Hi! Do you remember blogs? Well, this used to be one. Now it just serves as an archive for my multiple Twitter accounts.

1 March 2009

Dollhouse 1.03

Well, now it’s just getting painful. And I’m beginning to think — well, confirming my prejudice, really — that Dushku doesn’t have what it takes to carry the show and make it interesting.

order by rand() - http://www.garoo.net/fr/random/

Battlestar Galactica 4.17

Loved Kara’s scenes (well, I’m a sucker for solo piano), even though I didn’t like where they went with it (and Starbuck’s childhood flashbacks work better on Philip Glass, as most everything does); I guess the Chief’s scenes would have been nice, too, if I could stand the sight of him; and the drama of the escape was well done.

@sween:

WAKE UP, EVERYONE. I CAN’T SLEEP ANY MORE. I WANT A GLASS OF WATER. READ ME A STORY. I’M BORED. ARE YOU AWAKE? [Poke poke poke.]

2 March

My first OS X application™

Okay, time to go live with my latest waste of time: I’ve finally found the courage to dive into Cocoa and Objective-C and learn how to get rich by making iPhone applications. After I programmed my first mobile web browser (for Web Is Pink), I got frustrated with waiting to have enough money to register as an iPhone developer (well, that costs one week’s worth of food!) and decided to move back to the Mac and tackle an old idea I’d had for a while: make my own Quicksilver.

I know, right? Why make something new and unique when you can rewrite from scratch an existing application that hundreds of thousands of people rely on, knowing that I’ll never be able to replicate its entire functionality and people will never switch?

Well, you know what they say: scratch your own itch. Do something that you wish existed. And I wish there was a more streamlined Quicksilver on my Mac. Plus, it’s as good a way to learn Cocoa as any.

So here it is: the first public release of my own Quicksilver, with more graphics, less functionality, but also different design choices that I think make more sense (because it’s always easier when you’re starting out with a complete functional design in your head rather than adding bits and plugins as you go along). It works, I’ve been using it instead of Quicksilver for a few days, and it doesn’t seem to leak.

Download and more information.

 

Oh, by the way, I’ve also found (or been given) the perfect idea for my first iPhone app. It’s not going to be very productive, but it’ll be pretty, and a bit fun. More teasing later.

I’d like to point out that I fucking love Safari 4 for letting me search for text in textareas.

Why Windows Mobile 6.5’s honeycomb menu is not just a “glorified grid”

That’s a pretty good point… but it still looks stupid. (Actually, it would look better with circles.)

Hrm. Photoshop didn’t use to crash before I changed my RAM sticks.

I almost died on my elliptical bike because I’d forgotten it was a double episode of Brothers and Sisters this week.

Always Innovating launching touch-screen Netbook

The product will be $299 without the keyboard, $399 with. It ships this spring, but you can preorder now.” In the grand scheme of things, it’s just a tablet with an external keyboard, but that’s a cheap tablet (can I haz hackintosh?) and the design is nice — the first post I saw today was a 3D render, and I thought it was a mockup that would never see the light of day.

3 March

Flock Ditching Firefox, Moving To Google Chrome

As to why Flock is leaving Mozilla: sources say that they’ve become frustrated with Mozilla’s lack of attention to Flock’s needs. ” I hope the sources are inaccurate, because that wouldn’t make sense — what would they expect from Mozilla? But then, Flock’s business unplan never made sense either.

@nick:

RT: RT: @heyyouguys @allofyou @andtherestofyou Please just tweet real words. http://bit.ly/gotohell #wtf #nambla #thisiswhytheludditeshateus

The Apple Store is up

Mobile GeForce in all computers, even the Mini, at least. But we’re back to one euro = one dollar? That’s an expensive Mini.

Apple Keyboard

The new Apple Keyboard features the compact design of the Wireless Keyboard” Whaa? Well, beyond the initial surprise (and the fact that it’s the default on new iMacs), it makes sense in Apple’s tradition — but if you’re gonna make variations, where’s the wireless keyboard with numeric keypad?

@Chryde:

Pascal nègre dans mon wagon. Je n’ai soudainement plus envie de faire taire lucien. Hurle mon fils. Hurle

The Backs Of Some New Computers

And the mini DOES have five USB ports in EXACTLY the spot that everyone said it wouldn’t.” Goes to show that Photoshop forensics experts can prove anything and its opposite nowadays.

Google Tasks standalone interface

With keyboard navigation and all. Yay! I can remove that ugly thing from the bottom of my Gmail page.

The idea of intestines is so WEIRD, man!

4 March

Entourage is the most heterosexual TV show I’ve watched in quite a while. I guess it takes place in alternate-reality Hollywood?

Borange, by the creator of Tweetie

The app is U.S.-only (with good reason), but I’m always interested to know more about the developers of applications I really like, and this screencast doesn’t disappoint. Borange!

Kindle for iPhone

U.S.-only as well. I can order any American book from amazon.fr; why not e-books?

Obsidian Design

Nope, it’s not weird at all.

Aston Martin Lagonda

The Lagonda name has always been associated with weird designs, but this is… special. I like the front, don’t mind the back, but the side doesn’t work — at least not in pictures.

Zen Bound (iPhone)

If you’re only going to buy one application for your iPhone or iPod touch, it’s got to be this one (at least until I release my own) — because this is something that couldn’t be done in a web app, and it couldn’t be done on your computer screen (actually, it’s adapted from a freeware PC game, but there’s no comparison in the way you play it), and it’s a perfect use of both touch and tilt controls that isn’t a gimmick.

