1 avril 2010

iPad Previews of the Day

Words with Friends HD makes me want to play Scrabble again — nothing very special about it, it just looks good. But there are really negative comments about the iPhone version (yeah, I do know that scaling servers is hard when you do social stuff) and I wonder if the board’s squares aren’t going to be a little too small for your fingers’ comfort.

 

Game Table is something I really wish I had thought of doing (well, not really, because then I’d be competing with that app and it looks good enough). No artificial intelligence to program, no hurdles, just a bunch of images that you move with your fingers. It looks nice and, if you’ve got an iPad, why wouldn’t you want to carry a multipurpose board game in your bag?

 

Design Brief is another app for designers that doesn’t look so good. (And you should remember that, without a stylus, the iPad just isn’t really for designers. Even though designers like to develop for iPhone OS.)

 

Yellow Pages makes a half-assed attempt at a physical metaphor that I find worse than doing nothing: if you’re gonna pretend that the user is interacting with paper, then I don’t think you can afford to have standard toolbars at the top and bottom. It doesn’t work for your pseudo-book to only have vertical edges.

 

I have no idea how Globetrotters is supposed to work, but I just can’t imagine it very fun or convenient to have four people play at the same time on one iPad screen. Two people, no problem; four, I think it’s too small.

 

Air Harp is nice.

 

Neon wallpapewwwww.

 

Commandments, an iPad app that only shows the ten commandments. On stone tablets. Well, to be honest, it looks pretty, but… oh, why the hell not.

RT @chockenberry: You’d think the ClickToFlash developers would have a better grasp of what makes software annoying.

Dear ClickToFlash: Fuck. You.

I’m gonna have to dismiss this dialog for every single app I use that’s based on WebKit. That’s many. And, presumably, I’ll have repeat the entire process on April 2nd when you release an update that un-updates this update.

ClickToFlash is a lifesaver, the best plug-in that was ever written, and it has become essential to my sanity as I browse the web on my old G5 — not to mention the security advantages. I’m forever grateful to everyone involved for creating it. Yet I’ll have to repeat this:

Fuck. You.

 

(And no, I’m not going to check the auto-update box. I don’t do it for any piece of software, because I like to know what’s happening on my computer — you know, that’s kinda why I’ve installed ClickToFlash in the first place — and I’m especially not gonna do it for developers who like to post frivolous updates. Just because you provide a useful service for free doesn’t give you unlimited access to my computer to do with it whatever you think is hilarious.)

 

P.S. Oh, and it’s buggy, too. And it’s a known bug that doesn’t deter them from running jokes like this. Fantastic.

I don’t know why I’m surprised that so many publications already had a review iPad — not like the device was secret. It’s mostly jealousy.

Merde, j’ai oublié de vérifier le solde de mon compte avant de déclarer que j’allais faire des courses.

“The accessories make the iPad close to complete”

I’m slightly disappointed to learn that many but not all of the universal command-key equivalents have been implemented. Cut, copy and paste can be done via command-X, command-C and command-V. But out of sheer reflex, I was tapping command-R to reply to messages in Mail and command-B to boldface a word in Pages… to no effect. This isn’t a limitation of the keyboard or the OS; Apple tells me that developers are free to support any keyboard shortcuts they like. It just seems funny that Apple didn’t support them aggressively in their own apps.

Ooh, I didn’t expect that.

I had never bothered to convert the iPad’s weight [into kilograms], and I can’t believe it isn’t heavier than the paper notepad I used as a device mockup.

iPad Apps, Day D-2

Memeo looks lovely (ignoring the exaggerated drop shadows) and makes me want to use Google Apps more. Unless there’s a catch — and there has to be one, if they intend to release an app like this for free.

 

CourseNotes looks even lovelier and may be my first must-buy if it’s versatile enough. I particularly like how you can apparently set any given article to become a to-do with a due date.

 

smartNotes feels to me like a dedicated, limited version of Illustrator, and that’s the wrong way to go about it. But there’s probably a market for it, in geeks who wish they had a touch-screen MacBook and bought an iPad without understanding what’s good about it.

 

Auditorium has nice graphics and evidently records audio while you take notes, which is the only (efficient) way I can imagine for anyone to take notes on an iPad during a meeting or lecture — no matter how big the virtual keyboard is, you’ll never be able to type reliably without keeping your eyes on the screen. And bringing a dock and keyboard along with you isn’t that convenient.

 

Things for iPad looks pretty and simple, which is a good way to go. Now the question is how well the user interaction has been adapted to the iPad, and whether it’s really worth $20. (I mean, as a standalone, I’m sure it is, but if you’ve already paid for the Mac app?)

 

The Early Edition looks like a fine way to read RSS news, but I’m sure there will be other offerings with an even more thought-out interface. Not a fan at all of the page slider at the bottom, in particular.

 

AIM is nice, but who cares?

 

More App Store leaks: the AP app looks pretty, but weird (i.e., hard to judge from screenshots)

 

AppStarAwards Finalists: Nothing of interest. (Well, the Thumbelina interactive book looks cute. The iPad is obviously a perfect fit for pop-up books.)

La recette des Lion a changé, ces dernières années ? Il me semble qu’ils étaient meilleurs, et moins difficiles à mordre.

Ah, ben c’est même marqué sur le paquet. “Attention, plus croustillant.” Je dirais même : immangeable et, en bonus, pas tellement bon.

