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

1 August 2009

Est-ce qu’un juif a vraiment le droit de demander à un passant de lui taper son digicode ? C’est pas un peu trop facile ?

Damn, having to develop without JQuery on the iPhone is such a pain.

En fait tout a commencé à partir en couille au moment où Monoprix a arrêté de vendre les pinces de crabe en surimi de Coraya.

2 August

Pas fan des nouilles Nissin, et je pue l’huile de sésame maintenant.

Unicode 1.0.1 is live: spammed French blogs, spammed English blogs again for good measure, and cleaned up my inbox. Phew.

I hate how iPhone devs have to beg. To think it might be different if I hadn’t fallen off the face of the blogosphere a couple times.

4 August

Il y avait la lune à ma fenêtre tout à l’heure, et elle n’y est plus !

Is there a way to fake your location on aka-aki ?

6 August

What’s up with the number of Xbox demos that only work online (with a Gold subscription) these days?

IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey (360 demo)

In arcade mode (the default), this a pretty great flight combat game: the graphics are okay, the planes are top-of-the-line WW2-era (which means even missiles aren’t guided, and that makes air combat much more interesting), controls are pretty good (although I’m not a fan of controlling engine speed with the right stick — nobody needs the precision of setting it from 0% to 100%, at least in arcade mode), and the physics engine feels perfectly real (contrary to what I thought when I watched videos of the game).

In simulator mode, though (which is completely optional, thankfully), well… I have no idea what’s going on — I haven’t been able to do such a simple maneuver as banking, then pulling up, to turn around, without the plane going into an uncontrollable spin. Maybe planes are insanely more complicated than you’d ever imagine, and maybe the full version has a tutorial to explain how to master that, but in the meantime that mode is just unplayable.

Fortunately, the arcade mode satisfies quite fine. It looks like missions ought to be varied enough (as much as they can be in a flight combat game), and as a bonus the game offers an unlimited “continue” whenever you crash — resetting you just where you were, like a Bioshock vita-chamber. And even simulation mode doesn’t prevent you from using that option (but nobody forces you, either, since you have to press a button to continue). The future The present definitely belongs to games that don’t penalize death.

I’ll add that I read someone’s comment that they couldn’t adjust to the controls because they were so used to Battlefield 1943. And all I can say is: I weep for that person.

Couldn’t try the online mode, since I’m not a Gold customer these days. But this is definitely a must-download if you’re interested in planes at all (plus, it provides quite enough gameplay to warrant the download). Probably less fun and accessible than Hawx, but more interesting, more real — think Project Gotham Racing vs. Burnout.

Overlord II (360 demo)

I’m going to make this short, because (1) the demo didn’t exactly just come out, (2) it’s a sequel, and (3) I’ve already written a long (highly positive) review about Overlord, even though I never finished it or posted it.

So Overlord II is more of the same, quite unabashedly so, and there’s nothing wrong with that, because the first game was awesome on quite many levels. Rather famously, the sequel starts with your minions clubbing baby seals, which is a great touch, and that’s part of what you’ll be playing with in the demo (which I think is just a tad too short — it doesn’t give the game time to show how the gameplay develops a bit).

I like the game’s additions, like mounts for your minions (it’s gimmicky, but cute), but the main hope for this sequel was that the controls would be better — controlling your minions had always been a little awkward. And, lo and behold: they’ve made it worse!

Apparently, people couldn’t cope with the lack of camera controls (even though all you had to do was just turn your own character around), so the right stick now controls both the camera and the minions, so that you can’t, for instance, look somewhere while you’re pointing your minions elsewhere (which can be useful, particularly in boss fights). Also, in the five minutes the demo lasted, I failed several times to send my minions to sweep the terrain — nothing I did could make them move.

It could be that the developers think that sweeping minions is the “wrong” way to play the game, that it’s just there as a crutch, and you’re really supposed to select targets and dispatch minions to attack one by one… but that would be a weirdly stupid misunderstanding of what’s actually fun about their game: it’s all about sweeping the horde of brown minions and watch them destroy everything in their way.

Still, you should download the demo anyway… then decide to buy the original Overlord, which you’ll find heavily discounted at your favorite store. Countless hours of fun with your little gremlins.

As for Overlord II itself, I don’t think I’d be in any hurry to buy it.

RT @nick: TWITTER IS DOWN! TWITTER IS DOWN, EVERYBODY PANhey wait a second…

John Gruber flip-flops like an App Store reviewer

After going back to Ninjawords’s developers and conferring with some trusted sources within Apple, I believe what Schiller says here is genuinely the case — that what the App Store reviewers wanted for Ninjawords was a 17+ rating, not for Matchstick Software to filter its dictionary listings.

Well, then maybe you could have employed the same basic researching and critical thinking just a bit earlier, like right before you wrote in your previous article:

Someone from Apple called Dave to tell him that we were being rejected again for illicit content [..] and no matter what we did to our dictionary, it will have to be 17+ to make it to the App Store.

In other words, not only must the dictionary be censored — a dictionary — but even after being purged of “objectionable” words it would only be considered with a 17+ rating.

…even though the rejection e-mail, which was quoted in its entirety, helpfully provided the following (I wasn’t so lucky with my gay chat app):

Parental Controls have been announced for iPhone OS 3.0. It would be appropriate to resubmit your application for review once this feature is available.

It doesn’t seem like it would be too hard, for a cold-blooded high-profile blogger who’s supposed to be super clever and analytical, to figure out that nothing in what was quoted here implied that Apple wanted to apply both censorship and parental controls (whereas you can understand how the developers took the rejections quite personally, and overreacted a bit).

