Tag - Database
This may be a first for us: we're examining a new software release in not one, but two separate reviews. It's not because this is going too long, either. It's because this software is FileMaker Pro 15 and it's less an app, more a whole world. If you are an existing user, then you probably love it -- but you also know that any upgrade has to earn its keep, so you'll be looking for details of what's new. Yet if you've never touched it before, the differences between this and the previous version 14 won't really tell you whether it's worth your time and money. So do this for us, please: if you have never tried FileMaker Pro, carry on reading this; if you're an old hand, read the other review -- that one's for you.
We used to think it was an Excel thing that other people would forget it was a spreadsheet and instead use it as a kind of rudimentary database where they listed text in the columns instead of numbers. Now we have to face the fact that it isn't other people who do this, it's us –– and we're doing it all over again in Apple's Numbers. We know we're wasting its strengths, we know, but it's handy and there is a way to both speed it up and to make us feel like we're fine not going off to create databases all the time. You can use popup forms in Numbers.
Like every app covered in Developer Insight so far, FileMaker Pro is deeply popular and a very longstanding success -- but in every other way, it is completely different. Most apps are bought by people who need them to do a certain job, but if you buy FileMaker Pro, you're actually buying it in order to then create your own solution to a job or a problem. It is a development tool just as much as it is a consumer one, and that has advantages and disadvantages -- but it also attracts a gigantic degree of loyalty from its users.
On Friday, Apple notified developers that it was expanding a feature of CloudKit to allow for server-to-server web service requests. "In addition to providing a web interface for users to access the same data as your app, you can now easily read and write to the CloudKit public database from a server-side process or script with a server-to-server key," Apple said in its announcement. Previously, interaction with the CloudKit public database was limited to apps and web only.https://developer.apple.com/news/?id=02042016a
It all sounded so easy one week ago when we revealed that we were going to make a Job Book database in FileMaker Pro and for the most part, it has been very easy. We took a deep dive into fields on Wednesday which meant absorbing terms that might be new and using database calculations that –– to us anyway –– felt like Sudoku puzzles to be solved. Otherwise, though, it was a pretty smooth ride from idea to final working database. That's the key thing here: the database is working. It's a real database that we truly are using every day and as we keep saying, the way to learn something is to have a real project to do.
There is one thing we haven't mentioned in this entire project: we're here to make a Job Book database that records our commissions, but it is only useful if we can actually use it. All the planning we did, and then all of yesterday's detail work about fields and records -- what we want to note about the work we do -- is for nothing if we don't use the database. Full disclosure: sometimes we haven't. So, in this chapter, we're making the database not just usable, but pleasant to use, reducing the excuses to not use it.
Previously on this MacNN project, we realized we had a problem, and that a database would be the solution. To our mind, that means a FileMaker Pro solution. It means FileMaker in part because we've used that application in one-man companies and international media ones; it also means that because we've learned how flexible it is.
First, we realized we needed a database. Then, it took about a picosecond to realize that what we need is FileMaker Pro 14. This is a tool for making databases, from simple ones like ours up on to the tools that international corporations use. Whether you're a corporate level user or starting out, though, the steps involved in creating and using a new database are the same -- they're the steps and considerations we're using in this project to build a Job Book database.
We're building a Job Book in FileMaker Pro: a database that we are genuinely using in freelance work to log and do some basic tracking of the commissions we get. Last week we explained what this was about, and why we know it's the way to take a productive deep dive into the very powerful database app. Today we're doing something that might not sound right: we're leaving FileMaker Pro.
It says a lot about the old Bento personal database app for OS X that people still refer to new, comparatively basic databases as being Bento-like or Bento-style. If only as many people used it as talked about, we might still have that software around, and there'd be little place for alternatives. However, Bento is gone, and for some users, Steward 1.0 is going to be a viable alternative.
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WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX
Adele's '25' album now streaming
Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu
SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage
A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu
Fifth Hong Kong store to open June 30
The 46th official Apple store in what the company calls the "Greater China" region will open at 10AM local time in Hong Kong's New Town Plaza in the Sha Tin district on Thursday, June 30, according to a new page on Apple's retail website. Despite slowing growth due to economic turmoil in China, the country is still Apple's fastest-growing market. The new story will be the fifth for Hong Kong, a lucrative market for Apple thanks to the high concentration of wealth there and a thriving "gray" market. Normal store hours for the new store will be 10AM to 10PM every day. http://apple.co/291diaT
Apple Music bug bites very short songs
There appears to be a reproducible bug in the current version of iTunes -- version 12.4.1, running on OS X 10.11.5, both the current non-beta versions of the respective software -- that causes a streamed song to become "stuck" in endless buffering if the streamed item just before this happened was 60 seconds or less in length. The problem appears to stem from code in iTunes that signals the next track to start downloading one minute before the currently-playing track is done, and thus songs shorter than one minute don't trigger the download. Locally-stored music is unaffected by the bug, and the problem does not appear to exist in either the macOS Sierra developer beta or versions of iTunes earlier than 12.4, and does not affect the iOS Music app at all. http://bit.ly/291cN0l
Walmart Pay expands to 15 states
Walmart, one of the key progenitors of the failed CurrentC mobile payment system that was distinguished from Apple Pay by its ability to collect and share customer financial and buying data among its participants, has expanded the soft rollout of its alternative solution "Walmart Pay" to an additional 15 US states following a pilot program in Arkansas and Texas last month. Walmart continues to resist adding Apple Pay. The system, built into the Walmart app for iOS and Android, works with a complicated system of the camera scanning a purchase code at the register, then generating a QR code which is then scanned by the register. The system is available now in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, DC. http://apple.co/28SqZfu
Amazon refreshes entry-level Kindle
Amazon has added a new Kindle to its ebook reader range, one that is thinner and lighter than the previous entry-level model. Offering a six-inch 167-dpi touchscreen display, a doubled 4GB of storage, and an option for a white casing, the new model also adds in the ability to export highlights and notes to an email account as a PDF. Two versions of the all-new Kindle are available, priced at $80 including "Special Offers" and $100 without. http://amzn.to/28Q4c3R