When you read the description, you’ll think it’s just the kind of pretty thing that one has to download just to play once, and to show every friend who doesn’t have an iPhone: there’s a crude wood or stone sculpture in the middle of your screen, and a rope tied to it, and you have to wrap the rope around the sculpture by rotating it. Uh… yeah. (Incidentally, the PC game was originally called “Zen Bondage” but I think I read that the App Store refused found it inappropriate.)

But there are two reasons why you won’t be able to put the game down: First, the art is superb (it’s definitely the most beautiful game on iPhone, even though the 3D models are pretty simple — it’s all about textures and lighting) and the music and sound effects are great (the game starts by saying “designed for headphones,” and it’s absolutely worth plugging them in). Second, the gameplay is the kind with extremely simple rules that develops into complex puzzles that you won’t be able to let go of until you win. I started my first game just before I was going to bed, and ended up sleeping two hours later than I intended. (Fortunately, 3D games drain the battery fast enough that you won’t be able to waste your whole nights, or days, on Zen Bound.)

The good iPhone applications are all about programming to the strengths of the device, and this is exactly what it does. Absolutely worth every cent.

 

I can’t remember where was the video that made me buy it, but this one is good enough:

Now they need to make downloadable versions for the Wii and PS3.

iMac Air Hockey

Since the iMac’s glass panel is held on by fourteen magnets, and you can just use two industrial suction cups to pull it right off.” Excuse me, what?!

Facebook Redesigns Home Page — Again

Going live next Wednesday, Facebook takes yet another step into FriendFeed territory (which includes, but is not limited to, trying to knock Twitter off its perch) with a self-refreshing ajaxy home page that looks nice enough.

But then, I already can’t leave Facebook open too long because the Javascript chat seems to hog resources, so I’m a little bit afraid of what the fun scrolling news feed might do to Safari.

Thanks to updates to Facebook’s privacy settings, users will now also be able to follow others without having to become actual ’friends.’ This is basically the same ’friendship’ model that Twitter has implemented on its service.

I don’t know that I like that. That is, I know I don’t, but I’m not sure yet whether I’m right about it — feels to me like this is stepping a step too far in abandoning the Facebook “friend” model. (And it’s also going to wreak havoc with privacy settings: either your updates are public by default and people will complain that it’s stalkerish to let non-friends subscribe to your news feed, or they’ll be private and the feature will be utterly useless.)

5 March

Anyone got a good multiple-account Twitter app to recommend for the Mac?

Seulement deux followers pour @sokusei ?

Come on, people, you can’t be bothered to post half a dozen updates over two days prior to launching your add-spam attack — or give your spam account a fucking human name?

How stupid do you think people really are? How stupid are they really?

Twimailer

Tired of shallow e-mails from Twitter when someone follows you? Want more information right in your inbox?” I wouldn’t want to add an intermediary between Twitter and me that might go boom at any point, but it’s a pretty clever idea.

Lost 5.08

That was cute — but the end was a disappointment.

It’s an good idea, though, in order to show the island’s history from another angle.

I should have known better than to buy ice cream “in case I need it someday.” At least I held strong for a couple of days.

6 March

@texburgher:

It could take a lifetime to prove that constant masturbation won’t cause hair to grow on one’s palms. But, ya know, what else am I gonna do?

#quote @rands “Twitter feature request: Temporarily block tweets by keyword.” Second that. (Or permanently, for that matter.)

Renaming feeds in Google Reader and unsubscribing from some. Stop giving cute titles to your blogs and just sign your name. (What?)

Même que c’est la faute à mon père si j’ai bookmarké CDiscount, alors je peux pas être tenu responsable si je finis par craquer !

Suddenly I have six Twitter accounts.

Text to get smarter in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

I absolutely do not want OS X to replace “teh” with “the” when I decided I wanted to type “teh”; I’m interested however in the system providing TextExpander-like user-defined text replacements, because — like virtual desktops for example — that’s the kind of thing that only works really right when it’s done at the OS level. Although it’s going to be very annoying when you end up missing them in some random application that happens not to use CoreText services directly.

I’m a little surprised that they’d want to re-emphasize Services (by adding them in the contextual menu); at any rate, we’ll have to see how much slower it makes the right-click menus. Wonder how it could have taken so long for stuff like “Make Lower Case” to end up in the contextual menu, though.

And Data Detectors? Really? I thought Apple knew to abandon ideas when they turned out not to work; instead, they’re putting them everywhere, with a subtle highlighting that will necessarily end up being both too subtle and too distracting. Hope they can be disabled this time.

 

Oh wait, I forgot again — nobody’s asking for my opinion anyway, until I can afford an Intel Mac.

Maintenant que les vidéos et l’embed marchent, il faut que je fasse venir sur Web is Pink les habitués de XTube.

7 March

Je sens que ma phase de productivité touche à sa fin.

Extreme iPhone Photo Enlargements: A How-To Guide

True that iPhone+CameraBag looks as much like film as you could imagine. I’m changing the output resolution of CameraBag as we speak.

Just realized that Microsoft’s latest upcoming project has a Japanese name. Eep.

Quoi, une température minimale à trois chiffres pour aujourd’hui ? (En binaire.)

Dollhouse 1.04

That was unexpectedly good (except for the nerd freakout). Weird.

I didn’t buy for a second that the two Taffys were the same character, though, but I wonder if that’s not just me (and my lack of interest in the story’s premise); when Taffy Two was on the phone, she did sound like Taffy One.

But I’ll still say — week after week — that the aforementioned premise is beyond the reach of TV actors.

8 March

The Best Part Of Watchmen Online Now

I don’t get why people talk about it, but let’s assume that’s because the video kept stuttering on my computer.

