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

1 April 2009

Heroes 3.21

Was that boring (and idiotic) for everyone or just me? If Fuller was gonna save this show, he’d have to restaff the entire writing room. And get rid of Quinto.

<SPOILERS>

Yet he must have approved the idea of Danko working with Sylar, even though it makes no sense whatsoever with the character’s motives. Give Sylar all the superpowers in the world and make him a god, that’s the best plan to get rid of the mutants?

</SPOILERS>

Then again, Fuller might not have approved it, and just sat in a chair pulling his hair. The episode was written by Tim Kring — who evidently still has far too much control over the damn show.

“Google Classic: When The World Moved a Little Slower”

I can imagine even as a kid in the Reagen (sic) years, it would have been considered an incredible service to fill out a post card with a research query, send it out to some no-name town in California, and in a month or so, receive a packet of sourced information from around the world on your topic, for free.

Why isn’t there an iPhone app that lets you copy videos from a Mac app that would encode them to mp4 on the fly, skipping iTunes?

I can’t believe I’ve had Twhirl and Photoshop open for days. And they told me buying RAM for my old Mac was a waste.

My productivity is not gonna survive the apartment renovation next door. My brain needs its beauty sleep.

Je devrais aller networker à Paris Carnet. Je devrais. Je devrais.

Sois fort, résiste au paquet géant de Tagada en gondole. Résiste. Résiste.

You know, all that bullshit about how if you stop caring and you stop looking it will come? Well, yeah, it is bullshit.

Oups, j’espère qu’elle ne va pas regarder par terre dans le bar, j’ai fait tomber sa carte de visite en sortant mon iPhone. Vive Google.

In other news, c’est dingue le nombre de gens dans les bars. Qui ont une vie. Bars hétéros, donc ils ne sortent pas que pour baiser.

“Wrong Tomorrow - pundits vs. time”

I consider this close enough to relieve me of my idea of a site tracking the accuracy of [Apple] rumor mongerers.

2 April

Rha, maintenant va falloir que j’aille à Beaubourg revoir le portrait de Pompidou 20 ans plus tard. Quelle est la bonne heure pour y aller?

Vectoraster (OS X)

I’ve always been fascinated by the… uh, the illustration thing where lines get thicker and thinner and you see a picture and I know it has a name but can’t remember it right now, you know what I mean? I remember seeing a giant mesh portrait hanging from the ceiling of the Centre Pompidou when I was young, and it stuck with me.

So here’s an application that does those kind of illustrations, plus other vectorization possibilities (with letters and symbols of all types), with a lot of powerful customization options, and it’s extremely cheap for what it does.

An absolute must-have.

“Mozilla’s user experience designer talks shop”

The new frequently visited sites page […] will remember when you use each site during the day, then custom tailor that page to show only those sites. As Raskin described it, this will keep you from seeing some of the “late night” sites you visit when firing up your browser to read news stories and check e-mail in the morning.

Nice idea. (How do you transition from one timeframe to another, though?)

Second “Meet Pre” video

Want want want want want. (Although the videos aren’t particularly well staged. You should see fingers to have a clue what’s going on, and they should show the keyboard, not just use it off-screen.)

“Lost At Sea”

The memorial, designed by artist Marisol, was based on a true event during World War II, in which a Nazi U-boat attacked an American merchant marine vessel. While the marines held on to their sinking vessel, the Germans photographed the victims, then left. The memorial is directly inspired by one of those photographs.

God that’s a creepy sculpture.

This just cracks me up:

“How to Install the iPhone 2.2.1 SDK on a PowerPC-based Mac”

Considering how much slower building an application is on my iMac G5 than my Mini Intel, I’m not sure I want to, but it’s nice to know you can.

Just Cause 2

I can’t believe how good this looks compared to the first game — just like the Call of Juarez sequel’s video that came out yesterday (which I wasn’t particularly interested in, because I don’t care for westerns). Considering that both of those games’ main flaws were in the polish, it’s great that the sequels look so much better.

“Surfing in Full Screen on the iPhone [with $0.99 Full Screen Web Browser]”

As soon as you enter your url, the navigation, menubar and url bar disappears leaving you with a full view. To bring them back, just shake the iPhone.

Oh, that’s smart. Apple needs to lift that (and should have thought of it first).

Lost 5.11

Oh, come on.

<SPOILERS>

I don’t care how many times we’ve already been told that they can’t change the past (and how good Ben and Kate’s backstories end up being) — Sayid is a trained assassin, and no matter how emotional it might have been for him to kill a child, the last image we saw in the last episode was the kid falling straight to the ground with a bullet or two in his chest, and there is no way this is a satisfying cliffhanger resolution.

</SPOILERS>

The “Huh. Hadn’t thought of that” was hilarious. But the answer provided to that conundrum was a bit weak, and would have worked better if the writers hadn’t brought attention to the fact that they needed to get themselves out of a pickle.

I knew I wasn’t gonna manage to work this afternoon. Should have gone out with a book.

“How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Bankruptcy”

“Palm Pre 3rd Party App Video Walkthrough”

Once again, want.

