iPhone syncing with more than one iTunes

Andrew Grant has a great write-up on how to sync your iPhone with two iTunes. I followed it and everything worked – at least almost.

There is one thing that he doesn’t remind you to do, which is quite important if you don’t want to lose your apps. Remember to authorize the new iTunes before syncing the first time!

I didn’t remember to authorize my new MacBook’s iTunes, so with the first sync I lost a majority of my apps. And then I screwed around with restoring and syncing with the old computer and lost data from my backups as well. Urgh.

Luckily most of the apps I use to store data automatically sync with various online services (Evernote, RTM etc.) My only real headache came from the several hours of lost audio notes, that I hadn’t synced onto a computer yet. And since I deleted the app and then resynced on both computers, I lost the data from the backups as well.

But if you ever need to extract data from a iPhone backup, I really recommend using Erica Sadun’s mdhelper. True, it’s a command line tool but I’m also a command line type of guy.

Just a clarification

To those visitors coming from the Photonovice results, this is my primary blog with written content.

The statistics were gathered from the Life of Jalo, which is our dogs photoblog. The pictures are taken by myself or Anna.

My own photoblog with pictures of whatever (including the occasional dog ;) is at shutterclicks.

Amused by The Times

I’ve always respected The (London) Times and the writers it uses. But today I can’t help but be amused by the commentary of the Jokela shooting (massacre ?) by Roger Boynes. Oh, he sure does use all of the correct clichés when writing about Finland: its darkness, sparse habitation, suicide rates, gun ownership, and our ancient pagan gods. But how could he forget that Finland is also the home of Lordi and other heavy metal bands?

My first reaction to hearing about the events, before the full extent of what had happened and how he’d been armed was that someone had taken a hunting gun and used it. While Finland really does have a large amount of guns around, almost all of them are hunting weapons: rifles, shotguns and the sort. Finland also has very strict laws on how the guns must be stored when not in use (locked up so that they can not be immeadiately put to use). The few pistols that are around are generally owned by marksmen hobbyists and are of a small caliber. Not exactly Dirty Harry material.

While the amount of guns has been mentioned in practically all of the international press that the incident has received, it isn’t exactly what amused me in the Times commentary. Discussing how darkness and long distances isolate our youth and force them to seek refuge in technological means of keeping in touch is simply hilarious. Except that it is written by someone for the Times. Someone who should know better.

I’m a product of the times when there were no technological means (other than normal telephones) to keep in touch. But we did was boys then did and still do. Rode our bikes and met up somewhere and used the darkness for our nefarious schemes (read: played hide and seek in people’s yards). While it is true that the increasing darkness of winter does have an effect on many people, using it to explain or analyze something like this is foolish.

Similarly, playing the card that Finland is sparsely inhabited and people are isolated from each other is a prime example of using statistics out of context. Jokela is in Southern Finland. Just some 30 miles north from the capital and definitely still part of the “metropolitan area”. Or you could maybe call it a distant suburb of metropolitan Helsinki. (I can imagine the howls of rage from the people living in that area, countryside they call it. Suburbs say I, from here in the east.)

Stereotypes and their amusing usages are one thing. But when one of the media sources that I have still considered fairly accurate and dependable publishes drivel like this under the titles of commentary and analysis, I have to voice my objections. And based on the comments on various sites (including The Times itself), I’m not alone. While I don’t expect and apology or correction of facts at this point, replacing the words commentary and analysis by satire and sarcasm would serve as a start.

News half-life

PhysicsWeb reports about a study done on how the number of people reading a news story decreases over time (via). The studies results are interesting, if fairly logical, results. Naturally, my mind went immediately into overdrive in thinking on how the results affect website design.
At least based on the PhysicsWeb article, the researcher have come to the conclusion that the average half-life of a news item is 36 hours. This

…implies that people could miss a significant fraction of news by not visiting the portal when a new document is first displayed, which is why publishers like to provide e-mail news alerts. The results also show that people read a particular web page not just because it looks interesting but because it can be accessed easily.

Of course this assumes that we\’re talking about a site with very requently updating news content and not a site with a fairly slow update cycle. Most sites with a fast cycle of publishing updated news are sites that deal specifically with news items, i.e. journalistic sites (be they professional or not), or sites that aggregate news from multiple sources (e.g. Newsvine or Ampparit).

In journalistic news sites, I\’d expect (and require) differentiating content that is deemed important enough to stay in the headlines to be highly visible on the front page and easily accessed even when looking back at the archives. For example, our local newspaper Karjalainen differentiates the online content of that days newspaper from the smaller daily newsitems that are updated during the day by separating the online only news into a sidebar. This approach works quite well, especially for someone like me who doesn\’t often read the dead-tree version.

A quick look at CNN and the New York Times didn\’t offer a clear distinction on how they differentiate highlighted news items from the smaller, constantly updated stream of news. In these cases I\’d think more IA is needed to highlight the content the journalists think is important. After all, that\’s what is done in the paper and broadcasts. At a professionally produced, journalistic site I am not interested so much on what other readers are interested in as what is important.

My lack of interest in knowing what newsitems others have liked comes from following the listings of the most popular news items in Ampparit (Ampparit is a Finnish site that aggregates news items from many different sites). Currently the most popular items are Angelina Jolie becoming a Kung-Fu instructor and Montoya leaving McLaren. Meanwhile, there are news items up on the memorials in Srebrenica, the situation in Somalia, and an accident in Bangladesh. While Ampparit is a great source of news and I follow it actively, my ability to catch noteworthy news items is very much dependent on how actively I visit the site, since items older than an hour or two drop quickly off the frontpage during the day. Here, the half-life of news items is brutally fast.

Newsvine is a fairly recent entry to the world of online news and reporting. It mixes news from professional (commercial) journalistic sources and news from citizen journalists, e.g. bloggers. What Newsvine enables is a way to follow how news is reported in various sources and how various sources have commented on the news. As such, it is a way to get an in-depth and multi-faceted picture of events. Of course, this all depends on the activities of the users and as such is vulnerable.

Whatever the half-life of news items is and however you decide to consum it, the internet is changing the way news is reported and consumed. A recent interview of media influencers in Finland by Helsingin Sanomat (as reported by Verkkouutiset) shows that even the leaders in media in Finland have finally realised that the Internet has an effect, in fact is changing, how people consume news. Now news publishers can’t rely on the fact that news will be consumed at predetermined times.

The ease of using multiple sources also means that publishers have to compete even more for their audiences. While some have voiced the concern that increased competition means less journalism and more tabloid-press, Helsingin Sanomat has chosen to compete by adding more background information and follow-up to their reporting. Which is exactly the kind of journalism that I want in addition to the reporting of breaking news.

As an active consumer of news from various sources, I can only be grateful of all the new tools that help me consume news – and not only the news that I’ve pre-determined an interest in. It’ll also be interesting to see how Newsvine affects news publishing. Unfortunately I’m not in a position to evaluate how Newsvine influences reporting, since Finnish news isn’t very actively reported or discussed there.

Geek quotes

I just ran into one of the best, if obscure, geeky quotes that I’ve seen so far. The source for the quote is unknown to, but here it is.

My PID is Inigo Montoya. You kill -9 my parent process.

Prepare to vi.

(If you don’t get it, you have to know *nix commands and the Princess Bride.)