The danger of offering your paid iPhone app for free as a launch promotion: http://twitpic.com/1ch27i

2 avril

Modern Family 1.19 — I’m more and more in love with Gloria. And the product placement was so in character I can’t quite call it distasteful.

“Apple Files For A New Gaming Accessory Patent”

Finally!

Of course it shouldn’t be patentable (but who cares, nobody else will need it), and the accompanying image ignores the existence of analog sticks, but that’s still such an overdue development.

I’m not sure if the date (April 1st) shows when Apple applied for the patent, or when it was registered by the USPTO. Do you think Apple would register frivolous patents it doesn’t intend to develop as an April’s Fools? (Okay, I think they would; but would it be that patent?)

Of course, I’m aware that just because they’re trying to patent it doesn’t mean they’re going to release it, sadly. But it’s at least an official acknowledgment that the iPhone lacks something button-shaped in the gaming department.

Fringe 2.16 — That was well done. And well timed, on April 1st, for the opening credits. (But passing the blame sucks.)

3 avril

“First Blood: Apple Says No To iPad Multitasking – Pulls Dashboard Apps”

Indeed, we’re hearing rumors today that Apple has apparently decided not to tolerate the so called “dashboard apps” on the iPad. These apps, like Mini apps or Desktop, allowed you to execute multiple tasks on a same screen through a system of self-made widgets and sounded like a very nice workaround.

When I’d heard about those, my first thought had been that I couldn’t believe Apple would approve apps that essentially spat in the face of the iPad’s most essential paradigms.

Well, there you go.

iPad Apps, Day D-1

The selection is more and more random, as apps are pretty much public now, there are apparently thousands of them (with each new estimate my hopes of striking gold in the Second Great Gold Rush are further dashed), and I just notice some of them and not others.

 

Twittelator looked ugly and weird on the small thumbnails I’d seen, but real screenshots seem nice. Reading Twitter doesn’t require a full iPad screen (just like you’re not going to run it full-screen on your computer), so having a lot of prettied-up empty space makes perfect sense.

 

…unless of course you’re a TweetDeck kind of guy. This looks good for power users, if the performance on a real device is adequate (which the developers can’t have tested, obviously). I’m downloading it right away, since it’s free.

 

Box.net has a — oh my god, run for your lives! — giant Windows icon as a home screen. Guys, who did you think the iPad’s early adopters would be?

 

Evernote looks prettier than I would have expected. (Though, for the record: blending in with the environment is good, but it becomes an issue when each new declination of the client looks completely different from every other version.) With its syncing abilities and cross-platform compatibility, you’re probably not going to need anything else. Too bad I find the Mac client a little too bloated for my taste, so I’m reluctant to switch.

 

Weather HD makes a very interesting choice for its home page, with a huge background and a tiny operational window, which works perfectly for the app’s purpose. And the graphics inside are very nice (although some work should probably be done on the text legibility). I’m surprised it isn’t more expensive.

 

The Wall Street Journal app looks splendid, and I’m glad they let you play a bit with the free version. (I don’t care about the outlandish subscription prices, since I was never going to be interested anyway.)
The New York Times is much less fun. (Okay, “fun” is definitely not the right word there.)

 

Zen Bound doesn’t make a huge deal of sense to me on the iPad. I know that it was originally on PC, so it was played on even bigger screens, but I just feel that having it in your hand, in the iPhone’s format, was the perfect venue for that game.
And I also feel that its fifteen minutes of fame have passed.

 

The Gmail web app looks fine and that was nicely reactive of Google. Of course, it will also work on Chrome OS-based tablets, I’m sure.

Ca existe toujours, les Guignols ? Quel coefficient de non-drôlitude ils ont atteint, depuis le temps ?

Does the new iTunes have trouble downloading apps for you, too? Mine regularly gets stuck on “Accessing iTunes Store.”

The blogs are extra dead today, aren’t they. Damn holiday weekends.

Stargate Universe 1.11 — Oh, that thing still exists? That was an okay way to resolve the plot, but it came way too soon. And more politics…

I need to practice drawing with my right hand; I might be better at it.

4 avril

I could have made yet another stupid note-taking app that every blog would have reviewed but no, I had to do something good and unnoticed.

Doctor Who 5.01 — Great dialogue, but a predictable, uninteresting story with a planet-sized plot hole… and an awful actress. Not promising.

And geez, is there a single plot point of the entire season they didn’t show in the “coming soon” teaser?

“Benchmarking in your lap”

Again, it’s likely that the device is using 256 MB memory chips with a portion of the total being used for other purposes, such as video memory. Also, developers have noted that all of the 200 MB of user memory is not available for use by apps. The OS and background apps make use of a large portion of that memory.

Still only 256 megabytes, in 2010?

Makes you wonder if they’re really planning to have multitasking in OS 4.0.

RT @jessiechar: Fact: Buying an iPad will actually improve the battery life of your iPhone. Amazing!

Day 1 sales numbers are in, and… I’m not rich.

I hereby patent the idea of an iPad app+accessory that transforms it into a multitrack podcast recording studio.

Just caved in, added user-agent sniffing and a Javascript timer so that my blog looks okay both on iPad and iPhone.

I wanna launch an iPad zine. Who’s in? What will it be about?

Clarification: I wanna launch a zine that’s published on the iPad. With a pretty layout. Not about the iPad.