One would think such a blogger, and one who regularly touts their high-placed sources within Apple, would try and check their facts before posting such an incriminating story. But, hey, when you’ve got the scoop on such effective buzz to relay — uh, I mean, on such an important, shocking story — you’re not going to sweat it, are you? Let’s just write it up as it comes!

 

This is music to my ears. That Schiller was willing to respond in such detail and length, on the record, is the first proof I’ve seen that Apple’s leadership is trying to make the course correction that many of us see as necessary for the long-term success of the platform.

As a matter of fact, what’s music to your ears is that Phil Schiller wrote you personally. As for us lowly iPhone users and developers, we’d rather wait until there are tangible facts we can judge, thank you.

 

Am I the only one thinking that the article should end with “I asked Phil Schiller in reply to explain what was up with Google Voice, but he declined to answer” or something like that? Isn’t that the least you ought to do, under the circumstances?

Is it just inevitable that any prominent, opinionated tech blogger will turn into Michael Arrington?

7 August

I was just gonna test-drive a Front Row clone, and here I am rewatching Firefly.

You’d think AdWords would let you say “spend that much money on this campaign” and be done with it. But that would be too much control.

I need to get into follow-spamming. Qwitter doesn’t seem to work anymore anyway, so there’s no consequences.

9 August

Je loue des serveurs chez un hébergeur qui génère des factures PDF en 100% Comic Sans.

Um, I assumed I’d be able to go to my FriendFeed follower list one day and follow them back if I wanted to?

It’s funny that Google Voice is exactly the way I wish modern IM systems worked.

Having a conversation in that tiny Facebook chat thing is horribly claustrophobic.

10 August

The 14-year-old ahead of me on the train was playing bridge on his laptop. What?

Damn, the biggest web 2.0 news of the summer happens while I’m away.

11 August

KHAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

12 August

Oops, just realized I think I forgot to turn off Adium before I left. And VNC doesn’t want to work for some reason.

13 August

Je crois bien que j’ai le ventre plus plat qu’avant de partir pour Smallville. L’effet retard va tuer.

14 August

I so don’t want Twitter to endorse retweets. There are faves already goddamnit.

Twelve South Backpack

This is a fantastic idea but (1) I’d like it a bit bigger and (2) I’m not convinced that the screws that let you set the height won’t get loose and send your hard drive crashing down.

Fuck. I knew I’d break my electric shaver if I took it to Smallville with me.

— Qu’est-ce que vous appelez de l’Advil normal ?

— Celui qui est marqué juste “Advil” et n’est pas à 4 euros les 14, espèce de conne.

“Password Advice”

Ten good dos and don’ts of password security, with a nice (inevitable) conclusion:

I regularly break seven of those rules.

I only break six; wonder how he does worse than me. (I was very conflicted about typing my ISP password while on my parents’ computers last week — actually, I wouldn’t have if VNC had worked.)

15 August

Can’t decide whether buying bubbly water would be unreasonable. Tap water particularly doesn’t cut it with that temperature.

16 August

Must… stay… awake… I don’t wanna wake up at 10am.

“Zune HD Grand Tour”

That interface is actually very nice. I’m quite impressed by the way they play with typography — reminiscent of Flash animations of a few years ago, but in a good way. Classy, and quirky. Yes, it is intentional that the’ e’ on” marketplace” is cut off, and I like that kind of ambition from a designer.

But… it’s still just a media player. The iPod touch is a PDA.

The problem with being broke is how often you have to do the goddamn dishes.

Damn you, Nurse Jackie writers. So many upcoming sleepless nights for just 45 seconds you needed to fill.

Really, Xbox, you can’t give me a list of my friends who played the same game as me, so I can compare our achievements?

17 August

RT @Greenspeak: Dude just pulled out a giant wad of $100 bills. Was tempted to ask if I could have a few. Maybe with rich people it’s like cigarettes.

Bentley Mulsanne

You’re kidding? This thing looks ten times worse than the Chinese Rolls-Royce knockoff.

Il fait trop chaud pour se servir de son cerveau.

A bit of Twitter follow-spam. Let’s see if that works. (Damn, I knew I should have created a Twitter account for Unicode.)

Wow, the Twitter captchas are tough today.

RT @GreatDismal: If you soaked all the money in America in a BIG vat, then removed the money and evaporated the water, how much cocaine would you have?

Would you kindly do me a favor and follow @unicodeapp so it doesn’t look so much like a spammer on the follow notices?

(Did I ever tell you how much it annoys me that ‘@’ has become part of Twitter usernames when it’s just supposed to mean talking to s/o?)

Wouldn’t you say it’s time merriam-webster.com got a little cleaned up?

Je croise quelqu’un qui parle sur MSN avex son plan cul sur son iPhone et je ne pense pas à lui fourguer Nopicnodial. #isuckatthis

“Le clochard de la Poste du Louvre.”

RT @pppaulppp: Les oiseaux viennent sur mon rebord de fenêtre pour mourir. C’est agréable.

18 August

iPhone blogs that still haven’t figured out a way to make stable video of the iPhone lying flat on a table… (when it doesn’t need tilt, duh)

Chrome OS Screenshot?

I’m not sure what to think. I’ve always assumed that the development had to be somewhat advanced if they were suddenly announcing it — unlike many people who accused it of being vaporware — but the bits around the browser window scare me: they look ugly and temporary (a minimal, vestigial system tray? why the hell would you want that?) but the worst part is that Google is perfectly capable of releasing an OS that looks like this.

