Ralf Rottmann

founder of largest german app dev studio & AMAZE. former the next web editor. open web addict and developer at heart.

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Airlines of the world: Now fix your cockpit door locks, please!

The Germanwings 4U9525 tragedy has taught everyone about Airbus’ reinforced cockpit door.

We have learned, that the system has basically been designed to facilitate the following:

  • The primary way of opening the door is from inside the cockpit.
  • An emergency code known to the entire crew can be used to open the door from outside the cockpit. (*)
  • However, this emergency scenario can be blocked for five minutes, by using a lock switch located inside the cockpit.
  • In case of a power outage, the door gets unlocked automatically.

While the world primarily (and understandably) debates the human aspects of this catastrophe, I’d like to suggest to make one small enhancement to the system:

  • In case the computers detect an emergency, for example a ground proximity warning, this is treated similarly to a power outage: The door gets unlocked, no questions asked.

I’m not an aviation expert, but

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Apple Pay to leak details of iTunes purchasing history to your bank?

The Apple Pay security and privacy overview published on October 6th, 2014 states:

When you add a credit or debit card to Apple Pay […] it sends the encrypted data, along with other information about your iTunes account activity and device (such as the name of your device, its current location, or if you have a long history of transactions within iTunes) to your bank. Using this information, your bank will determine whether to approve adding your card to Apple Pay.

So essentially, my bank might get lots of additional information about my (digital) purchasing habits when I decide to opt into Apple Pay.

I just hope, they make this explicitly clear when I add the first card and don’t burry stuff in various settings, as they did with sending home Spotlight searches in Yosemite.

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Fix Google Drive Mac app on Yosemite

Did you upgrade to Mac OS X Yosemite (10.10) and found the Google Drive menu bar icon to be not responsive anymore?

  1. Open Terminal.
  2. Paste the following command:

    sudo cp /Applications/Google\ Drive.app/Contents/Resources/Google\ Drive\ Icon\ Helper /Library/PrivilegedHelperTools/

  3. Enter your password.

  4. Either restart your machine or use Activity Monitor to force quit Google Drive and restart the application.

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Request desktop site with Mobile Safari on iOS 8

One of the reasons for keeping Google Chrome around on my iPhone has been a feature allowing me to request the desktop version of web pages.

In iOS 8, Apple added the same feature to Mobile Safari.

But for some reason they decided to burry it so deep in the UI that even seasoned iOS users might not be aware of it, yet.

Here we go:

Step 1: Tap anywhere inside the location text field to bring up the bookmarks view.

Step 2: In the bookmarks view use the “pull to refresh” gesture.

There it is:

I’m now back to using Mobile Safari a lot more, keeping Google Chrome just because of the complete syncing it offers with it’s desktop counterpart. (Safari on the desktop is a no go for me.)

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Vibrate on Silent is not silent at all

I know, there are more important things in life.

So I make this short: You Mr. Super Important Meeting Participant, please turn Vibrant on Silent off.

The simple truth is: Vibrant on Silent is not silent at all.

Putting your smartphone on the meeting table, the vibrating servo engine makes an even more annoying sound, as if you would just let it ring.

Even if you drop it there face down, as if any potential caller could magically infer that you don’t want to be disturbed. It’s just painfully annoying.

Everyone gets distracted.

And you? You take a sneaky peak at your phone, shake your head, proudly reject the call, so everyone understands: How could this caller dare to knock during one of your most important meetings?

Well, the next time, how about switching your phone to silent? Believe me, it doesn’t hurt.

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Why WWDC 14 did not yet impress me that much

I have been a loyal Apple customer for years and will continue to be. I also co-founded and run Germany’s largest mobile development studio.

I still find Apple’s overpriced hardware to offer superior manufacturing quality over most of the stuff I could buy from others. Software? A completely different story.

A few days prior to WWDC 14 I tweeted:

I must admit, I rarely felt so much unexcited about an upcoming WWDC like this year.

Well, this did not change post keynote and platform state of the union. Here is why.

 I am fine with no new devices.

As far as I can remember, Apple never announced any new mobile hardware on a WWDC, with the exception of the early iPhones. I believe the Mac Pro was first revealed to the public during last year’s conference. But as the “D” in WWDC stands for “Developers” and not “Devices” I never cared for gadget announcements from Apple at this time of the

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There is no agile fixed price

Over at grandcentrix my team builds lots of great apps for industry leading enterprises.

While we find mobile app development somewhat more exciting than building traditional software, it mostly follows the same rules. In essence, bringing an app to life is a full cycle software development project.

Lately, we recognize an interesting trend: Large corporations ask for agile teams and methodologies but at the same time want a fixed price and a detailed specification upfront.

In fact, their procurement departments do not get tired to emphasize, that they just cannot purchase engineering services based on time & material.

Obviously, this is complete nonsense.

Conducting a lengthy requirements exploration phase for an entire production, coming up with a detailed specification and then moving from implementation to quality assurance simply has nothing to do with agile methodologies.


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To Apple some developers are more equal than others

Section 11.13 of Apple’s Review Guideline is very clear:

Apps that link to external mechanisms for purchases or subscriptions to be used in the App, such as a “buy” button that goes to a web site to purchase a digital book, will be rejected.

This is, why Dropbox famously got pulled and iOS users have no convenient link to the e-bookstore in the Kindle apps for the iPhone and iPad.

The company I co-founded recently worked on a large mobile production for the Eurovision Song Contest. While initially being approved by Apple, the app got rejected just one week prior to the second largest TV event on the planet going on air.

Reason for rejection: Section 11.13.

In the process of fighting the rejection, we were told time and again, that Apple treats all developers the same. No exceptions made.

Not true.

Apps using Axel Springer’s myPass frequently include hyperlinks allowing users to

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