The rounded corners everywhere make the iPhone look so much older, and I like the way universal search works — wherever you are on the main screen, you just start using the keyboard and the results pop pu. Which makes me realize that the arrival of Spotlight as a pane of the iPhone’s Home screen could be another sign that it’s going to sprout a sliding keyboard, and Spotlight would work exactly that way. It would suddenly make much more sense that 3.0’s Springboard would be utterly unmodified, save for the addition of Spotlight and a couple more app pages, if you only have to slide the keyboard out and hit a couple keys to quicksilverize your way around the iPhone.

Or, you know, maybe not.

Someday one of the guys with the nuclear briefcases will have an e-mail account with no spam filter and know all of this must end.

3 April

“DiggBar Is Here. Go Shorten Those URLs”

I had doubts before I knew how it was going to work, but it’s really a pretty clever way to piggyback on the resurgence of tinyurls while boosting Digg in the process. Elegant (with the “Always hide” option) and convenient (with view stats, and the excellent way you create a Digg URL just add digg.com/ in front of the http).

“MacHeist TweetBlast”

’tis the year of whoring out your Twitter account.

“Tire Tread iPhone Case Uglifies and Protects”

I like it — definitely a man’s iPhone. And since I don’t really use the Clarifi’s macro lens in the wild anyway…

Tiens, ça sent la peinture. Au moins ça doit vouloir dire qu’ils ont fini d’abattre des murs.

4 April

Déjà pas facile de limiter ma conso de Coca, le gouvernement devrait subventionner les jus de fruits pour qu’ils soient au même prix.

Traître, le soleil d’hiver. On s’allonge près de la fenêtre ouverte en fin d’après-midi, et on se réveille en hypothermie.

Dollhouse 1.09

That was an undeniably good script; the Victor twist was very cool, and sad — and it was nice to see her in action. Yet of course it still didn’t work for me.

Just realized something, though — another problem than my hating pretting much all of the the cast, starting with Dushku (who proved more than ever in this episode that the show’s premise was beyond her skills, what was Whedon thinking?) and excepting Olivia Williams and Amy Acker. Had you noticed how awful the music was? It’s not just the credits, but the entire show, and I wonder how much that could impact my overall feeling.

5 April

Anne Rice makes me want to go live in New Orleans. Would I need a time machine?

Ah, oui, j’ai repris froid. Mal choisi mon moment pour essayer d’arrêter le Coca.

6 April

Oh, screw UITableView, I’m doing it all in HTML.

7 April

Doute soudain, j’ai envoyé mes applis iPhone aux béta-testeurs en Bcc: sans To:, leur silence est-il dû aux filtres anti-spam ?

“Getting geeky with Twitterrific”

You wouldn’t know it, because the Iconfactory is all about teh pretty and not that much about teh usability, but if you’re using Twitterific on your Mac you can filter tweets… by setting a preference through Terminal. Guess they haven’t got around to creating an interface to handle those preferences yet, which is a shame, because filtering some tags becomes more and more essential to surviving Twitter.

For instance, this seems to work, filtering out the weekly avalanche of tweets about the French version of Pop Idol:

defaults write com.iconfactory.Twitterrific tweetTextFilter -string "#(NS|ns|nouvellestar)"

Next time I open Terminal it will probably be to filter out all tags. (In case you had doubts, it’s a regexp.)

 

Oh, and twitpic.com.

And maybe even http.

Segway Project P.U.M.A.

God, they’re really desperate to do something relevant with that technology. (As they should, because it’s cool technology!) Yeah, I can totally see the felinity. Or not.

8 April

The Brightkite iPhone app requires registration. Fail, or do people actually use it and I should try?

Well, fuck you right back, universe.

Pas mal fichu du tout, Aka’aki sur iPhone.

Hate to say it, but from a cursory glance at a screenshot it looks like Seesmic Desktop might be the Twitter client I’m looking for.

“Shadow of the Colossus Getting Big Screen Adaptation, All Hope Lost”

By the writer of… Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li. Please tell me that’s a belated April Fools, I’m gonna barf.

“Data Robotics goes large with 8-bay DroboPro”

That picture with the eight green lights is as good as porn. Drool.

Personne ne vous prévient jamais que se muscler les abdos ne sert qu’à faire ressortir la graisse.

9 April

Qu’on me donne un pic à glace pour me déboucher le nez ! (Ou un inhalateur, faut voir.)

Oh, ‘tis a day to go read in a park.

Heroes 3.22

Vaguely entertaining with a couple cool bits, though not to the point of making me care. And full of plot holes and deus exes. Um, dei ex.

Damn, I was this close to having my app work in landscape mode.

Oh, merde, encore un jour férié ?

10 April

La page et les données App Store de l’appli Web is Pink sont en ligne… Plus qu’à finir de débugger et uploader l’application.

And just now I realize that the other advantage of native iPhone apps is that they can draw less power than a big old WebKit engine.

Lost 5.12

Was I under the influence of my elliptical bike, or was this episode rather great? I’ve got to try those endorphins on the next Scrubs. If I so much as chuckle, that means I can’t trust my impressions on anything I watch while exercising.