What I find really interesting, though (and unless you’ve always thought it would work that way, which I hadn’t, I’d say the cleverness makes it unlikely that it would be a fake) is the way tabs are roaming free on the desktop. Meaning, essentially, that there is no such thing as “tabs” anymore: each page is in its own window (and process, as we all know), and it just so happens that windows can be docked together. That looks like a great interface for geeks and regular users alike. (I had stupidly imagined that all pages would display in a full-screen window with tabs on top — but that’s unworkable on today’s web, as there still are legit uses for popups.)

You’ve got to wonder: had they planned this from the start? Is that why Chrome looks so different from every other browser, with its tabs on top and embedded blue background? Did they always intend for Chrome to be perceived as a little slice of Chrome OS on your desktop?

I’m not sure that Google itself did, but I’d bet the Chrome devs had it in mind.

Do we need that many blogs to post screenshots of Facebook 3.0 for iPhone? We’re all gonna get it on our phones in a week anyway.

“Caran D’Ache Transforming Material Into The Divine”

Want. What’s $14,000 for a gorgeous roller pen?

“Microsoft’s LifeCam Bumped To 720p”

Yum. Wonder if it would work on a Mac. Well, I doubt it would on my Mac anyway.

“Bad company alert: Fiji Water”

I sat down and sent out a few emails – filling friends in on my visit to the Fiji Water bottling plant, forwarding a story about foreign journalists being kicked off the island. Then my connection died. “It will just be a few minutes,” one of the clerks said. Moments later, a pair of police officers walked in.

I can’t believe there is a dictatorship that efficient, no matter how small.

Hum, c’est vrai que c’est terriblement bon, la Haagen-Dasz spéculos.

“PS3 Slim hits September 1 for $300”

Oh my, what a totally unexpected surprise. (Well, actually: announcing it in the middle of August?) Anyway… I know how technology works — and I know Sony did the same with the PS2 — but I just can’t imagine how they can make a smaller PS3, with the same functionality (and no backwards compatibility, damn), and sell it for $300 only.

But, hey, the point is: PS3 Slim, please meet my Amazon wishlist.

19 August

Je me sentirais beaucoup moins lourd après les sushi si je n’avais pas des scrupules idiots à commander du Coca en accompagnement.

Swivel Media Stand

I really like that idea (although I’d say, at this point, your living room should be designed in such a way that you don’t need your TV stand to swivel around).

“Days of Danboard”

Gorgeous photography (and I love the figurine).

Via Fubiz, but I’m not going to link them because they didn’t link the original artist and I had to google him.

20 August

Good Afternoon Clock

Since I can’t read the time on an analog clock anyway, it might as well look original.

Red Steel 2

Not that I’m suddenly gonna be interested in the Wii, but this game just looks really cool and well done — I’ll be curious to see it running once.

Dirt 2 (360 demo)

If the first Dirt was an interesting draft, with hardly acceptable framerate drops and a general sterile feel, it seems like the developers learned very aptly from their lesson; Dirt 2 looks like an absolute must-buy.

Everything’s just about perfect: the graphics, sound, physics, the damage system, and even then menus. I’ve only got one issue, and it’s both rather major (as in, when I get the game I’m going to end up cursing it a lot) and somewhat superficial: the mini-map that displays upcoming turns is so small and faint it’s damn near unusable, and makes it absolutely impossible to win a race until you’ve memorized the whole track — or I guess could stretch it a bit and decide that it’s a feature, making you play the game longer.

Multiplayer works fine and, obviously, people behave like assholes in the race modes that handle collisions… but it looks like the full version will let you choose to only race in modes with, or without, collisions, depending on whether you prefer the fun of bumper cars or the seriousness of time trials against ghosts.

Oh, and I love little touches like being able to customize your cockpit with, among other things, you Xbox Live avatar hanging from the rear-view mirror.

Lost Planet 2 (360 demo)

This is 2009, and I have to pick an online game session from a list? And then pick again because I’ve been told that it was closed or full or whatever? Oh hell no, Capcom. I’m going back to Battlefield.

(Well, I did try the single-player option… and left after two minutes. I’d also given up on Lost Planet at the first boss fight. Just can’t be bothered.)

That made me realize I want to move out of here. Wanna pay my debts, sell my iMac, buy a MacBook, and travel.

Adium 1.3.6

[Adium] 1.3.6 also features an updated version of the Facebook chat plugin, fixing a number of issues, which were present in Adium 1.3.5 including unwanted email notifications, dropped messages and missing contact icons.

Emphasis mine. People seemed to think me crazy when I told them I’d quit using Adium to access Facebook chat because it still lost messages sometimes.

Avatar

Yeah, it’s pretty. But for some reason the visual design makes me think of Abyss, and how corny the director’s cut was. And there’s just nothing in the trailer that makes me feel like I’ll enjoy the movie.

I’m really impressed by how good Alanis Morissette is on Weeds, and I know I shouldn’t be surprised.

21 August

Finally watched a couple of Palm Pre ads on YouTube and… what the fuck is everybody freaking out over?

If New!Palm is really clever (which is possible), they might have astroturfed the internet freakout themselves.

RT @GreatDismal: First pronbot with three-digit serial number.

“Twitter Blog: Location, Location, Location”

We’re gearing up to launch a new feature which makes Twitter truly location-aware. A new API will allow developers to add latitude and longitude to any tweet.

