS was rather rocky, given my heavy demands in tablet: the transition to iOS has mostly been trivial.
You could say that my life around Android largely caused me to bypass the long ass wait for decency in iOS features, after eons of going “Huh, how the frak have people lived without that all these years?” whenever a new iOS release happens. Likewise the tablet use killing phone use, basically means I don’t give a frak. Jelly Bean was still a thing when I used my phone heavy enough to care as much about my phone, as my tablet keeping pace with my computing needs. So by now, iOS easily handles my demands upon a phone and mostly fits my demands upon a tablet or desktop.
Sigh. Here’s to hoping someday Google returns to producing software that I can depend on instead of software prone to pissing me off more often than not.

Google’s solution to the end of Hangouts is Messages. My solution to this problem has been, “Screw that”.

For the majority of my use case my SMS roll through my tablet. A process that Hangouts, as meh as a chat app is it has always been: handled well. In the years prior, I had relied on a Bluetooth connection between my Android phone and tablet to make the magic happen. In the post Hangouts world, I pretty much just relied on its integration.

Google Fi and Hangouts started the GTFO and use Messages push a week or two ago. Since Hangouts ends in January, I decided to give it a go and see how good the results would be. Well, an iPhone SE is how well that experiment went.

Using the web version on my tablet shifts from how Meh the current iteration of Hangouts is to “And why the frak am I using this?”. I figured, at least, it had to be worth while on my phone. Whether it’s the natural way it works, or an aspect of Google Fi: Messages sucks ass on my Moto X4. I dislike using the web version; I despise using the Android version. Even more so where the combination of web + phone often leads me to to using multiple profanities when the phone eventually catches up.

Originally, I had assumed that I would be using android messages when I upgraded from my old Galaxy S5 to the Moto X4. But most messages arriving through Hangouts rather than that, pretty much lead to me ignoring it. Not broke, don’t care. Well, at least for a few more years at that time.

My primary computer when I’m not doing real work is a tablet. Many of the Android tablets I’ve used ended up full blown keyboard/mouse/monitor driven workstations on top of being my general purpose tablet. Thus my phone doesn’t really see a lot of use.

Typically I use my phone when:

  • Checking off my shopping list at the grocery store.
  • I’ve gone to bed, and it’s easier to reach for my phone than my tablet to answer messages or read Wikipedia with one eye open.
  • I’m standing in the checkout line at the grocery store.
  • Waiting on food at the microwave at work.
  • Suddenly need a calculator or a stop watch, and other things that were cool on a wristwatch when I was a kid.
  • The rare times I actually want a one hand device more than a better device.
  • The few times I rely on Maps to make sure I don’t take a wrong turn.
  • The every few years I’m driving out of range of my favorite radio tower, and choose to jack a playlist into my car’s head unit.
In effect this means my phone represents 10 – 15 % of my non-productivity minded computing, and aside from answering messages in the middle of the night: I’m usually found on my tablet or I’m occupied and not available. Since I’m usually using a tablet, my phone’s data use represents an average of up to a hundred megabytes of cellular data. Drastically down from the years where I averaged several gigabytes.
Apple’s iMessage doesn’t really interest me. But it does two things for me. It fixes the suck-ass experience of using my iPad Pro with Google’s new plan for my Messages, and it makes me not want to flip my phone out a window whenever I wait for messages to sync back up 🤣.
Thus Bean Sprout has been retired in favor of Benimaru. So named because the Project (RED) design reminds me of Rimiru’s commander in chief in TenSura.

Modular Computer: iPad Pro as a Tablet, Laptop, and Desktop Workstation BY FEDERICO VITICCI.

Most websites covering news about software and tech for nerds, are pretty meh at best. One of the reasons I like dropping by Mac Stories is because it takes a short at doing things decently. It’s probably the only one focused on Apple that I don’t roll my eyes at, but then again I’m not part of various the fruit cults.

Also Federico is probably a worse tablet whore than I am, and after nearly a decade of using tablets: I don’t personally know anyone who uses their tablet more than I do, lol. Thus, I am more likely to find interesting stuff on Mac Stories.

Coming from the land of Android tablets, the bane of my modularity has long been the laptop issue. Handling tablet and desk mode has been straight forward for the most part, but accessories pretty much suck unless you buy some form of iPad. Meanwhile pretty much everyone seems to make something for the iPad with a keyboard to go.

iPadOS bringing a desktop style mouse experience, and discarding the Android like one, makes me more tempted to try docking Nerine instead of relying on Stark and Centauri for desk duty. Much as its many Android forbears have over the past decade.