<SPOILERS>

Love the new, new, new, new Locke. Of course.

But, much more importantly, the Monster as a judging demon thingy that emanates from an Egyptian temple FUCKING WORKS. And I’ve almost got tears in my eyes from finding out that the reveal of one of the island’s earliest mysteries FUCKING WORKS. That’s how disillusioned I am since the Battlestar finale. Opera house, my ass.

</SPOILERS>

Wouldn’t it be ironic if it turned out that the Lost writers, with all their pathological meandering and red herrings (one of which was this episode’s only flaw, because they just can’t help themselves), had a much better idea of where they were going than Ronald D. Moore ever chose to have?

Remember when they said that they’d made a rule, whenever they introduced something to the show, to already have planned out what it was all about?

Damn, I could almost hope again.

11 April

“Why Engadget is blocking the DiggBar”

In Digg’s efforts to keep you swimming in their stream, they completely obscure the original URL you’re supposed to be looking at. And no, not just the URL you follow from a particular Digg on their site — all the URLs you visit (via clicks) until you kill the bar. Additionally, if you’re browsing around a site under the bar itself and you kill it, it transports you back to the original URL you landed on, thus completely breaking continuity and making it almost impossible to know where you’ve actually browsed to.

That’s the first sensible argument I’ve seen against the DiggBar — i.e., not from a whiny egotic blogger who doesn’t want his precious URL obscured, but from the standpoint of caring about the end user’s experience.

I used to have a <base target=”_top”> in my headers at some point; that’s a quite sufficient workaround. Not that I run any risk of ever being dugg.

Intéressante idée, une appli gay iPhone qui n’autorise que les uploads de photo prise depuis l’appli. Difficile à fausser.

12 April

Seems like I’m much less hungry since I’ve all but stopped drinking Coke. Fancy that.

Why the hell would Google take down the standalone Tasks interface?

“Performance Research, Part 5: iPhone Cacheability”

In our experiments, we varied the size of different types of components (images, stylesheets, and scripts) to determine the maximum cache size for an individual component. We found that if the size of component is greater than 25 KB, the iPhone’s browser does not cache the component. Thus, web pages designed specifically for the iPhone should reduce the size of each component to 25 Kbytes or less for optimal caching behavior.

Translation: Here I go rewriting my iPhone app without JQuery, because it appears that WebKit would be waiting to load the 50KB library again before it displays each new page.

Good thing I was only using the most elementary functions, because I don’t want to overload the iPhone with fancy effects.

 

P.S. Why on earth isn’t there an iPhone-optimized, less-than-25KB (unzipped) version of JQuery with only the essential functionality?

I tried Bluebird as a multi-account Twitter client, but somehow it didn’t occur to me to use it instead of Twitterific as my main client.

13 April

Two guys “0 feet away” on Grindr. Turning all the lights on and pre-dialing 911. Damn, I never remember what’s the emergency # in France.

C’mon, iPhone apps have existed for a year and just THE WEEK I create a Web is Pink app there’s a new social app every gay guy installs.

Black Prophecy

Looks like Eve Online minus the tedium; properly gorgeous, and finally an MMO I could want to play. Thank heavens I don’t have a PC.

Okay, let’s see if setting an SPF record takes automatic messages out of the spam folder.

I never think of using Illustrator to make 3D text.

“Why It Makes Sense That a Hacker’s Behind Amazon’s Big Gay Outrage”

What [homophobic hacker] Weev says he figured out was a way to trick Internet users into automatically flagging products [as inappropriate] without their knowledge, with the help of friends who run high-profile websites. He also says he hired “third-worlders” to register fake Amazon accounts and flag books.

No developer is safe from letting a CSRF vulnerability creep in. (Didn’t write — or read — about the #amazonfail before because the idea of it didn’t make any sense.)

14 April

RT @Mike_FTW: Fuck off. (Please retweet!)

“Birdhouse — A notepad for Twitter”

I don’t know what to make of this. I think @lonelysandwich is a smart guy, so I wonder what’s the strategy about selling an idea pad for Twitter (when it seems like it could have lots of other uses) for three dollars (which is more expensive than the good Twitter clients). There has to be a trick I don’t completely grasp; I’d actually be interested in this if it was $1 and not so Twitter-oriented.

Peter Funch

Danish photographer Peter Funch stakes New York City street corners out for two weeks at a time, taking pictures of passersby from the very same spot. He then uses Photoshop to composite the results into single images. I love the mass of yawners.

Fantastic idea, served by great photography and compositing.

“Pinch Media: Statistics your iPhone apps may be sending back home”

Every time you quit an application that integrates Pinch Media, the following data gets transferred to Pinch Media: iPhone UUID (the unique ID of your iPhone), Iphone Software release, iPod/iPhone version, a timestamp when application usage started, a timestamp when application usage ended and (if you allowed it) the longitude and lattitude values of your position.

The list of applications using Pinch Media is available at the bottom of their home page.