I don’t think I personally want my tweets to be geolocated on a general basis, but I think this is a great idea, and great for Twitter. Oh, but wait:

It will be off by default and the exact location data won’t be stored for an extended period of time. However, if people do opt-in to sharing location on a tweet-by-tweet basis, compelling context will be added to each burst of information.

The emphasis on tweet-by-tweet granularity is absolutely awesome; I’m impressed. (Also, I like every step towards adding more metadata to tweets, making room for real content within the 140-character limit.)

And, today more than ever, it boggles the mind that Facebook still hasn’t shown any interest whatsoever in geolocation.

Jesus-Christ, you have to hack XCode in the Terminal in order to test your apps on an iPhone running 3.0.1.

J’ai mis un participe passé en “-er” dans le texte d’aide intégré à @unicodeapp

Oh, shit, I looked at the ImageMagick source for help with Snap Filters, but didn’t think of the Gimp.

Fuck, I can’t believe I bought marshmallows. Why on earth would I do that.

22 August

“Apple Answers the FCC’s Questions”

For example, on an iPhone, the “Phone” icon that is always shown at the bottom of the Home Screen launches Apple’s mobile telephone application, providing access to Favorites, Recents, Contacts, a Keypad, and Visual Voicemail. The Google Voice application replaces Apple’s Visual Voicemail by routing calls through a separate Google Voice telephone number that stores any voicemail, preventing voicemail from being stored on the iPhone, i.e., disabling Apple’s Visual Voicemail. Similarly, SMS text messages are managed through the Google hub—replacing the iPhone’s text messaging feature.

That’s interesting. In other words, according to this official response (which could still be bullshit, mind you), what happened is that Steve Jobs (to be so anal, it would have to be him) decided the app was not acceptable because, if you started using it, your voicemail and text messages wouldn’t reach the iPhone’s Phone app anymore.

(I’m elaborating on this because it can easily be misinterpreted — if you follow the wording of the answer, the problem is not that it offers an alternate interface that replicates the system functionality of the iPhone. Even though that stupid “reason” has been used so many times for other apps, you’d expect Apple to stick to it.)

Interestingly, that’s exactly the kind of reasoning that the FCC might object to, and act upon: Apple just very officially declared that it wanted to stifle innovation and competition in the mobile space… and it’s so funny that they would have done it with AT&T not even knowing about it.

One still has to wonder whether — or how much — the recent evolution of the relationship between Google and Apple influenced that decision. But the sad thing is that, yes, you can absolutely imagine Jobs being outraged that an application would make users completely bypass his iPhone’s precious, original visual voicemail system and the SMS/MMS application he lovingly offered the world.

 

In addition, the iPhone user’s entire Contacts database is transferred to Google’s servers, and we have yet to obtain any assurances from Google that this data will only be used in appropriate ways.

If the app does this without asking you first, then it’s reason enough to reject it. (But if it does ask, it’s a moot excuse.)

 

Google is of course free to […] provide its “Google-branded” user experience on other phones, including Android-based phones, and let consumers make their choices.

Leave us the fuck alone and go play with their crappy handsets if you don’t like ours. Jobs oversaw the writing of this letter, didn’t he? (Well, of course he’d have to.)

 

From time to time, AT&T has expressed concerns regarding network efficiency and potential network congestion associated with certain applications, and Apple takes such concerns into consideration.

That’s… vague.

 

Apple does not know if there is a VoIP element in the way the Google Voice application routes calls and messages, and whether VoIP technology is used over the 3G network by the application.

If the app has been stuck in “requiring unexpected additional time for review” limbo for several months, shouldn’t Apple have an idea by now about whether Google Voice uses VoIP? (Especially when everybody knows it doesn’t?)

 

There are more than 40 full-time trained reviewers, and at least two different reviewers study each application so that the review process is applied uniformly.

Oh, that’s interesting. I wonder how long that policy has been in place. It does explain why I saw someone log into Web is Pink from Apple HQ a couple of days after I submitted the app, yet it took one more week, and another login, before they approved it.

(Now that you mention it, that could have seemed obvious at the time. But you know how it is about hindsight. And I did figure that it must have been two different reviewers; I just never thought they would have instituted that as a policy.)

 

Apple also established an App Store executive review board that determines procedures and sets policy for the review process, as well as reviews applications that are escalated to the board because they raise new or complex issues. The review board meets weekly and is comprised of senior management with responsibilities for the App Store.

That’s also very interesting: so maybe the dreaded “Your application is requiring unexpected additional time for review” isn’t complete bullshit after all — it’s just that your application has been flagged for the executive review board, and like any board of executives they’re not in a great hurry to deal with each and every case, because they’re already busy enough with other duties. And, when they have prominent applications from Google to debate week after week, you can’t expect your own app to be processed right away… or within your lifetime.

“Apple reconsiders rejected iPhone apps”

Perhaps the most encouraging sign is that Apple seems to actually be going back through rejected apps and contacting develops to resubmit their app (without any changes, mind you) for an “expedited review.”

Huh. Maybe I was wrong to doubt Phil Schiller’s public commitment to improving the review process. (Well, no matter what, I wasn’t wrong to doubt it.)

RT @secretGeek: “It’s badly decayed,” said the forensic officer. “But squint your eyes and you may see: it was once a database schema.”