5 avril

RT @fraserspeirs: Every Apple product launch is an opportunity to pare down the list of People Worth Listening To.

Yay! It took me two days to get a fucking OpenGL view to display a fucking image on my iPhone! (Simulator — it might not work on a device.)

Must focus on the fact that I didn’t originally intend to take part in the iPad launch, so those few dozens of dollars are a net benefit.

“Apple holding iPhone OS 4 event, April 8th!”

The team collectively dropped an “OMG” when we saw this news, as it’s pretty unusual to see such a big event coming from Apple right on the heels of something like the iPad launch.

That’s odd timing indeed.

Wonder if Jobs wants to boost first-week sales of the iPad by announcing immediately what will be available as a free update in a couple of months.

“Aggressive, spiky button vs. rounded corner button”

That’s a very interesting idea. That kind of warning is usually conveyed by coloring the button red, but that’s often undesirable as it also makes the button more prominent (not so much in the case of a confirmation dialog like the example given, but in a more general context — like Gmail’s infamously unassuming Delete and Report Spam buttons).

Using more subtle yet instinctive cues to indicate that a button’s action has harmful results could work very well, especially in the iPad era. Think razor blades, urchins, etc.

“iWork Pages for the iPad: Good for Casual Writing but Lacks a Few Essential Features”

Footnotes and endnotes, for example, are simply deleted, making Pages for the iPad almost useless for a lot of students and academics. Tables of content simply become part of the text, which means that they don’t auto-update any more.

I’m sure it’s temporary (porting iWork to a completely different platform is a lot of work, and some stuff has to end up on a waiting list), but it really sucks when Pages and Numbers are the killer apps of the iPad as a productivity device — and when students make up a big part of its supposed target audience.

6 avril

“iPad Magazine Art Direction”

The way Time and GQ look completely different whether you view them in portrait or landscape orientation is mind-boggling.

I’m currently thinking about what would be required to make a simple magazine publication system on the iPad, and I’m curious about how much work it takes, or doesn’t, to do something like the Popular Science contents — monthly.

With the Xbox 360 system update, I’m now accepting donations of 8GB and 16GB USB sticks.

7 avril

“Crippled iWorks apps for iPad causes confusion and frustration for new owners”

My Keynote and Pages documents are altered when they are converted to the iPad version. Grouped objects are ungrouped (this for me is a big issue given my complex presentations), endnotes and footnotes are not imported in Pages, Table of Content changes to regular text, some fonts cannot be used on the iPad, etc.

That doesn’t really lessen the achievement of having a quite functional version of Keynote or Pages running on the iPad, but it’s a pity, and made much worse by the fact that Apple’s communication about the apps, both on the website and in the keynote, has indeed been misleading.

“Exclusive: The Making of The Elements, One of the iPad’s Most Magical Apps”

I wanted to make Harry Potter’s magic books a reality, and do it in 60 days flat. Here’s how we pulled it off.

With all the hype about the Elements app on iPad, I didn’t realize it was essentially the work of a single geek. A lunatic who managed the whole thing in Mathematica, even. And all in the little two-month window that us small developers had to deal with.

I had always assumed (naively?) it was a big production by a publishing house. This 2GB e-book suddenly looks several orders of magnitude cooler.

“Apple rejected iPad app for using pinch to expand gesture”

When the application was initially rejected from the App Store, Apple sent a letter to the developers noting that the pinch to expand feature is “associated solely with Apple applications.” The form letter-like e-mail also mistakenly named another application, leading Sykora to assume that Web Albums HD is not the only software that has been rejected for its use of pinch to expand.

That’s just fucking demented.

I keep taking breaks and hoping that, when I get back to it, OpenGL will suddenly make sense to me.

8 avril

I’m having much more fun than I expected playing the multiplayer betademo of Blur.

Not a fan of how they’re implementing pseudo multitasking. But at least I didn’t program push notifications on @nopicnodial for nothing.

iPhone OS 4.0

Well, that was rather less spectacular than I expected/hoped — as usual. Congratulations to Apple for the 450,000 iPads sold, that’s a nice number, and for the three million iPad apps sold, of which a whopping fifty sales or so were mine, oh yay.

The preview page on Apple’s site is surprisingly succinct; somewhat appropriate to the amount of changes in the new OS, but not to its version number.

 

Multitasking: As a developer, I’m not immensely excited by the way they’ve implemented it, because it’s limited to whatever Apple has thought of providing (and I’m incidentally curious to see if/how the API restricts your choices when it comes to VoIP standards and streaming formats). But, as a user, I must admit that it’s somewhat elegant and well designed.

It’s very interesting that location-tracking background processes will be limited to cell tower triangulation instead of having access to the GPS hardware (except for navigation systems, of course); that sounds like a clever way to save power.

And I can’t wait to see how fast application switching is implemented from a developer’s point of view — if it’s simple and reliable enough, it could provide a pretty awesome user experience.

I’m sad, but not really surprised, that none of this will be available on my old iPhone 3G; I always expected that they would have a hard time fitting any kind of multitasking within its limited RAM and CPU. It was time to upgrade anyway.

 

Folders: Well, that was overdue, wasn’t it? I find the graphics a little odd, and I agree that “Stacks” would have made more sense and been prettier, but who cares when all we ever wanted was some way to organize our goddamn deluge of iPhone apps.