A peek at Apple’s new QuickTime X interface

Aw, shoot. I hate those fucking overlay controls.

#quote a web 2.0 entrepreneur: “Seated between Robert and Loic for dinner” and… my fingers pressed Cmd-W before I even asked them to.

Battlestar Galactica 4.18

Some good bits, and some awfully cheesy stuff — I’m not sure whether the blame belongs more on the writer or the director. (Oh wait, it was directed by Edward James Olmos; with all due respect, I’m taking this as a hint.)

Incidentally, the actors were already hard enough to understand on this show without amping the Galactica sounds up to eleven.

@zeldman:

Bloody, chapped hands season is finally ending. Allergy season begins.

9 March

My eye has been red all day, I guess it’s going to fall off.

Twilight

Well, I was going in with the lowest expectations, obviously, but still… apart from the self-evidently catastrophic casting choice for the Sexy Awesome Smooth Lead Vampire And I Burst Out Laughing When He Finally Spoke His First Line, it isn’t that bad. At all.

You’ve got two movies in one, as the running time reflects: a terribly cheesy vampire Z-movie (with some of the worst visual effects and makeup this side of the millennium), and an okay adolescence drama… that hinges on the fact, really, that Bella is played by a far, far better actress than the producers had any moral right to hire for this movie. (Did you know that was Jodie Foster’s daughter in Panic Room?)

All in all, I’d pretty much say it isn’t worse than True Blood, egregious story similarities and all.

And I want myself a Cam Gigandet.

 

Seriously, though. Please explain to me how Robert Pattinson gets hired. To play in movies. That are projected in theaters. For live audiences.

Ah, my Xbox is (reportedly) en route back home.

For future reference: I love Pilot’s CD/DVD Marker Extra Fine.

The Truth About Roswell

If you’re going to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a watch made with Moon dust and space suit fibers, it might as well be fun. That’s always better than sticking a pound of diamonds onto an iPhone.

I can’t believe the L Word ended this way. By which I mean I was pretty sure it would, but had irrational hopes of a last-minute save.

@Xarro:

Groucho Marx, he had a point: “I intend to live forever, or die trying.”

Je m’ennuie, raconte-moi un mouton.

10 March

Tweetie 1.3 rejected

Because there’s an offensive word in the [Twitter trends].” I know I shouldn’t want to give money to Apple to enter the App Store… I know I shouldn’t.

LaCie USB Drive “Keys”

I’m not sure how safe it is to leave bare USB ports dangling around on your keychain, but I like the design.

11 March

Heroes 3.19

That was odd; it had cool bits and weird bits and an interesting mood, almost like an episode of a good show (what the fuck were those oysters about?). Too bad it was Quinto playing opposite John Glover. I like John Glover.

Fresh (OS X)

Fresh is another one-word application from the makers of Yep, Leap and Deep — that is, they’ve found yet another way to leverage Spotlight into helping your productivity in some way, shape or form that never really makes sense to me.

But this one is interesting, because it’s simpler: it just displays the n last opened or created files on your computer (where n depends on the size of your screen and nothing else, because you can’t resize the list). Yes, you could create a smart folder in the Finder, but who does that? And it wouldn’t open in the middle of your screen at the press of a shortcut.

Fresh also provides a “shelf” (which it calls the Cooler, because those developers are nothing if not dedicated to word play) where you can drop files you expect to need later, which enables you to clean your desktop a bit while keeping a pointer to the files you want to come back to.

And Fresh also offers an interface for adding Spotlight tags to any file you drag onto it, which has nothing to do with the rest of the application’s functionality except that it fits the general theme of helping you organize your files, and they’re evidently quite intent on popularizing OpenMeta (a Cocoa library they created that embeds tags into undocumented system-reserved Spotlight metadata fields so that they can be searchable).

The multiple concept is a bit messy, you can’t resize the icons, and the main window takes too long to fade in, but I like the clean interface and I’m interested in the idea, so I’m going to try using it for a while.

Besides, it’s the first application from Ironic Software that doesn’t take ten minutes to process what it wants to display when I launch it, so I’m a little curious to see what it’s like to actually use something they made.

Oh, it’s a full moon? Well, I can’t be held responsible, then.

The Apple Store is back up

And the iPod shuffle… has no buttons anymore. Apple caricaturing itself, hilarious. That’s right, why not add a $79 practical joke to the lineup? (Or maybe it’s an homage to His Steveness.)

If Apple is to license any technology to third parties, I’m surprised they don’t sell embeddable iPod shuffle functionality to headset manufacturers at this point.

Who’d have thought tinyurl clones would get so big in 2008/09… and keep operating with even less of a revenue model than Twitter.

I still can’t believe / accept that he’s straight.

12 March

I guess it’s a Good Thing in the grand scheme of things that I only get the secondary effects of most drugs, and not the good sides.

Not Your Average iPhone Screencast

The developer of Tweetie releases an app to add some pizzazz to your iPhone screencasts. This guy is insane, I love him. (I believe it’s a guy?)

Apple releases iTunes 8.1 update

“With iTunes DJ, iPhone users that have Apple’s Remote application installed can request songs to be played. Users can also vote to control when songs are played. The DJ feature even has its own preferences, so you can send a welcome message to users and control whether voting is turned on or off.

There are still people in the iTunes or iPhone department capable of having awesome ideas.

Still a fluff story about Second Life on NPR in 2009?!

Quel est le con chez Microsoft qui a fait sauter mon numéro d’étage de l’adresse de livraison ?

iPhone OS 3.0 is coming, March 17th

Yee! Version 2.0 was the ability to run third-party apps; I’m curious to see what warrants a 3.0. Guess I’ll freeze my development effort until next week.

