3 January 2008

Is the Yahoo UI Library a fucking mess or what?

6 January

Wowwee Bladestar

Finally the stupid PicooZ is going to be forgotten, and replaced with a mini helicopter that can actually be controlled (well, that’s assuming it responds better than in the video — which I can’t be so sure of, because I have no idea how it works, technically). Plus, it has auto-pilot and the blade isn’t protected so you can actually chop heads off. And it’ll only cost $49 in the US.

 

Also in the Wowwee department (they always have a butt-load of robots to show off at CES), see also:

  • the Tribot, much cuter than the Robosapien (it reminds me of the Iron Giant, I want one)

  • Mr. Personality, for which there is no video yet (and which is redundant with the Tribot, as if the Wowwee designers hadn’t been able to choose how to make the most expressive robot this year)

 

Do watch the Tribot or Rovio videos to see how the weird wheel design works: it’s rather clever.

LG Watch Phone

Now that’s more interesting that making an iPhone clone.

8 January

OmniFocus

Version 1.0 is finally out, and I’m liking it more than I thought I would; choosing between OmniFocus and Things will be harder than expected — because they’re actually pretty similar.

On the one hand, Things is prettier (yes, that always matters) and a little more free-form, which I like; on the other, OmniFocus brings lots of tiny refinements that seem to make it just a tad more efficient, from keyboard input to prioritizing and sequencing tasks.

Win some, lose some. But then, Things is still beta.

9 January

NetNewsWire (and FeedDemon) for free

Okay, I’m glad that I didn’t renew my NetNewsWire license a couple months ago because I couldn’t afford it, and I’m glad that I’ll get to upgrade NetNewsWire without having to pay again; but it’s always worrisome when an application becomes free without being bought by Google. I just don’t understand what NewsGator’s business model could be: “selling their server products”? What the hell does that have to do with providing free software and webware aggregators?

All I can hope for is that someone buys NetNewsWire back when NewsGator goes out of business before year’s end (no matter what they claim). In the meantime, woohoo! The best RSS aggregator for OS X is available for free, enjoy while it lasts! (And I’m sure their Windows counterpart is good, too.)

 

P.S. The new toolbar icons aren’t ugly anymore (but still lacking on usability), and it seems like you can’t change the Dock badge’s color now. I don’t like a red badge on my aggregator; reading blog items isn’t urgent, unlike emails.

 

Le formulaire d’inscription de Buzz Paradise est l’une des pires atrocités ergonomiques que j’ai vues de ma vie (sous Safari, en tout cas).

15 January

Prediction #1: no 3G iPhone. It’s too early to be killing device sales while the new version gets FCC approval.

Prediction #2: a MacTablet or MacBook mini (not “MacBook air”) with wifi + 3G wireless that uses the same cell subscription as your iPhone.

Comme d’habitude, vous avez peut-être envie de vous désabonner de mon Twitter pour la durée du keynote de Steve Jobs, en fin d’après-midi.

Le keynote expliqué aux non-geeks : “Tu peux pas comprendre, c’est comme la messe de minuit à Nowel, tu regardes pas une redif.”

I can never remember from one year to the next which sites do the best keynote liveblogging.

I don’t understand the new-Newton speculation. The Newton was only bigger than the iPhone because they couldn’t make it smaller at the time.

16 January

Macworld 2008

Following a Macworld keynote without Twitter is only half the fun; I’m kind of amazed that the Stevenote is actually the official reason for the service’s downtime — I figured that Twitter had enough of a user base by now that Macworld wouldn’t make so much of a difference relatively to their usual traffic. Well, apparently, Twitter is still very teeny. Or Apple is real big.

 

Time Capsule: Plug the device in, and all the Macs on your network start using it as a remote backup for Time Machine. That’s pretty cool, and the prices are reasonable (all the more if the drives really are “server grade”) — I’ve already recommended it to a friend. But what’s up with compulsorily bundling an AirPort Extreme base station (worth $179 by itself), though? Especially considering that existing AirPort devices already have an USB port so you can plug in and share external hard drives — you might expect an upcoming OS X update to enable those as Time Machine targets, but you might also expect Apple to be as petty as they’ve been known to be lately.