“A Steve Jobs Confession, a Fanboy Shock”

Gruber did not respond to our emails, but so certain did the well-connected indy blogger sound [of AT&T ’s guilt] that we can’t help but wonder if he wasn’t snowed by Apple itself. The company would not necessarily have anticipated that a swift, aggressive and public FCC investigation into the Google Voice incident would have proven AT&T blameless. And it’s not like the company’s flacks haven’t been down this road before.

Il va me falloir un assistant / doublure-lumière pour faire un autoportrait. (Probablement de nuit aux Tuileries.)

23 August

C’est con, mais à chaque fois que je vois quelqu’un héler à grands gestes un taxi occupé, j’ai une envie de meurtre.

iTunes Connect is like the lottery: every day you check your numbers, thinking “maybe this is the day that my app suddenly started selling.”

RT @chartier: I love downloading ZIP files that open DMG files that open a window that finally lets me drag an app to install. Really, I do.

Oh, come on! I’m already gonna have to do a laundry again?

Yes, everybody knows what movie you’re talking about, but it’s not that hard to type exactly “Inglourious Basterds” #getoffmylawn

Bu beaucoup trop de Coca ces trois derniers jours. Saleté de Franprix qui ne vend de la Saint-Yorre qu’un mois sur deux. Comprendrai jamais.

“SmillaEnlarger Enlarges Your Images without Artifacts”

SmillaEnlarger is an open-source and portable application designed to help you intensively massage an image enlargement to keep it from looking jagged and filled with artifacts.

Old, I know, but I had saved it for when I’d bother to try it out.

Much of the process consists in hiding the enlargement artefacts with a bunch of filters (rather than the pure algorithm magic Hollywood likes to invent), but the point is that, by just adjusting a couple parameters depending on each picture, you can get very easily a quite more usable result than Photoshop would give you using its best algorithm.

And, since it’s free, there’s no reason not to download it. (Except for the fact that… when do you ever need to enlarge an image anymore, anyway?)

24 August

Adrienne Barbeau?! Other than that, bo-ring.

“Daring Fireball: How I Got the Google Voice/App Store Story Wrong”

My source did not (and would have no reason to) lie to me. He was wrong. What happened is that his source for the information, who had direct knowledge of Apple’s decision, told him, more or less, simply that Apple did not reject the Google Voice app.

What interests me about this — if true — is that it would mean Apple may not have been splitting hairs when they told the FCC “we didn’t reject it, we’re still looking at it.” That, maybe, they sincerely think there’s nothing wrong with holding an app in the review process for months while they decide whether to publish it, it’s just part of the process.

Which is kind of scary.

“Snow Leopard shipping August 28th for $29, order now”

Time to be green with envy. (Or just find a way to upgrade to an Intel Mac.)

“Non-Randomness in Coin Flipping”

If the coin is spun, rather than tossed, it can have a much-larger-than-50% chance of ending with the heavier side down. Spun coins can exhibit “huge bias” (some spun coins will fall tails-up 80% of the time).

(Which makes sense, really. But it can make for a useful pub trick.)

Gift horse in the mouth, I know, but god the repeated install processes for DAZ Studio 3D are such a goddamn mess.

“Hacking in a second hard drive in a MacBook Pro”

This idea (not new, I know) makes me so horny. Especially right now as I’m considering how much it would cost me (in several ways) to sell my iMac and buy a used MacBook.

RT @rainnwilson: Broke my leg. Was going to call 911. Found out it was government run. Called various ambulance Co.s to have them bid. Died while on hold.

Still don’t know if I have a fever or I’m just receptive to the storm building up, because that half-assed thunderstorm didn’t… eh, climax.

Why do ladybugs keep coming to my room to die!

25 August

Zac Efron

I don’t care how stupid his roles are, or how annoying he just has to be in real life…

Wow, I’d forgotten how thin my iPhone was without the protective case.

“Sony PS3 Slim still sold at a loss; Motion-controller coming spring 2010”

Sony Computer Entertainment boss Kazuo “Kaz” Hirai has confirmed that the company will continue to lose money on each of the $299 PS3 Slim consoles they sell.

What a surprise.

RT @jsnell: Glad to see Sony finally build a compelling competitor to Kindle. But tech boys, don’t call it a Kindle-killer. The word is “competitor.”

RT @sween: Considering Superman has super-speed & super-senses, that criminals still roam free speaks to the inherent laziness of the Kryptonian male.

RT @nick: I told my mom that success wouldn’t change me. She started crying. “Why the hell not?”

“Guitar Hero 5 Matt Bellamy Trailer.” Gaaah.

26 August

Can’t wait for next week’s True Blood. No, really, I just wrote that?

Fake retweets by spammers are all the rage this week. Are retweets finally dying? Just let favorites show up in our timelines, @twitter!

I see how Regator could be interesting, but pushing me to choose between you and Google Reader? You can’t win this.

The first augmented-reality app for the iPhone is French, made for Paris, and… I still don’t have a 3GS.

@garoo I do understand your points though. Thanks for your feedback & for giving us a try.” (@regator) Ooh, guilt trip. Might work, too.

I want to launch a web 2.0 service with a mascot just so I can tweet for it in the first person. Wouldn’t fit @webispink so much.

“Passwords on floppy disk”

he literally put the passwords on a floppy disk in the form of paper glued to the magnetic film. for those that still have some floppy disks around, this is a zero cost hack. we wouldn’t recommend this for state secrets, but for those prolific forum registrations it’s a great idea.

Yes, the camera adds ten pounds… and eight of them go straight to my face.

Coarse Toys

I just love stuff like that.

27 August

I can’t decide whether it’s okay for most Snow Leopard reviewers not to bother with typing the é in Exposé.

