After installing Mountain Lion on my MBP’11, the first time I fired up Scrivener(2.3) I was asked if I wanted to allow Scrivener access to my Contacts information. I was curious as to why (If Bruce Wayne finds out that I let slip the exchange number for the batphone I’ll be in big trouble) so I clicked the little circled question mark hoping for some sort of blurb about why Scrivener needs/wants the information.
The screen informed me that it could not find the help page. I suspect the page to be referenced from that link was either typoed in the index, or simply never created.
I cannot get the popup box to repeat, so I cannot tell if the error is fixed with 2.3.1. It appears the first time the app launches under Mountain Lion. After permitting the access, I couldn’t see any change in behavior. After going through the system prefs and revoking the access, I still couldn’t see any change in behavior (or maybe its just that I don’t use those featuers anyway).
Incidentally, why does Scrivener need access to my Contacts?
Scrivener uses your Contacts for the following things:
• Filling in your name and address on title pages.
• Auto-filling your email address when asking you if you would like to send a crash report (although you have the option to remove your email address here).
It never accesses any of your other contacts - only your personal details. It has been doing this for years, as this is a perfectly valid thing for any app to do, via the AddressBook framework. Apple are clamping down on security, though, and thus are showing many more warning panels about this sort of thing these days. Thus, on Mountain Lion you have to confirm this behaviour whereas before it was automatic.
Thanks to the developer of MarsEdit, Daniel Jalkut, I now know a way to add more information to the warning panel that OS X pops up - although I don’t know if there’s a way to have anything appear in the help area. Here is the updated version of the message that will appear in future versions of Scrivener:
I could live without this feature. The only time I enter address information on a project is at the very last stage, before shipping off to agent/editor for reading. At that point, it’s easy enough to type in the address, or copy it from Contacts, or use Typinator to auto-type it, or insert a template page created in Scrivener. I really don’t want or need Scrivener to go poking into my Contacts file for a superfluous borrowing. If harmless, it’s also unnecessary, and it treads on privacy concerns that are fast becoming a big issue in personal computing.
Hmm, what was that Benjamin Franklin quote about freedom and security…?
Seriously, you’ve denied Scrivener access because you don’t trust it, and that’s fine: now you don’t need to worry about it any further because this denial means Scrivener can’t access your contact details. Scrivener will continue to work with no problems, so you are good to go and have everything you want. However, although you are absolutely a long-standing and valued customer, we also have other users, so I’m sure you will understand why we won’t remove an auto-populating feature that has been in Scrivener since the beginning and which most users of writing apps have come to expect. It’s a useful feature for many, even if it isn’t for you personally. The Mac platform is built on the integration and interaction of different apps, and it’s fine if some people are paranoid about security and want an end to integration on their own machines, but I would hate to see computing ruined for everyone else. (It reminds me of a guy who lived down the road where I grew up, who turned his house into a nuclear shelter…)
“Scrivener needs your persmission to look up your name and address in your contacts list. In noooo way do we want to look up the emails of your other contacts, oh no. What would we want that for? Do we look like malicious software? We wouldn’t know what to do with your bank details if we found them.
We have no idea how that got there. You planted it, didn’t you. It’s a set up I tell you.”
(This is by way of saying, if you can change the dialogue what security does the system offer? Presumably Apple checks these on Mac App Store verisons?)
I suggested “name and address” because that’s what the new popup says later on. It doesn’t mention phone number or email address.
Irregardless (I’ve always loved that word, ever since I was taught that it was wrong, even though I’ve never heard or seen anyone use it), “personal contact details” is far less specific; I’d scratch my head for a while before deciding whether I understood what it meant and whether to accept it (although I’d probably accept it).
I just thought I saw an oversight (not really even a ‘bug’) and I created a monster…
Have you thought about adding a section in the tutorial/first project file about making sure you have a contact in your contacts with all of the information that Scrivener wants to look up? (It’d also have the side-benefit of showing us paranoid writer types what data your looking over)
At the risk of upsetting Druid and others, what about if I say wanted to use a different contact, say a pen-name just for a given project? Could Scrivener be set to ask me what contact to associate with a given project?
Stirin’ the can-o-worms since 1990 (Paging FidoNET, RelayNET, GTPN, and even pre-SPAM Usenet veterans)