While I agree that it isn’t particularly nefarious (it’s not like Aurora Feint uploading the entire contents of your Address Book), it’s just not right. The iPhone UDID is a private identifier that you have no business passing around the network unless you have a good use for it (such as the upcoming Web is Pink application that lets you sign into the chat without an e-mail or password, simply identified by your UDID). Same thing for geolocation, which also drains the battery faster.

Ok, on second thought I like the way @bluebirdapp handles direct messages.

“Grape, a new way to manage your Desktop clutter”

Now that’s a more interesting alternative to desktop management than that stupid, glittery BumpTop. Grape provides what OS X lacks: an infinite desktop you can zoom and pan like a Photoshop document, where you can organize your icons freely and resize them independently.

The beta isn’t really usable right now because it doesn’t offer a lot of functionality that the Finder does, but it’s promising. Now that Apple mouses have a scroll ball, they should be thinking about that kind of stuff.

I wish more apps had Bluebird’s “If there’s something new, show the window without stealing focus.”

15 April

I think I’m just about to stop using Spaces on my main Mac. Though I still with I had a second screen.

Oh, I forgot I had an incoming Heroes.

OMG! OMG! “Your application status is Ready for Sale.”

My first iPhone app: Snap Filters

If you’ve read this blog at all in the past few months, you’ve seen how interested I’ve been in the kind of iPhone apps that take your iPhone’s crappy photos and turn them into something… else. Something more interesting and worthy of posting to Flickr, I’d say.

So it should come as no surprise that the first application I chose to submit to the App Store was one of those filter apps — because there’s nothing I like better than wasting my time rewriting what already exists, only a little better and with less commercial success.

Anyway… it’s three in the morning and I didn’t write my announcement in advance so as not to jinx it, so it’s going to be a mess. The application is called Snap Filters, and the main reason I made it is that I can’t get CameraBag to save a single image without crashing; so Snap Filters is supposed to crash less (it will still quit on you once in a while, because every photo app does on the iPhone, but I’ve found it much more usable in the real world), and it’s designed to give you more flexibility on the filters you’re applying to your pictures, with a fast enough interface that you shouldn’t resent playing with it.

Snap Filters lets you quickly page through three color effects (from least saturated to most contrasty) in nine tint variants each, and two black and white effects (regular or contrasty) with simulated color filters (it doesn’t look like much, but lets you choose the black-and-white effect that makes your details pop most). Plus several levels and styles of vignetting, and the choice of cropping the picture to a square or not. All the while being pretty responsive (until you save the final picture, which obviously needs to take a few seconds).

Most of the photos I’ve posted here in the last couple of weeks have been made with Snap Filters, and I’ve set up a Flickr page where all of my example photos will be. You can also check out the information page for more details but, more importantly:

You should download it right now (iTunes link), because it’s free for a while it’s discounted until I have enough reviews to go to $1.99.

“Apple prevents approved iPhone app from entering iTunes store ‘Pending Contract’”

Oh, fuck. Apple is apparently in the habit of holding the publication of free applications back by not approving the developer’s paperwork for free applications (which is inexistent on the dev’s side) for months.

On the other hand, according to iTunes Connect, I’m approved to sell applications. Just not offer them for free. Because there’s got to be so much more stuff for Apple’s legal department to approve, right?

I’ve paid to publish applications on the App Store. That’s absolutely unacceptable.

In unrelated news, I’m setting Snap Filters to the smallest price tag right now, so if you haven’t downoaded it for free yet you better hurry before the change is effective.

I have to keep reminding myself that throwing my iPhone through the wide-open window wouldn’t punish Apple in any way. But long live the Pre.

16 April

Your NPR Name: Two Words To A More Interesting You

Let’s amend this to say I remove a letter from my first name because I don’t have a middle name, and then I’ll pick up an atlas.

Sans blague, pour un layout de blog à 800 euros, vous vous attendriez à être payé sous quel délai, vous ?

17 April

Heroes 3.23

Boring.

<SPOILERS>

Surprisingly, I didn’t find the casting of young Angela offensive; however, having Suresh’s father there doesn’t make any kind of sense, does it?

And there’s no way in hell Peter is going to tell Mohinder is “a good person.” I guess they’re just trying to convince us, but I’m not buying it either. Too bad he didn’t get killed.

</SPOILERS>

Lost 5.13

<SPOILERS>

I’m not very comfortable with the idea of introducing a new set of antagonists at this point of the game.

</SPOILERS>

But that was an interesting cliffhanger.

“Short URL Auto-Discovery‎”

Don’t like your site’s URLs being hidden behind tinyurls on Twitter? Make your own tinyurl service, and broadcast each page’s short URL via HTML or HTTP headers; ultimately Twitter clients will auto-detect that URL and use it instead of making a tinyurl. A must-have for the perfectionist webmaster. (Also applicable to providing a digg.com URL for each and every post if you’re that kind of blogger.)

…Et Snap Filters n’apparaît toujours pas dans les listes de l’App Store.

Tweetie for Mac

When? Monday. April 20th.” Yay! The interface looks gorgeous.

“When the device is not connected to a network, Web is Pink stays blank. This behavior might lead to user confusion.” Why, yes, of course.