I’m not sure it’s been mentioned, but judging from the 2,160 app limit (surely someone somewhere will manage to reach that ceiling, and possibly complain about it) it seems like you can’t have more than twelve apps per folder; I guess that’s okay. Multiple pages plus multiples folders — and, most important of all, the ability to have folders in the dock — sounds like it should be enough to handle the organizational needs of most people.

 

Mail: His Steveness had pre-announced the unified inbox not long ago, so no surprise there. And I’m not sure I’ve ever even tried to have Mail display message threads on my Mac. In short, unlike Jobs, I don’t really “live in Mail” so I don’t care too much as long as I can receive messages and occasionally reply to them.

 

iBooks: Obviously.

 

Enterprise: Interesting that, still today, business improvements get mentioned prominently at the keynote, and even deserve a whole separate page on Apple’s site. I guess, with businesses finally beginning to acknowledge non-BlackBerry, non-Windows smartphones, this isn’t the time to let Android slip into any cracks.

I’m curious about the data encryption APIs, and surprised that SSL VPNs weren’t already available.

 

Game Center: What? Now I didn’t see that coming. (Funny, it’s not mentioned on Apple’s page.) If there’s one thing I would never have envisioned Apple getting into, it’s automatic matchmaking and game achievements.

That’s good news because I hate most existing “networks” on the iPhone (OpenFeint et al., with the exception of Facebook Connect, which absolutely every game should integrate), and even better news in that it shows that Apple is actually listening, sometimes, to all those game developers that have been invited to iPhone keynotes over the years.

Who knows, that recent patent for a PSP-like shell to snap around your iPhone could actually be a real upcoming product.

 

iAd: Really, that’s one of the seven “tentpoles” (ugh) of OS 4.0? By which I mean, really, it’s part of the OS at all? That’s just weird, and awkward, and ethically dubious, and this whole thing rubs me in a lot of wrong ways.

It makes me wonder if they’re not running this thing, not because they want to profit, but purely and solely in order to fuck with Google some more. And, on some level, I think I’d rather that was really their main motivation.

Yet, for all the borderline abuse of monopoly, it’s going to be really convenient for developers, so I have to acknowledge that it does have merit. Still, ugh.

 

And what wasn’t there: No new iPhone. Which, apparently (I can’t be bothered to remember or check), is the usual way Apple handles those iPhone OS announcements.

But, if Apple was a couple of months away from launching an iPhone HD — which would undoubtedly require a little work from third-party developers to take advantage of the extra pixels — you’d think the release of a beta SDK would be a perfect time to mention it.

Just before the keynote, John Gruber predicted:

If I’m right that the next-gen iPhone will have a 960 × 640 display, they might start talking about higher-res iPhone apps today, and spin it as a way to make iPhone apps look sharper when run on iPads.

Yes, that would have made sense, wouldn’t it.

9 avril

Am I missing something, or does iTunes not allow converting a podcast to mp3 anymore?

“His Dashboard App For iPad Rejected, Developer Publishes Code On GitHub”

I’m somewhat impressed by how well the thing seems to be programmed, but come on: the guy lifted the Dashboard widgets straight off of MacOS (not even bothering to fix the CSS for missing fonts) along with the rest of the graphics and the user experience, and he thought his app could ever be approved?!

FlashForward 1.15 — Okay, that was interesting.

10 avril

If you’re missing the “Convert to…” option from iTunes 9.1’s contextual menu, it’s been relegated to the Advanced menu. (Which makes sense.)

It hurts to imagine how much money Atebits must have gotten to sell his iPhone app to Twitter.

Twitter Acquires Tweetie

I’m happy to say that as of today Twitter is the proud owner of Tweetie — and I’m joining their mobile team and starting work on turning Tweetie.app into Twitter.app, for iPhone and iPad.

Huh?

I can’t quite make up my mind on the principle of the thing — on the one hand, Twitter is what it is thanks to its API and thanks to the plethora of third-party clients (which are used by a minority of users, but those users are the, uh, “influencers” who bring the masses), and it’s more than a bit ungrateful to suddenly upstage all third-party developers now; on the other hand, it’s unquestionably good for Twitter, and its users, to have an official free client app that looks and works great, so it’s hard to resent them.

But, more importantly, what the hell does it mean for Tweetie Mac? Ah, it’s still on [via]. But I’m not sure how tenable a position it is to be Twitter’s lead iPhone developer and make and sell one of the two most prominent Mac clients on the side.

RT @robdelaney: Makes me sick to think that there are kids in Africa or Greece or whatever who’ve never even seen one of my tweets.

“Pastebot”

Combine Pastebot [on iPhone] with the free Pastebot Sync companion app for your Mac and truly wield the power of copy & paste! With Pastebot Sync, magically push text and images to your phone over wifi by simply copying them [to your clipboard].

In case you were looking for an example of useful functionality that won’t be able to fit within the restrictions of iPhone OS 4.0 multitasking.

“Egretlist”

Egretlist is an iPhone to-do app that syncs with Evernote.

You can keep the things you need to do in the same place you store all your memories and ideas.

That looks very interesting, and very pretty. I’m buying it.

If I could also find an alternate desktop client for Evernote, I’d be set. (I’ve tried Evernote’s own app several times, and always got discouraged within minutes.)

Alternatively, a parallel-universe version of Egretlist that would use text files synchronized by Dropbox would be even cooler.

11 avril

Doctor Who 5.02 — What do you know, that was just about excellent. (But I still hate Amy Pond.)