The Snow Leopard reviews are out

…and I’m not gonna be able to enjoy the upgrade anytime soon, so I’ll have to be content with looking at the reviews.

 

Does Snow Leopard feel faster than 10.5?

Hell, yeah.

Okay, then.

 

Apple continues to rely on the honor system for Mac OS X. Not only does Snow Leopard not require the entry of any serial numbers, but the standard version of Snow Leopard is a bootable “full install” disc that doesn’t actually check for the presence of Leopard in order to install.

When MacBreak Weekly discussed the upgrade procedure — just earlier today, but under NDA — I thought: “Come on, Apple hasn’t gone so evil yet that they’d check whether Leopard is installed on the drive, has it?” …but I wasn’t quite sure. I’m glad to see I was right.

 

Rosetta, the technology that enables code compiled for PowerPC chips to run on Intel chips, is available—but is not installed by default. Rosetta only takes up a few megabytes of drive space […] I can only assume that making Rosetta optional is an attempt by Apple to goad users to upgrade their apps and to shame developers who still haven’t recompiled their apps to run on Intel chips.

That is an odd choice. I guess, more than shaming developers, they really want to make it painfully clear that it isn’t Snowy’s fault that a certain application doesn’t feel any speedier than before.

 

By default, Snow Leopard still minimizes windows the same stupid way Mac OS X has for the last ten years. For us complainers, though, there’s a new alternative: A Minimize Windows Into Application Icon checkbox in System Preferences’ Dock pane.

Oh. Em. Gee.

But then, I’m not sure it’s quite usable, either: on Windows, when you minimize a window, you still see it appear in the taskbar, just as before (not sure how different it is in Vista/7 with some taskbar options). On Snow Leopard, though, if you turn this option on, minimizing a window will really make it all but disappear — and I can easily imagine having a bunch of forgotten Safari and Finder windows, all open on the same sites and folders. I never look at an application’s Windows menu, or its Dock icon’s menu.

Even better, this feature works with Exposé: When you invoke Exposé, all minimized windows line up together at the very bottom of the screen.

Okay, maybe it’s not so bad then. Although many people don’t use Exposé. (I don’t care, I do. And I love that it’s getting tidier, too.)

 

Several programs, including TextEdit, Mail, and iChat, can take advantage of a new systemwide Substitutions service that can autocorrect common mistakes (think teh to the), convert straight quotes to curly and vice versa, and turn double-minuses and triple-periods into em dashes and ellipses, respectively. Even better, a tab in the Keyboard pane of the System Preferences app lets you add shortcuts of your own.

I’m confused by this: A week ago, I read an article mentioning, like this review, that substitutions only worked on most of Apple’s applications. On the other hand, Andy Ihnatko’s review (linked further down) calls it systemwide — and it doesn’t make any sense for that functionality not to work in almost every third-party app, because the systemwide rich-text editor that’s provided “for free” to developers is one of the OS X SDK’s most touted qualities. So how could susbstitutions not work with all apps that use it?

I guess we’ll have to find out.

 

Apple’s QuickTime Player, long a stalwart tool for playing back audio and video, has been completely revamped for Snow Leopard. […] Every time I wanted to make my video louder or quieter, even via a keyboard shortcut, that floater appeared—and then remained for a second or two until finally fading away.

I’m quite glad to see I’m not the only one hating overlay controls. Emphasis mine on the particularly stupid behavior. And I also agree with the writer that having the player’s titlebar disappear when you’re not using it is completely ridiculous. But I guess there’s some strong-headed designer in the QuickTime Player team who won’t let go until he’s left his fingerprint on something ugly or impractical.

 

The changes also means that you can’t do quick’n’dirty edits [in QuickTime Player] by copy-and-pasting anymore (a favorite of Engadget editors)

Wow, I’m surprised not to see that mentioned more — video geeks will always tell you that being able to edit by using copy-and-paste in QuickTime is the basic skill any would-be editor needs to start practicing. And it is a really efficient way to do a quick-and-dirty edit when you need to.

But then I have nothing against the option of reinstalling QuickTime Player 7, I guess.

I don’t remember seeing Perian mentioned in any of the reviews, however. Can’t imagine that it’s 64-bit–ready, and I’m afraid updating the codecs might not be as simple as recompiling the bundle.

 

But if you click on a third-party preference pane that hasn’t yet been upgraded to a 64-bit version, System Preferences will tell you that it has to quit and reopen itself in 32-bit mode in order to open that preference pane.

Oh, gee, I’m sure it was so very important that System Preferences take full advantage of the speed of 64-bit computing. I mean, counting all those icons and stuff, that’s advanced computation.

(Okay, for all I know there may be a valid need for some of the preference panes to work in 64-bit. But, in that case, the correct workaround was definitely not to have System Preferences reopen every time you change panes. I’ve got 14 third-party panes in my iMac, some of which almost abandonware that I don’t expect to see updated for a while. How hard would it have been to have a second application bundle, called “System Preferences 32-bit,” launching separately when you wanted to activate a 32-bit pane?)

 

In Snow Leopard a mechanism was added to check for known malware signatures and display a user alert dialog. In these cases, rather than just advising the user that the file is an application, Snow Leopard provides a warning that the file contains known malware and suggests that the user move it to the Trash.

Uh-huh. The key words here being “added” and “just”: as in, judging from all the reviews, the new, secret anti-malware tool doesn’t dispense us of the goddamn warning when opening a file downloaded from within Safari. (I answered a tweet today about why use Safari rather than Firefox. I’d forgotten that this stupid dialog box — which only appears when a file has been downloaded from one of Apple’s apps — could just be reason enough for some to switch away from the system browser.)

