iphone without itunes

You know how Apple can be sometimes; they feel the need to control everything. So for a Windows-based computer, they want to force you to install the entire iTunes collection of software just so that you can get to your files on your iPhone. As an I.T. person, to me that’s just way too much software to be adding to someone’s computer setup.

Why not?

You might just ask “why not?”  Why not just install iTunes? One of the subtle changes that iTunes makes in terraforming your Microsoft computer for its own needs is to install a variety of software to make things more Apple-friendly.

For example, in an Apple-based network the Bonjour service allows lookups for printers normally but allows for almost any device to broadcast its existence on your network. The downside to adding a different printer lookup service is that you might have a number of printers already which broadcast via Bonjour and can now be seen by your computer this way.  And yet, you might not have a working Microsoft driver installed to make all this happy. The printer when added simply doesn’t work and yet it seems to work for everyone else on the network who didn’t install iTunes. Rule of thumb for success: don’t arbitrarily add services and things unless you exactly know the ramifications for doing so.

Rule of thumb for success: don’t arbitrarily add services and things unless you exactly know the ramifications for doing so.

The problem

If you simply plug in your iPhone into a Windows 7—based workstation you’ll see it download and install a default driver. Unfortunately, the Internal Storage section of this device won’t show anything in it.

iphone-no-driver-yet

The fix

Unbelievably, the fix is much easier than I’d imagined. Immediately upon tethering the iPhone the very first time to the Windows computer the iPhone will buzz twice (telling you not that it’s now charging but it’s trying to tell you that it’s displaying a notification).  The message is crucial to your success but Apple in its infinite wisdom doesn’t decide to wake the phone up for you.  You need to manually wake it up first to see it:

allowthisdevice

Select the Allow option here and suddenly Explorer will now present you with a DCIM folder, below this a 100APPLE folder which contains your images.

iphone-after-allow

Why is this considered a smartphone?

That’s a good question to ask. Why would Apple decide to block access to the phone on a Windows computer by burying its head in the sand when an important access message is being hidden behind a sleep state? I suppose they could suggest that if the phone is sleeping then the rightful owner may not be in control of it and that nobody should have access as a result.

But why not simply bubble that information up to Explorer with a dialog box so that the user will know the status? It just silently doesn’t see anything at all for the device.

If you read the many support threads on the Apple site nobody ever mentions such an easy solution. The reason of course is that Apple wants you to install all of their software on your Windows-based computer, too. The biggest reason is that the iTunes application is a shopping cart and you’re a consumer to them.

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does this platform make my app look fat?

I just recently brought down some development code for a website I’m working on. Little did I know just how very large this thing would be until I just attempted to back it up. Granted, sometimes it’s good to have a full-featured set of code in a turnkey system to develop to. But unless we know how to use the many included pieces of code within that system, is it really worth it?

My brand-new Polymer Starter Kit website has 59,604 files in it and it weighs in at about 270MB.

Now, keep in mind that the /dist folder under the working project directory only has 120 files in it. Those are the ones that get pushed to the production website. That’s a mere 0.2% of what’s in this project. In fact, let’s do a breakdown by subdirectory then to see what’s using up all the space.

  1. node_modules – 95.2%
  2. app – 4.6%
    1. bower_components – 4.47%
    2. elements – 0.015%
    3. images – 0.04%
    4. scripts – 0.007%
    5. styles – 0.007%
    6. test – 0.008%
    7. / – 0.01%
  3. dist – 0.2%
  4. docs – 0.02%
  5. tasks – 0.003%
  6. / – 0.02%

I’d suggest that the code and images I’ve marked above in green would be the part of the website which makes it unique in content. And the code that I’ve marked above in red would be something which I’m really not sure what it is. Is it code? Is it bloat?

The main index.html file is only slightly longer than 300 lines. Over a hundred of those are comments or blank lines. On the one side, I could suggest that Polymer allows you to do much with only a few lines of code. And yet, I’m left with literally a ton of code like the lower portion of an iceberg lurking below the surface.

“And yet, I’m left with literally a ton of code like the lower portion of an iceberg lurking below the surface.”

As I wrote before with New-Tool Debt earlier in the blog, I really have no hope of ever knowing what’s in this project. There just isn’t enough time to research all this before I’ll be asked to do something else.

Reviewing node_modules, I see that twenty of the modules begin with the word “gulp”. Suggestion to Google: combine all these together into an uber-module and come up with a catchy name of some sort…

SuperBigGulp