Not that it matters anyway since I can’t distribute free apps.

Even isolated cultures understand emotions conveyed by Western music[via]

The Mafa people, who live in the far north of Cameroon in the Mandara mountains, are one of the most culturally isolated groups in the world. […] Both Western and non-Western listeners recognized the intended emotion at rates significantly higher than chance (the dotted line on the chart). So even people who’ve never been exposed to Western music can understand the intended emotion.

I always wondered, and I’m surprised by the answer.

Trente euros pour finir le… euh, l’année. Easy as pie.

Disturbing Strokes” (ou Arnold et Willy, le drame) [via]

Ca fait deux fois que je regarde la vidéo et je m’attends toujours à ce qu’il lui attrape les fesses dans le dernier plan. Mais je me demande si ce n’était pas déjà le cas à l’époque.

New discoveries turn up in betas of Apple’s iPhone 3.0 software

It wouldn’t make that much sense in theory, yet I’ve often wished I could tap the “x” button on the last open tab in Mobile Safari to start from a blank slate.

18 April

Je ne sais pas pourquoi j’avais eu la flemme de le faire, @snapfilters est créé. Et l’appli n’est toujours pas dans les listes du Store.

Podcast playhead position sync from my iPhone to iTunes has gotten completely screwed lately. Is it just me?

19 April

Pushing Daisies 1.11

Oh, what a nice surprise on my desktop. A cruel one, reminding us of what we lost. And a cruel episode, too, appropriately enough.

 

I’ve never been so distracted by a misplaced boom mike, though.

Oh but yeah, I just lost two hours because of one of those incomprehensible XCode bugs.

Dead Like Me: Life After Death

Damn, is nothing sacred?

 

My expectations of the movie sunk as soon as I saw Bryan Fuller’s name wasn’t anywhere significant on the IMDb page — and rightfully so. I’m really beginning to resent how easily he gives up on shows once they’re toast; didn’t he kind of owe it to us to write this movie, even pro bono, rather than let his former underlings mess his show up?

 

And that Daisy has to be one of the most offensive actor replacements in the history of television.

20 April

I intended to release my Google Reader client for the Mac as is, to focus on my iPhone apps, but I can’t publish an app so ugly.

RT @atebits: Trend weirdness!: “Mac 1” is the top-trending term on Twitter, but all the Tweets are referring to “Tweetie for Mac 1.0”

Geez, the amount of entries on Tweetie for Mac’s getsatisfaction.com page in just two hours.

Oh, you can’t disable the network for testing in iPhone Simulator.app. How stupid is that.

Tweetie for Mac is out, and it’s as glorious as I always thought it would be (as soon as I bought Tweetie for iPhone, I emailed the developer to tell him he had to save us from Twitterific on the desktop — he replied that he was already working on it). A couple of bugs/limitations will be fixed soon, but I’ve got one gripe, something that surprised me when I saw the demo video last week: there is no global view of all your accounts’ mentions, or DMs. Odd overlook for such a nice multi-account Twitter client.

RT @siracusa: Animals can smell fear and Apple repair people can smell OCD. My last laptop repair didn’t make it off the genius bar without a new scratch.

Reader Helper 0.1 for Mac

I switched from NetNewsWire to Google Reader a few months ago, and it’s pretty clear that I’m not going to come back this time, but there’s still one thing that doesn’t work for me: in NetNewsWire, I used to scan quickly through all the articles, while listening to podcasts or watching TV, and open in tabs those I wanted to read; then, when I had more time and was more focused, I went through the tabs one by one.

That doesn’t work in a browser, becomes it quickly becomes sluggish, and I don’t trust it to save my list of open tabs if I quit or it crashes — whereas I could restart NetNewsWire when it was getting too bloated, and it would reload the list of tabs without actually loading the pages until I wanted to look at them.

I’ve gotten to use Google Reader’s “Mark as unread” option to survive, but it doesn’t really work either: the unread counts become misleading, and sometimes marked-unread articles will disappear, then reappear, etc. — basically it’s both inconvenient and unreliable.

 

So here comes Reader Helper: it’s a standalone application that displays your Google Reader page along with a side window listing the links you intend to read. Click on a link and it’s added to the floating sidebar, waiting. Whenever you feel like it, you can browse through the links on your sidebar, and clicking them will open the page in your default browser.

Read links stay in the sidebar until you purge it, in case something didn’t load or you need to come back to something you read earlier. And you can also Command-click a link in Google Reader to open it immediately in your browser.

 

The links list is backed by an sqlite database, using Gus Mueller’s FMDB library, because I’m used to SQL and I trust it not to lose data. (Even if the app crashed in the middle of saving a database update, I think you wouldn’t lose anything but the update in progress.)

 

0.1 is a very primitive version that doesn’t support a lot of things that I ultimately want to (I even forgot to put a loading spinner on the browser window, don’t worry if it’s empty and white for a while when you launch it), but the point is that not having a tabs list in Google Reader was driving me insane, and I really needed this application to exist, right here, right now, so I switched away from iPhone app development for a day to code it.

 

Download.

Twitter.