“New in iPhone OS 4: The Full App-by-App Breakdown”

Nothing particularly new here, but you’re not an Apple fan if you’re not dissecting every new screenshot of a major system update. I don’t expect to install OS 4.0 before it comes out (I’ve got enough work already with the iPad SDK), so I like to look at the pretty pictures from someone else who went through the trouble.

RT @tomstandage: Hmmm. So giving Apple control over the iPhone is bad, but giving Adobe control over rich content on the web is fine. Hmmm.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona — So damn boring and pointless it should be French. (Yes, Penélope Cruz is great, but there isn’t much of her.)

But now I do want to go to Barcelona.

12 avril

The Brothers Bloom — A very good script that deserved a more experienced director (and possibly a better ending).

The server now has 50% 200% more load than before I changed the configuration, and web pages load… faster.

I hate system administration.

Microsoft Kin One and Kin Two announced: Windows Phone roots with a social slant

I can’t figure out why they’re launching those phones under the Microsoft brand. Sure, the Sidekick name is pretty much dead after the recent cloud fiasco (and it belongs to T-Mobile, which is probably not that interested in working with Redmond again), but there are other names, and how can it make sense to anyone that the only phones that directly bear Microsoft’s logo are not really running any of the OSes known Windows? (Yes, according to the articles, technically they are, but nobody cares about that.) If at least the platform was officially known as “Zune phone,” it would be defendable. But a new brand? (With yet another awful name?)

As for the phones themselves, they seem like they would be the ideal teenagerphones… if the iPhone didn’t exist. The interface is nicely visual, and the scrapbook-like mosaic of your friends’ photos is a nice idea — but it seems to be very laggy. And the iPhone does exist.

The “Spot” is a nice concept, and indeed reminiscent of the Courier’s dock/hinge. I just hope that is not the only thing we’ll ever see out of the tablet concept.

“Microsoft Kin Studio saves all your phone content to the web”

That looks cool and fun, and it’s a huge missed opportunity: why limit this thing to the couple of people who will get a Kin phone (making it that much more useless even for them, since their friends won’t be there), when you could launch it as a full-scale social network?

But then it’s based on Silverlight, so nobody would use it anyway.

“Microsoft Kin One and Kin Two first hands-on”

The front of both devices is graced with a single metallic button to offset an otherwise clean glossy black bezel – this button functions as Back, not Home, so if you’re multiple levels deep into the UI you’ll only be taken back one. You can still hold the button down to get back to the home screen.

Maybe I wish the iPhone did that.

“Twitter Also Acquired Tweetie for Mac, But It Won’t Be Renamed”

To be clear, Tweetie for the iPhone and its developer, Loren Brichter, were the focus of our acquisition, but as part of the deal we also got Tweetie for Mac.

Oh.

Loren had been hard at work on a new version of Tweetie for Mac that he was going to release soon. Our plan is to still release the new version and it will continue to be called Tweetie (not renamed to Twitter). We will also discontinue the paid version.

Ah.

Wait — huh? They’re keeping it, but not renaming it, but making it free?

“HTC May Buy Palm to Fight Apple”

However, the most interesting bidder is HTC by far. The reason: HTC may find in Palm the patent portfolio it needs to battle Apple’s lawsuit.

Wouldn’t it be funny if Palm and webOS ended up being rescued solely because of the sudden aggressivity of Apple’s lawyers? (Remember that webOS was developed by renegade Cupertino engineers.)

On the flip side, this is exactly what webOS needs: good phones. HTC knows how to make pretty hardware, and they’ve shown that they have no qualms about offering phones running every operating system they can get their hands on.

That may just be the one and only possibility for webOS to get a second chance, an opportunity to show what it’s capable of on the market. Please make it so.

13 avril

What’s new in CS5

I couldn’t find a single page listing all the improvements, so here it goes, app by app (that I care about).

 

Photoshop: Everybody already knew about content-aware fill, but puppet warp looks extra-fun. (Like everything that uses the new content-aware algorithms, it’s not gonna be enough, by itself, for professional work on photos, but it’s going to be a huge time-saver for everyone.) And I can’t wait to see if the new magical selection is finally the real thing — just like CS4’s new selection tools were supposed to be, and CS3’s (or CS2’s? not sure) Extract filter before it. Someday they’ll give us something that really just works.

 

Illustrator: Looks like they’re taking a few hints from Flash to simplify vector drawing and compositing, which is great. (“Draw inside” was an amazing revolution when Macromedia introduced it in Flash, like, twenty years ago.) But the most important thing here will be “Align to Pixel Grid”… if it’s also in Photoshop’s vector layers — and I’d bet that will not be the case until CS6.

 

InDesign: Nothing major, but multiple page sizes in a single document is going to be useful for a project I’m currently thinking about. And I’m quite curious (conceptually, not for practical purposes, of course) about the ability to export to Flash.

 

Flash: No, of course I don’t care. I’m just curious. Ooh, elaborate text controls with flowing text boxes — I would have been so excited about that, five years ago.

 

Dreamweaver: Come on, it’s called intellectual curiosity! Besides, if the WordPress / Joomla / Drupal integration really works as you would want it to (there isn’t enough of a description to confirm that), it could be a selling point all by itself.

For that matter, BrowserLab could also be a selling point. It makes a lot of sense for Adobe to offer its own service for previewing your site in different browsers, and it looks like they did it rather well — love the “onion skin” view. (Even though, as sites are more and more interactive, those quick and easy solutions are less and less appropriate for real-world development; nothing can replace testing locally on virtual machines.)