Here’s hoping we get a new home screen that lets users organize their apps better.

As for speculation, I don’t expect any kind of hardware announcement next week. The invitation wouldn’t be so specific. (Wait, I hadn’t seen this: “Get an advance preview”? That means no actual, downloadable update for a couple more months?)

Hands-on with the new Facebook home page

My Facebook account has switched to the new home page, and of course it doesn’t fucking remember which group of friends I want to see updates from, because of course I have to be interested in what every single of my contacts has to say.

And, speaking of groups, it looks like there still isn’t any way to just list the contacts that I haven’t tagged into a group yet. Which, you know, would be somewhat convenient if I were going to actually manage them. (But, yeah, it’s kinda moot since groups still aren’t of much use.)

I have this tingling sense that Facebook’s designers know how to make cool stuff, but are more and more losing track of what made Facebook take off in the first place — the actual social aspect. It seems to me that someone who wants to focus on “charting the social graph” ought to concern themselves with making it easy to differentiate between the friends I care about and those I accepted just out of politeness and don’t wanna read about; now that everybody and their mom are on Facebook, it’s a little bit more important to the users than being notified of what people rented on Netflix.

(I know some people have been saying that for a while, but I’m only getting there now. Unless I already posted a comment to the same effect before, in which case that means I felt that way and just forgot about it. That happens. I don’t care enough about Facebook to remember what I’ve thought about it yesterday.)

One nit: Although Facebook calls it the “real-time stream,” it doesn’t auto-update. You have to refresh the page to get the latest. But overall, this is a strong update for old guys like me who want their Web services simple. It puts your friends more in front of you than the old design did, and that’s what Facebook is really about.

What? Scratch the “they know how to make cool stuff,” then.

13 March

Un point de côté, vraiment, à mon âge…

It has to be a sign that today’s 30 Rock was about arson. Off to spend my last 50 euros on linen and gasoline.

You have to hope my Xbox 360 comes back in today and works right so I can take my mind off murder and disembowelment.

Hi, Faith, welcome back, didn’t think we’d be seeing you so soon

Monsieur Bozzi ? C’est le livreur d’UPS, pour… votre Xbox 360, c’est ça ?

Pas si efficace, le coup de la boîte blanche anonyme, Microsoft.

Vous êtes chez vous ? Ah. (Déception audible.)

Heureusement que je savais qu’il devrait passer vers cette heure (la même heure qu’hier quand il a laissé un avis de passage dans ma boîte aux lettres), je ne réponds pas aux numéros inconnus, normalement.

Ben quoi, faut pas avoir peur des escaliers quand on est livreur UPS dans Paris, hein.

@fireland:

If Nana were alive today she’d be all: WTF I thought I was dead! Oh quit booing, I wrote this eulogy in like two minutes. Cut me some slack.

14 March

Izzy

I’d say it’s a demonstration of good lighting and a good subject more than it is of the RED Scarlet and any number of other cameras could do the same, but the bottomline is that the video is gorgeous. (And I have no idea why it’s actually watchable on my iMac and doesn’t burn the CPU.)

‘Facebook Connect’ Links iPhone Games to Facebook

Oh, Christ. (Actually, that’s kinda cool. iPhone games lack an Xbox Live-style hub, and Facebook is one of the few contenders in a position to provide that.)

It looks like Fire Eagle has improved its algorithms since last time.

The iPhone version of Who Has The Biggest Brain is 4 euros? Seriously?

15 March

ClickToFlash now automatically replaces YouTube players with QuickTime video — cool.

Battlestar Galactica 4.19

Huh.

I’m not sure what that was about… and I’m worried that there may be more of it where that came from.

You could imagine that the flashbacks were supposed to be a gripping way to show, right at the end of their journey, how happy and care-free the characters were before the Fall — à la Irréversible — but then they’re everything but happy and care-free, so that doesn’t really work. (Judging from the Television Without Pity recaplet and forums, it did work on some people, though.) What benefit were they supposed to bring? I couldn’t shake the feeling that Moore was pre-selling the Caprica spinoff… and/or amortizing the CG assets. Maybe the flashbacks will be going somewhere next week (or maybe not, as it would be even more contrived to have everyone’s backstory suddenly click together in a significant way), but as a stand-alone episode supposed to build anticipation for the finale, I rate this as a failure.

And I don’t really like where they’re taking the last fight, either: quite the cliché. With only a double episode left, I’m not very hopeful for a satisfying resolution, but there was never much of a chance of that anyway.

So let’s focus instead on the more essential questions: shouldn’t Caprican sushi be octogonal?

In fact, it’s not so much how straight Entourage is, but it’s fucking Mary Sue Central.

16 March

Températures négatives le week-end prochain, je suis trop vieux pour ces conneries, il est temps que je déménage vers le sud.

iPhone 3.0 Copy and Paste Described

IIRC, in the past year or so Kevin Rose got one rumor amazingly right and one completely wrong. This rumor makes a bit of sense but conflicts with Safari’s double-tap-to-zoom; at any rate, (a) people have been asking for it so much that nobody could complain about compromises, and (b) after the latest iPod shuffle all bets are off.

SCI FI Channel to become Syfy

Geezuss. “Syfy will continue to celebrate the traditional roots of the genre, while opening the brand to accommodate a broader range of imagination-based entertainment.” Imagination-based? Like, what, soap operas?

The Shuttle Blasts Off On One of Its Final Missions

That’s an amazing photograph.