RT @JeremiahLee: You can’t click a piece of paper. Why aren’t MS Word and Apple Pages smart enough to not print links in blue and with underlines?

Pro: did get a human reply from iTunes Connect re: my application not being listed.

Con: the reply doesn’t address my problem.

21 April

Oh, there IS an RSS feed for my favorite’d tweets. It’s new, right? I’m pretty sure I checked not long ago.

My favorite’d tweets are now displayed on my blog. Not sure whether I should include them in the RSS feed as well.

“Naked touch review”

Damn, that’s clever use of the iPhone screen’s real estate for a photo editing app.

Isolator [via]

Depth of field for your Mac desktop — blurring the background windows. Rather low usability, but so cool to see. (I’m impressed that it manages to blur a live view of my whole screen on my old iMac G5.)

Let the Right One In

I’m not saying it isn’t a good movie, but I’m not sure why it got quite that much buzz. I do not think it had to be so slow. Or that the breathing and mouth sounds needed to be so loud. I know it’s intentional, but I can’t stand it.

 

Love the egg. Have you ever solved a Rubik’s Cube?

Are App Store Customers Good Customers?

I’m sorry, but the moral of the story isn’t that App Store customers are morons. When people have spent money to download your app and it doesn’t work, no matter whether it’s Google’s fault or Apple’s or yours, the correct answer isn’t to mark the issue as “solved” on Get Satisfaction while the update awaits App Store approval. The correct answer is to eat crow.

Apparently they didn’t understand that “solved” was a relative term. Yes, sure, it’s not solved for you right now, but my resolution was pretty clear—it’s solved in the version Apple is looking at. JUST HOLD TIGHT. I thought this was enough. But no.

Well, duh.

Marking a bug as “solved” when the resolution will be available in an upcoming release works in Bugzilla; it doesn’t in Get Satisfaction, which is designed to be geared toward the user’s perspective rather than the developer’s.

RT @siracusa: I refuse to use any service that requires me to tweet something.

Google introduces a 3D browser plugin

I’m not sure what I think about this — ultimately, it will depend on how much Google itself cares about it… when it’s got nothing to do with the kind of data its search engine can process. But the idea of manipulating a 3D world with Javascript is exciting.

Heroes 3.24

Good story, still bored. If only those two most annoying lead characters were on the verge of really destroying each other.

Big OMG moment, though — I had never realized that she already was on a character on Heroes. Too bad that means we won’t see her in an important role.

I’m really beginning to like Castle.

— How often do people get killed in a neighborhood like this?

— Like everywhere else. Just the once.

22 April

It keeps bugging me. Is it 100% incorrect to pronounce the ‘h’ in ‘hour’, or is it equivalent to pronouncing the ‘h’ in when?

Oh, finalement autorisé à publier des apps gratuites sur l’App Store. Je vais bientôt pouvoir faire exploser le serveur de Web is Pink.

@nikrawlinson I know one wouldn’t :) But the [grandmother] in Gilmore Girls prononounced the h in where, when, etc., and it fascinated me :)

RT @nick: Why is it so hard to get a bunch of people who took Pascal’s Wager to consider fighting climate change?

It’s like all of my life’s experience culminates in making iPhone apps. So you better buy the fuck out of them, cuz I’m out of of options.

Comment il peut faire 20 degrés et si froid ? Je suis complètement déréglé ?

Back When The MySpace CEOs Exploited 9/11

I hadn’t spent much time with people like this before, and it made me realize that this is what entrepreneurship is all about. These people throw stuff against the wall until something sticks. They have no way of knowing which of their crazy ideas will make it big. It’s the entrepreneurial spirit, which I have to admire. I probably couldn’t cut it in that world.

Not that I want to compare myself with the MySpace founders who reportedly started out by peddling spyware-infested custom mouse pointers, but that’s just the quote I needed to read this week.

Fuck, that wasn’t the day for forgetting part of my groceries at the cash register.

Domino’s Bread Bowl Pasta

Oh my God, I want that.

23 April

Of App Store approval delays

I’ve checked the logs to see when the reviewers actually use the apps for the first time.

In all cases, the reviewers don’t touch the app until the day before approval or rejection. And they don’t seem to interact with the app for more than a few minutes.

That’s an interesting fact. (To add my experience: the reviewer rejected my second app, because it doesn’t display an error message when there is no network connection, before ever actually logging into the service. Which makes or doesn’t make sense. I don’t care. Zen is me. Fuck you, Apple.)

 

I have a different theory: The delay is intentional. I think Apple has found some good reasons for making app developers wait at least a few days before they spend a second of their time reviewing it.

And that’s borderline-psychotic paranoia.

 

Here’s my “theory”: the reason the approval delay is consistent across many submissions is simply that Apple has determined that a dozen days was the maximum acceptable delay, so when the queue is getting clogged and delays are about to get longer they reallocate human resources from somewhere else (or hire temps, or simply get less picky and approve apps faster) to get it back to a manageable level.

If Apple hired enough people to approve your app in the ten minutes after you posted them, then those people would spend a good part of some days doing nothing (and there would still be a need to find additional resources on those days when the workload is higher). And that wouldn’t make any business sense, would it.