 

The biggest compatibility-breaker is the demise of InputManager plugins in 64-bit apps. […] We also noticed problems with old standbys like Growl, GrabUp and Skitch […] There were some other head scratchers we saw on various systems, too. On a 17-inch unibody we were putting through the paces, the WiFi inexplicably has gone out and we have yet to get it working again. On a 15-inch, older generation MacBook Pro (3,1), Spotlight will only fetch search results in the dropdown – results in a Finder window come up empty. More annoyingly, on two other, newer models we were testing with, Safari crashes out when booting into 32-bit mode – meaning even Apple’s workaround doesn’t seem to… er, work.

Oh well, I suppose — well, I know — that every update has its horror stories. I’m always amazed that some people manage to concentrate so many of them. What the hell are they doing with their computers over there?

 

And, in conclusion: I want the new Finder! In fact, I simply demand that Apple release a Leopard version of the rewritten Finder for PowerPC users!

 

Also: god, this blog layout is unreadable when I intertwine quotes and reactions. Good thing I intended to redesign.

Fuck, power is out. But I thought I paid my bills! Plus, cutting power for the whole neighborhood to get back at me is damn inefficient.

Didn’t wanna risk turning my computers back on too soon after power came back, couldn’t resist more than ten min. Or two that felt like ten?

That’s peculiar. Everything survived the power outage just fine, except… a USB hub.

For fuck’s sake, just playing Whitney Houston’s new album in a 200x50-pixel audio applet takes 100% of my CPU. Die! Flash! Die!

Mobile Air Mouse (iPhone)

I bought this because I live in a tiny room, my bed is half a dozen feet away from my desk, and yet I can’t spend my time lying on the bed and controlling my computers from there, because there’s no Remote Desktop client for the iPhone, VNC sucks on the Mac, and Bluetooth peripherals are too expensive.

I’m not going to spend a lot of time over the app itself, you can check out their description — the interface is pretty, and works mostly well (except for anything that uses the accelerometer, as always), but… it’s incompatible with OS X’s zoom-in feature.

Chances are you don’t even know that you can zoom into the screen on any Mac (I think it’s since Tiger?); many people don’t. But, if you activate the right settings in the Universal Access preference pane, you can zoom in at any time, by Ctrl-scrollwheeling with your mouse (or Ctrl-two-finger-swiping on a trackpad, or using a bunch of customizable keyboard shortcuts). That was great for zooming into text or images or videos before Safari had full-page zoom, and it’d still be awesome for controlling my iMac from ten feet away — being able to read what’s in my Adium chat window and all.

But, like I said, Mobile Air Mouse isn’t compatible with it: first, you have to change OS X’s setting for how the zoomed area follows the mouse, otherwise the pointer just goes out of the screen; second, even after you’ve done that, clicks don’t register where the pointer is — depending on which area of the screen is zoomed in, clicks will happen closer or farther from where the pointer appears to be.

I contacted technical support (who, to their credit, replied within 24 hours), and they told me they were aware of the problem and couldn’t find a way to fix it. What’s worse, Teleport (which is essentially the same thing, only from Mac to Mac) works perfectly fine with Universal Access zoom, so it makes me wonder how inelegantly Air Mouse Server might be programmed. (It doesn’t seem to be too stable, either.)

As it stands, this application is useless in pretty much all cases, unless you have a Mac mini hooked up to a big-ass 720p television (and not a 1080p, because then you’d be back to pixels being too small for you to control the Mac from your sofa). Or unless you’re using another media player than iTunes (on your PC or Mac), in which case you can’t use Apple’s iTunes Remote and need Air Mouse’s integrated iTunes shortcuts.

As for me: uninstalled. Guess I’ll still be waiting for Apple to release a Bluetooth keyboard with integrated trackpad. (And how much of a fucking no-brainer is that? If only Steve Jobs was — ever, like, once in his lifetime — a couch potato.)

28 August

Not particularly impressed with the way Facebook 3.0 works. That “mosaic” button just isn’t very tactile; users want to swipe!

“Snow Leopard could level security playing field”

It’s unclear whether rumors are true that Snow Leopard includes several internal features designed to prevent attacks that Vista and Windows 7 have, known as Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) and Data Execution Prevention (DEP) on that platform.

By randomizing the location of key pieces of data, ASLR makes it much more difficult for attackers to predict where data is going to be in order to execute their code or the code resident in the process. For exploit code that gets past the ASLR barrier, DEP will try to block it from running, recognizing that it is data and not a legitimate code.

I’m confused as to why anyone would focus on that kind of stuff when the real threat nowadays is trojans, and trojans are essentially just regular applications that rely on the user double-clicking them.

I mean, I’m sure it would be better for OS X to have ASLR and DEP and what have you, but it’s ultimately a moot point, not just because the Mac isn’t much of a target, but because viruses aren’t the bigger threat these days. Are they? (I’m not sure, I don’t follow security too closely.)

“Ferrari Builds a Steering Wheel Massa Would Love”

I really like that cockpit, but it doesn’t look much like a Ferrari, does it? (Well, the car’s front looks more like a Citroën’s anyway, so I guess it’s not a problem.)

“Did Flickr Delete Obama Joker Image After Receiving Fake Takedown Notice?”