 

CS Live: Not sure what’s new or not in this list, but what exactly is “Adobe Story”? With a name like this, it should be an editor for movie scripts, but the description doesn’t make it sound like one. Oh, and CS Review sounds like it could be a contender to replace Version Cue as this year’s iteration of the framework that Adobe embeds into all its apps and that you’d pay to be allowed to disable.

 

But none of that will run on my iMac, of course. And that’s even the suite’s strongest selling point, as I believe it’s the version that’s supposed to have finally been rewritten from scratch in Cocoa and should be stable on Intel machines.

It’s not a coincidence that I received a check on the same day Apple introduced new MacBooks Pro, is it?

Was flicking through my iPhone’s home screen, and — whoa, eye of Sauron! Ah, wait, it’s just Opera Mini.

Has anyone actually managed to log into Digg’s iPhone app?

“Opera Mini for iPhone approved, will be available for free”

That’s a surprise.

I expected Opera Mini to be approved because I thought it used the system’s WebKit component to display pages after they went through Opera’s servers; but it’s very obvious when you use the app that it renders the data itself. Possibly faster than WebKit, but clearly uglier. Makes it odd therefore that Apple would set a precedent of allowing a third-party browser engine on the iPhone; will they be able — or want — to reject Firefox after that?

Anyway, here’s what it comes down to: the interface is nice enough, but the multitouch is pretty awful (scrolling and pinch-zooming are both unpleasant, because Opera doesn’t use the system algorithms that make the iPhone so… right), my website looks ugly as sin in the browser, and all your data goes through Opera’s servers. In exchange, you get a possible speed increase on very slow connections.

The only people who’ll think it’s worth the tradeoff are the people who choose to buy Android phones.

“MacBook Pro Core i7 unboxing and preview”

Other additions to the laptops include “inertial scrolling” (a la iPhone), which feels like a software change to us, but is apparently related to new trackpads on these models.

Tying intertial scrolling to new hardware has to be bullshit — but, more importantly, I can’t decide if it’s a good or a bad idea to have it at all on the desktop.

I’m so proud of my life

(I fully intended to post the “1500” mark but it was 4am and I automatically tapped the screen out of habit.)

14 avril

Damn. CameraBag is available for iPad, and I’m not nearly done with my Snap Filters rewrite. Fail. Again.

“The new CS5 branding”

Urgh.

When you launched Photoshop in the olden days, the splash screen emphasized that you were about to make pretty pictures. It was gratifying and inspirational. Now you just feel like you’re entering the Borg.

And CS5 makes it even worse than CS4 in that respect — did you know: lotsa sharp angles doesn’t feel very friendly.

Lost 6.12 — Well, that was awesome. (Damn you, opening credits!)

“Apple Media Advisory”

Faced with this surprisingly strong US demand, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the international launch of iPad by one month, until the end of May. We will announce international pricing and begin taking online pre-orders on Monday, May 10.

I hate Apple, I’ve always hated Apple, I’ve always wanted a ChromeOS tablet anyway, and we have always been at war with Eastasia.

Please, please don’t make me have to create my own Twitter client.

Ah, it’s called freeze-dried because it’s actually freeze-dried.

Shutter Island — That has to be the most ludicrous twist in the history of cinema. And an annoying movie, but I don’t like Scorsese anyway.

“Mobile Multitasking”

If an app requires processing while in the background, then it must also have a service component. A service on Android is like a separate small application that runs without a user interface in the background (though not actually a separate application). The service has a server/client relationship with the app.

Oh. That’s exactly the way I expected / hoped multitasking would work on iPhone OS 4.0, without knowing it was already implemented by Android.

I’m not surprised that Apple went with a more restrictive model that’s designed to actively prevent developers from wasting battery power, but at the same time the author is right to note that Apple’s system also makes it much easier for programmers to add multitasking to their apps.

So everybody wins, if you count as a win that you’ll never have an iPhone IM client keeping open connections in the background (and thus draining your battery) instead of relying on push notifications.

Lake Mungo — Well, that was at least more interesting and had better characterization than Paranormal Activity.

15 avril

16 avril

I’ve finally understood how to enable perspective and my next iPhone app looks awesome.

Friends don’t let friends drunk-email Steve.

“Calorie-counting works”

In other words, in descending weight order, approximately: 28% glass, 22% LCD screen, 21% battery, 20% back panel, 9% other components (presumably the 3G model’s slightly higher weight is mostly here)

Oh, there is interesting information in iFixit’s teardown of the iPad. You’d have thought the battery was the heaviest part, but in fact half the device’s weight is structural integrity.

I’m sure Apple’s industrial design staff battled with these issues for a long time before deciding on the iPad’s form factor, and they probably came to the same conclusions: while this is heavier than the ideal weight, there’s very little that can realistically be removed without fatal compromises.

My server didn’t survive the reboot. Guess we’re about to see if its RAID was working. Or if it had it all. Not so sure actually.

18 avril

I’ll poke you back once because, sure, why the hell not, but if you poke me back-back, I’ll put a contract on your head. What is this, 2008?

Aw, but I don’t wanna launch Photoshop right now, I just rebooted and my Mac is all responsive and stuff.

RT @Chris_Brain: I’m no volcanologist but has anyone tried throwing in a few virgins?