You can find excuses for not supporting NAS drives from other manufacturers (it seems like Time Machine already has enough bugs as it is, supporting local hard drives only), but restricting remote backups to Time Capsule only would be borderline extortion. The Time Machine page on apple.com hasn’t been updated yet to reference Time Capsule, so we’ll have to wait and see.

 

iPhone: As I twitted, even if there was a 3G prototype ready and gathering dust in Apple’s labs, they pretty much couldn’t release it now — if you assume that every major iPhone upgrade will entail a six-month probation period while the FCC tests it (and that’s what everybody seems to think), announcing the 3G iPhone today would completely kill device sales from January to June; that’s not something Apple can afford to do so early in the product cycle. (I kinda did expect a 16GB bump, or option, though. Weird.)

I’m surprised on principle that the 1.1.3 firmware was leaked ahead of time, but when the pictures came out I did think they looked legit. From what I gather, Web Clips are just bookmarks that remember your scroll/zoom position, which is fucking clever (in that “it’s so simple I can’t believe everybody doesn’t do it” kind of way). And I’m not sure how convenient it could be to have nine virtual home screens when the only way to switch from one to the other is to flick through all of them — but I guess Apple sees this as a bone thrown out to stupid geeky power users, not worthy of trying to find something more usable.

Now, about that SDK… wait, what about it?

 

iPod touch: Now including the iPhone apps that they should always have had in the first place. And, if you bought an iTouch earlier, why don’t you pay $20 to buy those apps? It makes sense: you already showed that you were a sucker (or that you intended to hack it) by buying an artificially restricted device that looked like an iPhone but didn’t include half its apps; Apple might as well go all the way and get some more money from you. Petty? Them?

Incidentally, $20 for a pack of five applications does lend more credence to the widely accepted rumor that additional iPhone/iPod apps will go for $5 (average, or fixed price?) on the iTunes Store.

P.S. The Macalope this it’s our good friend the financial regulations at work here; while it occurred to me at some point, I didn’t check to see if the iPod touch was still accounted as a one-time sale. Because I knew the iPhone isn’t, and it doesn’t make any sense to me why the iPod would be when they’re both the exact same software platform. And they both got the same software upgrades since their respective releases, as far as I know.

 

iTunes: Couldn’t care less. Rentals don’t strike me as particularly cheap. And, while the 30-day limit is more than fair, I don’t see the point of deleting the movie 24 hours after you’ve started watching it — would DVD sales really suffer that much if you could watch the same movie over and over for, say, a week, before it self-destructs? (Not that Apple is responsible for that choice.)

For the record: I think the only way the movie or record industries can curb piracy down is unlimited subscriptions. (And Steve Jobs is responsible for not allowing that on iTunes.)

 

Apple TV: Not caring, either. It’s just worth noting that, unlike the iPod touch’s software upgrade, this one will be free. Because that’s an app update, not additional applications that’s a download that will allow Apple to sell and rent more videos.

The new main menu is pretty bland. Last year’s new Front Row was already dull; they must have fired the original interface’s designer — or promoted him elsewhere.

 

MacBook Air: Ah, well. So it doesn’t have a touch-screen and detachable keyboard. Or 3G wireless. And it has this stupid name that I was so sure couldn’t be real. It’s really the big disappointment from this keynote. And it’s a damn nice object.

Who was it that recently blogged that Mac updates weren’t as fun as they used to be since the switch to Intel, because in the PowerPC days you never knew when Apple would get a CPU bump and how insanely hot it would be? Well, it looks like Intel wants to be cool so hard that they’re willing to give the Mac a headstart on their latest new chips (I can’t imagine Apple is powerful enough to get exclusivity; nice new Vaios have to be coming in a few months).

This is how Palm should have designed the Foleo, or Asus the Eee PC: no compromise on performance with a Core 2 Duo and a 13-inch screen, running a full-featured desktop OS; only the hard drive is a little small. And then you sell it for $1,800. (Ouch.) If you’ve got the money, it’s really the perfect laptop for everyone but the laptop-as-main-computer types.

Don’t start complaining about the lack of user-serviceable parts: that’s hypocritical. You don’t get that kind of design, and that level of miniaturization, when you have to think of making the innards accessible to Joe User.

