John Topley’s Weblog


Side Project Software

A few years ago I decided I wanted to try my hand at iOS app development. In January 2012 I started working my way through the excellent iOS Apprentice tutorial series, which I completed three months later. Straight afterwards I started work on my first app, named Daily Offers.

What Steve Jobs Meant To Me

Every year the same films tend to be shown on British terrestrial television during the Christmas holidays. You know the ones: The Wizard of Oz, The Great Escape, The Towering Inferno, The Italian Job and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory amongst others. I guess they’re shown because they’re family favourites and indeed I like all of those films. I mention this because Steve Jobs’s incredible run of keynote presentations introducing new products in recent years somehow made me feel like I was Charlie Bucket being given a tour of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory and the delights within.

Creativity Over Consumption

I was never one of those children who was steered in the direction of learning a musical instrument as a child, probably because neither of my parents ever exhibited any musical ability. Which is being truthful rather than unkind. Plus we weren’t middle class enough to have a piano.

iPad Too

When Apple announced the original iPad back in January last year I must admit that I was underwhelmed. Watching the keynote presentation afterwards a lot of people present in the room seemed to feel the same way, so subdued was the audience reaction. I’m not quite sure what we were expecting from the long rumoured and awaited Apple tablet, but it was surely more than the outsize iPod touch that Apple had apparently delivered.

Obituary: The File System 1973—2011

2011 saw the passing of the file system as an end user-visible feature within mass market computing devices. Ask someone with an iPhone or an iPad how they work with files on their device, creating, opening and saving them and chances are that they will look at you quizzically. You may get a response that mentions saving photos sent in an email or perhaps syncing documents via iTunes, but files? We don’t need no files.

The Apple iPad

I've been following the Web’s reaction to last week’s Apple iPad unveiling with great interest. It’s clear that this was no iPhone announcement, meeting with near universal acclaim. From watching the video of the event the applause seemed subdued in parts and any talk of game-changing was not unanimous.

Slow Safari?

Apple recently introduced Safari 3.2 via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature, somewhat surreptitiously adding a new anti-phishing feature in the process.

Paul Thurrott’s Hallucinating Again

I just don’t understand Paul Thurrott. Although I now prefer Apple’s products, I occasionally visit his site because I’m still vaguely interested in the latest news from Microsoft. Much of what Paul writes is balanced and fair, but sometimes he comes out with some complete tosh!

Does Buying Apple Gear Turn You Into A Snob?

The question is, does buying Apple gear turn you into a snob? It’s a question that I’ve been thinking about lately. It’s led to me examining my own attitudes and thinking about how they’ve changed over the years.

Purchasing Music Online, Microsoft Style

My partner recently wanted to download a track from HMV Digital. The following is a true account of the process we had to go through before we could play the purchased music.

Bad Apple

One of the toughest tests of an operating system is how well it copes when disaster strikes and you have to somehow get your data back. Last weekend I found myself in this situation for the first time since I switched to using Mac OS X.

Front Row Slow

In Mac OS X you can slow down some of the animation effects by holding down the Shift key whilst activating them.

Life With A Mac

Hello! It’s John here. John Conners to be precise (from John’s Adventures fame). Way back in March John (Topley) wrote an article on my site titled ‘The Case For The Mac‘. At the time I was a lifelong Windows user (well, since Windows 3.1) and for as long as I’d known him John had been trying to persuade me to buy a Mac.

Happy iPhone Day

After nearly six months of waiting, the day is finally here. All across the United States people are getting ready to put down at least five hundred Dollars in an Apple or AT&T store for the privilege of owning an Apple iPhone.

Mac OS X Family Pack No Longer Good Value

I was recently extolling the virtues of the Mac in a guest post on my friend John’s blog and I mentioned that you can buy a five-user Mac OS X family pack for the good-value price of £139.

24 iPhone Impressions

I’m no mobile phone expert. My current phone is a Sony Ericsson Z200 which is a few years old and doesn’t have a camera, FM radio or MP3 player. I bought it because you can make calls with it and because it’s very small and quite robust.

The Anticipation Mounts…

I just checked the Apple Store and noticed that it’s down for updating. They always do this just before a Steve Jobs keynote when he announces lots of new goodies for Apple fanboys like me to spend our hard-earned cash on.

A Battery Of Problems

You may have read recently that Dell have had to recall four million laptop batteries made by Sony because a few of them exploded. Well it turns out that Apple have been affected too and have initiated their own recall programme. As soon as a heard this news I knew straight away that my PowerBook would have the problem.

Keychain Access From Shell

Allan Odgaard over on the TextMate blog writes about a neat shell script that can be used to extract passwords from the OS X keychain. I only wish I had time to learn the shell properly.

Eye Of The Tiger

Having become something of an Apple convert, I decided it was high-time I made a pilgrimage to the Apple store in London, so last weekend that’s what I did. It was also a good excuse to see Star Wars Episode III on the digital screen in Leicester Square, but this is yet-another-OS X-Tiger-review, not yet-another-Revenge-of-the-Sith-review!


I’m writing this on my new personal computer. It’s a lot more personal then my old one, which I still have. Some would say that it’s more personable too. I’ve bought myself an Apple PowerBook G4 12-inch and it’s just astonishing.

Living With The iPod

I’ve now had my iPod for three months and am therefore able to offer some further thoughts on the pros and cons of iPod ownership. I’ve bought a couple of accessories, these being the Apple carrying case with belt clip and an iPod Dock.

A Bite Of Apple

I didn’t seriously consider anything else for a minute. Sure, I’d read comparative reviews and there are devices out there that offer more features for less money, but they’re just not the same. They don’t automatically switch on when you plug the headphones in, or gradually fade the backlight off. You can’t personalise them. They don’t come in packaging that has been as fastidiously designed as the device itself. They’re just not “Designed by Apple in California”.


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