Actually, I feel slightly uncomfortable writing that, because it’s not a great picture — if it weren’t a presumably 100% untouched photograph, there wouldn’t be anything extraordinary about it. I have to convince myself there’s nothing wrong with photography being more than just the final image.

I guess that’s the pictorial equivalent of “It’s funny because it’s true!”

17 March

15°C = hoodie, right? I never could remember my temperature-to-garment conversion table.

Je savais qu’il y avait un coefficient multiplicateur quand j’ai la fièvre, mais je ne me souvenais plus dans quel sens il s’appliquait.

CameraBag keeps crashing and losing my pictures (though it’s supposed to have saved them). Definitely gonna make my own app.

Fuck iCalViewer. Free or not, no excuse for an application supposed to display events that skips some randomly.

Le premier lecteur anonyme qui ira sur Gandi renouveler garoo.net avant 21h aura ma reconnaissance éternelle et anonyme.

Wow, I didn’t think that would work. YOU DO LOVE ME!

iPhone 3.0

Well, that was boring. Not much of a surprise; I guess Apple doesn’t want to make a whole keynote about “iPhone OS 2.2,” so they’re padding the numbers like everybody else.

Kevin Rose was right on that one (except for the fact that everybody said not to expect MMS; I don’t know if he was the source for that, as I didn’t watch the video). The interface for copy-and-paste works, mostly; it’s a little annoying that you double-tap in text fields and tap-hold in web views, but I guess there’s little they could do about that. If you were still wondering, the fact that there wasn’t an identical tap-shortcut left available for both types of content views is evidence that they didn’t plan that from the start, and originally intended never to have copy and paste.

I’m waiting to see videos of the new Spotlight that “lives on the far side of all your apps” or whatever that was; the UI concept is scaring me a bit. Oh, right, that was a stupid misunderstanding. It’s funny that the most Pre-like new functionality sports huge rounded corners; not sure if that’s actually inspired by webOS or just the honest evolution of the Mac’s convention that search fields are rounded.

Speaking of Spotlight as an alternative to the Home screen for launching applications is a joke, however, on a device with no hardware keyboard. I can only pray that one of the unmentioned 1,000 new API hooks is the ability to list and launch installed applications, so that developers can finally make their own launchers. And that users can configure their iPhone to replace the Sprinboard with a custom app. Huh. Yeah, I don’t see that happening.

(I’m not sure if I — and all other Cocoa Touch bloggers — will be allowed to blog about the new API once the SDK is available for download; I think betas are still under NDA.)

 

Miscellaneous:

  • Actually, from a technical standpoint, you could argue that enabling access to third-party hardware accessories is almost big enough a change for the update to be worth the 3.0 moniker.

  • In-app downloads are a very good idea, but they won’t work if the minimum stays at $0.99, as it seems to on the examples.

  • I don’t particularly mind their excuse for not having enabled push notifications yet. It’s important, and you might as well wait to get it right from the start.

  • I’m not sure if citing the existing AIM client as an example of a background app draining the battery is disingenuous or just extreme.

  • Peer-to-peer (which is a rather misleading choice of a name) is a nice gimmick but won’t be that useful in real life, beyond exchanging electronic business cards.

  • Can’t imagine a reason why they’d enable all sorts of Bluetooth communication, but still offer no system-level keyboard support. At this point it’s a bit psychotic.

  • I wish they had announced some kind of revamping of the approval process. Even just symbolically.

18 March

Oh, I can’t even view the documentation for the 3.0 SDK until I’ve paid the $99 entrance fee.

“New Facebook Is Missing Many Things. Most Importantly, Apps”

My beef with the new Facebook home page was that avatars are taking too much space — it makes sense on Twitter, where there’s only the user’s avatar, name and status update, but it’s a daunting mess on Facebook where there are photos, thumbnails, smaller text (for application notices), and colored comments — but I somehow hadn’t noticed this:

Yes, the status updates were updates and can now contain photos, links, videos, etc, but if you want to see that one of your friends has become a fan of Calvin and Hobbes, or that they’ve gone from single to married, you need to go to their personal profile to find out.

That is stupid. It’s a great thing to know how to adapt to the evolution of a market, but pushing Twitter envy that far makes no sense. If Facebook was afraid that Twitter might develop into a bona fide social network (by 2025, judging by how fast it adds new functionality), they should integrate with it further, not clone it.

I don’t think Facebook is big enough to pull a Microsoft. Time will tell.

Before, if I created an application for Facebook, I could count on it spreading virally, because users would see that their friends are using the app and some of them would click on it and try it themselves. In the new Facebook, apps have been almost completely killed off.

And, by reducing the natural virality of application discovery, they’re encouraging developers to spam the home pages of their user’s friends with annoying notices. (Because those are displayed. In tiny grey type. Dwarfed by the user’s huge avatar next to them. And sometimes you get five application “stories” in a row, repeating the same huge avatar. Ugh.)

But it’s been evident for a while anyway that Facebook applications has just been an incredibly elaborate publicity stunt.

You’ve got to be kidding me.

Did I actually forget to save an entire Photoshop design?

Damn, I’ve never had so much difficulty redesigning my blog.

“In Case of Vampire”

This looks like a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Bingo

Stage left, the iPhone 0S 3.0 update enables everything and the kitchen sink over Bluetooth… except for keyboards. Which can’t be harder to program for (or more of a battery hog) than stereo wireless headphones.

Stage right, Apple is going to announce a new iPhone this June, and needs it to offer some kind of new functionality that existing users and potential switchers will drool over — while avoiding segmentation of the hardware/software platform as long as possible (which makes new screen sizes, or improved processor speed, impractical).

In the middle, the Palm Pre.