I was reluctant to add a (Grindr-like) grid view to @nopicnochat, but I’m glad I did, it looks good.

“iPhone 4G: proof”

all those rumors flying around that the iPhone 4G we’d spotted was no more than a Japanese knock-off of an Apple product, it was starting to look like this thing was too good to be true. That is until one of the Engadget editors spotted what seems to be solid proof that this is — in fact — the next iPhone.

Come on! This thing looks like crap, it’s full of seams and the buttons are repulsive, that’s unpossible!

 

Or, to quote someone dear to us: “Are you nuts?

19 avril

“Engadget Posts Pictures of Purported Next-Gen iPhone”

I think it’s a testbed frame — thicker, with visible (un-Apple-like) seams, meant to fit in 3GS cases so as to disguise units out in the wild. It’s hard to tell from the photos. But I think it is the real deal in terms of the internals and display being next-gen iPhone hardware.

This is exactly what I thought: that it could be a test mule, not the enclosure designed for customers. But I couldn’t figure out why Apple would have test mules of the next-generation iPhone out in the open. Well, here it is: if that phone does have a 960x640 screen, it makes sense that they would need to test it a lot out of the lab for compatibility with existing apps.

But John Gruber seems to believe this design could have something to do with the final product — that it would be a rough draft — and I still disagree with that. I think that thing’s form is not indicative of anything, and just motivated by the need to easily assemble technical prototypes.

Roy Lavi

It’s too easy: you could make a blog that publishes photos of a new Israeli model every hour, and never run out.

Treme 1.01 — I keep expecting every new character to be shown dealing drugs. And they just might be, I understand one word in three.

“Twitter launching annotation feature, streaming API”

Each individual annotation will be structured as a triple, consisting of a namespace, a key, and a value. When the feature is launched, the total combined size of the annotations will be limited to 512 bytes. Twitter says that it intends to eventually expand the capacity to 2 kilobytes. Some potential uses include transmitting extended message text, sharing vCards, conducting polls, and embedding full-length links.

That’s clever. (Except for calling it “annotations” instead of, I don’t know, “metadata.”)

In order to be truly useful, annotations that are not application-specific will have to be supported by multiple client implementations. That means that there will have to be a process for building consensus and devising standards.

Twitter says that such an effort will be left as an exercise to the community.

That’s stupid. I understand that Twitter’s always been very hands-off over that sort of thing, but (1) hey guys, you just bought out the leading iPhone client, so that time is gone, and (2) the limitation to 2KB makes it essential that some basic formats be clearly defined (e.g., long links) because developers can’t afford to include redundant alternate versions of the same data, as is done for example in RSS.

Or does (1+2) simply mean that Loren Brichter will end up defining the Twitter standard in next versions of the app, but Twitter itself just doesn’t want to put a completely official stamp on that spec?

I don’t mind ads in @echofon on principle but I’m not okay with 140 Proof serving me the samenews ad 4 times over 4 days.

“Facebook Asks You To ‘Become A Fan’ Of All Your Interests”

Next time you sign in to your Facebook account, Facebook will look at your entered interests, find the matching Facebook Pages, and prompt you to link these to your profile.

Ugh. I do not like Pages, I do not want to link to Pages or add them to my news feed, and most importantly nobody’s going to enjoy having a big popup asking them to add all those Pages to their profile — with the option to decline hidden very passive-aggressively.

But that’s not the worst part.

Unfortunately Facebook is removing the ability to list an interest without having it tied to a Facebook Page, so your Interests section will be blank if you [don’t add the Pages].

Come on, Facebook, why are you so intent on having every one of your users eventually hate you? I’m pretty sure, when the dialog comes up, I’m going to purposefully decline adding all the pages, basically out of spite; if the interests disappear from my profile, well, it’s your loss, isn’t it, since you’re supposed to be in the business of using that information. Just not in such annoying ways.

20 avril

Could we stop discussing the ethics of Gizmodo and just acknowledge that they haven’t had any for quite a while?

It’s funny that Echofon for Mac is now $20 but still hasn’t figured how to do a fucking nl2br().

“An apology…”

If you’re the kind of person who forgets that you edited your hosts file [to block a website], use Marco Arment’s IP address of 66.135.33.106 instead of 127.0.0.1.

Ooh, excellent!

I want to go back to sleep. I’ll work next month.

Marco Arment on 960 × 640

The iPhone is already the highest-DPI display that Apple sells, and to double its resolution is very expensive: the panel costs more, it’s likely to use more power, it places higher demand on the CPU for rendering, it needs much more memory for frame buffers and textures, and it incurs big costs on developers [or possibly not — ed.] and Apple’s developer-tools and developer-support teams. In other words, it strains nearly everything that is already strained.

Those are all the reasons why I didn’t think it likely that the iPhone would get a higher-resolution screen, but there’s a simple thing that trumps all:

Steve Jobs has seen a Droid or Nexus One, and he wants his own iPhone to get a higher-resolution screen.

21 avril

Lost 6.13 — Still enjoying the ride.

Post-Easter Chocolate Withdrawal Syndrome.

Glee 1.15 — I don’t enjoy Sue Sylvester (I know I should, but she’s too much) but this bit was cool. The show, though, still getting weaker.

“iPhone OS requirements”

While the iPhone App Store interface won’t update to an app version that your phone can’t run, iTunes will. And on its next sync, it just deletes any apps from the device whose most recent version, as downloaded by iTunes, isn’t compatible with the device’s OS version.