Flickr user 3e actually verified that Flickr really doesn’t check the names on these notices. 3e just submitted a claim to take down one of his own pictures with a “once-off email address, using the name ’Joe Blow’ and giving no identifying information other than an obviously fake address (“Anytown, USA”).” Flickr happily obliged and 3e’s photo was gone within hours.

That’s just insane. And there are people paying for this service. Nobody should accept that.

And doubly insane is:

As of now, Flickr doesn’t even have the capability to restore an image after it has been deleted.

Which goes against the DMCA (well, I’m sure the idea of accepting any anonymous email as a valid DMCA takedown also does), as it states the content poster should be allowed to deny infringement, in which case Flickr would reinstate the image and be cleared of any legal responsibility.

Defying Gravity is painful to watch… and they half-stole one of my TV show ideas. To make that.

Et un bol d’eau bouillante renversé par terre, un.

RT @hotdogsladies: I can’t believe a 4+ app like the iPhone camera lets you photograph a neighbor lady sleeping in her underwear.

Shame, Apple. Shame.

For the record: it is idiotic bordering on insane to suggest that Apple might release different tablets running different operating systems.

Looks like I sold for roughly $120 of iPhone apps this month. (Won’t bother calculating exactly, Apple makes it too hard.)

29 August

Oh, good — I didn’t know -webkit-border-radius now worked with <img>s.

Warming up to the thought that there might still be room for the idea of a Twitter client I’d had. But the API is a moving target right now.

I need to repost this here. “I wouldn’t trust MobileMe to sync my boat.” OMG I’m so witty I can’t believe I breathe the same air as you.

Okay, I gave the flat grays a try for my blog redesign, and it doesn’t work. Photoshopped shadows, I’m coming back to you.

Well, there you go, blog redesign finished for now. And not worth a blog post.

Tiens, j’ai un doute : “délivrer un message,” c’est un anglicisme ou pas ?

Wow, it was no joke that Queen of the Damned is a magnificently abominable movie. And he… directed… BSG?!

La Poste vient de se décider à me délivrer (serendipity or precognition?) dix lettres datées de fin juillet. Dont le chèque d’un client.

The ‘about’ blurbs are online, so are the new ads… now I only have to redo the blogs’ header images, but I’m not feeling very photoshoppy.

30 August

“Snow Leopard’s System Preferences shuffle”

But the change many OS X users will really welcome is the capability to show the date in the menu bar, using the new Show Date option. Unfortunately, you can’t customize that date’s format; you’re stuck with Aug 28.

Oh, for crying out loud, Apple…

(I’ve set up the excellent iStat Menus to replace the OS X clock, and the part of the date I check most often is the day of the week.)

 

Unfortunately, [text substitutions] don’t (yet) work in all apps; for example, they work in Pages, TextEdit, and iChat, but not in BBEdit or Word. Developers need to add the right hooks in their software to gain this feature.

Huh. That kinda sucks. Pro: in the apps where it works, it’s going to be (well, I assume it is) so much more efficient and reliable than TextExpander. Con: it’s awfully confusing for the user to have such a basic system feature available in some apps and not others. (But then, it’s mostly for geeks, and geeks will quickly get used to knowing where they can and can’t use it.)

 

Another minor change from Leopard’s International pane: the Input Menu tab is now called Input Sources. And within that tab, there’s a new option that lets you select a different input source for each document.

And I have no idea what that means.

God damn you, PNG color correction! God damn you to hell!

Many of the reactions to the Maoam meme puzzle me. Are those people repressing the fact that they see it, or what? YOU CAN’T NOT SEE IT!

J’ai déjà trop abusé cette semaine, je devrais jeter le paquet géant de m&m’s par la fenêtre.

I think my body’s rejecting the elliptical bike. Fuck.

31 August

“Tech21’s iBand protective case and its mystical, magical, non-Newtonian goo”

The video is painful to watch, but impressive. I think my regular Griffin case would also protect an iPhone from such falls, but the difference is that the case itself would probably break in the process.

So the vampire queen has the special power of learning to speak like the Paris Hiltons of each era?

“Sand Art Performance”

It’s probably a little too long and there are screwy transitions, but the first few minutes are amazing.

“Julie Rothhahn: Food Designs”

I love the cubes, and I like the factory-like cake at the bottom.

Web is Pink article on the site for Têtu Magazine

I wanted Web is Pink to get some media coverage, but be careful what you with for: it’s not just the app, but me, and my face, on the website of the biggest French gay magazine — and not just as a throwaway news bit, but featured prominently on the home page. (This post’s draft offered a larger version of my picture, but I just had to replace it with a screenshot of their home page. And I was very happy to do it; I don’t enjoy seeing my face around here.)

If you’ve registered on Web is Pink (which is, since the launch of the iPhone app, very officially and definitely renamed to No Pic No Dial for the French version) and you haven’t logged in for a while, or if you hadn’t bothered registering yet, it’s time to… well… I’d say it’s time to get back over there, but that may not apply: the app was already booming for Paris, and this article ought to help for the rest of France (and maybe Québec? no idea) but it’s not going to get many people from other countries to sign up. Oh, well, it’s a start.

Thanks to Ydikoi for the photo — it wasn’t easy, I hadn’t made self-portraits in a while, and I particularly don’t enjoy being photographed (control freak that I am). Hrm. Damn, hadn’t noticed that the smaller you resize the photo, the less friendly I look.

RT @melismes: Et mon frigo serait un peu comme l’armoire magique, façon Narnia, sauf qu’il ouvrirait sur un Daily Monop’…

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