Bingo.

I’d almost take bets on that one, and that’s saying a lot.

19 March

Thinking of subcontracting my new blog layout to a code monkey. Had enough trouble in Photoshop, can’t find the courage to dive into my PHP.

Ok, I’m not done, but I’m too sleepy for the mess of code that is my blog.

Damn, I miss being able to breathe while I sleep.

“Safari hacked in seconds; IE8 & Firefox fall soon after”

Why exactly don’t browser makers organize a “Pwn2Own” every month or so to weed out as many vulnerabilities as possible?

Garoo Network — version 1881.0

Before:

After:

 

Yeah, it’s pretty generic, but the previous layout — which I hadn’t managed to improve on for quite a while — didn’t work at all with the variety of contents my blog sports; it’s pretty hard making something good with the succession of short tweets or links and long posts, and the Tweetie layout struck me as perfect for it.

There are still some adjustments to be made, I have yet to make pretty headers and backgrounds for the different domain names, and I haven’t taken care of IE6 compatibility (which must be awful with all the PNGs I use), but I’m having a very hard time focusing these days, so the final touches might have to wait a bit.

Lost 5.09

That trip down memory lane has to be the single best idea the writers ever had. That was cool, even though they still emphasize the revelations too heavily. By now you’d think the people who are still watching this bullshit don’t need lingering shots to know they’re supposed to care about what a new character’s name is.

Kings 1.01–1.02

A modern-day soap about a hero who rises to become the King of his nation, based on the biblical story of King David.

I’m so fascinated by the idea that someone managed to sell such a pitch, I feel compelled to keep watching for a while no matter how silly the plot might or might not be (I’m not sure).

And, yeah, the male cast definitely doesn’t hurt. Too bad they missed the real James Edward Olmos by a couple of months, though. (Okay, actually, once you get used to how much they look and sound alike, he’s a very fine King.)

 

Brian Ford Sullivan of The Futon Critic commented that “Kings is ultimately a show you’re either going to dismiss as silly and pretentious or fall in love with because of its silliness and pretentiousness. I find myself in the latter category because I’m always a sucker for swing-for-fences serialized shows like this, especially when it looks … and feels unlike anything on television right now.”

Geez, am I glad that nobody gives two shits about how my blog looks. Hurray for RSS, Twitter, and not having readers anymore.

20 March

CSS scrollbars in Safari

Nice flashback to Internet Explorer circa 1999. I have to try putting iPhone-like scrollbars on inline divs and textareas, though.

Your message has been sent. Undo?

Google is launching a GMail Labs feature called “Undo Send,” that lets you abort the sending of any GMail message–if you use it within five seconds.

I’m enabling this on my account right now (under the assumption that Google looks at how many people adopt any given Labs feature and uses that information somehow).

This is genius UI design: functionally, it’s exactly the same as having a dialog pop-up to ask “Do you really want to send this message?” and auto-accept after a few seconds. But, as far as the user’s perception is concerned, it’s the polar opposite: instead of being an obnoxious Clippy the Paperclip, you just execute the action like the good computer that you are, but leave a small window of opportunity for the user to scream “Oh shit I didn’t mean to!” and undo.

Not sure who invented this first and I don’t care (I feel like I’ve seen something like this before); all I know is that every single developer in the world needs to look at this very tiny bit of functionality and rethink their worldview around it.

 

P.S. Forgot to mention: of course, it doesn’t belong in Labs.

“Daniel Was Battlestar’s Biggest Fiasco, Says Ron Moore”

That sounds like bullshit: I can’t really believe that he added a name to the roster, played it up in Kara’s scene with Anders, and didn’t realize the audience would catch the ball and run with it.

“Benjamin Button, Behind the Scenes”

As far as I know, this is the first practical application of the motion capture technology that impressed me so much in 2006. Interestingly, it looks like they didn’t use it to capture the performance itself, but just to create some sort of animatable mask of Brad Pitt. I can think of several reasons for that, the most likely being that it’s simpler to age the 3D model once and use old-school animation on it, rather than capture the high-definition performance and have to add wrinkles and skin folds for every single frame.

I’m glad this technology has been test-driven in such a successful movie; can’t wait to see it used that much more widely now that it got an Oscar.

Bolt (Volt)

A good script and good jokes served by excellent animation, and a horribly cruel premise that just makes it unsettling that the characters can’t swear. Oh, and the end gets a bit too serious.

I want a dog.

“Chrome only browser left standing after day one of Pwn2Own”

a victory that security researchers attribute to its innovative sandbox feature.

Nicely done. Maybe that’s what Apple should copy for the next version of Safari.

Closing my other Twitterific until after I’ve seen the BSG finale. Thinking of a net-free retreat but that’s just unimaginable.

Je n’avais pas réalisé qu’il y avait une grève généralisée alors que j’attendais l’encaissement d’un chèque de 2000 €. Fuck fuck fuck.

“Source: Apple’s next-gen iPhone has video camera”

Just like I think the omission of Bluetooth keyboards in the OS 3.0 keynote is an indication that something key-shaped is in the near future for the iPhone, you can’t dismiss the idea that, if the 3.0 beta mentions movies somewhere and it wasn’t talked about on Tuesday, there has to be something brewing.

It’s hard to imagine how Apple could justify that video capture wouldn’t be enabled on existing iPhones — what I’m seeing in the Camera application’s virtual viewfinder is video, after all, right? Unfortunately, there is one possibility: if the new iPhone has a much faster CPU, then Apple can say that it is required to compress mp4 videos with adequate picture quality, and that they didn’t want to allow for anything less. It would still be bullshit, as I would much rather be able to capture 15-frame-per-second poorly-compressed low-resolution videos (like the lowest-end mobile phone is able to) than have to upgrade my iPhone (no matter how much I’m actually going to want to, anyway), but it’s something you can just see Apple saying.