I was wondering about that — every time a developer updates an iPhone app, they have to decide which minimum OS version to support, weighing the pros and cons of new APIs vs. installed base. I intended to wait a while before I supported OS 4.0 functionality; looks like I was right.

The way it’s done is pretty stupid (well, what do you expect from iTunes, anyway), but… you’ve got to admit it’s not a trivial problem to tackle, either.

I guess the upshot is that you should never use iTunes to update your apps, and only do it on your device. That would be easier if my iPhone 3G was among the hundreds? thousands? millions? that lost wi-fi capability with one of the latest software updates.

Operating a gay chat is like being a kindergarten teacher. Urgh.

22 avril

Just realized how exploitative Glee’s token asexual gay character really is. It’s musical => gonna have a gay audience => needs a gay.

“Daring Fireball: Gizmodo and the Prototype iPhone”

“DVT” stands for “design verification test”, an Apple production milestone. The DVT milestone is very late in the game; based on this, I now believe that this unit very closely, if not exactly, resembles what Apple plans to release.

No. No. No. No.

Misanthropie du jour

No Pic No Dial n’est pas Facebook : la suppression du profil n’est pas cachée, elle n’est pas dissuasive (bon, le site commence par proposer de désactiver temporairement le profil au lieu de le supprimer, mais je vois ça comme un service — je pars du principe qu’une des premières motivations pour supprimer son profil est le fait d’avoir trouvé un mec, et c’est plus simple de désactiver son profil que d’avoir à le recréer un mois plus tard, et oups c’est peut-être un peu cynique / désabusé en fait ?), tout ce que vous avez à faire pour quitter le site, c’est cliquer sur le bouton bien visible dans la page de gestion du profil, et taper votre mot de passe pour confirmer.

Pourtant, une fois par semaine, j’en ai un qui vient me poser la question, parce qu’une fois qu’il a décidé de se désinscrire il ne veut plus chercher. Il a réussi à créer son profil tout seul, à le remplir, à mettre ses photos, à discuter, mais, non, maintenant qu’il veut partir, il est hors de question qu’il se serve de son cerveau.

 

(Ma réponse était plus longue et aimable, les premières fois, parce que je pensais que ça devait être ma faute, mais elle est devenue de plus en plus laconique au fil des itérations, et la conversation d’aujourd’hui prouve qu’il n’y a pas besoin de plus : son profil a disparu du site dans les dix secondes.)

23 avril

“Fabulis Launches Social Network For Gay Men”

I can’t figure out what the point of this thing is supposed to be. (But I can tell that the process that imports your data from Facebook is broken, so that everyone seems to have an empty profile with no photos.)

“Elements Of Twitter Style”

I agree with most of that article; the only problem is that it’s written like a memo from an editor-in-chief to their staff, instead of trying to convince readers by explaining why you should do the things you should do.

Tinfoil hats have a bad rep, but wouldn’t you want all hats and caps to embed a little Faraday cage? Just in case, wouldn’t cost much.

Marley & Me — There’s no way that thing got produced (and with “stars”), must have been a boredom-induced delusion caused by I want a dog.

Oh shit, I watched that tripe and I had six TV shows in my inbox! Uh, insert “DVD” somewhere.

24 avril

Not that I care, because I don’t download pirated shows, but what kind of sociopath makes a torrent with a whole season as A SINGLE 5GB AVI?

I was banning people by suspending them until 2100, and… it wasn’t banning them at all because 2100 was far beyond timestamp arithmetics.

25 avril

Doctor Who 5.04 — That was nice.

I just bought a separate server (with SSDs on RAID!) to run MySQL, and now I wanna kill myself because it’s a mess to setup the connection.

26 avril

I wish I could release an “E-mail His Steveness” iPhone app that randomly replies Yep / Nope / Are you nuts.

27 avril

The new Transmit truck is so pretty I wanna play with it, vroom vroom.

They’ve really just discovered that the spleen isn’t in fact quite useless? It had never occurred to them to look for what it might contain?

J’ai déplacé un <select> dans un formulaire, et voilà, je suis exténué, ça suffira pour la journée.

The Hurt Locker — It’s good, very good, but Oscar good? Oh well, war movies are rated on a different scale anyway.

J’oublie toujours qu’il existe du sirop contre la toux.

Huh, Leo was still kinda cute in The Departed.

29 avril

RT @derekasaurus: That I can buy a song while on the toilet using my phone means no one is really working on cancer, are they?

We geeks need to support and defend Flash.

It’ll be so much harder to block intrusive animated ads when they’re done in HTML.

“Microsoft confirms, kills Courier in one fell swoop”

The “Courier” project is an example of this type of effort and its technologies will be evaluated for use in future Microsoft offerings, but we have no plans to build such a device at this time.

Fu.

 

It seems, however, that things just didn’t manage to take shape, and word was handed down very recently that the incubation period had reached its conclusion — sans product — and resources would be directed elsewhere.

We wouldn’t want Microsoft to be offering a cool, innovative product, would we? I mean, that console thing, fine, it’s for those damn brainless gamers anyway, it doesn’t matter that it’s competent, but a productivity thing that’s better than anything else on the market? Not for us. Let’s market the hell out of those Kin phones instead.

30 avril

Fringe 2.20 — Damn, that was painful like a school play.

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