 

But then, anyone having to interact with iTunes Connect can’t be faulted for becoming a conspiracy theorist. It would do that to people.

“Glimpse”

I designed a mirror that gives an illusion of a door opening on any given surface.

It’s a great idea, but I can’t think of anything but horror movies right now.

I’m so sleepy. And I blame Anne Rice.

Apple patents volume controls in the browser

Oh, great, now it’s never gonna happen. Couldn’t someone at Mozilla think of it first?

24 April

Alleluia, Snap Filters apparaît dans les listings de l’App Store. Mais pas dans les nouveautés, bien sûr…

Dreamt I was singing All That Jazz. (There are worse things than waking up with Chicago in your head. No, not that Chicago.)

Caprica

You know, when they talk about the SciFi (sorry, SyFy) movies of the week and how stereotypically awful they are? No idea whetherit could have been saved by better direction / production values / casting (the daughter’s voice is unbearable), but the point is it wasn’t.

<SPOILERS>

Not that I expect anything better from Ronald D. Moore, but it’s pretty lame to have humans talk about the One True God sixty years before the Fall.

Well, the rest of the story, and the basic premise, don’t make sense either, but I already knew that. (Although I didn’t know quite how stupid it would be — the very first Cylon was the most frakked-up of all? That’s such an uninteresting cliché.)

</SPOILERS>

25 April

Wish there was a better way than the mirror to know whether I’m losing or gaining weight. Some objective measurement — a number, a machine.

Return of Box Cat

The last third of the video is so awesome.

Dropbox: Now Effortlessly Syncing Files For 1 Million Members

I’m glad Microsoft and Google are lagging so much in that field and letting an incredibly well-engineered* competitor settle in.

 

* Well, except for the lack of resource-fork support on OS X.

Dollhouse 1.10

There’s no point in writing the same thing week after week, but: Eliza Dushku is definitely killing that show. This episode sounds like it might have been a good script (though the twist was too much and there are production problems beyond casting), but it looked like she hadn’t gotten the memo that she was supposed to be acting as another person.

I still can’t understand how Whedon thought this would be the perfect vehicle for her. More like burying her career once and for all. Oh, wait, maybe that was his plan all along?

Pushing Daisies 1.12

Great, as always, and a nice casting surprise, even though…

<SPOILERS>

…after that last scene, why would he still expect his daughter to be looking for him?

</SPOILERS>

26 April

“Steve Jobs On The Value Of Stock Options”

Q: And did you take on the role then as CEO?

Jobs: Well, no, I did not. I was very concerned that Pixar was a newly public company with shareholders, employees, and I felt that - - to my knowledge there had never been a CEO of two public companies before. So I felt if I took the job, the Pixar shareholders and employees would think I was abandoning them.

Q: Mm-hmm

Jobs: And I decided I just - - that I couldn’t do that. So I took the title of interim CEO and agreed to come back for 90 days to help recruit a full-time CEO.

Q: How did that recruitment effort go?

Jobs: I failed.

Q: And when you say you failed, is it that you didn’t find anyone that you thought would be suitable to take on the role?

Jobs: Yes. Apple was not in good shape and everybody knew it and the kind of candidates that we were being offered up by the headhunters were not very talented.

Q: Okay. In other words, not the sort of people who could turn Apple around?

Jobs: Yes.

Q: Okay. So after that 90 days, what happened next?

Jobs: Well, it just kind of slid into the fact that I stayed. I kept the interim CEO title for quite some time, a number of years.

Seriously?

We’re supposed to believe that?

iTunes crashes once a day. Making me nervous. How am I gonna live if I lose my song ratings?

Je me retiens d’acheter cette daube d’Outrun sur Xbox juste en souvenir de quand j’y jouais dans un centre commercial de Caen.

Tom Cruise still has a teenager’s voice. That’s nice for him, maybe, but it doesn’t make Valkyrie very dramatic.

Can I get a version of The Big Bang Theory without the laugh track?

27 April

RT @JeremiahLee: UI Tip: A button labeled “Register” is more effective than “To Register Click Here”. People tend to ignore large blocks of text.

We’ve reviewed Web is Pink 1.0 and determined that we cannot post this version of your iPhone application to the App Store because it contains objectionable content. […] An example of the objectionable content is attached.

There’s fucking dick closeups on aka-aki.

Je me demande s’il me “suit” juste pour voir si/quand je me mets à déblatérer publiquement et nommément.

(Auquel cas la réponse est : ça va pas tarder.)

“Mafia II Developers Interview”

That’s the first GTA IV-like that I’ve found promising. In the gameplay videos, both the shooting and driving seemed a little imprecise (which isn’t that different from GTA), but what I saw and what the developer talks about seem very interesting.

Chronicling ten years in the life of two mafiosi over the course of the game? Sounds great. (As much as I dislike mob stories.)

28 April

Pourquoi je n’achèterai plus jamais de ma vie un nom de domaine chez OVH : même pour simplement changer un des contacts, ils réclament un formulaire signé par le propriétaire avec une copie de la carte d’identité. (Et accessoirement le formulaire n’est imprimable qu’avec Adobe Reader.)