I used to think that they should want to delay as much as possible segmenting the hardware platform with the introduction of a more powerful chipset, but I’m changing my mind right now: if there’s a way Apple’s own applications can leverage the new processing power, then it does make sense. And transforming the iPhone into a Flip Mino would certainly be a good reason to go there.

 

By the way, I’ve realized today that there was another possible explanation to the lack of announced support for Bluetooth keyboards: if Apple intended to launch its own wireless keyboard in June, they’d just as well not talk about software support in order to keep the advantage of surprise over third-party manufacturers.

But I’m still thinking (and/or hoping) that they’re about to launch a model with a slide-out keyboard, either Pre- or G1-style. By finally, reluctantly implementing copy-and-paste, they’ve shown that they’re motivated to do what it takes to conquer the world. They started with a single model to minimize costs and simplify the marketing process, but now that the iPhone’s been launched and very well received it’s just the right time to introduce a variant with a keyboard.

21 March

Got money in the bank and the BSG finale on my desktop. What’s the best junk food for such a historic occasion? (BSG, I mean.)

Curtains drawn, candy at the ready. This is the end, my friend.

@Xarro Well, it’s gonna be at least five years before there’s another show I’ve been this invested in for five years.

Battlestar Galactica 4.20

Hrm.

Glrb.

Yeah, well, I don’t know, okay?

It wasn’t good, and it wasn’t bad. There was some grasping at straws, but most of the right notes were hit. This finale was very much not that of the show that hooked us for the first two seasons, but… that’s the way it goes. And we can find comfort in the fact that the show that started five years ago and the show that ended this week were both good.

Except for the fucking godawful epilogue — fortunately, it’s so disjointed from the real story that I can pretty easily forget it ever happened.

 

<SPOILERS>

I don’t know, and don’t want to check, how old Mary McDonnell actually is, but she ought to have felt insulted when she met the guy they had hired to be her old student who’s supposed to be evidently that much younger than her. (Although I guess they couldn’t quite make Roslin a total pedophile, either.)

As for Boomer’s flashback, why did it need to justify her “I owe him one” ? Because shooting Adama in the gut wasn’t enough of a debt?

Speaking of Boomer, whatever happened to the idea that jumping from too close to another ship would damage it? Nothing seemed to happen when the Raptors jumped from within Galactica, nor when Galactica jumped away from the Shadow colony.

Not that Galactica ramming into the colony was any more realistic, but I understand that they had to top the memorable time when it jumped into New Caprica’s atmosphere.

The truth of the opera house was pretty weak — as was the… supposed reveal of Hera’s importance (can’t say I consider it resolved at all) — but that was all tied into the huge deus ex that the second part was, and… well, that was kind of inevitable, and there was no hiding away from the fact the past two seasons were heading strongly in that direction.

While I agree with most gripes I’ve seen so far in the forums, I’d like to point out that the “They have a plan” could very well be explained away by Cavil’s machinations. I’m pretty sure that’s how that part fits in Moore’s mind, and it would have worked if the episode revealing that plan had been written better.

Finally, when I read speculation that the writers had pulled a Copperfield and were going to reveal the real Earth in the finale, I thought I would hate it if that happened; but the finale’s first part was good enough, and the shot of the Moon cool enough, that I bought it instantly.

</SPOILERS>

In the end, it’s all about execution. And I guess this was all pretty well executed. (Except for that godmotherfucking epilogue.)

 

So say we all.

“Battlestar Galactica: Ronald D. Moore finale Q&A”

I think [the story] hangs together better than it has any right to. I do feel good that the process I always believed in and really defended – about feeling the story instinctively as you go through it, and not being tied to, “Oh, we know exactly how it’s going to end up” – that that was true. We were able to get there and could say, “We’ve been making this mosaic, and now we just need to put the final touches on it and we’ll have a complete picture.” There’s loose threads and things that don’t quite work, but I think that’s in the nature of almost any show. By and large, I think we did a pretty good job of it.

 

And a little more of the screening+conference, with a couple quotes from McDonnell and Olmos:

 

Not much revealed in those interviews, except for a few details that you’re probably better off not knowing yet can’t help but want to know (e.g., the why of Cavil’s last scene).

22 March

Ah, yes, Anne Rice does write good.

23 March

“We made it easy to add yourself to wefollow.com.” Oh, and spam your followers and add ourselves to your stream, too.

I think I’m gonna decide to unfollow anyone who consistently hashtags all their tweets.

“Labeling Backup DVD/CDs”

After burning the disc, I suggest you don’t label it. ” I always hesitate before putting the marker down onto the disc (yet always end up doing it). “Yes, the CD could become disassociated with the [labeled] sleeve or case, but if that happens, I just need a second to read the disc to see what it contains.” Valid point.

Wonder if mentioning the X-Files in a discussion about the BSG finale just earned me an honorary Godwin point.

The stupid thing is, I’m about to give up on Mirror’s Edge because I don’t want to finish it without the “Didn’t shoot anyone” achievement.

It’s just a contact form, goddamn morons, stop spamming it.

You’re… kidding?

 

Oh, come on.

What are the odds that I’d get two different Britney songs stuck in my head on the same day? Signs and portents and all that.

It’s so easy to fall off the train, and so hard to pick speed back up.

“Vuze Makes Torrenting Video Even Better With Easy Conversion and Streaming”

Not sure why Mac users aren’t allowed to stream to an Xbox 360, but the transcoding part is pretty cool. Not going to make me switch back, though.

Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter

The animation is about what I expected (i.e., average), but the Captain’s voice is just awful. Too bad, because it’s pretty much his voiceover that was going to make or break the movie.

I never really cared about that part of Watchmen anyway, yet somehow I find that the animation manages to make it even less interesting — mostly because you don’t have time to wonder what the fuck this is all about.

The original BSG ending that RDM is describing in his podcast was a lot better than what we ended up with. Damn writers’ strike.

Listening to Moore’s soporific podcasts is the ultimate test of faith for BSG fans, and I’m about to fail again.

24 March

Hey, Moore: the difference with a novelist letting the story guide them is that they rewrite all of the beginning after the end, asshole.

“Twitter Starts Serving Ads For Third Party Apps”

As much as I love Tweetie and have grown to utterly loathe Twitterific, I think it deserves a spot there as an acknowledgment of how much it contributed to Twitter’s impact on the Mac geek community — and, indirectly, the worrrldd! — two years ago.

First time in a while I wake up feeling like I’ve slept. Ah, growing old.

Well, my very first application runs on my very own iPhone. And then it crashes.

YEE! MY APP IT WORKZZ!!1!!1 (Forgot a [retain]. Wonder why it didn’t crash in the simulator.)

To everyone who asked: it’s a client to the webispink.com gay chat (which explains why I won’t send it to all beta testers).

25 March

Wacom Intuos4

Ooh, OLED screens. Want.

Heroes 3.20

Okay, this is really getting weird. Look at that: there was nothing wrong with this episode. In fact, you wouldn’t believe it, but it was good. Even the reveals (which must have been obvious to anyone who still bothered to think about the plot, but I haven’t for quite a while) were cool.

Oh, wait, what do you know, it was written by Bryan Fuller.

 

I’m not sure why it took me as long as it did to realize that Fuller is the new Whedon, only gay and minus Dollhouse.

Have to make an icon for an iPhone photography app, and no clue how to go about it.

26 March

Geez, apple.developer.com disconnects me faster than my bank does. What the hell are they afraid of?

Lost 5.10

Well, that was boring… most of it.(I can’t believe they did that.) Did the writers take him out of his acting depth, or was he just poorly directed? (Really curious to see where it’s going next week.) The Wikipedia page for tasers seems to agree with me that it’s weird they’d have one.

Tube, by Ara Peterson

Love it. If it comes with a maid to dust it every week, I’ll buy.

27 March

There’s something really uncomfortable about @’ing a high-profile Twitter user, and the randomness of whether they might read and answer.

Never was very interested in the Tesla Roadster, but I might have to preorder the sedan.

Dear new neighbor: Please not to be knocking down walls at 9am. Tear the building to the ground if you want, just don’t wake me up, thanks.

“Le chargeur des vignerons”

At one point, I had intertwined my external drives’ cables with a garland light. The result wasn’t quite that, but I have to give the idea a second chance.

@fireland:

Our marriage counselor just put a switchblade on the table, left the room, and locked the door. What do you guys think I — omg she’s fast

“Survive the New, New Facebook”

One thing you can do — which isn’t immediately obvious — is make any of these friend groups your default. To do that, just drag the list you want as default to the top of the list of groups on the left of your homepage.

Ooh, much better then. (Yeah, definitely not obvious.)

I’m not sure it’s actually possible to make an iPhone photography app that doesn’t crash once in a while.

I want to make a next-gen Wing Commander with BSG-like inertia where your agility is limited by your body’s levellable tolerance to high Gs.

“Madonna Photoshopped”

As Best Week Ever points out, there’s a good chance that actually both of these images are Photoshopped, just with two very, very different ends in mind.

28 March

“Stock Names”

The Internet’s #1 choice for royalty free stock names.

Am I misunderstanding something, or is NSInvocationOperation fucking awesome magical the bee’s knees yay?

29 March

30 March

Just uploaded my very first app to iTunes Connect.

31 March

Well, I guess I won’t be in the “Twitter Wit” book. So I’m gonna sound biased if I say the title sucks.

“Twitter: Replies Are Now Mentions”

That is, Twitter now recognizes when someone @’s you in the middle of a tweet. That was super complicated and it only took them eight years to figure it out, so mad props to Twitter here.

tonight i suddenly feel the urge to write in text-transform: lowercase. too much reading on the internet, no doubt.

Tweecious takes your erroneous use of Twitter to post links and puts them where they belong. So it’s for double-morons who do have a Delicious account yet still insist on polluting their Twitter feed with a stream of tinyurls.

And, yeah, I realize it’s really Delicious’s fault for not catching up with Twitter’s feature set. (As limited as that is.)

I’ve given in and bought Ego for iPhone because it’s pretty, it promises hundreds of visitors on my blog daily, and it now supports Google Analytics.

“The iPhoneography Showcase by Henry Fool”

To be sure, those images are gorgeous (you definitely wouldn’t imagine for a second that they were taken with an iPhone), but putting pictures through four applications to get there? I seriously can’t visualize that workflow in any way that doesn’t make me want to slit my wrists — especially considering how sluggish and clunky iPhone photography apps are.

Just use Photoshop.

If you post a comment on one of my blogs, you can now receive e-mail notifications when someone sends a reply. I get the feeling that, in the days of Google Reader and Twitter, that’s the only way you can get a blog’s comment thread to have some semblance of life anymore, since nobody views comment counts anymore.

I can’t believe there still isn’t a simple, widely adopted way for RSS readers to display them, by the way.

I feel like summer. What a difference daylight savings make.

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