 

One more thing: Ah, nope. Of course Steve Jobs would grow tired of that gimmick much sooner than all the followers would. Well, not to mention that the obligation of a “one more thing” conclusion worked to our advantage, since Apple needed to have something cool for that part.

Here’s a “one more thing” I would have liked to see, though: multi-touch trackpads are coming for the whole MacBook line. The functionality is in the software, and chances are the hardware part is actually the same (except for its size), so it might even work as a software update for existing MacBooks.

This looks like such a half-baked feature, though. Why would you bother programming Preview or iPhoto to rotate pictures with a trackpad gesture? It’s not really a killer feature, is it? It looks an awful lot like Leopard was developed with touch-screens in mind, and the hardware is so far from ready that Apple decided they might as well use the functionality with the trackpad, so that it serves some purpose at least.

Or they’re just field-testing multi-touch gestures before touch-screen iMacs are introduced at WWDC. Yeah, I know, not likely. Basically, the MacBook Air’s release today makes it quite implausible that we’d see any kind of touch-screen Mac in the next eighteen months.

Argh.

God. Seriously. I mean, come on. SERIOUSLY. Guys. You know, you’re gonna have to live with that. Naming it “MacBook Air”?!

I can’t believe the iPhone team repeated the fucking /favicon.ico atrocity.

Haven’t seen anyone note that the iPhone and iPod photos on apple.com sport a Bejeweled icon.

Hands on with the MacBook Air

In our demo, we saw the gestures at work in both iPhoto and Safari, though presumably these are features that third-party developers will be able to add to their applications as well.

Okay, now that yesterday’s keynote disappointment has passed, let’s be unrealistic and dream for a second: what if Apple had released the multitouchpad now so that third-party developers can include the feature in their software and everything’ll be ready when a touch-screen Mac is introduced at the next Macworld?

I mean, if they were going to release such a thing any time soon, it’s not like they’d give early prototypes to developers.

17 January

If Apple really wants the Apple TV to take off now, isn’t it time to support DivX?

18 January

Il est apparemment impossible d’offrir un iPhone en France. Ca ne s’offre pas, un iPhone. Mais quels abrutis, je vous jure.

19 January

I’ve been waiting for this moment for a year

(Which means it’s probably too late now and the 3G iPhone will be announced in late February).

 

I skipped the whole unboxing video thing because, well, it’s a little late for that by now.

20 January

Wondering: what’s the etiquette regarding using your iPhone in a movie theater? Ah, I suppose you’d seldom get a signal there.

Me no like Google Reader for iPhone. I’d just like to display the latest items in reverse chronological order, not feed by feed.

iPhone Background Pack #1

iPhone backgrounds are all but useless, considering that they only appear for half a second when you reactivate your phone, but how can you resist putting your own touch (heh) on this gorgeous little screen?

Here goes: iphonebackgrounds1.zip. On a Mac, create an iPhoto album and instruct iTunes to sync it; on a PC… well, if you’re still using Windows in 2008, I’ll just assume you like figuring things out by yourself.

21 January

I’ve got an iPod that lets me decide what I want to listen to at any time. Fancy that.

22 January

I wonder if the predictive text input will single-handedly (hah!) push me to jailbreak my iPhone. I don’t want to, damnit!

Okay, actually, predictive text input does help when you’re struggling to type in a moving subway.

23 January

I want an Adium plugin that serves the message views from my iMac to my iPhone over https. It’s HTML already; shouldn’t be too hard.

Would you mind updating Mobile Safari so that it uses the iPhone version of Google?

26 January

Why the hell does the iPhone completely ignore address book nicknames?

27 January

I wanted to buy my first song from the iTunes Store (using my free credits) and I ended up on beemp3.com because they didn’t have it. Fate.

29 January

I’m not sure whether it’s my external hard drive or my iMac’s internal making a strange noise, but I should be preparing an emergency fund.

31 January

So the iPhone/Safari bookmark sync is pretty stupid, right? Damn, I want to have bookmarklets on my iPhone and there’s no other way.

Now that I trust Google with all my email, why don’t I just go ahead and use Meebo to use the same IM on my Mac and my iPhone?

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