 

Et moi qui préfère mettre mes clients comme propriétaires des noms de domaine que j’achète pour eux, par honnêteté.

 

Et moi qui ai une trentaine de noms de domaine chez OVH parce que j’ai voulu utiliser tous mes free’dom avant que mes gros serveurs n’expirent.

 

J’aurais compris ça d’un registrar de luxe qui présenterait cette sécurité comme un avantage, pour protéger ses clients, mais là on est dans l’excès inverse : mettre des bâtons dans les roues des clients pour ne jamais avoir à gérer de contestations au cas où quelqu’un se ferait piquer un nom de domaine pour cause de mot de passe trop facile à deviner.

Why do I bother saving my Snap Filters pics in 1600x1200 when Mobile Mail will resize them to 800x600 when sending to Flickr anyway?

Did Apple publish the Snap Filters 1.1 update without telling me? (And forget that the icon was pre-rendered?) When?!

Please tell me the free download codes for reviewers don’t expire when a new version of the app is published.

Snap Filters 1.1 (iPhone)

Version 1.1 is available, and it’s really getting good, if I do say so myself, and if I don’t who will — you can now boost your photos’ contrast, and there’s a set of preselected filter combinations that lets you dive right into the app and quickly select how to get the best of each picture you take with your iPhone.

Ah, and I’ve added the option to save your photos in a smaller, faster format, if you’re sure you won’t need the “high” resolution image.

Nine brightness / contrast settings, 27 color filters and 18 black-and-white, 9 vignetting settings, and the choice to crop each picture to a square format or not — all in a pretty responsive interface.

Oh, yeah, I have to steal a camcorder one of these days to make a demo video (since the responsiveness is an important factor, I can’t make a screencast with iPhone Simulator).

Heroes 3.25

Wow. One bonus point, even though I was pretty much bored throughout, for the creepiest plot point I could never have imagined on Heroes. And possibly ridding us of one of the most annoying characters.

 

Point lost immediately thereafter because of the epilogue. Win some, lose some.

29 April

Moving photography

For the cover of Esquire’s June issue, photographer Greg Williams shot ten minutes of video footage of Megan Fox [with a Red One], from which the best stills were selected for the cover and inside the magazine.

Turns out Flickr invented with the moving photograph what science-fiction had promised for decades — now we’re only missing color e-paper. (Actually, holograms already exist.)

30 April

RT @stevenf: When I get linked, I also get this feeling of dread. It’s like retroactive stage-fright. Like I’ve just said the dumbest thing imaginable.

I propose a moratorium on doctors asking “So who gave you my name?” It just feels like a creepy thing to ask under those circumstances.

Dead Rising 2

Looking pretty, and rather cool — particularly what the guy can do with twin chainsaws. Fun.

Drop7 (iPhone)

Tetris meets Sudoku in this original, addictive puzzle game.

Before you start playing it, you’ll think this is a pretty simple variation on the classic Bejeweled clones — replace symbols with numbers, woo!

But, as you’ll quickly find out when you start playing it and have the hardest time figuring out how to actually play it right, this is one of the most creative takes on “drop pieces in a grid” I’ve ever seen. And, like all the best games, it’s got incredibly simple mechanics, but they result in a deep and highly addictive game.

Here’s the basic principle: a block marked with a number disappears from the grid when it’s part of a group containing that number of blocks. So, if you have a full row of seven blocks, containing a couple 7s, only those 7s will disappear. If you have a column of four pieces with a 4, a 3, a 2, and a 1 (in any order), then the 4 will disappear; then the 3 will disappear, then the 2, then the 1 (and you’ll get lots of points for that, because that’s a x4 chain).

In addition, because that would probably be a bit too simple, the game throws unmarked, sealed blocks at you, that will only reveal the number they contain after they’ve been near a number that disappeared from the grid. And for each new level, a whole row of those mystery discs pops up from the bottom of the grid — dooming you if you happen to be stuck with a bunch of 1s on top of them.

I don’t think it’s possible to explain why the game is so cool (which is why I’m not trying very hard), so if you’re at all into puzzles with falling pieces, and aren’t afraid of counting (unlike Sudoku, Drop7 is indeed mathematical), you absolutely have to download the free edition (iTunes link). And you may well not feel the need to upgrade to the paid version (it doesn’t look like the Lite game is limited in any way that really matters), but you should, just because it’s such a clever puzzle game.

 

Two strategy hints to get you started:

  • your very first priority should be to get rid of 1s, almost at any cost

  • the second most important thing in the game is to uncover the numbers hidden in those gray discs, so any turn that didn’t contribute to chipping away at one of those discs is a lost turn (and any lost turn gets you closer to the next level-up with its whole additional row of gray discs)

 

Kiss your productivity and your battery good-bye (I’m not sure such a game should drain the battery that fast, but then almost every app does nowadays). And good luck getting rid of your deeply-ingrained Tetris or Bejeweled reflexes, they won’t help you at all here.

Well worth the price.

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